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Few would accuse me of following Ned Ludd, but there are times when technology drives me to distraction. In the spirit of the Luddites, this month's Mac 911 offers ways to defeat the technological turmoil of corrupted AOL attachments, DVD-less Macs, cockeyed movies, and folders that refuse to move away from Home.


I've been trying to send some Microsoft Word documents to my mom, who uses America Online, but AOL turns the files into MIME format, which corrupts the documents. What should I do?

Jack Lee

I have the same problem when I send pictures to my mother. AOL has a nasty habit of mangling attachments sent from outside the service. There are a couple of ways around this.

The easiest is to compress any files you send to people who use AOL. Although AOL can corrupt many kinds of files, it seems to respect compressed documents. In Panther, create a .zip archive by selecting your document (or a folder full of documents) in the Finder and choosing Create Archive from the File menu. Or, if you prefer, use Aladdin Systems' DropStuff, which you can find in the $50 StuffIt Standard Edition and the $80 StuffIt Deluxe 8.0 (, to compress files in the .sit format.

Alternatively, you can upload your files to a Web site -- your .Mac account, for example. Send your mother the link to that site, and she can download the files from there.

Disc Despair

I've noticed that some software, such as Apple's iLife '04 ($49;, ships on DVD. My Power Mac G4 doesn't have a DVD drive, and I'm concerned that I'm going to be left out in the cold when more software is delivered in this form. Short of buying a DVD drive, what can I do if I receive a DVD that I'd like to use on my Mac?

Ed Borman

You don't need to purchase a DVD drive in order to use discs such as the iLife '04 installer (which contains both GarageBand and iDVD). You do, however, need access to a Mac that carries such a drive. With such access, there are two ways to take advantage of that DVD.

The first is to use Disk Utility to create an image of the disc and then copy that image to your Mac or, if your Mac isn't close at hand, to a removable drive. (I use my iPod for such jobs.) To do so, insert the disc, launch Disk Utility (in Applications: Utilities), select the disc from the list of volumes on the left side of the Disk Utility window, and click on the New Image button. In the resulting sheet, select DVD/CD Master in the Image Format pop-up menu and leave the Encryption pop-up menu set to None. Name the image and click on Save. When the image has been created, move it to the other Mac, double-click on it to mount it, and treat it as an installer disc.

If you can borrow a Mac with a SuperDrive and you'd like to skip the disc-image step, just insert the disc in the borrowed Mac and connect the two computers via FireWire Target Disk Mode (with the borrowed Mac as the target), and the disc will appear on your Mac as a mounted image. Run the installer on the image, and you're good to go.

To connect those Macs via FireWire Target Disk Mode, shut down both computers, string a FireWire cable between them, boot the target Mac while holding down the T key, and then boot the host Mac. The target Mac's screen will display a FireWire icon. Its volumes will appear on the host Mac as FireWire drives.

Home Sweet Home

Is there a way to move my Home folder? I tried copying the files in my Home folder to my external hard drive, but it didn't work.

Guillermo Alvelais

I'm afraid that it takes more than a simple Copy command to do this, but it's certainly an achievable goal.

Launch NetInfo Manager (Applications: Utilities). In the local @ localhost ~ / window that appears, click on the Lock icon. Enter your password when prompted. Now click on the Users entry in the second column and, in the third column, click on the name of the account you want to move -- yours might be named Guillermo, for example.

In the lower portion of the window, look for the Home entry in the Property list. To the right of this entry, you'll see something like /Users/guillermo. Double-click on this entry and enter /Volumes/othervolume, where othervolume is the name of the volume or hard drive you want to move the Home folder to.

Press the return key or the enter key, and then choose Save Changes from the File menu. Log out and then log back in again, and you'll discover that your Home folder is now located on the volume or drive you designated in NetInfo Manager. If you place the Home folder on an external drive, make sure you give it enough time to spin up and mount before you log in.

To put things back the way they were, follow this same procedure but when you edit the entry, change it back to /Users/guillermo.


When I plug two iPods into my FireWire hub, I receive error messages about unrecognized devices. Why can't more than one iPod be plugged into a computer at a time?

Shirley Kehr

You can plug more than one iPod into your Mac, but to do so, you must either use a powered hub that provides enough juice for both your iPods or connect each iPod to separate FireWire ports on your Mac. My guess is that you're attempting to use an unpowered hub or a hub that, even when plugged in, just doesn't have the oomph necessary to drive two iPods.

Apple suggests that an iPod be the only device on a FireWire bus because an iPod requires most of the power that bus can provide. I've heard of instances where people have been able to successfully use an iPod chained to a low-powered FireWire device (or one that has its own power supply), but, in general, I've found Apple's advice to be solid.

Wrong Angle

I just bought a Canon A80 camcorder. When I rotate the camera into portrait mode to shoot, the movie appears sideways when I download it to my Mac. How do I rotate the movie so it displays properly?

Tim Waag

This is easily fixed with QuickTime Pro ($30; Open the movie in QuickTime Pro and press Command-J. Select Video Track from the Movie pop-up window, and then select Size from the Annotations pop-up menu. You'll see controls for flipping the video horizontally and vertically, as well as controls for rotating the movie in 90-degree increments (both clockwise and counterclockwise). Rotate the movie to your satisfaction and save it.

Tip of the Month

I like to fall asleep to the music playing on my Mac, but I wanted that music to switch off once I'd fallen asleep. Enter AppleScript. I make a lullaby-inducing script by launching Script Editor (Applications: AppleScript) and typing the following:

Then I select the Save As command from the File menu and save the script as an application with the Startup Screen and Stay Open options deselected. You can put the application anywhere that's convenient for you.

The next time you want to fall asleep to your iTunes playlists, just launch iTunes, start playing, and then launch your AppleScript. Exactly 90 minutes (5,400 seconds) later, iTunes will quit.

Christian Brescia

Unsolicited Advice

Microsoft Entourage X ($399 as part of Microsoft Office v. X; has an option for automatically compressing attachments with StuffIt (this option is in the Compose tab of the Mail & News Preferences window). When you upgrade to Panther, this option doesn't work, because Entourage requires version 6.5 of StuffIt Engine, and Panther replaces that version with a more recent iteration. But you can get this option to work again.

To do so, you must install the older version of StuffIt Engine. Fortunately, Aladdin Systems (maker of StuffIt) has made this possible. Simply download and install StuffIt Engine 6.5.2, and Entourage's automatic-compression feature is back in business. You can download version 6.5.2 at

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