Rambling On…

Favorite Mac Tip of the Day > Rename Files from the Title Bar — 08/22/2012

Favorite Mac Tip of the Day > Rename Files from the Title Bar

Rename files from the title bar

Thanks to Devir Kahan for the tip!

Rename a file from the title bar
Rename a file from the title bar

Instead of having to locate the file in the Finder to rename it, you can now just click on a filename in the window’s title bar to rename it. This same sort of thing works for bookmarklets too. You can also move a file to another location from the title bar by clicking its name and choosing Move.

Disable Save Password Prompts in Safari 6 — 08/07/2012

Disable Save Password Prompts in Safari 6

Safari 6 has a feature that prompts the user to save passwords. A window pops up with the options to save the password or to never save the password for that site. I am pretty sure this feature has been around for a while, but in Safari 6 it seems to enable itself.

1PasswordI am a huge fan of AgileBits 1Password, an awesome password manager for mac, windows, iPhone, iPad, and Android that syncs saved passwords and other sensitive data across devices and seamlessly integrates with Safari, Firefox, and Chrome. I prefer to use 1Password in place of the Safari password manager.

I found it annoying that the ability to disable the Safari 6 password manager is not very obvious. I had been through the preferences several times without successfully disabling it when I finally googled and found the solution here: Safari 6.0 Tweak – Turn Off Save Password Prompts

The setting is not in the Passwords preferences, but rather in the AutoFill preferences. To disable it, you need to uncheck the ‘Usernames and passwords’ checkbox next to ‘AutoFill web forms:’. It seems logical now that I know where it is, but I had passed over that preference several times because I was looking for a way to disable the prompts without necessarily disabling the entire password manager.

Favorite Mac App of the Week: Boom — 06/06/2012

Favorite Mac App of the Week: Boom

Last October, I got a shiny new 15″ Macbook Pro and have been using it as my main work computer ever since. It is much faster than my iMac, and other than watching movies and working in Photoshop, I find that I prefer using it over the iMac.

The only thing that has really bugged me about this computer is that the sound sucks. In many cases, the volume is too low to hear anything above the outside street noise. At least it was until yesterday when I discovered an awesome little app called Boom.

Boom is a volume booster and equalizer for macs. From the moment I installed it, the volume on my system has been quite a bit louder. After turning on the built-in equalizer and setting it to ‘Vocals’, the sound was even better while watching a video podcast that I had not been able to hear earlier. The app is $6.99 and can be purchased from the seller’s website or from the Mac App Store.

RIP Steve Jobs, Derrick Bell, and Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth — 10/10/2011

RIP Steve Jobs, Derrick Bell, and Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth

Derrick Bell, Steve Jobs, and Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth
Derrick Bell, Steve Jobs, and Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth.
(Photo: David Shankbone/Wikicommons, Justin Sullivan/Getty Images, REUTERS/Tami Chappell)

I am sad that Steve Jobs is gone. I didn’t know him, but like many other people, he changed my life. There have been many tributes to Mr. Jobs in the past week and it is easy to see how widespread his influence was. There is also some negative sentiment in which people are furious that so much attention and honor is given to the death of a corporate billionaire while the deaths of race scholar Derrick Bell and civil rights leader Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth, who died on the same day, were much less prominently noted. I definitely agree that the deaths of Derrick Bell and Rev. Shuttlesworth deserve at least as much attention as the death of Steve Jobs, but it is Steve Jobs’ influence on my life that I will write about here.

Apple IIe
Apple IIe

Like many computer geeks, Steve Jobs was a hero and an inspiration to me. He changed ‘thinking different’ from a reason to get beat up to a reason to be respected (at least as far as nerdy computer geeks go). I have been in continuous awe of the things he has created since the day my dad brought home an Apple IIe in 1983. That, along with a Commodore 64 and a VIC-20 that we used in the high school Computer Club, were the first places I learned about programming. BASIC. Loved it!

