Open brief aan Wann.es

Lieve Wann.es,

Uiteraard begrijp ik je wantrouwen ten opzichte van het nieuwe systeem, beter bekend onder de naam Mac OS X. Veranderen, zeker naar iets dat zoveel vernieuwender en zoveel meer vooruitstrevend is dan het oude vertrouwde systeem dat we al die jaren gewoon zijn, is niet altijd even gemakkelijk.

Sta me toe om je een hand te reiken en je een beetje wegwijs te maken in de onbekende wereld van de Mac. Ik ga je voorbeelden beantwoorden en je zal zien, het grootste deel van je frustratie ligt in “gewoonte” en “kennis”.

  1. Een bepaalde extensie toewijzen aan een applicatie. Rechterklik (of ctrl-klik wanneer je nog een 1-knopsmuis hebt) op een bestand en kies voor “Get Info”. Ik heb mijn Mac ingesteld in het Engels, maar dat kon even goed het Nederlands zijn of het Katalaans, want zoals je weet, Mac OS X is out-of-the-box multilingual. Je krijgt het onderstaande scherm (die ik trouwens ook heb genomen met de out-of-the-box screenshot functionaliteit). Ik heb de verschillende opties dichtgeklapt om enkel de informatie over te houden die hier van belang is.
    Selecteer een andere applicatie onder “Open with:” en klik vervolgens op de knop “Change all…” die eronder staat. Je zal zien dat vanaf dan alle bestanden van dat type (niet van die extensie want Mac OS X herkent de feitelijke bestandstypes, ongeacht welke extensie ze hebben) zullen openen met het gekozen programma.
    Assign other application to a file type
  2. Numeriek toetsenbord heeft een komma ipv een punt. Helaas zal ik hier ook op moeten antwoorden “ja dat gebruik ik niet”. Ik werk op een laptop die bovendien een querty klavier heeft. Brengt me meteen bij een tegenargument: Bij Windows heb je de keuze tussen de layouts “US” en “US International”. Bij de eerste layout kun je geen deeltekens’s, tildes, hoedjes, accentjes… leggen op de gewenste letters, dus moet je de tweede nemen. Alleen is dit zeer frustrerend bij het programmeren omdat de " pas verschijnt na tweemaal duwen. (De eerste keer is om het deelteken in ë te kunnen maken). Bij dit probleem kan ik je niet out of the box verder helpen, want ik heb geen ervaring met wat “Belgisch” layout doet bij een klavier met nummeriek toetsenbord. Ukelele (mij ook onbekend) kan je inderdaad mogelijk verder helpen.
  3. iCal doet inderdaad niet mee aan het schrijven via andere applicaties naar Google Calendar. iCal heeft daar geen andere applicaties voor nodig: die kan dat zelf. iSync kun je gebruiken om je adresboek te synchroniseren met die van GMail.
  4. Sneltoetsen door vensters bladeren, dat kan op vele verschillende manieren. In de eerste plaats is er Exposé. De defaults zijn in de loop van de tijd veranderd, dus je moet even kijken hoe de instelling op jouw systeem zijn. Hiermee kun je een overzicht van alle vensters (alle openstaande of enkel die van een bepaalde applicatie) bekijken.
    Als ik me niet vergis ben je echter op zoek naar de shortcut voor windows-tab. Wel, probeer cmd-tab eens? Er bestaat een overzicht van alle default keyboard shortcuts (waaronder enkele waarbij je inderdaad minstens 2 personen nodig hebt om ze in te duwen) maar ook hier geldt: pas ze aan hoe je zelf wil!
  5. Home en End bestaan inderdaad niet. Cmd+pijltje is the way to do it. Ze staan 10cm uit elkaar, akkoord, maar is het zo’n grote moeite om met je linkerduim (!) de cmd-toets in te duwen en de rechterwijsvinger op een pijltje te duwen? Akkoord, in sommige programma’s (ik denk aan Dreamweaver, ik denk aan applicaties die ports uit een windows omgeving zijn) moet je eerder Fn+pijltje duwen. Hier bestaat hier en daar inconsistentie maar dan is nog maar de vraag: ligt dat aan het OS of ligt het aan de applicatie. Op het werk gebruiken we FirstClass als e-mail client en de normale toetsencombinaties (tot zelfs ctrl+backspace of ctrl+b) werken niet zoals je zou verwachten.

