The Low End Mac Mailbag

Adding Keyboard Shortcuts in OS X, Pismo vs. MacBook Air, Horrid Microsoft Customer Support, and More

Dan Knight - 2008.01.24 - Tip Jar

How to Create New Keyboard Shortcuts in OS X

From Rudy Lizcano:

Hi Dan,

I'm responding to Mike Sheridan's comment on the 'Mac Switcher Mistakes' article concerning keyboard shortcuts:

"I've been looking around for someone that has a program and mappings that control common actions in OS X w/ the same or similar keystrokes as I use in XP."

I don't remember where I read this, but OS X does have a way to create new Menu keyboard shortcuts for any menu item for any program. Although I've never had a reason to try this tip, I'm using OS 10.3.9 but this should work in any OS X version.

To create a new Menu keyboard shortcut:

  1. Open "System Preferences",
  2. Click on "Keyboard & Mouse" icon,
  3. Click on the "Keyboard Shortcuts" button,
  4. Click on the box near the bottom that has a "+" (plus sign) in it,
  5. From the drop down menu, choose the application you want your new menu keyboard shortcut to apply to, or choose "All Applications" if you want your new menu keyboard shortcut to apply to all of your applications,
  6. In the "Menu Title" field, type in the Menu command name you want to call your keyboard shortcut,
  7. In the "Keyboard Shortcut" field, type in your keyboard shortcut keys using any combination of the "Ctrl", "Option" and "Command" keys (but not just the "Command" key) plus any keyboard key,
  8. Click on the "Add" button,
  9. Close the "Keyboard & Mouse" preference pane,
  10. Your done!

The "Keyboard & Mouse" preference pane also allows you to change default keyboard shortcuts by simply double-clicking on the shortcut and holding down the new keyboard keys you want to use for the shortcut.

Also, you can always use the "Restore Defaults" button if you want to restore the default keyboard key shortcuts.

Rudy Lizcano

Rudy,

Thanks for the info!

Dan

MacBook Air Not for Power Users

From Chris Waldrip:

Hey Dan,

I keep seeing people posting that they're upset there's no built-in ethernet on the MacBook Air, and I have to ask if they've noticed the optional USB-to-ethernet [adapter]. I missed it the day the MBA was announced, but it was pointed out to me and my last real concern was answered.

Yes, it's $30. Seems silly not to include it as a standard item in the box. And maybe it'll be added eventually. But then again most of the prospective users in my office will be happy enough with wireless.

For anyone crying that it doesn't offer gigabit ethernet capability, well, they're probably the same bemoaning the lack of a FireWire port or additional USB ports, etc. These users aren't the target audience. If you need Internet (email/web), office apps (Office/iWork/TextEdit), casual gaming, etc., then you're looking at the MacBook Air. If you need more than casual gaming, Final Cut Pro, or serious apps like that, then look at the MacBook (well Final Cut Express) or MacBook Pro.

-Chris Waldrip

Chris,

As Andrew Fishkin points out in today's column, Is the MacBook Air This Road Warrior's Dream Machine?, all ultralight notebook computers have to trade off features for the sake of size, weight, and battery life. Apple chose to go thin with a 13.3" display and full-sized keyboard, providing 5 hours of battery life by leaving out the SuperDrive, the FireWire port (nice, but a power hog), additional USB ports (each requires a minimum amount of power), ethernet, and so forth.

As far as power goes, the 1.6 GHz Core 2 Duo MacBook Air is going to outperform any PowerPC Mac ever made and hold its own against the first generation MacBook with its 1.83 GHz and 2.0 GHz Core Duo. Sure, the latest "Santa Rosa" MacBooks are 400 MHz faster, but that's just 20% - not a big deal. If you're working on a video that takes 2 hours to process on the MacBook, it might take 2-1/2 on the MacBook Air, but with a project like that, you usually start the job going and find something else to do while it runs. And those aren't the kind of jobs most people would expect to do on an ultralight notebook.

Dan

Pismo vs. MacBook Air

From Ken Smidy in response to MacBook Air: What Do You Do When There's No WiFi?:

I believe your Pismo will not run the latest Leopard, Microsoft Office, or other software. It is also probably slower than a turtle.

