How to combine two DVDs into a single movie

Macworld commenter Lisban Osorio has a multimedia problem that faces a few of us. He writes:

My copy of the Godfather II comes on two DVD discs. I’d like to play it on my Apple TV as one continues file. How can I do that?

First, you’ll have to rip each disc, a process we’ve described many times. The free HandBrake continues to be my tool of choice for such chores. I’d suggest that you rip them using HandBrake’s Apple TV 3 preset to get the best looking video.

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OS X 10.9.3: Unhiding the Users folder

Update: As noted by Macworld’s Dan Frakes, this issue has been addressed in the recently released iTunes 11.2.1 update. If you haven’t yet updated, check the Mac App Store app or download the update directly.

One unexpected consequence of the recent OS X 10.9.3 update is that the Users folder at the root level of the startup volume is hidden from some users, though not all. I was among them. When installing the 10.9.3 update available from the App Store on both my 2009 Mac Pro and late 2012 MacBook Air, the Users folder was indeed missing. Yet I’ve heard from a couple of colleagues and several people on Twitter that their Users folders remain visible.

Thinking that this might be attributable to the kind of update I performed I downloaded the Mac OS X Mavericks 10.9.3 (Combo) update and installed it on my MacBook Air with the hope that it would fix the issue. Regrettably, it didn’t. The Users folder on that Mac remains missing. I even tried switching user accounts on the laptop with no luck. Regardless of which I tried, the Users folder was nowhere to be found.

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How to extract audio from a Blu-ray disc

Reader Derrick Crandall has one chunk of media that he’d like to turn into more. He writes:

I have a concert recording on a Blu-ray disc. I’d like to use my Mac to extract the audio from it so I can play its music on my devices but I haven’t any idea where to start. What do you suggest?

To do this, you’ll need both hardware and software that you may not currently have. You’ll also need this admonition:

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Copying address lists from Excel into Apple's Mail

Reader Benjamin Peacock confronts an issue regarding the intersection of Excel and Mail. He writes:

I have an Excel spreadsheet that contains a list of email addresses. Before Mavericks, I could create an email message that used all these addresses simply by copying the cells and pasting them into a message’s To field. With Mavericks’ Mail the necessary comma is missing between each address when I paste them in. Without the commas I can’t send the message because I’m told the addresses aren’t formatted correctly. Is there a way to fix this?

There is, and it’s all done within Excel. For the sake of our example, let’s say that all your addresses are in Column A, beginning with the A1 cell. Within this very article copy this bit of text—=A1&","—click in the B1 cell, and choose Edit > Paste Special. In the Paste Special window that appears leave Unicode Text selected and click OK. The address in A1 will now appear in B1, but be followed by a comma—,—for example.

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Importing Windows Outlook messages into Apple's Mail

Reader Lowell Brown contacted me on Twitter with the idea of helping a kinsperson with their email. He tweets:

I’m going to help a family member move from a PC to a new Mac. How can we convert Outlook .pst archives to a format compatible with Apple’s Mail?

Microsoft uses the PST (Personal Storage Table) file format for Outlook’s messages and events. Although the format is accessible to Outlook for Mac, Apple’s Mail won’t deal with such archives. Therefore you have to convert them.

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How to share iWork '13 files with iOS devices

Reader Nathan Bach is confounded by Keynote. He writes:

I use Google Drive to share files with friends and colleagues. I recently started using the latest versions of iWork on both my Mac and iPad and I’ve been told that others can’t open my Keynote presentations on their iOS devices. I tested it and, sure enough, when I try to open the file in the Google Drive app on my iPad, it appears as a folder. How do people manage to share these files?

When Apple changed the iWork file format so that Pages, Numbers, and Keynote documents are saved as packages rather than a single file it thought very much about iCloud and very little about sharing these files with cloud-based services such as Google Drive. Google Drive is simply reporting what it sees—a folder full of files, none of which is the full Keynote presentation. Indirect though they may be, there are a couple of things you can do about this (I mean other than complain to Apple).

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How to gain easy access to your iPhone's most important mail

Reader Catherine Yee would like easier access to her email. She writes:

Is there a way to make an alias of a mailbox on my iPhone and put it on the home screen so I can access that mailbox more easily? I sometimes need to look back at email I’ve sent and I hate digging through mailboxes within the Mail app to find it.

I like the way you think. It would be great if, like web clippings, you could place aliases of mailboxes on an iOS device’s home screen. But I’m afraid the answer to this one is “Not possible.”

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