Rebuilding after all of these years. Seriously, it’s been years since I have done a clean install… since Mac OS X 10.2 to be exact. I have been pulling all the crud I have collected over the years along with me like barnacles on the bottom of of the ship of life. And like the real thing, those barnacles have been slowing me down.
This became painfully obvious recently when I made a new user account to make some tutorial movies. The new account was *fast* and *responsive* in a way I hadn’t experienced in years. If this wasn’t evidence enough, I was having a nagging problem with [TaskPaper from Hogbay Software](http://www.hogbaysoftware.com/products/taskpaper “TaskPaper — Simple to-do list software”) where for no obvious reason, it would quite with every launch. Between Jesse and Apple they were able to nail it down to a webcam component that was not proper GC code but was pretending to be. The point is, I have no idea where I ever picked up that component or when even. It was time to nuke and rebuild.
The reason I haven’t in so many years is because I have come to rely on so many hacks over the years, things that Mac OS X wasn’t either capable of or didn’t do well enough. It was a scary thought to try and get by on a stock system or try and replicate those hacks again. For the last little while I’ve been trying to change my habits, trying to use less 3rd party hackery and find native solutions or terminal commands that accomplish the same thing.
For instance, years ago I used to use [USB Overdrive](http://www.usboverdrive.com/ “”) to ramp up my mouse tracking and and assign special functions to various mouse button combinations. When support for it waned I turned to [SteerMouse](http://plentycom.jp/ “Main Page”) which did almost exactly the same thing. But now-a-days I barely use the mouse and when I do all I really need is a speed boost which is easily [achieved in the terminal](http://www.macworld.com/article/49691/2006/03/turbomice.html “Turbocharge mice and trackpads | Mac OS X Hints | Macworld”):
> If you have a mouse:
>> `defaults write -g com.apple.mouse.scaling some_number`
>If you have a trackpad:
>> `defaults write -g com.apple.trackpad.scaling some_number`
>The some_number at the end of each of the above lines must be replaced by, well, an actual number indicating the speed you’d like to use—the higher the number, the faster the tracking will be. As a starting point, the default value for maximum mouse speed is 3.0, and maximum trackpad speed is 1.5. So you might try a starting value of 5.0 for your turbo-charged mouse, and 2.5 or 3.0 for a turbo-charged trackpad.
> The easiest way to make your changes take effect is to log out and then log in again (Apple menu: Log Out user name ).
I guess my point is this (wearing my nutMac/productivity hat), if you are going to spend any time as a developer of any sort, keep your system customizations to a minimum, install only those apps you honestly think you’ll need or use, find native solutions to mods you can’t live without, document those mods carefully and alway be prepared to do a clean install from time to time. The less cluttered your system is the better chance you have using a migration assistant so you don’t have to do it all manually like I did.
That’s where I am at now. I have spent nearly two whole days manually moving preferences and folders for the apps I need so that I can be sure not to take all the other crap with me again. Now that I have done my clean install I should have no trouble keeping it clean every six months now.
It’s one of the oldest pieces of web real estate I own that still saw some moderate action about once a month or more. But the time has come to close up nutMac and move on. I was writing some more web development tips there then I was Mac productivity tips and either way, I honestly think that stuff is better suited anyhow. So with a little WordPress magic, we pulled in *this* blog from blogger and pulled in the [nutMac blog](http://nutmac.com/) from WordPress, mashed them together and voila! Nothing lost, everything gained.
Now everything we want to write about web design/development, Mac, app review, RapidWeaver development, productivity tips, IE hacking… it’s all here now, in one place, not two. Sounds good to me.
I am about to install the latest Mac OS X update, the long awaited version 10.5.5. What I am hoping for most is an a fix for the Dock.app crashing all the time. I was able to more or less fix this in 10.5.4 on my own, but I had to take drastic measures a pull out [OnyX.app](http://www.titanium.free.fr/pgs2/french/onyx_leopard.html “Titanium Software”) and totally rebuild the LaunchServices, scrub all the deep dark corners, clean caches, kill the odd plist… It was a messy process.