Het is een feit dat je moet wennen. Het is een feit dat je je te complex denkpatroon moet laten varen en terug logisch intuïtief moet leren nadenken. Toegegeven, het is vooral wennen maar na een tijdje zul je merken dat je met een Mac (met keyboard shortcuts!) veel sneller kunt werken dan met het Windows systeem. Akkoord, ik voel me bijna even goed onder een Ubuntu systeem op een PC als op mijn Mac. Op een Mac kan ik echter alles doen wat ik ook op mijn Ubuntu systeem kan (met uitzondering dan van het hercompileren van de kernel) maar met mijn Ubuntu systeem kan ik niet meteen alles wat ik met mijn Mac kan realiseren.

Het is een kwestie van gewoonte. En van kennis. En openstaan voor. Maar dat geldt voor alles. Je moet niet aan iets nieuw beginnen wanneer je per definitie tegen bent. Hoe goed die nieuwigheid ook mag zijn, je zal altijd het negatieve blijven zien. Want oh ja, er zijn ook negatieve punten aan een Mac. Ik denk bijvoorbeeld aan het verplaatsen van een folder of een bestand. Kopieren kun je. Drag en Drop kun je. Maar knippen-en-plakken mag je vergeten.

Hopelijk ben ik je van dienst kunnen zijn.
Met vriendelijke groeten…

Autofill in Mail.app

When you don’t really know how to call something, it’s hard to find it. I tried “mail.app saved e-mail addresses” or “mail.app autosave e-mail address” and still Google gave not the required article. At least I thought.

An annoying thing about Mail is that it saves e-mail addresses to which you previously sent some mail to. It isn’t necessarily annoying, but it is when you can’t change the format. Jack Nickleback might be in your address book, but you might have replied to him while he’s sending with the nickname “Jacky Nickly 98347 <jacky @hotmail.com>” and you really don’t want that to appear in your “To:” field. You just want to send it to the format in which you specified his name in your address book. Simple and clean.

Now there is a feature – luckily – to change this, but I expected an option to change those saved passwords. It isn’t. You can go to Window > Previous Recipients and that’s the list of – d’uh – the e-mail addresses to which you have previously sent an e-mail. Bad thing is: it doesn’t show up the name with which they appear in your e-mail message. What you have to do, is remove the names from the list. They will still appear as you type, since they are in your address book and mail searches the Previous Recipients list and then the Address Book.

I found this in an article from someone who does read the manual, so I don’t have to, but it is on the Apple Support Website too.

Modify Lightroom Build-in templates

When I upload images to bermione.be (and thus not uploading them to Picasaweb), I’m using the Lightroom build-in Flash template, since that is exactly what I was looking for. Not too fancy, but not too simple either. Only minor is that I had to add my Google Analytics code every time to the generated html page. But I always forget to add it before uploading and I notice that only a day later, when the gallery was visited already and thus I loose some analytics.

Yesterday, once again, I generated a new gallery, uploaded it to the server but forgot to add the Google Analytics script. And that I noticed today so I opened the html to add the script and… was surprised the script was already there!
Then I remembered, I was once searching for a way to modify this template in order to have this Google Analytics script automatically added: I wanted to change the build-in template and insert the script so that it would be there every time I generate a new gallery.
I know I did a long research for it and finally found how to do this. But that’s a long time ago.

At this point, I started a search on the Internet to find out which file I once edited but… I couldn’t find it anymore. So I started a search locally and finally found the template.

On a Mac, the default flash template, which includes the html you have to change, is located inside the Adobe Lightroom.app. The file /Applications/Adobe Lightroom.app/
Contents/PlugIns/Web.agmodule/
Contents/Resources/galleries/default_flash.lrwebengine/index.html
is the one you want to change.

To find this file using the Finder:

  • Go to /Applications, select Adobe Lightroom.app and Action > Show Package Contents
  • Browse to Contents/PlugIns/ Select Web.agmodule and Action >Show Package Contents
  • Browse to Contents/Resources/galleries/, select default_flash_lrwebengine and Action >Show Package Contents
  • There you can see different files and folders, one amongst them is index.html and that is the file you want to change.

Open this with any text editor (but be aware that as of Leopard, TextEdit.app opens HTML in a WYSIWYG mode! I prefer Dashcode, but then you must have installed the optional Developer part of Mac OS X) and add the Google Analytics script at the bottom of the file (as described online). Save the file and generate your gallery. You’ll see that the Google Analytics code is right there!

