Mac 911 Lightning Round

Over the course of time I collect questions that merit no more than a couple of lines in response, which makes for an awfully puny column. But gang them together and you’ve got something. Something like this:

Issue: Reader Clay Ross would like to uninstall Safari 4 and replace it with Safari 3 because he (unlike many other people) finds it slow and unstable.

Solution: The bright minds who’ve examined this one claim that the easiest solution is to reinstall OS X and choose the archive and install option. That’s right, I said easiest. Turns out that it’s dreadfully difficult to uninstall this sucker and replace it with an earlier version. If you’d like some insight into the issue and a gander at a few of the more convoluted methods for removing Safari 4, check out this Apple Discussions thread.

Issue: Justin Biddle asks how to view .wmv (Windows movie) files on the Mac.

Solution: This is an old chestnut that I answer every six months or so. Download Flip4Mac’s free Windows Media Components for QuickTime. While you’re at it, grab a copy of the also-free Perian QuickTime component. It also allows QuickTime and QuickTime-compatible applications to play unsupported file types.

Issue: While working out, John Boyd wants to watch episodes of Battlestar Galactica that he’s purchased from the iTunes Store. Problem is, the workout gear is in the garage and there’s no computer there. Can he burn these episodes to DVD and watch them that way?

Solution: Nope. You can’t burn iTunes Store videos to DVD in a playable form. An iPod touch is a perfect solution for this.

Issue: R. B. D’Elosua (and a few other folks who’ve been in touch lately) has purchased a Mac mini and would like to display its video on his iMac’s screen.

Solution: Not possible in a “please give up your other functions, Ms. iMac, and let me use your display,” I’m afraid. There’s no video input port on your iMac. You could switch on screen sharing to view the mini’s display from the iMac, but there would be lag in screen redraws on the iMac. Better to just spring for a monitor.

Issue: Dennis Vogel wants to merge Safari windows by dragging one on top of the other.

Solution: Nice idea, wrong implementation. In Safari choose Merge All Windows from the Windows menu.

Issue: Ray Teichroew really wants a new iPhone but is under contract to Sprint. Is there a way out without paying an early termination fee?

Solution: Short of faking your own death and having no heirs or estate to absorb that debt, no.

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