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Ask TUAW: Menubar aesthetics, Airport disk sharing, OS X disc burning and more

In this round of Ask TUAW we have a questions about darkening the Leopard menubar, sharing disks with the Airport Extreme, burning discs with OS X, using Time Machine with network drives and more.

As always your suggestions are most welcome, and questions for next week should be left in the comments. And now to the questions!

Andy asks

MenuShade from Null River software is broken on Leopard. Do you know of any substitues?

In some ways I'm surprised you need this since the translucent menu bar is already much less bright. Nonetheless, I think you can get something similar by using LeoColorBar and selecting a dark shade. It doesn't do exactly what MenuShade did, but it will make the menubar darker.

Hank asks

I am using a macbook,and a apple cinema 20" dispay with a eyetv 250 plus. What should I expect for picture quality at maximum Size or Full Screen.

That depends entirely on your source. The EyeTV 250 Plus is capable of receiving OTA HDTV, so when viewing a 1080i source it will actually exceed the resolution of your 20" display. On the other hand, if you're watching analog TV, it's just not going to look that good as the NTSC (648 x 486) frame is stretched out over your 1680 x 1050 display.

Andy asks

I have 1 Airport Express. If I bought a second Express to Bridge the wireless connection, could I then attach an ethernet Hard Drive to the secoind express?

No, unfortunately, that won't work. Only the AirPort Extreme Base Station supports network disk access. The USB port on the AirPort Express only supports printers.

jadedcritic asks

Most of the mac nerds I know, when they need to copy a DVD/burn a data CD/DVD...etc..., just boot camp into windows and run Nero. That doesn't seem like it should be necessary. Is there a good mac utility out there for that function? (nero's estranged OSX cousin?)

I can't help but wonder what kind of Mac nerds you know that go to Windows to burn a disc. Anyway, besides the Finder the Disc Utility in /Applications/Utilities will actually allow you to burn data discs (and copy them by creating a disc image). If you want to go commercial there are a variety of disc burning applications for OS X, with Toast ($80) being perhaps the most venerable. Burn is a popular free disc burning application that has most of the features you'd probably need.

Dave asks

I am going to be buying leapord very soon and I am confused about whether or not you can use time machine over a wifi network. I read that you can use an AFP network but I don't know how to set one up or exactly what it is. I have a MacBook and I would be pritty bummed if I had to plug in a external hd to take advantage of time machine cause that's one feature I am really looking forward to using. Thanks for the help and keep up the great work!

As of right now it appears that the only Network drives Time Machine can use are those connected to another Mac on your network running Leopard shared via AFP. It was originally rumored that Apple was going to allow the use of an external hard drive connected to an AirPort Extreme Base Station, but that feature did not appear when Leopard shipped. Rumor has it that they're still working on it and it may appear sometime in the future, but as of right now it is not available. For more information, see our Time Machine Q&A

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