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Ask TUAW: Migration questions, saving disk space, making audiobooks and more

Mat Lu

In this edition of Ask TUAW we'll be looking at questions about migrating to a new Mac, full screen video, saving disk space on a notebook, coping data from an iPhone back to a Mac, viewing facing pages in Pages, making audiobooks and more.

As always your suggestions are most welcome, and questions for next week should be left in the comments. When asking a question please include which machine you're running and which version of OS X, as certain answers will vary between different Macs and Tiger vs. Leopard, etc. (we'll assume you're running Leopard if you don't specify). And now, on to the questions!

Fernando asks

I'm getting the latest MBP (15-inch/with of course Leopard pre-installed) but right now I'm in a PowerBook 12-inch with Tiger and I need to give (I already sold it) my PB, so I'm making a clone of the HDD with latest SuperDuper, but I have heared of people having issues with migration (both from PowerPC to intel and Tiger to Leopard) so what do you think I should do? I mean, the best way to have all my files/info/prefernces/etc in my new MBP? I also want to keep the latest iLife/iWork and all of my apps in my new MBP too...

In cases like this the best thing is to make sure all the software on the PowerBook is completely updated with Universal versions. The biggest problems I've seen with migration have occurred when trying to use non-universal Preference Pane applications. If you have any of those you might just consider not copying them over (they're located at /Library/PreferencePanes and ~/Library/PreferencePanes). Other than that you should be fine to use either the Migration Assistant to just copy over your user folder and your Application folder.

Ross asks

I have a question about external monitors. I have my MBP (10.5.2) hooked up to my TV. What I originally wanted to be able to do was run Front Row on my TV without affecting my computer screen at all, but it seems that is not possible without moving the Menu Bar (and in effect the dock and the desktop also) to the TV. I could not find any hacks to fix this problem, so I moved onto my next idea. I want to play the movie in iTunes in a separate window, drag that window to my TV, and make it full scree on my TV so I can still do thinks on my computer. The only problem that I run into now is when I press Full Screen, it looks great on the TV but my MBP's screen goes black. Any ideas?

The easiest thing to do is use something else besides iTunes. Neither Quick Time Player nor VLC will blank out the other screen, but Quick Time will go out of Full screen mode if you click on the other screen. So your best bet is probably to use VLC (free).

If the video is already located in iTunes you can reveal its location by right-clicking and choosing "Show in Finder." Then just open it in VLC.

Seth asks

the latest update of (the unregistered version) menucalendarclock now leaves an icon in my dock while the app is running, which in my case is all the time. i don't like it, and i don't think previous versions had this annoyance. is this just something i did to make this happen or is anyone else experiencing the same thing? please help. MenuCalendarClock iCal Edition 3.1.2 on 10.5.2

I was also annoyed by this, but you can easily remove it via the MenuCalendarClock preferences. In the Advanced tab of the Display preferences there is a check box for "Hide Dock Icon" though there's also a warning that this will disable many of the programs keyboard shortcuts.

Michael asks

I have a 2.4 MHz C2D, Macbook Pro with Leopard installed. Is there a way to search through and find any PPC based software, apps, etc. that are just taking up space, and have them deleted? I have Vista with Boot Camp, and so with my drive partitioned I need as much space as I can find.

I don't know of an automated way to do this, but you can see if an application is non-universal by selecting it in the Finder and choosing Get Info. In the General tab it should tell you under Kind whether or not it's Universal. Since you want to save as much space as possible you should just delete any applications that you don't use, whether or not they're universal. In fact, if you want to free up as much space as possible there are a variety of things you can do, like deleting all the non-English localization files with Monolingual, and deleting support files for iMovie and GarageBand (assuming you don't use them). You can find a lot of good suggestions at The X Lab.

Update: Many folks (thanks!) have pointed out you can see all your PPC applications with the System Profiler (/Applications/Utilities). Others have suggested Xslimmer ($11.95) as a way to remove the PPC support from universal applications (and thus make them smaller).

Alex asks

I have a question regarding the Terminal and a MySQL installation. I followed the great tutorial at HiveLogic, everything installed fine and I didn't have any problems with the paths whatsoever (I'm using Leopard). But now if I want to open terminal and use MySQL commands I have to type . ~/.bash_login in order for the correct path to be set and the commands be recognized. I'm sure this is not right, but I don't know how to fix it.

It sounds like you need to add the relevant path to your bash profile. Have a look at this tutorial from MacDevCenter (go down to Customizing Your Environment).


I just got a new computer and I need to sync my contacts, music, videos, etc. from my iPhone to my new computer. Is there any way to sync files from my iPhone onto my computer?

For the contacts you can just sync to the new Mac and select merge. For getting the media files you'll need an application like PodWorks ($8).

Matt asks

I have all my iTunes music on the hard drive on my Macbook, but I also have a large NAS that has my music as well as all my video for other computers and devices to read from. Is there any program that can automatically keep the music folder on my hard drive with the music folder on my NAS in sync? I'd like to be able to just add music to my laptop folder or make changes to the tags and have all those changes reflected on the NAS. I'm running a first generation Macbook running 10.5.2

Provided you can mount the NAS as a volume on your Mac desktop any file syncing software should do the trick for the music. I tend to recommend ChronoSync ($30) for this kind of thing. You'll probably just want to run it on a schedule to keep things in sync. As long as the metadata you want is in the files themselves (e.g. ID3 tags) then that will be copied over as well. However, metadata located in the iTunes database (e.g. playcounts, ratings, etc.) will not be included.

Matt asks

I remember a utility being mentioned a long time ago that will let you create custom triggers. Such as "when Volume A is connected, open file B" or "when iTunes is launched, always launch growlTunes." What was that?

I suspect you're thinking of Do Something When though it hasn't been updated in a while.

DavyG asks

How do we make Pages spread pages? For example: I got a multipage document and want to make the pages span horizontally to fit a widescreen monitor, like in Office 2007. I tried the View button in the top left corner. It doesn't look as if it does what I want.

I assume you just want Pages to display two facing pages. Just click on the view button at the bottom left hand corner of the main document window and select "Two Up."

Micah asks

I am soon to move cross-country to go to a school (Full Sail) to study video, where I will be receiving a brand new MBP. The computer (G4 Mirror Doors) which I use now is shared by my father and I. I would like (need) to have all my applications, utilities, settings, files, Mail, Etc the same on the MBP. Since I will be leaving the G4 here with my father, is there a way to transport this all in a tidy way with an external drive? I know Migration Assistant can restore from an external hard drive that has OS X installed on it, but how do I get it on the drive for easy access

You'll just need to clone the G4's drive onto the external. The best way to do this is with SuperDuper! ($27.95) but you can also get by with the donationware Carbon Copy Cloner.

A. Jay asks

I have some great Audio-Books that are on many CDs, is there some application available for OS X(10.5.2 PPC 12" 1.5ghz/G5 PPC) that would enable me to make one large file, or a few large files that contain chapters? This feature seems to be available on Audio-Books bought from Amazon and such, but I would like to convert from CD-Audio-Book. Thank you in advance for any assistance. (BTW: Douglas Adams' many books are the Audio-Books I call GREAT!!!)

Check out Audiobook Builder ($9.95) from Splasm Software. It should do just about what you want.

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