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Ask TUAW: DVD Sharing on an iMac, menubar calendar, network scanning, and more

Welcome back to Ask TUAW, our weekly troubleshooting Q&A column. This week we have questions about using DVD Sharing on an iMac (instead of a MacBook Air), ignoring Software Updates, getting a drop-down calendar in the menubar, seeing Wi-Fi network channels, using iChat with other services, 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 that 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.

Sammyg1010 asks

Is there any way to take software updates that I don't need off the download list? Most recently, I was bugged by the Auto Software update telling me to update for RAW digital cameras. I don't have any of the models listed, and don't plan on it. Not much of a photographer. Same with the printer driver updates. I know I don't have do download them (click of a box), but they bother me sitting on the list. Any ideas?

All you have to do is select the update you don't want and hit the delete key (or alternatively go to Update Ignore Update in the menubar). If you should change your mind at some point in the future, you can reset the ignored update in the Software Update menu.


William asks

Is there an easy way to get a small calendar to display when I click on the time/date in the menubar for OS X? Windows 7 handles this really well, with the ability to go back and forth between different months, years, and even decades, just by single-clicking on the date/time in the taskbar. It's kind of annoying to have to open iCal just to see what day a particular date fell on a couple weeks ago, or to see what day a future date falls on, etc...

I've got two suggestions for you: MenuCalendarClock for iCal ($19.95) is the classic utility for doing this and I used it for years. However, lately I've switched over to iStat Menus (donations requested), which not only adds a calendar to your menubar, but also includes a variety of other handy utilities like network throughput, free memory, etc.


chitebbeiv asks

Today I was watching a youtube video and I felt the need to fastforward it for some weird reason, but I realized it isn't possible if not under windows with a commercial software called myspeed. I am stil searching for some firefox or chrome plugin, or greasemonkey script that does this kind of task but still no results... if they can do this under windows why isn't it possible under mac?

It turns out that MySpeed has a Mac Alpha available for download and testing. If you fill out their form, they'll email you the link.


MNJayW asks

I just moved into a new townhouse, and I am seeing multiple Wi-Fi networks in the area. Is there an application that I can get that will allow me to see what channels the neighbors' networks are on so I can set my wireless router (WRVS4400n) and WAP (WAP4400N) on non-interfering channels?

You need a network scanner like KisMAC. Run this on your Mac and it should show you all of the networks within range, along with the channels they're broadcasting on.


aleonell.10 asks

I run the new iMac (snow leopard). Recently, I accidently put my SD card in the CD slot instead of the SD slot, and I was just wondering if I could use my MacBook Pro as the cd drive (I have heard you can do this with a MacBook Air).

You're right that this is limited by default to the MacBook Air. However, there is apparently a terminal hack that should allow you to do this from the iMac to the MacBook Pro. Be sure to turn on DVD or CD Sharing in the Sharing Preference Pane in the System Preferences of the MacBook, then enter the terminal command on the iMac.


Fabian asks serially

Is there a way to add icq and windows live accounts to iChat? I am using adium at the moment but I don't like it very much.

In the long run, I suspect you'll have better luck sticking with Adium. However, it should be possible to use iChat with ICQ just by adding a new (AIM) account and entering your ICQ credentials. To use iChat with Windows Live, you'd need to use a Jabber transport. I really think this is more trouble than it's worth (and it's text only), but you might be interested in this old tutorial.

Is there a way to remotely control my mac (snow leopard) with remote desktop out from a windows machine? I know about teamviewer but I'm looking for a tool that doesn't display my actions on the remote computer.

There are a variety of ways of controlling a Mac remotely with a PC from VNC to LogMeIn or GoToMyPC. However, as far as I know, none of them will hide your actions on the remote computer.


Chroma asks

In Tiger I was always able to hit the space bar when a prompt had a button outlined in blue. However, I have found nothing like this in Snow Leopard. Can this be enabled, or was it removed entirely from 10.6?

All you need to do is turn Full Keyboard Access to All Controls in the Keyboard Shortcuts tab of the Keyboard Preference Pane (or just hit control+F7).

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