Apr
6

Safari 4 Beta Tab Hacks

Posted by Aaron West at 8:00 AM in Hacks, Mac

I've been running Safari 4 beta for a few weeks now and am quite happy with it. It's much faster than Firefox on Mac, has a smaller visual footprint, and includes a great set of developer tools. Some people aren't too happy with some of the new tab features though. Have no fear, Rob Griffiths over at Macworld put together a screencast that shows you how to move the new tab bar from the top of Safari window to its original position. Rob also shows how to hack the active tab color or the inactive tabs colors to make either stand out.

Check it out here.

Apr
5

This may come as a surprise but it's not that often that I have a need to compare entire folders or projects of code. Most of the time I'm using Subclipse's compare functionality to compare two different versions of the same file. When I do need to perform heavy code comparisons I typically rely on File Merge, a utility that comes with Xcode.

Realizing there are probably much better tools suited to this task I thought I'd reach out to my readers and ask what you use. So, if you're on OS X, fire away and offer up your best suggestion for the most rockin' code compare utility.

Incidentally, for those that are on Windows (I'm sorry), Beyond Compare and WinMerge are the best tools I've seen.

Feb
8

I'm pretty much addicted to my iPhone but I believe I would've sold it for $50 the other day. It'd been several days since I updated my installed applications so I visited the app store to see what was new. I had 10 updates. Thinking nothing of it I began downloading all 10 application updates. After the updates were ready I connected my iPhone and started a sync. Halfway through the sync iTunes crashed.

Continue Reading

Jan
11

Update - Macbook Pro Versus Coffee

Posted by Aaron West at 11:50 AM in Personal, Mac

It's been several days since my Macbook Pro had coffee spilled on it and I still don't know how bad the damage is. I opened a service ticket with Mac Authority on Tuesday (January 6) and dropped off my laptop on Thursday evening.

I called Mac Authority Friday afternoon and the service guy (Tony) said there were 16 machines in front of me in the queue. He mentioned something about this being the busiest time they've ever seen in the service department. I asked him how long he thought it'd take to churn threw the queue and he said they might be able to get to my machine by Friday afternoon or evening.

Continue Reading

Jan
6

Sometimes when I'm sitting at my desk working, or driving around town, or doing something mindless like mowing the lawn, I think about things happening that would really suck. Sort of a deja vu kind of thing. I'm willing to bet you do this too. Perhaps you've seen misfortune thrust upon someone and you think: "Wow, glad that didn't happen to me." Well, one of those really sucky, really horrific things (to me) that I hoped would never happen, did.

Continue Reading

Jan
5

I was reading through the latest blog posts aggregated by ColdFusion Bloggers and noticed someone writing about the oldest file they had in their home directory. I switch laptops every three years, but thought it'd be an interesting exercise even if I don't typically respond to memes.

I thought it would be pretty easy to determine my oldest file using OS X's Spotlight. After a minute or two I realized Spotlight wasn't going to be much help so I dipped into my ninja command-line skills and attempted to use *nix's find, and ls commands. I was able to make some headway but wasn't too sure of my results so I followed links from Jehiah's post to Craig Rhodes' blog. Craig provides a Python script that seemed to do the trick (code and instructions on how to do this yourself are below). The absolute oldest file on my Macbook Pro is a font called Optim which was created on June 25, 1987. Yikes! Scrolling through the list of files (ordered by oldest first) there were tons of fonts which have probably been forgotten for ages.

Continue Reading

Jan
2

As much as I like and enjoy my Apple TV it has a tendency to frustrate the crap outta me. I've experienced two recent situations that made me wanna remove the thing from my closet and chuck it out the window (where it would probably land softly on the grass outside).

