Another OS X Tip

Have trouble with your Mac hanging up during boot, or have weird application problems you’re not quite sure how to fix (like jEdit all of a sudden stops working)? Try booting into single-user mode!

  1. Reboot, and hold down the Apple key and S.

  2. When you finally get a command prompt, type: fsck -y and hit Enter.

  3. When it finishes, type: reboot and hit Enter

If that doesn’t fix, then you’re in real trouble and need to seek professional help.

Keep Your Mac Happy

It’s the Mac Maintenance Post! Working where I do, us Mac users are outnumbered big time, so calling our internal help group for Mac help is practically futile. So, my boss, my pal and I (all in the same group and all Mac users – go figure) troubleshoot most of our own problems. Here’s a list of indispensible Mac utilities and sites that make our lives easier, and if you’ve got a Powerbook or a computer that’s not on 24/7, will makes your’s better too:

  • MacJanitor: Runs all the maintenance scripts that are supposed to run in the middle of the night. If you turn your machine off at night, they never run, which will make your Mac crawl like mine did until I ran this.

  • RebuildDesktopX: Takes you back to the good ol’ days of Apple+Option booting, doesn’t it? Nope, this is just a little application and does some magical cache deleting and really helped me get some speed back.

  • OS X Troubleshooting: A great site for OS X tips and tricks to keep your Mac happy.

Happy in Many Languages

Hey look, I may be sick, but I can make people happy in many different languages. I think I comprehended most of it, and Beto’s very happy to have Movable Type installed on his iMac… and so am I.

Yes, I’m still sick. Not sick enough to stay home (that’s a pretty high threshold for me), but sick enough that I can’t do much else besides work. I’m not keeping up with my blog reading, e-mail or anything else outside of work and home. I don’t have anything to say except my freakin’ head hurts. Why won’t this snot leave? Get out of my sinuses!!

These Are A Few Of My Favorite Things

A few of my favorite things today:

  • jEdit: I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. If you can’t afford BBEdit, use jEdit. It’s open source, has a ton of plug-ins, does a great job with all kinds of code (works really well with AOLserver’s ADP’s even), automatically closes HTML tags for you, can be trained and tweaked beyond all recognition and just plain works in every platform I’ve tried it on so far (RedHat 8, OS X, Windows XP). It supports anti-aliased text even, so I can edit in the sublime Lucida Grande and have it look mah-vel-ous.

  • TypePad: I love some of the new features (which I’m not going to tell you about, because I agreed not to), especially the mobile stuff. I may stick around after the beta just for that (and then find a way to include them on this site). The photo album design is very nice (and very configurable)

  • My Color Sidekick: I’ve had it for a little over a week now, and I love it. It’s easy to use. The controls and interface are very well designed and easy to master. The keystroke shortcuts are easy to pick up and remember, and the camera is just fun. AIM is very nice, and the e-mail’s solid (I love being able to get new comments on my site on my handheld). The auto-correction in typing is great (auto-capitalizes lone i’s, and fixes a lot of contractions so you don’t really need to shift or alt as much as I did on my old pager). The only problem so far is the vibration when muted isn’t very strong. With the case that came with it clipped to my belt, I can barely feel it. If I’m driving or watching a movie, I don’t even notice it.

  • AOLserver: So flexible. It really is the contortionist of webservers. Yes, Tcl’s a little weird and can be hard to pick up, but once you’ve got it, you can do pretty much anything with it. Give me AOLserver and PostreSQL, and I can build almost anything. That’s not braggin’ if it’s the truth, baby.

  • The Wire: This show gets better and better. It’s the best cop show since Homicide, and they’ve got the time and freedom to do the stories with the depth and power they could never do on network TV. If you have HBO and haven’t been watching it, don’t start. Wait until HBO replays the whole series later in the year (they always do it, so I’m assuming they’ll do it again). It’s too far along to try to catch up now.

There are more, but being an instant internet celebrity keeps me really busy. For those of you who are new here – that was a joke.

OS X Utilities – For Fun!

Everyday Software (found via Splorp) creates great (and cheap!) utilities for OS X well worth their weight in gold. I can’t wait to get my serial number for Bookit, to manage all of my bookmarks in the dozen or so browsers I have installed on my Powerbook.

The other nuisance in OS X has been solved thanks to their nice little Show Desktop utility. It’s one of the few things I really dislike about OS X is that downloads, connections to FTP and AppleShare volumes and it seems everything is is done on the desktop. There’s no easy way to get back to the desktop… now there is.

Honestly, there are other things that bother me about OS X. My Powerbook is slow compared to my RedHat box. Granted, my RedHat box is a dual Xeon beast, but still. The lack of oomph is starting to grate on me.

OS X Blogging Tools Roundup

After my full-time switch to OS X, I’m finding all kinds of great tools to make blogging easier and happier. This here is my incomplete list of things that make blog writing/reading life easier:

  • A Local Copy of Movable Type: I knew it made life easier, but when you use the same computer all the time, it makes having a goof-uppable version of everyone’s favorite personal CMS that much nicer.

  • NetNewsWire: It’s open all day long and grabs the latest blogging headlines hourly. It makes the day go by quicker and keeps me up-to-date on the latest gossip. It’s even better when used with…

  • Camino: I use Camino as my default browser. Why? Because you can set it to open sites opened by other applications in new tabs, and in the backgroud, which makes using NetNewsWire almost a religious experience, and also reduces desktop clutter.

  • Kung-Log: Manage your Movable Type blogs through this super-friendly little app. It’s got a great little editor built-in and other sweet tools for managing your blog.

