On Lion and recovery

Posted in Fanboy, Geekfest on September 20th, 2011 by juan

I’m 30K feet plus up in the air right now. Doing some work with my MBA. Can’t tell you again how cool it is to be able to work while I’m sitting on a plane. With a real computer.

So – I’m typing away at a blog post for work. As usual, I have my retinue of open apps doing their thing: chrome (I’ll talk about this vs safari some other time), iterm2 (you know about that right?), mail, and preview. I’m switching between preview and marsedit to write the blog post and all of a sudden my keyboard doesn’t respond. Even worse, I can’t command-tab to switch to another app to see if I can fix it. Switching over to iterm2 doesn’t let me type on the command line (which has always been my failsafe way of fixing things). I even try the shut the lid, go to sleep, and wake trick. That usually fixes keyboardy things. Nothing. I start panicking a little. I’ve been working on the work blog for a while and have much mental sausage already spent on it. In desperation, I close the lid, open and try to switch to another user (you do have another user just in case right?). That doesn’t work either. Can’t type in the login window!

The only thing that works is the shutdown button in the wake from sleep screen. I hit it and I’m asked for a login again. OH NO! But luckily, I can type in my admin user and password, at which point my MBA reboots. Because of the cool SSD thing, the reboot is very quick. With trepidation I login to my regular user and …

and …

It’s all back! All of it. My apps are where they are normally hidden (spaces), and Marsedit has my blog post open and current to the very last character I typed. Chrome recognized that I killed it and all my open tabs are brought back. Mail is happily doing it’s thing. iTerm2 is there waiting, flashing the cursor, beginning me to vi or something.

I’ve never had a full panic shutdown restart experience not cost me any work. Never. Lion fixed that. Somehow. Magic.

Now the question -what happened? Why did I lock up? I have a suspect. The only thing that didn’t come back is preview. It complained that the file I was looking at was not available because I didn’t have permissions to it. Hmmm… That file was in my dropbox and was just recently upgraded to one of the beta releases. I’m pointing the finger at that.

On Essential software redux

Posted in Fanboy, Geekfest on March 29th, 2009 by juan

I’ve been far to quiet here for way too long. So, to kick things back up, here’s my redo of my most essential mac software. I’m doing this because this one post is the most visited page/entry to my blog. For those of you new to here, thanks and welcome. Hopefully you’ll find what I post here useful. If you compare this to my original post, you’ll see that this list has grown quite a bit. That’s a good thing. It probably shows that Mac software has come along a long way and also that the quality has gone up along the way.


  1. QuickSilver – It’s way hard to describe this tool, but I can’t imagine using a Mac without it. Think of it as speed for your Mac. There’s definitely a learning curve to this, but once you get over it, you won’t ever go back (free)
  2. Adium – Premium, way cool, instant messenger. Supports Yahoo, AOL, MSN, Jabber, Google, + many others (free)
  3. NetNewsWire – a very powerfull RSS reader, that also has an iPhone companion. They sync over a free service. (free)
  4. Transmit – IMHO, the best mac FTP client out there. It costs bucks, but they are worth it (check the next item for a free, almost as good program).
  5. Cyberduck – The FTP/SFTP client for Macs (free)
  6. Xee – The fastest, most feature rich image viewer I have been able to find for the Mac. (free)
  7. Firefox – if Safari won’t do it, this will (free)
  8. HandBrake – The easiest way to rip, transcode, and store DVD’s. Can be used for video iPods as well. (free)
  9. Unison – a great USENET news reader. Very Mac like interface, but has some odd edges to it
  10. MacVIM – The VI clone now with a real Mac GUI (Cocoa based). (free)
  11. VLC – The opensource Video viewer. If this doesn’t play it, you can’t play it on a Mac. (free)
  12. Flip4Mac – Microsoft has stopped supporting their video player and is now giving this as a Quicktime plugin instead. This works better than the media player ever did, but doesn’t work with DRM content. (free)
  13. CoRD – The best Mac RDP (Windows Remote Desktop Protocol) client out there. Simply great. Make sure to use one of the daily builds, they seem stable for me and bring much needed functionality. (free)CoRD – The best Mac RDP (Windows Remote Desktop Protocol) client out there. Simply great (free)
  14. Calibre – if you use an ebook reader (like I do), this is THE tool to manage your collection, convert it, and up/download it to your device (supports Sony, Kindle, and many others). (free)
  15. iCHM – An actively developed, fast, Cocoa based CHM document reader. If you don’t know what a CHM is, then you don’t need this. If you do, you must get this. (free)
  16. RapidWeaver – think iWeb done right. Think “build a web site fast, simple”. Think “there’s much hidden power”.
  17. Shimo – if you use VPN on your Mac, you need this to take care of it. It works with Cisco clients (lays on top of it) and many other VPN protocols (natively). Must have for us corporate users. (shareware)
  18. DropBox – a free service and utility to keep multiple computer’s data sync’d. They have Mac, Windows, and Linux clients as well as a Web interface. 2GB free space. More if you pay for it.
  19. iStatMenus – do you hate that you don’t know your memory usage, or if your hard disk is doing anything, or the temperature of your mac, or …. you get the idea. Free utility that sits on your menu bar and shows monitors for anything you want on your computer (free)
  20. 1Password – keep all of your passwords for all of your web-sites, accounts, etc. Autofills on Safari and Firefox (if you want). Also has a free iPhone companion you can sync with.
  21. ShoveBox – another one that’s hard to describe, but think of this as the place you shove, store, write all those little notes, links, screen grabs that you don’t know where to keep but know that you will need at some other point.
  22. Little Snitch – so, you have a firewall protecting what information comes in to your computer – Little Snitch does the same for the stuff going out of your computer.


