Help Desk

Do you wonder whether sending AppleWorks documents to PC users is strictly for the birds? Do you seek the means for sending a Mail message to one user's many e-mail accounts? If so, then this month's Mac 911, in which we examine Apple's bundled applications, is for you.

Will AppleWorks Work?

Marti Hokans, Santa Ana, California

Probably. I waffle because a successful translation from AppleWorks to Excel depends on the elements you include in the spreadsheet. With a straightforward table -- one including headings, colored text and cell backgrounds, a book title, an author name, and an ISBN number, for example -- you should have no problem. Excel for both the Mac and Windows can read spreadsheets that include lists and standard formulas. To save the file in a format acceptable to Excel, just select Save As from AppleWorks' File menu; then, in the Save: AppleWorks 6 dialog box, choose the appropriate Excel format (Excel Win 97, 2000, XP, or 2002, for example), and click on Save.

You'll run into trouble, though, if you place charts in the AppleWorks spreadsheet or slap an image of a black-crowned night heron into the file. The data should be readable, but any charts and graphics you've inserted won't appear in Excel.

One Recipient, Many Addresses

I have some people in my address book who have multiple e-mail addresses. How can I pick a person's name once when typing it in the To section of Mail and have my e-mail sent to all of his or her available addresses?

Mike Drinks, Baltimore, Maryland

You can't do it by default, but I know a workaround. Create a group that includes multiple e-mail addresses for one individual.

Let's say I wanted to generate a group that sends a message to your home, school, and work addresses. I'd create one contact that I might call Mike Drinks Home (with your home e-mail address), another called Mike Drinks School (with your school e-mail address), and another labeled Mike Drinks Work (with your work e-mail address). I would then create a new Drinks Contacts group and drag the three Mike Drinks contacts I'd made into this group. When I wanted to send a message to all those addresses, I would use that Drinks Contacts group.

Secret Schedule

A friend would like to publish her vacation itinerary as an iCal calendar, but she wants to restrict access to only her family members. How can she do this?

Amy R. Miller, Austin, Texas

Your friend can do this with her .Mac account, but I recommend that she do so only if she has a nearly pathological trust in her family. To password-protect her calendar under .Mac, she must provide family members with her .Mac user name and password -- the same user name and password she uses to purchase Mac goodies from the Apple Store and music at the iTunes Music Store. With that user name and password, others can log in to her .Mac account.

If this gaping security flaw doesn't bother your friend, she need only select an iCal calendar, choose Publish from the Calendar menu, select On A WebDAV Server from the Publish Calendar pop-up menu, and enter http://idisk.mac.com/username/Documents (where username is her user name). Then she must enter her .Mac user name and password and click on Publish for the calendar to be published to the Documents folder of her iDisk.

To share the calendar, she can pass along its address (which will take the form of webcal://idisk.mac .com/username/Documents/calendar.ics) and her user name and password.

Family members can access her calendar by choosing Subscribe from iCal's Calendar menu, entering the URL for the calendar, and placing her user name and password in the Authentication dialog box that appears.

I strongly advise your friend not to allow this kind of access to her .Mac account. She can use a far safer service such as iCal Exchange (www.icalx.com) or iCal World (www.icalworld.com/hosting.html), both of which allow you to publish password-protected iCal calendars for a small fee ($12 a year for iCal Exchange and $25 a year for iCal World).

With Your Permissions

I have removed a user account in OS X 10.3, but many of the permissions are set to the account I deleted. How can I change all permissions from the old account to the new one?

Darrell Keach, Robstown, Texas

There's a way to do this in Terminal, but I don't recommend going this route unless you and Unix are on very friendly terms (failing to enter the proper commands in Terminal can lead to disaster). Instead, I suggest Renaud Boisjoly's free BatChmod utility (http://macchampion.com/arbysoft) -- which places a friendly face on the Unix chmod, chown, and chgrp commands.

To change those permissions, launch the program and drag an affected folder or file to the BatChmod window. The path to that item will appear in the File field. From the Owner and Group pop-up menus, select the entries that match your user account -- darrell (if that's your user name) and Staff. If you're changing the permissions of a folder and its contents, enable the Apply Ownership And Privileges option in the BatChmod window. Click on Apply, and then click on Apply again in the resulting "Are you sure?" sheet. Enter your administrator password in the Authenticate window that appears, and click on OK in that window to make the requested changes.

‘Ware, oh, Where?

My ISP says that there are invisible files placed on my system by sites I visit, and that these files regularly send information about me back to those sites. The ISP used terms such as adware and spyware. What's really going on?

Walt Hammonds, Monte Vista, Colorado

If your ISP were more in tune with the Mac world, it would have prefaced its message with "For Windows Users Only." Currently adware and spyware -- which, respectively, are bits of code that display pop-up ads and send information from your computer to a third party without your permission -- are all but unknown on the Mac.

There are applications that can log keystrokes and capture snapshots of what someone is doing on a Mac. Unlike much of the adware and spyware made for Windows, these applications aren't installed by a malevolent software download. Rather, they're placed on your Mac by someone who has access to your computer -- a parent concerned about a child's Internet activities, a prying boss, or a jealous mate, for example.

Such tools are designed to be difficult to detect, so if you suspect that your activities are being monitored, you might take a look at Aladdin Software's $30 Internet Cleanup (831/761-6200, www.aladdinsys.com). Among its components is SpyAlert, a utility that searches your hard drive for traces of applications known to track your activities. When it finds such traces, it alerts you to them and -- with your permission -- attempts to remove the offending software. When Aladdin learns of new spyware applications, it updates Internet Cleanup to deal with new threats.

Tip of the Month

Although you can assign images to contacts in Address Book or iChat applications, wouldn't it be nice if your i-apps recognized all your friends and loved ones? Here's a tip for doing just that.

Find a TIFF image that represents the person in question (around 64 by 64 pixels works best). Name it with the e-mail address of your contact, and make sure to include the .tiff file extension. For example: person64@example.com.tiff.

Create a folder called Images. Within that folder, create another folder called People. Drag the Images folder into the Library folder at the root level of your OS X volume to make the picture available for all users on your Mac. (To make it available for a single account, use the Library folder in that user's Home directory.)

Now whenever you look up "Person 64" in Address Book, and whenever he sends you an e-mail or joins you in an iChat session, you'll see the image you assigned to him.

Chuck La Tournous, Port Reading, New Jersey

Unsolicited Advice

iPhoto 4's slide shows are far more flexible than those created in previous versions of the program. You can not only elect to play an entire iTunes playlist behind a slide show, but also rate and rotate pictures as you view a slide show.

What's a little less obvious is that you can perform all these actions from the Mac's keyboard. For example, to rate pictures as they slide by, press 0 (zero) through 5 (0 for no stars, 5 for five stars). To rotate pictures clockwise, press 1-R. To rotate pictures counter-clockwise, press 1-option-R. Press delete to remove a picture from the selected album. To change the speed of the slide show, use the up-arrow key to display pictures for a shorter amount of time and the down-arrow key to slow things down. To pause the slide show (but not the background music), press the spacebar.

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