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Ask TUAW: Screen locking, POS, installing a wiki, sucking a site and more

In this edition of Ask TUAW we'll be looking at questions about how to lock the screen with a keyboard shortcut, finding a Point of Sale application for OS X, installing a wiki server, downloading an entire site, using Photo Booth with a USB webcam and more.

As always your suggestions are most welcome, and questions for next week should be left in the comments. When asking a question please include which machine you're running and which version of OS X, as certain answers will vary between different Macs and Tiger vs. Leopard, etc. And now, on to the questions!

Jim asks

I have been a long time windows user, and have gone all mac for the last couple of years. Windows has the ability to lock the screen with the Windows-L key combination. Is there a way to lock the screen on my Mac with a key combo? I have Keychain access set to display the status in the Menu bar, and i can click the lock icon and select "Lock Screen", but I want to do this with hotkey combo. Any suggestions?

If you have a launcher of some kind set up, this is pretty straightforward. The way I would do this, being a QuickSilver user, is to follow lakiolen's suggestion of Quicksilver with the Extra Scripts installed. You can then create a trigger that will lock the screen by your chosen shortcut.

Rob Griffiths at Macworld/Mac OS X Hints also tackled this issue a while back; he noted that if the Keychain menu is Cmd-dragged to be the leftmost icon menu, it is possible to set a keyboard command in System Preferences to activate the Lock Screen menu item (actually, two keyboard commands in a row; Ctrl-F8 to activate the menu, then another key to hit the actual command); however, this setup's a little finicky. Several other options are available to lock with a key, including Wincent Colaiuta's donationware Winswitch, an Automator action that wraps a one-line Terminal command, and a slew of key launchers to add to the mix. See what works for you.


Alex asks

Is there a program for creating/taking orders for the Mac? For example, I want a berry smoothie with soy milk

I assume what you're asking for here is a Mac-based Point of Sale system. There are several, none of which I've used. You might have a look at Checkout from MYOB, LightSpeed2 from Xsilva and MacPOSx from Crossman Software.


Tomahawk asks

Is there a way to add the Leopard "Wiki Server" to the regular Leopard install? I haven't purchased Leopard yet, and really I want the regular Leopard, but would really like the Wiki feature of Leopard Server without having to pay the extra $. Also can you guys do a review of the Leopard Server features that aren't in the regular Leopard, I haven't seen any good reviews anywhere.

In principle, yes, but where would you legally get it? I think you'd be better off to use one of the open source Wiki projects, which you can easily do on your Mac by activating Apache and PHP. In fact, there's a Darwin Ports Package for MediaWiki (the software behind Wikipedia) that makes it's relatively easy.

If you want to get your feet wet with Leopard Server, the most economical way (assuming you aren't eligible for academic discounts) is to sign up for an ADC Select membership. For the same $499 you would pay for a 10-user license of Leopard Server, you get licenses and media for both Leopard and Leopard Server evaluation, discounts, developer documentation, two tech support incidents, and plenty more.

For the secrets behind Leopard Server, you should check out MacEnterprise and AFP548 -- both sites are full of useful details on Apple's new server OS.


Jerrett asks

This may have been covered before but cannot find anything on the subject. I would like an application that can download an entire site without having to go through and save each page. this is most helpful when I want to review information at times when I have no internet access, like on a flight. Or when something like a great photoshop tutorials page comes out and it has minutes to live before DIGG kills it.

Well of course you know Safari can make Web Archives just by going to "Save As..." in the File Menu. However, if you want to suck down an entire site you'll want something like, the appropriately named, SiteSucker (donationware) which will pull down everything.


Tim asks

I have a Power PC mini running 10.5.1 I see Photo Booth in the applications folder. What camera can be used with it?

You should be able to use any FireWire camera (including camcorders) or an USB Video Class webcam. Not all USB webcams are Video Class. One popular one that is compatible, cheap and readily available is the Xbox Live USB camera.


Ram asks

Is there a way to copy/paste a file path in OSX? I'd like to use my Macbook Pro at work, in a Windows environment, but sending people the path to where they can find my files is critical. On my PC, I can just copy/paste file paths into msn from the address bar. I can see the file path when I Get Info on a file... but alas, it's not selectable.

As somebody mentioned, you can get the path by dropping a file into a Terminal window. However, your best bet is to use a Finder plugin that will allow you to copy the path by right-clicking and choosing a contextual menu option. If all you want is paths, particularly to share with Windows users (remember Windows uses a different path format), you probably want FilePathCM. You can also try the brilliant OnMyCommand which can be customized to do an amazing number of things, including copying the path.



In this edition of Ask TUAW we'll be looking at questions about how to lock the screen with a keyboard shortcut, finding a Point of Sale...