Category Archives: Mac OS X

Password Generator – Free in Mac OS X

There’s an excellent FREE password generator built into Mac OS X, so if you’re looking for a password generator look no further than your own OS. The only catch is that invoking the password assistant is less than obvious. However, there’s an excellent script from Code Poetry that lets you open the Password Assistant dialog on demand! In case you’re interested, the script is even Open Source.
More information at osx.iusethis.com.

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Cleaning up the Dock…

Especially when using the tiny 13.3″ 1280×800 MacBook Air display, there is just not enough room in the dock. I typically like to have Mail, Safari, Yojimbo ($39) iKana (€12), iCal, iTunes, WriteRoom and TaskPaper.

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By Using LaunchBar and Dock Doger, I’ve been able to remove Adium, Skype and Address Book from my Dock without slowing me down, in fact, it speeds me up! My MenuBar now has: Skype, Adium, Little Snitch 2, Shimo (VPN Tunnel), Plaxo, iStat CPU monitor, iStat Network Monitor, Default Airport Monitor, Default Battery Monitor, iStat World Time, and Input Method Selection window (Romanji, Hiragana, IMK-QIM)

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Make Adium function well as a background only application by assigning a “Global Shortcut” via the input box at the bottom of the Preferences/General tab. I recommend: ⌘⎋ (cmd+esc), the shortcut used by Proteus. This feature was added in Adium 1.2.

Also on the Preferences/General tab, select “Show Adium status in menu bar” so that you’ll know if Adium is running and if it has a background notification.

Note that once you put Adium into background mode, you’ll no longer be able to access many items of the “View” menu, so you’ll want to memorize the shortcut keys for:

⇧⌘H: Show All Contacts (SHIFT+CMD+H)
⌃⌘I: Hide User Icons (CTRL+CMD+I)
⌃⌘S: Hide Status Messages (CTRL+CMD+S)

Unfortunately, there is no shortcut for “Hide Groups” so you’ll need to use “Dock Dodger” to enable the Dock (and Menu Bar) each time you want to Enable and Disable the Groups in your contacts view…

Other shortcuts include:
⌘/: Show/Hide the Contacts List
⇧⌘L: Transcript Log Window
⌥⌘L: File Transfers Window
⇧⌘H: Hide Offline Contacts

⌘I: Get Info on Contact
⌘L: Open Log Viewer on Contact   

⌘Y: Set your Away Message
⇧⌘Y: Set your Available Message

The entire “View” menu includes:

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Last, here is the Preferences/General Tab where you should both: a) Set the Global Shortcut Key and b) Show Adium Status in the Menu Bar.

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Will to the Rescue… New Mac Apps

It’s been a crazy couple of months, in Taiwan, Los Angeles, Beijing, Guangzhou and Hong Kong, and a pair of ear drums filled with fluid, no longer able to equalize…

Last weekend my friend Will came for a visit, and recommended some great little Mac stuff while geeking out for a bit. Now the following tools are in use:

These have replace my use of:

  • Mac OS X Menu Bar System Clock
  • World Clock Deluxe
  • Spotlight

And on the LaunchBar front, much has changed since the “old days”. Here are a few very useful tips to get you started.

There are now two separate menus in LaunchBar 5:

(1) When you click (or right click) the selected item, you get a menu that contains actions specific to this particular item. So when you’ve selected a file, it contains actions such as “Rename” or “Move to Trash”. When you’ve selected a song, it contains actions like “Play in Party Shuffle” or “Show in iTunes”. This menu can also opened with Control-Right Arrow.

(2) When you click the gear wheel icon, you get a static menu containing commands that are related to the LaunchBar application itself, such as opening the Preferences, accessing the Help, or selecting new items. This menu is basically a copy of LaunchBar’s main menu bar. Its purpose is to provide access to these main menu commands in cases where the menu bar is not visible (e.g. when running LaunchBar without a Dock icon, which also hides its menu bar).

