Mac 911 - August 2006

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Toying with textures

In January, Steve Jobs showed off Keynote 3’s cool new charts—the ones with the wood and marble textures. I’ve been trying to change textures in my charts and can’t figure out how to do it. What’s the trick?—Chuck Joiner

So, you want to mix and match your textures in Apple’s Keynote 3 (part of iWork ’06, $79). First, let’s say you’ve created a bar chart—which is what appears by default when you choose the White theme and then click on the Chart button in the toolbar. Lovely as the chart’s default gray and brown paper textures may be, you’d like to change the colors to something cheerier. To do so, follow these steps.

Click on one of the bars—say, a gray one. This selects all the gray bars. Open the Inspector (View: Show Inspector) and choose the Graphic tab (hover over the tabs to see their names). From the Fill pop-up menu, choose Tinted Image Fill. Click on the Tint color icon (to the right of the Choose button). In the resulting Colors palette, click on a new color. The gray bars will change to that color while retaining their texture.

Changing the actual texture of the bars takes more fancy footwork. Why? The texture is based on your presentation’s theme. For example, if you choose a 3-D bar chart in the White theme, you get marble bars. Change your theme to Black and you get bar charts with a wood texture. You can’t use the Inspector to change the textures of 3-D charts, so what do you do?

Create a new Keynote file that uses the theme you want for your chart. Make your chart in this file and then copy and paste the chart into your actual presentation. Alternatively, you could try this trick, which a Mac 911 forum participant came up with. Select only the element you want—a wooden bar, for example. Choose Format: Copy Style, switch to your preferred theme, select that same element in the new theme, and choose Format: Paste Style. This applies the copied texture to the selected object (see top screenshot). The advantage of doing this is that you can mix textures. You could, for example, create a bar chart that included wood, plastic, and cloth textures.

Note that Apple likely tied textures to themes so you wouldn’t create ugly presentations. If your audience groans because your wooden charts clash with your Formal-themed presentation, you have no one to blame but yourself.

Inconsistent keys

On a Windows PC, if you place your cursor in the middle of a sentence and press the end key, the cursor jumps to the end of that line. Conversely, if you press the home key, the cursor jumps to the beginning of the line. But when I try either on my iMac G5, the cursor remains where it is. What are the end and home keys supposed to do on the Mac?—Steve Sawula

On the Mac, the home and end keys don’t always do the same things across applications. For example, these keys work as you describe in Microsoft Office applications but not in TextEdit. In Web browsers, you’ll discover that the home and end keys take you to the beginning and end of a page, respectively.

The consistent keyboard shortcuts for placing the cursor at the beginning and end of a line are Command-left arrow and Command-right arrow, respectively. (Again, browsers are the exception here. Use these keys to go to the previous and next pages, respectively.) If you’d like your cursor to jump to the beginning and end of your document, try Command-home and Command-end.

Creating Address Book categories

How does Apple’s Address Book assign categories to contacts? I notice that most—but not all—of my contacts have one or more categories listed in the Note section.—James Aldrich

Your mysteriously categorized contacts were undoubtedly exported from a contact manager, such as Address Book, that supports the universal vCard contact standard.

Try exporting these contacts yourself by creating a new group (File: New Group) and giving it a descriptive name—My Friends, for example. Pack that group with appropriate contacts. Now drag that group to your desktop—a vCard file will appear. Double-click on the file, and Address Book will tell you that it’s going to import and update x number of contacts. Click on OK, and then select that group. You’ll see that each of those contacts now includes a Note entry along the lines of CATEGORIES: My Friends. If any of the contacts belong to other groups as well, those group names will also be listed.

Is this useful? Sure. Use these category notes to create a smart group (File: New Smart Group) that automatically gathers contacts that appear in mul-tiple groups. For example, a smart group with two conditions—Note Contains My Friends and Note Contains Business—would list only those contacts you count among your business buddies.

More-efficient Firefox downloads

I visited a Web site that had links to a lot of MPEG-4 movies. I wanted to download them all, but when I clicked on each link I found that Mozilla Firefox would download only two movies simultaneously. Is Firefox really limited to just two downloads?—Don MacKenzie

By default, Mozilla’s free Firefox Web browser can download only two files at a time, but you can change that. Type

into Firefox’s Address field. Type
into the Filter field that appears at the top of the resulting page, and double-click on the network.http.max-persistent-connections-per-server entry. In the sheet that appears, type in a number larger than 2. (This will be the number of simultaneous connections.) Quit Firefox, and relaunch. Once you do this, you can download more files simultaneously.

If you download a lot of files frequently, you might also get the DownThemAll extension (free). As its name implies, DownThemAll allows you to automatically download all the linked files on a page or just a selection of particular file types (see bottom screenshot). For example, you can ask it to download just a page’s video files. This queues the downloads so you don’t have to hang around clicking on link after link.

