Mac 911

Sure, Apple's marketing and graphics departments break out in spots when they're faced with the prospect of a "Mac OS Eleven." ("Roman numerals? Arabic numbers? Time to switch from felines to a member of the family Mustelidae?") But Panther -- the code name for Mac OS X 10.3 -- has earned its .3 appendage, not as a corporate convenience but for its evolutionary nature. Skeptical? Join me as we contrast Apple's Mail, pre- and post-Panther.

The Attachments Methods

I receive many e-mails with large attachments, and after saving the attachments elsewhere, I remove them to save space. But unlike every other e-mail application I've used, Jaguar's Mail doesn't provide an option for removing attachments.
-- Larry Klein, Cullman, Alabama

I'll start by stating this column's main theme: What can't be done easily (or done at all) in Jaguar may be a cinch in Panther. Nowhere is this more apparent than in Mail -- an application that was more than a little limited in Jaguar. Here's proof:

To remove an attachment in the Panther version of Mail, select the message that contains the attachment you want to toss, and choose Remove Attachments from the Message menu. Easy, yes?

Now let's look at the Jaguar method.

Quit Mail. Navigate to your Library: Mail folder and then to the mailbox folder from which you want to strip the attachments (POP-nobody@mail.nobody .org, for example). Control-click on the mailbox file within that folder (INBOX.mbox, for instance), and select View Package Contents from the resulting contextual menu. Double-click on the .mbox file in the window that appears; this opens the file in TextEdit. Scroll through the text file until you see page after page of gibberish that's preceded by a line of text that reads something like -- B_3120297041_53885. This is an attachment. From the message that precedes the gibberish, you should get a hint as to the contents of the attachment.

Highlight and delete the attachments you don't want (beginning with that -- B_3120297041_53885 entry and ending with a similar entry), and save the file. When you next open Mail, you'll find the attachment you removed in TextEdit is likewise excised from Mail.

Font Follies

I use a Power Mac G4 running OS X 10.2.8, with the HP LaserJet 4050 and Epson Stylus Photo 1280. Most Mail message text prints in 7- or 8-point size. Can I control the printer font size?
-- Warren E. Aut, Laguna Beach, California

In Jaguar's Mail, you must make changes in the Fonts & Colors preference pane. Although the default message font is 12-point Helvetica, the font doesn't print at that size. To make the printed text larger, select a higher point size for the Message font: 14- or 16-point, for example. Regrettably, doing so also increases the text size of the messages on your monitor.

This isn't a problem in Panther's Mail. Although the newest Mail uses the same default settings in the Fonts & Colors preference pane, messages viewed in 12-point type actually print at that point size.

A Sign of the Times

In e-mail clients such as Microsoft Outlook Express and Entourage, my signature is at the end of my replies. In Apple's Mail, my signature is at the end of all content, regardless of how many messages and replies there are. Can I place a signature at the end of a reply without having to scroll to the bottom of the message window and cut and paste my signature?
-- Tim Smith, Cincinnati, Ohio

In Jaguar's Mail, no. In Panther's Mail, kind of.

In Jaguar's Mail, your signature is jammed at the bottom of the message. I suggest that you use the free ersion of Michael Kamprath's macro application, Keyboard Maestro ( http://www.keyboardmaestro.com ), to create boilerplate text of your signature, assign that text to a keyboard combination, and use that combination to easily insert the text where you want it to go.

The Signature preference pane in Panther's Mail is more flexible, allowing you to place your signature at the end of the message or above any quoted text. If, like me, you sometimes like to insert your signature at the location of the cursor, keep Keyboard Maestro in mind.

Blind Leading the Blind

There's no Bcc (blind carbon copy) header in the version of Mail that ships with Jaguar. Does Bcc appear in Panther's Mail?
-- David Markowitz, Mountain View, California

Both Jaguar's Mail and Panther's Mail offer Bcc headers, but neither displays that header by default. To add it in Jaguar's Mail, create a new message and select Add Bcc Header (1-shift-B) from the Edit menu. In Panther, choose Bcc Header (1-option-B) from the View menu.

