HandyRandy

Apple fanboy Wannabe dev

Jul 18
I wanted to share this Growl theme I’m using. It’s meant to mimic the dock menu on Snow Leopard. I didn’t make it, but I tweaked the CSS quite a bit to my liking. I got it from Dyfolio on MacThemes. I also found that the blue text contrasts well against any background and fits in with the blue Twitter bird concept.
Download:
http://cl.ly/GHF1

I wanted to share this Growl theme I’m using. It’s meant to mimic the dock menu on Snow Leopard. I didn’t make it, but I tweaked the CSS quite a bit to my liking. I got it from Dyfolio on MacThemes. I also found that the blue text contrasts well against any background and fits in with the blue Twitter bird concept.

Download:

http://cl.ly/GHF1


Apr 9

"We nailed multitasking!" - Apple

http://www.apple.com/quicktime/qtv/specialevent0410/


Apr 5

Empty Stubborn Trash in Mac OS X

I dunno if it’s me or OS X, but I run into errors quite often when trying to empty the Trash in Mac OS X. I’ve tried most of the apps that claim to “Force Empty Trash” with very little success.

Anyways, this is what solves the problem most of the time for me -

  1. Get Info on the trashed files and make sure you have write permissions
  2. In Terminal, type      cd ~/.Trash && sudo rm -rf
  3. Add a space after the last letter f
  4. Then drag a trashed file or files into the Terminal window
  5. Press Enter (your system PW will be required)

Depending on what you’re deleting, it may take a little bit of time to finish deleting. So wait until you see the prompt in Terminal again or until you see the file or files gone from your Trash before closing Terminal. This is why I tend to do it in smaller batches instead of all at once.


Feb 23

How to send a full-length, full-quality video [and pics] on your iPhone without MMS

Sending a video with iPhone via MMS has a size limit & ruins the quality. Even pictures are compressed as well. I’m going to explain how you can get around these limitations using an online service called called Dropbox. Dropbox has WAY more uses than what I’m going to cover here, so do yourself a favor and look into all of it’s other features later on as well.

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Feb 18

Sleeping the Display on Mac OS X

I very much prefer to sleep my display rather than use a screen saver. Using a screen saver is a waste of energy for one. Secondly, it often takes longer for a computer to wake up and respond out of a screen saver coma. Fortunately, you can still have your Mac password lock when waking from a sleeping display too.

Before we continue, a pro-tip. If you have a MacBook or an iMac with a Mac keyboard, then Control+Shift+Eject will sleep your display. This is for the rest of us below. Or if you want to assign it to another keyboard shortcut.

Alternatively you can also assign an “active corner” to sleep the display by going to Expose & Spaces in System Preferences, but this is too easy to accidentally trigger for me. However, if you do go this route you should at a minimum set the password lock to wait 5 seconds so that you can wiggle your way out of it in a flash if need be.

It surprises me how difficult this was to find and figure out. Just trust me when I say there are no other easy solutions out there. One day, I finally came across a hole in the ground with two apps that could help. They are standalone unitask applications that simply sleep the display fast and efficiently. One seems to be slightly faster than the other, but they both work fine. I’m holding on to both just in case one stops working with a newer version of OS X.

Now the advantage of having an app to do this for you is that it is a very easy thing from this point forward to assign it to a keyboard shortcut with another third party app such as Spark. Which is the app I’d recommend. It’s free and it’s very versatile and reliable. It even allows for single-key shortcuts!

Here are the two apps -

http://dl.dropbox.com/u/2556515/Sleep%20Display.zip

And here is a link to download Spark -

http://www.shadowlab.org/Software/spark.php


Feb 17

How to hide a dock item in Mac OS X

Follow these instructions to hide an app from showing in the dock while it’s running. This is for those apps that don’t provide you with a means to hide the dock item in the preferences. You shouldn’t do this to just any app you feel like it because it has some side effects. The main one being that you will not be able to pull up the menu bar at the top of the screen for it. Meaning you won’t be able to access the preferences or any other functionality that is exclusive to the menu bar. The other real loss is the app will not show up in the Command+Tab app switching menu.

So you’d probably only want to do this to simple apps that don’t require many modifications and/or apps that run in the background and just do their thing. It’s mostly dependent on whether or not you ever use the menu items such as the preferences. I think you get the idea by now.

The change is also entirely reversible simply by undoing and what you did. Meaning just remove the added text and save changes and you’re back to square one.

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Dec 11

How to enable NTFS write support in Snow Leopard - Sharing files between Macs & PCs

UPDATE: exFAT [aka FAT64] has since been released and is fully supported by:

-Snow Leopard 10.6.5 & up

-Windows XP/Vista after an update

-Window 7

It’s faster than FAT32 and can handle much larger file sizes and capacities. It’s probably the simpler option vs NTFS now. Soon it will be the default format used on memory cards and small USB drives and this will all be behind us. Larger drives will probably still come with NTFS, HFS etc. though; so you may want to reformat it with exFAT/FAT64 if you want to share it between Mac OS X & Windows.

