Do you need to reposition your icons every time you mess around with the resolution of your monitor? Instead of buying a shareware utility to reset your desktop-icon positions after switching resolutions (as suggested in June 1999’s Secrets ), you can quickly create an AppleScript application to do the job. Edouard Doubrovski, of Hanover, New Hampshire, was the first reader to contribute the following procedure. First, open the AppleScript Script Editor program. Then switch to the Finder, select all your permanent desktop icons (don’t select a CD icon or any other icon that comes and goes from the desktop), and drag them as a group to a slightly offset position. Next switch to the Script Editor application and click the Record button. Switch back to the Finder by choosing it from the Application menu, which will ensure that the selected desktop icons remain selected, and drag the icons back to their former positions. Go back to the Script Editor once more, click the Stop button, and save the script as an application. Now you can reset your desktop icons by opening the application you just created.
Ensure Cable-Modem Security
Q. I recently got a cable modem. Although I have a dynamically changing IP address, I’m concerned about hackers. How can I stay secure?
Los Angeles, California
A. Security is indeed a real issue, as a cable-modem connection effectively makes your computer part of a local network consisting of all your neighbors who also have cable modems. If you have file sharing turned on, your computer will show up as an AppleShare server in the Chooser of any neighbor who has a Mac and a cable modem. Your IP address is irrelevant, because file sharing uses the AppleTalk protocol, not TCP/IP. Likewise, an AppleTalk printer (such as a LaserWriter) that’s connected to the same Ethernet hub as your cable modem will also appear in neighbors’ Choosers. Neighbors with PCs and cable modems won’t see your Mac or your printer unless they’ve installed software to enable Windows to use the AppleTalk protocol, such as the $199 PC MacLAN software, from Miramar Systems ( http://www.miramarsys.com ).
So how to protect yourself? Well, your first option is to turn off file sharing in the File Sharing control panel (the Sharing Setup control panel in Mac OS 7.6.1 and earlier)–then your Mac won’t show up in anyone’s Chooser. You can also turn off your AppleTalk printer when it’s not in use, and it likewise won’t be accessible to others.
However, if your Mac is connected to an Ethernet network with other Macs in your home or office and you need to have file sharing turned on, double-click the Guest icon in the Users & Groups control panel and make sure guest connections are disabled. Make sure to do this on all Macs that are connected to your Ethernet network. With guest connections disabled, users will need to know a valid user name and password to connect to one of your networked Macs that has file sharing turned on. Set up user names and passwords in each Mac’s Users & Groups control panel.
Another option is to isolate AppleTalk services such as file sharing from your neighbors’ cable modems. You can do this by installing a second Ethernet port on one Mac, together with Internet gateway software such as the $54 SurfDoubler and $155 SoftRouter Plus, from Vicomsoft
( http://www.vicomsoft.com ), or the $89 IPNetRouter, from Sustainable SoftWorks
( http://www.sustworks.com ). Then connect your cable modem to the second Ethernet port and connect the built-in Ethernet port to your hub. You can also use a hardware gateway that has dual Ethernet ports, such as the $495 SonicWall, from Sonic Systems
( http://www.sonicsys.com ). The gateway hardware or software forwards Internet traffic but not AppleTalk traffic between the two Ethernet ports and enables all network computers to share the Internet connection.
Snap and Scroll in Photoshop
TIP If you’re working in Adobe Photoshop (versions 3.X to 5.0) and have palettes scattered all over your screen, you can snap them against the nearest edge of the screen by shift-clicking their title bars.
Also, while zoomed in on an image, try scrolling with the oft ignored page up, page down, home, and end keys. Press the shift key while pressing page up or page down to scroll exactly 10 pixels instead of a screenful. In Photoshop 5.0, you can also scroll left and right by pressing the command key in conjunction with any of these page-up or page-down shortcuts.
Bath, New York
Revisit Your Local Host
The trick for visiting your Personal Web Sharing Site by typing localhost in Microsoft Internet Explorer’s address field (mentioned in July 1999’s Quick Tips ) prompted several readers to describe other methods that should work with all browsers and Internet-client applications. Brian Ashe, of Orlando, Florida, was the first to suggest typing 127.0.0.1 into your browser’s location box. This IP address is the TCP/IP standard for accessing a server on the same machine as the client. If your computer is running additional TCP/IP servers or a server with more features than Personal Web Server, you can preface that IP address with a prefix such as ftp;//, http;//, or telnet;// to reach the desired service. The address 0.0.0.0 should also work.
Michael Shafae, of Belmont, California, doesn’t like typing IP addresses, so he creates a hosts file in SimpleText to define names that refer to the appropriate IP addresses. Then he sets the TCP/IP control panel to Advanced mode, by choosing User Mode from the Edit menu; clicks the Hosts button that appears in the upper-right corner of the control panel; and selects his hosts file from the dialog box that appears.
Here’s an example of a hosts file:
This file has two kinds of definitions. Each line containing CNAME links the nickname (at the beginning of the line) to the full name (at the end of the line). Each line containing an A specifies the IP address for a full name. The three parts of each line are separated by tabs or spaces. This example file specifies that the three names–localhost, pm7100, and pm7100.mydomain.net–all refer to the computer whose IP address is 127.0.0.1, which is the computer with this hosts file. This file additionally specifies that the two names g3pb and g3pb.mydomain.net refer to the computer whose IP address is 192.168.6.5.
Speak and Be Heard
Take heart, you iMac and G3 users who have tried in vain to surf the Internet by voice command as described in July 1999’s Quick Tips. You need version 1.5.4 of PlainTalk, Apple’s speech-recognition software, which comes with Mac OS 8.6
( http://asu.info.apple.com/swupdates.nsf/artnum/n11386 ) and is also available separately
( http://asu.info.apple.com/swupdates.nsf/artnum/n11400 ). PlainTalk 1.5.4 can use 44kHz sound input, the standard rate on iMacs and blue-and-white G3s; works with the iMac’s built-in mic; and has other pluses that benefit many Mac models.µ
See the sidebar “Make AppleWorks Database Buttons”
October 1999 page: 91
Make AppleWorks Database Buttons
AppleWorks 5.0 (and ClarisWorks) doesn’t have a tool for making buttons on a database layout, but you can make them with the following method devised by Jeffrey L. McLean, of Woodbridge, Virginia. In layout mode, either paste or draw a button graphic (A). If necessary, create a label for the button, using the text tool (B); move the label over the button graphic; and group them. Then define a check-box field (C) and move it over the button graphic. Resize the check-box field to fit just inside the edges of the graphic. Move the check-box field to the back so the button graphic covers it. You can hide the check-box field completely by making its pen pattern and fill pattern transparent and turning off its Show Label option, using the Field Info command.
To create action that happens when someone clicks the button, first record an AppleWorks macro that performs the desired action. Then define a calculation field with a formula like this: