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Ask TUAW: Preventing automounting, Exchange support, printing selections, and more

For this edition of Ask TUAW we've got questions about preventing an external partition from automounting, printing text selections, getting email from an Exchange server, syncing the Address Book with Google contacts, and more.

As always, your suggestions are welcome. 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 Mac OS X (we'll assume you're running Leopard on an Intel Mac if you don't specify). And now, on to the questions!

autoy asks

I'd like to know if there is a way to prevent the automount of certain drives, for example: My Sony Ericsson mounts vía USB the internal memory+memory card as two separate drives and I just need the memory card, so if there is a way to prevent automount for the internal drive it would be better.

From what I can tell, this is possible, but it's not easy. You'll have to use the command line fstab tool. You'll need to find the UUID of the partition you want hidden as described over at Mac Geekery. If you have problems with a dynamic UUID you can find a suggested workaround in this post at comp.sys.mac.misc.


Donald asks

Is there any easy way to import certain files as podcasts? I download mixes etc. that I want to sync to my iPhone, then delete after playing. I can add them to iTunes, move to a playlist and sync to the iPhone, then delete manually, but I was hoping for a simpler way...

As another reader mentioned there is this script at Doug's Applescripts for iTunes that will allow you to select certain tracks and re-add them as if they were podcasts.


Sarah asks

My work uses exchange for our email system. Is there any way to get Mail to pick up my email through the exchange system? I asked our tech guy at the school and his answer was "you shouldn't have got a mac".

Well, ain't that guy just a mensch. Anyway, I've run into similar problems with IT people. There are a couple of possibilities. Oftentimes, Exchange servers will also support SSL IMAP, but it has to be explicitly turned on by the server administrators. You should go on your school's tech help site and search for IMAP. If this option is turned on you should be able to set up a new Exchange/IMAP account in Mail.app without any problems. In fact, this is exactly the case at the university where I teach.

If the IMAP setting is not turned on, you're probably going to have to use Microsoft's Entourage email application, which is part of Microsoft Office. Sometimes universities will license Entourage (and Outlook) separately and offer it for a reduced price (or even free) to students, staff, and faculty. Again you should check with your school's IT department. Note that if you're shopping independently for a bargain, and considering the Student & Teacher edition of Microsoft Office 2008, Entourage's Exchange support is not available in that version -- you need to pony up for the regular edition.

Finally, if push really comes to shove and they really want to make you use Outlook, you could run it with a virtual Windows machine with either Parallels or VMware Fusion. This would really be a last resort, though. Keep in mind that your school probably offers webmail access through Outlook Web Access, so that might be an option for you. Good luck in navigating the anti-Mac shoals.


emtp6811 asks

After having switched to Macs a couple years ago, there is only one thing I miss from windows: print selection. I want to print a single paragraph from a long document or webpage, not the whole thing, not a whole page. I don't think this is a printer driver issue as it is never an option with either printer I own (one HP, the other Canon). Any suggestions other than cut/paste?

This is not a built-in feature of OS X and does not depend on your printer driver. Probably the easiest way to get similar functionality is to use the Print Selection Service. What this will do is allow you to select some text then invoke the Service to print it. Once installed you'll find the service located in the Services menu which you'll find when you click on any Services aware application's name in the menubar. There's also a MacOSXHints tip on enabling the feature for non-Cocoa apps.

Also, certain applications (in particular, Mozilla Firefox) include their own Print Selection checkbox under the application-specific printer settings pane.


Adelino asks

Using Safari... I would like to be able to access that site by simply typing "News", better even "Ne"... in the address bar, although the address does not contain "News"... I am using Safari with SafariStand on it, and if there was a solution without installing much additional software, it would be even better.

This is a built-in function of the brilliant SafariStand. In the SafariStand Settings, go to the Quick Search tab. From there you can add in whatever abbreviations you want. Just create a new entry, put your abbreviation in the Shortcut column and the full URL in the URL column. You can also define custom searches this way (which is what it was originally intended for) using @key to stand for whatever you type after a space after the shortcut.


bleaus asks

I have a MacBook G4 running 10.4.10 and noticed in the Address Book that I can sync my contacts with an Exchange server. With the release of Google Sync on the iPhone, which uses MS Exchange protocol, does this mean I can simply sync my Address Book and GMail contacts that way?

It is my understanding that this is only really meant for syncing an iPhone. In Leopard, since 10.5.3, the Address Book has had the capability to sync with Google on its own (even if you have to do a little tinkering). Unfortunately, this is not possible with Tiger's version of the Address Book. You can achieve Address Book syncing in Tiger with Spanning Sync ($25 per year / $65 once).



For this edition of Ask TUAW we've got questions about preventing an external partition from automounting, printing text selections,...