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…

Snow Leopard sound setting

I ran into my first annoying bug in Snow Leopard today. Not a big deal, just annoying.
On reboot, I noticed that the volume was reset to 100%. First I thought I forgot to set the volume to a lower level, or I increased it and forgot to pull it down again.

But after rebooting twice on a short timespan, I was sure I decreased the sound level before reboot but it was still reset to 100%.
A quick Googling learned that there are two audio settings files in /Library/Preferences/Audio (com.apple.audio.SystemSettings.plist and com.apple.audio.DeviceSettings.plist) that should be removed. On that forum, there are comments of Snow Leopard users that say their sound settings are reset to 0% or 25% so I guess the volume level is restored to the level at which it was before upgrading to Snow Leopard. But that’s just my guess.

Reboot and the volume stays at the same level as before the reboot.

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

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…

NTFS on Mac OS X Leopard

Not only Shahn has troubles installing NTFS-3G on Leopard, I have had serious troubles too after installing, uninstalling, reinstalling and overinstalling this driver, several tries to get it working. I had an issue with the newer version I installed after my upgrade to Leopard: every time I tried to copy a file to the NTFS disk using Finder, I got the error “filename too long” bashing over me even when I tried to copy “test.txt” to the root.

I even tried my own tutorial to install NTFS-3G using older versions of the applications/drivers but that was the point where the serious troubles began. That version is clearly not compliant with Leopard. Where previously the disk was mounted automatically in read/write mode when connected, it was now mounted with the default Mac OS X read-only driver. The only way to mount the disk read-write, was to remount it using the commandline. While I still got the “filename too long” error in Finder, I managed to copy files to the disk using cp in the Terminal.

Updated version
It is only today that I noticed both NTFS-3G and MacFUSE have had an update only recently, so I started downloading instantly. First thing to do was to uninstall the NTFS-3G driver (using the uninstall command that was provided in the disk image). Sadly, there’s no such uninstall script for MacFUSE and I haven’t found a way yet to uninstall software that doesn’t place it’s files in the Applications folder and thus can’t be removed by just trashing the files. MacFUSE has to stay where it is. After installing both updated versions, the disk is not mounted as Network Drive (which was previously done). I opened the drive while thinking the update didn’t solve my issue, but then I noticed Finder wasn’t in read-only mode! I tried to copy files and directories and indeed, it works again. Removing files however won’t trash them first, they’ll be erased immediately which is rather strange, since the .Trashes folder has been created. The option to format a disk as NTFS is also back.


Steps performed

  • Unmount any connected NTFS disks and fysically disconnect them
  • Uninstall NTFS-3G if possible
  • Install MacFUSE 1.1.1
  • Reboot the Mac
  • Install NTFS-3G 1.1104 (.dmg or .pkg)
  • Reboot the Mac
  • Enjoy the NTFS file system.

The last step is optional. I prefer more decent file systems like HFS+ or Ext3 in combination with their appropriate operating systems of course…

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.

Shame on you, Apple…

I got myself a brand new copy of Leopard this afternoon. I first created a backup – just in case since I trust Apple blindly. At least, I did…Just after the backup has been made, a friend of mine came along since he wanted to see the new OS too, even thinking of installing it himself. I inserted the DVD, a finder window opens and gives me the option to reboot to start the installation. Fine. That’s normal, Tiger did the same. After reboot, the familiar blue screen showed up – you get that screen right before logging in – and… it stayed there. No setup wizard, no installation, no nothing. Just Google it for fun. The entire Internet refers to it as the BSoD. I knew the Internet was mentioning it. I knew there were some installation problems. But I knew this was the case too when installing Tiger and I had no issues at all – so it had to be the fault of the users, hadn’t it.