Also, take a look at LaunchBar’s “Text Clips” feature.

A text document whose filename ends with a special .clip.txt or .clip.rtf filename extension is treated as a Text Clip File. Opening such a file via LaunchBar inserts the file’s contents in the frontmost application.

You can use this feature to quickly insert predefined text blocks in the currently edited document.


Unified Instant Messaging

A good friend encouraged me to try Meebo, and online unified instant messaging client. If you live on planet ASCII-only, then that might be fine, but if you work with other languages that is probably a complete deal-breaker. Using Meebo, trying to select other input methods they are just completely grayed out – unable to be selected.

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On the other hand, there are two unified instant messaging clients that I’ve found to be very stable, very convenient, and have great i18n support:

* Adium for Mac OS X
* IM+ for the Blackberry

Really highly recommend both of these!

Why so many programs?

Why do I have Mail.app (Email), Skype, Adium (MSN + iChat) and Twitterrific all running at the same time?

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Why does my iPhone have one icon for SMS’s and one for Email?

There are some interesting Wikipedia pages about Unified Messaging and Unified Communications, including:

Unified communications (UC) is “an industry term used to describe all forms of call and multimedia/cross-media message-management functions controlled by an individual user for both business and social purposes” [1]. This potentially includes the integration of fixed and mobile voice, e-mail, instant messaging, desktop and advanced business applications, Internet Protocol (IP)-PBX, voice over IP (VoIP), presence, voice-mail, fax, audio video and web conferencing, unified messaging, unified voicemail, and whiteboarding into a single environment offering the user a more complete but simpler and more effective experience.

Maybe an iPhone and a Mac Book Air already qualifies as a “Unified Messaging System”. Fax’s are obviously easily directed to your email Inbox, but there is still something missing.

Sadly, it seems that Google is probably the best positioned entity on the planet to provide “Unified Messaging”. Just plug Google Mail into the gaim/libpurple multiple instant message interface instead of gtalk, and then somehow force the Skype guys to jump on the bandwagon and you’re done with the desktop/web side. Just need to figure out a way to handle SMS and voice.

Maybe the next “Hotmail” is in here somewhere… That simple idea that’s sitting right under our nose. That way that will we can ever so slightly change the way people use computers, that could potentially be worth something.

Twitter~你有没有试过?

第一次我看过这个“twitter”的网站认为是很土,但是越看越喜欢。twitter 说他的用处是回答常问的问题:“你在干什么?”。对我来说,twitter 最大的有点是发布消息很灵活。自己已经用几个办法发布留言:

  • Twitteriffic:”super lightweight” Mac OS X desktop Twitter Client
  • SMS/Text Message: just text in any language to: +44 7624 801423
  • Twinkle: iPhone geo-localized twitter client – who’s twittering near you.
  • Web (Twitter.com): Of course, you can post directly via the website
  • 也能通过IM留言,但是没有支持QQ或MSN。现在只有:GTalk,LiveJournal,和 Jabber

试试看!

Putting Numbers on your Desktop…

If you want to use an iWork Numbers spreadsheet as your desktop wallpaper, just save it as a PDF and then use iWork’s export feature. Note that you’ll get a bit hosed with the very top and bottom border of the spreadsheet (seems iWork just won’t give you control over the full background color) but you can get a result that you’ll probably be happy with.

The basic idea is to first use your screen resolution to calculate a custom “Paper Size”. For example, if you’re on a MacBook Air you’re resolution would be 1280 x 800, and at 72dpi, that would be 17.77 x 11.11 inches, or 45.15 x 28.22 centimeters.

