I’m really trying not to be an OS snob here. I’m really trying.
I’m really trying not to be an OS snob here. I’m really trying.
I’ve had my Macbook for six months now, and I just now noticed this cool little feature in OS X’s Dashboard. The weather widget shows all kinds of weather conditions (a couple weeks ago it impressed me with little freezing rain balls bouncing off it) and at night it switches to show cloud conditions with the moon. It wasn’t until just now that I noticed it tracks the exact phase of the moon too.
I opened up dashboard for the first time tonight and this is what I saw. Sure enough we are having a clear night and a new moon, meaning no moon visible at all.
Click the thumbnail for the full version.
This tip is courtesy of the Ubuntu Blog, but I just discovered it also works perfectly well in OS X and with some hot Putty action you could probably even pull it off with Windows. I’m writing this using it now.
A coworker of mine recently came down with some kind of outer space soul sucking virus and was ordered by his doctor to take a week off. Any hardcore geek will tell you that automatically means a lot of potential keyboard time, so he decided to setup a remote connection to the work network.
Being security-minded is important in the hosting world (it should be more important everywhere else) and so the inevitable question arose as to how he could best pull this off. Like an increasing number of laptop owners he also uses open wireless networks a lot (so do I) and you really shouldn’t be using open wireless with any password or data you really care about.
VPN’s work well for remote connections but can occasionally be a pain to set up depending on how your company has theirs configured.
If you have a computer/server running Linux or any other variety of OpenSSH server which is connected to a more trustworthy network you can create a SOCKS proxy SSH connection to it using the following command:
ssh -D 9999 user@server
The -D creates the SOCKS proxy, 9999 is the port, and user@server is your user name on the server you are connecting to and its host name or IP address. Then just set Firefox to use the SOCKS proxy as localhost and set the port to 9999. Presto – instant secure web traffic.
Mail.app, OS X’s built in email program, is loved by many a Mac user but generally not trusted by support techs dues some known issues with the app in general. Basically it’s a great mail program when it runs well but occasionally it can have problems that nobody but Apple seems to know how to fix.
Today I stopped using Thunderbird and switched to Mail.app. Both are on my system and I’m using IMAP so I can switch between them whenever I want.
Some of my friends might be asking “WHY???” Quite simple: Memory footprint. I noticed today that Thunderbird was using ~30MB of memory when running so I decided to compare them. Mail.app weighed in at about 18MB average.
Not too difficult a decision when you’re talking almost 50% difference.
I’ll be switching back when I can afford that 2GB RAM upgrade 😉
Growl rocks. It’s one of my favorite add-on applications for OS X, but I’ve always wondered why it doesn’t have the ability to create custom notifications. Thankfully you can create custom notifications, it just turns out to be a pain.
The link below gives a not-quite detailed enough account of how to enable Growl notifications for new messages received in Thunderbird.
In order to make the setup work on my machine I had to enable the root account via the NetInfo Manager (found in Applications -> Utilities) and create a /local/bin structure inside /usr.
Be sure to follow the instructions closely. You generally don’t want to make mistakes as root.
Just found this gem of a tip at macosxhints.com…
After you make the modifications listed at the link below you will be able to launch OS X apps via commands in the terminal. Believe it or not this method will actually allow you to launch applications faster than using spotlight due to the magic of tab completion in bash. I’d imagine it’s about the same speed as launching apps with Quicksilver, but for us server admin types we ALWAYS have a terminal (or ten) open.
Happy Sunday everyone. I hope you all had a good weekend and weren’t stuck at work for half of it (like I was).
But hey, I’m not going to argue with time and a half.
Here’s a few links to occupy some time with:
Fellow MarioKartDS owners rejoice! Here’s an explanation and several videos explaining how to dodge blue shells, and here is a video which explains the basics of snaking (or, how to cheat at the game without really cheating).
If you have problems getting your head around the magical workings of DNS (like I do) you should read this article.
Has anyone tried out AcquisitionX for Mac OS X? It’s a P2P app that has a large following, but I never run a new P2P app unless I personally know someone else who can give me a recommendation on it.
Long lost video fun: Randy Johnson reintroduces a bird to its maker with a fastball.
One of the reasons I think Adam Carolla rocks is that he really doesn’t care about the celebrity level of those he is forced to interact with. Case-in-point.
Want a one word, two second summary of the last World Cup 2006 game? Ouch.
Tired of roller coasters? Take a ride on the space shuttle’s booster rocket as it lifts off(quicktime). Link to source/other videos. Be sure to check out the composite separation video.
The fine folks over at Lifehacker have a soft spot for OS X it seems. In the year or so that the site has been running they’ve posted countless helpful OS X tips and software, and what better kind of software then the kind that’s free?
macZOT is offering iClip free of charge between today and July 2nd 2006. So if you’re an OS X user and you spend a lot of time copying and pasting be sure to pick this one up.
In the last few generations of iBooks and Powerbooks Apple introduced the SMS sensor, designed to detect sudden movement and shut down the hard drive to prevent any impact damage. SMS sensors are now standard in all of the MacBook’s, but don’t think the fun stops with hard drive damage prevention.
My first non-standard SMS application is the amazingly useful MacSaber (that’s a joke, it doesn’t do anything but simulate lightsaber sounds while you swing the MacBook around). A fun little software toy but that’s about it. If you try it out don’t get too crazy. The last thing you want to do is throw your expensive new portable across the room as you become the next Star Wars Kid.
The one useful application I found that uses the SMS sensor is iAlertU (via Lifehacker, link includes a demo video). Think of it as a car alarm for your MacBook. You enable/disable it with the included remote control (just like a key fob) and it even chirps like a car alarm. iAlertU will also activate the built-in iSight camera to try and take a picture of the would-be thief, and future versions will include the ability to e-mail the picture to a target address. All the usual input devices (keyboard, mouse, etc.) trigger the alarm and so does any change to the power connection.
And in case you’re wondering, yes, I did find iAlertU out of necessity. I spent some time at the Gone Wired Cafe today and really needed a bathroom break. I’m sure you can figure out the rest 🙂
One of the many small adjustments one has to make after purchasing their first MacBook (first Apple ever for me personally) is getting used to the widescreen. This is the first time I’ve ever used a portable with a widescreen, and for the first couple days it actually hurt my eyes just a little bit. Not because it is difficult to look at, there is just more screen space to cover with your eyes.
A nice wallpaper makes a world of difference on these MacBook screens. Because they are widescreen and high quality they make bad wallpaper look really bad. Thankfully some quick googling turned up this gem at InterfaceLIFT and I’m now rocking some seriously excellent wallpapers.
Be sure to also check out my custom Transformers Movie Wallpapers!