Mac OS X General

About Mac OS? X General

This section of the Mac OS X Learning Center is a bit of a catch all for those hints, tips, techniques or hidden gems that make working with Mac OS X easier. In most cases, the information we've posted here applies to any version of mac OS X -- however -- we clearly note any specific systems at the start of an article if the topic is specific to Jaguar, Panther, Tiger and beyond.

Getting started it easy; just click a link below.

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Chirping (Squeak) on PowerMac G5 2Ghz Dual processor

Question

After upgrading to Mac OS? X Tiger (OS 10.4.Innocent I"m hearing a repeating chirp , beep, or squeaking sound from my PowerMac G5. How do I get rid of it? While we can only confirm this on the 2Ghz dual processors, it's reasonable that the condition may exist on other PowerMac G5 machines.

Requirements

PowerMac G5 2Ghz dual processor, Mac OS X Tiger 10.4.0.



Background

The repeated chirping, beep or squeak was a recurring issue in 2004 and appears to have reappeared in Mac OS X Tiger. In some cases the sound may seem to be intermittent, only appearing under heavy processor loads. However, since many of Tiger's new features such as Dashboard Widgets and Spotlight appear to be causing fairly heavy system loads, it's not unlikely the sound may appear all the time.

While the sound isn't particularly loud, it can be annoying and although it's not particularly clear what exactly is causing the sound there are two methods to get rid of it. Any additional news regarding the cause of the sound or alternative methods on how to correct it will be posted here.

What to do

There are two methods to shut off that annoying chip-beep-squeak which are simple to do. If Option A doesn't work for you, try Option B.

Option A: Use the System Preferences... → Energy Saver

  1. Choose Apple menu → System Preferences...
  2. Choose Energy Saver
  3. Press the Options button
  4. Choose Automatic from the Processor Performance pop up menu
  5. the sound should stop immediately



While we haven't been able to perform any sort of conclusive speed and performance tests, this method can potentially reduce overall performance, if only slightly. However, it does successfully shut off the annoying sound which may be worth the potential trade-off. Option B described here uses a different method which allows the Energy Saver System Panel to be set to high and still shuts off the beep-chirp-squeak sound.

Option B: Install Apple CHUD Tools
CHUD (Computer Hardware Understanding Developer Tools) are intended to help developers tweak performance of their applications running in Mac OS X. While there are many aspects to what CHUD Tools can be used for, in the context of this problem were interested in only one - the Processor System Preference Panel it installs. The primary benefit to this method is the Energy Saver Processor settings can be set to HIGHEST without hearing the beep-chirp-squeak.

CHUD Tools are included on your Mac OS X Tiger master install DVD or you can also download Apple's CHUD tools from version tracker.com. Simply visit the Version Tracker website XTNL URL and search for CHUD.

Stage one: install CHUD Tools

  1. insert the mac OS X Tiger Install DVD
  2. double click the Xcode Tools folder icon
  3. review the About Xcode Tools.pdf file
  4. double click the XcodeTools.mpkg icon
  5. follow the screen prompts until you see the Select Destination Screen
  6. click on your hard drive with Tiger installed
  7. press the Continue Button
  8. Press the Customize button
  9. Check CHUD Tools and press Upgrade/Continue

Or screen shot here shows the upgrade button since we already have the XCode tools installed.
[inline:Chirp02.jpg]


Stage two: set the Processor System Preference Panel

  1. After stage one is complete - restart your computer
  2. choose Apple menu → System Preferences
  3. click on the Process system panel (bottom of the dialog box)
  4. Uncheck the Allow Nap check box
  5. the sound should stop immediately
  6. This setting doesn't stick: it must be reset each time the computer is restarted

Here's what the Processor settings should look like
[inline:Chirp03.jpg]


Update: May 31, 2005:
We've noticed that after restarting it's usually necessary to go back to the Processor System Panel and Uncheck Allow Nap again. So - if you've turned off Allow Nap and restarted your computer, you may not be hearing things - the chirp could have returned.

We've used both methods and the sound has disappeared - in our case we prefer Option B which allows us to disable allow nap to remove the sound using CHUD tools and still level the Energy Saver Processor setting set to Highest.

We hope that helps
caddpower.com

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If you found this article or the website in general to be helpful, educational or a time and money saver you can show your support. Thank you ~ Brian (huc) Huculak

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Compressing (Zipping) files for Windows using Mac OS X

Questions

How do I compress ( also referred to as zip, compact or archive) a file or folder of files using Mac OS? X so it can be opened in the Windows operating system? How do I expand or uncompress a Zip archive I receive from a Windows user? Do I need any special software?

Requirements

Mac OS X Panther (10.3) or Mac OS X Tiger (10.4)
Mac OS X Tiger (10.4.4) or newer recommended



Discussion

Compressing (often referred to as "zipping" a file in the Windows world) is an excellent method to keep file sizes small when sending data via email. Compressing files is also an excellent way to protect files (for example Autocad DWG? or DXF? or word processing files) from becoming corrupted during internet/email transfer. While there are a few methods available using third part applications such as Stuffit Deluxe, there is one method that ships free with Mac OS X which we'll discuss here. You can use third party applications to create zip archives on your Mac but if you do, remember to reset their preferences to avoid a common problem describe in this related article on our website (zipped archives won't open for windows users INTL URL ). Overall, for making zipped archives that are cross platform compatible we prefer the method described below which is built into Mac OS X.

Don't forget, if you have an Apple Dot.Mac? account, you can also post files on your iDisk? and provide links to them in an email which can be a helpful way to stream line email communication. The same technique can also be applied if you have access to an FTP? server.

What to do

Expanding or Uncompressing a Zip archive:
You received a file which is zipped and it has a .zip extension and you'd like to get it open; simply double click the file and Mac OS X will automatically expand the file.

Note that will not work for .exe files (self excecuting files) as those are actually mini applications that run on a Windows Operating System. If you received a file like that you should contact the sender and have them recompress (re-zip) the file without making it self executing. There are many kinds of .exe files in the Windows world and the one you received may not necessarily be a self executing zip archive so talking with the original sender is the best way to sort the issue out.

Basic techniques of zipping (compressing) a single file and multiple files (or a folder of files).
There are few options in how you can create a zip archive using Mac OS X. The most common options are reviewed below with step by step instructions on what to do.

Option 1: To zip a single file, do this:

  1. click once on the file to select it in the Finder (e.g. MyFile1.doc)
  2. choose File menu -> Create Archive of MyFile1.doc
    • (note, the name of the file will be different and is automatically appended to the end of the Create Archive menu item)
  3. the file is zipped and a new archive is created in the same location as the original file
  4. the archive will be the same name as the file with a .zip suffix (e.g. MyFile1.doc.zip)
  5. the file from step 4 may be attached to an email

Reminders:

  • In step (2), you may also Control + Click (or Right+Click with a multi-button mouse) on a file and choose Create Archive from the Contextual menu.
  • In step (3) the archive is a copy. The original, uncompressed file, still remains. If you are emailing the zipped file, you may want to delete the zipped version after it's sent to reduce clutter and redundant files.
  • in step (4) .zip is appended to the end of the file name. In the example above, MyFile1.doc.zip was created. Some versions of the Windows OS can get confused by the double suffix (.doc.zip). It may be necessary (and we suggest it is simply good practice) to rename the archive so it contains only the .zip suffix. For example MyFile1.doc.zip would be renamded to MyFile1.zip. This renaming process affects only the zipped archive name, your original file name and suffix is unaffected. If your file name was very long or contained special characters not supported in the Windows OS, you may also want to rename the zipped archive accordingly.

Option 2: To zip a folder containing multiple files, do this:
The steps are the same as outlined above for compressing a single file. Simply select the Folder in step (1) instead of the individual file.

