Old Mac, new tricks

What to do with old Macs

Regarding your story about what to do with old Macs (“New Life for Old Macs,” April 2007 ): Another way to responsibly dispose of an old computer—and many other useful things—is through Freecycle.org. Registered users can give away items or take items offered by other users. I have given away a couple of old Macs this way. This worldwide organization says, “Our mission is to build a worldwide gifting move-ment that reduces waste, saves precious resources and eases the burden on our landfills while enabling our members to benefit from the strength of a larger community.”— Catherine Byrne

Here’s another use for an old Mac: Although I have an Intel Mac, there’s one Classic program I still need to use for work. So I have an old G4 connected to my Ethernet LAN, and I can access it remotely, thanks to DevonTechnologies’ Desktop Transporter ($30). Running the Classic program on the old system, I can continue to use it.— Dana Sutton

The speed of light

In your review of DSLR cameras, Ben Long wrote, “A 1.8 lens is considered faster than a 3.5 lens because it gathers light so quickly that it can operate with a very wide aperture.” Certainly I won’t be the only reader to point out that a 1.8 lens is considered faster because it can be used at a faster shutter speed with the same lighting conditions. The wider aperture allows more light onto the focal plane in the same amount of time.— Sam Peterson

In a literal sense, you’re correct. But it’s common to refer to light-gathering speed when you’re talking about optics. Saying that the lens gathers light quickly is the same as saying that you can use a faster shutter speed. The practical upshot is the same, no matter what the wording.—Ben Long

The luggable Mac

If you can’t afford a MacBook as a second Mac (“Macs on the Move,” April 2007), then consider turning an iMac into a transportable Mac. I’m writing this on mine, using the wireless network of an extended-stay hotel. An iLugger carrying case, designed specifically for the 17- and 20-inch iMacs, provides safe transport at one-tenth the cost of a MacBook.— Mark Maisonneuve

Must music be free?

I am a professional musician and have been since I was 10 years old. It’s all I’ve ever done, all I’ve ever known. After 35 years in the business, I’m finally making money and can afford to buy Macs and iPods. So imagine my frustration when I open your magazine to see that you’re telling people about places to get free music without getting a letter from the RIAA (“Find Free Music,” Playlist, April 2007 ). There’s nothing wrong with free music. But there’s also nothing wrong with letting people know that when they legally purchase professionally recorded music, they’re not only getting great music but also allowing thousands of people like me to make a living at what we were born to do. Let’s stop perpetuating the myth that musicians are evil because we ask that the people who enjoy our music pay for it.— Jimmy Nichols

Making room

I enjoyed the column about reclaiming your laptop’s hard-disk space (“Reclaim Hard-Drive Space,” Mobile Mac, March 2007 ). Is there anything wrong with deleting some of the old packages in the /Library/Receipts folder in order to reclaim more disk space (hundreds of megabytes)?— John Trowbridge

Although it’s possible to get rid of some, you need to know which receipts are safe to delete and which aren’t. OS X uses some of these receipts for repairing permissions and Software Update, and some third-party applications use them for their own software-updating features. This is one folder that I’d leave alone.—Dan Frakes

Here’s another way to free up space: If you don’t use GarageBand, get rid of the Apple Loops library (in /Library/ Audio). That’s a couple of gigs of useless data sitting on your drive. If one day you do need the library, you can easily reinstall it.— Philip Murray

New and improved spam filters

Joe Kissell’s “Stop Today’s Spam” ( Working Mac, April 2007 ) provided the perfect method for filtering annoying image spam. I noticed, however, that after I’d implemented it, even though Mail was properly routing junk messages to the Junk mailbox, it would still play the New Mail sound. To silence the spam, I made a copy of one of the system sound files (located in /System/Library/ Sounds), and then used Sound Studio to turn it into a one-second recording of silence. I saved it as an AIFF file called No Sound in my own /Library/Sounds/ folder. Then, in Mail, I added an action to that image-spam rule: after choosing Play Sound from the drop-down list, I selected Add/Remove at the end of the available sounds. I then added the blank sound file I’d created to the list of sounds, and selected it for the rule. Voilà! No more New Mail sound for the image spam.— Kevin Rohrman

That’s a very clever solution. Thanks for letting us know!—Joe Kissell

After I set up your rule to divert image spam, another piece of junk mail slipped right through. On closer investigation, I found that it didn’t contain a

Content-Type header but rather had a
multipart/ mixed
one. I then duplicated your rule, specifying that file type, and I hope I’ve finally put an end to at least that type of spam.— Steve Aldrich

Power to the people

Macworld performs a bunch of very useful tests on hardware to help consumers decide which products are best. But one test is missing: power consumption. As electricity prices climb and as global warming increases, the environmentally conscious among us would like to decrease our fossil-fuel usage but still have access to great Mac technology. Telling us which products use the least amount of power, and exactly how much power each product does use, would be a real service. Telling us whether a product is Energy Star-compliant is not enough. We need you to plug Macs, monitors, printers, and other products into some sort of power-consumption meter, let them run for a while, and then tell us how much power they consume in different types of usage.— Joe Edgell

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