The Mac Thread

PCs, laptops, macs, mp3 players, consoles, peripherals
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frogblast
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Re: The Mac Thread

Post by frogblast » Wed Nov 11, 2009 02:05

i never really paid much attention to the services menu in 10.5 and earlier, since it was always full of so much stuff that it was horrible to use (and did you used to get services in the contextual menu? I don't remember). Now that's it's sorted out in 10.6, i'm really coming to like it, especially since automator makes it so easy to make custom services that can use perl, python or ruby scripts. This blog post gives a good idea of the kind of stuff you can do : http://seansperte.com/entry/creating_a_ ... w_leopard/

i wrote a simple script today (after raging at regex in perl for a good half an hour before discovering the problem was that perl doesn't output utf8 unless you tell it to) to replace the spaces and tabs in text with non-breaking spaces, and made another that copies text to the clipboard after replacing the spaces with non-breaking spaces.
(not the most innovative thing in the world, but it's useful for posting code and other stuff on sites that don't have a code tag without having to spend ages pressing alt+space)

it's almost enough to make me want to actually learn perl. almost. then I look at some perl code again and my eyes start to bleed. i'm kind of intrigued by ruby though.

and while i'm talking about scripting, I was very disappointed to see that the apple events snow leopard bug still isn't fixed in 10.6.2 ( http://db.tidbits.com/article/10643 ). I really don't understand why not, since it seems to be a source of all sorts of crazy bugs since so many things use apple events.
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Re: The Mac Thread

Post by frogblast » Sun Dec 06, 2009 16:38

So, I'm back using Quicksilver again…

I used to use Quicksilver before Mac OS X 10.5 came out. I mainly used it as a launcher/switcher, since spotlight was really slow back then. At some point after 10.5 came out I stopped using it - I got fed up with how unstable it was (I had to add a launchd agent just to keep it running because it would crash so often and it was so incredibly frustrating to find that it had crashed when I tried to use it). The developer virtually abandoned it and it seemed it was just going to get more and more unstable as time went by, and I didn't really use enough of the features to justify all the pain it caused.

Fortunately it was open source, so people were able to maintain it and release updates. I decided to try it again the other day, and it does seem much more stable (and a lot lot faster — it's incredibly fast now) these days. It still has some pretty horrible bugs (it seems just about impossible to add triggers with the latest version - it always ends up corrupting the triggers plist, so you have to create them in an older version). This time I've spent some time setting it up a bit better (this guide was helpful: http://mysite.verizon.net/hmelman/Quicksilver.pdf ) with triggers for google searches, wikipedia searches, iTunes control and so on. I still only use a very tiny number of the things it can do — the possibilities are very overwhelming. Feels like when I first started using Path Finder where all the GUI customisation options / different ways you can have it set up are quite daunting, but even more so. There is always a period of time during which you have to force yourself to use these kinds of things before they becomes natural.

The inevitable downside is that it's yet another thing that makes using other computers feel painfully clumsy and slow in comparison (the thought of using OS X with only the Finder to manage files and no Quicksilver, Steermouse or Zooom2 is bad enough, never mind using Windows XP or something where I don't know any shortcuts at all — I'm not sure windows even has the kind of universal text editing shortcuts that OS X has, and everything else is always some horrible function key that's a pain to reach (emacs style shortcuts 4 life11!!1))
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Re: The Mac Thread

Post by Gordon » Tue Dec 08, 2009 12:22

What are the benefits (for me) over spotlight? How does it compare to other similar apps (the google one, and the one I forget?)

Please read my mind an answer my questions.
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Re: The Mac Thread

Post by frogblast » Tue Dec 08, 2009 21:48

It depends what you want to use if for. If all you want to do is quickly launch applications, then it offers little over spotlight or launchbar or google quick search box or the other similar apps

For app launching, spotlight is slightly less efficient since it doesn't learn from your searches or have any kind of system to make certain things appear first for certain strings of letters. I've not ever used the google thing, but I presume it has better integration with google online services (i think it was created by the guy who created quicksilver who later got hired by google).

For searching files, spotlight is more powerful since it can look inside the contents of files, and quicksilver only considers the names. the quicksilver catalogue is generally smaller than the spotlight one, for example it won't search all the folders in your home folder by default (since you are better off using the iTunes plugin to control you music, rather than dealing with the files directly, so by default it doesn't index the ~/Music folder). This can make it faster than spotlight; spotlight can be slow for me sometimes, but that's probably because I have so many files on my computer)

The real power in quicksilver comes from the ability to perform actions on objects. For example, if you open quicksilver and type "tex" for textmate, it will bring it up, just like spotlight does, and return will open/switch to it, just like it would with spotlight, because open is the default command for an application. but if you press tab, you then have access to all sorts of commands. once in the second pane, q will bring up the "quit" command, r will find "relaunch".

quicksilver can also act on more than one object at once. so if you activate it, type "tex" then press the comma (to select another item) then type "con" for console, then press tab and hit q and then return, it will quit both those applications.

