Forwarding Address: OS X

Saturday, February 26, 2005

Screen capture shortcuts

To make the screenshots I used in that last post, I used a few new tricks I learned recently.

Command-Shift-3 captures the whole screen.
Command-Shift-4 will capture a selection.

In both cases, PDFs are dumped to your Desktop folder, usually in the form of Picture 1, Picture 2, etc. I opened them in Preview and exported them to PNG.

Off the top of my head, I don't know of a tool to do that automatically from the command-line. ImageMagick's convert doesn't seem to handle PDFs.

Another Good Reason to use Firefox: MathML!

MathML is a markup language that lets you use a richer mathematical notation on your site than just <sub> and <em>

Note the difference between this page when viewed in Firefox:

And when you view it in Safari, which does not support MathML:

You will need to install some fonts but it's dirt simple and free.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

iTunes 4.7.1 & iPod photo album art

Just an FYI: I recently installed a Dension Icelink in my car, but when I plugged my iPod photo into it, all of a sudden the album art wasn't appearing.

I figured it was some weird firmware thing involving their monstrosity of a custom interface, and emailed them. (that ended up being a black hole...)

On our apple list at work though, somebody posted a few days later about needing to disable and re-enable album art after installing the iTunes 4.7.1 update. That took care of it.


Monday, February 21, 2005

Make your desktop pretty

Old-school Mac users are well used to being able to customize their icons but new-skool users might not be aware of just how incredibly easy it is to change any icon on any file or folder on your Mac. If you've never purposefully changed your hard drive icon, head on over to InterfaceLIFT and prepare to be blown away by some most of the icons available there.

Thursday, February 17, 2005

Launcher Migration

Speaking of launchers, I wanted to share this link to a non-OS-X piece of software because it's unusual to see direct imitation of cool OS X apps in pure free-software desktop environments. It's a bleeding-edge project to produce a Quicksilver-like launcher for GNOME (an open source desktop environment that can run on top of Linux, *BSD, Darwin, et al.). Very cool, and a positive statement of the rising influence of OS X in the world of desktop Unix. The project is called GNOME Launch Box. I might fire up my $60 special just to check it out.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

LaunchBar 4

It seems as though a new major release of LaunchBar has come to do battle with Quicksilver. As a former member of the Cult of LaunchBar, I'm tempted to give it a shot. But boy, once you go Quicksilver, it's hard to go back.

Via Linked List

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Installing with bash

Back in October I put forth this post about this tutorial I wrote for installing the Astronomy-aware Unix Calculator under OS X but back then I wrote it for the tcsh shell.

Yesterday I wrote about defining aliases in bash.

Today I got off my ass and combined the two like chocolate and peanut butter. I've updated the Installing under Mac OS X tutorial to support bash as well. Seems only fair since bash comes with OS X and all.

Tip: In the tutorial I suggest aliasing to 'calc' but I, in practice, alias to '?' which is a svelt three characters less. Give it a whirl, you'll like it.

Monday, February 14, 2005

Bash aliases

I was a tcsh guy from way back but with the recent complete clean install of my system I figured it was time to move over to bash. Of course I didn't want to lose the aliases I'd created so I figured I'd move those over to, but where to put them?

After googling the interweb and finding no less than half a dozen different suggested files to stick them into, none of which worked, I finally found the answer and it is:
In OS X you define your bash aliases in .bash_profile in your home directory.

Thursday, February 10, 2005

MacHack papers online at ADHOC

The MacHack papers from 2001-2004 have been posted online at The ADHOC site.


Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Securing your email in OS X

Doug Bowman has a fantastic article describing how to secure your email over wireless connections via SSH tunnels in Secure wireless email on Mac OS X:
I’m always amazed when I see friends naively checking email without using some type of secure connection. They open up their laptop in a public setting, select any available wireless network, and immediately pop open their email client to start sucking down their messages.
So how do you secure your email and keep it private from curious eyes? What does it mean to read my email “securely”?
As mentioned above, there are many means of safeguarding email communication. They each have varying degrees of security and capability. Methods range from access to a trusted VPN, to certain secure web-based email applications (webmail), to allowing connections over SSL, sometimes known as POPS or IMAPS. If any of these options are available to you, you may want to investigate them further before taking any of the steps below.
Well worth the read.

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Printing CD Covers from iTunes

You know, the worst thing about being a long-time user of any piece of software is that you sometimes don't catch new features. Case in point...

Somewhere along the lines, iTunes added the ability to print CD insert artwork. You can print just a track listing, or a cover that uses the artwork that you have embedded in the MP3 (you HAVE been adding artwork to your MP3s, haven't you?). A mixed CD can be printed as a "mosaic" of cover artwork.

Kewl. I'm going to have to go back through all the iLife apps and check the "what's new" section to see what else I may be missing.

In a related note, I've switched from iView Media Pro (250$ CDN) to iPhoto (99$ CDN, and comes with a bunch of other free apps, like iMovie, iDVD, iTunes, and Garageband). iView is good, but they haven't been doing much to keep up lately. iPhoto, on the other hand, has gotten really really good with version 5. If anyone is interested I'll post a "top 5 cool things in iPhoto", but it's so hard to miss with iLife 05 that you probably should just go and pick it up. If you only use two of the apps you'll be getting an incredible bargain.