Miscellaneous Ramblings

Short Takes

Charles Moore - 1999.11.05 -Tip Jar

Correction to MacsBug Article

There was a major error in MacsBug 6.6 -Apple's Free 'Crash Utility' published here earlier this week.In the penultimate paragraph, I wrote:

"Note that the name of the MacsBug application has been changedfrom just plain 'MacsBug' to "MacsBug App,' so when you drop it inyour System Folder, there is no prompt asking you if you want toreplace the older version. You have to manually drag any previousMacsBug version out." (This paragraph has been removed from theearlier article to avoid confusion.)

This was, as the British say, a "load of codswallop," albeitwritten in the best of faith. As I noted in the article, I am noprogrammer, and while I've been using MacsBug for years as a crashand lockup recovery utility, but I've never used it for its realpurpose, which is debugging code.

When I downloaded MacsBug 6.6 and looked in the folder, therewas the familiar lit bomb icon with the legend "MacsBugApp." "Aha,"thought I, having not seen this nomenclature before, "they musthave changed the name," and I proceeded to trash the previousMacsBug that was in my System Folder and replaced it withMacsBugApp from the MacsBug 6.6 folder, just as I suggested in thearticle. In retrospect, this was not one of my better bits ofreasoning.

Anyway, I soon heard from several readers with more knowledge ofMacsBug than I, explaining that there has been no name change, andthat MacsBugApp is an entirely different entity from MacsBug, whichwas indeed still there in the folder entitled "into System Folder."Duh.

In fact, as I am now aware, MacsBugApp is a standaloneapplication mainly meant for debugging 'dcmd's.

What threw me off was Apple's putting it in the top level of thefolder. I checked the older version of MacsBug on my PowerBook5300, and there is nary a sign of anything called MacsBugApp in thefolder. Oh well, live and learn. I have now banished MacsBugAppfrom my System Folder and replaced it with the proper MacsBug 6.6.Please do likewise if you followed my erroneous closing advice.

Before I leave the topic, another reader suggested that it wouldhave been a good idea to include information about how to enter andleave MacsBug without force quitting or restarting. He's quiteright, although I usually don't go to MacsBug unless I get theredue to a crash, or want to force quit/restart.

Type "g" for go to exit the MacsBug window and return to theFinder.

Command + PowerKey toggles MacsBug mode

Type "ea" to exits to application in case the finder has crashed(the finder is the shell)

Thanks to all who wrote, and apologies for anyinconvenience.

PictTrasher 1.5.1: A Quick Way to Edit YourGraphics Archives

If you, like me, have hundreds of graphics files with crypticnames on your hard drive, you're gonna love PictTrasher,a little freeware utility by Marc Boon that opens and previews notonly PICTs but various other graphics formats well, giving you theoption of sending unwanted ones to the trash with a mouse click

With PictTrasher, you can quickly browse through your imagefiles, deciding which ones you want to keep and which ones you wantto get rid of. The latest PictTrasher version 1.5 adds minor newfeatures and is a first step towards integrating QuickSlider, MarcBoon's slide show application. The update 1.5.1 speeds up the fullscreen display when previews are available and adds a magnifyingfeature.

System requirements:

Marc says that. PictTrasher should run on any Macintosh runningSystem 7 or 8. The latest version has been tested only on8.6. It's not tested for Mac OS 9, since he doesn't have it (yet),and "donations will be gratefully received." A Power Mac isrecommended to make PictTrasher run at a decent speed but it shouldalso run on 68k machines. QuickTime version 2.5 or better isrequired. with version 3.0 or higher recommended.

I found that PictTrasher works pretty much as advertised,opening PICTs, and most GIFs and JPEGs almost instantly on myWallStreet 233. This is very cool, and I look forward to weedingout my image archive folder as soon as I get a spare moment. (Dreamon!) I did find that PictTrasher refused to open GIFs and JPEGswith the creator type JVWR, but I got a dialog telling me thatthere was some component of QuickTime 4 (I have only the minimalinstallation) that is missing. Presumably, downloading that wouldmake the JVWR creator images accessible. I also had trouble withsome PhotoShop files that wouldn't open.

Marc notes that QuickTime 2.5 and greater can handle PICT,JPEG/JFIF, GIF, Photoshop, BMP, and SGI files. QuickTime 3.0 addsPNG to that list. Other formats depend on what other QuickTimeComponents you have installed on your machine. He suggests thatwhen you run into a file that PictTrasher refuses to open, makesure to try opening it in GraphicConverter or some otherfull-fledged graphics software before consigning it to thetrash.

