Monday, 26 November 2007

Turn off Menubar transparency

Found here

Turn off menubar transparency in 10.5

sudo defaults write /System/Library/LaunchDaemons/ EnvironmentVariables -dict CI_NO_BACKGROUND_IMAGE 1

Then reboot the machine.

Wednesday, 21 November 2007

Time Machine

I just got a warning pop-up from time machine reminding me that I hadnt connected my backup drive for 10 days, so I should either connect it or set a new backup drive. After I connected my drive, it started backing up 11GB of data, which got me thinking where is it storing the changes that are made to my drive and is it resetting them later? At the moment I have no clue but it could be an interesting side project.

I'll post more here once I find something out.

Tuesday, 20 November 2007

Posting pause(?)

Hi, there might be a few days gaps in posts soon as any day now my daughter should be born :) So if I suddenly vanish, you know why :)

Monday, 19 November 2007

Leopard - screensaver "flickering" issue or dual screensavers

So as I mentioned in my earlier post about upgrading Leopard I was having issues with the screen saver under Leopard. Basically I would start the screen saver using my dock shortcut but then after a while a second version of the screen saver would run super imposed over the top.

I actually solved this issue inadvertently when I reinstalled Leopard but I came across the following hint over at macosxhints today, that also provides a solution, which I thought would be useful to share.

Skype VS Leopard

There are a lot of people out there having problems with Skype on Leopard. The issue is that if you have your firewall switched on, then Skype simply crashes on launch.

There are a number of workarounds for this but most of them involve switching off the firewall, which is something that most people dont want to do.

Ive came across a couple by myself just from my own trial and error. The first is to reinstall skype, it will then work when you launch it but after closing it, it stops working and needs to be reinstalled again, which obviously can become a hassle.

To get around this - just keep the .dmg file for Skype and run the application from there, from here it runs and you save at least a couple of clicks from reinstalling it into the Applications folder.

Skype is currently working on a fix.

How to backup your Elgato EyeTV 2 settings and channels

So as most of you know from my posts below I recently did a clean install of Leopard which I used as an opportunity to reinstall my apps as well.

One of the apps that I reinstalled was my EyeTV 2 software (I have the Hybrid USB model) but what I wanted to do was copy across all of the channel information and favourites to save having to re-tune everything again later.

Although I managed to find a few of the files needed, I missed some and as a result ended up doing what I wanted to avoid and re-tuning in all of the channels. This provoked me into writing to Elgato's technical support and after a couple of days they responded with the answer to my woes, so I thought I would share their response here so that those of you out there in a similar position can avoid my fate :)

The EyeTV preference files that contain all of the relevant settings are stored in the following locations and files;


  • com.elgato.eyetv.devices.plist
  • com.elgato.eyetv.plist

In /Library/Application Support/EyeTV
Copy the whole folder

In /Users//Library/Preferences/

  • com.elgato.eyetv.plist

Backing up these files and copying them across to a new installation should retain your settings etc.

Hope this helps someone.

Thursday, 15 November 2007

Nerd Breakdown

I picked up on this article from Daring Fireball - after reading it, I can honestly see a lot of what I do in there and I suspect that a lot of you may feel the same, go take a look :)

Gmail Imap

Hi Googe, please, please give me imap support for Gmail - it seems that everyone else has it already, colleagues at work, my wife, the dog at the end of the street but you forgot me! :) Please can I have it?


Wednesday, 14 November 2007

FlushDNS on Mac OS X

In terminal;

Tiger - lookupd -flushcache
Leopard - dscacheutil -flushcache

Force eject a volume

In terminal;

hdiutil eject -force device_name

Device_name can be determined with the df command

Convert .dmg to .iso

In terminal enter;

hdiutil convert dmgfilename.dmg -format UDT0 -o imagefile.iso

mv imagefile.iso.cdr imagefile.iso

Saturday, 10 November 2007

Installing Leopard on an external HDD (Intel Mac)

Im still waiting for the CCC to finish cloning my main HDD, so I thought I'd use the time to document the procedure I used to install Leopard on my external HDD, as Ive noticed on the net that a few people seem to be having problems with this. So lets get started;

Stage 1 - Prepare the disk

  1. Connect your external disk to your mac while running OS X (You should be able to do this via disk utility when booted from the DVD but I didnt try this myself).
  2. Start Disk Utility
  3. Select the physical disk in Disk Utility, make sure to select the disk and not the volume.
  4. Next click on the Partition tab
  5. Under Volume Scheme select "One partition" (or however many you need just keep about 12GB for Leopard).
  6. Next click the options button and for the partition type, select GUID.
  7. In the name field, enter a name for your disk
  8. Now click Apply, after a couple of minutes the disk should be prepared for installing Leopard.

