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A few weeks ago, I purchased an Airport Express at the local Apple Store. I wanted the ability to print to my Epson R320 wirelessly from any Mac. The setup was incredibly easy as with most Apple products:

  1. Connect the ethernet cable (from the wall) and the USB printer cable into the AirPort Express.
  2. After that, load up AirPort Setup Assistant in Applications >Utilities.
  3. Once the window shows up, click on continue.
  4. Then click on Setup A New AirPort Base Station.
  5. Make settings for your AirPort Express and that’s it.
  6. To edit the settings later, open up theĀ AirPort Admin Utility in Applications >Utilities.
  7. The picture quality was very good considering that it’s wireless printing.
  8. If you notice that your picture quality isn’t that good, then check the maker of the printer’s website for driver updates.

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Every night before I am about to go to bed, I usually connect my iPod to my speakers and enable my iPod to be an alarm clock. Well, sometimes I forget to charge my iPod when it’s battery is low, so then I can’t use it as an alarm clock anymore. Instead I use my Mac to wake myself up. The creative folks over at Metaquark have an app for the Mac called Aurora. Aurora enables you to chose a time, playlist, and volume, for your alarm clock. A very useful feature with Aurora, is that it will wake up your Mac even if it’s asleep. Another terrific feature in Aurora, is that it will play your alarm in Front Row. You can be well assured that you will be awaken with Aurora!

Whenever I am watching a DVD on my Mac, I like to skip through the previews and other commercials so I can spend more time watching the movie. With most fast-forwarding controls you get normal fast-forward and a superfast fast-forward. I noticed with DVD Player, you get 5 different types of speeds: 2x, 4x, 8x, 16x, and 32x. To change the rate at which DVD Player will fast-forward:

  1. Open up DVD Player.
  2. Go to the Controls menu and select Scan Rate.
  3. Then choose a suitable scan rate and you’re done.

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Ever since Mac OS X has been out, there has been a consistent theme throughout each OS. In the Aqua interface you get the “brushed” metal look, shiny buttons, and those “horizontal lines”. After a year or so of using Mac OS X Tiger, you may get tired of the “brushed” metal look. Thankfully, there is a way to change this look and “unify” the interface. UNO will change your interface to UNO (looks like Mail’s interface), Shaded UNO, and the Default (Aqua). The nice feature is the ability to change which applications use UNO. For instance, you can set it up to make the “brushed” metal windows to look like the Shaded UNO texture. Another nice feature, is the ability to change the Application’s Skin. An example would be iTunes, with the new Aqua-grey interface, iTunes looks very different and somewhat inconsistent with the Mac OS X Aqua interface. UNO will enable you to revert iTunes back to the original Aqua-blue interface. That puts it all in a nutshell for you, now you just need to try it out.

Besides backing up my files, I figured it might also be important to maintain my Mac. When I searched for the best possible solution for maintaining Macs, I got many different answers. Some people said they only use Disk Utility to repair permissions. Others said they use applications like MainMenu and Yasu. I tried both of these apps and I liked MainMenu over Yasu for the ease of use. Still, I wasn’t sure that MainMenu was the best possible solution, so I kept looking. Then, I came across a miraculous utility called OnyX. It performs every possible maintenance task on your Mac. By using OnyX, I have increased the speed of my Mac, prevented a complete re-installation of Mac OS X Tiger, saved a trip from going to the Genius Bar, and saved a call to AppleCare. With OnyX you can: perform maintenance scripts, repair permissions, clear caches, rebuild Spotlight index, change your login screen, put the dock anywhere, change the screen capture format, edit the number of pages in Safari’s history, and a whole lot more. OnyX is an application that I can’t live without.

When I download an application for my Mac, I usually pick out one that fits in with the Aqua interface. Since WordPress doesn’t work very well with Safari due to a JavaScript error in Safari, I had to get another browser to use for posting to my site. First, I checked out Firefox. It was great until I saw that the widgets looked “Windows-ish”. By widgets, I’m talking about the buttons you see that say “search” or “submit”. I just couldn’t stand the look of them. I did some more searching and came across a beautiful browser called Camino. It has a lot of features I was looking for: website icons show up in the bookmarks bar, works with WordPress, Aqua widgets, and very fast speed. If you are looking for a replacement for Firefox, then go check out Camino.

