Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Leopard Spots: Quick Look at ZIP Files

The first of the Leopard-specific entries. This site has a Finder plug-in called "Zip Quick Look". You download it, copy it into ~/Library/QuickLook or /Library/QuickLook. Then, in Finder, when you have a ZIP file selected, you can press the SPACEBAR and see something like this:

Way cool.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Leopard Customization Command Line Reference

Just stumbled across this list of command line ways to customize Leopard. Not all are useful (IMO), but others might be interested. I don't believe most of these will work on Tiger, so don't bother unless you've upgraded:

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Neal's Lint: The Giant Lint Ball

I've been writing about lint recently, and my co-worker Eric showed me this site full of useful lint. There's lots of cool stuff here -- enough to fill your menubar with enough lint to start crowding your menu items off!

Neal's Lint: Delibar

I use to keep track of my bookmarks, and I've installed the requisite buttons in my browsers. But there's a little piece of lint that provides even better access: delibar. It creates a lint item that give you ready access to your bookmarks and, more importantly, instant keyboard access to the list. It also has some handy stuff like the "recent posts" to quickly grab the stuff you've added recently.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Don't Crack Open Your Mac

OK, repeat after me: I must never open my MacBook Pro...I must never open my MacBook Pro. I recently decided to replace my hard drive because the old one was making a scary sound (partially chronicled here.) You have to unscrew about 20 screws (including some Torx screws, so pay attention to the required tools list). The installation went fine, and I had a new, bigger, faster hard drive. I used it blissfully for a week, sitting on the iCurve stand next to my monitor, using my KVM switch with an external keyboard.

Then, I had to hit the road. When I got to the airport, I pulled out my machine to do some stuff, including starting a document I had to write. Time to get on the plane, so I just shut the lid, put it in my bag, and off to the plane. Once I got on board, I wanted to make a few changes to the document, so I popped open my machine. It was off. That's odd. It should just be asleep. Anyway, I rebooted it. Then, as I was typing, it just quit. No crashing, no complaint, just on one second and off the next. Oh, crap! I'm on my way to give a presentation to a company: this isn't good.

When I landed, I prayed that this was an intermediate problem. I went to a coffee shop and started typing. I noticed that every once and a while, my screen would kind of blink/fuzz out, but just for a split second. While I was typing, I was getting black and white rectangles (little tiny ones) every once in a while, and then the machine locked up hard. Then, using my best forensic debugging skills, I noticed that the fuzzy/squares problem happened when I hit the 7 key. And now I knew what is going on: in the course of replacing the hard drive, I pulled out a ribbon cable or got some junk that's laying on my motherboard right under the 7 key. When I type, it's causing a short. OK, the presentation doesn't require much typing, and I can hit the 7 key very gingerly to avoid the problem.

When I got home that night, I pulled the 20+ screws out again and found the culprit: a little screw (it must have come from the new drive because I had replaced all the original ones) was laying nicely on the top of the motherboard, causing the short every time I hit the key. I de-screwed it, and it's been fine ever since. I'm lucky that it gave me symptoms: if it had just locked up the machine instead of giving me clues, I never would have figured it out.

Repeat after me: I must never open my MacBook Pro...I must never open my MacBook Pro...

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Neal's Lint: JumpCut

One of the must-have utilities for developers is a clipboard history tool. There are a couple of good ones for the Mac. The one I use is a freebie called JumpCut, which gives you a clipboard with 100 entries.

Another option is iClip, which gives you history on more than one clipboard. I used to use it (it's commercial but cheap) but they recently updated it and went overboard on the eye candy. And, I found after using it that I'm fine with a single entry, simpler one.

Whichever you choose, it's worth spending the time to start using it regularly. Using a clipboard utility changes the way you work. You stop worrying about copying stuff that you might not need, and you stop use the clipboard as a data transfer for batch operations (copy, switch, paste, switch, copy, switch, paste, ad nauseam). In fact, I now proactively put stuff on my clipboard in case I might need it in a few minutes.