Tips, Tricks, and Shortcuts

SAN FRANCISCO (01/25/2000) - When your mouse gets as balky as a donkey, you know it's time to clean the gunk out of it. Albert Wittlesey of Altadena, California, suggests cleaning the rollers with a 3- or 4-inch piece of ordinary transparent tape, cut in half lengthwise (because that's how wide the rollers are). First, open up your mouse and remove the roller ball. Poke one end of the tape into the mouse and press it against a roller with one finger while pulling the other end of the tape up with the other hand. The tape contacts the whole surface of the roller, picking up gunk and lint. You can also clean the mouse pad by pressing tape all over it, removing unimaginable substances that cause the mouse to slide rather than roll.

If the tape doesn't get your mouse clean enough, try the old standby: washing cruddy rollers with an alcohol-moistened cotton swab and picking out lint with tweezers. Washing with warm water and mild soap-no abrasives-and drying with a lint-free towel also works. If that doesn't get your mouse working smoothly, maybe the slider pads on the bottom of the mouse have worn thin, making the mouse ball ride too high and occasionally miss the rollers inside the mouse.

Stefan Armstrong of Brooklyn fixed this problem with-what else?-transparent tape. Two layers of tape applied over the worn pads got his mouse working like new. Alternatively, you can replace the worn pad with a new one cut from the slippery plastic lid of a takeout food container. Use the old pad as a pattern for the new one. Armstrong suggests using Goo adhesive to attach the pad.

Network Mac and Windows

Q. What's the easiest way to connect a PC to a LocalTalk network? Specifically, I have a Quadra 605, a Power Mac 7200, and a LaserWriter IINTJ connected in a LocalTalk network. I need to exchange files between the Power Mac and a NexTrend NexStar PC connected to a Canon C5500 printer. I may also need to print to the LaserWriter from the PC.

Orval "Buzz" Hollingsworth

Rocklin, California

A. You could snake a serial cable between one of the Macs and the PC and transfer files using communications programs on each computer, but I recommend forking out the extra dough and setting up a small network. Besides being a much more versatile option, a network will quickly pay for itself in saved time and frustration. You can set up an Ethernet network between the Power Macintosh and the PC and then bridge that network to your existing LocalTalk network.

Here's how you do it: First install a 10BaseT Ethernet adapter in the PC and place a small 10BaseT hub in a convenient location between the PC and the Power Mac. (This is likely to cost around $50.) Run a 10BaseT cable from each of these computers to the hub. Then connect the LocalTalk network (the Macs and the printer) to the Ethernet network (the PC and the Power Mac) by running Apple's free LocalTalk Bridge software ( on the Power Mac.

For more speed on the Power Mac, forget this software and instead run another 10BaseT patch cable from the hub to a freestanding Ethernet-to-LocalTalk adapter, such as Farallon's ( $99.95 EtherMac iPrint LT; run a telephone cable from this adapter to a LocalTalk connector box (PhoneNet-style) at the Quadra or the printer; and then disconnect the Power Mac from the LocalTalk network. For more speed on the Quadra, install an Ethernet adapter in it, run a cable from it to the hub, and disconnect it from the LocalTalk network.

To share both your files and the LaserWriter between the Macs and the PC, install Miramar Systems' ( $199 PC MacLAN software on the PC. This software will also let you share the PC's printer with the Macs, but each Mac must have the driver software for the particular PC printer model (the Canon C5500, in your case) installed in order to use the printer. Mac drivers for PC printers are hard to find, but PowerPrint, $99 from Infowave (, contains drivers that are compatible with over a thousand PC printers (including yours).

Anticipate Caps

Q. To know if the caps lock function on my G3 PowerBook is turned on, I must look down at it-a tiny green light indicates it's activated. All too often I inadvertently type in CAPS! Is there any shareware that adds a visual to the menu bar?

Michael F. Murphy

Urbana-Champaign, Illinois

A. CapsOff, a $10 shareware utility from Redpoint Software (, does that and more, as shown in "Capital Control" below.

Capital Control

You can get on-screen feedback for the caps lock key or disable it altogether with Redpoint Software's CapsOff utility.

