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Windows Media Conversion

Is there a way to convert Windows Media videos to a QuickTime format so I can import them into iMovie?— William E. Johnson

It depends on the kind of Windows Media movie files you want to import. A tool such as Ronin no Sakurakai Softronics’ $15 Forty-Two DVD-VX Plus can convert some Windows movies to a form of AVI file acceptable to QuickTime and iMovie, but it won’t work with movies generated by Windows Media 9. Discreet’s Cleaner 6 can also convert some Windows Media files to QuickTime, but the product’s $549 price tag is a lot to swallow for this seemingly simple operation.

And as much as I hate to suggest such a thing in a magazine called Macworld, if you can get to a Windows PC, try Mystik Media’s $50 Blaze Media Pro. It can convert Windows Media Video (WMV) files to MPEG-1 format, which you can play with QuickTime (as well as export to QuickTime’s native format using Apple’s $29 QuickTime Player Pro, and then import into iMovie).

Pinker Links

I’ve converted to Safari from Microsoft Internet Explorer. I like Safari’s speed but miss being able to set the color for recently visited links. I’d also prefer to have more control over the information Safari automatically fills in on forms. Are there ways to customize these features in Safari?— L. D. “Jake” Jacobson

To customize Safari’s look, use Cascading Style Sheets—text documents that determine how Safari displays Web pages. To make Safari display links in different colors, create a new plain-text document that includes this formula for changing colors:

a:link { color: #9933CC !important; }

a:visited { color: #993300 !important; }

a:hover { color: #FF66FF !important; }

a:active { color: #9999FF !important; }


entry is the color of an unvisited link;
is the color of a link you’ve clicked on;
is the color a link turns when you place your cursor over it; and
is the color the link turns when you click on it. The
	color: #
entries are the hexadecimal codes for colors displayed on the Web. (For a list of color codes, see this Webmonkey table.) Finally, the
entry overrides a style sheet imposed by a Web site.

To finish the job, save the plain-text document with a .css extension, open Safari’s Preferences menu, click on the Advanced tab, and choose your new CSS document from the Style Sheet pop-up menu.

If this sounds like too much bother, you can use Lord of the Cows’ free Safari Enhancer to change your Safari links.

As for Safari’s autofill feature, you can tell Safari what and what not to autofill by configuring your address card in Apple’s Address Book. If Safari isn’t filling in certain fields, choose AutoFill from Safari’s Preferences menu, click on the Edit button next to the Using Info From My Address Book Card, and configure your card in the resulting Address Book window to include the information you desire—your fax number, for example.

Sleepy Mouse

When my computer falls asleep, my Apple Wireless Mouse disconnects. Do you know how to fix this problem?— Andre Bonk

Have patience. No, I’m not being facetious. After a period of inactivity, the mouse goes to sleep to save the battery’s charge. After you click on a sleeping mouse, it can take 30 seconds or more to reestablish contact with the Mac. Many people assume that the mouse isn’t working properly because Apple’s wireless keyboard connects far more quickly. If the mouse refuses to rouse, install the latest Bluetooth software. If that doesn’t wake the rodent, give Apple a call. You may have a defective input device.

Avoiding the Browser Two-Step

Lately, Safari has been displaying this message: “Safari can’t open the page ‘’ because it can’t find the server ‘’.” I know this is a bad error message because when I press return, the site always loads the second time.— Mike Schell

This problem appears to have been introduced by an Apple security update. Although there’s no surefire fix, many people have been able to eliminate the glitch by opening the Network preference pane, clicking on the TCP/IP tab, and entering their ISP’s DNS server address in the appropriately named DNSServers field.

Regrettably, not all ISPs like to share their DNS server addresses. If yours won’t cough it up, launch Network Utility (found inside the Utilities folder), click on the Lookup tab, enter your ISP’s domain name in the Lookup field, choose Name Server from the window’s pop-up menu, and click on Lookup. The DNS server address should appear after the SERVER entry. If you use a router, be sure that the DNS information on your Mac and router match.

Other people have found that installing Java Update 1.4.2 Update 2 fixes the problem.

Send Print Preview Packing

When I try to print my Microsoft Entourage v. X e-mail, I have to go through two dialog boxes—Entourage’s Print Preview and, once I click on OK, the regular Print dialog box. Is there some way to keep Entourage from displaying the preview?— Jack Stephens

Peer into Entourage’s File menu, and you’ll see the Print One Copy command (Command-option-P). This is the key to avoiding both the program’s Print Preview and the Mac OS Print dialog box. The command does exactly what it suggests—prints one copy of the chosen message without further interruption. Entourage 2004 kindly does away with the extra step by placing Print Preview within Mac OS’s Print dialog box.

There and Back Again

I bought Mac OS X 10.3 to upgrade from Mac OS X 10.2.8 on my PowerBook. I want to remove unwanted partitions, so it must be a clean installation. But I want to preserve my Mail files, account settings, and junk-mail filters; archive old Entourage messages; and maintain my Network preference settings. I can store this data on an expansion hard drive attached to my Pismo PowerBook. What’s the best way to proceed?— Clark Peddicord

This kind of installation cries out for Archive And Install, but you’ll have to find another option because you need to wipe the drive to remove the partitions. Rather than try to back up and restore these files (and likely run into permission problems later), do this:

Download Mike Bombich’s $5 Carbon Copy Cloner and clone your current system to the Pismo’s expansion drive. Open the Startup Disk preference pane and choose that expansion drive as the startup disk. Once you’ve booted from the expansion drive, run Disk Utility and format the internal drive (thus wiping out its data). Install Panther on the expansion drive and use the Archive And Install option. Once you’ve configured things the way you want them, use Carbon Copy Cloner to clone the expansion drive to the PowerBook’s freshly scrubbed internal drive.

[ Contributing Editor Christopher Breen is also’s editor in chief and the author of Secrets of the iPod , fifth edition (Peachpit Press, 2005). ]

Safari Enhancer offers an easy way to create garish Web links.
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