WWDC 09 Comes to a Close

Even though I wasn’t able to be there this year (*sob*), and despite what certain non-Apple journalists might think, I would say this was a pretty good WWDC.

We got (and some of these were rumored or pretty much announced beforehand):

  • A new iPhone
  • More details on Snow Leopard (stupid name, but $29!!)
  • A much-needed consolidation of the MacBook line (WANT)
  • Some new (7-hour batteries, SD slot that is bootable, backlit keyboards all across) and some returning features (Firewire) in the new MacBook Pro line.

The thing about WWDC is it’s a “Developer’s Conference.”  Of course, with all Apple’s secretiveness, everyone expects huge product announcements at any public event for Apple, but I’m glad they’ve returned WWDC back to the developers.

I’ll just leave you with this awesomeness.  Apparently, they set up a 20-screen wall of cinema displays displaying tiny iPhone icons for the top-selling 20,000 apps in the App Store.  These icons pulsed every time that app was purchased offering quite a cool effect.  Hit the link for some cool pictures and videos.  I wonder if Safe Eyes Mobile made it on the wall…

Have a Holly Jolly Mac Christmas

I just “Christmased Up” my iMac here at work and thought I’d share the links of the stuff I found (all free).

First, there’s the awesome OpenGL Snowfall screensaver.  It’s very customizable (different or no background colors, images, etc).

Next, X-masTree (direct download link).  This puts a nice (and also very customizable) Christmas Tree on your desktop.  It can even include a countdown badge for the days until Christmas.  It’s so customizable, it even works for people who celebrate Christmas on January 7!  Who the heck celebrates Christmas on January 7?!

Third is MacLampsX.  This one was too gaudy for my tastes, but fun to play around with for a couple minutes.  If it suits you, I won’t judge.

Lastly, I searched Google Images for a few wintry snowscape pictures.  This one was my favorite and I set it to my Desktop background (until I get bored with it and decide to change it).  We have a picture of that famous bridge from when we were there (but it was summer then).

Delicious Library Is Once Again My Favorite Mac App

It’s been a while since I gushed fanboy-style about something related to Macs and Apple.  This should make up for that.

I just finally sprung for the $20 upgrade to Delicious Library 2.  Delicious Library has always been one of my favorite apps for the Mac.  It was one of those apps that you pull out just to demo to your PC Friends so they can drool and wish they had Macs.  In a nutshell, it uses the built-in iSight camera to scan UPCs off your media items and catalog them.  It doesn’t stop there, though, it also pulls GOBS of data from online sources about your items (including synopses, ratings–i.e. the “star” kind–used value, and much more.  DL2 came out a few months ago, but I just hadn’t bothered to upgrade yet.  Today, I decided to scan a few items I’d acquired in the last couple months and said, what the heck, let’s upgrade.

Well, in version two, they added an awesome way to publish your whole library for the world.  You can publish via a variety of avenues (I’m using FTP) and it creates a whole “website” for your media catalog!  So, don’t laugh too much at my tastes and remember that a lot of this belongs to my wife and my 3 year-old.  Also, I didn’t spend any time cleaning up the iTunes stuff–it automatically pulled out a lot of “junk” that’s been hanging around in my iTunes Library for a long time.  I’ll get around to cleaning it up eventually.  I also need to spend some serious time scanning books since I have a LOT of those to get in my library!


Totally awesome!

Weird Mac OS X Problem Today

Actually, it turned out not to be an OS X problem at all.  I started getting weird error messages when launching the simplest of applications.  The error was “The application could not be started -10810”.  Huh?

Digging into it, it seemed that if I killed a few apps or restarted the Mac, it was fine for a while.  It would (after a time) go back to doing what it was doing, though.  I had recently moved from an older iMac to a new one via Firewire, Target Disk Mode (which is awesome), and Carbon Copy Cloner (which is also awesome and I’ve donated to the author for the fantastic software he wrote).  So, I thought maybe this was the problem.  I checked and double-checked and then Repaired Disk Permissions, all to no avail.

A chance meeting on Google and the Apple Support Forums led me to Microsoft Desktop (which is the Mac’s version of the IntelliPoint and IntelliType utilities for Microsoft Keyboards/Mice).  Sure enough, a “ps -ax” in the Terminal turned up dozens of (MicrosoftDesktop) processes that were spawning mercilessly.  Awesome.

So, I uninstalled 6.0, rebooted just to make sure it was clean, and installed the latest version (6.21) of Microsoft Desktop.  Turns out the old version has a bug that seems to be fixed in this new version.  Whenever your wireless mouse battery level gets low, it tries to spawn a dialog but sometimes can’t.  It does this quietly over and over eating up all the available processes until your machine just grinds to a halt.  So, upgrade to 6.21 (which seems to fix the problem) or change your mouse batteries.

What a blast!

Finally, Safari is a True One-Window Browser

Thanks for this tip goes to Dennis Stevense and also to TUAW.com for republishing the tip he posted to his blog. Sorry, Windows users, this only works in Safari 3.1 for the Mac.

Since switching to primarily using Safari on the Mac (yes, I still<3 Firefox, but Safari just looks and feels more native on the Mac), I have been irritated by the fact that while you can force some links to open in new tabs automatically, anything that is target=”_blank” will open a new Safari Window. Sure, there’s a great “Merge all Windows” feature, but that’s just not the same!

