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ATPM 14.10
October 2008




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Making Preview Useful Again

  1. Another trick I use all the time is Command-N after copying whatever from wherever. That gets you an image with what you had in the clipboard. Then save as PDF, PNG, TIFF, etc.
  2. Another useful PDF manipulation: crop works, too.

—Charles Parnot

• • •

I have not found any manuals for Preview. I’d love to convince Apple or someone else to create a power user manual for Preview. I keep learning more about it, but always in dribs and drabs. Mac OS X Leopard: The Missing Manual by David Pogue has a section on Preview, but it is less than nine pages long. A recent UsingMac article covers some Preview power features, but the nicely illustrated Web page is far from comprehensive.

Could a Preview manual be profitable? Are there many users who would pay $10–$15 for a Preview manual?

—Gregory Tetrault

iPhone App Roundup, GTD

Am I nuts? Why doesn’t Apple’s iPhone support synchronizing with Apple’s iCal’s To-Dos?! I use them for a very fast, very simple GTD application. This seems like a major oversight.


You aren’t nuts. I’d wager more than 90% of iPhone users are stumped as to why Apple has not integrated To-Dos from iCal into the iPhone. Wide speculation suggests it will come, but of course Apple never gives timelines for when features will be added.

—Lee Bennett

Das Keyboard Professional

I had the same key-mapping issue when I started using my unicomp customizer, which has an awesome mechanical key action.

However, I found that by changing the modifier key default keymappings and individual keyboard key mappings, and rebooting, I eventually got it to a state where the settings were retained when switching from one keyboard to the other.

You should experiment a bit with the settings; you may find that it will work for you after all.

—Ray Boehmer

Hard Drives as Floppies

As for speed, I ran a round of tests on a Western Digital WD5001ABYS drive using QuickBench. For small files (under 1 MB), eSATA beat FireWire 800 by about 2× for reads and 3× for writes. For large files (20–100 MB), by about 40% for reads and by roughly 3× for writes.

I see from the screen shots I saved that “write cache purging” was not enabled for these tests, so that may explain the odd write disparity, though why it should only speed up SATA access is puzzling.

Regarding the RTX100H-Q (a “hardened” version of the RTX100-Q)—I’ve been using a pair of these for a couple months now, and am quite happy with them. My entire universe—boot partition and data partitions—are on a 500 GB SATA drive I plug into one RTX100H-Q at home, and into a second at work. I boot from the RTX100H-Q at work (via FireWire 800); at home I boot from an internal 10,000 RPM drive (a Western Digital Raptor) that’s automatically cloned to the external drive’s boot partition each night. And I do my system updates when I’m at home.

—John Beatty

Text Parsing With FileMaker

I cannot thank you enough for putting up such a clear, concise, and understandable article on how to separate out names from within a full name field. I have a database with over 1,000 records and was thinking about doing it by hand.

I searched the Net and most of the hits were “Buy a subscription and I’ll tell you how to do it.” I would have paid someone to help, but those sites looked a bit fishy.

Then I ran into yours. Thank you, once again, for empowering me. You have no idea how thrilled I am that I could do this—though to many it would seem so simple.

You rock!

—Steve Herzberg

Kinesis Advantage Pro

I use two Advantage Pro MPC/USB keyboards on two Mac machines, and I’ve had three of the older PS/2 connector models used with Linux. Every single one of these got or gets stuck keys (Control, Shift, Meta). This is extremely annoying in the Emacs editor. I would have abandoned Kinesis years ago if there were any alternative with as good ergonomics. Very comfortable to use and very flaky with stuck keys.

The suggestion by Kinesis that this is a rare problem is not true. Five out of five of my keyboards from them have had this problem, on different machines and operating systems. No other keyboard I ever used on these same machines has this problem. The Kinesis keyboard electronics or firmware are poorly engineered, and you will encounter stuck keys if you hold down modifier keys a lot as with the Emacs editor.

—Tom Goddard

Grandma’s Life as a Video Star

Thanks for the great article! What a wonderful idea you have to create DVDs of you reading books to your grandkids!

—Shayne Packer

• • •

Thank you for sharing exactly how you make these storytime DVDs for your grandchildren. I have had a similar thought to do so, and I like very much how you accomplish the task.

I, too, am a MacNana.


Harman Kardon Soundsticks II

Buddy, you are on crack.

If half the world had the sort of passion and attention to detail with their job that you have with yours, I could only imagine what sort of world we’d be living in right now.

We’d all be flying emission-free cars with wickedly crisp sounding speakers, no doubt!

Thanks for the review.


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