Thoughtful, detailed coverage of the Mac, iPhone, and iPad, plus the best-selling Take Control ebooks.



Pick an apple! 
Syslogd Overwhelming Your Computer?

If your Leopard (Mac OS X 10.5) system is unexpectedly sluggish, logging might be the culprit. Run Activity Monitor (Applications/Utilities/ folder), and click the CPU column twice to get it to show most to least activity. If syslogd is at the top of the list, there's a fix. Syslogd tracks informational messages produced by software and writes them to the asl.db, a file in your Unix /var/log/ directory. It's a known problem that syslogd can run amok. There's a fix: deleting the asl.db file.

Launch Terminal (from the same Utilities folder), and enter these commands exactly as written, entering your administrative password when prompted:

sudo launchctl stop

sudo rm /var/log/asl.db

sudo launchctl start

Your system should settle down to normal. For more information, follow the link.

Visit Discussion of syslogd problem at Smarticus



Send Article to a Friend

This may be old hat to those of you who use Word 4.0 more than I do, but try choosing About Microsoft Word... from the File menu, and then with the Command key down, click on the Word icon in the About... box. If you know of any similar tricks with other programs or the Mac in general (I know of several tricks to see pictures in the various ROMs), send me email and I'll compile them into an article.

Richard Austin writes, "I also discovered a strange phenomenon which may not be strange at all, to those who are informed. I don't know much about HyperCard, so this is probably old knowledge to you all. I recently upgraded to HyperCard 2.0, and I've found that if I open a new TidBITS issue (which is in the older HyperCard format) and merge it with my TidBITS Archive (which is in 2.0 format), I lose the font information on the merged cards. However, if I convert the stack before merging, everything turns out intact. Have you found this to be true, or am I doing something weird?" [No, Richard, you are correct. You must use Convert... from the File menu in HyperCard 2.0 to convert the weekly stacks to 2.0 format before merging if you wish to retain font information. This is a side effect of HyperCard 2.0's new method of handling fonts.]

A comment we forgot to include in our recent review of Spaceward Ho! comes from Michael J. Wolf, who is presumably not related to the actor, Michael J. Fox. "It was nice to find a company [Delta Tao Software] who didn't have the user doing the spinning wheel trick or showing the manual through a red screen backwards into a mirror to get key codes just to play the game." [Copy protection is still copy protection, and it's always irritating. Kudos to Delta Tao for avoiding it.]

Scott R. Anderson chastised me on my comment about using "baud" instead of "bits-per-second" even though they aren't exactly equivalent. He writes, ""aren't exactly equivalent?" They are only equivalent for speeds up to 1200 bps. Since most people are using 2400 bps and many are moving to 9600 bps, for most people they aren't equivalent at all. And bits-per-second actually has some meaning for most people. If you are having trouble saying it, may I suggest that you pronounce it "bips?" Let me assure you that it's just as easy as to say as "baud." Go ahead, try it: 2400 bips, 9.6 kilobips. Now isn't that easy? :-)" [Done. My Nisus clean-up macro will now replace "baud" with "bips" in case I forget. I rather like the sound of "bips" anyway. :-)]

Finally, an addition to the Spaceward Ho! review from Ken Hancock in response to a query from Joaquim Manuel Soares Baptista about hardware requirements and use of color. Ken writes, "Color is definitely not necessary for Spaceward Ho! Color is used in the game mainly for coloring icons and bar graphs. In each instance, it's used to provide a more visual indication of a colony's status - operating at a loss, making money, or will never become profitable. The biggest disadvantage of running it on a Classic/Plus/SE is the 9" screen. Spaceward Ho! has such a wealth of information, it becomes hard to even get it all in on a 13" screen. I'd love to play it on a 2-page monitor!"

Information from:
Richard Austin --
Michael J. Wolf --
Scott Robert Anderson --
Ken Hancock --


New for iOS 8: TextExpander 3 with custom keyboard.
Set up short abbreviations which expand to larger bits of text,
such as “Tx” for “TextExpander”. With the new custom keyboard,
you can expand abbreviations in any app, including Safari and
Mail. <>