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The Art of Linking Letters

The one feature of Microsoft Internet Explorer that I can’t seem to find in Safari is the ability to e-mail a Web page or its link to someone in my Entourage contacts when I am viewing the page. How do I do that?Bill Eacho

The easiest way to make this possible is to use a bookmarklet —a small piece of JavaScript that you can save as a bookmark and reuse. Specifically, enter the following script text in your browser’s Address field and then drag the globe icon that begins the URL into Safari’s Bookmarks Bar:


When asked to name this bookmarklet, call it something like Mail To. When you invoke it, your default e-mail client opens. A new message appears, containing the URL in the body and a subject heading that provides the name of the page (See top screenshot). All you need to do is address and send the message.

Return Addresses

How do you retain the URLs of downloaded files and saved Web pages?Radord Sapp

Like you, Radord, I sometimes need to revisit the site from which I originally downloaded a file—to seek out updates, for example—and having the originating site’s address at hand is helpful. With OS 9 and Internet Explorer, you could find the URL of downloaded files within the Comments field of the file’s Get Info window. We lost that capability with OS X.

I’m happy to report that with the help of Ecamm Network’s free DownloadComment, this feature has returned for Safari users. After installing the program, files you download with Safari will bear the originating URL in the Comments field.

Regrettably, DownloadComment works only with Safari. If you use another browser, you can usually retrieve the original URL from the browser’s Downloads window. For example, in Mozilla’s Firefox you can see the URL by control-clicking on an entry in the Downloads window, choosing Properties from the contextual menu, and looking at the From field in the properties sheet that appears. You’re in luck if you use The Omni Group’s OmniWeb ($30). By default, it places the URL for downloads and saved Web pages in the Comments field.

As for Web pages, if I’m not using OmniWeb and I know I’ll want to return to a Web page later (and I don’t want to use a bookmark to do it because the page’s contents might change), I invoke the Print command and save the file as a PDF. Doing so places the host URL in the header of the PDF file for convenient retrieval later.

Thumbs Down to Thumbnails

When I use iPhoto to burn CDs, it burns not only the original images but also the thumbnail images that iPhoto creates. This is annoying when I’m printing the photos at a Kodak station because I wind up with duplicates, and the second set (the thumbnails) obviously looks horrible. How can I burn only the originals?Jonathan Siegrist

When you click on the Burn button in any version of iPhoto to create a CD, it burns thumbnails along with the full-size images. Thankfully, iPhoto places these thumbnails in a folder called Thumbs. iPhoto organizes files on a CD in this way: /iPhoto Library/ year/month/date/. It places the original photos in the date folder inside their own folder, called Originals. Therefore, if you have the option to do so, select the Originals folder and ask the photo printer to print just the images therein.

I’d be fibbing if I suggested that this was an elegant solution—many places just print everything on the CD regardless of the explicit instructions you give them to do otherwise. For this reason, I forgo burning CDs within iPhoto if I want to print pictures from that CD.

Instead, I select the option to view pictures as film rolls (choose View: Film Rolls), insert a blank CD-R, and drag the rolls I want to print to the CD. Doing this copies only the original files to the disc. Alternatively, you can create an album in iPhoto that holds the pictures you want to print. Then select all the photos in the album and drag them to the blank CD on the desktop. Now all you have to do is burn the disc and take it in for printing.

Doing the iPod Shuffle

I find the iPod shuffle’s lack of support for multiple playlists troubling. As much as I like random playback, I don’t want Ella Fitzgerald next to Queens of the Stone Age next to Horowitz next to Zeppelin. Is there an efficient way to make playlists built in iTunes appear as a single track when played back on the new iPod?Ryan Kinrade

While I’d hardly call the process efficient, it is possible to convert multiple tracks into a single track that you can then load into a playlist. Here’s how:

If the files are unprotected (meaning that you didn’t purchase them from the iTunes Music Store), open an audio editor such as HairerSoft’s $30 Amadeus II, open all the tracks that you want to convert to a single track, create a new track, and then copy and paste all the album tracks, in order, into the new track you created. Save the file as an MP3. Now you can load this file on your iPod shuffle to play the album from beginning to end.