You can add a shape to the background to set a custom size… Just don’t set Mac OS X to swap your wallpaper every 5 seconds or the system will crawl to a halt – at least if you’re working with PDF files…

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Firefox Dock Icon – Finally Less Fugly

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I like a lot of things about the Firefox browser, but wish it blended better with the rest of the Mac OS X operating system. Adium fits into OS X perhaps better even that iChat, but the Firefox icon looks downright fugly compared to Safari… Well, a designer named Adam Betts put together an more aquafied alternative of John Hicks original. Download the new Icons or check out Adam Betts’ original post.
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To further enhance the look of your Firefox, try the Mac OS X themes available at TakeBackTheWeb. GrApple (UNO) helps FF fit in.

OS X设置助理无限循环

刚才碰到了怪怪的MAC OS X漏洞。我的设置助理不停着重新开始。很烦恼的一种问题~特别烦恼因为是新的一台MacbookAir笔记本。

终于查到了怎么解决这个问题。。。

1。启动的时候按“SHIFT”(等很长的时间~会启动超级慢)
2。别登陆!
3。按那个往左的箭号(back arrow)
4。按那个“重新启动”
5。等很长的时间~电脑会再来跑更新的程序
6。等等等~电脑会自动的重新启动~都会好了

原来的英文解释在AppleInsider.com的这里

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Mac OS X: Chinafy your Filenames…

If you use a Chinese, Japanese or Korean version of the Mac OS X operating system, you may have noticed that the filenames provided by the system are localized, at least under certain directories.

Pictures => 照片 Movies => 影片 Downloads => 下载 Etc… 等等…

If you also use software like VMware, or sometimes use the Terminal to manipulate these files, you can find it annoying that UTF-8 is still not supported everywhere…

You can duplicate the default system functionality of using english language (or roman character anyway) file names for your actual files, but then localize them so they aren’t so annoying to look at. For example, to make my Finance folder into my 财务 folder, I renamed the english version to “Finance.localized”, then created a .localized subfolder inside (mind the leading dot!) and then created a zn_CN.strings folder inside there. zh_CN.strings simply contains:

“Finance” = “财务”;

Restart your finder (killall Finder) or log out and log back in to see the changes. Enjoy your slightly more chinafied mac…

More information about the procedure is on the Mac Developer Connection website: http://developer.apple.com/documentation/MacOSX/Conceptual/BPFileSystem/Articles/DisplayNames.html

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iTerm: Replacing Terminal.app

I apologize in advance, but todays topic again is totally geeked out… Today, I have made the swtich from Terminal.app to iTerm, and I think it’s going to be a switch for good. The iTerm team has been cranking out a OS X Terminal Emulator for years, but they have made amazing strides lately and iTerm LOOKS BETTER than the build in Terminal. Of course, you get tabs and great unicode support too. I am very happy with the latest version of iTerm. If you frequently user Terminal, I highly recommend you give it a shot, again!

Note that if you use Chinese in your terminal, you’ll want to make sure that you’re configured for UTF-8. Use the settings on this page to enable full UTF-8 input and output.

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Mac OS X: SSL/TLS LDAP Connections from Address Book

If you attempt to connect Mac OS X’s address book to an LDAP Server via SSL you’re in for a bit of a surprise. Akin to Mac OS X’s haphazard support for SSL in Mail.app (SSL is hardcoded to ONLY work on port 993, if SSL is checked but a different port is selected, SSL will not be enabled)…

Well, this time around the error is less obvious, and easier to work around…

SSL services are generally “wrapped around” a protocol, which causes the protocol to require a separate port to operate. HTTPS and IMAPS are good examples of this. On the other hand, TLS protocols generally are a feature of a protocol, and can be activated in the middle of a session. SMTP is a good example of this.

In spite of their similarities, TLS and SSL are not necessarily compatible, though TLS can transform itself into SSLv3 in certain circumstances…

LDAP implementations would generally provide LDAP on port 389 and SSL LDAP (ldaps) on port 636. However, Apple AddressBook doesn’t actually do SSL, it does TLS, which is interwoven into the LDAP protocol and can happens port 389.

So, to securely use your LDAP server, you should select the “SSL” checkbox, but then override the port to 389.

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