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Ask TUAW: Key remapping in Boot Camp, iPad tethering, file-sharing with a media extender, and more

Welcome back to Ask TUAW, our weekly troubleshooting Q&A column. This week we deal with some technical issues on our production Mac before turning to questions about Windows key remapping in Boot Camp, sharing files with a LaCie media extender, downloading images in Safari, recovering from a hard drive failure, and more.

As always, your suggestions and questions are welcome. Leave your questions for next week in the comments section at the end of this post. When asking a question, please include which machine you're using and what version of Mac OS X is installed on it (we'll assume you're running Snow Leopard on an Intel Mac if you don't specify), or if it's an iPhone-related question, which iPhone version and OS version you have.

As you may have noticed, Ask TUAW is running a bit late this week. Perhaps somewhat ironically in a troubleshooting column, the reason is that my 24" iMac decided to go wonky right as I was preparing this week's column. I've decided to make a little lemonade, however, and describe a bit of my troubleshooting strategy. For no apparent reason the spinning pinwheel of death began appearing randomly, which would eventually result in the computer freezing completely and requiring a hard restart (holding the power button). After experiencing this a couple of times (and losing an earlier version of this column) I decided to reboot with my Snow Leopard install DVD to run Disk Utility. I repaired the disk and permissions but it didn't report any problems and the pinwheel continued to appear after a few minutes. At this point I figured the problem was not with the boot drive, but just to make sure I booted into single-user mode and ran the standard script with the AppleJack troubleshooting utility. Again, no problems were reported, but I continued to experience the freezing. At this point my suspicions turned to my third-party RAM. Of course, I had been running it for the last couple of years without problem, but I shut down the computer and removed one of my two 2GB SODIMMs. That appears to have done the trick and my iMac hasn't frozen in the last few hours. This is the second Mac I've had problems develop with third-party RAM after running for more than a year. So now with half as much RAM we can get on with this week's questions.


Feeney 22 asks

How would I reassign my control/command key in bootcamp, it's increasingly hard to switch back and forth.

To do this you'll need to remap your keys in Windows, using a Windows key remapping utility. There are a variety of Windows key remappers available, and this being a Mac site I don't really have any concrete recommendations. However, I can point you in the direction of KeyTweak a donations-requested utility that should do what you need.


tyronescott55 asks

Will Apple allow iPhone tethering to the iPad?

Predicting what Apple (and, perhaps more to the point, AT&T) will do is a fool's game. While a feature like this would be great, I'm not even sure if it makes financial sense. Of course we're still waiting on AT&T to give us iPhone tethering, and once they do the pricing is likely to be in the range of $60/month. With the iPad's unlimited service at $30/month it would only take about 4 months to make up the 3G radio surcharge versus the Wi-Fi only version.

Just for information sake, I'd note that it's already possible to set up Wi-Fi tethering on a jailbroken iPhone with a utility like MyWi or PdaNet. These apps basically turns your jailbroken iPhone into the equivalent of a MiFi portable Wi-Fi hotspot. Presumably your iPad could connect to it like any other Wi-Fi source. Needless to say, this is all unauthorized and probably violates the AT&T contract.


pathumx asks

I'm running SL on a Unibody MacBook and am backing it up to a 1 tb FireWire drive that is partitioned for a time machine back up and a carbon copy clone backup. In the event my MacBook harddrive were to fail, what would be the best way to restore from backup?

The quickest thing you could do to get back running is to boot the MacBook from the FireWire drive (reboot and hold the option key to select the drive). You could then replace the internal drive on the MacBook and use Carbon Copy Cloner to clone back to the internal drive. You could also use Time Machine to recover any changes made since the last time you cloned. While it is possible to recover directly from a Time Machine backup while booted from a Snow Leopard install DVD, the clone restore should be quicker.


Shears asks

Hi. I'd like to create an Automator service that would save me some clicking. Basically I'd like to have an extra option in the Safari Context menu that would save the selected image directly to the My Pictures folder.

It turns out that Safari will automatically change the contextual menu to save images to your defined download folder. So if you changed your default downloads folder in the Safari preferences to the Pictures folder, you wouldn't have to add anything else.


Melissa asks

I bought a LaCie LaCinema PLAY drive to use as a sort of media server. It has wireless N connectivity and outputs HDMI to my TV. I have an Airport Extreme which is on the other side of the room. I'd like to be able to drag files from my computer (a MacBook 2.2Ghz, using 10.6.2) to the drive, but I can't see it in the Finder. I have another LaCie drive connected via USB to the Airport Extreme which I can see since I guess it can use AirDisk. The PLAY drive can connect to the network via WiFi. I'm confused because if someone brings another laptop into my house, I can see it in the Finder under 'shared'. How come I can't see the PLAY drive? Does it need to be formatted? I don't think I can since it has software for the remote and wifi on it.

I had a look at the manual PDF for the LaCie LaCinema PLAY and it indicates that the only sharing option for Mac is via the TwonkyMedia Server (p. 38). In order for the drive to appear in your Finder sidebar it would have to support the AFP or SAMBA file sharing protocols, but as far as I can tell the LaCinema does not. So, unfortunately, you won't be able to just copy to it from the Finder, but if you install TwonkyMedia Server, you will be able to copy files from the Mac to the LaCinema through its interface.



Welcome back to Ask TUAW, our weekly troubleshooting Q&A column. This week we deal with some technical issues on our production Mac...