Archive for the ‘computer / it’ Category

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Ghostery

2012/01/27

Geez, just by coincidence I stumbled into a new extension for Safari: Ghostery.

Navigate to https://extensions.apple.com/ , go to ‘Security’ in the left hand menu, scroll down to Ghostery and click ‘Install’. After a few seconds it’ll be installed and will walk you through the options. Make sure to activate all trackers (the check box on the top left above the list), and the uncheck the boxes for wordpress counter and statcounter if you should be running a wordpress blog.

I’ve set the visibility to 5 seconds in the top right corner of Safari, just to make sure it didn’t miss a tracker.

This tiny utility is really incredible. Because you don’t have to wait for the site you visit to connect to the tracker server, the pages just pop into your browser. Safari is running as if on steroids after the ‘treatment’ 🙂

Highly recommended for anyone who wants to keep off the nosy trackers and advertisers

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How to block sniffers

2011/09/14

OK, it’s time to block the impertinent sniffers like google analytics. But how? Download a plug-in from google for your browser? I wouldn’t trust anything from google…

Here we go:

On the Mac open Macintosh HD, open the folder ‘private’, then the folder ‘etc’, then open the file ‘hosts’ with a plain text editor and add following line:

127.0.0.1 http://www.google-analytics.com

Save the file as a plain and simple text file without any extension.

On Windoze, search for the file ‘hosts’ and repeat the above described steps.

Simple? You bet!

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Speeding up OS X Snow Leopard

2011/02/18

 

Just recently I’ve discovered that my iMac slowed down a bit, particularly after installing Thunderbird for Mac OS X Snow Leopard. Thunderbird seemed to load for ages <sigh>. Next coincidence was a messed up font. Uh, that needed to be fixed soon.

Step 1: Start FontBook, select ‘All Fonts’ in the left column, place your cursor into the right column and ⌘ + A (for ‘select all’).

Step 2: Right Click over the selected fonts, select ‘Validate’. The validator starts running, and depending on the number of fonts you have installed, it returns a message after a minute (or five…). If everything is ok, you can close FontBook. If you get an error message, select the drop down menu in the top left area and select ‘Errors and Warnings’.

Step 3: Only the faulty fonts or duplicates will be displayed.

Step 4: Select all and click REMOVE. They will be moved to the system trash.

Close FontBook.

Well, this alone won’t speed up your Mac, but the next part will definitely do the trick.

Go to Onyx and download Onyx. It is a free utility which automatically unpacks from the archive. Drag the Onyx app into your application folder and start Onyx.

It will notify you that it will check the S.M.A.R.T status of your hard drive(s). Click OK.

In the next step it will notify you that it will check the volume structure. If you have time, click OK, if not (recommended), click CANCEL.

Now Onyx will ask for your admin password. Without admin password it will not perform the other checks!

Select the two brushes for ‘Cleaning’. Once there, click the ‘Fonts’ tab. Check all check boxes and hit the button ‘Execute’. Onyx will now close all open apps and start the process. After finishing, it will ask you to reboot. Don’t do this, click CANCEL and close Onyx. Now log out and log in again.

Some apps while take a while opening, but only the very first time. And voilà, your Mac is considerably faster now.

One additional benefit – at least on my iMac: the erroneously jumping cursor terminated its lunatic movements across the screen. What a relief!

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Writing faster

2011/01/25

Don’t all of us dream of being able to type fast on our keyboards? Yup, even decades after my initial typwriting training courses at a school I wanted to type faster. 250 characters/minute is fast, but not fast enough for me! 🙂

After my switch to the Mac I missed certain keys I got used to in Windows and Linux, so I started researching for a nice and powerful utility. I’ve checked and tried several, until I discovered ‘Typinator’.

(The Typinator logo)

Typinator is a very fast download (click here to go directly to their web site), quick install and easy to set up. It comes with predefined sets and predefined auto corrections tools for German and English (I miss Spanish…).

You can add any abbreviations you want and assign an expansion text, a bitmap (i.e. for a signature), as well as a definition where you want the cursor to be after the text expansion. Most important for me: the extended characters. Now, if I want the apple icon, I just type ‘.apple’ and Typinator returns  . I love it!

I’ve set up a short cut for forums: I just copy the text I want to quote, type the abbreviation, and Typinator will place the copied text between the tags and place the cursor one line below my quote. All just by typing this bracket two times: [[

This is where the fun really starts. For me it is a fantastic productivity tool I won’t want to miss. Did I mention that Typinator supports any application on your Mac? 😉 But of course you even can limit a certain set to a specific application if you want or need to. Just give it a try.