  1. ecto – A blog editor. WYSIWYG and HTML formats. Let’s you edit with spell checking and live previews. (shareware)
  2. ImageWell – a simple, fast, well tuned image editor for bloggers (and anyone else that doesn’t need to ‘shop images) (shareware)
  3. SeaShore – a simple, fast, image editor for when you do need to do simple ‘shopping (free)
  4. Gimp – The opensource image manipulation program. (free)
  5. LaunchBar – Spotlight on steroids and then some (in my eyes a lesser, but simpler QuickSilver) (free)
  6. MacTheRipper – Another DVD ripper. This one doesn’t transcode, but it does a superb job of de-DRM’ing your collection. (shareware)
  7. TinkerTool – tinker with a zillion Mac options. (free)
  8. NameMangler – if you ever have to rename a bunch of files and hate doing the click, click, click thing, or the cli reg-ex dance, this is the tool to fix it all (free)
  9. OmniGraffle – The premier mac graphing tool. In many ways much better than Visio (which it can import and export to). A must if you have to deal with any schematic, styled, or hierarchical drawings.
  10. ScreenFlow – If you ever need to capture a video of what you have on your screen, annotate it, and share it with the world (a.k.a. screen casting), this is most likely the only tool you’ll ever need.
  11. SuperDuper! – A very powerful backup tool. This let’s you back up your hard drive to another very efficiently. You can also use it to upgrade your drive (will make the second drive bootable for you). (shareware)
  12. TiVo Decode Manager – if you have TiVo, and you want to take your recorded TV shows with you, this is a free tool equivalent to TiVo To Go. (free)
  13. JollysFastVNC – a super fast, very flexible VNC client. (free)
  14. Max – do you ever convert from one audio format to another? Do you want to do it fast, simple, and have a good workflow for doing this (including tagging)? Here you go.


  1. Azureus – the best torrent client. (free)
  2. BBEdit – the most feature rich native Mac editor. If it wasn’t for VIM, i’d use this all the time (shareware)
  3. Opera – a very nice, fast, feature rich web browser. (free)
  4. Path Finder – a Finder replacement. I would use this all the time if it was the built-in Finder. Many people use it exclusively. If Apple re-does the finder and gives is half of the features in this tool, we would all be that much better for it.
  5. REALBasic – If you want to code apps, but don’t want to get into the details of XCode, Cocoa, and a steep learning curve, this is the tool. It has much coolness including the ability to develop on a Mac and deploy native apps to Linux and Windows (and vice versa). Free Linux version. Mac/Windows are paid.

Depecrated (stuff that was cool before 10.5)

  1. Desktop Manager – Multiple virtual desktops with the coolest switch transitions. This alone has made people go “ooohhhh! I need a Mac” (free)
  2. Thoth – It was my preferred news reader for a long time. It appears that development on it has resumed, but I have not looked at it in a long time.
  3. Vim – The VI clone with a GUI interface. Already comes in a CLI format built in. Vim.org has the GUI version. (this is the original posting – a new better mac version is above). (free)
  4. RDC Menu – Let’s you launch multiple windows remote desktop sessions at the same time. (free)
  5. Spark – A key macro tool that lets you control your apps via keyboard shortcuts. I use it to control iTunes while it’s hidden. (free)

Outside of Safari.App, Mail.app, Microsoft’s Office, and iWork I spend 90% of my time in the stuff here.
Hope this helps you. If you see stuff that should be here, let me know. I’m always looking for other cool stuff.

