Posts Tagged ‘leopard’

1st May

The new ASUS EeePC 1008HA would make one hellishly pretty hackintosh…

written by Mark Wheadon

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the new ASUS EeePC 1008HA:


Now there’s a machine that would make a pretty hackintosh. It simply has to be done, does it not?

Image courtesy of

1st March

How do you dump the screen in Mac OS X when you can’t reach for a hot-key-chord? The answer is grab.

written by Mark Wheadon

Mac OS X Leopard has a tool to dump all or part of the screen built into the desktop, with handy (if difficult to remember) hot key-chords:

  • cmd+shift+3 to dump the whole screen
  • cmd+shift+4 to select an area of the screen (then press space for a whole window).

However, there are times when the above won’t do. Typically, it’s when you’re already pressing keys to get the image you need — the key chord cmd+shift+4 isn’t going to work if you’re already holding down alt for example.

That’s where grab comes in — it’s what Mac users used before cmd+shift+3/4 came along, it’s still there, and it can dump the screen after a ten second delay.

So, start up grab. I use Spotlight to do that, so I type cmd+space grab:

spotlight grab

Then, to do the delayed screen dump, select Timed Screen from grab‘s Capture menu:

grab timed screen dump

You then have ten seconds to set up the screen as needed, and grab does the rest.

Then select File->Save As… to save the resulting tiff file, and you’re done.

24th February

Need to go back to Safari 3? Here’s how.

written by Mark Wheadon

SafariSo, you’ve tried the new Safari 4beta downloaded from, and now you need to revert to Safari 3?

That was case for me — as adding hyperlinks in wordpress caused the browser tab to hang (documented by Geek Guides here). However, if you’re thinking about returning to Safari 3.2.1 because you can’t input hyperlinks in wordpress‘ visual editor then think again — you may not need to — as there is now a work-around.

You still need to downgrade?

What doesn’t work

What doesn’t work is downloading Safari 3 and installing that — the installer complains that you already have a newer version on the hard drive and so won’t continue.

What works

Safari 4 installIs to re-run the Safari 4beta installer (fetch it from if you don’t still have it) and run the uninstall from there.

One reboot later and you’re back running Safari 3.2.1.

Safari image by timmargh.

22nd February

Always open a file with a particular application in Mac OS X — the easy way.

written by Mark Wheadon

press alt

First, the hard way

When you wish to open a file using a particular application, it’s simple. Just right-click on the file (ctrl+click) and select Open With.

open-withHowever, if you’d like that file to always open with the selected application then things are less elegant: right click, Open With, Other…, select the application and tick Always Open With. Fiddly.

The easy way

Fortunately there is an easier way.

Right click on the file as before, but this time depress the alt key. Hey-presto, the Open With option changes into Always Open With.

always-open-withHow’s that for handy?

Changing the default application for all files of a kind

The above method sets the default application for this file only. If you’d like to change the default application for all files of a type (a kind in Mac OS speak) then here’s how to do it.

15th February

Windows-L for the Mac.

written by Mark Wheadon

The need

Coming to Mac OS X from Windows (XP and Vista), I missed being able to lock my session using a simple key-chord. I work in a shared office so it’s sensible to lock the session every time I walk away — something I do regularly.

In Windows, you simply press Windows-L and that’s it — time to go. Mac OS X Leopard doesn’t provide anything as succinct as standard, but there are ways.

Firstly, there are a couple of solutions that are accepted as standard ways of doing this — but unfortunately both have problems. I’ll cover these methods first in case they work for you, and then I’ll cover a solution that really is as quick and easy to use as the Windows’ lock screen key chord.

Partial solution number one: use a hot corner

A hot corner allows you to drop into the screen saver by moving the cursor to a chosen corner of the screen. To do this, first go to System Preferences->Desktop & Screen Saver and click on Hot Corners… Then select Start Screen Saver for one of the corners:

hot-corner-screensaverNow, when you place the cursor in that corner (I chose the bottom-left), the screen saver will start.

Of course, this doesn’t help unless your system is configured to require a password when woken from the screen saver. You can set that in System Preferences->Security:


And that’s it. Now, before you walk away from your Mac, just drop the cursor into the bottom-left corner of the screen.

However, there is a problem with this method — at least for me — as I don’t want the system to prompt for a password on wakeup. I end up typing my password far too often — every time I’ve left the machine alone long enough for the screen saver to start.

What I want is the Mac to remain unlocked until I explicitly lock it. So, on to solution two…

Partial solution number two: select a pull-down from the menu bar

Here’s another way of locking the machine, and this one doesn’t require that you tick Require password to wake up this computer from sleep or screen saver.

The trick is to enable fast user switching in System Preferences->Accounts->Login Options:


which will then place your user name in the menu bar at the top of the screen.

When you want to lock the session, just click on your user name:login-window-from-userand select Login Window… and you’re done. (You can also achieve a similar result by ticking Show Status in Menu Bar in Keychain‘s preferences if you prefer.)

What’s my beef with this solution? The problem is that it’s still rather slow and fiddly — and it’s something I do regularly, so I want to just press and go, just as I did with Windows.

A full solution

To implement a full Windows-L style solution we need Dockables to provide us with an application that locks the Mac OS session, and Quicksilver to launch that application.

