9.6. CDs & DVDs
This handy pane (Figure 9-5) lets you tell the Mac what it should do when it detects
you've inserted a CD or DVD. For example, when you insert a music CD, you probably
want iTunes (Chapter 11) to open automatically so you can listen to the CD or convert its
musical contents to MP3 or AAC files on your hard drive. Similarly, when you insert a
picture CD (such as a Kodak Photo CD), you probably want iPhoto to open in readiness
to import the pictures from the CD into your photo collection. And when you insert a
DVD from Blockbuster, you want the Mac's DVD Player program to open.
Figure 9-5. You can tell the Mac exactly which program to launch when you insert
each kind of disc, or tell it to do nothing at all.
For each kind of disc (blank CD, blank DVD, music CD, picture CD, or video DVD), the
pop-up menu lets you choose options like these:
• Ask what to do. A dialog box appears that asks what you want to do with the
newly inserted disc.
• Open (iDVD, iTunes, iPhoto, DVDPlayer…). The Mac can open a certain
program automatically when you insert the disc. When the day comes that
somebody writes a better music player than iTunes, or a better digital shoebox
than iPhoto, you can use the "Open other application" option.
• Run script. If you've become handy writing or downloading AppleScript programs
(Chapter 7), you can schedule one of your own scripts to take over from here. For
example, you can set things up so that inserting a blank CD automatically copies
your Home folder onto it for backup purposes.
• Ignore. The Mac won't do anything when you insert a disc except display its icon
on the desktop. (If it's a blank disc, the Mac does nothing at all.)
UP TO SPEED
System Preferences: Under the Hood
The entire System Preferences program is nothing more than a series of
graphical front ends for underlying Unix settings. (If you know Unix and feel so
inclined you can, in fact, bypass the System Preferences panel completely.
Using the defaults command, you can use Mac OS X's Terminal program to
make any of the changes described in this chapter—and many others.)
The individual Preferences panes are represented by package icons (Section
5.1.3) in your various Library folders. For example, icons in the basic Leopard
set are in System Library PreferencePanes. Mac OS X also looks for
preferences modules in the Network Library PreferencePanes folder, if
there is one.
(All of this is handy to remember when the day comes that you want to delete a
Now suppose you've downloaded some new Preferences module, and you want
to install it. Just double-clicking a downloaded System Preferences pane does
If you prefer manual control, you can put a downloaded module into your Home
Library PreferencePanes folder. The beauty of this arrangement, of
course, is that everyone who shares a Mac now can see a different assortment of
customized Preference panes.
If you're an administrator, you can create a Preference-Panes folder in the Mac's
main Library folder, so that everyone with an account on the Mac (Chapter 12)
can access your newly added panes.
When you install some new System Preferences pane like TinkerTool, Adobe
VersionCue, or TiVo Desktop, it takes the form of a new icon in one of those
four PreferencePanes folders. That's good to know when the day comes that you
want to remove one of these add-on panes.
Within the System Preferences program, any new panes you add in this way
appear in a new row of icons labeled Other (at least when you're viewing
System Preferences in Category view).