Thankfully, in Safari 3.1, there is a new hidden preference to make Safari open all links that target a new window in a tab. Just issue the following command:
defaults write com.apple.Safari TargetedClicksCreateTabs -bool true

Thanks, Dennis!

PS – If you want to reverse it, just issue the same command with false in place of true at the end of the line.

Leopard QuickLook and HTML Files

WARNING: This post contains Super Geek Stuff.  Not for the faint of heart.

QuickLook is perhaps my favorite feature of Mac OS X Leopard.  Today, I found myself in need of viewing HTML files in QuickLook.  Unfortunately, I did not want to view the HTML file as rendered in a web browser (Webkit)–I wanted to see the raw code.

I already have the fantastic QLColorCode QuickLook Plug-in, so why not make HTML files display in QuickLook using that plug-in?

I started digging into QuickLook’s command line management interface “qlmanage” and initially, it seemed possible.  You can force a particular generator to render the file using the -g switch and providing the path to the generator you want to use.  Unfortunately, if that generator is not set up to render that ContentTypeUTI, it will ignore you.

Fortunately, it is easy to hack the qlgenerator to do what I needed.  Here is what I did:

  • Choose “Show Package Contents” for QLColorCode.qlgenerator (located in /Library/QuickLook or ~/Library/QuickLook)
  • Under the Contents folder, you should find the Info.plist file.
  • Make a backup copy of it!
  • Now, open Info.plist using Property List Editor.
  • Open Root -> CFBundleDocumentTypes -> 0 -> LSItemContentTypes and add a New Child.  The value should be public.html (the ContentTypeUTI for HTML documents)
  • Save Info.plist
  • From Terminal issue the command “qlmanage -r”

That’s it!  You should now be able to QuickLook your HTML files and see the code.  If you want to put it back the way it was, just remove your Info.plist, replace it with the backup you made above and reload your QuickLook daemon.

All My Wireless Are Belong to ME!

Finally, after a tad more configuration, all my wireless stuff is working pretty much to my satisfaction.  It all started with the introduction of my new Time Capsule into my network.  It being the “most advanced” device, I of course (perhaps to my own detriment) decided it should be the top dawg (yes, that’s proper spelling in Georgia).  This meant swapping out the AirPort Extreme Base Station that was doing my primary Internet routing (see this post).

The last piece to this puzzle was my secondary Xbox360 (in the bedroom).  It must connect wirelessly because I could not get a wire through the floor after two full evenings of trying.  The problem is apparently, the Xbox360 Wireless Adapter (an overpriced piece of crap) is not compatible with the Time Capsule. It apparently had this same issue with AirPort Extreme when it first was introduced, but Microsoft fixed it with a firmware update.  Rather than wait a year for that, I decided to just create a WDS network with my Time Capsule as the boss and the AEBS as a remote unit.

This is not entirely intuitive, so let me give it in step-by-step form:

  1. The first key to all this is that you have to set the primary device to “Participate in a WDS network” rather than “Create a wireless network” which is what I would’ve thought it should be.  Changing that setting allows the hidden WDS settings to show up.
  2. Now, add the client (in my case the AEBS) MAC address to the allowed WDS clients section in your main device’s settings.
  3. Then, I had to do a factory reset or two on the AEBS and set it up similarly.  Here, you want to set the WDS setting to “remote” and add the MAC address of the main device.
  4. Lastly, I configured the AEBS’s IP addresses manually using 192.168.xxx.2 as the IP for it and telling it the router and DNS server was 192.168.xxx.1.  Manual settings just seemed smarter than allowing DHCP to assign the AEBS an IP.  Make sure you remove the IP you just assigned from the DHCP range.  Also make sure the remote station is set to “Bridge mode.”

So, now I have the Time Capsule sitting with the cable modem in the basement and doing my primary routing/DHCP stuff.  It is also hardwired to my Media Center PC.  The AirPort Extreme is in the bedroom next to the Xbox360.  It is configured as a WDS remote station/bridge and the Xbox360 is hardwired to it.  (Know anyone who wants to buy a slightly used Xbox360 Wireless Adapter?)  Either one can be used as an access point, but due to the basement location of the Time Capsule, all of my wireless clients typically connect to the AEBS in the bedroom.  I may actually swap them in the near future so that the Time Capsule does most of the wireless stuff and the AEBS is the primary router/DHCP/WDS device.  It just feels like that would be faster–especially when it comes to Time Machine backups.  For right now, I’m tired of looking at the Airport Utility screen, so I’m not changing anything for at least a few days.

Perhaps the Dumbest Product Ever

I stumbled on this thanks to TUAW.com (The Unofficial Apple Weblog). This ranks very high on my list of the dumbest things ever invented.

Behold, the MagStay PRO (not sure why it’s called “PRO”–is there a non-professional, simpler version?). It’s sole purpose in life is to keep your Apple MagSafe power connector from doing what it’s supposed to do–disconnect in the event of a sharp tug!


In nearly 2 years of using my MacBook, I can honestly say I’ve had this problem two or three times. Each time, I was able to easily work around it by slightly modifying my body position/posture.  On the flip side, I (or someone I know) has tripped on my power cord at least a dozen times (including a few tangles the dogs have had with it) and each time, the MagSafe connector has done its job and kept an expensive device from flying off the table.

How absolutely stupid.