Archive for the 'Apple OS' Category

Changing the icon order on Apple menu bar

If you have Apple OS 10.5 (Leopard) and want to move the icons around on your Apple menu bar, for example you want the volume icon to the right of the clock or the time machine icon on the left of everything, you can move them about just holding down the Command (apple) key while clicking on the icon in question and dragging it to the desired position.

It’s as simple as that.

Email address auto-complete in Apple Mail

Apple’s Mail application has this great feature that completes a recipient’s email address as you start typing it in the To field of an email. This is a useful time-saver but, if one of your contacts changes email address, Mail reliably but stubbornly continues to auto-complete the old, defunct address even if you have updated your Address Book.

There is however, a way to delete old or unwanted addresses from the auto-complete list. Once the old address is removed and you subsequently use the new one, it will be remembered and the auto-complete feature is again as useful as ever.

To remove an email address from the auto-complete list in Apple Mail:

  1. Open Apple Mail
  2. Click on Window then Previous Recipients
  3. Scroll to and select the desired address(es) from the list (you can highlight multiple addresses by holding down the Command key when selecting)
  4. Click on the Remove From List button

If you want to save an email address rather than remove it, you can do so from the same Previous Recipients window. On the right-hand side you will see the Add to Address Book button which enables you to add the selected email address to either a new or existing contact in your Address Book.

MacGuard + WiniGuard: Totally Bogus

There is a new trend emerging in the field of credit card scamming and it preys upon our efforts to protect our computers.

Macguard is bogusMacGuard, an entirely bogus piece of software, claims to clean up your system and remove adware, spyware, and trojans. It doesn’t. Not only does the software make no effort to protect your computer, but the companies that sell it are merely scamming your credit card details. MacGuard claims the following:

“Macguard’s high-tech system scanner will search your hard drive for malicious objects such as Adware, Spyware and Trojans, cleaning your files, eliminating the threats, and securing your privacy in just a matter of minutes. Its real rime smart protection will also ensure new threats will not even reach your desktop.”

It is interesting to note that Winiguard claims exactly the same thing … word for word. These are both totally bogus products. Do not visit their sites. Do not click the download links. Do not enter any credit or debit card information.

On the MacGuard site, nothing actually downloads when you click the product’s download link which is a big clue that something is wrong. Fortunately, like most virus vandals out there, they have not figured out how to break in to the unix-based kernel of Mac OSX. On the Winiguard site, a nasty virus does, indeed, download. WiniGuard hijacks your desktop and typically displays exaggerated or false spyware claims to frighten the user into paying for the program. This is digital terrorism, nothing else.

Aside from this, the real scam here is undoubtedly your credit card information. By purchasing this software you are happily giving your credit card numbers and billing information to a bunch of crooks. It is very likely that you will subsequently find additional charges on your credit card. Sadly, ArsTechnica report that more than 30 million people have already been scammed in this way.

Our advice is to avoid purchasing software from a company you have never heard of, or who has no references, or whose web site is vague and imprecise.

We all know that security and viruses are a serious risk when using a computer and especially the internet, but one should not blindly trust a web site just because it is out there. Putting up a website is pretty straight-forward if you know what you are doing. Before buying any software online, check it out with someone trustworthy: Mister Geek, a tech blog or magazine for example. You’ll find out more than you think with a good internet search. As the Roman’s apparently said: caveat emptor, meaning buyer beware. This goes for absolutely everything you purchase online, but even more so for anything claiming to protect you.

If you have found trouble in your computing environment and need advice or action, whether it be XP, Vista, OSX or Linux, please contact Mister Geek and we will be glad to help.

Enable the Safari Debug menu

Why would you want to? Well, one of the most useful facilities in the Debug menu is one that lets you change the User Agent. This enables you to tell the website you are using different browsers including Internet Explorer, Firefox, Netscape and Mobile Safari. This is useful for website development testing. In addition, as a result of lazy and inadequate development, some sites are blocking visitors who are not using Internet Explorer. By changing your User Agent you can bypass these stupid restrictions. Anyway, here’s what to do:

  1. Quit Safari
  2. Launch Terminal
  3. Type defaults write IncludeDebugMenu 1
  4. Re-start Safari and the debug menu will be enabled

To disable the debug menu, repeat the process but replace the 1 at the end of the terminal command with a zero.

Deleting files from Time Machine backups

If you are working with confidential files and you may want to make sure they are erased from your Time Machines backups when you delete them as well as your live file system. It is, fortunately, very easy to do so. Launch Time Machine, then navigate to and select the file you want to erase. Now select the Action menu and choose Delete All Backups of XYZ (where XYZ is the name of the file you are erasing).

