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

 

 

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Mac OS X Zip Expanding Utility

Firefox (and possibly other applications) may ask you what you want to do with .zip archives that you download from the Internet. If you want to expand them with Mac OS X (rather than StuffIt Expander), you may be unsure of which application actually does the job. You're looking for Archive Utility (in Leopard and later) or BOMArchiveHelper (in Tiger). In either case, the application is stored in Hard Drive/System/Library/Core Services/. Don't move it from there, though, or you'll confuse matters.

 
 

Sudden Motion Sensor Hacks

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The MacHack developers conference always used to roll around about this time of year, and even though the conference is no more, the itch to create utterly cool but completely useless hacks is back in season. I don't have a recent PowerBook, iBook, MacBook, or MacBook Pro with which to test the Sudden Motion Sensor hacks that have been appearing, but watching the videos is probably safer anyway.

Anthony Maddox's MacSaber uses the information from the Sudden Motion Sensor to cause Macs waved in the air to make Star Wars light saber noises, enabling silly looking battles between geeks wielding expensive PowerBooks.

<http://isnoop.net/blog/2006/05/20/macsaber-turn -your-mac-into-a-jedi-weapon>
<http://youtube.com/results?search=macsaber& amp;search_type=search_videos& amp;search=Search>

For another take on how to abuse the Sudden Motion Sensor, check out Erling Ellingsen's SmackBook Pro hack, which ties in with a virtual desktop utility to enable the user to thwack the Mac on the side to switch to and from different desktops.

<http://blog.medallia.com/2006/05/smacbook_ pro.html>

These hacks raise all sort of other uses for the Sudden Motion Sensor that would be satisfying, if undoubtedly bad for the Mac:

  • Restarting the Mac by shaking it like an Etch-a-Sketch
  • Being able to click the OK button by whacking the palm rest
  • Bringing up the Force Quit dialog when the laptop is shaken hard by a frustrated user
  • An April Fools hack that would cause the screen to get wavy, requiring a bonk on the side to restore it to crispness

 

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