Leaping into Leopard

We’ve had a lot of questions about Mac OS X 10.5, Leopard so rather than present them separately we will present them together.

Connecting to servers is not so simple, at first.

With Leopard, Apple has simplified the way we connect to servers and other computers that have enabled file sharing. However this has also confused a number of users.

In the past versions of the system you would connect to another machine from the Finder with the Go menu. You could either choose “Connect to Server” or press “Command K” on the keyboard. Then enter either the server’s IP address or local name. You click the “Browse” button, which took you to the “Network” window where Macintosh computers would be grouped under My Network and Windows computers would be grouped under the workgroup name.

There is a new “simplified” way to connect to remote computers. In the Finder, open a new Finder Window (Command N) where you will see a list of resources on the left. (If you don’t see the list on the left press the white lozenge in the upper right corner.) Normally the list shows “Devices”, “Shared”, “Places” and “Search For”. Under the Shared items you should see the various computers and servers that appear in your network. To connect to another computer, simply click on the name. If Guest access is turned on you will instantly “Connect as: Guest”. However Guest access is usually limited.
To connect as an authenticated user whom has more privileges you can click the “Connect As…” button in the upper right. Then you will get the familiar log in prompt. You then enter you login name and the password on the remote computer. Now you have more privileges than a guest.

Mysterious Black Boxes abound.

A user recently reported that she had black boxes appearing in her QuarkXpress document and that it had spread to the Mac. The real culprit was Universal Access’s Voice Over feature. In order to make Mac’s more accessible Voice Over reads dialog boxes and menus to users with impaired vision. To aid the user the feature also adds black boxes around the currently active area.
The mysterious black boxes appeared when the operator pressed “Command F5”, which in the past was the QuarkXpress short cut key to “send to back” and move a selected object to the back of a layout. In Mac OS X 10.5, “Command F5” turns on Voice Over. To get rid of the black boxes simply press “Command F5” again. The “Send to Back” command in QuarkXress is now “Shift F5”.

Fixing printing with QuarkXress and Acrobat Pro.

It may seem that printing in Leopard is not ready for prime time. Many users have found that in order to get QuarkXpress to print in Leopard they have to make a PDF and then print the PDF. Printing directly doesn’t work for them while others cannot print with the Adobe PDF virtual printer. You guess it, Apple has also changed the printing functions in Leopard – the PPDs that control how printers are sent files have been moved causing confusion.
Released before Leopard, Acrobat Professional initially was not compatible with Mac OS X 10.5. Adobe has since released version 8.1.2 of Acrobat Professionsal. Run, don’t walk and install this update and your PDF printing problems will vanish.
Additionally Quark has made their “Quark CUPS Filter” available to fix printing issues with their QuarkXpress application. Installing this patch and restarting the computer will correct many issues that prevent pages from printing directly.

Suitcase Con-fusion.

If you are planning to or if you have upgraded to Suitcase Fusion you may be surprised to find that many of your fonts are “Missing” or cannot be “previewed”. There is an issue with the database or font vault that suitcase uses. Most notably this is true when you use the Migrate option to move to a new Mac.
Before you move to the new Mac download the “Export Suitcase Sets” AppleScript from squarecirleconsulting.net . It will allow you to export your Suitcase vault and then import in onto the new Mac.

Unlocking Leopard and iLife08’s iPhoto Library

Q. Before upgrading to Leopard I was able to see my photographs in the Finder. After the upgrade I can only see the “iPhoto Library” so I cannot import images into QuarkXpress. Is there a way to import my iPhoto images into Xpress?

A. Apple has changed the way iPhoto stores images and changed the “iPhoto Library” from a folder into a “bundle”. A bundle is a special folder that appears in the Finder as an object and in fact all applications on MacOS X are bundles. Bundles were created so that an application’s resources such, as icons and other support files, could be stored in the same place. When you click on a applications icon in the Finder you are clicking on a bundle. So it would seem that you cannot access the images in the bundle…

You can see the contents of a bundle in the Finder by “right clicking” (or control clicking) the bundle which opens a contextual menu. Choose “Show Package Contents” from the menu and the bundle will open like a folder. You can then navigate through the folders to view the resources inside. You can also use this method to find your images in the iPhoto Library. The original images are located in the “Originals” folder sorted by year and date. Unfortunately you cannot use QuarkXpress’s “Import Picture” function so you will need the “Drag and Drop” Xtension.