Make your favourite MP3 your ringtone

So you want to use your favourite MP3, or a part of it, as your ringtone? Why pay Vodafone, O2 or anyone else for a second-rate offering? All you need is an Apple computer, iLife (06 or 08) and a mobile phone that supports MP3 ringtones (that rules out the Reliant Robin disguised as a Ferrari, aka iPhone!) to which your computer can send files using bluetooth or USB.

  1. Open iTunes and find the song you want to use, it can be any song and it does not matter if it is an MP3 or AAC file
  2. Launch GarageBand
  3. At the welcome screen select Create New Music Project
  4. Give it a name (e.g. ringtone)
  5. Click create, you will see the default virtual keyboard and a track that is called Grand Piano marked in green
  6. Close the virtual keyboard by clicking on the red X in its top left corner
  7. Select Track from the menu bar and Delete Track to delete the default track
  8. Switch focus to iTunes and simply drag the track from the iTunes window to the GarageBand window
  9. Your tune is shown in an orange bar in the track automatically named the same as the song
  10. If the track is not placed at point zero on the GarageBand ruler, simply drag it to the left until it is
  11. Double-check you have the right song by clicking GarageBand’s play button
  12. Take this opportunity to decide where you want to “cut” the track for your ringtone remembering that most phones divert to voicemail after 10-20 seconds
  13. Click on GarageBand’s ruler on the point at which you want to start your ringtone
  14. Select Edit from the menu bar and Split
  15. Click anywhere in the grey area underneath your track, then click on the orange track to the left of the vertical red line
  16. Select Edit from the menu bar and Delete, this will delete the portion of the song to the left of where you have just split it
  17. Click and drag the remainder of the track all the way back to point zero on the GarageBand ruler
  18. Press the GarageBand play button to decide where you want your ringtone to end and make a note of where that point is on the ruler
  19. Press the GarageBand play button again to stop playback and click in the ruler at the point you made note of above
  20. Select Edit from the menu bar and Split
  21. Click anywhere in the grey area underneath your track, then click on the orange track to the right of the vertical red line
  22. Select Edit from the menu bar and Delete, this will delete the portion of the song to the right of where you have just split it
  23. Select Share from the menu bar and Send Song to iTunes
  24. In the resulting pop-up window ensure that Compress Using is set to MP3 Encoder and click Share

iTunes will automatically take focus and start playing your ringtone. All you need to do now is send or copy your newly made MP3 file to your mobile phone and set it as your ringtone. Please note, you are not legally entitled to distribute your new ringtone to anyone else.

Screen capture

To capture a screen image in Apple OS X, you have two options. Firstly, to capture an image of your entire screen, select Command-Shift-3. You will hear a camera click sound and a PNG file will be created on your desktop containing the image. To capture a particular section of your screen, select Command-Shift-4. Your cursor turns in to a crosshair, now just click and drag your mouse to select the part of the screen you want to capture. When you let go of the mouse button, you will hear the same camera click sound and, as above, a PNG file will be created on your desktop containing the captured image.

Show ungrouped Address Book contacts

When using groups in the Address Book, you may want to see which contacts are not assigned to any of your groups. This is a pretty convoluted method but until Apple provide a smart group option in Address Book to accommodate this requirement, you can do the following:


  1. Backup your Address Book by selecting File then Backup Address Book
  2. Create a new group and call it anything you like (I suggest “Z”)
  3. Select all of your contacts and drag them in to this new group
  4. Click on your first existing group (let’s pretend it is called Group1) and select all of its contacts (Command-a)
  5. Click on the Z group and you will notice that only the contacts you have just selected are highlighted
  6. Press Tab once to switch focus to the Name column
  7. Hit the Delete key and then click the Remove From Group button

At this point, you have a group called Z which contains all your contacts except those listed in Group1. Repeat steps 4 thru 7 for all your remaining groups and you will end up with group Z containing only those contacts not assigned to any other groups.

Cycling between windows

To quickly cycle through open applications in MS Windows, hold down Alt and repeatedly press Tab. Just let go of all keys once the desired application is highlighted. Similarly, in Apple OS X, hold down Command and repeatedly press Tab. Another option in OS X is to use Expose. Press F9 to invoke it and then just select the desired window with your mouse. However, if you have Spaces enabled in OS 10.5 (aka Leopard), Expose will only show you open windows in your current Space whereas the Command-Tab method will cycle through all applications across all Spaces.

Character palette

If you ever used a System 7 Mac, you will probably remember the character palette. Just like the character map in Windows, you can find all sorts of symbols that are not easily reproduced on a keyboard. Strangely, this feature seemed to have disappeared in OS X. However, it does still exist, it is just not a standalone application any more, now it is really a component of each application. You can find it in the Edit menu of nearly all applications and it is called Special Characters. You can also launch the character palette using Command-Option-T.