A lot of the best things in quicksilver are available with the plugins. For example there is a flickr plugin, so you can select your image in the finder, press ⌘ + esc (to bring up quicksilver with the current selection already in the first box), press tab then type "up" to choose "upload to flickr with tags", press tab, type in some tags, press return and it will upload the file. (I think it uses your browser cookies or the keychain or something to find your login info - I don't have a flickr account so I've not tested it). It will also find applicable os x services if the services plugin is installed. For example I created an "ompload" service that uploads files to omploader.org, so if I select a file in quicksilver I can upload it using the ompload service.

The way quicksilver works means you can do all sorts of interesting things. It has the ability to display text at a large size across the screen that stays there till you click the mouse, but if you want to delay that for a certain amount of time the original large type command can itself become a quicksilver object that you can run commands on. So activate quicksilver, press . to enter text entry mode, type something e.g. "your dinner is burning!", press tab, then large type is probably the default if you have just entered text, so press ^+return (the command to make the original command into a new object), then "delay" to find the "run after delay" command, then tab and enter a time, eg "10m" for ten mins. now the original text will display on the screen after the specified delay. Obviously you can use this method to run any command after a certain delay (or at a specific time with "run at time").

I really like using quicksilver to do web searches - rather than first opening/switching to the browser, opening a new tab, going to the google box (or using the toolbar to search other sites in firefox) I can just press ^g, type my search in the quicksilver box that appears and press return, and it will open the search in a new browser tab. same for ^w to search wikipedia (you can set up searches for just about any site you want, and assign them to whatever shortcut you want, although you start to run out of shortcuts that don't conflict with existing applications, and it starts to get hard to remember them). I also have sever triggers to control iTunes, so ^p pauses or plays, ⌘ + alt + right/left skip forwards/backwards, all of which work from any application. And other commands have scripts that can quickly be accessed e.g. activate quicksilver then "shu" to find the "toggle shuffle" script. Another use for triggers is simply to speed up switching between common application, so I set ^s to open/switch to safari and ^l to switch to linkinus, my irc client.

heh, looks like I went a bit overboard there, sorry, but hopefully you get the idea. A lot of the things I mentioned need plugins installed, or set up in some way, and things are generally not discoverable, so it's really a case of reading things like that pdf guide I linked to if you want to find out how to do a lot of the more advanced things.
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Re: The Mac Thread

Post by James_B » Thu Dec 10, 2009 04:33

I'm running Snow Leopard, but I need 10.5 to use Pro Tools. I hardly ever use Pro Tools, I desperately need to use it over christmas but only for two weeks or so, and I really want to avoid having to re-install all my software that's currently on the Snow Leopard install. I don't have an external drive with enough space to do a time machine back up and I really don't want to buy one right now.

So my idea was to make a separate partition, 20GB or so, on the internal drive and put 10.5 on that, but disk utility (and also the Boot Camp utility) just won't let me, they say either that files can't be moved or the existing partition cannot be resized. I've repaired permissions, erased all unused hard drive space and used iDefrag, though only in on-line mode so far. But I'm still getting no luck at all. So basically, are there any other suggestions?

I figured that booting 10.5 off a USB stick would be too much of a performance hit for mixing in Pro Tools...

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Re: The Mac Thread

Post by Gordon » Fri Dec 11, 2009 11:40

Use idefrag (or boot camp assistant) in some sort of offline mode, either with a bootable DVD, or using firewire disk mode and someone else's mac?
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Re: The Mac Thread

Post by wyvern » Fri Jan 08, 2010 12:02

Does anyone know if a Seagate external desktop drive can be made to
work with a Mac? The sad trainee (i.e. the Manager) in PC World gave
duff info when I bought one assuring me it would work. It doesn't. It
is locked. There are no instructions in the box. The website is useless. Grrrr.
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Re: The Mac Thread

Post by Sootyzilla » Sat Jan 09, 2010 15:44

Does it show up when you plug it in? Have you tried formatting it with Disk Utility?
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Re: The Mac Thread

Post by frogblast » Sun Jan 10, 2010 05:11

wyvern wrote:Does anyone know if a Seagate external desktop drive can be made to
work with a Mac? The sad trainee (i.e. the Manager) in PC World gave
duff info when I bought one assuring me it would work. It doesn't. It
is locked. There are no instructions in the box. The website is useless. Grrrr.
if it's just a usb drive, then yes, it almost certainly should work, but like Sootyzilla said you will need to format it with Disk Utility. It's probably unformatted at the moment, or if it is formatted it's probably NTFS (a windows file system) or something, which os x can't write to (by default, I think 10.6 can read NTFS by default now).

if you're not sure about using disk utility, read this: http://www.ehow.com/how_2063795_format- ... ac-os.html
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Re: The Mac Thread

Post by Gordon » Sun Jan 10, 2010 10:46

I have a seagate, and it works.
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Re: The Mac Thread

