Inky dinky parlez vous

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During yesterday’s MacBrainiac Challenge at Boston’s Macworld Expo, I had the daunting task of trying to stump some of the brightest minds in all of Macdom—Mac luminaries Cliff Colby, Jim Dalrymple, Adam Engst, Dan Frakes, Rob Griffiths, Andy Ihnatko, Rich Siegel, and Jason Snell. As you might imagine, with this finely tuned brain-matter on stage, you don’t ask the assembled contestants the key combination for resetting a Mac’s parameter RAM.

While the assembled managed to slash through one question after another, I was able to stump them with this one stunt:

“On the PowerBook provided, make Ink appear in the System Preferences window.”

Those in the know understand that this system preference normally appears when you plug a graphics tablet into your Mac. Savvier users know that under versions of the Mac OS prior to Tiger, you could activate Ink by launching InkServer.app, which was found by following this path: /System/Library/Components/Ink.component/Contents/SharedSupport/InkServer.app.

This won’t work under Tiger, however. So what’s the trick?

Navigate to /System/Library/CoreServices/Menu Extras, and double-click on Ink.menu. This places the Ink icon in the Finder’s menubar. From this menu choose Ink preferences. System Preferences will open and reveal the Ink system preference.

Is this useful in any way? Not particularly, no. It does give you some idea of what you’re missing when you don’t use Ink (and frankly, having used it a time or two with my graphics tablet, you’re not missing much). It’s something to keep in mind, however, the next time you want to put one over on your local Mac guru.

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