If you’re vexed by menu-bar items that won’t go away and the hard-drive space annexed by unnecessary language files, this month’s Mac 911 is for you. Join me as I detail handy methods for removing extraneous items. I also address syncing e-mail with Palms and converting audio files for Final Cut Pro.
To remove almost any item from the Finder’s menu bar (except commands such as File, Edit, and View, which you can’t remove by this method), just 1-click on the item you’d like to eliminate and drag it to the Desktop. The resulting puff of smoke and “whoosh” sound effect indicate that the menu item has hit the road. Note that this procedure doesn’t trash the original MenuExtra plug-in, it merely removes its icon from the menu bar.
You can also use this shortcut to drag items to a new position on the menu bar.
Although you can find such .lproj files with the Finder’s Find command, you can’t throw them away because you don’t have the proper permissions to do so. Many of these files are owned by the root user and are forbidden to you.
Thankfully, a host of free utilities can strip extraneous language files from OS X volumes. Among them are Mike Bombich’s DeLocalizer (http://software.bombich.com), Joshua Schrier’s Monolingual (http://homepage.mac.com/ jschrier/index.html), and Philippe Hupe’s Youpi Optimizer (http://perso.club-internet.fr/phupe/english/YOIndex.html).
Portable Post Office
For this kind of thing, I use Ligature Technologies’ Mail Courier ($25; www.ligaturetech.com). Mail Courier is made up of a conduit, the Ligature Mail application that you install on your Palm, and an AppleScript that copies mail between the devices. Within Palm’s HotSync Manager (in the Conduit Settings window) you configure the program to synchronize Entourage’s e-mail database on the Mac and the Palm, overwrite the messages on the Palm with those on the Mac, or overwrite the messages on the Mac with those on the Palm. In Ligature Mail you browse your Entourage e-mail, reply to it, and create new messages. The next time you run HotSync, any messages you create on the Palm are copied to your Mac, ready for sending from Entourage. Ligature Mail displays only text and doesn’t synchronize attachments, and each message has a size limit of 32K (anything larger will be truncated).
Mail Courier is a viable solution to your problem only if you regularly toss out your old e-mail. The program doesn’t let you choose which e-mail messages it synchronizes — it’s either all the mail in your Inbox, Outbox, Deleted Items, Filed Mail, Drafts, and Sent Items mailboxes, or nothing. That’s perfectly ducky with me when I’m on the road with my PowerBook — which holds just the e-mail I need for my travels — but I’d never use it at home, where my Entourage Inbox contains thousands of messages.
iPod Is as iPod Does
Sure, a booted iPod is more than happy to perform its primary functions. Bear in mind, though, that if the iPod’s music library is linked to your old iMac, you’ll lose your songs if you allow the PowerBook to automatically update the iPod. For this reason, you should configure the iPod for manual updating.
To choose this option, open iTunes, click on the iPod’s icon in the Source list, click on the iPod Preferences icon that appears at the bottom right of the iTunes window, and, in the resulting iPod Preferences window, enable the Manually Manage Songs And Playlists option. To add songs to your iPod, drag them from the iTunes library to the iPod (or to a playlist on the iPod).
You’re right to look to a preference to direct Photoshop to open when you connect your camera, but you’ve missed the appropriate application. That application is Image Capture (found inside OS X’s Applications folder). Launch Image Capture, choose Preferences from the Image Capture menu, and in the resulting window select Other from the Camera Preferences pop-up menu. In the sheet that appears, navigate to your copy of Photoshop, select it, and click on Open. When you connect your camera in the future, Photoshop should launch.
Tip of the Month
You want to include that great tune you purchased from the iTunes Music Store in a video you’re editing in Final Cut Pro 4. But Final Cut Pro won’t import the file, and QuickTime Pro can’t convert a protected file into the required AIFF format. You could burn the file to CD and then import it into iTunes as an AIFF file, but why bother when iMovie can convert the file for you?
Open a new iMovie project and click on the Audio button. Drag the song you want from the iTunes Library window into the timeline. Save the project and then choose Export from the File menu. Choose To QuickTime from the Export pop-up menu and Expert Settings from the Formats pop-up menu. Click on the Export button and, in the resulting Save Exported File As dialog box, choose Sound To AIFF from the Export pop-up menu. Click on Save to convert the movie to an AIFF sound file.
If, like me, you tend to visit the same collection of Web sites each morning, the following technique will save you multiple trips to Safari’s Bookmarks menu.
Launch Safari and make sure the Enable Tabbed Browsing option is selected in the Tabs section of Safari’s preferences. Click on the Bookmarks button and create a new folder (1-shift-N). Give the folder a descriptive name (mine is called Morning Mix), and copy the bookmarks of your favorite Web sites into it. Click on the Bookmarks Bar entry in the Collections column of the Bookmarks window, and drag your new folder into Safari’s main window. Enable the Auto-Tab option next to the folder in this window. When you next sit down at your Mac, click on this folder (which now appears in the Bookmarks Bar) and howl exultantly as each site within the folder opens in a separate tab.