Fortunately the folks at Quark Labs (http://labs.quark.com) have made an Xtension that will allow images to be sent to a QuarkXpress layout. Download the “Image Drag and Drop” Xtension for QuarkXpress 7 and copy it into you Xtension folder. Once there you can open iPhoto and drag an image onto the QuarkXpress layout. The Xtension is able to locate images inside the iPhoto Library bundle.

Font is a four letter word

Nothing can bring Quark Xpress to it’s knees quite like a corrupt font. In fact, the whole operating system can suffer. With the introduction of Mac OSX, and it’s ability to use multiple font formats the future looked bright. Missing fonts can still be a headache but at least now when a customer sends a PC TrueType font you can use it. A corrupt fonts can wreak havoc over your Macintosh, which entitles us to say that, “Font is a four-letter word.”

MacOS X seemingly has added another level of complexity to the management of fonts. Fonts can be stored in several locations and are activated in a particular order creating confusion for the average user. Certain fonts are required by the operation system, as well as Apple own applications, so removing them or deactivating them can lead to trouble.

Recently, I was called in to investigate a case where Mail would work intermittently. The user would open the application but the Message Viewer window would not open. Initially, it looked like corrupt Mail preferences. We moved the preferences to the desktop, launched the Mail application but the program still didn’t work.
If you’re having a problem with an application, one of the first things you can do is recreate the application’s preference file. Another trick is to create a second user account, then log in with that second account and test the applications. Nine times out of ten, the application is fine – the problem is the user’s preferences file(s).

You’ll find your application’s preferences in the Preferences folder under your own home folder. (Eg /Users/[yourlogin]/Library/Prefernces). Look for a file ending with “.plist”, with a similar name as your application. In the case of Mail – you would look for “com.apple.mail.plist”. Note: If you delete this file you would be prompted to recreate your mail account login. The other common problem with Apple’s own applications occurs if you move them from the Applications folder. Restore the program to its original location and it may behave.

Returning to the Mail problem, I discovered many other Apple programs were misbehaving. Safari, System Preferences, Mail and even Font Book wouldn’t open properly. In most cases we had to “force quit” the applications. This user was using Font Book to manage her fonts.

Apple has included Font Book as a method for dealing with fonts. It has been improved for the latest system, MacOS 10.4 as Font Book 2. While it enables users to create font sets and has a utility for resolving font conflicts, it is still not as flexible as Third Party applications such as Extensis Suitcase, Font Reserve (and FontAgent Pro) for managing fonts, because they don’t interfere with the operating system – when adding fonts. There are also shareware tools such as FontFinagler for fixing font issues. Most users may deal with a few fonts in their daily workflow, but if you’re a publishing professional, then you know you need a robust font management tool – that can deal with hundreds of fonts and font versions.

In MacOS X, there are several locations for fonts to be installed. The first location belongs to the System “/System/Library/Fonts”. These fonts are best left alone, they’re always active and some are absolutely required by the system.

The second location are the Library fonts “/Library/Fonts”. The third location is the User fonts, “/Users/[yourlogin]/Library/Fonts”. Each user has his own fonts under his home folder. The fourth location is the Classic fonts, “/System Folder/Fonts”. These fonts are available to MacOS X applications even if Classic is not running.

The last two locations are Network fonts and Application fonts. Network fonts are located on a MacOS X Server. Application fonts are stored the Library under Application Support.

If you have duplicate fonts installed, you should be aware of how you Mac deals with them. If the system finds duplicate fonts, then it follows a specific order to activate them. First, it will look in the Application’s own font folder. Second, it will look in the User’s font folder. Third, it will look in the local Library font folder, then Network, System, and Classic font folders.

To resolve the mystery of the applications that wouldn’t open we had to delete Font Book’s preferences. The two main culprits are “com.apple.FontBook.plist” and “com.apple.ATS.plist”. Deleting these to files and rebooting the Mac, restored the functionality to the Mail (and other) applications. Then we were left with the task of figuring out which font was corrupt.

Occasionally a font may appear garbled. If that’s the case then there may be a problem with your font caches. Here you’ll need to remove the following files from “/System/Library/Caches” com.apple.ATS.System.fcache, com.apple.ATSServer.FODB_System, and fontTablesAnnex. You’ll need to be an administrator to do this. Remove the “com.apple.ATS” from the “/Library/Caches” folder, and also remove the “com.apple.ATS.plist” from your own Preferences. Once you’ve done this, restart your Mac.