To a person who thinks of things in a very literal way and finds it hard to get along in a world where logic does not always dictate reality, programming provides a comfort, a world where actions and consequences are dictated by logic alone.

Aside from learning some PASCAL in college, I was out of the computer/media loop until 1995, when my dad told me about Windows 95. I got my first PC, a Compaq Presario 100MHz mini-tower with 8KB RAM, and read “Windows 95 For Dummies” from cover to cover. Over the next 10 years, I learned to build and fix PCs. I learned to build websites using FrontPage Express, a program that was included with Internet Explorer 4. It had a split view where you could look at the visual web site on one side and the code on the other, making it very easy to see how changing one would affect the other. I also learned more than I ever wanted to know about the Windows operating system.

By 2004, I was sick of the constant problems with Windows and had decided to switch to Linux. 2004 was also the year that the San Francisco Apple Store first opened. Lured by the promise of shiny electronic things, I wandered into the store and was completely blown away by what I saw. The operating system of the time was OS X 10.3, aka Panther. It was simple and beautiful, yet had the power, stability, and security of a UNIX based operating system behind it. That was it. The bar was raised forever. My first mac was a 12″ PowerBook 1.33GHZ PowerPC with 256MB of RAM. Somehow, that little thing ran circles around my 3GHz Pentium 4 PC with 1GB RAM.

I knew almost nothing about my new mac, which was a little disturbing considering that I could troubleshoot Windows in my sleep. Luckily, Karen knew how to use a mac and showed me the way. Before long, I realized that I was so confused at first because everything was so easy to do! I expected everything to be more complicated and unstable like Windows, but it was not. There was no need to troubleshoot in my sleep anymore. Like programming, macs made sense to me.

I currently use a 24″ iMac, a 15″ MacBook Pro, and an iPhone to do my work, learn new things, play games, and communicate with the world in a way that was not possible for me in the past. I am thankful to Steve Jobs for thinking differently and for the amazing contributions that he has made to the technical world. I am thankful to him for his inspiration and vision. I will miss him and the contributions he surely would have made in the future had his life not been cut so short.

Steve Wozniak remembers Steve Jobs

Minesweeper Madness — 01/14/2011

Minesweeper Madness

The best version of Minesweeper I have played so far on the mac.

Favorite minesweeper app for iPhone :

Both of these apps are free.

21 Favorite Mac Apps of the Moment — 07/18/2009

21 Favorite Mac Apps of the Moment

Update (8/3/09): Added SuperDuper! to list and changed title.

World of Goo
World of Goo

Just got my aluminum imac replaced by Apple. The old one was kind of possessed by gremlins or some such thing. After several failed repair attempts, part replacements, and countless hours of phone support, Apple agreed to give me a shiny new computer. Loving it 🙂 The specs are not all that much different from the first one, but the parts are better, so it is faster and the graphics are extra kick ass.

While restoring my data, I was having an appreciation of all the great mac software out there. Much of it is free, donationware, or relatively low cost. Here are some of my current favorites (in no particular order):

