Mac 911

Mac OS X 10.3 (Panther) is a mighty fine feline, but it isn't sleek enough to make this column obsolete. If you're confounded by Panther's ability to create a bootable disc, confused about installing missing language resources, seeking a replacement for Copy Agent, or distressed by ungainly games, read on.

Boot Camp

I'd like to create bootable copies of my OS X 10.3 installation discs for backup. How do I do this in Panther?
-- Terry Byers, Aptos, California

In earlier versions of OS X, you did this with Disk Copy, but in Panther, Disk Utility does the job. To copy your discs, follow these steps:

1. Launch Disk Utility (in the Applications: Utilities folder).
2. Insert the first Panther CD, and when its icon appears in the left side of the Disk Utility, select Mac OS X Install Disc 1.
3. Click on the New Image button at the top of the Disk Utility window and, in the resulting sheet, name the file (Panther 1, for example); then select DVD/CD Master from the Image Format pop-up menu. Don't change the None setting in the Encryption pop-up menu.
4. Click on Save and eat half a snack while Disk Utility creates an image of the disc.
5. Select the image and click on the Burn button.
6. Insert a blank CD-R and enjoy the other half of your snack while Disk Utility burns and verifies your disc.
7. Repeat for all the other Panther discs that you want to back up.

Relocalizer

I used Mike Bombich's free Delocalizer (http://software.bombich.com) to remove extraneous language files from my hard drive. It turns out that one of my Microsoft Word files includes a letterhead that contains foreign characters -- characters that no longer appear. How can I restore language files?
-- Larry Grossberg, Hillsborough, North Carolina

Both Jaguar and Panther include language files you can install with a simple double-click. If you have the multidisc Jaguar installation set, you'll find these files in the Optional Installs folder on the first disc. If you received Jaguar on a single DVD, the Optional Installs folder is inside the Welcome To Mac OS X folder, which may be invisible. If you don't see it, download a copy of Marcel Bresink's free TinkerTool (www.bresink.com/en/index.html), launch it, select the Finder button, enable the Show Hidden And System Files option, and click on Relaunch Finder. The Welcome To Mac OS X folder will now be visible. (Because invisible files are invisible so you won't accidentally delete them, be sure to use TinkerTool to make your files invisible again when you're done.)

Restoring language files is much easier in Panther. Insert the second Panther CD, open the Packages folder, and double-click on the Languages.mpkg item. The Install Language Translations installer will open. After selecting a destination for the installed files, click on Continue to move to the Easy Install screen. Click on that screen's Customize button to view a list of all the language files you can install or upgrade. Deselect the languages you don't want to install, and click on Install. When you're asked for it, enter your administrator's password and click on OK.

Replacing Smart Replace

In the law office where I work, I use a set of 10,000 Word master documents, which is duplicated on each user's computer. I make changes to the master set of documents and then regularly update the other users' set of copies. Connectix's Copy Agent's Smart Replace feature allowed us to change only the documents that had been updated, but it doesn't run on OS X. Is there another tool that can do the same thing?
-- Scott Darling, Riverside, California

I can recommend three -- Econ Technologies' $20 ChronoSync (407/365-4209, www.econtechnologies .com), Jason Weber's $20 ExecutiveSync (www .executivesync.com), and Qdea's $30 Synchronize X Plus (800/933-9558, www.qdea.com). Although classified as synchronization utilities, they work well for backing up files, and because they're designed to synchronize folders and volumes, they replace only changed files.

I wrote about the synchronization abilities of each program in my May 2003 column (www.macworld .com/2003/05/secrets/mac9110305), so I won't repeat myself here, other than to say that you might prefer ChronoSync or Synchronize X Plus because they offer scheduling features. You could put the schedule to good use by placing the master folder of your Word documents on the office's server, providing each user with a copy of one of these utilities, and configuring each user's utility to synchronize with that master folder as often as you deem necessary.

Blame Game

What is it about games that, when they crash, OS X locks up completely? If my other applications go belly up, I can force-quit that application and the OS keeps on truckin'.
-- Todd Harding, Duluth, Georgia

Games that perform slowly stink. To produce games that don't stink, programmers employ various forms of trickery to pull as many resources from the Mac and its video card as possible. Because a game demands so much from your computer, if something goes wrong, your Mac may not be able to back out from it gracefully.

Glenda Adams -- Aspyr Media's director of PC and Mac development -- confirmed that games often push settings higher than a video card can handle, thus not leaving enough for the OS to politely exit if the game crashes. All is not lost, however. Ms. Adams passed along this hint:

Sometimes the Force Quit command works even if you can't see the dialog box. Try pressing 1-option-escape and then press the return key twice. This may safely force-quit the game even if you can't see anything happen. In Panther, you can also try pressing 1-shift-option-escape. This force-quits the active application without asking for confirmation.

Time for Resets

There was a power failure in my neighborhood while my Power Mac G4 was plugged in. I unplugged it until the power returned but when I plugged it back in, it wouldn't start -- the button glowed when I pushed it, but I heard no activity from the computer. Is it dead?
Kerin Tyrrell, Macworld.com forums

Probably not. This has happened to my Power Mac G4 when the lights have gone out, and I've put things right by pressing the PMU reset button, which is located on the Mac's motherboard (see "One-Touch Repair") -- its exact location varies depending on which Power Mac you own. Pushing this button resets the Power Management Unit and usually allows the Mac to start up.

The Apple-recommended method for performing this operation is to unplug the power cord and press the PMU reset button only one time (pressing it more than once could keep the PMU chip from responding and reduce the internal battery's life from five years to two days). Wait ten seconds, plug the Mac back in, and then press the power button.

After resetting the PMU, it's also a good idea to reset the Mac's nonvolatile RAM (NVRAM). To do so, shut down the Mac and restart while holding down 1-option-P-R. Continue to hold these keys until you hear the startup sound twice. Let go, and the Mac will continue to start up. After resetting the PMU and NVRAM, use System Preferences to verify your time zone, startup volume, and volume settings.

Tip of the Month

In the January 2004 Mac 911 column (" Missing Link "), you suggested using iMovie to string together iTunes songs into a single track that could be played behind an iPhoto 2 slide show. Here's another way to create a single track from multiple songs:

In the Burning tab of iTunes' Preferences window, select Audio CD as the disc format and set the desired gap between songs. Now create a playlist with the tunes that you'd like to accompany the slide show. Burn the playlist to a CD.

From iTunes' Source list, select the CD you just burned and select all the songs on it. From the Advanced menu, choose Join CD Tracks and then click on the Import button. All the joined tracks -- which must be consecutive tracks on the CD -- will be imported as a single track that you can use as the audio background for your slide show.

-- David Martin, Columbia, Missouri

Unsolicited Advice

At the risk of injuring the feelings of Apple's Panther user-interface team, I have to admit that I find Panther's metallic Finder windows overbearing and unattractive. Because I do, I've scrounged the Web for tools that banish any trace of metal from my otherwise attractive OS.

One such tool is the free Whiteout, available from www.versiontracker.com.

Whiteout replaces the system resource that brushes on the metal appearance in the Finder, iChat, iCal, and Safari (sorry, iTunes is still metallic) with a modified version of the resource that creates off-white, dimly pinstriped windows.

If you'd like your Mac to sport a wildly different appearance, check out Unsanity's $20 ShapeShifter (www.unsanity.com/haxies/shapeshifter), which allows you to apply themes to Panther's interface. Changing more than Finder windows, these themes alter the appearance of windows, menus, buttons, scroll bars, and sliders.

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