I speak from experience. I have a PowerBook G3 FireWire with high speed Internet. As soon as the next generation iMac comes out, I will be getting one. While I may be slow, old, but steady, I want something more in my computer. The great thing about Apple is we have a number of choices to best fit our needs. The MBA is obviously not right for either of us.

However, I am glad you are happy with your computer.

Ken

Ken,

With a G4 upgrade, Pismo can run Leopard (you'll need to hack the installer). It supports up to 1 GB of RAM and 7200 rpm hard drives, which can really help unleash any version of OS X. And Office 2008 is compatible with a g4-upgraded Pismo that has 512 MB of RAM.

No, it's probably not speedy with Leopard, and Office 2004 is already sluggish enough, but as long as its fast enough for what you need to do, keep on truckin' with the old PowerBook.

Dan

MBA SuperDrive and MacBooks

Dan,

Do you think the MacBook Air's external SuperDrive would make a nice, low cost part source for an internal replacement for MacBooks and earlier laptops, to upgrade their Combo drives and to replace dead SuperDrives?

Timothy Sipples

Timothy,

Good question. Apple's website indicates that the drive requires a MacBook Air, but as it's a USB device, I can't imagine that it wouldn't work with any Mac with a USB port - although perhaps not as a boot drive.

I suspect it's the same 8x dual-layer mechanism found in regular MacBooks. If so, it ought to be possible to swap out a Combo drive and install it, but that's just conjecture until someone takes one apart.

Dan

Shame on Microsoft Customer Service

From Todd Neely:

Shame on Microsoft for tricky purchase tactics. Those that purchased Office '08 Media Edition via Microsoft's special offer may be getting the shaft. I received a confirmation email weeks ago after I submitted all the needed documents. the email gave 3 options:

  1. do nothing
  2. respond and tell them you actually want the product
  3. cancel

Essentially, you have to read the email very carefully and realize that you have to send a response if you want to receive the product. Those that didn't respond won't be getting the product, because, as listed in their first sentence, the product is not currently available as noted in an email I received today:

Thank you for your recent order. The product listed below is currently out of stock. The new expected ship date for your product is 2/18/2008.

And guess what . . . that email gave me the same options as the first email . . . I had to send them a response email saying I still wanted the product!!!!!!!!

Shame on Microsoft.

Below are the emails which I colored.

Email 1

Dear XXXXXX:

Thank you for your recent order. The product listed below is currently out of stock.

Microsoft Corp Order #XXXXXX

Part/Sku #FWA-00013 OFFICE MAC MEDIA EDITION 2008 EN DV

The new expected ship date for your product is 1/28/2008.

If you wish to receive this product, if available by the new expected ship shown above, NO RESPONSE IS REQUIRED.

If you no longer wish to receive this product, you may cancel your order by responding to this e-mail and placing an X in front of option #1 below or by contacting our customer service department at 506-694-4328.

If we are unable to ship this product by the new expected ship date shown, but you wish to receive the product when it becomes available, you may update your order by responding to this e-mail and placing an X in front of option #2 below or by contacting our customer service department at 506-694-4328.

To respond to this e-mail communication:

Click the reply button in your e-mail application
Place an X in front of either option #1 or #2
Click the send button in your e-mail application

Please choose from the following by placing an X in front of the desired action:

#1 ___ Please CANCEL MY ORDER and issue a refund, if applicable.

#2 ___ Please SHIP MY ORDER when it becomes available, even if after the new expected ship date. I understand that I may still cancel my order at any time before you ship the product to me by contacting 506-694-4328.

This address is the SHIP TO address currently in our records. If your SHIP TO address has been changed or is incorrect, please contact our customer service department at 506-694-4328 and a representative will be happy to update your order.

XXXXXXX
XXXXXX
XXXX

Thank you for your interest in Microsoft products,

The Microsoft Customer Service Team

Email 2

From: <BOPS@one.microsoft.upgrade.com>

Date: January 24, 2008 2:37:13 AM EST

To: xxxxxxxxxxx

Subject: Microsoft Back Order Update

Dear xxxxxxxxxxx:

Thank you for your recent order. The product listed below is currently out of stock.