Option 3: To zip multiple files (not in a folder), do this:

  1. click once on each file to select it in the Finder (e.g. MyFile1.doc, MyFile2.doc, etc.)
    • (hint: Press the Shift key to make multiple, contiguous, selections. Press Command to make multiple, non-contiguous, selections)
  2. choose File menu -> Create Archive of 2 items
    • (note, the number is automatically appended to the end of the Create Archive menu item depending on the quantity of files you have selected)
  3. the files are zipped and a new archive is created in the same location as the original file
    • (note: this archive is actually a folder containing the selected items)
  4. the archive will be named Archive.zip
  5. the archive from step 4 may be attached to an email.

Reminders:

  • All the reminders from Option 1 apply.
  • in step (5) you may want to give the archive a more meaningful name that Archive.zip. Just make sure to keep the .zip suffix.

What does the Windows user do when they receive the archive?
Once the Windows OS user receives the archive, they expand the item using a utility such as WinZip or other utility appropriate for their operating system.

We hope that helps
caddpower.com

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If you found this article or the website in general to be helpful, educational or a time and money saver you can show your support. Thank you ~ Brian (huc) Huculak

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Creating a Virtual Printer and Saving Postscript Files

Question

I don't own a postscript printer but need to create postscript files to send to my printing service and to create PDF? Files using Distiller or PStill . How do I do that?

Requirements

Minimum: Any version of Mac OS? X
Recommended: Mac OX Tiger or newer



Background

A Virtual Printer is what you're looking for. In essence, a Virtual Printer fakes out your Macintosh to think it actually has the printer connected. In POX days (Pre OS X) you used an application called Desktop Printer Utility (free from Apple) to make the Virtual Printer. Well, in OS X it's pretty much the same thing only we us an application called Print Center (Jaguar OS 10.2) or Printer Setup Utility (choose Applications > Utlities > Printer Setup Utility) in Panther and Tiger.

In addition to letting you create Postscript files, a Virtual Printer can be a great way to gain access to larger sheet sizes or full bleed sheets sizes such as 8.5x11, 11x17 or 36x48 inches or larger (see our related article here ). Remember, every printer has a different printable area (hard clipping limit) . So, even if you don't need to make Postscript files, but just want access to different sheet sizes, full bleed or large sheets, creating a virtual printer with those properties is a cheap (free) way to get those features.

What To Do

We'll use a simple example and create a Virtual Printer for an Apple LaserWriter. However, the same steps may be used to create a Virtual Printer for large format printers and plotters such as an HP5500 or HP1055.

We've provided all the verbose steps here along with demonstration movies. However, Apple also provides this summary article XTNL URL and additional information may also be found in your Mac OS help files.

To create the Virtual Printer, do this:

  1. Launch the Printer Setup Utility application (located on your hard drive -> Applications folder -> Utilities folder )
  2. Click once on the ADD button
  3. Choose IP Printing from the pop up (or LPD/LPR)
  4. Choose Internet Printing Protocol from the Printer Type pop up
  5. Type localhost in the Printer Address field (localhost is all one word)
  6. Leave the Queue Name field blank
  7. Choose a printer type from the Printer Model pop up (e.g. Apple)
  8. Choose a postscript printer model name from the scrolling list and press the ADD button
  9. A new item named localhost is added to your list of printers
  10. Click once on localhost in the printer list
  11. Click once on the Show Info button
  12. Enter a new, meaningful, name in the Printer Name field
  13. Press the Apply Changes button
  14. Close the Printer Info dialog

You're done! You may now use the printer to make a Postscript file.

quicktime Here is an example of these steps in live action (1.7MB QuickTime Movie). (Need Movie Help?)

Note: In step eight when you choose a printer from the list, what your are actually choosing is the PPD? (Postscript Printer Description) file for that particular brand of printer. The PPD contains the information your Mac needs to describe all the features of a particular printer such as sheet size, full bleed, color options, etc.. Mac OS X ships with hundreds of PPD files for a wide range of printers. If you don't see a particular printer description in the list, you can also download PPD files from various printer manufacture's or have one sent to you from a printing service bureau. Mac OS X keeps the PPD files here: YourComputerHardDrive/Library/Printers/PPDs/Contents/Resources/en.lproj folder (note en.lproj contains the English files, if you're working in another select the language folder of your choice).

To use the Virtual Printer to create a Postscript File, do this:

  1. Open the document to be printed
  2. Choose File menu > Page Setup
  3. Select your Virtual Printer from the list of printers
  4. Choose a page size, orientation and press OK
  5. Choose File menu > Print...
  6. Choose your virtual printer from the list of printers
  7. Choose Output Options from the pop up menu
  8. Click to check the Save File As check box
  9. Choose Postscript from the pop up menu
  10. Press SAVE

The postscript file is saved to the location you specify. The postscript file may be sent to a printer or used to create a PDF file using Adobe Acrobat Distiller , PStill or other Postscript to PDF conversion applications.

quicktime Here is an example of these steps in live action (1.1MB QuickTime Movie). (Need Movie Help?)

Summary

Now that you're finished, you can use this new virtual printer as if it was connected to your computer. Just remember when you're printing to pick this printer from the Printer pop down menu. And don't forget to choose to save the file as a Postscript or PDF using the Output Options pop down menu (other wise you'll be waiting an awfully long time for your computer to somehow try and find the specified printer, or perhaps it can grow one?)

This Apple Knowledge Base article XTNL URL also contains helpful information and related links which discuss which printer PPD's and print drivers are installed with Mac OS X (Panther or Jaguar)

If all of the above steps seem rather long, don't forget it only take a few minutes to setup and you're away to the races. The beauty of this technique is you change the Virtual Printer at any time or create as many as you like. With a Virtual Printer you can have a HP2500 today, an HP5000ps tomorrow or an Epson the week after that.

We hope that helps
caddpower.com

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If you found this article or the website in general to be helpful, educational or a time and money saver you can show your support. Thank you ~ Brian (huc) Huculak

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DWG or DXF files received via email won't open

Question

I’m having problems translating AutoCAD DWG? files I received via Email. PowerCADD gives me an warning dialog “ an error occurred while loading the file, Increase memory size” (or similar errors) but I’m still unable to translate the file even after increasing the memory (in older versions of PowerCADD in Mac OS? 9). What do I do?

Requirements

Minimum: Any version of PowerCADD and the PowerDWG Translator External
Recommended: PowerCADD v7 and Mac OS X Tiger or newer



Background

All email file attachments are encoded / chopped into smaller bits to be transferred through the internet. It’s very common for certain types of attachments like DWG, DXF? , spread sheets or word processing files to be damaged during that encoding or decoding process if they were not compressed before being emailed.

In real world plain english terms, it's like trying to send something through the Postal Service. We wouldn't expect a glass vase to arrive undamaged if all we did was stick a stamp on it and drop it in mail. Rather, we'd take the time to package the item correctly to protect it during shipping. While it's possible the packaging may bet damaged, the contents is protected and arrives in one piece.

Sending an email attachment without compressing it first is much like that. Compressing the files first has two distinct benefits:

  1. makes the file smaller for faster and more efficient transfers
  2. serves as the packaging that protects the file inside to avoid corruption

What To Do

There is a simple two step test:

  1. if the file was received by email and was uncompressed
    • or
  2. In OS 9 you’ve increased the memory allocation to PowerCADD but still receive the “... Increase memory...” error dialog

Then in +90% of all cases the file was corrupted during internet transfer and the file is unusable. Rather than beating a dead horse, it faster to have the file compressed and resent as described below.

Compressing the file

Windows Users:
If the person sending the file is a Windows user, then they should do this:

  1. compress the file using PKZip or WinZip ( common utilities on Windows Computers)
  2. Do not make the file 'self extracting' (I.e. do not make a *.EXE file), just make a plain *.zip file Note: mac's can't run a *.exe file but can handle *.zip files just fine
  3. Attach the *.zip file to the email and resend it.

Mac Users:
If the person sending the file is a Mac user, then they should do this:

  1. compress the file using Drop Stuff (Shareware) or Stuffit Deluxe (full payware commercial application)
  2. attach the *.sit file to the email and send it.