  1. Caffeine (Free) – A one trick wonder. Puts a coffee cup icon in the menu bar that, when clicked, prevents your computer from automatically going to sleep, dimming, or starting screen savers. It is really great for reading long articles and watching videos or screencasts. You can set a default duration for it to stay on so that you don’t have to worry about forgetting to disable it.
  2. SuperDuper! ($27.95) – I can’t believe I left this one out! SuperDuper! is a backup program that will make a fully bootable backup, or “clone” of your mac’s hard drive. I clone mine nightly. During my aforementioned computer woes, I recovered my drive several times using SuperDuper! and booted my laptop from the clone while my imac was in the shop so that I could keep working.
  3. DropBox (Free to $199/yr.)- Online storage and file sync for mac, windows, and linux. First 2 GB of space is free and you can get up to 3 GB more by referring other people. If you click the link in this article, we will both get 250G extra space 🙂 Paid accounts are available with 50 or 100 GB storage. One feature I love is that you can create public downloads by right-clicking on a file in your Public folder and selecting ‘Copy public link’. This allows anyone who has the link to download the file.
  4. Komodo Edit (Free) & Komodo IDE ($99-$245) – Both of these code editors are great. Komodo edit has an excellent set of features for a free app. Multiple languages, code formatting, auto-indent and more. Komodo IDE adds debugging, a code browser, source-control systems integration, and other handy tools like a regular expressions toolkit.
  5. MAMP (Free) – MAMP rocks! It is a really quick way to set up a local development environment. Installs and configures Apache, PHP, MySQL, and phpMyAdmin in a self-contained directory that will not interfere with any existing Apache installations.
  6. Transmit ($29.95) – There are some great free FTP clients out there, but I really love the Transmit interface, mac integration, and the fact that it can handle any FTP task I throw at it (SFTP, TLS/SSL, WebDav, iDisk, Amazon S3, server to server transfers and lots more. If you have mobileMe, you can sync your accounts between macs.
  7. Bookdog ($19.95) – Syncs bookmarks between browsers. Amazing. Removes duplicates, sorts, and verifies links. Syncs with del.icio.us and Google Bookmarks and works with tons of browsers.
  8. ImageWell (~$18) – I have had this tiny app for years and use it all the time. Great for quickly resizing images and adding watermarks. Photoshop and other apps will do the same thing, but none will do it as fast or as easy.
  9. ColorTagGen (Free) – Another app I use all the time. Lets you use the mac color picker to generate hexidecimal and RGB values of colors. A closely related app which I also use is Hex Color Picker (Donationware) which adds a tab to the system-wide color panel that allows you to see and edit the hex color code for any color.
  10. Bento – ($49) – Bento (made by FileMaker) is drag and drop easy to use database software. I can never decide if I like it or hate it, but find myself using it more and more. It is great for simple databases like a client list or home inventory, but I often wish it had more relational database features like FileMaker. Bento is also slow to open and I use it for information that I need to access quickly. On the other hand, it does more than a spreadsheet and makes data pretty.
  11. Together ($39) – Junk drawer software. A place to put all that random information that you want to be able to reference in the future. I tried a bunch of apps when it was time to replace my beloved Yojimbo, which was starting to feel out of date and cumbersome. Together came out on top for having the features I needed without being too complicated or too basic.
  12. Text Edit – Basic mac text editing program. I default to plain text format and use this all the time to clean text that was sent to me by clients in Word or copied from a web page. I also use it for a notepad and scratch pad.
  13. LaunchBar (~$34) – Quickly launch applications, access clipboard history, find documents, and much more with your keyboard. Very similar to QuickSilver, which I used to love, but started having problems with, possibly because it is in perpetual beta. Still, it is a classic and it is free.
  14. MenuCalendarClock (Free, $19.95 for advanced features) – I love this tiny app. Lets you customize the menu bar display of time and date (best to disable default time display in System Preferences). Clicking on the menu bar date/time drops down a calendar that highlights days with scheduled events. Hover over the dates and a tooltip appears showing the events for that day. Lots of other cool features. Not really sure which ones are in free vs. paid version, but there is a comparison at the site.
  15. DragThing (Shareware, $29) – Dock replacement. Allows you to create multiple docks, each with multiple tabs, and place them anywhere you want. Along with LaunchBar, this is one of the first things I install on any mac. I wrote a post about DragThing last year.
  16. Default Folder X ($34.95) – Adds many useful features to Open and Save dialog boxes. Choose recent and favorite folders quickly. Assign default folders for applications. Menu bar icon for fast access to favorite and recent folders, open finder windows, and all other folders through flyout menus.
  17. PathFinder ($39.95) – Finder replacement (works alongside of Finder). Adds about a million features that you wish were in the Finder. More sorting and display options, dual pane browser for side by side folders in one window, tabs, drop stack to hold files in a temporary stack, and more.
  18. 1Password ($39.95) – Store logins, passwords, credit card info, and secure notes. Integrates with most browsers allowing you to log into websites and enter credit card information with just a few keystrokes. You only need to remember one master password to allow the browsers access to the stored information. Pretty amazing if you have tons of logins to remember and/or shop online.
  19. TextExpander ($29.95), Typinator ($19.99) , TypeIt4Me ($27)   – Thanks to the many mac software bundles, I have somehow managed to have a license to all 3 of these apps. Currently I am using TextExpander, but I don’t think I have a preference. They all have their pros and cons. Mostly pros. All 3 apps basically do the same thing – inserting text and/or images when you type a short abbreviation. For example, when I type bsig, it automatically changes to my 4 line business email signature. Also great for canned responses, code snippets, email addresses, phone numbers, common typos, URLs, and anything else that you type regularly.
  20. Paparazzi (Donationware) – Another one trick wonder. Takes full page screenshots of web pages. Very handy for designers and developers that need to view an entire web page at one time.
  21. World of Goo ($20) – Not sure what to say about World of Goo except that you should try the demo (mac, windows, linux). Completely original game involving balls of goo with different physical properties. The “dialog” and sounds are funny, the graphics and animation are excellent, and it’s very fun! Warning: May also cause extreme frustration in certain circumstances.

