Subscribe(RSS) Contact About Home – Moved, and Deprecated

Posted on November 23, 2010 at 6:21 pm

I recently moved to a new server. I’m essentially doing this to archive existing posts, however there will like be no new posts here. Instead I will be posting any new posts, Mac related and other wise, over at



[option] + Goodness

Posted on October 11, 2009 at 6:36 pm

[option] + all sorts of things have interesting results. Example: [option] + one of the volume keys will open sound preference. Play with this and other modifier keys discover more sensible secret fun.

Happy Snow Leopard day!

Posted on August 28, 2009 at 6:42 am

Snow Leopard ships today, and my Learn Snow Leopard book will soon be hitting the shelves of a bookstore near you. Also as an added bonus a redesign on this sight along with some tasty new content is on it’s way.

AirPort/WiFi Fixed

Posted on March 24, 2008 at 1:45 pm

Those little updates Apple throws at us between the larger “point” and security updates are sort of a mystery. They tend to provide rather sparse information about exactly what they are fixing, and more often then not I don’t notice anything different. The latest Time Machine and AirPort Updates v1.0 however, actually seems to fix the issues I was having in this previous post.

Another interesting note about this… I filed an bug report with Apple for this and actually got a response from an Apple engineer. This, in my experience, isn’t normal. Often it seems as if sending info to Apple is a bit like sending it to /dev/null. It’s nice to actually get some some sort of acknowledgment from Apple. Between this, and actually fixing, at least to some degree, the horrors that Apple thrust upon us with Stacks as they first appeared in Leopard shows that someone there might actually be listening… sometimes anyway.

This on top of the fact that Safari 3.1 is a really, really nice update, makes Apple look all shiny. (Though the manner in which Apple thrust Safari 3.1 on unsuspecting Windows users, who have developed the habit of clicking through an obnoxiously large number of system popups without reading them, may present a small smudge).

Glitches in Spaces

Posted on March 18, 2008 at 12:44 pm

I received an email from someone who purchased (or in some other way acquired) my book who seemed distressed that spaces was not working correctly. Specifically, she had Mail set in the Spaces preferences (in the System Preferences) to open in Space #2, and it didn’t! After some back and forth emailing, we found that removing Mail from the “Application Assignments” section of the Preference and re-adding it seemed to fix the problem. Not sure what bugged this up in the first place (though I could offer guesses), however if you find yourself in a similar situation you may try this to see if it fixes your problem.

OS X 10.5.2 is here and it totally messes up my AirPort/WiFi!

Posted on February 12, 2008 at 10:10 am

First the good… 10.5.2 fixes almost all the initial interface issues, that most people had. The transparent menu bar never bugged me as much as others (I did select a background image with this a a consideration though), however now you can toggle that. Stacks seem to be mostly fixed (though you still can’t traverse aliased folders in “List” view). Finally the Time machine Menubar Item is nice and should have been there all along. All good things.

Now the very ugly… I can no longer find my WiFi network at work, not at all! In my last post I noted that there were issues connecting to the Fortinet FortiWiFi 50B at work. This was annoying, but there were workarounds, in fact switching from WEP to WPA (as things should have been to begin with) seemed to solve the problem entirely. However, after applying the 10.5.2 update, things are now worse then ever. My MacBook Pro doesn’t even see the WiFi network, making it impossible to connect no matter what security is used (even with none at all). Now there are many issues with this problem:

  • There is clearly something unique going on with the FortiWifi unit, since I’ve never had these issues with numerous brands of WiFi routers all over the world. Attempting to contact Fortinet for an answer futile, as it seems there support, from my experience, represents the worst of the worst. (Why anyone would pay three to five times more for a WiFi router from a company that sucks this bad is beyond me. They have a reputation for excellent security, which is always welcome, of course making your network totally unreachable from with-in or with-out, while effective, isn’t what I think anybody wants. Plus… and this is real fun, after pay way to much for the hardware, you have to keep paying them for software updates, support, and everything else. Oy!… there is more, I could go on for awhile panning Fortinet, especially as a Mac user, but I’ll move on.)
  • Apple has to share in the blame here though. First of all while there were issues with WEP connections to the FortiWiFi in 10.5.1, WPA worked fine, and there were workarounds for WEP as well. Plus, I’ve never had an issue connecting to the WiFi with *gasp* Windows, or even Linux. So clearly whatever suckiness Fortinet offers it seems that it’s still within Apples abilities to make this work (and nothing frustrates me more then updates taking hugh leaps backwards. Experimental interface whims I can live with (though I’ll be there to bitch about ‘em), but breaking essential computing functions is just plain unforgivable… especially when everyone else seems to get it right). I mean seriously how am I suppose to convince the powers that be that we should all switch to Macs, when they come back (rightfully I might add) and say “WTF, they can’t even connect to our WiFi network.”