Though it is not freeware, the amortization is quick, so your bean counters shouldn’t be concerned at all and approve the purchase asap:

Just do the math: if your ‘man hour’ costs 30 US $ or 30 €, Typinator will be a very profitable tool after a certain time span. Take the above example: 30 x 24 = 720 US $ or 720 € savings. Based on a price of 19.99 Euros, your savings will be 700 € or US $ after given amount of time.

List any other tool or utility that is efficient as this one!

OK, I can imagine that you don’t want to hesitate to grab your own copy now: Typinator is located here!

Some tips & tricks for Typinator

If you are working with many files and several different or modified versions of a file, you should consider to use a file naming convention that lets you easily check in your Mac Finder which one is the latest. Let’s say you are working on your CV. You could name it CV01.pages, CV02.pages, etc., but if you have set up Finder that it won’t display the actual dates, you’ll be pretty soon lost.

Here is the trick:

Open Typinator by clicking the icon in the menu

Select ‘My Abbreviations’ in the top area, and press the + symbol below the main area. Now type .ds in the abbreviation field, and this string into the Expansion field:

{YYYY}-{MM}-{DD} {h024}:{m}:{s}

To do this, use the drop down menu on the right hand side of the Expansion field:

After you’ve ‘assembled’ your string, click the close button at the bottom right. Finished.

Now open your document, modify it, save it with ‘save as’ and name it cv.ds – this will automatically expand to

cv2011-01-25 19:50:49

A few modifications later, repeat this step:

cv2011-01-25 19:51:41

After working and modifying your cv – even if it’s over a period of months – you can tell finder to sort your files by name and still have your cv files sorted by date and pick the one you need to open again:

  • cv2011-01-25 19:50:49
  • cv2011-01-25 19:51:41
  • cv2011-01-25 19:53:32

The dot is placed in front of the abbreviation to prevent Typinator to expand the ds if you i.e. type ‘beds’ – normal words are not preceded by a dot.

Another sample: if you participate in forums, you know that most forums are located somewhere down in the menu structure of a web site. Just copy the URL of your favorite forum, add a new abbreviation, i.e. .mh (for mechanic heads ;-)), paste the URL into your Expansion window and close Typinator. Now pull up your browser, type .mh and it will expand to http://www.mechanic-heads.org/forums/precisionmechanics. What a time saver!

If you are actively participating in the forum, you either have the option to reply to a post, or to reply to a post with quoted text. Nothing wrong with it, however, many times a complete quote of the text is not necessary.

Open Typinator, add a new abbreviation, type i.e. [[ (two square left brackets) and in the Expansion field:

[quote]{^}{clip}[/quote]
{^}

Now copy the text you want to quote, click REPLY in the forum message board, type [[ and it will

  • A. paste your selected text between the HTML quote tags
  • B. add an empty line
  • C. place your cursor below the empty line

and let’s you start typing right away.

Cool stuff? You bet!

You really should try to get familiar with the drop down menu on the right hand side of the Expansion window – it lets you do beautiful things.

You can even ‘code’ a signature clip with your name, address and a bitmap clip with your signature.

To use Typinator to its fullest extent, just open it, click ‘Action’ at top left, click ‘Help’ in the drop down and discover the excellent and simple manual.

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Pixelated Icons

2011/01/24

From time to time it happens, that icons in the dock turn blurry or pixelated:

Until today I couldn’t find an elegant solution during my extensive research. Some users recommended to reboot (really reboot a Mac?), or to use Onyx to clear all user caches and restart.

Hell, it is easier by removing the file ~users/username/Library/Preferences/com.apple.dock.plist and just log out and login again.

I guess this is currently the most elegant way to remove the icon pixelation and will keep your precious uptime unchanged! 😉

Sometimes the icons become pixelated after you have updated a software. I don’t know the reason for this behavior, but may be an internal pointer shows to an ‘old’ location. Anyway, if you remove the pixelated icon by right clicking it -> Options -> Remove from Dock and then use the top menu in finder -> Go -> Applications and double click the application to restart it, the icon appears in the dock where you can right click it -> Options -> Keep in Dock. For some applications this procedure really does the trick.

If you have another trick, I’d appreciate if you would share it with me.