Since having done all that my Dock.app stopped crashing, but I can’t help but feel that there is something inherently wrong with it still. I am hoping that installing Mac OS X 10.5.5 will give me warm fuzzies and restore my faith and elation in Mac updates.
I’ll keep you posted.
(http://delicioussafari.com/ “DeliciousSafari”) Of all the wondrous plugins available [for Safari](http://pimpmysafari.com/ “Pimp My Safari”) my all time favorite has to be [DeliciousSafari](http://delicioussafari.com/ “DeliciousSafari”), bringing the cloud convenience of [Delicious.com](http://delicious.com/ “Delicious”) (used to be [del.icio.us](http://del.icio.us/ “Delicious”)) to Safari at the click of a menu item. I had some correspondence with the developer Douglas Richardson back in May about how he could make a few improvements to the plugin, namely spell checking and tag search.
Well as of September 2nd, version 1.7 of DeliciousSafari now includes spell checking and a couple of other cool features. Tag search didn’t make it, but a way to manage your favorite tags is now available and is really all I was looking for with tag search anyhow. DeliciousSafari now supports up to 1000 characters in the notes field, just like the new [Delicious.com](http://delicious.com/ “Delicious”), so you are no longer confined to those teeny-tiny 250 character posts, which is great news for a wordy guy like myself.
If you are a heavy user of [Delicious.com](http://delicious.com/ “Delicious”) then [DeliciousSafari](http://delicioussafari.com/ “DeliciousSafari”) will be a good addition to your Safari arsenal.
As a web designer and fairly huge Mac geek I am one of those guys who gets rather passionate about certain apps and workflows, etc… Those of you who have read one or more entries on nutMac.com, a Mac workflow blog I write for on occasion, you’ll know that I am a big fan of Path Finder, Quicksilver and TextMate, three apps that rule my world. Recently, suspecting I wasn’t tapping into TextMates full potential, I purchased TextMate – Power Editing for the Mac by James Edward Gray II. Well I was correct in my suspicions, since by chapter 3 I had already learned so many more tricks that I couldn’t wait to get back into coding just to put what I had learned to the test.
One trick I had always been vaguely aware of, and apparently by name only, was the “Edit in TextMate” feature. I had looked at activating this at one time but had decided it was terribly complex for something I could just set of a Quicksilver trigger for (which I did, or so I thought). Having just skimmed over what this “Edit in TextMate” feature was, I figured this was just some short hand trick for forcing various files types and folders to open in TextMate as opposed to their default application. In fact, this is a power user feature that allows TextMate to hijack the editing fields of other apps (the search field in Google home page, or in this case, the blog post field of Blogger, my Fluid SSB app).
Here is where the little light bulb went off in my head… Could this be used in RapidWeaver? Now let me start by saying I LOVE RapidWeaver, I really do, but when it comes to HTML code editing, which I do on a continual basis, I can’t stand not having my TextMate features and functions handy. I have always found myself writing code in a dummy TextMate file, then copying and pasting it into RapidWeaver. And when I would have to make a change I would copy the code into the dummy TextMate file and so on until I was satisfied with the results.
So to make a long story short, after years of using TextMate, I finally enabled the “Edit in TextMate” feature and tried to invoke it in a RapidWeaver project and POOF! It works like a charm! Now I can place my caret in any RapidWeaver field (main content, sidebar, titles, custom fields, etc…) in RapidWeaver and type ctrl-cmd-E and edit the contents of that field with the power of TextMate.
