Archive for ‘Apple’ Category

Turn-off Leopards 3D Dock

datePosted on 22:57, October 29th, 2007 by Many Ayromlou

Just noticed that if you place your dock on either side of the screen you get a flat dock, instead of that floating 3d look. As much as I like the 3D look, I liked the flat look even more, so after poking around I found out how to disable the 3D look. Open a Terminal window and type in the following two commands:
defaults write no-glass -boolean YES
killall Dock

To get the 3D floating dock back you open a Terminal and type the “opposite” two commands:
defaults write no-glass -boolean NO
killall Dock

Keep coming back…..there will be more soon :-)

OSX Leopard installation story

datePosted on 20:55, October 27th, 2007 by Many Ayromlou

Like many of you, I picked up Leopard Family pack last night. You see I have 4 mac’s and for $199 the family pack allows me to install leopard on up to 5 machines (in the same household). Anyways I did run into some troubles so I figured I’ll let you guys know about the gotchas:

– I “Upgraded” a 10.4.10 MBP 17″ and everything more or less worked, about the only thing I couldn’t get working was istat menu gadget. That Blue screen thing after the first reboot scared me to death, since your machine literally churns away for a good 5 minutes before the desktop loads. This only happens on the first boot after install. Some people have reported this screen followed by a what sounds like a lockup, but that did not happen to me. Strangely little snitch version 1.x worked fine after the upgrade (It’s not supposed to).
– I the proceeded to “Upgrade” a hoped-up Mac G4 Cube (Dual 1.5 Ghz w/ 1.5 GB of Ram and Nvidia Geforce 2 gfx) that was running 10.4.10 Server edition and low behold…..the installation worked fine but when I rebooted the boot device (startup disk) was not there anymore. I ended up having to do a “Erase/Fresh install” which is working but I lost some apps (no biggie, I have most of them on the MBP).
– Third came the G4 12″ PowerBook. I “Upgraded” it from 10.4.10 and everything went fine through the install, but when I rebooted all I got was the white screen with the apple logo and the spinner thing. The spinner kept spinning for at least 60-70 minutes and nothing (you could hear faint HD access one in a while). I rebooted a couple more times, tried single user mode, safe mode and verbose boot but nothing worked just the spinner. I did a re-“Upgrade” and the same results again. Then thought, why not try the “Archive System Install” option and low and behold everything worked. The system actually grabbed all my 10.4.10 Apps and installed them in the right place. My account was also transfered and everything came back just like before. The only problem on this machine (which I have to admit does not have much installed on it) was Little Snitch. I ended up having to upgrade to the 2.x beta family pack, downloaded the new installer and everything is happy again.
– At this point I got kinda bold and did a “Archive System Install” on my MacBook 2.0Ghz straight from 10.4.10 to 10.5 and I have to say wow….the archive option is a lot less hassle and moves (almost) all your apps and accounts/settings over. Adobe CS3 works fine and even Final Cut Studio is fully functional after the Archive install. Some things didn’t work here and required reinstalls, but no major breakdowns. The main ones were:
  • Logitech Control Centre for the MX Laser
  • Parallels 3.x
  • Some screen saver which had to be moved from the archived directory
  • Little Snitch which needs a upgrade to 2.x
  • Printers which disappear after the upgrade

– At last I got really adventurous and went back to my “Upgraded” 10.5 MBP and did a “Archive System Install” on it. Everything went okay, Apps and settings got transfered properly, but in addition to the 5 breakdowns above I had to reinstall the following:

  • Logitech Control Centre for MX510
  • Silicon Image 3132 ExpressCard Driver
  • SynergyKM 
  • iStat Menu (since it stopped working on the first “Upgrade” and the “Archive install” simply left it aside.
  • EyeTV software for EyeTV Hybrid (just an update)
Now everything is happy (I think). I’m doing my second time machine backup. The machine feels faster than before. I have left Spotlight running for now, to see if it’s tendency to go nuts once in a while has been fixed. Not everything has gone as planned, but for the most part I have to say that “Archive” install option is your friend. I would avoid the “Upgrade” option on PPC machines since I’ve had two bad (back-to-back) experiences. 