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anti virus for mac OS X

2011/01/04

anti virus for mac os x – snow leopard

Of course you don’t need an anti virus software for your Mac. However, if you should collaborate with others (that means Windoze users), an antivirus engine comes in handy to protect your team members.

Just imagine you receive a mail with an attachment, which you read and forward. It might be virus infested, and the others might blame you for sending them a ‘big surprise’.

On the Mac you don’t even notice the virus or trojan 😉

Just steer to ClamXav and download the file to install it. It’s simple. During the installation the installer might download additional modules, which is just a matter of seconds.

Move the application to your applications folder and run it. Now you can configure ClamXav and ClamXav Sentry. Just tell ClamXav in the preference / general pane that you want it to scan your incoming e-mail, your download and your mail download folder.

Click the tab ‘Sentry’ and set up ClamXav Sentry to monitor the folders where you usually transfer downloads to, as well as your mail folders (usually they reside in the ~user/library/mail/mailboxes if you use Mac Mail, and if you use Thunderbird they are located in the ~user/library/Thunderbird/Profiles/XXX.default/Mail/pop.domain.net  (if you have more than one mail account, you’ll find several mailboxes here). Tell the pref pane to start ClamXav Sentry on boot. Now comes the trick: Start ClamXav Sentry by going to the menu at the top of your screen, then click ‘Start ClamXav Sentry’. Done.

The ClamXav Sentry Menu in the Menu Bar of your Mac:

From now on it will monitor your mails and remove everything that contains a virus or trojan, and you’ll stay out of troubled water.

ClamXav and ClamXav Sentry don’t use much resources…

Finally, you can check if ClamXav and ClamXav Sentry do their job:

Right click on your desktop and click on new then click on text document, (it does not matter what you name it).
Copy the code below in the text document (has to all be on one line to work).

Code:

X5O!P%@AP[4\PZX54(P^)7CC)7}$EICAR-STANDARD-ANTIVIRUS-TEST-FILE!$H+H*

Once you have done that click file and then click save.
Your virus scanner should pick it up as soon as you save it but if not right click on the text document and click scan for viruses or something like that.
This is **not** a real virus! it is just to check that your virus scanner is working.

One more step you can do: send yourself an e-mail with the new file as an attachment. ClamXav Sentry will immediately detect the virus or trojan signature (even if it is double wrapped in a zip file!) and move it to the trash can.

ClamXav might not be the fastest engine you can get, but it is extremely reliable and will detect viruses other programs just miss out…

Great stuff? You bet!

Update! 2011-03-24

I’ve just discovered a web site, where you can download ready made test files to a watched folder: EICAR

Just scroll down the page and read the ‘important note’.

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Standby Problem iMac Mac OSX fixed !

2010/12/01

Do you have problems with your iMac going into standby? How many times did you reboot, resetting the PRAM? OK, here is a solution for you folks who have an external WD (Western Digital) MyBook Studio connected to their iMac:

Remove the WD drive manager and anything related to it, reboot and your problem will be solved. This f*@&%$§ing software prevents the iMac going into standby or sleep. I can imagine that little HD apps from other HD manufacturers might cause the same trouble.

Just in case you don’t know how to reset PRAM (Parameter Random Access Memory):

  • Remove the file:

HD /Library/Preferences/SystemConfiguration/com.apple.PowerManagement.plist

  • -> trash it. The system might ask you for your admin password.
  • Close all apps. Reboot your machine. After the screen goes blank, press and hold ‘p‘, ‘r‘, ‘command ‘ and ‘option ‘ at the same time. All four keys. Keep holding them. Don’t let go when you hear the first sound. Keep holding them until you hear the third sound, then lift your fingers and your machine will boot up normally.
  • Go into System Preferences -> Energy and modify the settings to your gusto.

Enjoy a clean and timely standby in the future! Unlike prior versions of the Mac OS, Mac OS X 10.6.5 does not store network settings in PRAM. If you experience a network issue, resetting PRAM will not help.

If PRAM is reset, you may need to verify your time zone, startup volume, and volume settings using System Preferences. Certain firmware updates may reset PRAM as a normal part of their installation process.

If you ever should need to reset the SMC (System Management Controller), proceed as follows:

  • From the Apple menu, choose Shut Down (or if the computer is not responding, hold the power button until it turns off).
  • Unplug all cables from the computer, including the power cord and any display cables.
  • Wait at least 15 seconds.
  • Plug the power cord back in, making sure the power button is not being pressed at the time. Then reconnect your keyboard and mouse to the computer.
  • Press the power button on the back to start up your computer.