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Somewhat Useless Mac Tricks

System 7.5: go to the Note Pad and type Secret About Box and then select what you have typed. Drag the selected text to the desktop and release. You can play until you click the mouse. The names are those of people who worked on versions of the Finder over the years. Note: Apple removed this in System 7.5.1 and 7.5.2, which is sad. Uses: it is a free game!

System 7.5: while in the Finder, hold down the Option key and then select About The Finder under the Apple menu. You will get a black and white graphic, from the original release version of the Mac Finder in 1984. Wait a bit and the major contributors to the Finder over the past 10 years will scroll by. If you hold down Command-Option while selecting this, you'll get a strange pointer in addition to the original Finder graphic. Uses: instilling a sense of history.

Calculator desk accessory (7.x): press E before typing in something, and the calculator uses scientific notation. If you press E, then 9999, then Enter, you get the name of a Japanese luxury car. (Well, sorta.) Uses: finally getting a handle on all your grade school math homework.

Stickies desk accessory (7.5): type Antler! in a new note (nothing else) and press return. Drag the lower right corner to see the entire picture. Uses: can't think of any at all.

Desktop Patterns control panel (7.5): hold down the Option key and the button on the bottom will allow you to change the background pattern of the Calculator, Find File, Jigsaw Puzzle and other common utilities and pieces. Uses: why not?

MacTCP control panel: if you are using version 2.0.4 and have an active Ethernet connection, Option-clicking on the Ethernet icon will return the unique Ethernet (not IP, but Ethernet) number of the installed card. Little known fact: all Ethernet cards in the world are required to have unique numbers. Uses: useful diagnostic information.

Map control panel: the System 7 map is actually useful, giving you Great Circle distances between points, calculating local time (provided the clock is set right), etc. If you copy the color map in the Scrapbook, you can Paste it into the Map control panel and it will fit -- exactly. If you press Option-Find, you can scroll through all the cities entered into the Map. If you find Mid, you'll be taken to a unique location. Uses: easier to find than an atlas.

Puzzle desk accessory (7.0): you can paste any picture into the Puzzle, and it will be sized to fit. You can also copy the picture from the Puzzle, and look at the clipboard to see what it will look like solved. Uses: variety.

Jigsaw Puzzle desk accessory (7.5): you can paste any picture into the Jigsaw Puzzle, and it will be sized to fit. You may have to increase the memory allocation of the Jigsaw Puzzle to handle large pictures. Uses: variety.

QuickTime 1.0: turn on Balloon Help and point to the QuickTime file. You'll see: "time n. A nonspatial continuum in which events occur in apparently irreversible succession from the past to the present to the future." Uses: can't think of any.

Simple Player 1.0: hold down Option as you select About Simple Player...The two movie frames now have grayscaled cats in them. Uses: homage to the true rulers of Earth.

ResEdit 2.x: hold down Shift+Option+Command as you select About ResEdit... You get the chance to enter "pig mode," and the Mac makes the sound of a pig: "oink-oink-oink." In Pig Mode, resources are compacted and purged each time ResEdit goes through its event loop, several times a second. Uses: while this purges resources, it also makes ResEdit run very slowly.

Macintosh Classic network boot: hold down Command-Option-x-o at startup. The Classic will create an internal "boot" disk in the ROM using System 6.0.3, which is generally useless. Except -- this is a network boot disk, and will allow you to connect directly to a LocalTalk network without using a floppy or hard disk. Uses: emergency access to a network; freaking out the network manager.

Macintosh IIci design team: set the system date to 9/20/89, (release date of the IIci), set your monitor to 8-bit color, then restart while holding Command+Option+c+i. A color picture of the IIci design team will be shown on your screen. Click the mouse to continue and remember to reset the correct date. Uses: impressing the PC users at the office.

Macintosh IIfx: set the date to 3/19/90 (the date the IIfx was released), make sure the monitor is set to 8-bit color, restart the machine and hold down Command-Option-f-x. A color picture of the design team is displayed. Be sure and reset the date before doing anything useful. Uses: impressing the PC users at the office.

Power Mac car wreck: while the Mac is booting, press the Interrupt button. Note: this is a LOUD sound, and it doesn't seem to make any difference how loud you have the Sound control panel set. Uses: terrorizing your coworkers.

Zap PRAM (7.0; not legal in Britain): to zap (reset) your PRAM (parameter RAM), reboot your computer while holding down Command-Option-p-r (use all four hands for this). You can stop holding down keys when you hear a second startup chime.

Zap PRAM (6.0; not legal in Britain): hold down Command-Shift-Option while opening the Control Panel.

WHY would you EVER want to zap your PRAM?: assuming you don't have a British baby buggy, you might wish to zap your PRAM if you are having strange errors you can't attribute to anything else and are getting desperate. Parameter RAM hold special settings used by your computer, such as its latitude and longitude (if you've properly set up the Map control panel), time and date (if you've properly set the time and date), mouse tracking speed, keyboard repeat rate, etc. These settings are maintained by a battery in your computer, so they don't disappear even when the machine is turned off or unplugged. HOWEVER, after zapping your PRAM, your mouse will probably be very slow and certain other settings might be off, so check all your Control Panel settings after performing this task.

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Updated Oct. 15, 1995 by LC