Blue screen? No, white screen!
I typically rent movies from Netflix but sometimes it's nice to rent something from iTunes. So after renting Hit Man and waiting a few minutes for the HD movie to queue up I was pretty surprised to be greeted by a glaring white screen. Audio was working fine but the video was a big mess of white nothing. I tried the immediately obvious things like fast forwarding, rewinding, and stopping and restarting the movie. I also adjusted the video display settings on the Apple TV to ensure it wasn't some funky HD setting. After none of that worked I used my MRF850 system remote to shutdown my entire home theatre system which basically amounts to power cycling equipment that is turned on (except for the Apple TV). The movie continued to display only white. It wasn't until I unplugged the power cable for the Apple TV (there's no on/off switch) and plugged it back in that the movie actually showed video. Lesson learned: reboots aren't just for Windows devices anymore. =(

Apple TV 2.3 iTunes 8.0.2 Syncing Issue
Apple released an update for Apple TV (version 2.3) that promised new features like AirTunes Streaming, additional third party remote support, better playlists compatibility with iTunes and enhanced music volume control (they didn't mention the Remote app on iPhone getting this feature but it does. And it's cool). What they didn't tell you was that a number of people were going to have some significant problems with the update. I was one of them.

After upgrading my Apple TV it no longer showed up in iTunes. I wasn't able to sync any new music, movies, or photos but I could still play all the content that was already on Apple TV. What was puzzling was my Apple TV continued to show up in iTunes Apple TV list which seemed to indicate my computer and Apple TV were able to see each other. To further add to the frustration my iPhone Remote app wasn't able to see the Apple TV and control content playback. After doing some searching I tried several of the solutions other sufferers had success with. I even wiped the entire thing and attempted to start over and resync all my music, movies, and photos. I was able to perform the factory settings reset but iTunes still wouldn't see my Apple TV.

While trying to remotely connect to my 1TB Time Capsule to check IPv6 settings (one of the suggestions from the previous link) I noticed my computer wasn't able to recognize the Time Capsule. Naturally, I power cycled the Time Capsule by pulling it's power cable. After it came back up I was able to connect via Airport Utility and surprisingly iTunes was now able to see the Apple TV. After all this fuss I was able to set up my Apple TV all fresh and anew and sync all my data (which took over 3 hours). Lesson learned: reboots aren't just for Windows devices anymore. See a pattern here?

Dec
15

I posted earlier today about synchronizing an Entourage calendar to other macs and to my iPhone. Well, I've found what I believe is a better solution though not free. Spanning Sync is software made specifically for synchronizing your calendars and address books across multiple macs. What's nice about this solution is you only need Spanning Sync on your computers and nothing on your iPhone. This solution does assume you're already using MobileMe for calendar syncing. The problems I mentioned earlier, namely Calgoo Connect crashes and calendar changes not filtering back to Entourage, are not present with this setup.

Continue Reading

Dec
15

Let me set the stage. I have two Macbook Pros. One is used at the office and one is my personal machine. They're both laptops so they each see a fair amount of travel. And while one is primarily for work there is some overlap in what I do on the machines. For the most part though having two macs makes it easier for me to separate what I work on and how. Where this separation sucks is when you start looking at my calendar. I use Entourage 2008 on my work laptop (insert long, drawn out rant about Microsoft software. Yes there's OpenOffice and other MS-ish solutions but they all suck when you need serious collaboration with others using Microsoft products) for e-mail and calendaring. I use iCal on my personal laptop and on my iPhone. Up to this point I've somehow managed NOT being able to look at my work calendar unless I was sitting in front of my work laptop. This has halfway worked for a year but it's just not cutting it anymore. So this weekend I set out to do some research on calendar syncing solutions that would ultimately get my Entourage calendar from my work laptop to my personal laptop and iPhone.

The solution I'm laying out below doesn't cost a penny and for a lot of people that's incredibly important. However, there are caveats. In the near future I'll discuss a second option that isn't free but might provide more stability and features for those who need them. Stay tuned. The free solution involves the use of software from Calgoo and Nueva Sync. The first six steps below are done on the computer with Entourage. The rest are either done on an iPhone or other Mac computers.