That is all I can think of for now. Curious what other people’s favorite apps are. I’ll try just about anything that has a demo version.

Chalkboard Color Scheme for Komodo — 03/03/2009

Chalkboard Color Scheme for Komodo

This color scheme is updated regularly. (View Updates)

Komodo PHP Sample
Komodo PHP Sample

Komodo Edit 5 has been my default code editor for the past week or so. It is much faster and nicer to look at than previous versions that I have tried. I switch default code editors almost as often as I switch default browsers. There are so many good ones out there, but none feels exactly right. Considering I spend most of my days switching between browsers and editor, I like to keep up with the latest that is available for mac.

One of the things I am most picky about in an editor is the color scheme. It is very hard for me to find schemes that I can stand to stare at for long periods of time. Schemes with white/light backgrounds and colored text are usually too bright for me and dark schemes are usually either too high or too low contrast. For this reason, I usually end up making my own.

If anyone else is using Komodo Edit (or Komodo IDE) and is similarly picky about color schemes, I have made it available for download.

Click here to download the LB Chalkboard scheme

Komodo CSS sample
Komodo CSS Sample

I should mention that the only language specific colors I made changes to are PHP, CSS, HTML, XML, and JavaScript. Also, I am still changing things as I come across them.

Update (3/4/09): Changed CSS comment color from green to default grey.

Update (3/21/09): Downloaded the trial version of Komodo IDE 5 yesterday and noticed that schemes switched over automatically. [update: bought Komodo IDE 5 after trial expired. Still loving it (1/17/10)]

Update (3/24/09): Fixed issue with some defaults changing from white to black text after update to Komodo 5.1. Added language specific colors for Smarty.

Update (8/23/09): Changed Common Syntax bracehighlight background color from dark grey to yellow for increased visibility.

Update (9/17/09): Changed Find highlighting indicator background color from yellow to green for increased readability.

Update (1/17/10): Changed Tag matching indicator background color from orange to light blue for increased readability.

Update (4/20/10): Identifiers color added for JavaScript.

Update (5/30/10): Changed colors of identifiers and strings for JavaScript because the orange identifiers were burning out my retinas. Identifiers are now off-white and strings are light orange.

Update (10/14/10): A few settings were changed slightly after installing Komodo 6.0. Still assessing whether I will change them back or keep them as is.

Update (6/1/11): CSS identifier color changed to increase readability, reduce eye-strain, and match other scheme colors better.