WRONG

Installation failed. I got myself a great thought. Hitting CTRL+CMD+Power (oh yes, Apple has it’s own CTRL+ALT+DEL), rebooting into my working Tiger system and rebooting properly using the system. While rebooting, holding the C key and … Woohoo, the Leopard installation begins.You get three options: Or you upgrade your current installation. “But note”, it states, “it is not mentioned to erase existing programs”. Second option is to Archive and install. You archive your old OS and install a brand new one, keeping your user- and network settings. Third option is to erase and install. I chose the second one, meaning that I wanted to have a clean install but keep my users (and thus my home folder)

WRONG

It took ten minutes before the actual installation started. Ok, that could be normal, since my disk was full for 80% and the installer had to move the current system away. Then, the installation started. Estimated remaining time: 5hrs 45mins 7secs. WHAT? Luckily, the remaining time estimation is never right in the beginning, in no single piece of software and the remaining time dropped rather fast to 30 minutes. And then, a “one minute remaining” estimation appeared and that stood there… for a whole twenty minutes. In the mean time, browsing on my friends computer, we found other people that had the same problem, so no big deal. Indeed, after some twenty minutes, the installation finished. GREAT! I thought.

WRONG

The system reboots, my login screen appears with my users, I login to my user account and… you might have heard of the beach ball. The only icon which is feared in the Mac world. That cursor remained there. Nothing happened. Just my wallpaper on the screen and the beach ball. Just that. I CTRL+CMD+Power’ed my powerbook and after reboot, I chose a user that I created once but was never actually been used – so no changes in user interface either. Good point, the user can login but.. the Finder doesn’t respond. Whatever I tried, nothing helped. Nothing worked. I could launch a Terminal window (since I placed that in the dock three years ago) and I managed to open a Safari window from that terminal window. Browsing the Internet, I read that Archive and install wasn’t such a good idea. In the mean time, my friend started his installation on his powerbook, but he chose an erase and install. After literally 30 minutes, he was up and running. His Software Update utility asked him even to install updates (now already) but he ignored them…

You know, perhaps these problems are just because of me. In the three years I have this Powerbook, I never erased the hard drive but I did messed things up: installing unsupported drivers (which stated during the installation: “do NOT touch your touchpad now or your kernel will panic – and I noticed they were right.), renamed the user account (short name in which Apple states: “you cannot rename this” and I thought “I can”. I did and spent the next two days in restoring the original name.), installation of a complete operating system on top of OS X and remove it afterwards, leaving a lot of remainder applications which conflict with the original unix apps, trying to install Gnome in stead of Aqua, trying other window managers, trying everything else that you can find googling and which stated in bold red “This is dangerous, only do this when you know what you are doing” and then skipping some unimportant parts of the step-by-step explanation which seemed rather important after I corrupted some core applications. Trying to set up new themes using stable and some other less stable programs, messing up the GUI completely, trying to set my users’ account on a network drive, … Really, you cannot mention it, not even the most ridiculous things, but I’ve done them. Which leaves some deep scars into my system. And not taking a normal upgrade but a clean install and keeping my user settings which refer to such remainders of the past… probably that is the main problem here.

After an hour of trying, I gave up and reinstalled Leopard too, using erase and install, just to have everything right and than I would be able to use the system without any problem. I was thinking about clean installing the system anyway, only I didn’t plan it for now. After the installation – which went smootly this time – my System Update utility asked me to install the updates. I didn’t ignore them and installed them.

WRONG

When the powerbook only started to boot… kernel panic. Great. Reboot again? Nope, still kernel panic. I rebooted into the installation DVD and did a hard disk check using the utilities that are offered in the installation image. No errors found. I rebooted into the system on the hard drive and… magically, I’m typing this entry now. The system booted normally. Well, I’ve had enough for today. I hope the system will boot normally tomorrow, without any kernel panic. I would like to write how great Leopard is – since I totally disagree with some of the reviews you can find on the Net: I do like the new interface a L-O-T, but since I spent 5 hours installing the system, I didn’t have the time trying it out.It’s not Apple’s habit.

Hopefully, the system is a lot more stable than its installer. It wasn’t exactly a good beginning, really…

Who am I to say no

As people ask so gently and like the things you do, how can you say no? It’s just… You know. Cool to do, to continue. And though I don’t think Thanksgiviumy is the best one yet, it is nice to read such comments and continue the adaptation.

Thanksgiviumy

Even though I recon the “beauty” of the icons are mostly because of the basis is such a great piece of art, I like the adaptations I did. Yes, I’m happy with the result and I even use my own icons extensively, I didn’t do that with the previous versions.