More info at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ExFAT

-

ORIGINAL POST:

So now that I have switched to a Mac, I discovered that Macs use a different disk format system than Windows uses. Windows uses what is called NTFS (New Technology File System). So to transfer files between a Mac and a Windows PC (such as friend’s PC), most folks use an external drive that that uses yet another format called FAT32 that can be read by nearly any computer. But it’s an old, slow and limited format that can’t handle any files larger than 4 GB. Screw that.

So I found a better alternative. Just format an external drive as NTFS and flip a hidden switch that enables Snow Leopard to write to NTFS. NTFS write support was apparently dropped in the final release build of Snow Leopard. It turns out the support is still there, but disabled by default.

This way, (as opposed to FAT32) -

  1. File transfers are faster.
  2. Files can be as big as you wish.
  3. Any Windows PC will be able to read it and write to it.
  4. Any Mac will be able to read it.

In case you’re confused there, you should know that Macs can “read” NTFS out of the box. It’s “writing” that we’re going to enable here.

So the only limitations with this approach would be that -

  1. You would have to use this trick explained below if you want to use this same drive to bring to another Mac and write to it and bring the files back home with you (remember this trick only works for Snow Leopard though).
  2. You NEED to always safely “eject” the drive to ensure smooth operation. This will be explained more at the end.

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Dec 7

Game Reviews - GeoSpark, Harbor Master, Labyrinth 2

GeoSpark 

GeoSpark was just released a couple days ago from the developers of GeoDefense and Harbor Master. I’m already addicted to it. My high score is currently 20,370. Can you beat it?

It’s an easy to learn fast paced game. There are no levels. The only goal is to get a high score and brag. It reminds me of Eliss a little. Basically you have all of these “Sparks” floating around on the screen and you have to keep different types of sparks from touching each other. The graphics very much resemble GeoDefense, while the gameplay is “similar” in ways to Harbor Master. You can eliminate sparks by simply tapping on them, but that’s almost always too slow and a last resort. The primary method is to eliminate Sparks is to “chain” them together by starting with one and dragging it into other Sparks like it while avoiding the others. The longer the chain, the more points you get for the next Spark in the chain. However there’s a catch. The longer you are in the middle of a chain, the more “gravity” it exhibits. This means nearby Sparks will be attracted to your finger. And that’s not good. So you’re often being forced to decide between going for a long chain gamble or playing it safe. There’s even an online scoreboard and various bonus Sparks to keep it fresh. One will x2 your chain. One will clear the screen. One will slow down everything. There may even be more. It gets harder as you get a higher score by increasing the numbers and types of Sparks. The sound effects are killer. The music is not bad. The graphics are awesome. And it’s INCREDIBLY responsive.

Harbor Master

Harbor Master is an older game I tried after learning that they had a hand in GeoSpark. It also helped that there is a free lite version to try before I buy. I ended up buying it afterwards. It’s also a fast paced game addictive as well. The graphics aren’t quite as “cool” as GeoSpark, but the gameplay is. Basically, you are in charge of all the cargo ships in a bay that has multiple docks for the ships to port and unload. You have to direct them when and where and how to dock while keeping them from colliding with each other. Then after you wait for them to unload, direct them out just as you did earlier. The catch is there are some bigger ships that move slower and take longer to unload. With a limited number of ports, it becomes tricky managing to keep them from colliding. And there are some other random twists in there to keep it fresh along with many different bays each with their own natural challenges. There’s even a multiplayer option and global stats. There’s even a fast forward button to speed up the gameplay as you like which is also configurable. Little arrows warns you of incoming offscreen ships. It has multiplayer as well.

Labyrinth 2 

Labyrinth 2 was also released just a few days ago from the makers of the original Labyrinth way back in the early AppStore days. They also made the game Sway, which I love. It’s got the same great mechanics, but with SEVERAL new twists. There’s still a level editor, but now it has multiplayer and a butt load of new elements like fans, magnets, lasers, ball multipliers, checkpoints, switches, you name it! Labyrinth was always a perfect game for iDevices, but it was inherently lame and repetitive. In this edition, they have managed to make into what feels almost like an arcade game and many levels even have a puzzle element to them. The mazes that users have created are now browsable in an interface that resembles the AppStore with a surprising amount of activity complete with ratings and popularity rankings and difficulty tags. You are required to make at least 5 levels an play them through yourself to ensure they’re completable before you can publish them.


+1 Tumblr & A little about me

Expect lots of iPhone/iPod Touch tips & tricks etc. Probably app reviews & recommendations. Maybe some User Interface comments. Perhaps a little bit of general internet philosophy. Maybe even some Twitter tips too. Which reminds me, my Twitter ID is @6T9 or visit http://twitter.com/6T9

I’m an Apple Fanboy convert ever since the iPhone came out. I finally got my first Mac (Mac Mini) a few months back. I love Mac/iOS software. So expect some stuff on that too :)

So basically I’m here to share the wealth. I find myself helping a lot of folks. I figured maybe eventually, I will have covered it all and just be able to point them to my Tumblr blog :)

I plan on developing some Mac/iOSapps in the future too. Wish me luck!