Okay so this all started with our users not being able to share files on our webserver. We use SSH only for upload/download and interactive access (ie: no ftp). Through trial and error we found out that the default umask (under OSX Server) for sftp uploaded files are 0033 (ie: rwxr–r–) and directories are 0022 (ie: rwxr-xr-x). This creates a problem when one user uploads a file and another user downloads/modifies and tries to re-upload it — they simply can’t because the group permissions are wrong.

If we were using ftp (which we are not) there are some solutions on the net that allow you to modify the startup parameters for the ftp server so that the default umask for all files is 0013 — which would allow a group of people to share/overwrite each others files — but we are using ssh only.

So we came up with two other solutions — a shared upload account and/or a cron job that would modify the group permissions on the website directory to allow group sharing. We went with the second solution and that’s where I ran into so many problems that I decided to create this post. You see normally Unix users know that spaces (and strange characters) in filenames are a no-no. Well that’s not true for Windows and Mac users, they use spaces and other odd characters in their filenames/folders all the time.

I started writing — what I thought was — a simple “for loop” script to go through the website folder and change the group permissions. Of course on the first try things didn’t work nicely because of spaces, so I started compensating for that and came up with:
for i in `find /Path/to/www -type d -print0 |xargs -0 -n 1`
This kinda worked, but the for loop would still split the lines when it hit spaces in filenames. I tried to mess around with it and gave up. After RTFMing a bit more I tried:
for i in `find /Path/to/www -type d -exec echo \"{}\" \;`
The thinking behind this was that the exec would echo the filenames quoted and it should work….well it didn’t, the for loop still split the input lines at spaces.

Finally after a latenight RTFM session (and lots of cursing), I think I’ve found the ultimate file handling loop statement:
find /Path/to/www -type d ! -perm -g=wx -print0 | while IFS= read -rd $'\0' filename
Okay so this version uses “while” rather than “for” but it works like a charm and chews through spaces and all other kinds of weird chars and creates a output stream that’s ready to be used by your choice of commands (chmod in my case).

After trimming and optimizing the script a bit, here is the final product:
# The following find will search for
# all files under /Path/to/www, that
# are NOT symlinks, and do NOT have
# group write permission. The list is
# "\0" seperated and the while portion
# will loop around this character and
# ignore everything else in the path.
find /Path/to/www ! -type l ! -perm -g=w -print0 | while IFS= read -rd $'\0' filename
# We've found a directory with no group
# write permission, so fix it.
if [ -d "$filename" ]then
chmod g+rwx "$filename"
# echo Directory changed
stat -l "$filename"
# We've found a file with no group
# write permission, so fix it.
if [ -f "$filename" ]then
chmod g+rw "$filename"
# echo File changed
stat -l "$filename"

Hopefully you’ll find this code (or portions of it) useful for your own day-to-day hack-and-slash solutions to annoying problems. Let me know if you come up with an even better solution :-)

Right Mouse and Delete Buttons under XP on Inter Mac’s

datePosted on 15:54, October 15th, 2007 by Many Ayromlou

This one has been bugging me for so long that once I figured it out today I had to let other know as well. If you’ve been using Windows on your mac using bootcamp you’d know how frustrating it is not to have the right mouse button — you can remedy this with a mouse of course — and no DEL key. This makes deleting files/directories a pain in the ‘nads, let alone trying to right click with the single button on the pad.

I think I’ve found the solution. It’s a windows utility called AutoHotKey and it’s free. Grab it, reboot into WinXP (or whatever Windows) natively and continue on with the tutorial below:

1) Okay so assuming you’re in windows and have AutoHotKey downloaded, go ahead and install the application.
2) Once it’s finished, go to your menu and run the program. It will ask for your permission to create a default script under “My Documents”. Say Yes and let it do this.
3) Go to your “My Documents” folder and find the file AutoHotkey.ahk and edit it.
4) Comment out everything they have put in there using the semicolon “;” at the beginning of those lines.
5) Add the following three lines to the bottom of the script:
6) Save the file in “My Documents”, go to your icon tray (bottom right), right click and reload the script. Now you should have a proper DEL (small Enter Key) and a proper right mouse click button (the Apple Keys).

You can tweak the script and reload it if you like. The script in the My Documents directory is the default script that gets loaded (you can have others saved in different folders). So now you can add AutoHotKey to your startup folder so it’s started everytime you boot into windows.

