Sync Address Book without .Mac
I use a Power Mac G5 at home and an iBook on the road. Both run OS X 10.4.7. Because I enter data in both machines, depending on where I am, I’d like to be able to synchronize my copies of Address Book. What do you recommend?—Via the Internet
The obvious answer is a .Mac account, with which you can synchronize Address Book contacts, as well as iCal calendars and Safari bookmarks. Because that data is synced over the Web, you can update it from anyplace with an Internet connection.
But .Mac isn’t free, and I like free. If you do, too, I suggest you take a look at Stephan Kleinert and Markus Brand’s free
address-o-sync. This handy little utility—which must be installed on each Mac you want to synchronize contacts with—uses Apple’s zero-configuration networking technology Bonjour to establish a sharing relationship between Macs on a local network. Fire up address-o-sync on each Mac, tell it what you’d like to sync (all contacts or just selected groups of contacts), and click on the button with the familiar swirly sync icon; then the utility will get to work (see “Staying in Sync”). If duplicate contacts in your copies of Address Book contain different information (perhaps you’ve updated a phone number or an e-mail address on one of your Macs but not on the other), you’ll have the opportunity to choose which data to keep.
A Macworld.com forum member suggests another option:
Plaxo, a free Web-based service that lets you synchronize your contacts (via an Address Book plug-in) between multiple computers. Unlike address-o-sync, the free version of Plaxo won’t merge and remove duplicate contacts; however, the $50-a-year Plaxo Premium will.
Find missing iPhoto pictures
Whenever I load new photos into iPhoto, I immediately put them into a new album for later viewing in iPhoto and for easier access from the Media Browser in iWeb and iMovie. Unfortunately, my wife doesn’t do the same, so some of our photos seem to go missing. Is there an easy way to see which pictures have not been included in an album? If there is, I could use it to quickly sort my wife’s pictures into albums.—Barrett Clark
Smart albums to the rescue! Just choose File: New Smart Album, create the condition Album Is Not Any, and click on OK. All pictures that don’t belong to any album will appear in the resulting smart album (see “Only the Lonely”). But be warned: Because smart albums update themselves, pictures in this Not Any album will disappear if they’re sorted into another album.
Fix fonts in TextEdit
When I type something in TextEdit and print it (no matter what font size I choose) the text prints in extremely small type. The same problem sometimes happens when I print from Safari. What’s going on and how do I fix it?—Shane Saylor
In TextEdit, this is intentional. By default, TextEdit bases text wrapping on how wide the document window is on screen. To see this in action, type a couple of long sentences and then drag the bottom right corner of the TextEdit window to make it narrower. The text should rewrap itself to fit in the window. If you print this document, that printout will match what’s on screen, down to where the words wrap. If you put a mess of text on a single line, TextEdit will automatically decrease the font size on the printout so all the text fits on that one line.
This is useful if you’re entering lines of code and need those lines to print without breaking. But it’s not so hot if you’re using TextEdit as a word processor rather than a text editor. Fortunately, you can change TextEdit’s line-wrapping behavior by choosing Format: Wrap To Page. When you do, the text will wrap to the size of the page specified in Page Setup (File: Page Setup), and fonts will print at the chosen size. (If you’d like TextEdit to always behave this way, choose TextEdit: Preferences and enable the Wrap To Page option in the New Document pane.)
As for Safari, you can increase the size of printed text by increasing the size of the browser’s text on your Mac’s screen. Just press Command-equal sign (=) to increase text size or Command-hyphen (-) to decrease it. Your printouts will mimic what you see on screen.
Ethernet and AirPort
Is it possible to hook up an Ethernet switch to an Apple AirPort Extreme Base Station in order to connect more than one computer with an Ethernet cable? Will the router in the base station assign an IP address to each of the wired computers?—Stuart Landay
Sure—that’s one reason Apple included the Ethernet LAN port on the back of the base station. To get the full lowdown on how to set this up, I strongly suggest that you download Apple’s very helpful Designing AirPort Extreme Networks
For those of you who are averse to reading documentation, the basic idea is this:
String an Ethernet cable between your DSL or cable modem and the base station’s Ethernet (WAN) port. Run another Ethernet cable between the base station’s Ethernet (LAN) port and one of the ports on the switch. String yet more cable between the switch and the computers you want to connect.
Run the AirPort Setup Assistant (in /Applications/Utilities). If the answers you provide work, great. If not, launch the AirPort Admin Utility (also located in the Utilities folder), select the base station, and click on Continue. In the Internet tab, choose Connect Using Ethernet, and then, from the Configure pop-up menu, choose either Using DHCP or Manually, depending on your circumstances. If you have a dynamic IP address, you’ll pick Using DHCP. If you have a fixed address, you need to configure things manually, entering that IP address as well as the sub-net mask, router address, and DNS servers in the appropriate fields.
As for assigning IP addresses to your com-puters, that magic happens in the Network tab. Enable the Distribute IP Addresses option and choose either Share A Single IP Address (Using DHCP And NAT) or Share A Range Of IP Addresses (Using Only DHCP). If you choose the first option, the base station will dynamically serve, by default, IP addresses within the range 10.0.1.2 to 10.0.1.200. The second option lets you define the specific range of IP addresses if that’s what you want.
Now you need to configure the computers you’re connecting to that switch. If you’ve decided to share a single IP address, open the Network preference pane on each computer, choose Built-in Ethernet, click on the TCP/IP tab, and choose Using DHCP from the Configure IPv4 pop-up menu. The computers will then grab dynamic IP addresses as needed from the base station via the switch. If you’re sharing a range of addresses, choose Manually from the Configure IPv4 menu and assign a specific address within the range you specified in the AirPort Admin Utility. You’ll also want to enter
in the Subnet Mask field,
in the Router field, and the address(es) of your DNS server(s).
