Advanced features and applications of OSX

For professional users

How do I install OS X "Tiger" without a DVD drive?

Wow! How old is your Mac? Or perhaps you've got a CD drive and no facility to read DVD disks (damaged or whatever)? You can order from Apple a set of CDs for OS X "Tiger" for US$9.95. But if you are not keen to pay extra money to Apple (unless Apple gives consumers hardware-error free machines), try the following techniques:

Target disk mode

  1. Shut down the "target" Mac. This is the Mac you intend to install OS X onto its hard disk.
  2. Plug a standard FireWire cable from the target Mac to another Mac that has a DVD drive.
  3. Start up the target Mac while holding down the T key. You should be greeted by a FireWire logo appearing on the screen.
  4. Insert the OS X "Tiger" DVD installation disk into the DVD drive of the second Mac.
  5. On the mounted DVD, navigate to and open System/Installation/Packages/OSInstall.mpkg.
  6. Follow the prompts for installing OS X.

Alternatively, plug an external USB/FireWire DVD-ROM drive to your Mac and use it to do the installation.

NOTE: You would be wise before the installation to partition your hard disk to allow the original installation files of OS X to be stored on one partition. If you ever need to reinstall OS X without a DVD drive, reboot to the partition containing the installation files. Install OS X on another partition and reboot to this freshly installed OS X. Or why not create a free partition and call it "Data"? Store a disk image of the DVD OS X disk, open it when you need to, drag and drop the installation files on the Data partition and boot to it. When finished, trash the files in Data. You should also install a second OS X on a third partition in case you have any trouble rebooting into your primary OS X disk.

NOTE 2: Having trouble installing OS X on a second partition? Make sure the entire hard disk has been formatted as a Mac OS Extended (Journaled) volume. Use Apple's own Disk Utility for the job. Create the partitions using Disk Utility. Don't rely on third-party manufacturers to format your hard disk for use in an Apple computer. You must make sure the process has been done properly using Apple-specific tools.

How do I set up a virtual Acrobat Distiller printer on OS X?

The following steps are for OS X Tiger users:

  1. Download the Acrobat Distiller PPD file from http://www.adobe.com/support/downloads/product.jsp?product=44&platform=Macintosh
  2. Decompress the file called "Acrobat Distiller" and move it to /Library/Printers/PPDs/Contents/Resources/en.lproj/
  3. Open Print & Fax system preferences pane.
  4. Click + for adding a new printer.
  5. In the Printer Browser window, select "Internet Printing Protocol - IPP" under Protocol.
  6. Type in the Address, "localhost".
  7. Type in the Name and Queue boxes "AcrobatDistiller". Remember not to put in a space between Acrobat and Distiller.
  8. Under Print Using popup menu, choose Other.
  9. Select the PPD file you have installed above.
  10. Click Open button and finish off by clicking Add.

To create a postscript file in OS X Tiger:

  1. Open the document you want to convert to PostScript.
  2. Choose File>Print, as if you were printing the document normally.
  3. Instead of clicking the Print button, choose "Save PDF" button.
  4. A pop-up menu appears. Select "Save PDF As PostScript".
  5. Type a name for the PostScript file and choose your location for where you want to save it.
  6. Click Save.

How do I speed up Safari?

As at time of writing (April 2007), Safari can experience performance bottlenecks from time-to-time. Here are our recommendations to improve the speed of Safari:

  1. The first immediate step to a better Safari would be to clear the cache and restart Safari. This should solve most problems. But if not, consider resetting Safari. The commands to perform these tasks are available under the Safari menu. Any improvements? Remember that resetting Safari will delete your browser history (located at ~/Library/Safari/History.plist) as well as any personal data such as stored login passwords, search entries, cookies and other information. Too drastic? Try clearing the cache first before performing the steps below and only consider resetting the application as a last resort.
  2. If no significant improvements can be seen from taking the above step, look in the home user directory for the Safari folder located at ~/Library/Safari/. If there are any performance issues to note, this would be the place to check.
  3. There's a thing called Favicons, or small icons appearing next to the URL of some web sites. Favicons are notorious for slowing down Safari. To delete them, drag and drop the Icons folder inside ~/Library/Safari/ to the trash. Relaunch Safari.
  4. A favourite of Safari users is the good old trashing of the Safari preference file. You will find this file, called "com.apple.Safari.plist", inside ~/Library/Preferences/. Also delete the file ~/Library/Safari/Downloads.plist.
  5. After performing the above satisfying trashing of some files, you may wish to check for poor quality third-party plug-ins. Plug-ins (also called add-ons) are those sometimes useful software additions to Safari that can help to extend the application's functionality and increase its power. However, not all software developers are good at software quality control when it comes to creating their own plug-ins. While other plug-ins just simply take too much time to load up and can slow down the launch time of Safari. The quickest way to find out if plug-ins are the culprit is to go to the Safari menu, choose Preferences, click the Security tab, and remove the tick in the check box that says "Enable plug-ins". Restart Safari and see if things have improved. Should the sluggishness of Safari disappear, you know it is one or more of your plug-ins. You can find Safari plug-ins in the user directory of ~/Library/Internet Plug-Ins/ and on the root directory of /Library/Internet Plug-Ins/.When removing plug-ins, restart the computer in case OS X has links to these plug-ins.
  6. The "AutoFill Web Form" feature of Safari could be a source of some performance bottleneck issues. AutoFill is the means by which Safari can auto enter information you have typed before in other forms into new forms to save you time. But this takes time. Try disabling this feature by choosing "Preferences" in the Safari menu, click the AutoFill tab, and remove the ticks in all the boxes you see. Restart Safari. You can also delete the file that stores this information, located at ~/Library/Safari/FormValues.plist.
  7. Do you get the spinning coloured pinwheel regularly in Safari? You might be better off resetting Safari. Choose "Reset Safari..." in the Safari menu.
  8. Still running slow? Try a different browser. This suggestion is not an indication of how bad Safari was designed by Apple, but a way for you to check whether it is the network itself that is causing things to slow down. See if the speed improves with FireFox, Netscape Navigator or Microsoft Explorer. If speed improves, then you know you have a problem with Safari. Otherwise it has to be the network. To slow network problems, consider turning off and on the broadband modem.
  9. If this still doesn't work and you know Safari is the problem, launch a freeware called OnyX and turn on the Debug menu of Safari. Inside this hidden menu is a means of clearing the Javascript cache.
  10. Finally, keep the number of fonts you need for all your applications to a minimum. It is possible Safari could be finding a font before displaying a web page.

How do I set up or change an email account in Microsoft Entourage?

Assuming the domain name is "my-domain.ca" (or a simple name such as UCSTAFF):

  1. Click on the Tools menu command and select "Accounts".

  2. The Accounts window will appear.

  3. To create a new account, click "New". To change an existing account, click to highlight from the list one of the accounts (e.g. "Username's Account (POP)") and click "Edit". The Accounts Settings window will appear.

  4. For new accounts, type an Account name. This is a name to help you remember the account. In Personal Information section of the Accounts Settings, type the name of the person using the email account (e.g. yourself). Next, type the email address of the form [name]@[my-domain.ca].
  5. Receiving mail section requires typing an Account ID (usually the same as the email address or could be of the form domain\username), POP server (usually mail.my-domain.ca or look for an address provided by your ISP having the word "pop" in the address), and the password.
  6. Put a tick in the check box that says "Include this account in my 'Send & Receive All' schedule". This means you can click the "Send/Receive" button to receive and send emails from this account.
  7. In the Sending mail section, type the SMTP server address. This is usually the same as the POP server address. If not, your ISP should provide you with an address probably having "smtp" in it.
  8. A few more settings are hidden. Click the buttons that says "Click here for advanced receiving options" and "Click here for advanced sending options" to find them. In the Advanced receiving options settings, the default POP port is 110. And for most situations, you can uncheck the box that says "Always use secure password" (check with your ISP as some may require this option checked). In the Advanced sending options, put a tick in the box that says "SMTP server requires authentication". SMTP port is usually 25.
  9. You can now send and receive emails. But for extra options, click the "Account Options" tab. For example, you may wish to add a custom footer to appear in all email messages you send to others. A classic example of this is automatically adding your telephone number, business name and address at the end of your email message. Other options include whether you want to leave a copy of email messages on the server and whether you want to delete messages automatically after a specified number of days.

NOTE: If you click the Receive/Send button and you find it seems to get stuck at some point during the download and no amount of time will help, repeat the process. If it happens again, get onto your ISP's web site and logon to your web mail. For Australian Ozemail "dial-up" users, you will find this company has changed their web site as of July 2006 to take an exorbitant amount of time for the front-page to download until the Ozemail server decides to give up (showing not much more than the top banner) forcing users to upgrade to broadband (under broadband it takes 15 seconds to download the complete front page). If you encounter this problem, contact the ISP and ask for a direct web address to the web mail. When you are logged on, remove all spam emails. Now try the Receive/Send button again. It is likely this move alone will get everything to work properly because some spam emails are corrupted. Otherwise, check to see how large the attachments are and decide whether you want to download them.