All Junked Up

How do you empty Mail's Junk folder?
-- Larry Grossberg, Hillsborough, North Carolina

In Panther, control-click on the Junk folder and select Erase Junk Mail from the contextual menu (or select Erase Junk Mail from the Mailbox menu).

There is no such command in Jaguar's Mail, so you must employ either the manual or the automatic method. The manual method entails opening the Junk folder, selecting all the messages in it, and pressing the delete key. To automatically delete mail in the Junk folder, open the Accounts preference pane, select your account, click on the Edit button, and click on the Special Mailboxes tab. In the Junk portion of the window, choose an option for automatically deleting the contents of your Junk folder: when messages are one day, one week, or one month old, or when you quit Mail.

Dating Rules

I want to archive my business-related e-mail. Unfortunately, I can't find a way to enter date-based rules in Mail's Rules preferences. I'd hate to return to Microsoft Entourage just because it handled dates better. -- George Cancel, Taunton, Massachusetts

In Jaguar's Mail you can create a meager date rule by following these steps:

Create a new rule in Mail's Rules preference pane. In the If section of the window, select Edit Header List from the first pop-up menu. In the Panel window that subsequently appears, enter Date in the Header field, click on Add Header, and then click on OK.

In the Rules section, configure the top row of pop-up menus to read: Date Contains Month (where Month is the abbreviation for the month of messages you want to monkey with -- Feb, for instance). In the Actions portion of the rule, select Transfer Message from the first pop-up menu and then choose a folder for storing your messages. Apply this rule to your messages, and those that meet the date criterion will be moved.

In Panther, Mail includes an expanded set of rules -- including Date Sent and Date Received with the Is Less Than and Is Greater Than conditions.

Tip of the Month

On some Web sites, you can't distinguish links from regular text. To better differentiate the links in the Safari Web browser, you can take advantage of Safari's Advanced preference pane to use another style sheet for Safari.

Using Text Edit, create a document that reads:

focus { outline: 1px dotted invert }

a:link { color: #CC0000; text-decoration: none; }

a:link:active { color: #CC0099; outline: gray 1px dotted; }

a:visited { color: #000099; text-decoration: none; }

a:visited:active { color: #006699; outline: gray 1px dotted; }

Save the document in plain-text format as Colors.css, and then choose this style sheet in the Advanced tab of Safari's preferences.

Now links are no longer underlined, unvisited links are red, and they turn violet as you click on them. The visited links are blue and, when you click on them, change to teal.

-- Judith Epstein, Highland Park, Illinois

UNSOLICITED ADVICE

Panther changes Mac OS in a lot of beneficial ways. Schoun Regan of The Mac Trainers ( http://www.themactrainers.com ) has passed along information indicating that Panther can also, in the wrong hands, be a dangerous cat.

For the first five minutes you're logged on as an administrator in Panther, you have expanded privileges in the Finder. Specifically, unlike with Jaguar, during those five minutes you're free to throw away any file or folder you like.

This includes the System Folder, the Library folder, or a user folder. If you toss one of these folders, you risk data loss and could, quite possibly, end up with a Mac that has a completely corrupted operating system.

You are also free to change the permissions of folders on your Mac. So if User A logs on, she can change the permissions of the folders in User B's Home folder and have access to documents that, under normal circumstances, are inaccessible to User A.

After those five minutes have elapsed, you're asked for your administrator's password before you're allowed to toss such a file or folder. Enter that password and toss at will. In Jaguar, you're forbidden from performing such actions unless you're logged in as root or you've mucked around in Terminal with the sudo command.

Although some people may contend that this shouldn't be a problem because administrators can be trusted with this kind of power (and shouldn't be administrators if they don't know what they're doing), keep this in mind: anyone who fires up that new iMac loaded with Panther is an administrator. Novices need to learn that they should not, under any circumstances, trash files they don't understand the purpose of.

If you'd like more information on this subject, keep an eye on Regan's Web site, where he explains the situation in greater detail.

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