Note: they can also save the file as an *.sea (self extracting archive)

These related articles on our website also contain information on compressing (zipping, stuffing, archiving) files
When I zip files windows users can't open it
Mac OS X Panther: Compressing (zipping) files for Windows Users

Receiving the files

A *.zip file from Windows user:
When you receive a *.zip file from a Windows user you have two choices to expand it and access the *.dwg file:

  1. Drag and Drop the *.zip file onto the Stuffit Expander Icon(you will need the registered version of stuffit expander or the full version of Stuffit Deluxe)
    • or
  2. Use a shareware utility like ZipIT! to expand the file by a simple and Drag and drop of the *.zip file onto the ZipIT icon
    a copy of ZipIT can be downloaded from this link http://www.maczipit.com/
    • or
  3. In Mac OS X Panther, Tiger or newer, simply double click the file and Mac OS X can extract the contents of the zip archive

A *.sit or *.sea file from Mac user:
When you receive a *.sit (or *.sea) file from a Mac User you have two choices to expand it and access the *.dwg file:

  1. Drag and Drop the archive onto Stuffit Expander
    • or
  2. Double click the file to expand it if it’s a *.sea file

After you've expanded the compressed file, you should be able to open the *.dwg file using the PowerCADD, PowerDWG Translator.

If you’re still unable to process the *.dwg file there may be other issues at play and you may want to take advantage of our File Translation Services.

We hope that helps
caddpower.com

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If you found this article or the website in general to be helpful, educational or a time and money saver you can show your support. Thank you ~ Brian (huc) Huculak

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DropZip: When I 'zip' a file Windows Users can't open it

Question

I often need to compress my drawings or word processing files when sending them via E-mail. When I make a Zip file using Stuffit DropZip (or ZipIt! for Mac), the Windows PC users can't open it. Why?

Requirements

A registered copy of Drop Stuff or ZipIt! or a full version of Stuffit Deluxe.



Background

Mac, Windows, and Unix computers all support 'binary' formatting. However, each platform's version of binary is slightly different. It's a bit like comparing vanilla ice cream and french vanilla ice cream. Both are 'vanilla' but just slightly different. That slight difference makes a big difference. A file zipped on a Mac using the Mac 'flavor' for Binary (MacBinary) can't be read on a WinTel PC. A file zipped on a PC using the PC 'flavor' of binary can't be read on a Mac.

The problem you describe sounds like a simple case of the 'wrong flavor' / wrong preferences set in the Stuffit Drop Zip Application.

What To Do

Here's the sure fire way to make sure the Files zipped on your Mac can be read on a PC or Other Systems.

Stage One: Check and set the DropZip Preferences as follows:

  1. Launch DropZip
  2. choose Preferences -> Click on the MacBinary Icon
  3. Click on the NEVER radio button
  4. press OK

The results should look like the following image. These settings will mean when the file is Zipped, it will NOT contain any binary information which makes it readable on a PC. You'll never need to perform this step again unless you reinstall the application.

DropZip -> Preferences -> NEVER use Macbinary

[inline:DropZip001.jpg]

Stage Two: Now, simply do this to compress (zip) the file:

  1. save the file on your Mac to a location you can easily find (for example the Desktop)
  2. drag and drop it onto the DropZip Icon.
  3. This makes a *.zip archive containing your file. E.G. MyFileName.dwg.zip
  4. To be 'extra safe' you should rename the file so it has Only a .zip ending
    • E.G. MyFileName.dwg.zip should be renamed to MyFileName.zip
    • while most windows modern windows operating systems will not have a problem with the original MyFileName.dwg.zip filename, some older Windows Operating systems can. We're recommending the safest solution but either method can work

  5. Attach the file created in (2) to your email message and send it (or burn onto CD or send it on a Zip Disk or other physical media)

As an alternative to Zipping a file (*.zip) , you can also set the Drop Stuff Preferences to create a Self Extracting Windows Archive. This will essentially make a *.exe file. The *.exe file can be double clicked in Windows and the contents of the archive containing your file will be expanded.

We hope that helps
caddpower.com

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If you found this article or the website in general to be helpful, educational or a time and money saver you can show your support. Thank you ~ Brian (huc) Huculak

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Free Scripts for QuickTime Player

Question

Is there an easy way to set playback properties, create text tracks, etc. without buying a high end (read: expensive) QuickTime authoring application?

Requirements

Minimum: Mac OS? X 10.2 QuickTime 6
Recommended: Mac OS X Tiger 10.4.4 and QuickTime 7 or newer



Background

Applescript and QuickTime are two of Apple's 'Crowned Jewels' and they work brilliantly together. In fact, QuickTime Movie Player (version 6.3 or QuickTime or newer) is recordable. Being recordable means you can 'start recording', perform your steps in QuickTime Player, and when you stop recording you have all the steps saved as your very own Applescript!

Apple has also provided a great free utility called Script Menu which allows you to access all your scripts from any application's menu bar. Script Menu can include your own scripts, or the numerous free scripts already provided by Apple or many other independent scripting authors.

What to do

Script Menu XTNL URL Visit Apple's web site to download a free copy of Script Menu. Follow the installation instructions and you're well on your way to enjoying easier access to all your soon to be favorite Applescripts.

QuickTime Player Scripts XTNL URL Visit Apple's web site to download a variety of free scripts for QuickTime Player. It's amazing what you can do with little gems and they're all accessed from the Script Menu which will appear in the right hand area of your menu bar.

We hope that helps
caddpower.com

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If you found this article or the website in general to be helpful, educational or a time and money saver you can show your support. Thank you ~ Brian (huc) Huculak

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Hard Disk Optimization Tools

Topic

Keeping a hard drive de-fragmented - often referred to as optimized - requires special software tools and is essential in maintaining peak computer performance. This article discusses some of those options for Mac OS? X. There is a technical distinction between Fragmentation (or de-fragmentation) and optimization. This article actually focuses on the fragmentation issue but the overall discussion and tools is still worth understanding even when dealing with optimization as it pertains to overall system performance.

Requirements

Mac OS X Jaguar, Panther or Tiger and third part software applications.



Important!

Hard disk optimization requires using software tools to physically move data on the hard drive. This is a potentially dangerous task in that data can become damaged, lost or corrupted. The information provided in this article is provided as-is for general discussion purposes only. It is your responsibility to read, understand and follow all the warnings and recommendations provided by the software vendor of the Disk Optimization software you are using or hire a professional to perform the task for you. Performing a backup of your hard drive is always a good idea before performing major disk maintenance such as hard disk optimization / de-fragmentation.

Apple's Take on the Subject

Apple has a very interesting article on File Fragmentation and Optimization XTNL URL which is well worth reading. Among other items, it implies there are automated routines in Panther which may make disk optimization obsolete. One of the articles chief statements is de-fragmentation is potentially no longer required due to the significant increase in hard drive size. Frankly we're not convinced but have not had sufficient time to extensively test Apple's claim on the newest hardware. Based on personal daily use, we can say de-fragmenting a hard drive can help increase performance, particularly when drives are close to full (less free space).

Apple's other note pertains to Panther's internal use of Hot-File-Adaptive-Clustering (see above article link). An interesting concept which allows files 20 megabytes or smaller to be de-fragmented on the fly when opened. Take note of the 20MB limit. Files larger than 20MB may not take advantage of Hot-File-Adaptive-Clustering due to system performance issues nor does the process perform true optimization (streamline the postion of files on the drive for better performance). As such, a traditional de-fragmentation/optimization process as discussed in this article is still required. Mac Slash has an interesting discussion thread XTNL URL on this topic if you'd like to dig deeper.

