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Ask TUAW: Bluetooth, 5.1 Audio, VNC, Adium with QS, and more

This week's Ask TUAW takes us into questions about Bluetooth File Exchange, 5.1 audio, VNC, getting Adium and Quicksilver working together, EVDO, automated file management based on label color, and more. As always, please leave your own comments, and ask more questions for next week either in the comments to this post or using the tip form. Now let's get to it

Carlos asks

Hi! I have a question! How can I change the folder to where the bluetooth files go, when sent from my mobile? I can't find it anywhere... Maybe it's just some defaults write com.apple thing hidden somewere... Anybody knows how to do this?


You can find this setting in the Sharing tab of the Bluetooth Preference Pane in your System Preferences as below. Just Select Bluetooth File Exchange, and there's a dropdown list called "Folder for accepted items:"


taynaron asks

I recently bought a MacBook Pro and I'd like to get my current surround-sound setup to work with it. I have a 7.1 setup made out of early 1990-style Apple Powered Speakers, and I'd like to tie them all together (or maybe just a 5.1 setup) into the MBP. Ideally, I'd like to use the Optical Out port since I wouldn't need any drivers, but I haven't found any devices that convert the optical signal to headphone jack or l/r speaker out. Do you have any suggestions?


I may be misunderstanding your question, but the optical audio out from your Mac is generally just stereo, except for particular applications like DVD player which will output Dolby Digital 5.1. So on the other end of that TOSLINK cable you need a decoder plus amplifier, that will translate that digital data into analog signals and then drive your speakers. Basically what you need is a Dolby Digital receiver with integrated amplifier (e.g. a standard consumer receiver from Sony, Pioneer, etc.).

I have another, probably cheaper suggestion, however. Griffin offers the FireWave FireWire surround sound (5.1) decoder for about $40 (on sale right now). Plug one of these into a FireWire port on you Mac, and the powered speakers (they must be self-powered) into its three 1/8" jacks and it should do exactly what you want for not too much much money.


Brad asks

I have been using Chicken of the VNC for about a year now, but I haven't been able to get it to work for computers that aren't on my network. How do I do this?


I use CotVNC all the time to connect to a remote computer across the internet. In all likelihood your problem has to do with a closed port 5900. If the remote computer is behind a NAT router, that is likely preventing it from seeing traffic on port 5900. You just need to set up port forwarding in the router to forward external traffic on port 5900 directly the machine you wish to control. You'll also need to open port 5900 in your firewall. This is done automatically if you enable "Apple Remote Desktop" in the Services tab of the Sharing Preference Pane:


If you're using Vine Server rather than Apple's built-in VNC server (i.e. Apple Remote Desktop), you can just open port 5900 in the Firewall tab of the Sharing Preference Pane:


superjeff asks

Is there any way for me to get my Core 2 Duo iMac connected to a cellular data network? Dial-up is my only other option. Will the iPhone help me out with this?


Michael Rose has the answer to you question in his excellent TUAW Guide to wireless broadband. As far as the iPhone goes, it's possible that it may have a tethering feature, but I doubt it. Furthermore, even if it does allow tethering the iPhone is an EDGE device, and so would not really be any faster than dial-up (and have much higher bandwidth costs). In my opinion, you best bet would probably be something like Verizon's EVDO service with a USB modem, like this Novatel USB720 . Other cell carriers have similar offerings, so you'd probably want to shop around some.


mkernan asks

I'm trying to incorporate Quicksilver as much as possible into my iBooking, but I use Adium as my chat client. I realize that there is this [post from Chris Metcalf] but even reading that I'm lost.

So I've got two questions. First, is there a way to get an Adium plugin for QS? Second, if not, can somebody walk me through that link? I don't know what to save the script as or where to save it or anything like that. I've never used script editor and I don't have a folder called "Actions" in my Application Support/Quicksilver folder, so what do I need to do to at least be able to set away messages from QS?


Okay there apparently used to be an Adium Plugin for Quicksilver, but it appears to have fallen by the wayside. Fortunately, there is a more recent 3rd party plugin here for Adium 1.0x, but it is apparently experimental (there are two separate Adium plugins listed, be sure you download the appropriate one for your version of Adium).

Now if you want to follow Chris Metcalf's tip it's very easy. Just start the Script Editor.app which you should find in /Applications/AppleScript/ (i.e in the AppleScript subfolder of your Applications folder). Then copy and paste Chris' script into Script Editor (as above), compile and save it as a script called "Set Adium Away Message" to the folder ~/Library/Application Support/Quicksilver/Actions (if you don't have an "Actions" folder, just create one with the Finder). If you want it to look pretty like Chris' screenshot you'll just need to replace the icon with an Adium specific one. Mine just has a generic script icon.

In fact, Chris Metcalf's tip is a very nice find in general, because you can use the same basic structure to input a Quicksilver text clipping into any AppleScript, opening up a variety of intriguing possibilities far beyond this simple Adium tip.


consumer_q asks

What if instead of only referencing the files in a Smart Folder, I want the files to actually move to specific folders based on label colour? Is that possible to do real time?


Yes it is possible; you need TUAW favorite Hazel, a shareware ($16) automated file manager from Noodlesoft. I have not actually set this up myself, but according to Hazel's feature list, you can set up filter rules based on "Color Label." So you need only set up Hazel to monitor the folders in which you are likely to set colored labels for files, and it will process those files according to the rules you set up.


Dave asks

Is there something i can type into Terminal so that it will show me what song is currently playing?... Last week, I found GeekTool (thanks to TUAW, I think). If Terminal could display what iTunes is doing, I could display it in GT and not suck up the space in my menu bar. This would please me greatly.

Of course our very own Erica expertly answered this question, with a nice Terminal Tip making use of of the command osascript which allows you to run AppleScript commands directly from the shell.


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