  • Tyrantula: How quickly does your page load over dial-up? What’s actually on your page? Use this handy little app to find out. A great quick-and-painless page analyzer for OS X. Good, good stuff.

  • jEdit: This app runs a lot better now that Apple’s decided to give us Java 1.4.1. It has great tag completion and markup coloring. A solid text editor for those of us who can’t afford BBEdit.

  • Transmit: The best FTP program I’ve ever used on the Mac, OS 9 or X. The best part, it supports SFTP, and reads symlinks correctly!

A Microsoft Free World

The switch to OS X is going well. I finally downloaded and installed OpenOffice. Other than it taking a year to start up, and requiring X, it’s doing fine so far. I just opened up a gigantic Word doc and it handled it fine. It reads the fonts OK (although without anti-aliasing), and only slightly munges tables. I think I can live with it. For someone who uses Word or Excel all the time, it might not be a good solution, but I only open Word when I absolutely have to in order to read product requirement docs, and only open Excel when I get reports – which isn’t very often. I write all my docs in HTML.

The Powerbook is straining under the weight of the dual displays and all these open apps, but it’s not bad enough yet to consider moving to the big machine. I am loving having two monitors hooked up to one machine. It makes things so much nicer. I have an old SGI monitor with a digital input, so I may try hooking my Quiksilver up to that (it’s an 867 with a ton of RAM, so it should handle better than this, but then I’d have to install all the toys I’ve put on the Powerbook which could take days).

My computing environment is completely free of Microsoft’s influence now. I no longer worry about what info my computer is sending back to the “MotherShip”. This may not bother most people, and if it doesn’t bother you, then by all means, use XP. It bugs the living crap out of me. It’s my computer. It’s not Microsoft’s computer. I bought and used Microsoft’s software, but it’s still my machine. Microsoft has no business knowing what I have installed or how often I use those programs. What else does my computer tell Microsoft when I’m not looking? Does it send them the names of the documents on my computer? Does it send them the list of e-mail addresses I have in my address book? With them, there’s no way to know because everything is a black box. In OS X, it’s just BSD with a pretty face. If I wanted to, I could get under the covers and see exactly what’s going on. Not so with Microsoft products.

This is why Open Source will ultimately win. It’s not because it’s inherently better. It’s not because it’s geek friendly. We’re (ok, by we I mean me) tired of being lied to and manipulated. We’re tired of spyware. We’re tired of prohibitive licensing and insane software prices. We’re tired of being told with the products we’ve purchased. We’re tired of being treated like criminals. I don’t steal music or software. But, the software and music I buy, I want to be able to use as I see fit. I want to rip the cd’s so I can listen to them at work without having to bring the CD everywhere.

Whew… Ok, I’m done.

Documents, Changes and Mood Altering Substances

I hate writing documentation. I hate writing concept documents. I hate writing project plans. I like writing code. I’d gladly write code for almost anything over writing the documentation for that code. Unfortunately, I’m pretty good at writing documentation, and that means I get to do it more often than I’d like.

After reading this last week, I’ve decided to start out this week forcing myself to use OS X and finally break my Windows habit. I realized that using my Quicksilver G4 isn’t really an option because I don’t use it all the time. I take my Powerbook home every night and surf for a couple hours after work, and during our blizzard, I worked from home on it and got it in a usable state with jEdit, MacCVSX, NetNewsWire and AOL. I could actually do my job on it without thinking about it. The problem with translating that to work is it’s not very comfortable to use a trackpad and laptop keyboard at work all day. My solution? Plug the powerbook into my KVM switch! It’s great! I usually have the Powerbook open all day with NetNewsWire and Camino open all day anyway. Now, it’s still open with the same apps, but now I have AOL, CVS and jEdit open on my monitor, and can use my regular mouse and keyboard. Bye-Bye XP, may you rot in hell.

Computing is all about habits. Breaking old ones and creating healthy new ones is difficult – just ask anyone who’s ever dieted. Computing habits are sometimes harder to break. I’ve been using Windows for eight years to do my day-to-day job functions. Switching to a new platform, even one I like very much, to perform those functions is not easy. But, I can do it. I really really can…

After the good news, much come some bad. This weekend sucked. We spent all weekend cooped up with a sick Max (he’s feeling much better) and an ailing (sore throat, also much better) and stircrazy Jen has done horrible things to my mood and sleep pattern. I’m exhausted even though I got eight hours of sleep last night. I’m also cranky and out of sorts. I’m hoping everyone and everything getting back to normal will help. I could really use a nap though.

The Switch Is On

The switch went well today. I got a lot done and by the end of the day, I was using Apple+Left instead of Home to get to the beginning of a line and having a wonderful time. I see now I do need to go get BBEdit 7. BBEdit Lite is good, but it’s not everything I need it to be. I need macros, dangit!

Why am I making the switch, you may ask? I hate Microsoft is the easy answer. They’re predatory and unethical. They’ve pirated the greatest innovations of the last twenty years and made them barely usable crap. Through an unmatched marketing machine, they’ve foisted utter garbage on the world, and now the whole world uses it. Ok, that’s a little strong. But, underneath it all, you know it’s true.

Apple has their problems, like overpriced hardware, a sometimes lax update schedule (which hasn’t really been true with OS X, but was pretty bad with OS 9 and before), and some weird positions on things, like not admitting that some of us need more than one mouse button and some of us who do are left handed and WANT TO SWITCH THE DAMN BUTTONS AROUND. But, overall, my Mac is more innovative, offers me more and is just more fun than my Windows machine. I know all the games come out for Windows, but I have a PS2 now, and haven’t played a game on my Windows machine in months.

I’ll still use my Windows box for testing and maybe to play UT on, but I’m a Mac (and Linux) guy now.