Background

Technical specifics on how files are stored on a hard drive are beyond the scope of this article. The related topic of File Directories is also not covered in detail here which can also have an impact on your system performance. Following is some basic information related to hard disk optimization and file storage:

  • every file stored (saved) on a hard drive has an address location (not unlike a house or apartment address in principle)
  • ideally every file is addressed to (saved to) a single location (that is, the file is saved in one, contiguous, location)
  • a file is considered fragmented when it is saved to more than one single location (that is, the file is broken into pieces where each piece has a unique address and it is not saved in a contiguous block often referred to as non-contiguous)
  • optimization or optimizing a hard disk is the act of moving all files which are saved in multiple locations on a hard drive (non-contiguous) into contiguous blocks (each file is in a single addressed location)

How does fragmentation happen?
Files can become fragmented through normal daily use of the computer as we add and delete (trash). It's important to remember when a file is put in the trash, and the trash is emptied, the file is not physically erased from the hard drive (unless specific steps are done to do so). Rather, the operating system flags the space the trashed file was saved to as being available to be saved over (much like we can re-record over a cassette tape). There is never a guarantee where the next, new, file is going to be saved to - an existing contiguous block or over an old file which may have been saved in multiple locations (fragmented).

Why is this important?
Every time a file becomes fragmented, each piece (or fragment) requires a address which is added to the file. If the file is saved in multiple locations it takes longer for the computer to locate the file because it has to look up multiple addresses instead of just one address. By de-fragmenting (optimizing) a hard drive, files are put back into single, contiguous, locations. Opening a file from a single location is faster and therefor helps improve system performance. A damaged or fragmented File Directory (the list of files on your hard drive) can also adversely affect system performance and repair and optimization of that data is a task separate from hard drive file optimization.

Hard Drive Optimization verses System Optimization in OS X
The Mac OS does not automatically perform hard drive file optimization (de-fragmentation) either after a software installation or update nor does it come with specific tools to perform the task we're describing here. Whenever an OS X System Update or software installation is performed, it's not uncommon to see a progress indicator in the installer noting Optimizing Installation or something similar. This is NOT the SAME as hard drive file optimization!

What to do

There are specialized software applications on the market designed to optimize (or de-fragment) files on your hard drive. Many of these applications also provide various other software tools which also provide tools for optimizing other aspects of your computers system performance including File Directories mentioned earlier.

General Approach for hard drive optimization
The following is a general recommendation for disk optimization. Developing a reasonable schedule for maintenance tasks builds good habits and helps keep the Mac OS in top condition. As such, the following general recommendation includes steps in addition to just optimizing the hard drive. How often these task should be performed will depend on your particular working conditions but the following is a reasonable start point:

  1. read, understand and follow all warnings and recommendations made by the software author for the application you're using to optimize, repair or maintain your hard drive
  2. backup your hard drive (integrating the backup into a routine disk maintenance cycle helps ensure it happens!)
  3. Repair Permissions: use Apple's Disk Utility (permissions are an integral component to the Unix, and therefore Mac OS X, operating system and can have a significant impact on performance and stability)
  4. use Mac Janitor or a similar utility to run CRON? maintenance tasks (visit this Knowledge base at Apple.com XTNL URL to learn more about these maintenance tasks)
  5. Check and Repair the Disk directories and general disk structure (Apple's Disk Utility can be used, command line fsck commands and third party applications such as Disk Warrior are all tools at your disposal)
  6. Optimize the hard drive: Tools such as Drive X or Tech Tool Pro 4 are available options
  7. restart and run Repair Permissions one last time for good measure

Those basic steps can help keep your computer running in top performance.

Following is list of some currently available tools:

Please note, updates are issued for third party applications and Apple's Disk Utility Application to make sure they are compatible with a particular version of Mac OS X. Always make sure you are using the correct application version of any program for your current operating sytem. Check the manufacturer's website for details.

Disk Warrior v3XTNL URL File Directory Repair and Directory Optimization - NO hard drive file optimization although there are rumors of one being considered for future releases. This is a rock solid product and we use it ourselves for personal and multiple computer installations (note, at the time of this article, we have had problems running Disk Warrior v3 with Panther. We think it's a great tool and highly recommend it for any version of Mac OS X )

Drive X XTNL URL System and Hard Drive Optimization (recommended for Jaguar only - we used this one too for pre Panther OS X systems. It's authored by the same folks who make Tech Tool Pro v4 which we now use instead of Drive X - still Drive X is well worth having if you're using Jaguar or older OS X operating systems)

Tech Tool Pro v4 XTNL URL System and Hard Drive Optimization. While the interface can be a bit intimidating, this is great all around tool and well worth having in the tool box! It has a wide range of tools including file and disk optimization, file recovery and allows you to perform a wide range of hardware tests.

Norton System Works XTNL URL We have mentioned this one for completeness only. After almost two decades we've found this utility creates more problems that it solves and do not let it near any of our personal or client computers. Additional searching in various discussion forums such as Mac Fixit XTNL URL will turn up others with similar opinions to ours and you'll find folks who love Norton and couldn't live without it. If we were running Windows / Intel PC's, then we'd seriously look at a Norton product. However, in our experience there are other, better, options for the Mac Operating System as we described earlier.

Updated: Norton has officially stated North System Works will not support the next release of Mac OS X (that is a release after the current Panther series). While we can't say we're upset by this fact, it should also impact on your decision if you're about to purchase disk utilities or need to plan for the future. Applications Like Tech Tools Pro and Disk Warrior have been around for more years than we can remember and are an excellent alternative to Norton System Works.

Mac Janitor, Cocktail & others: A very handy freeware utility for performing Mac OS X level CRON (house keeping) scripts. We use it and like it. There are other options to Mac Janitor including Cocktail and Macarroni which can all be found on www.versiontracker.com. Cocktail will perform a variety of other tasks including running repairing disk permissions and the like and can be a very handy tool to have around.

Apple's Disk Utility: Don't forget that great freebie that ships with your Mac! It's great for repairing disk permissions and general disk checks. Generally, if you're having problems running Apple's Disk Utility is the first place to start before trying more robust tools as noted above.

A good hard disk and system maintenance regime will go a long way to keeping your Mac in top operating condition.

We hope that helps
caddpower.com

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PDF Services and PDF Workflow

Topic

How do I setup Apple's PDF? Services to take advantage of the PDF Workflow built into Mac OS? X?

Requirements

Minimum: Mac OS X Panther (10.2) or Tiger (10.4)
Recommended: Mac OS X Tiger



Background

Beginning in Mac OS 10.2 Apple introduced their PDF Services feature which is accessed via the Print... command in any Mac OS X application to stream line your PDF Workflow. In some instances, thePDF Services feature isn't setup by default in Mac OS X so we'll walk you through now to set it up -- it's quick and easy. There are many third party applications that take advantage of the PDF Services feature of OS X, but even without those applications it's to your advantage to set things up manually and explore productivity benefits a PDF Workflow can provide.

What To Do

Here's now to setup Apple's PDF Service. If you'd like to learn more visit Apple's Support Page XTNL URL and search for PDF Service and PDF Workflow. If you do not have Administration access to your computer, talk with your Systems Administrator before setting up PDF Services.

If you do not have PDF Services setup on your computer, then the Print... Dialog will look like this:

[inline:PrePDFServices.jpg]

To enable PDF Services, do this:

  1. Choose Your Startup Disk > Library folder
  2. Scroll down and look for a folder named PDF Services
  3. If you do not have that folder, create a new folder titled PDF Services in the Library Folder (spelling and upper/lower case match and spaces are important when naming the folder)

Note: In step 3, that folder will make PDF services available to all users. If you'd prefer, you can create the PDF Services folder in your Home Directory > Library > PDF Services and put any PDF Workflow scripts in there. The items will be available only to that specific user verses all users on that computer

You're done, it's that easy to setup PDF Services. The next time you choose Print... from any application the PDF button will look like this (note, the actual items in your list will vary depending which items, if any, you have installed in the PDF Services folder):

[inline:PostPDFServices.jpg]

To Use PDF Services
Now that you have the PDF Services enabled you will need to add Automater Workflows or Applescripts to the PDF Services folder. Items added to the PDF Services folder will be appended to the PDF pop-up menu in the Print dialog. Here's an example of the menu will look when you have items added.