You cannot begin to understand my frustration with Rogers and there recent tactics for hijacking “Server not found or DNS error” response pages (see [here](http://www.digitalhome.ca/content/view/2689/206/ “Digital Home Canada – Rogers violates net neutrality by hijacking failed DNS lookups”) and [here](http://arstechnica.com/news.ars/post/20080720-rogers-latest-isp-to-help-customers-with-dns-redirects.html “Rogers latest ISP to “help” customers with DNS redirects”)). I got so furious that I called Rogers and demanded a workaround to their little “solution”. And to my surprise, the technical representative JUMPED at the opportunity to show me how! So here’s to you Rogers and all that you mean to me:
* find the Internet Settings on your computer or router (there are plenty of web article to help you for [Windows](http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=internet+protocol+properties+windows&btnG=Search “Google”) or [Mac](http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=internet+connection+settings+Mac&btnG=Search “Google”))
* Change the “DNS server(s)” to something public, like, for instance, 220.127.116.11 and 18.104.22.168 (a US based public DNS server, not likely to ever go down)
* Boom! Buh-bye Rogers/Yahoo! search page
You see, by default, Rogers (or any other ISP) has you using their DNS server (your computer will automatically use your ISP’s DNS server unless told to do otherwise) and therefor they can track what you are doing or see what’s being served to you. So in the event that you call for a site that doesn’t exist, they can cheerily offer up a Rogers/Yahoo! search page laden with advertising and paid-for links instead of actually telling you that that server or site you actually requested might not exist or might have an error.
Here is where Rogers FAILS! Umm Rogers? People who actually know how to use a computer and who aren’t using Internet Explorer 6 actually use the address bar as a search field and not strictly a place to resolve URL and DNS calls. For instance, my local Mac reseller is Carbon Computing and I wanted to call them today. I thought I would get their phone number from their web site so into my address bar I entered “carbonation” and pressed enter, which, prior to Rogers meddling, would normally resolve to “[http://www.carbonation.com](http://www.carbonation.com/ “carbon computing”)”. If the search term were something unresolvable, like “jingle butt pants on fire” then my browser would inform me that “http://jingle%20butt%20pants%20on%20fire/” cannot be found and probably ask me if I wanted to search for the term “jingle butt pants on fire” in Google (or which ever search engine I have set as a default).
Rogers figures they are doing you a solid by removing this extra step, they’ll just perform the search for you. But in a case like mine I don’t want to SEARCH for “carbonation”, I want to RESOLVE it by slapping a .com on the end of it. And by circumventing the default server error message, don’t you think they are causing more mayhem than good?
To the bonehead at Rogers that thought this was all a good idea… you are the biggest boob of all the boobs at Rogers. And that is a fair feat my friend.
Ok, you KNOW I am a total [QuickSilver](http://www.blacktree.com/ “Blacktree”) freak and that there is no way around a computer that is faster for me then QuickSilver. And you also I’ve gone on about making [web search triggers](http://www.nutmac.com/index.php/2008/02/01/web-search-with-quicksilver-the-definitive-how-to/ “Web Search with Quicksilver: how-to”) for QuickSilver and on and on… Trouble has been that you have to have a Mac and you have to have the patience to put up with Quicksilver’s idiosyncrasies long enough to recognize it’s pure God-like power over your operating system… ok, a bit over zealous but you get the point.
So imagine QuickSilver as a web app, to do all the things that online like you would offline with QuickSilver. Well I just got wind that [Julius Eckert](http://www.julius-eckert.com/ “Julius Eckert”) and friends have done just that; put QuickSilver functionality on the web.
It’s called [chosr](http://chosr.com/ “chosr”) and it functions like QuickSilver, uses the same commands as QuickSilver and turns your online life into a productivity whirlwind just like QuickSilver would… if it could… which it can… sort of… anyway, go check out [chosr](http://chosr.com/ “chosr”)!
Sometimes the best thing you can do to speed up your workflow on a Mac is to get OFF your Mac. SOunds crazy doesn’t it? Well recently I was lucky enough to join the ranks of millions as an iPhone 3G users (tried three times to get one at my Kitchener Rogers store on Fischer-Hallman and Ottawa), not because I thought I needed one, but because I do so much work developing sites, icons and artwork for those who develop iPhone apps (which is why I have been so neglectful of this blog).
Instantly I started looking at ways to work the iPhone into my productivity regime… without much success until I really thought about what the little jewel of hardware is really good at; reading things. Reading email, reading RSS feeds, reading tweets… all things that general detract from productivity while sitting in front of a project with a looming deadline.
So I have started to resist the urge to stay current *WHILE* working and decide to take my iPhone with my on whatever daily breaks I might have, coffee, lunch, erm… rest room… and do all my catching up then.
