Miscellaneous Ramblings

Short Takes

Charles W. Moore - 1999.11.05

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 changed from just plain 'MacsBug' to "MacsBug App,' so when you drop it in your System Folder, there is no prompt asking you if you want to replace the older version. You have to manually drag any previous MacsBug version out." (This paragraph has been removed from the earlier article to avoid confusion.)

This was, as the British say, a "load of codswallop," albeit written in the best of faith. As I noted in the article, I am no programmer, and while I've been using MacsBug for years as a crash and lockup recovery utility, but I've never used it for its real purpose, which is debugging code.

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

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

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

What threw me off was Apple's putting it in the top level of the folder. I checked the older version of MacsBug on my PowerBook 5300, and there is nary a sign of anything called MacsBugApp in the folder. Oh well, live and learn. I have now banished MacsBugApp from 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 would have been a good idea to include information about how to enter and leave MacsBug without force quitting or restarting. He's quite right, although I usually don't go to MacsBug unless I get there due to a crash, or want to force quit/restart.

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

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 any inconvenience.

PictTrasher 1.5.1: A Quick Way to Edit Your Graphics Archives

If you, like me, have hundreds of graphics files with cryptic names on your hard drive, you're gonna love PictTrasher, a little freeware utility by Marc Boon that opens and previews not only PICTs but various other graphics formats well, giving you the option of sending unwanted ones to the trash with a mouse click

With PictTrasher, you can quickly browse through your image files, deciding which ones you want to keep and which ones you want to get rid of. The latest PictTrasher version 1.5 adds minor new features and is a first step towards integrating QuickSlider, Marc Boon's slide show application. The update 1.5.1 speeds up the full screen display when previews are available and adds a magnifying feature.

System requirements:

Marc says that. PictTrasher should run on any Macintosh running System 7 or 8. The latest version has been tested only on 8.6. It's not tested for Mac OS 9, since he doesn't have it (yet), and "donations will be gratefully received." A Power Mac is recommended to make PictTrasher run at a decent speed but it should also run on 68k machines. QuickTime version 2.5 or better is required. 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 my WallStreet 233. This is very cool, and I look forward to weeding out my image archive folder as soon as I get a spare moment. (Dream on!) I did find that PictTrasher refused to open GIFs and JPEGs with the creator type JVWR, but I got a dialog telling me that there was some component of QuickTime 4 (I have only the minimal installation) that is missing. Presumably, downloading that would make the JVWR creator images accessible. I also had trouble with some 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 adds PNG to that list. Other formats depend on what other QuickTime Components you have installed on your machine. He suggests that when you run into a file that PictTrasher refuses to open, make sure to try opening it in GraphicConverter or some other full-fledged graphics software before consigning it to the trash.

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

After opening the files, you will be presented with a dialog shOwning apreview of the current file's contents in the box on the left. If a file is unreadable or a format that QuickTime doesn't handle, an ASCII dump of the first 600 bytes or so will be shown in this area. If you double click on the image, a full size view will be presented. Your screen will go black and the image will be shown full size (in the centre of your main screen that is, hold down the alt/option key while clicking to get a full screen version). Click the mouse once again to get rid of it. If the current file is a movie, the standard movie controller will be shown. Click outside the image to dismiss it.

You can also drag the small preview out of the window, to a clippings file or any other application that can handle picture drags. If you drag the small preview image to the icon, a QuickTime preview and a custom icon will be created and added to the file. A little icon to the right of the area indicates the file has a preview.

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

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

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

Most Actions items can also be handled by the keyboard. Hold down Command to see some keyboard shortcuts. In addition to the ones shown, you can use the space bar or right arrow to press the default button and you can press the 'O' key to view the image full screen. The delete key will move the current file to the Trash and continue with the next file in the run.

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

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

The Create custom icon item, well, creates custom icons (i.e. a tiny version of the image). However, Marc says that such icons are not always as good as possible since it uses the same method as the Finder and the icon masks are usually wrong (they should be completely black...).

The View All item creates a full screen image of all files in the current run, however it will only be in the menu if there are more than 1 files in the current run. This will take some time to create, says Marc, but one by one the images will come in. When it's done, or you cancelled, you can choose from the menu that comes up when the mouse is clicked. If you hold down the option/alt key, the cursor will change to a magnifying glass and you can see enlarged previews while you click AND hold, there may be a delay while the program reads in the file. If you choose to save the screen, a JPEG file will be saved, a HTML image map will be created at the same time. You can use this as a permanent index for a CD full of images, for example. Marc says that this feature is not yet final but could be useful anyway, although there may be problems with the way it handles pathnames and such.

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

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

This version of PictTrasher is freeware. However, if you like this application and find it really useful, Marc says that any donation will be appreciated. He also would be interested in hearing suggestions and ideas as to what users would like to see added or refined in future versions of PictTrasher.

Battery Reset Version 2.0 Chases Bug in PowerBook G3 Series and iBook

Apple has released a downloadable patch called Battery Reset 2.0 that addresses a situation that may occur with some PowerBook G3 Series and iBook computers in which the battery, even though it is installed, doesn't show up in the Control Strip, or a red X appears over 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 is located on the label on the bottom of the computer.

You can read about it and download the patch in Apple TIL article 11542.