[inline:EditPDFServices.jpg]

Where to find PDF Workflow goodies
You can search the web for a variety of freeware and shareware Automater Workflows and Applescripts that work with PDF Services. You can also write your own!

Here are a few links to get you started:

Here are a few of our own workflow files to get you started. To use any of these workflow actions simply download them, double click them to extract the zip archive, and drag them into your PDF Services folder. The next time you Print a file they'll appear in the PDF menu.

  • Email PDF: Will create a new email message with your PDF attached in the body of the message window
  • Email PDF Message: Will display a new message window you can fill out -- press Continue and the message will be displayed in Mail.app and your PDF will be included in the body of the message window

You can rename the items to anything you'd like, the new name appears in the Print > PDF menu. To edit the workflow simply open it in Apple's Automator.app.

We hope that helps
caddpower.com

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Presentation Utilities

When giving presentations and software demo's there are a few utilities I use on a regular basis which make the task easier for me and clearer to the audience. Here's a quick breakdown of what they are and where to find them.




XTNL URL MousePose: An essential tool for doing product demo's or presentations -- hilight your mouse location to make it easy for folks to follow! Boinx has also expanded the utility to include the ability to display the current key being pressed on screen; a very handy feature if the application you're demonstrating uses modifier keys to enable certain features.

XTNL URL Salling Clicker: Control your Keynote or PowerPoint presentation with a bluetooth cell phone (mac or windows). You can control other cool stuff on your mac too including iPhoto, iDvd, or even the location of the mouse on the screen. This is a great hands free controller that makes use of your existing hardware and is not line of sight.

[inline:SallingClickerPref.jpg]

OS? X system feature to Zoom In on the fly: A great way to make it clear to viewers just what you want them to look at on screen by zooming into the specific spot. This is a great feature by itself but works even better in conjunction with MousePose.

To Enable System level zooming, do this:

  1. open System Preferences > Universal Access > Seeing tab: turn ZOOM on

To use System level zooming, do this:

  1. press Command + Option + = to zoom in to any spot on your screen. Move your mouse and the zoom area changes to match the new location.
  2. press Command + Option + - to zoom out

Here's a screen shot that shows the MousePose Effect and where to click to turn on system level zooming:

[inline:SystemZoomer.jpg]

We hope that helps
caddpower.com

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Seeing my list of Blind Carbon Copy Recipients in Mail.app

Question

Using Apple's Mail.app, when I send a message to a long list of recipients, I use the BCC? (Blind Carbon Copy) option. After I've sent the message, is there any way to know who I BCC'd the message to?

Requirements

Mac OS? X and Apple's Mail.app
Recommended: Mac OS X Tiger (10.4.8 or newer) , Mail.app 2.1.1 or newer



Background

Using the BCC (Blind Carbon Copy) field can be a great way to send a message to a group of people while still maintaining their respective privacy. For example you might want to send out a message to a group of family and friends, but you want to maintain the privacy of their respective email addresses.

The problem is, after you've sent the message, it can be helpful to know who or which address you may have sent the message to. By default, when you open the Sent message in Apple's Mail.app, the list of BCC recipients is hidden.

What To Do

Fortunately, Apple made it very easy to see the list of BCC recipients, just do this:

  1. Open the Sent message from your Sent Messages mailbox
  2. Choose View menu > Messages > Long Headers (or press Shift + Cmd + H)
  3. The full message headers are displayed which include any BCC addresses you have sent this to

Note: You are only able to display the BCC people you send messages to. If you were sent a message in which you were one of the BCC recipients, showing Long Headers does not show you a list of all BCC recipients; the privacy of those addresses are maintained.

We hope that helps
caddpower.com

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Setting up Virtual Printers for Big Page Sizes

Question

I don't own a large format printer but I'd like to make PDF? and Postscript files for big page sizes then print them at my local printing service bureau. How do I do that?

Requirements

Mac OS? X any application which let's you create large format graphics



Background

A virtual printer is what you want which, in essence, fakes out your macintosh to think it has the larger format printer connected. In POX days (Pre OS X) you used an application called Desktop Printer Utility (free from Apple) to make the special printer. Well, in OS X it's pretty much the same thing only we us an application called Print Center.

It's important to remember that when you create your virtual printer, you'll be be setting it up to think it is a specific make/model/brand of printer. As such, it's well worth a phone call to your local printing service to determine the following facts in advance:

  1. what brand of printer (HP, Epson, other?)
  2. what model number (e.g. HP2500, HP5000ps, other?)
  3. does it support Postscript?
  4. can your service bureau print PDF files? (they certainly should, if not, keep looking)

Why is it important to know the specific make and model number?
Well, each printer has a specific printable area (or hard clipping limit in geek speak). For example, an 8.5x11 page on Printer A might allow you to print 8.25 x 10.5 inches while Printer B might allow a printable area of 8.5 x 11.75 inches. Since we want our stuff to actually fit on the page, we need to know what type of printer (make and model) we will be printing to.

What to do

We'll use a simple example of wanting to print a photograph or drawing at Kinko's copies (free advertising for Kinko's but it's a good common example). We called Kinko's and found out they have an HP2500 and it's a Postscript printer.

We need to make a virtual printer so we can tell our application to use the 24x36 sheet size for the HP2500 which we know will have a hard clipping limit (printable area) less than 24x36 since the printer needs to hold the paper and pull it through the rollers, etc.

To create the Virtual Printer that supports a big sheet size, do this:
quicktime Click here to see a demo movie (520KB) which shows this multistage process in action. (Need Movie Help?)

Use Print Center to make the Virtual Printer

  1. Launch Print Center (StartupDisk/Applications/Utilities/Print Center)
  2. Press the Add icon and a setup sheet will appear
  3. Choose IP Printing from the pop down menu
  4. in the Printers Address field type localhost
  5. from the Printer Model pop down menu choose HP (or the printer model you need)
  6. from the Model Name pane choose the desired printer model . In our example it's an HP2500.
  7. Press the Add button
  8. A new entry is made in your Printer List window which looks like this:
  9. [inline:PrintCenter001.jpg]

Stage Two: Renaming the printer
This stage is optional but seems to make sense since it's unlikely we'll remember what type of printer localhost is a day or two from now.

  1. Click once on the localhost printer entry
  2. Choose Printers menu -> Show Info
  3. Choose Name & Location from the pop down list at the top of the sheet
  4. In the Printer Name field, change the name to something useful (we recommend something that reflects the printer name such as HP2500 in our example)
  5. in the Location field type localhost
  6. press the Apply Changes button
  7. Your results should look something like this:
  8. [inline:PrintCenter002.jpg]

Summary

Now that you're finished, you can use this new virtual printer as if it was connected to your computer. Just remember when you're printing to pick this printer from the Printer pop down menu. And don't forget to choose to save the file as a Postscript or PDF using the Output Options pop down menu (other wise you'll be waiting an awfully long time for your computer to somehow try and find the specified printer, or perhaps it can grow one?)

If all of the above steps seem rather long, don't forget it only take a few minutes to setup and you're away to the races. The beauty of this technique is you change the Virtual Printer to be anything you like, a HP2500 today, an HP5000ps tomorrow or an Epson the week after that.

We hope that helps
caddpower.com

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If you found this article or the website in general to be helpful, educational or a time and money saver you can show your support. Thank you ~ Brian (huc) Huculak

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Taking Screen Shots in Mac OS X

Question

How do I take a screen shot of what I see on screen so I can attach it to an email message?

Requirements

Any Application, Mac OSX and an email client like Apple's Mail.app



Background

There are often times when it's necessary to send all or part of a drawing or something else see on screen as an email attachment to a client or consultant or prospective client. In some instances the entire drawing screen needs to be sent while other times only selected portions of the drawing should be sent. Fortunately Apple's Mac OS X has features which make it easy to do just that!

