13 September 2009

Snow Leopard

I installed Snow Leopard on Tuesday with little hassle. Almost annoying little hassle. Nothing went wrong. Nothing broke. It was almost disappointing there was nothing to fix or change. So far the most detrimental thing that happened was that Snow Leopard made a few screen savers obsolete, but my favourite one (Pong Saver) has been updated for Snow Leopard already anyway.

My impressions: favourable. The only large tweaks I've noticed are Expose and stacks (and faster startup and shutdown). The new iTunes (and iPod Touch) software that also came out a few days ago have been a welcome addition. As well as the nicely redesigned app store.

I still have a few projects hanging around to which I need to get, and hopefully will have something interesting to post soon.

05 September 2009

A Few Updates

It has been far too long since I have posted an update here. I have been on holiday and generally busy, and in consequence 1) I have not had time to post, and 2) I have not had as much time to play around with my computer(s). A few things I think I have not mentioned:

-I obtained a Mac Mini (but that was back in March)
-OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard is on the way!
-I obtained an iPod Touch

The Mac Mini has been having some audio issues I have yet to fix, and I'm sure Snow Leopard will give me a cornucopia of new thing to talk about when it arrives. The iPod Touch has given me access to the world of the app store, so I may end up writing about some of my favourite apps.

Photography is becoming more of an interest for me as well, so I might have some brief forays into that world if the fancy strikes me.

27 June 2009

Finder Tweaks

This article from Lifehacker I found quite interesting, though I only applied a few of the tricks myself. The two tricks from the article I applied were the ability to view the contents of compressed folders and normal folders in QuickLook.

I underutilise QuickLook myself, and these should allow me to use it more than I currently do. The instructions for both are the same: download the QuickLook Generator file from the website and paste it under ~/Library/QuickLook and restart Finder. (The easiest way to restart finder is to hold Alt, right-click the Finder icon in the dock and select "relaunch."

For viewing compressed folders, download the file here.
For viewing normal folders, download the file here.

The article is great and definitely worth a read.

10 June 2009

Show Hidden Files and Folders

As I am a curious sort, I always want to know exactly what is on my hard drive. One thing that always irks me about OS X is all of the hidden files and folders. Because of this, I prefer to keep them hidden. However, it is always good to know how to reveal them, and as such I will tell you how here.

Open Terminal and type the command:

defaults write com.apple.finder AppleShowAllFiles TRUE

This reveals the hidden files and folders.
Hit enter and then type the command:

killall Finder

This restarts Finder so the folders and files will be visible.

To revert it, the process is basically the same. Open Terminal and type:

defaults write com.apple.finder ShowAllFiles FALSE

Hit enter and then type:

killall Finder

A utilitarian trick all should know.

25 May 2009

Some Good Freeware

A couple of good freeware programes: LiteIcon and AppCleaner.

I had an odd issue of the icon for my NAS reverting every time I tried to change it. LiteIcon solved that issue for me; it allows for the changing of the default icon for any number of things. You can get it here.

My second application stemmed from the first. You will remember AppTrap from a few posts back. This one does more or less the same thing, but with a bit more in the feature department. AppCleaner is an application (rather than just a preference pane) that does the same things as AppTrap, but also allows you to remove widgits, preference panes, and other such files. A good thing to have around. It also can be found here at FreeMacSoft.

21 May 2009

ACDSee Pro for Mac Beta

ACDSee Pro for Mac Beta is live now! Download it here.

16 March 2009


Now one thing I like about Apple programmes is that most are contained in that single .app file. To uninstall, simply move that to the trash. However, unbeknownst to you, many also create files scattered about your hard drive, and when you delete the .app file, it does not delete these files.

Cue AppTrap.

AppTrap (when running) detects when you send a .app file to the trash and asks you if you want to delete the other system files associated with that app. A nice little cleanup preference pane to help keep things tidy.


50th Post!

This is the fiftieth post on this esteemed weblog! That calls for a celebration.

Happy fiftieth to, well, me! Congratulations, you're well on your way to being a blog centurion.

07 March 2009

Preventing .DS_Store

A helpful hint I found in the Apple Knowledge Base today.

Because I still have a Windows machine hanging around (in its death throes, I might add) and dislike lots of hidden files lying around (one of my little annoyances with Mac), I was excited to see there is an easy way to prevent the .DS_Store files from being created on your networked drives.

Open Terminal and type:
defaults write com.apple.desktopservices DSDontWriteNetworkStores true
and then hit enter.

After a reboot, this should disable any more of those from being created. Whether the old ones ever get deleted is up to you and your OCD.

There is a disclaimer that this "can cause unexpected Finder behaviour," but nothing too dire will occur.

Apple Knowledge Base Article

23 February 2009

Exposé (Or Lack Thereof) in Boot Camp

When in Boot Camp (also, for me, VMWare seeing the Boot Camp Partition) the Exposé buttons, (the buttons to either side of the Mighty Mouse) function by default as a browser back button. Since I have a habit of squeezing these, it is really rather annoying when your browser keeps jumping backwards on you. However, I did find this little programme called X-Mouse Button Control that allows you to disable that (and really customise your mouse to no end). Just another little Freeware programme that everyone should know about.