Continue Reading

Dec
7

Managing RSA Keys on Linux and OS X

Posted by Aaron West at 9:46 AM in ColdFusion, Linux, Mac

My Web sites have been hosted on Linux since 2002. About a year ago I moved some sites to a Linux virtual private server at Viviotech and have recently created setting up a new Linux server over at Linode. Linode is a Linux virtual server platform powered by Xen (Wikipedia) and was started by a friend (and past co-worker) of mine. If you're in need of Linux hosting I highly recommend Linode!

I began setting up my Linode with CentOS 4 since I was already familiar with it. But after having conversations with Chris at Linode I decided to nuke the CentOS distro and install Ubuntu. After doing this I ran into an issue the first time I attempted to connect to the server using ssh. Here's an example of what I saw when connecting.

Continue Reading

Nov
30

Thanks to all those who entered my drawing for a free copy of 1Password from Agile Solutions. I wrote a bit of ColdFusion (code below) to draw the winner and was surprised to learn the folks at 1Password had given me extra copies to giveaway! Congrats to Lance from Ohio and David from all over (David is currently touring with the band Wild Sweet Orange). I hope you two enjoy 1Password as much as I do!

<cfset variables.myArray = ["entry1", "entry2"]>

<cfset variables.seed = Randomize(Right(GetTickCount(), 5), "SHA1PRNG")>
<cfset variables.winnerIndex = RandRange(1, ArrayLen(variables.myArray), "SHA1PRNG")>

And the winner is: <cfoutput>#myArray[variables.winnerIndex]#</cfoutput>

Nov
26

I'm giving away a free copy of 1Password from Agile Solutions. 1Password is a fantastic password management application (awarded four and half mice from Macworld) that works on your Mac and iPhone! I've been using 1Password on my Mac and iPhone for a little over a year and I love it. It allows me to use a different, super strong password on every Web site I visit. I no longer have to remember one set of "rolling passwords" or keep track of passwords in a secure note on my computer. When visiting a site, I simply use the 1Password bookmarklet (Safari and Firefox) in order to quickly log in to the site. To see 1Password in action view this video demo.

So how do you get a free copy? It's easy, just follow me on twitter and send me a direct message saying you want a copy. I'll randomly draw a winner in the next 2 days and notify that person via twitter. You'll also get an e-mail from Agile Solutions notifying you of your free copy and how to download it.

Aug
14

A few moments ago I spent an Audible credit on Al Gore's book Assault on Reason. After confirming my order Audible automatically began downloading part 1 and 2 of Gore's book. That wasn't anything unusual, but I admit I was surprised at the targeted user content displayed on the downloads page designed to guide me through the download process.

Continue Reading

Jun
13

I was talking recently with Matt Wallace, the Nashville Flex User Group manager, about switching Flash Player versions in OS X. He had found Mike Chambers bash script but was having problems getting Mike's code to work. Matt eventually developed his own solution and while he did an excellent job his utility has a few annoyances that I don't want to deal with. I'm sure he'll get all these fixed but currently you must empty the trash to clear unwanted Flash Player files that appear every time you switch FP versions. You also have to edit his Automator script every time you want to add a new Flash Player to the switching ability.

So I dug into Mike's code to see why folks were having problems getting it running. I didn't have any issues but that's because I was able to figure out a few steps Mike left out. I also made his bash script a little better eliminating the need to create a linked file to get around bash's nuances with spaces in directory names.

What I came up with is not much different than what Mike originally created, it's just more refined. If you're interested in my version read on for download and installation instructions.

Continue Reading

Jun
7

I've had it up to "here" with Time Machine and Time Capsule. If you want to kill your backup productivity just use Apple's Time Machine and Time Capsule backup solution. For the past 3 months I have fought Time Machine and Time Capsule and estimate I've spent days trying to fix problems and backup errors. As soon as one problem is resolved it seems only days go by before I'm back under the hood attacking another issue.

Continue Reading

RSS