Related Information
You can also use Apple's PDF? Services and PDF Work flow to email content as a PDF file simply by using the Print... command. Read this caddpower.com article for more on PDF Services and read this caddpower.com article for an example on how it can be used to email part of a drawing.

What To Do

In this article we'll discuss the different methods available natively in Mac OS X for capturing images on your screen and how to send the information as an email attachment (meaning you don't have to buy anything extra). We'll also throw in a suggestion to use a third party utility like SnapZproX which, while it's not free, has some great additional uses which make it well worth considering. Which method is right for you will depend on the particular circumstances; we've used them all over the years. Here are the various methods we use, in no particular order:


Method: Perform a Screen Shot and save to your hard disk or the Clipboard?

Apple has historically provided methods of capturing a picture of your screen (often called a screen shot or screen capture) which can be a fast and easy way to create content to be used as an email attachment.

Screen shot to Clipboard - Do This:

  1. Open the PowerCADD Drawing and navigate to the area you'd like to send
  2. Press Shift+Control+Command+4 (yah, that's a lot of keys to press and you might need two hands)
  3. The cursor changes: click and drag to specify the area you want to capture and send
  4. After you hear the camera shutter click, the selected area is saved to the Mac OS X Clipboard
  5. Create a new message in your email client program (e.g. Apple's Mail.app)
  6. Click in the body of the message window and choose Edit menu > Paste
  7. The content of the clipboard (the image area selected in step 3) is pasted into the message window (example:pastedGraphic.tif)
  8. Complete your email message and send it

While this screen shot to clipboard method is very convenient, one of the draw backs include not being able to rename the file attachment; do you want the recipient to see a generic file name? There is also no direct method of specifying the type of file format used to capture the image (*.TIF, *.JPEG, *.PDF, etc.) which can be an inconvenience if the recipient can only open JPEG files; while most modern operating systems can handle the *.TIF files, in addition to the larger file size, it's a potential problem you should be aware of.

If you have changed the default file format for screen captures (as described below), it's possible the item pasted will be *.PDF or *.JPG? in which case the file is fine to be sent as a cross platform attachment.

Other Screen Shot Methods
Here is a list of Apple short cut key commands you can press to capture a screen shot. Any screen shot saved (captured) to your hard disk can be renamed in the Finder and simply attached to your email message.

  • Shift+Command+3: Captures the entire screen and saves a file to your computer desktop
  • Shift+Command+Control+3: Captures the entire screen and copies the content to the computer clipboard
  • Shift+Command+4: Captures the area defined by dragging a marquee on screen and saves a file to your computer desktop
  • Shift+Command+Control+4: Captures the area defined by dragging and copies the content to the computer clipboard
  • Shift+Command+4 then Spacebar: Capture a window, menu, or menu bar and saves a file to your computer desktop
  • Shift+Command+Control+4 then Spacebar: Capture a window, menu, or menu bar and saves a file to your computer clipboard

When saved to your desktop, the files are typically saved as *.PNG? (Portable Network Graphics file) files with a file name of Picture1.PNG; each subsequent screen shot will have a sequential number (Picture2.PNG etc.). Prior to Mac OS X Tiger (10.4) the default file format for screen shots was *.PDF. In Tiger the file format changed to *.PNG. While the *.PNG was intended to replace *.GIF as a cross platform file format, it can have problems being viewed on older Microsoft and legacy Mac OS X (e.g. OS 9) operating systems. For that reason we recommend changing the default file format used when taking a screen capture to *.PDF, *.JPG, or *.TIF, all of which are know to be solid cross platform performers and which can be opened by older operating systems.

To Change the Default Screen Shot File? format used by Mac OS X, do this:
While you can probably find some third party shareware or freeware utilities to change the file format used when saving a screen shot, we find this simple Mac OS X / Unix command line fix to the be quickest and easiest. If you're new to Unix and the command line interface, don't panic! It's very easy and you truly can't do any serious harm:

  1. Choose Applications Folder > Utilities Folder and double click on Terminal.app
  2. The Mac OS X Unix Terminal application will launch, immediately to the right of the command line prompt $ sign type
  3. defaults write com.apple.screencapture type pdf
    • Hint: You can simply copy/paste the above line if you prefer but if typed it much match exactly, including spaces
    • Hint: pdf is simply the preferred file format type in the example above. You could type jpg to create a jpeg file instead of a PDF, or tif, or png to create files in those specific file formats
  4. Quit Terminal and Log Out and Log In of Mac OS X again (or Restart) for the change to take effect

[inline:TerminalScreenShotPref2.jpg]

You can also use an application like CockTail XTNL URL or other third party shareware and freeware applications to make the above noted change.


Method: Use Grab to capture a screen image and save it to disk

Since Mac OS X was released, Apple has included a free utility application called Grab which allows you to capture any part of your screen. The screen capture is opened in Grab where you can then save the file to your hard drive; that file can then be attached to an email message.

Do This:

  1. Open the PowerCADD Drawing and navigate to the area you'd like to send
  2. From the Finder choose Applications > Utilities > Grab and double click Grab to launch that application
  3. From Grab choose Capture menu > Selection
  4. Press Option + Tab to navigate between the open applications until you arrive in you PowerCADD Drawing
  5. Press and Drag the cursor to select the area you'd like to capture
  6. The captured area is opened in Grab
  7. Choose File Menu > Save As... to save the file to your hard disk

[inline:GrabScreenShot.jpg]

Now simply create a new email message and attach your saved file from step (7) above to that message. Note that the files saved from Grab are in *.TIFF (or *.TIF) format. TIFF files are typically a larger file size that JPEG and might be too large to use an email attachment (that will depend on the limits set by your Internet Service Provider or Systems Administrator). To convert the *.TIF file to another format, open the saved file in step (7) in Apple's Preview.app and use File menu > Save As... to save the file in the desired format such as JPEG.

Generally we don't use Grab as it requires some extra steps which we like to avoid but there are times when it's a helpful fall back to other techniques so it's worth having in your bag of tricks. For example, standard Mac OS X Screen Captures do not include the cursor; using Grab you can specify no cursor or different cursor types (choose Grab menu > Preferences...).


Method: Use SnapZProX to capture a screen image

SnapZProX XTNL URL is a third party shareware application that costs between US$30 and US$70 depending on which version you purchase. While this applications isn't free, it provides so many great options that we can't help but mention it here; the cost is easily worth it over the long haul and the developer has an excellent reputation of keeping the product current (as of this writing the software is not Mac Intel Native but development is in progress){the Mac Intel native version is available and works great!}.

Do this to perform a screen capture and save it directly to a new email message:

  1. Open the PowerCADD Drawing and navigate to the area you'd like to send
  2. Press Shift+Command+3 (or the custom key command sequence you might have applied in the SnapZpro Preferences
  3. From Capture Options choose Send To Email
  4. Press and Drag the cursor to select the area you'd like to capture and press Return
  5. A new email message window is opened and the capture area is inserted into the message body
  6. Compose your message and send it

[inline:SnapZEmail.jpg]

One of the reasons we like SnapZPro so much is the ease with which you can specify different options for capturing the image. For example you can choose to specify a name for the file before it's attached to the email message. You can also choose different drop shadow effects, watermarks, file types (jpg, tif, psd, pdf, etc.), or whether or not to show the cursor in addition to the various file formats which are only a pop-up menu away. All in all we feel this utility is worth having in the tool box and can't recommend it highly enough.

As you can see there are a lot of ways to get the job done; just pick one that works for you and go for it!

We hope that helps
caddpower.com

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Version of PDF used by OS X



Background

Not all versions of Adobe Acrobat PDF? are created equal which is no surprise; after all that's what version upgrades are all about. It's also of no surprise that Apple would not be using the latest version of Adobe's PDF Format; after all, why would Adobe give away the crown jewels to Apple or anyone else.