Stage 2 - Installation of Leopard

  1. Insert the Leopard DVD and click the Install Leopard icon
  2. Restart the computer when asked
  3. After a fairly slow startup (its booting from the DVD) the installer will load
  4. In the first window you see, you'll be asked to select the installation language, choose whatever is appropriate for you.
  5. Next read and accept the EULA
  6. On the next screen after the EULA, you should see a list of Harddisk icons, including your external drive
  7. Select your external drive
  8. At the bottom of the window, you should see a button labelled "Options", click this.
  9. You will now be presented with a list of the install options for Leopard, as the external drive is blank, there will be an Install option in first place instead of upgrade, the second option, archive and install will be greyed out and the third option, Erase and Install will also be available. Choose whichever option you prefer and click ok, I chose Install.
  10. Click continue
  11. On the next screen, click the customize button at the bottom, this will allow you to further customize your installation. You will be presented with a list of options for printer drivers, languages, fonts etc. go through the lists and disabled options you dont need, for example you can get rid of languages you wont use or printer drivers which helps to save space.
  12. Click Done
  13. Click Install
  14. If you have done this once already, then there is no need to repeat the DVD verification step, so just click Skip
  15. Now we just need to wait for the install, mine started off at 54 minutes but dropped down to 39 minutes quite quickly, then up to 1 hour, then back down to 34 minutes before settling down.

TIP: If you want to see what is going on during this stage, from the menu bar at the top, select "Window" - "Installer Log", when the window opens you can choose between three options from the pulldown menu - Show errors only, Show errors and progress, Show all logs. Choose one of these and you'll see whats going on during the installation and still have the progress bar visible beneath the log window.

Install complete after about 45 minutes in total.

After the reboot, the Leopard Welcome movie starts playing fullscreen (for me after the upgrade that I did originally, it played in a window only, so the fullscreen was nice).

Stage 3 - Post-Installation Account Customization

Almost done now, just a couple more steps left.

  1. Select the language you want to use for the operating system.
  2. Next choose the keyboard you would like.
  3. On the next screen you'll be asked whether you want to migrate any information, there are four choices;
  • Migrate from another Mac
  • another volume on this Mac
  • from a Time Machine backup
  • do not transfer my information now

If this is a new mac, then select the option, do not transfer my information now. Otherwise pick the option thats best for you. Here I selected migrate from another volume on this mac.

If you select a migration option, then the Transfer your account window appears, here you select the drive that you would like to migrate your information from in the pulldown menu. After the installer finishes scanning the disk, it will display the amount of data available to transfer, for example, User account 35GB and so on.

Tick the boxes here next to the information that you would like to transfer, unfortunately my external drive is smaller than my internal so I wasnt able to migrate my user account, just my applications and network settings.

Click ok and then after a few minutes you will be booted into the desktop with your settings migrated and ready to use Leopard.

Dont forget to go into the preference pane - security - firewall section and turn your firewall on!

Leopard Rebirth - Reinstallation of the OS

So I installed Leopard over a week ago now via the upgrade method, which by all appearances worked out quite well. At first everything seemed to be working fine and I didnt seem to have any of the issues that have been mentioned by others performing the upgrade, such as the "blue screen of death".

During the week though, I did notice a few things. For example whenever I started the OS, I received a cryptic message stating "The application crashed" and asking me if I would like to notify Apple. For the life of me though, I havent been able to find out what the application was, I looked in the console, I disabled the various login items under my user account, I removed files from the startup directories (e.g. menumeters, wifind etc) and still I got the error message.

Secondly I had a problem with the finder/applications folder. Whenever I clicked on it for the first time after starting the computer, I would get the SBOD (Spinning Beachball of Death) for a few minutes, then the system would sort itself out and the applications would be visible.

I was also having some problems with the screensaver, if I started the screensaver and went away for a while for lunch or something, when I came back the display was flickering. After investigation it looked as though a second instance of the screensaver had launched and was somehow, superimposed over the first one (this was also confirmed when I moved the mouse, the password prompt would appear but the screensaver would continue to run in the background. If I clicked outside the prompt, I got a second password dialogue).

I also noticed that the computer seemed to be running hot more often than it had used to under Tiger.

There were also some problems with the finder in the coverflow view as I mentioned in an earlier post, at the moment Im not entirely sure if this is the fault of the documents or the operating system. Unfortunately I just started cloning my original hdd to a backup so Im unable to test this right now (at the moment Im running on a clean install of Leopard from an external drive).

All of these things together lead me to decide that during the weekend (today), I would try a clean install and see of the problems were still present.

So I backed up my files from one external disk to another, then on the first disk that was now "clean", I installed the fresh version of Leopard (details of the installation to follow in a later post).

Lo and behold, after the starting from the new installation on the external disk, the problems that I was having seem to be gone. Clicking on the applications folder now instantly displays the applications, letting the screensaver run for a while works as you would expect it to and no further superimposed versions of it appeared. I havent had any error messages on startup, which as there are no programs running at start is to be expected I guess, just in the mess that was my original hdd, I never managed to find what caused it in the first place.

Finally the computer also seems cooler but its still too soon to say.