How do I remotely access and install software on another OS X computer using the utility Deep Freeze?

Deep Freeze is a software application that properly locks an OS X hard disk and restores all settings to its original installed version. It prevents users from changing the system and application settings which may later cause problems for Help Desk specialists when an OS X computer suddenly decides not to work.

To use this utility:

  1. Each OS X computer should have the client-version of Deep Freeze installed.
  2. Open Apple's Remote Desktop utility. You will be shown the names of computers in neighbouring rooms.

  3. The Deep Freeze folder should also appears. Open the folder. A list of Deep Freeze commands to send remotely to another computer should appear. The most important commands are:


    deepFreeze.requestStatus

    deepFreeze.bootFrozen

    deepFreeze.bootThawed

  4. To remotely install software packages on an OS X computer, double click the Deep Freeze command:


    deepFreeze.bootThawed

  5. Drag and drop the name of the remote Macintosh computer onto the Deep Freeze window and click Send button to deliver the bootThawed command.
  6. Now make sure the computer you wish to install software is clearly highlighted. Go under the Manager menu command and select Install Packages Select a ".pkg" file to install software onto the computer remotely. Usually software packages after installation need to be restarted, so click the "Attempt Restart, but allow users to save documents" radio button. Or better still, install the software after hours to minimise disruption. Otherwise, click the radio button that says "Don't restart" and wait until the user has logged out. The computer will usually restart automatically after log out.

  7. Once the software is installed, you must freeze the computer's hard disk. To do this, wait until the computer says "available" (it is probably starting up) and then double click:

    deepFreeze.bootFrozen

  8. Drag and drop the computer to "freeze". And click the Send button. It should be successful in sending the Deep Freeze command.
  9. Use deepFreeze.requestStatus to see whether the computer has indeed got the "Boot Frozen" appearing for the OS X computer.

  10. As a final test, login to the remote Mac computer as if you were the user by:


    (i) Double click the Mac computer in Remote Desktop.

    (ii) You will be shown the screen of the Mac on a window.

    (iii) Enter username and password

    (iv) Use the Mac as usual.

    (v) Log out when ready (will usually restart automatically).

How do I renew the license of the statistical package SPSS in OS X?

Users may find that SPSS will pop up with a window saying 'The current license does not permit this job to continue.'

To renew your license, follow these steps:

  1. Contact your local Help Desk and ask to have the license renewed for SPSS. Only a Help Desk person can do the renewal on your behalf.
  2. In Finder, click the Go menu and then click Connect to Server.
  3. A Connect to Server window will pop up. In the Server Address window type the name of the server storing the licensing utility (if not with your SPSS application folder) and click Connect.
  4. You will be asked for your username and password. Enter this information and click Connect.
  5. Select the volume to mount containing the SPSS software, and press OK.
  6. Look for SPSS 11 License Renewal Utility. Double click to launch it.
  7. After launching the utility, copy and paste the license directly into it. Alternatively you can type the code in manually. Click the Update button.

The SPSS license is now updated.

Microsoft Entourage keeps giving me the message about a script attempting to access my address book. Why?

Aha! So you get the infamous Microsoft message "A script is attempting to access your address book" popping up constantly (a nice way to stop people sending emails in bulk!). If you click yes, the message keeps popping up. If you click "Cancel" the dialog may go away.

This is allegedly a new security feature introduced into Microsoft Entourage. The message comes up because it is likely you are running an AppleScript from a rule or schedule within Entourage and the script must be checking or doing something in the Address Book. Check all your rules and schedules to see what's running.

If everything is okay in the sense that whatever scripts you do have are the ones you want, go to Preferences/Security and turn off "Warn before allowing an external application to access the address book" plus a similar one about sending mail too.

Hopefully it should work this time.

How do I burn my movies on DVD to be compliant with most DVD players?

You need to convert your movie into MPEG-2 file format and the sound component of the movie should be saved as AC3.

How do I remove the tooltip popping up over my links in Safari?

Because Apple has not provided an option in the Preferences dialog box of Safari to turn on/off or control the delay time, open Terminal and type:

defaults write com.apple.Safari WebKitShowsURLsInToolTips 0

This will turn off the tooltips. To reverse the procedure:

defaults write com.apple.Safari WebKitShowsURLsInToolTips 1

To simply change the delay before the tooltip appears:

defaults write -g NSInitialToolTipDelay x

where x is a number representing the delay time in milliseconds. Because this is a global preference file, the delay time will also affect other applications that uses tooltips, such as FileMaker Pro 9.0 or higher. If you want to turn off this global delay, type:

defaults delete -g NSInitialToolTipDelay