To use PictTrasher, just select files (or folders) in the Finderand drag them onto the PictTrasher application icon, (the one inthe MacOS Application Switcher works nicely) all files in a folderwill be handled. If you drag many items on it, there will be ashort delay while the files are sorted in order.

After opening the files, you will be presented with a dialogshOwning apreview of the current file's contents in the box on theleft. If a file is unreadable or a format that QuickTime doesn'thandle, an ASCII dump of the first 600 bytes or so will be shown inthis area. If you double click on the image, a full size view willbe presented. Your screen will go black and the image will be shownfull size (in the centre of your main screen that is, hold down thealt/option key while clicking to get a full screen version). Clickthe mouse once again to get rid of it. If the current file is amovie, the standard movie controller will be shown. Click outsidethe image to dismiss it.

You can also drag the small preview out of the window, to aclippings file or any other application that can handle picturedrags. If you drag the small preview image to the icon, a QuickTimepreview and a custom icon will be created and added to the file. Alittle icon to the right of the area indicates the file has apreview.

If you double click the icon, the image will be opened in thedefault application (i.e. the application associated with thefile's creator code). Hold down the option key to open it in theapplication set to handle files of this type in Internet Config, orthe Internet control panel in MacOS 8.5 and up.

Other data presented in the dialog window are the size of thefile, the read speed in milliseconds and kb/sec (for previews, onlyin milliseconds), the dimensions (in pixels), date of lastmodification, date of creation, the Mac file type and creator, theicon it has in the Finder and possible comments contained in theimage (only for GIF and JPEG files).

Clicking on the counter brings up a list of all files in thecurrent run.

Most Actions items can also be handled by the keyboard. Holddown Command to see some keyboard shortcuts. In addition to theones shown, you can use the space bar or right arrow to press thedefault button and you can press the 'O' key to view the image fullscreen. The delete key will move the current file to the Trash andcontinue with the next file in the run.

If you have Contextual Menus installed, hold down the controlkey to get a Contextual Menu over the preview image (left) or overthe icon (right). If you don't have CM installed, as in System 7versions, you will get this menu if you hold down the control keyand click within the areas, i.e. it mimics the System 8 behavior.The menus for System 8 and up will look like this, depending onwhat's installed on your machine:

The Create preview item creates a QuickTime compressed previewpicture that will show up in open dialogs in any application thathas the ability to show these. This works for ALL files, properimage or not!

The Create custom icon item, well, creates custom icons (i.e. atiny version of the image). However, Marc says that such icons arenot always as good as possible since it uses the same method as theFinder and the icon masks are usually wrong (they should becompletely black...).

The View All item creates a full screen image of all files inthe current run, however it will only be in the menu if there aremore than 1 files in the current run. This will take some time tocreate, says Marc, but one by one the images will come in. Whenit's done, or you cancelled, you can choose from the menu thatcomes up when the mouse is clicked. If you hold down the option/altkey, the cursor will change to a magnifying glass and you can seeenlarged previews while you click AND hold, there may be a delaywhile the program reads in the file. If you choose to save thescreen, a JPEG file will be saved, a HTML image map will be createdat the same time. You can use this as a permanent index for a CDfull of images, for example. Marc says that this feature is not yetfinal but could be useful anyway, although there may be problemswith the way it handles pathnames and such.

If you also have Marc's QuickSlider installed, a menu itemcalled Slide Show will be added. Choose this to run a slide show ofthe current files in QuickSlider.

In Full Screen Mode you can still select files you wish to moveto the Trash, just choose the appropriate item from the menu. A redoutline with a little trash can is drawn around the image.

This version of PictTrasher is freeware. However, if you likethis application and find it really useful, Marc says that anydonation will be appreciated. He also would be interested inhearing suggestions and ideas as to what users would like to seeadded or refined in future versions of PictTrasher.

Battery Reset Version 2.0 Chases Bug inPowerBook G3 Series and iBook

Apple has released a downloadable patch called Battery Reset 2.0that addresses a situation that may occur with some PowerBook G3Series and iBook computers in which the battery, even though it isinstalled, doesn't show up in the Control Strip, or a red X appearsover the battery icon in the menu bar.

This bug may affect the PowerBook G3 Series (Wall Street and Lombard) or iBook computers. The family number islocated on the label on the bottom of the computer.

You can read about it and download the patch in Apple TILarticle 11542. LEM

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Charles Moore has been a freelance journalist since 1987 and began writing for Mac websites in May 1998. His The Road Warrior column was a regular feature on MacOpinion, he is news editor at Applelinks.com and a columnist at MacPrices.net. If you find his articles helpful, please consider making a donation to his tip jar.

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