Anyway, I've seen enough right now to convince me to reinstall my main internal HDD with a fresh copy of Leopard and then migrate my settings over later. Ive just start carboncopycloner and Im backing up the internal to a WD My Book as I type, once done Im going to start the install on the internal.

I'll let you know how it goes.

Monday, 5 November 2007


Heres a nice simple app for changing your dock - all you need to do is click a button to switch it between 2 or 3D and some various popular mods. Well worth checking out, available from here.

Friday, 2 November 2007

Some amazing Dock mods for Leopard

This thread contains instructions on how to mod the 3D dock to change its colours, appearance and so on. There are some really great new docks in here.

Speed Download - Update

If you run Speed Download now and check for updates version 4.1.17 is available and contains Leopard compatibility fixes, including the fix I mentioned earlier.

"Fix" for smart documents folder in Finder

In the Finder search box, simply type the following, without the speech marks ".doc OR .xls OR .pdf OR .pages OR .key" and press save and add to sidebar. This will display just the documents without the .mp3 files and so on.

Solution for Speed Download

I found the solution for the issue with Speed Download on the developers site. The fix for it is quite simple, download this file and follow the instructions.

Speed download integration broken?

Speed download seems to have lost its integration with safari and firefox after the upgrade. Im trying to find a solution now.

Smart folders

Anyone know how to do a smart folder that displays just documents and not mp3 files?
Or say displays all documents from all folders except this folder where I have my private receipts that I dont want to have easily accessible?

Quicklook issues

I seem to be having some issues with Quicklook, one of which at least Ive managed to solve and the other Im not sure that there is a fix for.

First of all, some of the quicklook effects as demonstrated in the Apple videos were not working. For example when I had a Keynote presentation visible in coverflow, if I moused over it, I did not get the icons to page forward and/or back, the same for powerpoint and so on.

I found out that for Keynote at least, I need to open the presentation, tick the box in the save dialogue that says "save preview with file" and then resave it. Afterwards in coverflow, this provides the aforementioned page arrows. I just hate the thought that this is something that needs to be done for all documents, surely its more simple than that and Ive overlooked something?

The other thing that I dont think works, is full screen mode as when I view the presentation fulscreen in quicklook, its formated like a giant page that you scroll down, not individual slides that you can move through with the arrows or one after the other (unless you use the slide navigator). I dont know at the moment though if this is just me, my system or the way its supposed to be as I dont have anyone to check it with.

Leopard installation

Ok, so as I mentioned in an earlier post, I decided to experiment a little and just perform an upgrade as opposed to erasing and clean installing Leopard.

I made a full backup of my system earlier in the week using Superduper and also made sure that I had backups of my important files on a separate hard disk too, so I was quite comfortable that I was covered in this respect.

So today before attempting the upgrade, I performed the following actions;

Checked that I had the latest versions of, or compatible versions of what I call "non-apps", i.e. Saft, logmein, Citrix ICA client and various other preference pane items that I have and use.

Btw there are new versions of Saft for Leopard and a beta of the Citrix client (v10) although v7 should be working, at least on intel macs.

After that I ran Onyx and repaired permissions, ran the cron jobs (daily, weekly, monthly) and cleaned out all of the various cache and log files. One reboot later and I was ready to try the upgrade.

The upgrade was almost painless, I dont run any of the uninsanity apps or the logitech mouse controller, so I had no issues with APE (this can cause you to boot up to a blue screen - the quick fix is to update it to the latest version). So for me I simply put the DVD in the drive, started the installer, rebooted the mac and then let it do its thing.

Right after the reboot once the installer had loaded, I was presented with the usual OS X install options, that is to say, the choice of language, whether I wanted to perform an upgrade (default choice) or archive and install and so on. On the next screen I clicked customise and removed all of the extra printers and fonts that I didnt need, then I just let the installation process go.

I didnt time it but Id say the whole process took just under an hour, including the time for verifying the disc, though at the start it did state that it would take 2 hours or more but this dropped to 30 minutes or so quite quickly.

Once completed, it rebooted again and put me right back at my standard login window (albeit with the new Leopard space background). My normal user account and password got me into the system and once in I had my old background and desktop icons just as I had left them.

A couple of things to point out though;

Menucalendarclock needs to be updated to version 3 to be compatible with Leopard
My finder settings were preserved as well, so afterwards I was missing the QuickLook icon in the finder and had to add it using the customize toolbar option.

Besides that the install seems to have worked out well but now I need time to play, test and reconfigure. I'll post some updates here as I find things though.

Leopard - better late than never

My family sent my Leopard DVD a little later than I expected, so as a result it took a week for me to get it from the time Apple sent it to my UK address. I have to admit it was quite a long week , especially as I couldnt really use my notebook as I spent a lot of time preparing it for the upgrade and I wasnt sure if I would have the time to do it again (due to the fact that my daughter could be born any minute).

Its been frustrating reading about it every where though and not able to try anything etc, still it arrived via post this morning, which is good news :)