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Ask TUAW: Safari, sorting iPhone favorites, finding HD space, battery care and more

Mat Lu

In this edition of Ask TUAW we'll be looking at questions about Safari's autocomplete of URLs, sorting iPhone favorites entries, freeing up HD space, properly caring for a notebook battery, 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!

ianlive asks

I have a question regarding history in Safari. There are times when I type in a web address that I have been to many times and Safari doesn't seem to remember it. Other times, and this is the more important question, I will clear my history and delete my cookies and yet I still get the odd old web address pop up when I start to type. Is there any other area that I need to clear in order to have a clean slate with Safari? Why do some of these persistent websites stick around and where are they hidden in the Finder?

First, I assume you've used the "Reset Safari..." option from the "Safari" menubar item. If so, is it possible that the old websites are in your bookmarks? Keep in mind that you might have some of Safari's default bookmarks around (the ones that Apple includes automatically with each copy of Safari) if you didn't delete them. Have a look in your Bookmarks to see if any of these "persistent" sites appear there.

RogerC asks

On iPhone: Phone > Favorites Is there a way to re-arrange the favorites phone number list? Either by sorting or click n' drag?

Yes; hit the edit button at the top left. Now all your entries will change to a delete icon on the left and three horizontal bars on the right. You can re-arrange them by dragging on the three bars all the way over on the right.

Quenlin asks

Does anyone know of a Mac program that can cut and chop .avi files? I used to use a program called Virtualdub in Windows to do it. All I need to be able to do is open a movie file, be able to select a chunk of the movie, and then save it to a new file, without any kind of file conversion or re-encoding. So far every program i've found wants to re-encode the file.

It's surprisingly difficult to figure out which applications will save without re-encoding. However, I suggest you check out out MPEG Streamclip (free) from Squared 5. It seems to include an option for saving as distinct from exporting (in fact, the download includes a QuickTime component that seems to add this feature to QuickTime Pro as well). Keep in mind, of course, that AVI is a file container (like MOV) and may be used with different codecs. You'll need to make sure you have the correct codec for your particular files.

akfromrhill asks

Regarding freeing hard drive space... I am using a 2.16 Ghz C2D MBP and I have found my 120 GB HD to be filling up quickly these days with photos and music. I would like to free up some space on my hd, but I am concerned with some of the methods talked about on the web. I have read in multiple places online that Monolingual can be very dangerous when using on OS X 10.5 or higher. Is there any other way to free up every so precious hd space?

Do you use GarageBand and iDVD? If not you can easily gain back a couple of gigs by deleting the associated loops and templates (though of course make sure you don't want to use those applications or back them up to an external disk). The loops are at /Library/Audio/ the iDVD themes are at /Library/Application Support/iDVD/. You can also save a gig or so deleting unneeded Printer Drivers at /Library/Printers/. Again, if you do this you won't be able to use any of those printers, so make sure you know what you're deleting before you do so.

Beyond those three easy targets you should get a file size utility like Disk Inventory X (donations requested), WhatSize ($12.99), GrandPerspective (free) or OmniDiskSweeper ($14.95). These applications will scan your HD and show you the largest files. You may discover some surprisingly large files you've forgotten or lost track of. Again, however, don't delete anything if you don't know what is.

Fredrik asks

Can I use Time Machine for redundant backups in different places? I have a Time Capsule in my office, and I'm thinking of getting an other to have at home in order to get automatic redundant backups whenever I bring my mac from one place or the other. Would that work?

I found this person successfully using Time Machine with different external drives. However, he had to manually change the backup target in Time Machine each time he switched drives. I assume the same thing would be true with the multiple Time Capsules, so unfortunately I don't think it would be as easy as simply connecting to the different wifi networks.

Sven asks

I always wondered, what (re)charge habits are the best for the battery of my MBP. What do you recommend and why? Should the power plug always be inserted as soon as available, or should the battery always get drained until the warning pops up?

Apple has just the Battery Guide for you. Basically, they recommend not leaving it plugged in all the time. You don't have to let it run all the way down each time, but they do seem to think that letting a Lithium-based battery completely discharge once per month is a good idea.

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