Run Windows safely
My wife just purchased a new iMac. She uses OS X about 90 percent of the time but also uses Parallels Desktop to boot into Windows for a few work tasks that require it. My wife never uses a browser on the Windows side, but the computer is connected to the Internet 24-7. Is Windows still vulnerable to viruses and spyware in this situation? What protection do you recommend?—Christopher Hosford
Yes, Windows is still vulnerable. To prove it, try this: Without running your browser or your e-mail application, perform some normal tasks on your Mac and keep an eye on your DSL or cable modem’s activity light. That blinking indicates that your computer is conversing with the Net, even if you aren’t browsing the Web or exchanging e-mail. Furthermore, while your wife may swear she’ll never launch a browser while running Windows, there’ll likely come a time when she’ll need to check something online and won’t switch back to OS X to do it. Finally, your mention of your wife’s work tasks should set off alarms. Where do these files come from, and how are they shared? A burned CD can carry a virus just as easily as an e-mail attachment.
The point is that Windows on a Mac is still Windows, which means that it’s still vulnerable to all the same cooties that can plague PCs. With that in mind, if you’re using Parallels Desktop, you need to behave like a regular Windows user and take precautions. Fortunately, doing so need not cost you a nickel. I have a living, breathing Windows PC sitting next to my Mac, and I’ve protected it for next to nothing.
Although you can buy firewall software with more bells and whistles, the free version of Zone Labs’
ZoneAlarm is an easy way to block incoming threats. I rarely use a Web browser on my PC, but ZoneAlarm has logged more than 105,000 attempts to access my computer (granted, the majority of them were innocent). It also alerts you when applications or utilities try to make Internet connections and asks you for permission before it’ll let them do so.
As for viruses, I used to run the Windows version of Symantec’s Norton SystemWorks on my PC, but I let the subscription lapse because there are enough free alternatives. The one I chose was Grisoft’s
AVG Anti-Virus. If you choose a free program, you won’t get virus updates as fast as you would with a product you paid for, and you won’t be able to tweak settings as much. But for my limited Windows use, it’s plenty good enough.
For dealing with spyware, I take yet another cheapskate route: Lavasoft’s free
Ad-Aware SE Personal. It works only after the fact—that is, after the spyware or adware has infected your system and you want to get rid of it. The for-pay options—Webroot’s $30
Spy Sweeper, for example—can block spyware and adware before they have a chance to touch your computer.
Staying in Sync: With address-o-sync, you can easily synchronize the Address Book contacts on multiple Macs on the same local network.
Only the Lonely: Using a smart album, you can easily identify which iPhoto pictures you haven’t yet placed in albums.
Migrating to a new Mac
Now that Apple has completed its transition to Intel processors, a lot of Mac users are thinking about replacing their old PowerPC machines. Here are tools and tips that will make the job easier.
FireWire Cable When you first fire up a new Mac, Apple’s Migration Assistant (found in /Applications/Utilities) will help you move your data, but it’ll demand a FireWire cable to do so.
External FireWire Enclosure You have multiple IDE hard drives in your old Power Mac, yet your new Mac Pro works only with SATA drives. What to do with those old drives? Consider sticking them into FireWire hard-drive enclosures. Just slip an old drive into the enclosure, and you’ve got an external hard drive. Enclosures with Oxford 911 and 912 chip sets (which let your Mac boot from those drives) run from $50 to $80 and are available from vendors such as FirewireDirect.com and Other World Computing (eshop.macsales.com). Note that if you put your old Mac’s boot drive into an enclosure, it won’t boot your new Mac until you install an Intel-compatible version of OS X.
Drive Adapter FireWire enclosure too rich for your blood? Or maybe you need to connect your old drives to your new Mac only for a short time? Newer Technology makes a $25
USB 2.0 Universal Drive Adapter —a couple of cables that let you connect an IDE or SATA device directly to your new Mac via the Mac’s USB 2.0 port.
Serial Numbers As efficient as Apple’s Migration Assistant is about moving your applications from Mac A to Mac B, sometimes it misses some of the files that authorize you to use those apps. So just in case, make a note of all your applications’ serial numbers.
Copy documents with an iSight
“To get the $100 rebate, you must include the product’s UPC label or a photocopy.” “We’ll need a copy of your insurance card before we can process that claim.” “Do you have a copy of your receipt?” What do you do when you need to provide some sort of documentation but don’t have access to a photocopier or a fax machine? The built-in iSight camera on the Intel iMac, MacBook Pro, and MacBook, along with Apple’s Photo Booth software, could be the solution. Because the iSight has a very short focal length, you can stick a document or any other official object a couple of inches in front of it and get a nice, sharp picture of it.
To do so, open Photo Booth. Don’t select any effects. Hold your object—box, document, business card, or whatever—up to the camera. Move it as close or as far away as you need; the iSight will quickly put it in focus. (Don’t worry if you’re trying to capture text and it reads backward on screen; you can take care of that later.) Hold your object steady by resting your elbow(s) on the table, and click on the Camera button to begin the three-second countdown.
Once the picture is taken, drag it to your desktop from Photo Booth’s tray. You’ll see that it’s a JPEG file. If you aren’t trying to capture text, you can use that JPEG as is. If you are trying to capture text, double-click on the image to open Preview, select Tools: Flip Horizontal, crop as needed, and save the file.— Jay Lindell
[ Senior Editor Christopher Breen is the author of The iPod and iTunes Pocket Guide, second edition (Peachpit Press, 2006). ]