SEARCH References

HomeReferencesMac OSX

Mac OS X v10.3 Panther Tips and Tricks

A lot of this stuff is dated now but I'll leave it up here anyway.

See these sites for some more technical info


A good basic BBedit Grep tutorial -

OS X 10.4 Tiger

There's an excellent, extensive review of OS X 10.4 Tiger at Ars Technica

Set Up Apache and PHP

I set up my G4 iBook to run Apache and PHP. Here's how.

Screen Capture

Darned if I can seem to remember the keyboard commands to invoke the OS X Screen Capture.

iSync: How to Use With Palm Desktop

(From Apple Support article number 93166 which seems to be no longer available)


This document explains how to use certain parts of Palm Desktop with iSync


When the iSync Palm conduit is installed, any other conduits that conflict with the iSync conduit are disabled (moved to a folder named Disabled Conduits). Conflicting conduits are those that sync the same type of data that the iSync conduit does. This includes the To Do, Datebook, and Address conduits installed as part of the Palm Desktop software. Note: With the To Do, Datebook, and Address conduits disabled, data will not sync with Palm Desktop. Using the iSync Palm conduit means your calendar data will sync with iCal and your address data with Address Book.

You can choose to use one or more of the Palm Desktop conduits instead of the iSync conduit as long as no two conduits access the same data type on the Palm. For example, you might like to set up iSync and HotSync Manager so that the contacts are synced from Address Book, but Calendar and To Do items are synced from Palm Desktop. To do that, follow these steps:

 1. Click the Finder icon in the Dock.
 2. Choose Go > "Go to Folder".
 3. Type: /Library/Application Support/Palm HotSync
 4. Click Go.
 5. Open the Disabled Conduits folder.
 6. Drag the Datebook Conduit and the ToDo Conduit to the folder named Conduits.
 7. Open iSync and select the Palm device. A settings sheet appears.
 8. Deselect  Calendars in the Palm configuration window.
 9. Be sure to select Datebook and ToDo conduits in HotSync Manager.

The next time you sync your Palm device, calendar data will be synced from Palm Desktop and contacts will be synced from Address Book.

You could choose to reverse this setup and sync contacts from Palm Desktop and calendar and to do data from iCal. The main point to remember is that no two conduits can access the same data on a Palm in any given sync.

Make sure you don't have conflicting conduits in the Palm HotSync Conduits folder and make sure you configure iSync and HotSync manager properly.


Some utilities I have in my Login Items System Preferences

OS X Maintenance

To keep OS X running smoothly it is sometimes necessary to do a bit of maintenance. See Mac OS X: Troubleshooting Permissions Issues at AppleCare Support for more information.

Check for corrupt preference (plist) files

  1. In OS X 10.2 and later, open Terminal type the following:

sudo plutil -s ~/Library/ Preferences/*.plist and press enter

  1. Then check the top-level system preferences with (note the missing tilde in this line):

sudo plutil -s /Library/ Preferences/*.plist

Repair permissions

  1. Launch Applications: Utilities: Disk Utility, click on your startup disk, and then click on Repair Disk Permissions.
    1. Repair Disk Permissions uses internal data, as well as data in the top-level Library: Receipts folder, which keeps track of software you’ve installed. Never delete anything from this folder.

Delete cache files

  1. In the System: Library: Caches folder
  2. In your user folder’s Library folder
  3. In folders within individual application folders

Delete log files

  1. In the /var/log and /Library/Logs folders
  2. In your user folder: ~/Library/Logs.
  3. Run OS X’s built-in daily, weekly, and monthly maintenance scripts to delete the system-level log files.
  4. Use Applications: Utilities: Console to delete user log files.

Help viewer slow or crashing

  1. Go to Users/Your_Name/Library/Preferences and delete the following files:
  2. Next go to Users/Your_Name/Library/Caches and delete the folder:
  3. Next log out and log back in again
    • Help viewer will rebuild these files

Installing OS X updates

This is from Small Dog Electronics email newsletter Tech Tails #243 11/09/04

This week several customers contacted us because of issues with the 10.3.6 update. After they ran the update, their computers would not boot up to the desktop, but would hang up along the way. I have seen this issue before with the 10.2.8 update. To correct the issue, reinstall the OS. This is not a hugh pain IF you have a machine new enough to have come with the 10.3 disk set or if you have the Mac OS X 10.3 retail package. Boot from the CD. When you select your destination disk, choose the archive and install options as well as preserving the user and network settings. However, if you have an earlier system and only upgrade disks to get you to the 10.3 platform, you have a long day ahead of you. There is no easy way to keep all of your data intact for those earlier systems, and you will have to reinstall everything.

To save yourself from this daunting task, do yourself a favor and verify your disk permissions before you touch or upgrade your OS X system. Go to your Applications folder, then the Utilities folder, and select the Disk Utility application. Choose your hard drive icon and run Disk First Aid to verify your disk permissions which will make sure that everything is in order. With OS X being a multiuser environment, permissions can quickly get corrupted. But even if you do not have 20 people using the same computer, corruption can happen, so running Disk Utility once in a while is a good idea, and should always be done before a system update.

We recently had a customer call Apple for support who also had issues installing the 10.3.6 update on his new computer. After trying the things that I suggested in this article, he spoke with the techs from Apple. They told him that before he does any updates to his system, he should unplug any of his USB and FireWire devices. After he did this, he was able to update to 10.3.6 without a hitch.

[Editor's Note: I just repaired my permissions by walking through Troy's explanation, and there were about 25 that needed repair. This is important to do, especially if you are experiencing troubles just after installing software.]


This is from Small Dog Electronics email newsletter Tech Tails #241 10/26/04

For selecting a bootable device to start up from or to check if your computer boots up OK when troubleshooting a potential software or video issue in OS X, boot up the computer holding down the Option key until you see a blue screen with a curved arrow on the left and a straight arrow on the right. For the full story about what this does, click on this link:

The old PRAM reset can be accomplished by holding down the Command, Option, P, and R keys. This will sometimes help clear some of the bugs out of a flaky computer.

For troubleshooting a computer that still has bootup issues after you reset the PRAM, try holding down the Option, Command, O, and F keys. This boots you into Open Firmware. Once there, follow the instructions from the Apple Knowledge Base article below. It will hopefully get you out of the jam.

When troubleshooting a sick computer while you boot up from the Apple Hardware Test Disk, hold down the Control and L keys to put the hardware tests into action. This is very helpful when troubleshooting an intermittent issue or an issue that happens after the computer heats up. To stop the test, follow the onscreen instructions and hold down the Command and Period keys.

(You won't find this trick in the Apple Knowledge Base!)

To run a file system check of your OS X software, boot up in single-user mode by holding down the Command and S keys. Once there, wait for the prompt, then type in

	fsck -y

(yes, there is a space between the k and the dash) and hit return.

You might want to run this a couple of times to see if it resolves your software problem. If so, type "reboot" to boot back up in your system, or hold the power button until your computer turns off.

To run your computer in Safe Boot Mode, hold down the Shift key at startup until you see the spinning gear icon. This is another way to troubleshoot potential software issues in OS X. To read more about this, see the article below:

To boot from an OS 9 system straight into OS X, restart the computer and hold down the X key until you hear the second startup chime.

See these articles at AppleCare Support for further information.

Tags: Macintosh