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Ask TUAW: time shift in iPhoto, HDTV to a Mac, backing up, and much more

Last week, Mike did a great job with Ask TUAW and we had a bumper crop of questions. We won't be able to get to all of them this week, but we'll be looking at a number of different issues including: shifting times in iPhoto, getting a Mac and HDTV to work well together, comparing the 24" iMac to the Power Mac G5 in gaming, setting recurring events in iCal, backing up, customizing Mighty Mouse tracking, and getting Gmail in Mail.app.

Remember: everyone's welcome to post questions for Ask TUAW; we're happy to help! Just leave questions for next week in the comments. Now let's get to it.

Shuzuluza asks

I have a question for Ask TUAW. Is there a way to change the time stamp on a set of photos in iPhoto to add a certain amount of time to each selected photo? I often have a need to adjust the times of sets of photos in iPhoto. Typically, I travel to the east coast to visit family and don't adjust the clock on my camera, then I return and try to integrate my photos along with other family members' photos and they are out of sequence. Then I have to go through each photo, adding 3 hours to every photo I took.

Since I just had to do this a few days ago I have to mention that this is extremely easy to do with Aperture, as batch changing of the time zone is a built-in option to Aperture's metadata options. Unfortunately, this functionality is not built into iPhoto. Luckily, there is a work around using Joe's iPhoto AppleScripts for Data Manipulation ($6 donation requested). I have not used them myself, but his iPhoto Time Shifter seems to be exactly what you want. Install the scripts according to the instructions on his site then select your images and invoke the script.


Stephen asks

Is there any easy way to compare Mac processors? I have a Dual 2GHz PowerPC G5, but I'm looking at the 24" iMac with its 2.16 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo, and I'm wondering how they compare? Would I gain much in terms of speed? I'd also like to compare the GeForce 6600LE that my G5 has with the NVIDIA GeForce 7300GT to see if that'd be much of an improvement as well? I'm keen to go Intel, but if there's no real gain in speed, and (in particular) the games I have won't run any better (because everything else chugs along nicely), I guess I should just wait? Quake 4 ran well on the G5, but what about tomorrow's games? What about C&C3?!

Macworld has attempted to tweak their Speedmark benchmark to give consistent results across the PPC/Intel divide. Comparing their tests for the Power Mac G5 vs. the 24" iMac" you can see that the 2.16 Ghz iMac outscored the Dual 2Ghz Power Mac 245 to 208. More to the point with respect to you question about gaming, however, you can see that the iMac trounces the Power Mac in Unreal Tournament framerates: 79.3 to 40.6. Combine this with the fact that iMac can boot Windows and it's a no brainer: if you want to play games the iMac is far superior.


Brandon asks

I just hooked a powermac g5 up to a tv via hdmi. Looks great but one problem, the menu bar and a majority of the dock are getting cut off and I can't figure out how to get it to fit as nothing in the display preferences seems to fix the problem....

You need DisplayConfigX ($12) from Harald Schweder. This utility allows you to much more fully adjust your display settings that what Apple allows. In particular, check out his sections on HDTVs and especially overscan. It's likely that following his instructions will help you take care of this problem (though also note his disclaimer).


loud asks

In iCal, is there a way to create a recurring event for weekdays only?

Yes, when you add the event under the repeat option choose custom and then define the weekly category for Monday through Friday as above.


nassim asks

How can I make a backup of my whole computer including keychain passwords, bookmarks, and all setting in general. Also all my files and docs. Is there a way to do it with just OS X or do you need a specific app. I'm doing the backup in a Lacie Quadra d2 drive.

Stephen asks

When I backup, what should I not bother to backup? Do I need to backup anything in the Applications folder? Or are all my settings kept elsewhere? Are there other folders that I can omit from the backup routine?


I'm very much in favor of doing complete backups. In fact, I use the brilliant SuperDuper ($27.95) to make a complete bootable backup to an external hard drive each morning at 4am. That way if I were to have a hard drive failure I can just reboot my Mac to the external drive by holding the option key. This is my recommendation to everyone: go buy an external drive the same size as your internal drive, get SuperDuper, set it and forget it until you need it.

If Stephen really must have an answer, then no. I guess you don't need to backup your applications since you can presumably download them or reinstall them from disc if you have to (though obviously back up all your registration information). But why? That's a pain in the behind and hard drives are cheap. For the record, most of your settings are in the ~/Library/Preferences and ~/Library/Application Support folders, though some may live in the top level Library folder as well.


Joe asks

I'm getting a Mac next month and I love Mail. But I don't have an email address from an ISP or .Mac. I have a Gmail account. I don't think that will work with Mail, does it? Are there other email services (preferably free) that work with Mail?

As my colleague Erica has pointed out, Google has a support page explaining how you can use Mail.app with Gmail via POP3. Mail.app can access standard POP3 and IMAP email servers, so any service that offers these will work with Mail.app. That said, I highly recommend IMAP over POP3. I've read good things about AOL IMAP email (full disclosure: TUAW is part of AOL), which I have not used, and FastMail, which I have used and enjoyed.


BigDawgKris asks

I love my bluetooth Mighty Mouse, I really do, but the tracking on it is a little lacking. I've got the sensitivity all the way up but it's still sluggish compared to my wired USB optical Logitech mouse. Is there any other way to increase the sensitivity of Apple's Wireless MightyMouse other than what's already available?


Yes, the application SteerMouse ($20) was more or less written to do exactly what you want. There is a 30 day trial, so check it out and see if you can make your Mighty Mouse act more as you'd prefer.



Okay that's it for this week! Please post questions for next week in the comments.

This information is provided for your entertainment. Neither TUAW nor this author can be held responsible for any problems arising from the use of the information provided here.



Last week, Mike did a great job with Ask TUAW and we had a bumper crop of questions. We won't be able to get to all of them this week, but...