Here's a breakdown of which version of PDF Apple uses for various releases of Mac OS? X:

  • Mac OS X Jaguar (10.2.x) = Adobe PDF version 1.2 = Acrobat version 3.x
  • Mac OS X Panther (10.3.9) = Adobe PDF version 1.3 = Acrobat version 4.x
  • Mac OS X Tiger (10.4.1) = Adobe PDF version 1.3 = Acrobat version 4.x

Contrast that to the options you have available when using Adobe Distiller (part of Adobe Acrobat, but not included with Acrobat Reader) When choosing the Adobe PDF Virtual Printer from the Print Settings dialog box you're actually handing off the print job to Acrobat Distiller which lets you specify which version of Adobe Acrobat you'd like to use (among many other helpful options):

Adobe Distiller version 6 = PDF version 1.2 through 1.5 = Acrobat version 3 through Acrobat version 6

Why is this important?

Well, not all versions of PDF support the same features so knowng which version of the Mac OS you're using could easily explain why certain effects (for example Transparency? or Gradients) aren't print correctly when using the internal Save As... PDF option from Apple. For example, Mac OS X Jaguar (PDF v1.2) had no support for Gradient fills (error in shading dictionary, see our related article here ). Bottom line is it's important to know just what your getting when choosing Print -> Save As PDF... and using Apple's built in PDF feature.

Is Apple's implementation taking into account backwards compatibility? Maybe, but the more likely situation is Adobe would not want Apple to be using the latest and greatest version in their OS as it would reduce the need for Adobe's product. As Adobe moves forward to Acrobat 7 (the current release), it's possible future versions of Mac OS X Tiger might start to support a more current release than PDF v1.3 but time will tell.

We hope that helps
caddpower.com

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Viewing DWF Files in Mac OS X

Question

What is a DWF file and how can I view it in Mac OS? X?

Requirements

Any version of Mac OS X (v10.4.8 or newer recommended) and FireFox (v2.0 or newer recommended)



Background

AutoDESK (authors of AutoCAD) came up with the idea of DWF (Design Web Format) files as an easy way for folks to view and markup drawings without needing to own AutoCAD. Rather, users could use any of the free AutoDESK DWF viewers or those from third parties. While we won't get into the specifics of DWF here, please feel free to read AutoDESK's white paper on the subject XTNL URL

While AutoDESK announced support for a Mac OS X Native DWF viewer in 2003 (read the AutoDESK press release XTNL URL ), and despite heated debate in their own forums for quite some time (AutoCAD forum threads here XTNL URL and here XTNL URL ), the product is still vaporware. The threads linked earlier are an interesting read and while we take exception to many of the comments made regarding Mac's not being mainstream in the business world AutoDESK does provide some interesting spin which could hold water from a technical aspect as to why the promised viewer has yet to materialize (the jury is still out in our minds as to the validity of the claimed delays).

All our investigation into the subject thus far has yet to yield a Mac OS X DWF viewer application but if you find one please post a comment on this thread or drop us an email. However -- all is not lost for reading a DWF on the Mac -- read on Smile

What To Do

The internet and Javascript come to the rescue in allowing DWF files to be viewed in a browser window! While the solution isn't perfect, we tip our hats to the guys at AutoDESK Labs and anyone else who has put efforts towards Project Freewheel.

As of this writing, version 2.04 of Safari in Mac OS X 10.4.8 with the Java update of February 18, 2007 (Intel Mac's) will not work with the steps noted below. There is an error when clicking on the Folder icon described above and the url / file path cannot be uploaded to the server. Pity but at least FireFox is a free download XTNL URL Cool

To view a DWF file in Mac OS X, do this:

  1. Launch the FireFox web browser (version 2.Innocent (click here to get FireFox XTNL URL )
  2. Visit the Project Freewheel web page at http://dwfit.com/
  3. Click on the Folder Icon and press Browse
  4. Navigate to the *.DWFClick to read AutoDESKs DWF White Paper">? on your local hard drive. Select the file and press Open
  5. Press Submit
  6. Result: The file is uploaded to the Project Freewheel webpage and is displayed in your browser window

Hint: You can use the Printer Icon in the Viewer Window to Print the DWF file to PDF? Cool . Saving/Printing the PDF file to your local hard drive will allow you to view the file offline. While the resolution of the PDF file isn't as good as the DWF (it's printing a preview image from the viewer window) it might be sufficient in some cases. The Viewer Window does allow panning and zooming so you can explore the DWF file in detail online.

Note: It's possible that the Project Freeware solution also works with other browsers in Mac OS X besides Firefox but we simply haven't had an opportunity to try them all. If you use a different browser and the solution works, please post a comment below with the browser name and version number along with what version of Mac OS X you're running. ~ Thanks in Advance.

Suffice it to say we're not big fans of DWF files for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is the lack of a DWF viewer for Mac OS X. However, given DWF files are created by AutoCAD, we think that using DWG? is the logical approach since that's the native format used to generate the DWF content. In most cases, for consultant coordination, the DWG file is what's required anyway so going through the extra steps of saving as DWF just doesn't seem to make sense in the long run. Furthermore, while AutoDESK makes several arguments about how DWF is better than Adobe Acrobat PDF format (we're still evaluating that content but thus far we find it hard to swallow), we see little reason for not using PDF as it is a proven cross platform file format with viewers on all platforms. The PDF format also permits comments to be added to the files, which while less robust that DWF in some respects, still gets the job done. While PDF should be (and is on a Mac) as easy printing in most cases, many AutoCAD users have complained about having to pay the extra costs for Adobe Acrobat Pro (a small price to pay compared to the huge $'s for AutoCAD) and they note AutoDESK has crippled PDF output to a certain degree in products like Revit. The latter is an overt move by AutoDesk to push DWF as a PDF replacement but time will tell in how the two compete -- thus far PDF or DWG seems to be the file format of choice for most users (related link XTNL URL ).

While the online work around isn't perfect, at least it's glimmer of light in the dark tunnel that is viewing DWF in Mac OS X and we hope it helps.

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Viewing IES (*.ies) files in Mac OS X

Question

What is an IES file and how can I view it in Mac OS? X?

Requirements

Any version of Mac OS X (v10.6.4 or newer recommended) and a web browser (Safari 5.x or newer recommended)



Background

The Illuminating Engineering Society XTNL URL created a standard set of rules to describe the photometric properties of a specific light fixture (luminaire). The data set containing the photometric description is created in lighting design software and saved as an *.ies? file that includes the light distribution patterns, foot candle plots, and luminaire efficiency among many other attributes. Click here INTL URL to see an example of what these text based files look like.

Virtually all lighting manufacturers offer *.ies files for their luminaires which provides a technical baseline to compare fixtures from the same, or different, manufacturers. While numerous applications exist for the Windows operating system to view the content of an *.ies file, we have yet to find one that runs in Mac OS X.

What To Do

The internet comes to the rescue in allowing *.IES files to be viewed in a browser window! While the solution isn't perfect, we tip our hats to the guys at Visual-3d XTNL URL for posting a web based application that displays the *.IES file content.

To view a *.IES file in Mac OS X, do this:

  1. Launch your web browser of choice (e.g. Safari 5.x)
  2. Visit the online IES file viewer page at http://www.visual-3d.com/Tools/PhotometricViewer/ XTNL URL
  3. Follow the on screen instructions to Open your *.ies file.
  4. The photometric data is displayed in your web browser window

Example Data:
To see an example of what ICS data looks like using the online view noted above, click here XTNL URL

If you'd like to see the graphic version of the sample text based ICS data we provided a link to above, do this:

  1. click here to download a sample ics file from our website INTL URL
  2. A file named CR6.zip is downloaded to your computer (typically to your downloads folder unless you have specified another location). Double click that downloaded file to extract it's contents to a file named CR6.ies.
  3. Visit the online IES file viewer by clicking here XTNL URL
  4. In the IES File? View web page click the open link.
  5. In the Open Photometric Report dialog (pictured below) click choose file (note: the button may read browse in some browsers).
  6. [inline:OpenPhotometricReport.jpg]

  7. Locate the file from step 2 noted above and press open in the dialog box (in some cases the button may read choose, or ok, instead of open).
  8. You'll be returned to the browser window as shown in step 5 above. Press Ok.
  9. The photometric data is displayed in the browser window. A portion of that report is pictured below
  10. [inline:OpenPhotometricReport2.jpg]

While the online work around isn't perfect, at least it's a glimmer of light in the dark tunnel that is viewing IES files in Mac OS X and we hope it helps.

