O'Grady's PowerPage » How-To

Safari Speed-Up Guide Published

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Date: Monday, April 16th, 2007, 11:10
Category: How-To

The folks over at MacFixIt have published a full guide as to how to speed up Apple’s Safari web browser.
Topics included cover how to speed up the program’s launch by cleaning up the startup routines, clearing out .plist files, removing third-party add-ons, resetting the browser, checking the plug-in inventory and clearing out the AutoFill option.
The guide also recommends lower tech solutions such as power cycling a cable or DSL modem or router as well as reworking your bookmarks and even editing names to increase speed on this front.
If Safari remains your favorite browser for the Mac despite the allure of Firefox, take a gander and let us know what you think.


Video: How to Recover From a Laptop Liquid Spill

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Date: Thursday, March 22nd, 2007, 08:27
Category: How-To

The guys over at Engadget have linked to a Google video over at Grynx.com demonstrating how to pull a laptop back from the brink of an inadvertent spill.
Or, in this case, two consecutive spills.
Here a group of technology authors poured both a glass of red wine on the keyboard, followed by a glass of lemonade. The group then acts quickly, draining the excess liquid off into a towel, opening the laptop, washing it under tap water, then rinsing the components under distilled water before leaving them out to dry.
The end result is interesting, even if the beginning of the video kind of makes one cringe as the liquid is poured into the Dell laptop’s keyboard. A soundtrack of “Kung Fu Fighting” only makes it better and it’s a good way to look at a semi-inevitable problem.
If you have comments, ideas or experiences of your own with this, let us know.


Rosyna Discusses Prebinding Bug in OS X Updates

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Date: Monday, March 19th, 2007, 14:20
Category: How-To

A post over on Unsanity wherein the author (identified as “Rosyna”) describes the prebinding bug in Mac OS X 10.4.
Simply put, this is where Mac OS X finishes installing an update and enters its “Optimizing System Performance” stage. Here, the operating system is prebinding, or looking off memory offsets of symbols in the operating systems’ libraries before a program is launched and won’t have to search for these offsets later on (whenever I’m installing an update and it takes a while with someone looking over my shoulder while the Mac reaches this stage, I tell them this is important. And not to interrupt. Ever.)
The “not touching the Mac” part might be just that critical. According to Rosyna’s post, Mac OS X features a bug wherein if multiple processes are prebinding at a given time, it’s possible for a system’s file system to completely zero itself out.
The best way around this: let the “Optimize System Performance” process run to its conclusion and don’t launch any applications during this time. The piece also discusses workarounds in case the system happens to zero itself out.
If you’ve had any experience with this or advice to offer on prebinding under Mac OS X, let us know.


Keeping Your Black MacBook Pristine

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Date: Thursday, March 15th, 2007, 16:30
Category: How-To

From the PowerPage Department of Hopefully Useful Tips comes a guide to keeping your black MacBook clean from the guys over at macapper.com.
The black MacBook, despite being excessively cool and one of the best looking pieces of hardware Apple‘s released in recent years, the matte finish still tends to attract smudges and finger prints while the keys tend to build up oils from the skin.
Author Josh R. Holloway suggests using a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser, soft micro-fiber cloth, a can of compressed air, a little water and some patience.
Let us know what you think and if you’ve discovered a good way to keep either your black or white MacBook looking new, let us know.


Guide to Installing Vista Under Boot Camp Published

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Date: Thursday, March 15th, 2007, 15:31
Category: How-To

While it may not be the first on your list of things to do, a day might come in the near future when you’ll have to put Microsoft‘s recently-released Windows Vista operating system on a partition of your Intel-based Mac (hell, why knock a feature that puts the Mac back in the office, makes it that much more versatile and helps Apple’s stock price?), despite any apprehension you might have about it.
The guys over at The Unofficial Apple Weblog have linked to a step-by-step guide on a Geocities page (written by someone identified only as “Nja247) as to how to install Windows Vista onto Boot Camp. The guide takes the reader through nearly every essential step in the process, including how to extract Vista’s critical drivers off its installation CD given that Apple’s current version of Boot Camp uses an auto-installer that fails to perform cleanly under Vista.
Despite the author’s wish to remain anonymous, this remains a good read and is worth a look.
If you have any war stories about getting Vista to run under Boot Camp, let us know.


