March 19, 2003
So I consider myself a fairly adept OS X user, but thanks to sites like Mac OS X Hints, I still discover gaps in my knowledge; tips I wish I knew long ago, things that affect my every day workflow. One of these is a very simple but crucial tip to know if you rely as I do on Finder Column view in working with directories: holding down the Option key while dragging columns allows you to resize an individual column.
Yup. I've lived unnecessarily long without this knowledge, and it pains me enough to write about it. [Those of you who already knew this can skip the rest and go straight to posting snide remarks in the Comments.] If you don't understand why this might be a useful tip, or maybe even what this column view thing is all about; please read on.
Along with the traditional Icon and List views, the new Finder Column view in OS X lays out your file and directory view in a "browser" window divided by columns starting with volumes or directories on the left and ending with files or subdirectories to the right. If the right-most item is a file or application, then the final column will display the file/application icon and associated information such as file size, creation and modification dates and so on. If the file is an image, then a thumbnail of that image is also presented—it's this last feature I find useful in my work as it provides an easy way to preview and get a byte count on the images I'm working with. QuickTime movies will also render directly in the column, providing a quick way to browse your QT content without having to open up the QuickTime Player.
The normal behavior of dragging a Finder column results in a symetrical resizing of each column within the Finder window. Sometimes a column becomes too narrow to display what you want to see, for instance, both image thumbnail and full filenames in parent directories. When this happens, option-dragging the column grab area allows you to resize the column between the two views and expose the full length of the filename—it's a great feature for a great new way to view content on your file system.
March 9, 2003
Last August I noted Microsoft's release of their Remote Desktop Client for OS X, a tool that lets users on one machine view and interact with the desktop of a remote PC as if they were physically in front of it. This week Microsoft released version 1.01 of this free tool, which can be downloaded here. The update adds the ability to connect to a specific port other than the default port that Windows listens to for RDC connection attempts.
March 8, 2003
A couple quick Flash Player installation and testing tips:
If you are not certain of which Flash Player (or Shockwave Player) version you have installed, Macromedia provides a Test Players page for this purpose. Once the page has loaded, click on the "About" button on the appropriate movie to view your Player version.
Sometimes you need to clean off your machine before testing. Macromedia's Flash support Downloads page hosts Flash uninstallers for Mac, OS X, and Windows platforms. Note that these will remove all versions of Macromedia Flash Player from all the browsers on your machine, so use with care.
March 3, 2003
Flash 6.0r79 Player Released
Today Macromedia released a unified Flash 6.0r79 update today for Mac/OS X, Win, and Linux. The release notes describe or link to information on security and bug fixes along with performance enhancements to live video/audio streams served via Macromedia's Flash Communication Server.
Flash MX authors should also download and install the Flash 6 Player Update (Mac/Win) as the security and bug fixes should be of use in network-aware stand-alone projects as well as those targeted for the web.
I'm hoping that these enhancements allow Mac OS X-based users longer FlashCom video connection times; my experience so far with the previous release has PC-based clients running all day with OS X clients freezing and dropping connections after only a few minutes. Pressing demands have prevented me from exploring this further—I'd appreciate any insight or shared experiences any of you would like to offer.