Fishin’ for permissions

Whenever I repair disk permissions with Disk Utility’s First Aid feature, I see a long list of entries about widgets. Even after I’ve supposedly repaired these permissions, I continue to see these entries. What’s going on?—Mary South

If you repair permissions regularly, you may believe that it’s necessary to deal with anything that Disk Utility’s (/Application/Utilities) First Aid feature reports. Not in this case.

With the advent of Tiger’s widgets, First Aid became chattier, much like a barroom companion who drones on and on without ever getting to the point of a long-winded story. In this case, First Aid listed widget after widget and said that each is using a special permission (33188). The problem was that it failed to sum up the report with an “Oh, and you can bang on the Repair Permissions button from here until doomsday, and you’ll see this same list of entries every time.”

I write in the past tense because Apple addressed this issue with the OS X 10.4.6 update. Install it, and you’ll find that First Aid no longer lists widget entries. Yet there’s still something you can take away from this: Feel free to ignore any entry that begins with “We are using special permissions.”

Target Disk Mode versus FireWire

I’m trying to connect two Macs so I can see the secondary Mac’s hard drive from the screen of the primary Mac. I want to use the secondary Mac mainly for storage and for testing new software and updates. But when I attach a FireWire cable, go into the Network preference pane, and click on Apply Now, the secondary Mac doesn’t appear on the screen of my primary Mac. What’s up?—Barry Wallack

There are two ways to connect these Macs via FireWire. Unfortunately, you haven’t quite accomplished either. Here’s how to do both:

Target Disk Mode Shut down the secondary Mac, and string a FireWire cable between the two computers. Start up the secondary Mac while holding down the T key on its keyboard. In a short time, a FireWire symbol will appear on that Mac’s display. That Mac’s drive should appear on your primary Mac’s display as a local volume. At this point you can have your way with the drive—treating it just like an external drive that’s physically attached to your primary Mac (which, in a way, it now is).

Network via FireWire The other option is to mount the secondary Mac’s drive as a network volume. To do so, string that FireWire cable between the two Macs. On the secondary Mac, launch System Preferences, open the Sharing preference pane, and select the Personal File Sharing option in the Services tab.

Return to the primary Mac, open its Network preference pane, and from the Show pop-up menu choose Built-In FireWire. From the Configure IPv4 pop-up menu, choose Using DHCP and then click on Apply Now. In short order, a self-assigned IP address will appear—something that begins with 162.254. (If no IP address appears, click on the Renew DHCP Lease button.)

In the Finder, select Go: Network. In the Network window that appears, you should see the secondary Mac. Click on its icon and then on the Connect button that appears. In the Connect To Server window that pops up, enter the user name and password for that secondary Mac (that Mac’s administrator name and password) and then click on Connect. In the next window, choose the secondary Mac’s hard drive and click on OK. That Mac’s hard drive will mount on the primary Mac’s desktop as a network volume.

A word of caution: You mention that you’d like to test applications that reside on that secondary Mac. They may not run—or will run, but oddly—on the primary Mac because you haven’t installed the applications and their support files on your primary Mac. If you’d really like to see how they’ll perform on the primary Mac, consider creating a Target Disk Mode setup. Then restart your primary Mac, holding down the option key, and in the screen that appears, choose the secondary Mac’s hard drive as the startup drive. This boots the primary Mac from the secondary Mac’s hard drive.

This may not work if the secondary Mac’s hard drive can’t boot the primary Mac. For example, I can’t boot my PowerBook G4 from my Intel Mac mini’s hard drive because the systems aren’t compatible. I can, however, boot that PowerBook from my older, PowerPC-based Mac mini.

Tip of the month

Satellite Listings with EyeTV 2 One of the things I really liked about scheduling recordings with version 1.X of Elgato’s EyeTV software was the ability to select from either my local cable listings or my satellite network lineup on the TitanTV Web site. I initially thought this flexibility disappeared when the $79 EyeTV 2 (   ) switched to the Electronic Program Guide (EPG). EPG shows listings inside the software instead of through the Web browser. However, it turns out that there’s a little TitanTV logo at the bottom of the Program Guide window. Click on it to open your browser and go to an already personalized TitanTV Web site.

If I go to the satellite listings, I’m able to click on the Record button to schedule anything from the satellite lineup. (Note that this is good for recording only one program at a time from the satellite, because you have to manually tune the receiver to the proper channel for recording.) I now have my cable recording and satellite recording back again.— Dave Jagger

[ Senior Editor Christopher Breen is the author of Secrets of the iPod and iTunes, fifth edition , and The iPod and iTunes Pocket Guide (Peachpit Press, 2005). ]

Although mixing textures can be a formula for ugly charts, Keynote 3’s Copy Style and Paste Style commands will let you do it.By adjusting Firefox’s configuration settings and adding the DownThemAll extension, you can simultaneously download an entire page’s worth of video or graphics files.
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