I have been using Mail for quite some time now. There doesn’t seem to be an equivalent replacement for Mail because it’s so easy to use. When I opened Mail for the first time, one thing that puzzled me was the layout. I was so used to Outlook’s layout which has three equal vertical columns. It got extremely annoying to view mail messages with the wide horizontal columns. A very smart developer made Letterbox, a plug-in that “hacks” Mail and gives it a three pane layout with vertical columns instead of horizontal ones. You can adjust the column width to your liking so the columns look even. The advantage of using Letterbox is that it makes reading messages a whole lot easier.

screenshots: Before Letterbox After Letterbox

Many families have more than one iPod synced with their computer. It can be hard to manage multiple iPods assuming there are different tastes of music in the family. To solve this, you can either create multiple user accounts or you can create a new library for iTunes:

  1. To create a new user account, open up System Preferences.
  2. Click on the Accounts preference pane.
  3. In the Accounts preference pane, click the lock in the bottom left corner to access your settings.
  4. Once you have done that, click on the plus sign right above the lock.
  5. In the drop-down, type in the username and password for the new user account and then click on Create Account.
  6. To create a new library for iTunes, hold down the Option key as you open up iTunes.
  7. You will be prompted with a window asking you to Quit, Create Library, or Choose Library.
  8. Select Create Library and choose a location to save the library contents.

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After Apple came out with Photo Booth, I was able to take pictures using my iSight camera. This was great and all, but a couple days later, I was wondering why Apple doesn’t make an application that would capture videos using the iSight. Surprisingly, there is a hidden feature inside of iMovie that will already do this:

  1. Open up iMovie from your Applications folder or the Dock.
  2. When iMovie loads up click on Create a New Project in the startup window.
  3. In the save dialogue box you may notice an option for Video Format, for that just choose any format to save your video in.
  4. Then iMovie should load up a window with a black screen and lots of grey squares on the right side.
  5. Below the black screen in iMovie, you will notice a few controls, one of the them being a small camera icon.
  6. Click on that and you will see Built-in iSight as an option in a drop down menu.
  7. You should then see a window (showing what the iSight is focused on) with a button that says “Record With iSight”.
  8. Click on that button and iMovie will record whatever the iSight is positioned on.
  9. To stop recording, click on the ‘Record With iSight” button again.
  10. If you would like to see what you have recorded, click on the clip (ex. “Clip 01”) in the right side where all of the grey squares are.
  11. Then click the Play button (the sideways triangle under the main window in iMovie).
  12. If you would like to save this movie for different formats such as: iPod, QuickTime, iWeb, GarageBand, iDVD, Email, Bluetooth, or Video Camera, then head up to the Share menu in iMovie.

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When it comes to helping other people on computers, it can be very hard to explain to someone how to do something without a visual demonstration. I like to use screenshots to help other Mac users learn how to do something because it’s easier for them to learn that way. Here’s how to take screenshots in Mac OS X:

  1. Open up Grab which is located in Finder >Applications >Utilities.
  2. After you have opened up Grab, go to the Capture menu up in the menubar, and choose: Selection, Window, Screen, or Timed Screen.
  3. If you chose Selection, just click and drag your mouse pointer over the area you want to capture, and a red outline should appear. Release the mouse to take a screenshot of the area.
  4. If you chose Window, click on the area you want to take a screenshot of, then click on the “Choose Window” button.
  5. Now, select the window you want to capture and click on it.
  6. If you chose Screen, use your mouse pointer and click on the area you want captured.
  7. If you chose Timed Screen, click on the “Start Timer” button which starts a 10-second timer.
  8. Once you are done taking a screenshot, you will be prompted with a window showing your screenshot.
  9. To save your screenshots, click on the little red ball in the upper left corner of the window showing your screenshot.
  10. When you are taking your screenshots you may want to hide the mouse pointer or change what it looks like, to do so:
    1. Go into the Grab menu and go to Preferences.
    2. Then a window should appear with several mouse pointer options.

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