X-Mouse Button Control

22 February 2009

A Few Finder Tips

Here's some Finder tips that everyone should know. Some of them I feel stupid about for not discovering earlier, some of them are obvious, some redundant, but most all are helpful.

1. Icon View Sorting
When one views the finder window in icon view, it is helpful for sorting photos. However, when you start copying items into the folder or accidentally (or purposely) dragging the files around, it can get messy (and seriously bother one's OCD). However, there is a fix. Hit Command + A (to highlight all of the files) and then in the OS X toolbar click View -> Clean Up Selection. Voilà, all of the files will snap to a nice grid and be arranged!

2. Some File-Moving and Navigation Tips
You probably already know that when you hover a file over a folder it opens the folder (this is "spring-loaded folder" which is enabled by default). However, this can be shortened two ways: the first is to hit the spacebar when hovering over a folder, which will open it immediately; the second is to change the time the folder waits to "spring" in Finder's preferences. You can also press Escape to sop the file move before it occurs.

3. The Finder Toolbar
If you have certain programmes, files, or folders that you like to access on a regular basis, you can drag the file, folder, or programme into the finder toolbar (in the window itself, not the OS X toolbar) and hover it there for a second until the + sign comes up and allows you to add it. You can hold Command and drag the file/folder/programme off of the toolbar to remove it, and can right click (or control click) on the toolbar to mess with further options.

4. Finder Path Bar
This gives the option to see the file path of the folder you are currently in at the bottom of the Finder window. The added bonus is that you can click and drag a file into any of the listed folders to move it higher in the hierarchy and can double-click any of the listed folders to view it. To enable this, click View -> Show Path Bar at the top (OS X) toolbar.

5. Finder's Proxy Icons
The little folder icon you see at the top of a Finder window, next to the title, can be right-clicked (control-clicked) to view the file path to the folder you are currently viewing. (This is somewhat redundant to tip #4.) You can click any of the folders listed there to jump to it, or hold command while clicking it to open that folder in a new Finder window.

6. Arrow Key Navigation
As most of you probably know, you can use the arrow keys to navigate around finder (as well as the alpha keys to jump to files). The arrow key navigation is rather self-explanatory and intuitive, so I won't go into too much detail. The only real trick in this one is Spacebar (for Quick Look) when any object is highlighted, and Command + Down Arrow to open a file or folder.

A Few Firefox Add-Ons

A few Firefox Add-Ons I have been toying with lately:

Google Preview
Tab Mix Plus

Google Preview
This is a little tool that shows you a screenshot of the webpage in your Google search results. It slows down the page load a bit, but the added convenience of this is, in my opinion, worth it. It is quite likely I will change my mind later, but for now, it stays.

Tab Mix Plus
Tab Mix Plus is to tabs as Onyx is to OS X or TweakUI is to Windows XP. It allows you to tweak, edit, customise, and otherwise tinker with your Firefix tabs. Some of its default settings are downright awful, but once you get in and explore the options (and, of course, meddle with them) it proves quite useful.

This one I remain somewhat ambiguous/undecided upon. It goes in your search bar to the right of the address bar and provides suggestions for your search. It defaults to Yahoo, but can be set to Google (which is my personal preference). I have not found it all that useful yet, but it is a nicely polished little add-on that has a pleasing visual interface.

21 February 2009

Audio Issues in iDVD Menus

Whilst creating a DVD with iDVD, I encountered an issue. When I added music to the audio tracks, the submenus would play the files just fine, while the main (title) window would not.

A quick forum search at Apple Support Discussions led me to find that the problem was most likely due to the audio track being muted without one's knowing it. The solution: remove all the files so that one can see the audio file drop box in the menu inspector; if there are no waves coming out of it, that means it is muted and should be able to be fixed by simply clicking the speaker icon.

However, in some themes seem to have problems with this. The solution beyond this gets slightly more complicated. When you save the iDVD project, it creates a .dvdproj file, which is a file containing resources. Right click this file, and click "Show Package Contents," which brings up the contents of this file. Under this you follow Contents -> Resources -> Project Data and open that file. (If you have the Apple Developer's Tools, you have the XML reader so that you can view and edit this much easier.)

In the Property List Editor, find the section labelled "Doom of Fate Jump Targets." Under this, there are several random-looking strings of numbers and letters, and under one of these will be the menu with muted audio. There is a selection labelled "Menu Audio Muted" which will read "Yes," and should be changed to "No."

Save the file, reopen your iDVD project, and it should be fixed! I tried it while the project was still open, and thus it did not work the first time for me. If it doesn't work the first time, try saving and quitting iDVD, editing the file, and then reopening it.

10 January 2009

Picasa for Mac Available Now!

Picasa for Mac (Beta) is available now! I am downloading it as I type, and will post again with impressions, opinions, and prejudices in the near future.