Brilliant! Several things have happened; I know take regular breaks (something I am famous for not doing), and I am now more productive during actual working time.
While I am not expressly endorsing the iPhone, I am endorsing getting away from the computer from time to time to mentally recharge. While sitting on an e-reader of sorts is hardly disconnecting from the cyber world, the change of pace will help keep you on track in your daily grind.
Given that it has been a month and a half since I’ve written to this blog, I feel compelled to tell you why it has been so long. I, Adam Merrifield, mild mannered web designer by day, and… er… mild manned web designer by night, have been [so swamped with work](http://www.seydoggy.com/ “seyDoggy Web and Graphic design”) that contributing to this little blog has been all but impossible. I could have jumped all over a dozen new apps that I had been given for beta testing, but sadly I had no time to test them.
There are two however, that are worth mentioning, as I really do want to try and work them into my daily flow. The one is [Dropbox](http://getdropbox.com/ “Dropbox – Home – Secure backup, sync and sharing made easy.”), which is a remote syncing type app that will “push” all updates and changes made from one computer to all other computers linked to the same account. Now from what I can tell the intent is that it be more of a storage/portal device that takes what you are working on here and sends it there so you can keep working on it when there become here… er.. or there… anyhow, you get the point. You’re working on a project at work and the boss tells you it need to be done by tomorrow so you send it through the pipes to home, work on it there, send it through the pipes back to work in time for the big presentation the next day, landing your company the BIG account and your boss loves you and gives you a raise and the keys to his Cadillac and owe it all to drop box…
But that’s not what intrigues me about [Dropbox](http://getdropbox.com/ “Dropbox – Home – Secure backup, sync and sharing made easy.”), no, what really has me interested in [Dropbox](http://getdropbox.com/ “Dropbox – Home – Secure backup, sync and sharing made easy.”) is to see if it can be used as a remote backup device and what capacity is available to the user. As soon as I get the chance I will put this one to the test to see whether it’s worth getting my clients excited about a beta.
The other app for which I have been waiting to get my hands on for more than a year is [Versions](http://www.versionsapp.com/ “Versions – Mac Subversion Client”), a subversion client for the Mac. If you don’t know what [subversion](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Subversion_(software) “Subversion (software) – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia”), I am not going to explain it here, but in short it eliminates the problem of multiple developers working on a single project at the same time. You don’t need an app to take advantage of the power of subversion (command-line in Terminal or TextMate will do just fine), but it does make it a tad sexier when you put a GUI to the process.
I did try [Versions.app](http://www.versionsapp.com/ “Versions – Mac Subversion Client”) just briefly, signing up with a free [beanstalk](http://beanstalkapp.com/ “Beanstalk — Version Control with a Human Face”) account for testing purposes, but I failed to get the connection. I will have to come back to this one in a few days.
So if you have any experience with either of these apps, feel free to leave your comments and let me know what you think.
(http://arstechnica.com/journals/apple.ars/2008/04/23/exclusive-preview-rapidweaver-matures-with-version-4 “Exclusive preview: RapidWeaver matures with version 4″) My homeboys, [Realmac Software](http://www.realmacsoftware.com/rapidweaver/ “We are Realmac Software | RapidWeaver | Overview”) in Brighton got some [big props](http://arstechnica.com/journals/apple.ars/2008/04/23/exclusive-preview-rapidweaver-matures-with-version-4 “Exclusive preview: RapidWeaver matures with version 4″) from [ars technica](http://arstechnica.com/ “Ars Technica”) today for an upcoming 4.0 release to their popular web design application, [RapidWeaver](http://www.realmacsoftware.com/rapidweaver/ “We are Realmac Software | RapidWeaver | Overview”). If you are itching to have a sneak peek at all that’s new with RapidWeaver 4.0 then go give the article a read.
A few points that have me excited are the hinting of a more robust api that could possible allow plugin developers greater access to the OS and other apps. This is, of course, just me reading between the lines. Greater plugin freedom ovens up a whole lot of possibilities for RapidWeaver.
Something else that has me excited is the news ticker which should make it a lot easier to keep users updated with theme patches and updates.