AppleWorks Prints Double

Q. How can I fool AppleWorks into printing on both sides of paper? I use a LaserWriter 320.

Walter Allen

Montreal, Quebec, Canada

Hug a Tree

For two-sided printing in AppleWorks, first print the back sides by selecting the Left Pages option in the Print dialog box. Then print the front sides by selecting the Right Pages option.

A. The trick is to print odd- and even-numbered pages separately. To set this up for a LaserWriter, choose AppleWorks from the pop-up menu in the Print dialog box and select the Left Pages option (see "Hug a Tree"). This prints the even-numbered pages on one side (the "back") of the paper. After the back sides are finished, many printers require you to reverse the order of the printed pages before turning over the whole stack and placing it back in the printer's input tray. You need to do this if you've selected face-down delivery on your LaserWriter 320 (by pushing up the selector level on the back of the printer), but not if you've selected face-up delivery. If you're not sure which way you have your printer set up, it's a good idea to try some test pages before printing a lengthy document. Finally, print the odd-numbered pages by selecting the Right Pages option in the Print dialog box.

Zip to End or Beginning

TIP Sometimes I need to get quickly to the end or the beginning of a block of text in QuarkXPress. To get to the end, I press command-A to select all, and then I press the right-arrow key. To get to the beginning, I select all and press the left-arrow key.

Randy Oest II

Washington, Pennsylvania

You can use this technique in other applications if the home and end keys don't work or your keyboard doesn't have them.


Make a Bookmarks Home Page

TIP To keep your Netscape bookmarks easily accessible, make them your home page. Set this up by choosing Preferences from Netscape's Edit menu and clicking the Choose Local File button in the Navigator section of the Preferences dialog box. In the Open dialog box that appears, open the System Folder, the Preferences folder, the Netscape Users folder, and the folder that bears your Netscape user name; finally, select the Bookmarks.html file. (If you don't see a Netscape Users folder, open the Netscape folder and choose the Bookmarks.html file inside it.) After you choose Bookmarks.html, its URL appears in the Home Page Location field. Your bookmarks will appear in the browser whenever you click the Home button or open a new browser window.

Vasily Koroslev

Pleasant Hill, California

Fix AppleWorks Import and Export TroubleTIP When you're trying to import a document to or from AppleWorks (or ClarisWorks), you may experience a problem: the application reports that it could not find necessary translation software, or you have fewer file-format choices than you expected. But when you look in the Claris Translators folder (inside the Claris folder within the System Folder), the translator files are all right there. This problem usually occurs after you copy all your files to a new computer or a new hard drive and then use AppleWorks or ClarisWorks from the new hardware.

The solution is to open the Claris Translators folder, select all files in it (command-A), and drag them to the desktop. They'll spread all over the desktop but will remain selected as long as you don't click the mouse or press any keys. Next, simply drag the files back into the Claris Translators folder and close the open windows. Strangely enough, after dragging the files back into the very folder you dragged them out of, you should be able to import and export files in AppleWorks (or ClarisWorks) using these translators.

Martin Kaufmann

Cisco, Texas

To minimize problems like these, when copying system, application, and alias files to a new computer or hard drive, give the destination the same name as the source.


LON POOLE answers readers' questions and selects reader-submitted tips for this monthly column. He is a coauthor, with Todd Stauffer, of Macworld Mac OS 9 Bible (IDG Books Worldwide, 2000).

All shareware and freeware mentioned in Quick Tips is available from the Macworld Online software library (

We pay $25 to $100 for tips selected for publication that discuss how to use Macs, peripherals, or software. Please include your full name and address, so that we can send you your payment. Send questions or tips to or to Macworld Quick Tips, 301 Howard St., 16th Fl., San Francisco, CA 94105. All published submissions become the sole property of Macworld. Due to the high volume of mail received, we cannot provide personal responses.

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