Other templates are right there, in the Web.agmodule/Contents/Resources/galleries

Pin My Picture

Having a colleague who has bought a geotagging device, and one who is thinking about doing the same, is the best way to get interested too. Asking colleagues how they geotag their imagese, is not quite a success, since they can only tell which programs to use on a W*ndows PC. Since I don’t use crap, I have to search a way to do this on a Mac. My Equipment: an HP iPaq 2490, a tomtom bluetooth GPS receiver, Visual GPSce to record my track in NMEA data and a camera from which the clock is in sync with my PDA…

In this post, I am explaining how to record the data, I assume you have your RAW NMEA data file available.

NMEA or GPX?

Although the NMEA gps data is a standard, not all programs support that format. GPX is the format which is used by most programs and thus recommended. Now how do you convert your raw data to GPX? There is only one program I know with which you can do this, GPS Babel. This is a command line tool and thus not really user friendly for most users but luckily there are enough GUI’s written on top of this tool.

  1. GPS Visualizer, a website which supports multiple formats
  2. Houdah GPS, a Mac OS X frontend to GPS Babel.

Houdah GPS

I’m using Houdah GPS because I might not be online while I geotag my photo’s and this way, I don’t have to upload my geo data to the Internet. Using Houdah GPS is quite simple:

  1. Select your source Because I have an NMEA file available (recorded on my PDA), I select “File” as source and NMEA as format. I had to rename the extension that VisualGPSce has created: the extension is .txt but HoudahGPS only takes .nmea files but an .nmea file is nothing more than a plain text file, thus renaming the .txt to a .nmea file is sufficient.
  2. Select your data I just leave the default: Both tracks and Waypoints.
  3. Select your Destination data NMEA is the one we already have, so we don’t have to select that as destination. KML can be used in Google Earth, and as I said before: GPX is a standardized file format, so we’re going to create a GPX file. This can be used in google earth as well, by the way.
  4. Convert Now that all the preferences are set, click the Convert button in the left upper corner. A File Selection dialog will appear for a first time. Here, you have to select your .nmea file (remember, it’s just the .txt file that you have renamed). Click "Open". A second File Selection dialog will appear in which you can define the name of your gpx file. Choose a name and click "Save"

Geotag

With our gpx file ready, we now have to put the geo data in our photos. There are multiple programs available to do this.

  1. houdahGEO, from the makers of houdahGPS. This is share ware and costs $25.
  2. Photo GPS Editor, donnationware.
  3. GPS Photo Linker, freeware and my favourite.

The two last applications doesn’t seem to be maintained anymore, but they do what they have to do, so right now, I don’t pay attention to that.

GPS Photo Linker

GPS Photo Linker
In GPS Photo Linker, click the button "Load Tracks" in the left upper corner and select your GPX file. This may take some time, depending on how many data you have recorded. Next, click "Load Photos" in the upper right corner and select the photos you want to geotag. Not only JPEG is supported, but RAW images are supported as well. When all the images are loaded, go to the Batch tab in the left pane (not Standard or Manual) and click "Batch save to photos". This may take some time too, depending on how many data you have recorded an how many images you have selected.

And that’s basically it. Now your photos are geotagged and Flickr or Picasaweb pin your picture on the earth! But remember: make sure your camera and your recording device have their clocks synced, or else your images won’t be pinned correctly! With GPS Photo Linker, you can shift the time of the photos in order to have them geotagged correctly anyway.

Mac, why don’t you accept bluetooth filetransfers?

One of the things that annoyed me in Leopard, is the fact that suddenly, bluetooth transfers from mobile devices to my mac stopped being accepted. I saw the incoming bluetooth request, but the connection broke immediately, resulting in a sad “connection error” on the mobile device.

Luckily, other people know exactly what to do about that. Enabling Bluetooth Sharing, perhaps I would have done that if I searched a little further.

Oh well, my mac is accepting my files again 🙂

Don’t touch my file

It has happened twice. The 500GB disk I bought together with Leopard suddenly powers down from time to time and then refuses to start when I push the power button. Only way to revive the disk is to unplug it and plug it back in. The second time I searched the logs for a possible explanation and I read an error about “IndexStore in SIStoreDirytySDBCHunks:Error storing dirty sdb pages:22” for the Spotlight folder on that disk. Spotlight. I disabled Spotlight for that disk! And now it seems that this folder caused the problem, so I removed it and I noticed there was a file .000d8322fed6 on the disk too. “data” Well, I don’t have any idea what that is, probably an erroneous leftover of an erroneous copy at the time that the diskfailure, so I removed that one too – it is only 16B anyway.

Lesson 32 in computer safety: do not remove hidden or system files if you don’t know what you are doing and especially when you don’t have any idea what they are used for.

