I’ve been happily using the Mail app in OS X for the past few years. Since I moved to Prime Focus I hit a brick wall when it comes to our corporate email and that brick wall has a name: Outlook Web Access. Slow, lumbering and exasperating as with all Microsoft products. What made the situation worse is that Exchange 2003 is unsupported in Snow Leopard (but supported perfectly well on the iPhone!)
I downloaded and installed a trial of Office for Mac to use Entourage and immediately hated the software. Uninstall and eradicate. After loads of searching I found DavMail, an open source solution for Exchange 2003 and Mail. DavMail sits in between Mail.app and the Exchange server and acts as a bridge. The config instructions need to be followed carefully but it works perfectly. And it has full support for Global Address Lists and iCal events as well.
Since the update to Snow Leopard I find myself using a feature that was introduced in Leopard which I never used very much: Stacks. Finally, I can navigate the hierarchy of a folder or drive in the Dock quickly and easily. In Leopard I usually switched to the View as List option and avoided Stacks altogether. Thanks to this hint on MacOSXhints.com I now have a hybrid view which I really like: a navigable list which looks slick.
Just type this in the Terminal and you’ll see what I mean:
defaults write com.apple.dock use-new-list-stack -bool YES; killall Dock
Click on the image above for a full-sized view. Of course if you’d like to switch back to the default view just replace the YES to NO in the command above.
For the past few months, I’ve been dabbling with programming on the Mac but I haven’t had the time to really dive in. I was trying to explain to someone how it worked and realised that I couldn’t really articulate how. Therefore, this will be a series of posts on how I intend to build applications using Xcode, Apple’s free development environment.
There are plenty of excellent guides but I found that they all had one flaw: obsolescence. I would be following a guide until it reaches a point where the window, method or button isn’t there in my version of Xcode. And I come to a screeching halt. Lots of the guides have been written for previous versions of Xcode and haven’t been updated.
Again, I intend to document my journey through development on my Mac and iPhone. I’ll start with writing a simple word processor, SimpleWord.
I was a little bit disoriented with Quicktime X, to be honest. What, no export preferences? Only Sharing to iTunes? The UI looks very nice and the promise of GPU-accelerated playback is theoretically good, but what about 1080p MKV files playing natively? Quicktime X doesn’t recognise anything besides MP4 or iTunes’ M4V files. Perian was a constant presence in Leopard but a second-tier citizen with 10.6. Until now!
Thanks to the info in this thread on the cocoa forge board and the latest version of Perian, this utility will let Quicktime X recognise and play .mkv files. Front Row will happily play AVI files (as long as you have Flip4Mac installed) and SD MKV files but not 720p or 1080 movies unfortunately.
Of course, there’s always Plex which plays all movie codecs flawlessly without the need for Perian.
Ever since I installed Snow Leopard, I’ve been battling with a strange bug in Safari. If I go to a website with several embedded videos, they all start playing simultaneously. I’d been in the head of the page with no video present in the current view when suddenly all the audio streams start playing and overlapping each other. Cue heart attack. Here’s what happens:
I’ve been searching Google, combing the Apple discussion boards with no clue or direction on how to fix this bug. Then this morning I had an idea. I thought it must be a Safari plugin… and it was. I’ve been using a flash blocker called ClickToFlash and it was the culprit. When it intercepts YouTube videos it sets them all to Autoplay and they all start playing. Thankfully, it’s been reported as a bug in the ClickToFlash support board.
Once I removed the plugin from the ~/Library/Internet Plugins folder, Safari behaves normally as seen here:
UPDATE: As I mentioned before, there is a support ticket to fix the autoplay bug in ClickToFlash 1.5fc2 and there is now a workaround as well. In the ClickToFlash Settings window, make sure Load H.264 Videos from YouTube is unchecked.
After installing Snow Leopard all my CS4 applications displayed the same error dialog above. So I went through the gruesome task of re-installing CS4 and I still got the same error. Even running the Adobe License Recovery utility several times (with several reboots) didn’t solve the issue. It was driving me mad! Fortunately, thanks to a reply to a post in another blog that it was solved.
Here’s how. I had to delete the following folder:
When I launched Photoshop it asked me for my serial number and once entered, all the CS4 applications worked perfectly.
So Snow Leopard, otherwise known as Mac OS X 10.6, is released tomorrow and needless to say I’ll have it installed by the end of the day. The downside of a brand new OS is losing all the little hacks I’ve accumulated over the past 18 months with Leopard: Plex; Perian; a minimalist Dock; Google Quick Search Box; Expandrive; and finally Caffeine, the latest install.
There is a lot to look forward to with Snow Leopard as well. Most of the core applications have been re-written in Cocoa and they’re all 64-bit as well. In short it means, Go Faster Pussycat! Kill! Kill!
If you’d like to check wether your favourite application works with 10.6, here’s a quite extensive and informative wiki site and most of the apps I mentioned earlier either work perfectly or need updating. I prefer a clean install with a new OS and then gradually adding extensions.
Gentlemen, rev up those Time Machine backup drives.
After using Caffeine for a couple of hours I was hooked. It’s a free utility that stops your laptop from dimming the screen or going to sleep. How is this useful? How many times have you been watching something on YouTube for the screen to dim? Cue irritated push on the trackpad to get the brightness back.
Caffeine lives in your menu bar in the shape of a cup of coffee. When you want the display not to dim, click on the empty cup which changes to a full cup and et voilà, no more display dimming. When you’re not watching the screen anymore and listening to music whilst working, click on the full cup to drain it and revert the dimming back.
Here’s a quick tip on how to make the dock in Leopard look less garish. First, switch off the 3D effect by typing the following into a terminal:
defaults write com.apple.dock no-glass -boolean YES; killall Dock
When the dock relaunches it should look nice and minimalist. I also like to use Dock Dividers to group my applications. As Brandon Kelly, the creator of Dock Dividers, explains: Dock Dividers are little do-nothing apps that you can place in your Mac’s dock to visually separate your apps into groups.
Since you can only have user-generated content on the right side of the Dock, I copied the icon from the application and pasted it onto folders. I named the new “document dividers” with spaces to help me separate folders and documents I like to have there.
And here’s a quick before and after comparison. Enjoy!