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Viewing PDF files in Safari with OS X Tiger

Question

In versions of Safari running in Mac OS? X prior to Tiger, clicking on a PDF? file link would open it the my preferred PDF viewing application. Now, in Safari running Tiger, the same PDF link opens in Safari. How do I get the file to open in my application of choice instead?

Requirements

Mac OS X Tiger version 10.4 (version 10.4.4 or newer recommended)
Safari version 2 (version 2.0.3 ( 417.8 ) or newer recommended)



Background

Apple changed a few things as noted here XTNL URL when they released Safari updates for Mac OS X Tiger. In previous versions, clicking on a PDF link in a web page always launched your application of choice (for example Preview.app or Adobe Acrobat Reader). In the most recent versions of Safari, the PDF is automatically loaded in the Safari Browser window. Alternatively, if you had installed the AdobePDFViewer.plugin (for example, as part of installing the Netscape web browser), PDFs will also open in Safari with an extra control strip at the top of the screen.

What To Do

There are a few options available to help remedy the situation.

Option 1: Download the linked file
When you see a link to a PDF file in a web page, you have two choices. First, simply click the link; that typically will load the PDF file into your Safari window. Second, do this to download the linked file instead:

  1. Press Control and click on the PDF link in the webpage (or right-click if you have a multi-button mouse)
  2. Choose Download Linked File? from the Contextual Menu
  3. the file is downloaded to your hard drive. Now you can double click the downloaded file to open it in your PDF viewing application of choice

Option 2: Send the file to Preview after it opens in Safari
If you have already opened the PDF file in your Safari browser window, you can still send the file to your preferred PDF viewing application by doing this:

  1. Press Control and click on the PDF file being displayed in the Safari window (or right-click if you have a multi-button mouse)
  2. Choose Open File with Preview.app from the Contextual Menu. Note, the application name listed will vary depending on how you have setup your system. For example, if you have told Mac OS X to always open PDF files in Adobe Acrobat Reader, then the contextual menu would read Open File with Acrobat Reader 7.0.5.app or something similar
  3. [inline:SafariPDF_02.jpg]

  4. the PDF file will open in the specified application. Depending on the access privelages of the PDF file and the features of your PDF viewing application, you may be able to save the file to your hard drive, print, or edit it's contents.

Option 3: A PDF Viewer plug-in is installed at the Mac OS X level
In some cases, you might have a PDF viewing plug-in installed which automatically displays the PDF file in the browser window with some additional control options. The PDF viewing plug-in isn't installed included with typical Mac OS X installations. However, one situation where you may have unknowing installed the plug-in is if you downloaded and installed the Netscape browser.

In that situation, you choice is similar to option one, do this:

  1. when the PDF file is open in the Safari browser window, click on the Save to Disk Icon
  2. [inline:SafariPDF_04.jpg]

  3. choose a location on your hard drive to save the file to and click Save
  4. the file is downloaded and saved to your hard drive. Now you can double click the downloaded file to open it in your PDF viewing application of choice

To manually check if you have a PDF viewing plug-in installed, do this:

  1. Open the following folder: startup disk/Library/Internet Plug-Ins
  2. Look for a file named AdobePDFViewer.plugin
  3. To uninstall the plug-in, simply drag AdobePDFViewer.plugin out of the folder noted in (1)
  4. The next time you launch Safari the plug-in will not be loaded

If you think the AdobePDFViewer.plugin is a pretty neat feature that you'd like to have, but you don't want to download and install the Netscape browser, do this:

  1. [inline:AdobePDFViewer.plugin.zip] as a zipped archive (96KB) to your hard drive
  2. double click the file named AdobePDFViewer.plugin.zip downloaded in step (1) to extract it
  3. Quit Safari
  4. drag the file named AdobePDFViewer.plugin (extracted in step (2)) into the following folder: startup disk/Library/Internet Plug-Ins
  5. the next time you launch Safari and click on a PDF link, you'll see the controls noted in screen shot shown above

We hope that helps
caddpower.com

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If you found this article or the website in general to be helpful, educational or a time and money saver you can show your support. Thank you ~ Brian (huc) Huculak

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Working with Fonts in OS X

Topic

Mac OS? X has pre-installed fonts and allows users to install new fonts in various locations throughout the operating system. Even Classic (Mac OS 9) fonts can be accessed from within Mac OS X which can add another level of confusion and problems when dealing with legacy fonts. In some instances, applications may crash when accessing the font menu if a bad font is encountered or other font conflict exists.

Requirements

Minimum: Mac OS X (any version)
Recommended: Mac OS X Tiger or newer



Discussion

The first step to understanding Mac OS X fonts is to know where they are installed in Mac OS X. The potential range of problems and solutions to font problems is as vast as the number of fonts out there which you might be using. Rather than reinventing the wheel here, we feel it's more practical to provide you with a summary of some of the articles we've reviewed on the subject of Fonts in Mac OS X. Depending on the nature of your problem, those articles will likely shed light on the cause and possible solution -- if they don't , well consider the research time well spent in increasing your knowledge base and understanding of how fonts work in Mac OS X!

Updated: May 27, 2004: Apple has provided this online tutorial on Managing Fonts in Mac OS X Panther - the tutorial includes both text and quicktime movies and covers the basics of font management in Mac OS X. Some of the articles linked below cover details also addressed in this tutorial.

Apple Knowledge Base and Website Articles:

Visiting Apple's Knowledge base and performing a search for mac os x fonts will also produce many other links which may be useful but the above links are a great place to start.

Other websites dealing with Fonts in Mac OS X:

What to do:

Having Crashing Problems?

Every application keeps a crash log which is located here: UserDomain/Library/CrashReporter. Within the CrashReporter folder is a list of every crash log for every application. Simply double click a crash log file (e.g. Finder.crash.log) and it will open the Console Application. It can also be helpful to send the crash log to the technical support staff of the particular application you're having problems with.

If you are having problems with an application crashing when accessing the font menu, you may have a bad or duplicate font or other font conflict. To determine if the crash is font related check the applications crash log and look for words or descriptions such as 'kerning' , 'glyph', 'font', 'text', and so on. Any reference to a font related term could be an indication you have a bad font or other font conflict.

Font Management Tools:
If you're having crashing problems as described above, or are looking for tools to help you manage the huge number of fonts you may have in Mac OS X, here are few suggestions:

  • Font Book XTNL URL is an application included with Mac OS X Panther (10.3) or newer. You can use Font Book to manage fonts, remove and add fonts as well as show you where a particular font is stored. Font Book can also display a specific font location in the Finder which can be helpful to move fonts and to understand the font filing structure of Mac OS X. If you suspect a font might be causing a problem, remove the suspect font from an active location and try launching the application again.
  • Font Doctor XTNL URL Is a great tool for diagnosing font problems such as Font ID Conflicts or other hard to find font problems which can be causing problems with an application.
  • SuitCase XTNL URL Extensis makes a great font management tool and also has features for repairing various font problems.
  • Font Agent Pro XTNL URL From Insider Software, this is another font management and repair utility for Mac OS X.
  • We hope that helps
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    If you found this article or the website in general to be helpful, educational or a time and money saver you can show your support. Thank you ~ Brian (huc) Huculak

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