Update (7/9/11): All is well in Komodo 7.0-alpha3 except for the new HTML5 scheme not matching at all. Will get to that if I can ever find some time.

Update (12/28/11): This scheme has been included as a default scheme in Komodo 7 and is now called Dark_Chalkboard. Thanks to ActiveState for including it.

Mac Accessibility — 06/03/2008

Mac Accessibility

mac accessibilitySometimes, I get bad pain and weakness in my hands. It is some combination of arthritis, carpal tunnel, and overuse. Yesterday, it got worse than it has been in a very long time. I spent most of the day photoshopping and coding (aka typing). I also did karate, which I am sure did not help. Last night, my right hand was stuck in a claw, and this morning I could barely use my mouse at all.

I turned on a couple of the accessibility features that are part of OS X (mac operating system). First, I turned on ‘mouse keys’. This is an amazing feature which allows you to do everything you can with a mouse using the number pad. You can not use the numpad for numbers when it is turned on. I could move the cursor in every direction, click things, drag or resize windows, etc.

I also turned on speech recognition, which allows you to speak commands instead of clicking on them. I could open or close windows and programs, switch between them, save things, copy and paste, navigate menu items, get new mail, and even go back and forward in my browser.

While I was not brave enough to try Photoshop, I managed to work for most of the day using my voice and left hand for everything except typing. I suppose I could have typed lefty too, but since it wasn’t so bad with a wrist brace on, I decided against it. I think much too fast to type slowly.

It was really great that in just a few minutes, I could find an alternative way to use my computer. Unfortunately, I don’t think I can play warcrack without my right hand.

Completely unrelated random mac fact: While I was writing this, I opened the apple dictionary to find out how to spell carpal tunnel and discovered that a Wikipedia search and Apple technical terms dictionary have been added to the standard dictionary and thesaurus. Wikipedia searches stay inside the dictionary window. Nice. I also noticed that the app has become very wiki-like in the way that every printed word is linked to its entry in the dictionary. The links are not obvious until you hover over them which is also very nice. Hard to image reading a dictionary covered in bright blue underlined words!

Macworld 2008 — 01/18/2008

Macworld 2008

Today was the last day of Macworld. It makes me sad, but there really wasn’t anything left to do there. I saw everything on the expo floor about 5 times, the user conference was over, and I sat in on as many classes and demos at the expo as I could stand. I am fried as always, but can’t wait for next year either.

Macworld makes me happy. I got here at 6:30am on tuesday morning to pick up my badge and wait on line for the keynote. It was already wrapped around the block. 9am came and the keynote started but we were still outside. Hundreds of frozen lemmings. I got into an overflow room at 9:30.

The Keynote: An Outline Continue reading

DragThing — 01/04/2008



I was browsing Macworld online this morning and watched Jason Snell’s video about DragThing, a utility that replaces the mac OS X dock. It can also be used in addition to the standard dock.


Half way through watching the video, I could barely wait to try it. I downloaded it before the video was over and installed it right away. It took me a little while to get it all configured, but so far it totally rocks.

DragThing process dockI like the mac dock but I have so many things on it that they are hard to find. I run my cursor back and forth all the time trying to remember what I was looking for. Drag thing organizes dock items in several ways. There are options to create multiple docks, each with the option of tabbed sections. Many themes are included and the docks can be moved around.

I chose the blueprint theme and created one dock with 6 tabs (main, docs, folders, URLs, dev, and misc). I am also using the ‘process dock’, a dock showing all open applications. I chose to show these as drawers that need to be clicked to open (hover over is another option). One cool thing I noticed is that even with the drawers set to open on click instead of hover, I can still drag a file to a tab and the dock will open so I can drop the file onto the program I want to open it with.

Docks with drawers closed:

DragThing is shareware. It is free to download and try and $29 for a single user license. I will try it for a while before I pay for it, but even after just one day I can see how this could easily become a ‘must have’ app.