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Ask TUAW: Apple TV, Blu-ray on the Mac, solving SIMBL problems, and more

Mat Lu

For this Ask TUAW we'll be considering questions about the Apple TV, MobileMe from addresses, Blu-ray on the Mac, automatically converting video formats, SIMBL plugin problems 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 Mac 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!

Matt asks

I have an Intel iMac (Rev C, late 2007) running Leopard. I have been trying to find out, without much luck, whether it would be capable of Blu-Ray playback, should Apple ever end up supporting it. I know there are specific hardware requirements that need to be met, beyond the inclusion of compatibility in the OS. So if Apple did add Blu-Ray support to OSX, and I added an external BD drive would this version of the iMac be able to play back BD Video discs?

I'm not entirely sure what other "hardware requirements" you have in mind. The main limitation at this point is software. There is no Blu-ray playback software for OS X because the DRM would have to be integrated into the OS; external drives are available which will allow you to play Blu-ray movies in Windows using PowerDVD Ultra. So you can play Blu-ray movies right now on an Intel Mac if you use Boot Camp. As for whether your particular machine has the chops to do so I would recommend checking out the system requirements for PowerDVD. Now obviously those are for Windows machines, but if your Mac meets the hardware requirements in Windows, it's hard to imagine that it wouldn't work in OS X if and when Apple finally adds Blu-ray support to OS X.

Brandon asks

I have a question. I have some aliases that end in .mac that I use. I want them to end in .me. I know that mail received to the addresses come to me, but when I reply, it is I suspect that it's because the aliases in are set up to end in .mac still. Is there any way to change this, and will it change also in my iPhone? (synced ota to .me)....

I think all you have to do is change the from address in your account preferences. Go to's preferences and then choose the Accounts tab. In the Email Address field, change the address to the version. On your iPhone you just need to do the same thing in the Mail settings (Settings Mail, Contacts, Calendars).

Thomas asks

I've been using a Mac for over 2 years now and I still have trouble renaming files. Is there a simple way of doing it? I do a "slow" double click and half the time it opens it, the other half it doesn't do anything. From my Windows days, I try to right-click and go to rename, but there isn't that option there. I see I can go to Get Info and do it, but that just seems like so much work. So, what am I missing?

If you select a file in the Finder and hit return it will automatically highlight the name and allow you to change it. As I recall (from years ago), Windows will launch a file if you hit return, so it might take a while to stamp out that muscle memory.

Eric asks

I have a dilemma. I want to get either an Apple TV and use the ATV hack (all of my videos are .avi and on an external) or get an older Mac Mini to use as a media center. The main reason being is to use the iPhone Remote app. With an older Mac Mini being more expensive than a 40GB AppleTV, I'm leaning more towards the latter. But will the hacked Apple TV still work with the iPhone Remote app? If I have to go the Mac Mini route I'll probably install Plex and use the XBMC remote but I want to take the least expensive route.

Yes, I found several instances on the aTV forums (search for "iPhone remote") of people successfully using the Remote application with hacked Apple TVs. Keep in mind, of course, that this will only work for the default built-in functions of the Apple TV and not with anything you add through the aTV hack.

I will say that the Mac mini solution will give you considerably more flexibility, but it's hard to argue with the Apple TV if price is your main consideration.

Andy asks

I download Xvid avi videos overnight and they are placed in a completed downloads folder once finished. Is there any way to have iSquint, or any other program convert these to mp4 files automatically when they're completed?

You'll want to use iSquint's big brother VisualHub ($23.32) to accomplish this with a little AppleScript. In fact, the exact workflow you want is available in the VisualHub Automation Primer (pdf link) on page three. You'll use a Folder Action to watch your completed downloads folder and then have it automatically run VisualHub.

MCW asks

I have a MacBook w/ Leopard Version 10.5.5. At some point I tried to install an add-on to Safari. Now, every time I start up Safari, I get a SIMBL Error. The message says: "Safari 3.1.2 (v5525.20.1) has not been tested with the plugin AcidSearch.bundle (null) (v0.62). As a precaution, it has not been loaded. Please contact the plugin developer (not the SIMBL author) for further information". How can I get this error message to stop appearing? I rarely use Safari, but it bugs me all the same that this error keeps appearing. Any ideas?

You just need to delete the AcidSearch.bundle to stop this from happening. You'll find it located either at /Library/Application Support/SIMBL/Plugins or ~/Library/Application Support/SIMBL/Plugins. Browse to those locations in the Finder and delete the bundle. That should stop the error messages. If you want to delete SIMBL altogether you'll find it at /Library/InputManagers/.

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