How to Turn an iPod Mini Into a Flash-Based iPod

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Date: Wednesday, February 28th, 2007, 08:32
Category: How-To

Not for the faint of heart, Mark Hoekstra of geektechnique.org has published a full step by step guide as to how to replace the hard drive within your iPod Mini with a solid state Compact Flash card.
The reasons for this are relatively clear: the iPod Mini, despite being a sturdy device, was discontinued a while ago with the units coming of age. If and when they do fail, the two major issues are the battery and internal microdrive having gone south.
Though the batteries can be replaced for about US$30, the microdrive is another story. With Flash-based memory prices falling, a Compact Flash card makes sense. New capacities range as high as 137 gigabyes on these cards and Hoekstra sees no reason why this shouldn’t work.
Once again, for the brave of heart and those whose iPod Mini warranties expired a while ago, it’s a good read and could be a fun project.
If you’ve tried this or anything similar, let us know how it turned out.


VLC HDTV Streaming Guide Published

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Date: Wednesday, February 21st, 2007, 09:25
Category: How-To

The guys over at The Unofficial Apple Weblog have pointed out a cool tutorial by Erica Sadun over on MacDevCenter.com.
The tutorial is a full guide demonstrating how two Macs, one equipped with an EyeTV-compatible tuner and driver software and both equipped with the open source VLC media player, can set up an active video server to record HDTV content from one Mac and stream it to other Macs and PCs throughout the house.
Once complete, users can configure VLC to act as a web-based remote control, flipping channels on other computers throughout the home or network while the server pushes the content through.
The guide is a few pages, complete with full tutorials and visual guides. Older Macs can be used as a server, Saldun referencing as to how even a 733 MHz Power Mac G4 was capable of performing the task.
Read it over and see what you think. And if you’ve built or been involved with any similar projects, let us know.


How to Upgrade a Core Duo-based MacBook to 802.11n

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Date: Tuesday, February 20th, 2007, 07:12
Category: How-To

An article over at Hardmac.com provides a step by step guide as to how to upgrade a MacBook and MacBook Pro Core Duo laptop beyond its built-in 802.11g standard to the current 802.11n standard.
The first obstacle to overcome is how to install an 802.11n card in these laptops. The MacBook Core 2 Duo’s 802.11n-compatible card features three antennas as opposed to the two found in Apple’s previous laptop models. The authors discovered that the MacBook Pro’s 802.11n-compatible AirPort card had only two antennas but also the same PCI Express 1x size and connections.
The article then moves into a full step by step guide as to how to disassemble the MacBook, what tools are needed and how to proceed gently given that you’re working with a plastic casing. Upon completion, the author installed the new AirPort driver from the CD that came with Apple’s 802.11n-compatible AirPort Extreme Base Station and ran speed tests.
Click the jump for the full story…


Free iPod Battery Replacement Tutorials Available Online

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Date: Wednesday, February 14th, 2007, 07:58
Category: How-To

Lifehacker has pointed out ipodhowtovideo.com, a series of QuickTime-based tutorials brought to you by the owner of ifixipodsfast.com.
The site provides video walkthroughs as to how to open multiple generations of iPods, swapping out components such as batteries, hard drives and the LCD screens. The videos are reassuringly shot with the owner realizing most people are a bit timid about opening up their iPod, but showing the best tools for the job as well as how to gently approach the process without leaving a scratch behind.
If you’ve had any experiences opening up an iPod and replacing is components, let us know.


Put Your Mac to Sleep with an E-Mail

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Date: Tuesday, January 2nd, 2007, 17:46
Category: How-To

A cool trick posted on Murphy Mac describes how to configure Automator to have your Mac watch for e-mails containing certain criteria such as a specific subject or sender and configure actions such as going to sleep.
This is accomplished by creating a simple Automator program with two actions in its workflow, a one-line AppleScript file and a rule in the Mail program. A small sleeper action for Automator will need to be downloaded and installed from Apple’s web site for the action to occur.
Configuring the action to occur takes just a few minutes with step by step instructions displayed here.
If you’ve seen any other cool tricks, let us know.