You can do something similar using iMovie 4 and iMovie HD. (As a bonus, with iMovie’s help you can convert protected AAC files into another format.) To do the job, bring the tracks you’d like to combine into iMovie. I find that it’s easiest to drag the files in from the Finder. You can also use the Audio tab and choose files from your iTunes library to add them to your iMovie project (See middle screenshot). Just drag each file into the same audio track, and you’re good to go. iMovie HD won’t let you export an iMovie that contains only protected audio tracks. To get around this, add a single picture from your iPhoto library to your movie (adding the picture isn’t necessary with iMovie 4).

Now choose File: Share, click on the QuickTime tab, choose Expert Settings from the Compress Movie For pop-up menu, and click on Share. In the resulting Save Exported File As window, choose Sound To AIFF from the Export pop-up menu and click on Save. This will save only the audio portion of the movie to a file.

Finally, add the resulting file to your iTunes library (File: Add To Library) and convert it to a format compatible with the iPod shuffle—AAC or MP3. To do so, choose iTunes: Preferences, click on Importing, and choose an appropriate setting from the Import Using pop-up menu (AAC or MP3). Click on OK. Select the long track you created and choose Advanced; then select either Convert Selection To MP3 or Convert Selection To AAC. Once iTunes has converted the file, you can add it to a playlist that’s loaded on the shuffle.

Correcting Capitalization

Microsoft Entourage insists on autocorrecting the first letter of a sentence so it’s always a capital letter, but this is inconvenient after an abbreviation that ends with a period. I can turn this feature off in Microsoft Word, but I can’t find the option in Entourage 2004.Joe Kewekordes

Many people miss this option because they look in Entourage’s preferences instead of its Tools menu. In this menu, you’ll find the key to your salvation—the AutoCorrect command. Select it, and you’ll see the Capitalize First Letter Of Sentences option in the resulting window. Disable this option, and Entourage will cease and desist.

If you think that such a solution is a little extreme, feel free to leave this option enabled. Instead, click on the Exceptions button and add particular abbreviations to the Don’t Capitalize After field (See bottom screenshot).

Slow to Help

I have a dual-2GHz Power Mac G5 that is generally very fast. Recently, I’ve noticed that when I try to access Help Viewer from the Finder or any application, it takes a little more than 20 seconds for the content to appear in the Help window. A Genius in an Apple Store suggested that OS X might be corrupted and told me to archive and reinstall it. That does not make sense to me and could be a big waste of time. What do you think?Charles Butler

If that were the case, most of us would have corrupted operating systems and would need to reinstall them. The truth is that Help Viewer is not the perkiest component of OS X. But there is some-thing you can do (short of reinstalling the OS, which, in my humble opinion, is overkill on the grandest scale). Trip on over to your user folder /Library/Caches and toss out the entire folder. As its name implies, this folder contains Help Viewer’s cache files. Cleaning it out from time to time can do wonders for Help Viewer’s performance.

People running Jaguar (OS X 10.2) will find Help Viewer slow because it checks the Web for online content. Short of disabling all network ports except the primary port your Mac uses to connect to the Internet (your Mac’s Ethernet port, for example), there’s little you can do to speed up this process. If you haven’t upgraded to Panther (or Tiger, if it’s available by the time you read this), this is a darned good reason to do so.

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

Invoke this bookmarklet to e-mail a Web page’s address to your nearest and dearest.If you’d prefer that your iPod shuffle not play tunes too randomly, use iMovie to convert an entire album (or protected audio tracks) into a single track. Then you can shuffle by album instead of by song.You don’t have to correct Entourage’s autocorrection feature again and again. If you use an abbreviation often, add it to the AutoCorrect Exceptions list; that way, Entourage won’t capitalize the word that follows.
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