My hope is that there are just enough of people with this issue so that Apple will take notice and release a patch very quickly to correct this.

AirPort "Connection Timeout" issue

Posted on January 4, 2008 at 11:10 am

It seems there is a glitch in the AirPort connection dialog (or underling software) in Leopard that will occasionally prevent you from connecting to a wireless access point with a “Connection Timeout” message (usually involving WEP, which is yet another reason to upgrade to WPA). While frustrating, if you find yourself in this situation there is a solution: open up Safari and click your way through the the Network Diagnostics Utility (a button to launch this appears when you launch Safari and it can’t connect to the internet). This will successfully allow you to connect to the wireless access point (provided something else isn’t wrong anyway). As usual, I’d assume that there will be permanent fix for this soon, but at least for now there is a work around.

AppleCare/Service Hints

Posted on December 20, 2007 at 4:34 pm

I just had to take my MacBook Pro in for service, and here are a couple of hints to help you if you ever have to do this.

  • If you live near an Apple Store, don’t bother calling the Apple Care “hot line,” they have a string of things they’ll ask you to go through to rule out ‘human error’ (i.e. you) as the problem, and after all that they’ll more likely these days send you to the Apple Store anyway (or at least encourage it). They’ll still send you a box to send in a portable if you are insistent, but it’s not like the good ol’ days of AppleCare.
  • If the Apple Store close to you is a particularly busy one (and they all tend to be especially this time of year), go online and schedules you appointment with an Apple Genius ahead of time. This will save lot’s of time.
  • Create a dummy admin account if possible before you go, and lock your keychain. When they ask for the admin password , give them the info for the dummy account. It will allow them all the access they need, without easily allowing them to poke through your files. (Though if they really wanted to they could at this point, but this makes it inconvenient). They can use this info if they need to send you computer in as well.
  • Make sure you back up everything before you take your computer in. I’ve never lost any info during a repair (…knock on wood…) but I know people it’s happened to. Time Machine provides a valid backup for those using Leopard.
  • Prepare to be without your computer for a week or so. This sucks I know, but it’s a small price to pay for a healthy working computer. Often the repairs only take a few days, but occasionally they need to order parts or they could be particularly busy, and this will take some time.

ps clarification

Posted on December 17, 2007 at 8:12 pm

I just received my author copies of the book and discovered the first issue. In chapter 18, page 302 where I write about the ps command I write:

“The most common options are -a, -u, and -x (so common, in fact, that you can issue them without the -).”

This is actually no longer exactly true. The latest version of Leopard has changed the ps command and the -u option now is a switch to select the processes of a specific user ID (though the man page is a bit unclear about this, and the command doesn’t seem to work as expected).

That said, the command used in the book ( “ps aux” ) still functions as expected (do to some compatibility magic), however if you use “ps -aux” you will get an error. The proper new way to get the expected results would be to use “ps -ajx” .

Also, it seems for the moment neither the -u or -U options (the -U option is covered on page 303) work as they should at all. I assume this will be fixed with an update, but who knows

It seems the -u and -U options do work however if you use them with the -a (or -A) options, then they (-a or -A) will take precedence. So, rather then “ps aux -U user” (as I used as an example in my book) you can use “ps -jxU user” instead.

ExifRenamer Updated!

Posted on December 8, 2007 at 7:18 pm

A while ago I wrote this post explaining an effective yet convoluted way to rename images using EXIF data. In it I lamented the fact that this was only necessary since ExifRenamer hadn’t been updated in years. Well lo and behold, today it was updated! I consider this one of those holiday miracles. Go get it here!

« Older Entries