Make the iBook / MacBook a book

November 20th, 2003

Wouldn’t it be beautiful if we could read on the computer screen as easily as in a book, using the full screen to display our pages and holding the computer vertically like a book. Well, with a iBook (or MacBook) and Preview, we can !

New in Panther is the feature to display a PDF document in full screen. And a PDF document on OS X mean any kind of document, since you can create a PDF out of any application using the Print command (and Preview). Plus, many manuals, technical books and tutorials are already PDF documents.

In Preview, you first need to rotate the document. You can do this using Rotate Left under Show menu (this option is under the Tools menu in rencent versions of Preview). Then choose Full Screen under the same menu (or Slideshow under the View menu in recent versions). To move from page to page, you can use the Up and Down arrows, or just click the Trackpad to get to the next page. Remember to press Escape to exit the full screen mode

Want something that will look more like printed paper and will be easier for the eyes ? Using System Preferences, you can add a calibration for your monitor that will make you screen look just perfect for reading. Go in the Display preferences, choose the Color tab, and click the Calibrate button. You can make the Expert Mode active (extra option at the bottom of the screen) to adjust your monitor colors precisely, but for a quick setting, let this option off. Click Continue twice (you’ll want to leave the first panel as it is) and choose D50 on the Select target white point panel. This will turn you screen in a warm yellowish white that is easier for the eyes, especially for reading. Click Continue, and name your profile to something like “reading”. You’ll be able to switch back to this profile or choose another profile from the Display preference panel in the future.

Notice that you can interrupt your reading session at any time and go to another application by using Command-Tab or Exposé. When doing late readings on my computer using this method, I sometimes find myself grabbing the right corner of the screen and trying to turn the page ! It feels just like a book !

 The iBook as a book

Learn about HFS volumes journaling

November 19th, 2003

An interesting article was published on the journaling of HFS volumes, which is now activated by default on Panther. Offering a protection for data and ensuring a faster restart in the event of crashing, this technology can sometimes slow down a volume which would be used by audio and video application. The article suggests activating it only on the boot volume.

File Journaling on OSX Panther Explained

Use iTunes Smart Playlist to regularly backup your music

November 19th, 2003

Apple published today a Knowledge Base article that suggests a method to regularly backup your music. This can be done in an incremental way, on either a CD or a DVD using iTunes Smart Playlist features. Basically, you set a rule to show music you added to your library after a given date (the date of your last backup). If it contains more songs than what can fit on a single disk, iTunes will take care of separating them on several disks. When ready, you then press the burn button, enter a CD or a DVD and voilà !

Note the date of the backup on the disk, so next time it’ll be easy to find, or prepare the smart list for the next time, and keep it until you have enough songs to backup.

Read the original article.

Tip: Activate a Terminal window by moving the mouse cursor

November 19th, 2003

Tip level : pro

Required : Terminal, Panther

Related link : Switch Terminal window focus with mouse movement

You want to be able to input commands in the Terminal without even making it the frontmost application ? You can if you turn on this hidden feature with the following command :

defaults write com.apple.Terminal FocusFollowsMouse -string YES

Relaunch Terminal before to activate it. If you have more than one Terminal window opened, you’ll be able to enter text in one by moving the cursor above it (notice the window activates when you do this : shadow and title bar appearance are modified). This can even be used when you are in an other application, but it seems to be somehow unpredictable when more than one window is opened (I think you need to wait a few milliseconds for it to work well !).

TextEdit displays multiple pages PDF inside a document!

November 17th, 2003

While preparing my previous text about TextEdit typography features, I was surprised to see a multiple page PDF document appear with scroll bars inside my document window ! Sure seeing two scroll bars one inside the other first feels confusing, but this new option in Panther looks useful to me : a rich text (RTF) document created with TextEdit can become a fancy “wrapper” for your PDF documents. You plan to present several documents for some colleagues to read ? Why not drag them in a TextEdit document and introduce each of them with your own comments ? The reader can quickly overview the documents directly from TextEdit, and double-clic each of them to have the full power of Preview to read the PDF seriously. I think it would be nice for Mail to have a similar feature and allow over-viewing PDF documents directly. But be careful, the document that results will probably only appear correctly on Macs using Mac OS X, since it is not exactly a RTF but a RTFD (some sort of file package you can explore from the finder)

PDF in TextEdit 

TextEdit: advanced typography options

November 16th, 2003

I was working recently on a text that my aunt had written to honor my lost grand-father. I wanted to add this text to my web site, and she wanted to make copies for our family. This text being so important to us, it sure deserved to look great. Using new features in TextEdit, I managed to make it appear really nicely.

I’ll go in detail with all those feature I found and showed to my aunt, but start by telling you how simple this was : I just opened the document with TextEdit, and it looked great ! Sure you’ll find plenty of details here, but these are options, with the default options being just perfect !

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Introduction: Welcome to my Mac OS X Panther weblog !

November 15th, 2003

I thought I should give a short introduction to why I care to write some specific texts about Mac OS X Panther on this weblog and what you should expect to find here. First, you’ve probably guessed it, I think the latest Mac OS is really cool ! It is a pleasure to do my daily work with it, and I wouldn’t exchange it for any other OS out there (not to name one). Since I got my first Mac, I’ve always wanted to do this : a site that would tell the world what’s so marvellous about Macintoshes and the Mac OS. Being a Mac user, you just feel you need to do this Mac-evangelism !

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