Problems with new iMacs and Panasonic AG-DVC30

datePosted on 15:31, September 25th, 2007 by Many Ayromlou

So from our testing in house we’ve found a definite problem with the new iMacs (brushed aluminum) and Panasonic AG-DVC30. The camcorder does not get detected by the system under OSX 4.10 and/or Windows XP. The problem seems to be hardware/firmware related. Almost every other camera inhouse seems to work except this one.

We’ve also gone ahead and reconfirmed our tests at the apple store in Toronto. Same results, the new iMacs do not like the Panasonic AG-DVC30. BTW, the camera gets properly recognised by every other mac in the store (including our inhouse G5/G4/Power Book/Mac Book/Mac mini/MacBook Pros).

The problem seems to stem from the initial handshake (atleast that’s what we’ve been able to figure out until now), since the introduction of a LaCie firewire drive in the middle of the chain seems to solve the problem (atleast the initial recognition issue). So we are all wondering why it is that if you hang the camera off the LaCie drive and plugin the LaCie drive into the iMac, everything works?

Something to keep in mind if you’re planning to buy this camera and the new iMac. I’d be interested in hearing from people having issues with new iMacs and other camera’s.

Slim OSX battery meter for your hemoraging menubar

datePosted on 17:15, September 16th, 2007 by Many Ayromlou

So if your menubar is as packed as mine, you usually have to kill menubar utils just to get to your application menus (specially bad when I run Photoshop). SlimBatteryMonitor comes to rescue. SlimBatteryMonitor is a replacement power gauge for Apple’s Mac OS X that tracks both laptop batteries and many UPS batteries. Multiple-battery systems (e.g. older powerbooks) are supported as well. A graphical icon shows the power remaining, and can be accompanied by a text description (battery charge in percent, or time remaining). Colours can indicate whether the system is fully charged, charging or on battery.

Best of all, you can choose different display options for each battery state (fully charged, charging or on battery). You may wish to see the time remaining while on battery, for example, but show only the icon during charging, and hide SlimBatteryMonitor entirely when batteries are fully charged. SlimBatteryMonitor is a better choice because it presents the same information in a much more space efficient manner, allowing you to fit other menu bar items on the screen as well.

Great little OSX utility….

datePosted on 14:39, September 16th, 2007 by Many Ayromlou

SharePoints 3.5.4 is a little known gem that allows you to REALLY “manage” your samba and afs shares under OSX. It’s free (donationware) and now Universal. No more limits as to who shares what with who, no more editing smb.conf by hand. It’s your machine you paid for it, it came with OSX and samba so why run in castrated mode :-)

SharePoints is an application or a preference pane that makes it easy to add and delete share points like in the old Finder. In Mac OS X, by default, you are limited to sharing only what is in your public folder in your home directory. This program makes it easy to share any folder.
In addition SharePoints also brings back users and groups management to Mac OS X as well as easy configuration of AppleFileServer (AFS) and Samba (SMB) Server properties.

Free your Office….

datePosted on 09:52, August 31st, 2007 by Many Ayromlou

While we’re on the subject of saving you some money. NeoOffice, the OSX native version of Open Office, has just released their latest. This release includes support for the Mac OS X Spellchecker and Address Book and experimental support for Office 2007 Excel and PowerPoint files. From the overview page:

NeoOffice is a full-featured set of office applications (including word processing, spreadsheet, presentation, and drawing programs) for Mac OS X. Based on the office suite, NeoOffice has integrated dozens of native Mac features and can import, edit, and exchange files with other popular office programs such as Microsoft Office.

Released as free, open source software under the GNU General Public License (GPL), NeoOffice is fully functional and stable enough for everyday use. The software is actively developed, so improvements and small updates are made available on a regular basis.

It is available for free from the NeoOffice download page.

Flickrize your Desktop

datePosted on 09:30, August 31st, 2007 by Many Ayromlou

Desklickr is my latest obsession. Great little utility that grabs images from Flickr and constantly refreshes your desktop background. There is even a Desklickr group for people who don’t want to think too much. Just set it and forget it.

Freeware OSX Weather Util

datePosted on 05:20, August 23rd, 2007 by Many Ayromlou

Here is a quick link to WeatherDock for all you weather nuts. This is one of the best weather utilities I’ve seen in a longtime. Best of all…..It’s Free. Sorry Mac Only.

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