First, download and install Dockables from This gives you a bunch of useful applications in a sub-folder of your Applications folder:


and the one we’re interested in is Lock Screen.

exit-quicksilver-windowNext, download and install Blacktree’s Quicksilver and run it to configure a new Lock Screen key-chord. Quicksilver will present you with its main window — just quit that and instead move to Quicksilver’s menu bar at the top of the screen and select Triggers… from the drop-down menu.


In the Triggers window that appears, click on the + at the bottom and select HotKey.


A new window will appear. Click on the first field and start to type lock screen. Quicksilver will rapidly find the Lock Screen dockable you installed earlier. Click Save.


Nearly there

You now have a new command, but with no trigger. So click on the None in your new command,

click-on-noneclick in the input field labelled Hot Key: and press the key combination you wish to use to lock your session from now on. (I chose alt+cmd+L because the obvious choice — cmd+L — is already used by Thunderbird — my email client.)


I suggest you don’t use the ctrl key as part of your hot key-chord. If you do then quicksilver presents this dialog every time you type the chord:


Now, having typed a key-chord (which doesn’t include ctrl), exit the Triggers window and you have yourself a new Lock Screen hot key-chord: alt+cmd+L in the example above.

And finally, tweak some settings

You need quicksilver to run at all times, so bring up Quicksilver’s preferences (available from the Quicksilver menu in the menu bar at the top of the screen):

quicksilver-start-at-loginand tick Start at login. You may also want to tidy up the dock a little — as quicksilver is running all the time I’d rather it didn’t appear in the dock and instead appeared in the menu bar:

alt+cmd+Lso I untick Show icon in dock (and I also tick the option check for updates):

quicksilver-full-prefsAnd that’s everything sorted. Any time you need your display locked, just type alt+cmd+L…


and walk away…

27th January

A problem with Huey Pro and Mac OS Leopard, and the fix.

written by Mark Wheadon

The problem

If, like me, you have a Huey Pro and you’re using it under Mac OS X leopard then you may have hit this problem: once you’ve restarted your machine, the screen no longer adjusts its brightness automatically. If you start up and then quit the Huey Pro software then all’s well again until next time you log out or reboot.

It’s strange that (certainly in version 1.5.0) Pantone haven’t fixed this (surely the Mac is a major market for them?), but until they do, here’s a work-around.

The fix

The problem arises because Pantone Huey Pro‘s helper application isn’t started automatically. The fix is to manually add it to the list of applications that start when you log in.

You can’t simply select the helper application as it’s buried within the Huey Pro package, so you need to do the following:

Go to System Preferences->Accounts and select Login Items, then click on + to add an application.

run-helper-at-startupNow, leave that window for now and use a separate Finder window to go to Applications and scroll down to Huey Pro. Then right click (ctrl+click) and select Show Package Contents:


Now browse to Contents->Resources->Support and select hueyAmbient. Don’t double-click it as that will simply start it up. Insteady, drag hueyAmbient to the Add Login Item window you opened earlier and that will select the hueyAmbient helper.


Now click on Add, and you’re done.

22nd January

Some differences between Windows and MAc OS X can be dangerous…

written by Mark Wheadon

Having just moved my world from Windows (XP and Vista) to Mac OS X, I thought I’d share some of the differences I’ve come across which can cause irritation or even data loss for the unwary.


21st January

Synching time from multiple NTP servers in Mac OS X.

written by Mark Wheadon

If you’ve set up your MacBook to set its date and time automatically, then there’s a problem: it can’t necessarily connect to any one server from all networks — if you’re behind a corporate firewall for example then you’ll need to use the local NTP server, but that connection will fail when you’re out and about, or sitting at home.

The answer seems to be undocumented, but you can in fact type more than one host name or IP address into the Set date & time automatically field in the Date & Time settings — separated by spaces.

I have mine set like above, so it picks up my ISP (Zen)’s NTP server when I’m at home, the local NTP server if there is one (they’re usually called ntp0, ntp1 etc. or maybe just ntp), or if all else fails.

21st January

Having problems with networking in VMWare’s Fusion? Here’s one possible cause and it’s associated fix.

written by Mark Wheadon

I was having network problems with Vmware’s Fusion (version 2.0.1) — Net BIOS / WINS name resolution failing, occasional long pauses in data flow, and slow startup of the networking in the VM after a suspend.

The fix is t go into the virtual machine’s settings, select Network and then change the setting from Share the Mac’s network connection to Connect directly to the physical network (bridged).

Vmware Fusion network settings

This results in your virtual machine DHCPing etc. in the same way as the Mac, rather than straining your VM’s networking through NAT running on the Mac.

If your network provides DHCP then changing the above setting may result in better, more robust networking.

20th January

Does the output from your Epson R800, R1800, R900, R1900 look faint? Are you printing from Mac OS but hosting the printer from Windows? Here’s the fix.

written by Mark Wheadon

[ I guess this will also be true of other Epson inkjet printers such as the newer R900 and R1900 —Mark ]

I have an Epson R1800 (the A3 variant of the R800) plugged into a PC running Windows and shared on the home network.

The other day I set up my MacBook Pro to print to that printer share and all was well until I collected the output — it was really faint, we’re talking about something like 50% opacity — only half there!

To cut a long story short: if you want top-quality output, with full control over the gloss etc. then you’re going to have to plug the printer into your Mac, but you can get close with the printer hosted on a Windows machine. The answer to the faint-print problem is that you need a newer version of the Gutenprint drivers for Mac OS X. The old versions supplied with Mac OS leopard are seriously broken (although they do save on ink :-).