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Ask TUAW: sending Pages, proxy serving, Finder annoyances and more.

Mat Lu

In this round of Ask TUAW we'll cover a couple of common Finder annoyances. setting up an OS X proxy server, attached Pages documents to emails, watching out for spyware, and more.

As always your suggestions are most welcome, and questions for next week should be left in the comments. And now, to the questions!

Oliver asks

When I try to choose a pages document to attach in an email (I use gmail), OS X doesn't let me (the icon for the document is grayed out and unclickable). Is there a way to stop the OS from doing that, and allow me to attach any type of file, including pages documents? As a note, attaching mp3s does work for me, but I'm dumbfounded by why apple doesn't let me attach pages documents in emails. Haven't they ever run into a situation in which they had to email themselves a document to access on another computer? I'm aware that you can export the file into a microsoft office word document format or zip up the pages document in a compressed folder, but that just seems to be a tedious workaround for a feature that should have been there in the first place.

As a couple of folks have pointed out, the likely reason for this is that a Pages "document" is actually a hidden folder or package. (You can see this yourself if you right-click on a Pages document and selected "Show Package Contents.") Anyway, to deal with this the best way is to compress it into a zip by right-clicking in the Finder and choosing "Compress."

Interestingly, I just tested this myself and I can duplicate your problem with Safari, but I have no trouble attaching a Pages document with Gmail in Camino (it also works fine with Mailplane). So as a workaround you might use either of those.

moburkhardt asks

I am using leopard and Safari 3. Whenever I exit fullscreen mode on an online flash-video-player like youtube and I try to close the active Safari tab with cmd+w Safari want to close the whole active window with all my tabs. Is there a fix for this, am I alone with this problem, and does it exist in Safari for win too?

After you hit ESC you have to click in the tab and before you hit ⌘+w. I don't see a way to do this just from the keyboard, unfortunately.

Will asks

Recently while explaining how Mac OSX is more secure than Windows I was stumped. When you install 3rd party software on a Mac how can you be sure that the program you install isn't going to do malicious things (keylogging, spamming, etc.)? In other words, what is it about the Mac OS that keeps a program from acting as spyware?

Well, strictly speaking, you can't be sure. However, OS X will not allow this kind of malicious software to be installed behind the scenes, as it were. In other words, it will pop up a dialog box asking for an Administrator password to install these sorts of things. But in the end you, as a user, do have to use some discretion. If you allow it to install a malicious program then there's nothing the OS can do.

Now if you're really paranoid about this sort of thing there are something you can do. Perhaps, best would be to install Little Snitch ($24.95) from Objective Development. This little firewall will tell you when any application on your Mac is accessing the internet. So if you see something unusual you can then investigate further or block it. At the end of the day, however, the user is the weakest link (of any OS) and if you authorize an install of a malicious program as an Administrator there's nothing OS X (or any other OS) can do to stop you.

dvcampdude asks

I'm glad the windoz days are behind me and there is pretty much nothing I miss, except for one thing. In finder I would like the list view(and maybe other views) to put all the folders first in a-z order and THEN the files in a-z after that. Of course this is when you have it sorted by name, and in ascending order. This seems to make drilling down into folders quicker. I may have seen a comment somewhere to rename folders to come up on top, but I don't want to put useless "a"s in front of folder names. Any help would be great, TUAW has already made my Mac transition a breeze.

For better or worse the Finder will not allow you to do this. Path Finder ($34.95) from Cocoatech has a "Smart Sorting" option that will allow you to put the folders at the top. If you're really used to Windows you might also like to check out Forklift ($29.95) which has a nice, modern OS X two-pane Orthodox File Manager.

FunFred asks

I am looking to turn my Mac into a proxy server for while I am at school (my school blocked Digg, if you can believe it). Anyway, I am wondering if there is any way this can be achieved. You should know that I have an Airport Express (I don't know if that complicates the matter, but I think it might).

Probably the easiest thing to do would be to set up a VPN with LogMeIn Hamachi; you'll want to check out this wikipage for installing on OS X.

Another option is to use SquidMan; here's a helpful tutoral that should get you started.

Of course if all you want to do is access websites like Digg, you might be able to use a public proxy server. A little Googling should turn you onto something.

Dewey asks

How do I set a default size/shape for my finder window? I set the size to what I want it to be, close the window, reopen it and the size is back to what it was before I resized it. It's kind of annoying.

Basically, you can't do this with the default Finder; it's a longstanding gripe among OS X users. As we covered earlier, however, you might want to check out the Finder Window Manager.

Shawn asks

What's the easiest way I can move music I have on my ipod to my new mac? I used to have a pc, but then got a mac. I find myself constantly changing the names of songs, but on a mac, there is no F2 key, and the enter/return key (in itunes) only selects a song, it doesn't rename it. Is there an easier way to rename my songs. Also, I would really appreciate a way to actually move all the songs on my ipod to my new mac.

Your question is a little bit confused. I take it there are two questions here: 1) how to move music from an iPod to a Mac? 2) How to rename songs in iTunes.

1) There are a bunch of applications out there that will do this. I'll just name one: Senuti (donationware).

2) You can rename a song either by clicking on the name (just like the Finder), or you can hit ⌘+I to bring up the Get Info window.

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