Back in the Windows 98 aria I always laughed with people who, wanting to free some disk space, removed “autoexec.bat” and “command.com” because they didn’t use them and were in desperate need for free disk space, resulting in acute panic attacks when they rebooted their computers.

I suddenly noticed the disk hadn’t done anything for the last two hours, it hadn’t made any noise, not even a single ratle and since Time Machine normally creates a backup every hour, I thought that was suspicious. It was indeed.

Volume at path /Volumes/LaCie does not appear to be the correct backup volume for this computer. Backup failed with error: 18.

Sigh. Maybe this is the point where I’d say: I might have removed Time Machine by accident. I reconfigured Time Machine, changed the disk to be used as backup disk (but actually pointing to the same of course) and forced a backup. The “preparing” took a rather long time – longer than before – but it only backed up 365MB this time, not the 23GB that resides on my hard drive. And indeed, launching Time Machine on a folder learns none of the backups are gone and… that dot file is back.

I was lucky this time. Maybe I should stop thinking I’m smarter than the machine…

New hobby: loosing data

It is a bit tricky to sync my SE K510i with my Mac using iSync – since it isn’t officially supported – but it works.

Of course, it is still a hack, unsupported, and thus, if I could find a supported way, I’d love to try that one (iff I don’t have to buy it). That’s why my heart skipped a beat today after installing the Leopard Development tools. I noticed there was an utility added to my Powerbook called iSync plug-in maker.

I opened that tool and indeed! The entire interface screamed to easily create an iSync plug-in. It can detect the phone, interrogate it and enter the device characteristics automatically. The only thing I had to do is enter some defaults and enter which type of contacts I had (does the phone support company-name, does it support first and last name or is everything entered in one field, …)

After configuring the plug-in for my phone, I noticed a button “Test”. Sure, I want to test! Suppose I install this plug-in right away, try to use it and then notice it erases all my contacts from my phone and my Addressbook. Don’t want to see that happen! While thinking that, I hit the test button and saw the more than 1350 test scenario’s that could be executed! Amazing. Everything seems to be covered: add only a contact with a first name, modify a contact with first and last name, a contact with first and last name with only company address, or with only a home address… I select them all (no, not one by one) and hit “Run those tests!”

The tests start and tell me what they do: adding a contact, modifying it, … After a while I go take a look in my phonebook list. Indeed! A contact is created at the top of the list called “Firstname Lastname” and after a couple of seconds, the “Lastname” is renamed to “Lastname Modified” and even the phone number has changed. So that’s perfect! Not only this tool seems to be user friendly, it even seems to work!

And then… the shower. An enormous flood of ice cold water drained over my head as a tropical storm during mid-winter. This time my heart didn’t skip a beat. It skipped a couple of them. The contact that is being modified isn’t just the first contact. it is the only contact.

One hundered and thirty three contacts erased in just a fraction of a second (didn’t see the removal anyway), no one to talk to, no one to call, no one to recognize, all contacts, all phone numbers, all e-mail addresses just G-O-N-E. Except for “Firstname Lastname Modified” with office phone number “1111111” who is laughing at me.

DAMN

I stop the tests (I am not waiting for the +1350 tests to be finished since the first two took 3 minutes to complete – bluetooth isn’t fast), take the risk for the plug-in to actually work and install it. That works. I open Address Book, back-up all contacts (it’s a reflex, I haven’t removed Time Machine by accident) and launch iSync hoping that I can restore my contacts that way. Wrong thought. iSync states that the plug-in doesn’t work in this version. Raging in agony, I click the special button that iSync supplies to show and remove the erroneous plugin – which I do remove – and relaunch iSync. Clicking “Sync”, I truly hope that this will work and luckily, the program is intelligent enough not to erase all contacts from Address Book, but add them to my phone instead. Now, it’s just a matter to restore the contact images (from which a backup cannot be created) and my voice commands (to call some of my contacts handsfree) but at least my phone numbers are back.

I wonder what “File System Modifier” does…

Getting back on track

I’m getting back on track. I restored my mails today and having such a clean mailbox is a good reason to only restore the mails that are really useful, throwing away the junk. When emptying the trash, a recognizable warning shows up:

Unable to undo

That is funny. The major update in Leopard is Time Machine and with that, you CAN actually undo that removal. I configured Time Machine today and it is awesome. Indeed: anything you have removed by accident (and I mean anything: the entire system is being watched) can be restored with three clicks. Literally. The system creates an incremental backup every hour. You don’t have to do anything, just making sure your disk is connected.