Post by wyvern » Tue Jan 12, 2010 20:01

I managed to reformat it and backed up a load of stuff onto it and now it doesn't even appear on the screen.
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Re: The Mac Thread

Post by frogblast » Wed Jan 13, 2010 01:29

wyvern wrote:I managed to reformat it and backed up a load of stuff onto it and now it doesn't even appear on the screen.
does it show up in disk utility? if so try repairing it (under the first aid tab after you select it)
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Re: The Mac Thread

Post by frogblast » Tue Jan 19, 2010 18:24

a lot of indie mac developers are donating all proceeds to charity to help in Haiti if you buy their software tomorrow: http://www.indierelief.com/
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Re: The Mac Thread

Post by frogblast » Tue Jun 22, 2010 13:57

I don't know if anybody here is interested, but I've been writing a Mac application recently and I'm looking for people to beta test it.

It's a music player, pretty similar to iTunes (but just for music). I've been threatening to write such a thing for a while (although it doesn't quite live up to my "beautiful and awesome" promise). As you might expect, it's fairly feature-lite at this point, and full of all sorts of bugs. It does have support for iPods (not iOS devices though), last.fm, folder watching, ogg/flac/wma support, smart playlists and global shortcuts among other things. Mostly it's just how I would wish iTunes to be (no more modal dialog boxes), which probably doesn't work for most people (the playlists stuff probably needs quite a bit of work). It's still kind of ugly looking as well; haven't got any decent icons for it yet (maybe I will ask in the arts forum here if anybody knows anything about drawing icons…)

Sadly I can promise no reward, other than the software itself (at this point I'm not sure if I will even release it, and if I do, whether I would charge for it or make it free)

Anyway, PM me or reply here if you want a copy to try out. Criticism, suggestions and feature requests are all most welcome.
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Re: The Mac Thread

Post by stolenwine » Sat Jul 03, 2010 12:44

i think i posted ages ago about my screen going randomly black, even though my macbook was on and worked fine through an external monitor. the only way to bring it back was to connect via another mac, or delete the sleep files (my husband sorted all this out so i don't know exactly which files they were) anyway, just in case anyone's been experiencing the same issue, it's a known one with the nvidia card, which slowly deteriorates and fucks your laptop up real bad. they fix it for free though, even if you're out of warranty:

http://support.apple.com/kb/TS2377

also, i was inclined to think the ipad was kind of ridiculous, but we got one a couple weeks ago and i gotta say it's better than i thought. i still prefer a normal laptop (i guess because i'm not an iphone person so i'm not used to how it all works) but the thing i like the best about it is AIR HOCKEY. it's pretty awesome!
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Re: The Mac Thread

Post by nanski » Tue Aug 10, 2010 09:36

my imac screen has gone funny. the top menu bar --with File, Edit, View, Go, Window, Help on one side and the bluetooth, airport, sound, and language icons, plus date, time and search on the other side-- doesn't all fit on the screen at once. Also, my dock (of programs), which I keep at the bottom, doesn't fit either. If i move the mouse, the whole thing moves around so I can eventually see everything, but it's a bit nauseating. I tried mucking around with the screen resolution, but that didn't work. Does anyone know what the problem could be? It's doing my head in!
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Re: The Mac Thread

Post by nanski » Tue Aug 10, 2010 10:18

nanski wrote:my imac screen has gone funny. the top menu bar --with File, Edit, View, Go, Window, Help on one side and the bluetooth, airport, sound, and language icons, plus date, time and search on the other side-- doesn't all fit on the screen at once. Also, my dock (of programs), which I keep at the bottom, doesn't fit either. If i move the mouse, the whole thing moves around so I can eventually see everything, but it's a bit nauseating. I tried mucking around with the screen resolution, but that didn't work. Does anyone know what the problem could be? It's doing my head in!
i just fixed it myself. system preferences>universal access>seeing>zoom off. i feel 5000% better now.
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Re: The Mac Thread

Post by stolenwine » Tue Aug 10, 2010 17:49

i feel like one of those people who's about 100 and has never used a computer, but i'm gonna ask this dumb question anyway:

recently i've noticed i'm getting these weird notifications on the top right hand corner of my screen, eg. everytime a new song starts on spotify, or when there's an update for something available, or when someone signs into skype/signs out of skype etc. it's always the same translucent black rectangular box, with rounded corners. i don't know where it came from. how do i turn it off? clicking it doesn't give me any idea of what it actually is or how to make it stop!
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Re: The Mac Thread

Post by jayen_aitch » Tue Aug 10, 2010 17:53

It might be a program called Growl... check if you've got that... I have it too, but I quite like it... it works well with twitterific and adium, both of which I sometimes use.

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Re: The Mac Thread

Post by stolenwine » Tue Aug 10, 2010 17:57

jonny! you're my hero! thanks! that's exactly what it was! how'd it even get there? is it an os update that did it? i like it sometimes but not for EVERYTHING.
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