Tags: , ,

Kids grow up too fast

Posted in Fanboy, Geekfest on October 12th, 2008 by juan

And the iPhone is cool.

ok – back to ecto and some really nerdy cool wii+mac stuff

Posted in Fanboy, Geekfest, OOTT on April 11th, 2008 by juan

Turns out that the Wiimote can be connected to the Mac via bluetooth. Apparently, there’s a ton of cool things you can do with this, including control all of the functions on your mac. You can use DarwiinRemote to pair the mote and nunchuck up. With it you can control VLC and most other media programs. Pair it up with RemoteBuddy and just about anything is possible.

If that’s not cool enough, some people have paired it up with some seriously cool audio processing tools (KymaX) with OSCulator. I’m in nerdery heaven. Check out this video:

That’s cool, but this stuff on the PC is even better. Someone – please port Johnny Lee’s stuff over:

MacBook sleeping done right: SmartSleep

Posted in Fanboy, Geekfest, OOTT on March 18th, 2008 by juan

If you ever had a powerbook, you remember the almost instant sleep that happened when you closed your laptop. Somewhere in the late powerbook or macbook/pro timeframe, Apple changed the behavior from sleep (save contents in RAM only) to hibernate+sleep (save contents in RAM and dump to disk). There’s been undocumented PRAM settings that let you change the behavior so that you can select sleep, hibernate+sleep, or hibernate only. However, it was a setting that affected the system globally.

However, now Patrick Stein, the guy who wrote JollyFastVNC (should be a separate blog post), has released SmartSleep. From his website:


SmartSleep.prefPane is a preference pane that dynamically sets the sleep state of your machine. It’s a successor to Hibernate.prefPane.

The Problem
Your macbook or macbook pro knows the following sleep states:

sleep: machine will go to sleep only (saves state in RAM only, battery keeps RAM contents)

sleep & hibernate: machine sleeps and hibernates. (default)

hibernate only machine will go to hibernate only. (saves state on disk, battery will not be used)

Just sleep means that the notebook will go to sleep fast, but you loose the ability to change the battery as the battery is needed to keep the contents of the memory (RAM).
Just sleep and hibernate will wake the computer fast, but sleeping will take ages as the contents of the memory are saved to disk before entering the sleep.

The solution
SmartSleep let’s you select each select sleep state. Additionaly the new SmartSleep state lets your notebook just sleep while the battery has a high level. If the battery level drops below a certain point ( default is less then 20% or 20 minutes ) it will switch to sleep and hibernate. So you have the best of both worlds.

macosxhints.com – 10.5: View any PowerPoint document in Quick Look

Posted in Fanboy on February 15th, 2008 by juan

OK – this is one of those things that has bugged me since Leopard came out. I love QuickLook but it failed in the powerpoint department. It seemed like only 1/3 of my PPT and PPS files were visible using QuickLook. Well – this hint at macosxhints takes care of that. Contrary to the comments in the hint, my 10.5.2 did not have this on by default.

macosxhints.com – 10.5: View any PowerPoint document in Quick Look

Fine grained volume control on leopard

Posted in Fanboy on January 25th, 2008 by juan

Yes! I hate(d) the keyboard volume control because it’s such a pain to get it just right. Check this out: Macworld | Mac OS X Hints | Use fine-grain volume control in 10.5
The only problem is that I get cramps doing this on my MBP. I have to use FN-OPT-SFT-F[4|5] to get there. Still cool though.

quicklook plugins

Posted in Fanboy, Geekfest on January 24th, 2008 by juan

Yes! Finally a place to find the newest and bestest quicklook plugins: http://www.qlplugins.com/

My personal favorites so far:

Folder Viewer (now you can see what’s in a folder, not just an icon for the folder)
Zip Viewer (peek into your zip, rar, tar, etc. files without opening them)

The only thing I wish I had was one that let you look at more and older M$ formats. Particularly PowerPoint. Why is it that PPT files are roughly 50/50 on being able to be previewed with quicklook? That’s the format that I use it the most for.

Holy Cr*p 10.5.2 might almost be 10.6

Posted in Fanboy, Geekfest on January 21st, 2008 by juan

Take a read through all of the “fixes” that they are focusing on in this release patch. Maybe this will make leopard as stable as tiger?

Mac OS X 10.5.2 update to bring endless list of fixes | MacScoop:

this is the end

Posted in Commentary, Fanboy on June 16th, 2006 by juan

The Mac is back! I’m working on it, and the screen is beautiful again. The SuSE laptop is going to stand by mode. Total elapsed time, 1 week calendar time of no Mac access. Painful, but livable. Apple did this right. They want to keep me as a customer. Well done.