Microsoft Corp Order #xxxxxxxxxxxxx

Item ID #FWA-00062 OFFICE MAC MEDIA EDITION 2008 EN DV

The new expected ship date for your product is 2/18/2008.

If you still wish to receive this product, if available by the new expected ship date shown above, please let us know by responding to this e-mail and placing an X in front of option #1 below, or by contacting our customer service department at 506-694-4328. If you do not respond to this e-mail or contact our customer service department within 30 days, your order will be cancelled and a refund issued, if applicable.

If you wish to receive the product when it becomes available, even if after the expected ship date, you may update your order by responding to this e-mail and placing an X in front of option #2 below, or by contacting our customer service department at 506-694-4328.

To respond to this e-mail communication:

Click the Reply button in your e-mail application
Place an X in front of either option #1 or #2
Click the send button in your e-mail application

Please choose from the following by placing an X in front of the desired action:

#1 ___ Please SHIP MY ORDER if the product is available by the new expected ship date.

#2 ___ Please SHIP MY ORDER when it becomes available, even if after the new expected ship date shown. I understand that I may still cancel my order at any time before you ship the product to me by contacting 506-694-4328.

This address is the SHIP TO address currently in our records. If your SHIP TO address has changed or is incorrect, please contact our customer service department at 506-694-4328 and a representative will be happy to update your order.

XXXXXX
XXXXXX
XXXXXX

Thank you for your interest in Microsoft products,

The Microsoft Customer Service Team

Microsoft highly recommends that users with Internet access update their Microsoft software to better protect against viruses and security vulnerabilities. The easiest way to do this is to visit the following website: http://www.Microsoft.com/protect

Todd,

You have to understand one thing: You're dealing with Microsoft. If you don't want to put up with this kind of horrible customer service, order through Amazon.com or one of the online retailers specializing in Macs. You'll even save $50 and get free shipping through Amazon.com.

Dan

Unsupported Leopard on 800 MHz G4 iMac

From D:

Hey there,

I installed Leopard on an iMac G4 17" with an 800 MHz processor and 712 MB RAM. I believe my card is an Nvidia G4. I did the ol' switch in the firmware, clocked my CPU to 866.

There's plenty of screen issues, artifacts. Finder is incredibly slow in the photo file search mode. Overall I feel Tiger runs better, but isn't the eye candy that Leopard is....

D

D,

Yes, the graphics processor is an Nvidia GeForce 4 MX. Thanks for the report, especially about the artifacts you're seeing on the screen.

Dan

There's a few more issues:

For whatever reason the firmware won't allow me to put the processor back to 800 mhz, weird!

At the end the leopard install, a message appeared stating the install did not complete. I re installed and the same msg appeared.

Boot up is 4 + minutes too.

Thanks for posting the info, it was very useful to read people's experiences.

Thanks

Thanks, David! Long bootup is not uncommon with Nvidia graphics. The fix is to remove AppleHWSensor.kext from /System/Library/Extensions, and the delay goes away.

Dan

ATX Mobo in Power Mac Case

From Alex Hughes:

Hey Dan,

I have been reading a lot about the "Hackintosh" projects and was wondering if there is a way to build one using an older Power Mac G4 case instead of a PC case? I guess making an ATX motherboard fit the case and aligning the ports on the backside would be the biggest obstacle. I would appreciate any insight. Thanks...

Alex Hughes

Alex,

It's probably more trouble than it's worth, but at least your Hackintosh would look like a Macintosh. You'll need to put in different mounting hardware for the motherboard and may have to replace the power supply or hack the power connector. And after all that, ports and such probably won't line up nicely. The more practical, although less aesthetically pleasing, solution would be to put an Apple sticker on a nice ATX enclosure.

Dan

Dan,

Thanks for the advice! I did some research online and came to the same conclusions you did. Lots of modification and hassle involved. I have a PC case available to me that takes ATX board so I will probably go that route if I pursue the "Hackintosh" project. It has a 400 watt power supply included, is that enough power to run all the components do you think?

Appreciate the quick response!

Alex

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Dan Knight has been publishing Low End Mac since April 1997. Mailbag columns come from email responses to his Mac Musings, Mac Daniel, Online Tech Journal, and other columns on the site.

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