OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion is due to be released any day now (perhaps tomorrow, according to some rumors). So it's time for the obligatory new OS poll. When will you be installing Mountain Lion? Will you install it at all? Feel free to comment, as usual, with reasons for or against.
Download an unzipped folder from Dropbox's Public folder
Jul 20, '12 07:30:00AM • Contributed by: azdawg
Sometimes it is necessary to upload an unzipped folder to Dropbox because some PC users can have problems with opening a file zipped on a Mac. However, you can't make a public link from an unzipped folder in Dropbox.
Here's a solution for creating a link to an unzipped folder that you can send to another user so they can download the folder.
[kirkmc adds: This does work. However, it seems like a bit of a workaround. I'd find it a lot easier to simply find a tool that zips archives so Windows users don't have problems. However, if you already have files in your Public folder, this can be a good way to give access to a folder's worth of them.]
I noticed that my ~/Library/Application Support/Address Book folder was pretty big; more than 420 MB. On an SSD, a half a gigabyte is a big hit for something that just records contact information.
So I looked in that folder, and found some interesting sub-folders. First, at the top level, there was a 69 MB "Images" folder, which contains 2,672 items. Second, there was a "Sources" folder, which contained a sub-folder with one of those long names with numbers and letters; presumably my Mac's UUID. In that folder was another Images folder, this one at 345 MB, containing 13,353 items!
So I figured I could try and delete these folders and see what happened. When I re-opened Address Book, the application automatically re-loaded images for many of my contacts. These are contacts for whom I have iChat accounts or Twitter accounts. The new folder is 4 MB, and contains 161 items.
I don't know why the other folders contain so many items, but if your Address Book folder takes up a lot of space, try removing these folders (don't delete them right away, just in case) and see if this slims them down a bit, as it did for me.
Find What's Being Excluded from Backups and Remove Backup Exclusion Metadata
Jul 16, '12 07:30:00AM • Contributed by: kirkmc
Time Machine uses a specific metadata attribute to know which files and folders not to back up. We had a hint to that effect back in 2005.
It turns out that CrashPlan, the cloud backup service, uses the same metadata to determine what to back up. Macworld's Lex Friedman pointed me to a CrashPlan support article that looks at this, and that shows how to remove the exclusion metadata. To do so, you run the following command in Terminal:
The CrashPlan article mentions this in particular to be able to back up VMWare virtual machines, which, oddly, have this attribute set.
After setting the attribute, you can run this command to make sure it's stuck:
You'll find a list of files that Mac OS X excludes by default.
Many podcasts feature a lengthy intro that you have to hear every time you listen to a podcast. If you, like me, listen to fresh news podcasts every morning, you have to skip introductions manually just to get to the news section. Wouldn't it be nice if podcasts were trimmed automagically? Here's the AppleScript for that.
The script is based on Doug Adams' Reset Tracks Start script (GNU GPL). My version of his script goes through every track in a playlist and sets track start time to 90 seconds (you can adjust this number to suit your needs). "News" is the name of my playlist; change accordingly.
I use crontab to run this script every morning, but you can use iCal:
NB: "trimming" does NOT actually trim your tracks, it merely adjusts the starting point; this is totally reversible and instantaneous. If you want to undo this, just change 90.0 to 0.0 and re-run the script.
[kirkmc adds: This is sweet. The only problem is that different podcasts have different length intros. So what I'm going to do is make a number of scripts with different offset times and run them on selected podcasts, adding the podcasts as I want to a playlist on which the script acts. I asked Doug Adams how to change this script so it acts on a selection rather than a playlist. He said to use the following: You'll notice that only o couple if lines in the first part of the script are changed.]
Benchmark your SSD or hard disk speed
Jul 11, '12 07:30:00AM • Contributed by: Anonymous
You can benchmark the speed of your SSD or hard disk using a few simple Terminal commands. To test write speed:
In the output, you should look for something that looks like "bytes transferred in 16.546732 secs (519131791 bytes/sec)." Copy and paste the bytes/sec speed into Google to convert to MB/s (e.g. Google search for "519131791 bytes/s in megabytes/s").
To test read speed:
[kirkmc adds: While we're on the subject, here's an easy way to test data throughput from one disk to another. Open Activity Monitor (in /Applications/Utilities), click on the Disk Activity tab at the bottom of the window, then look at the Data read/sec and Data written/sec numbers. Copy a large file from one disk to another to see how fast it can go. FWIW, my new Thunderbolt drive has throughput of about 100 MB/sec.
You can run the above commands while watching the information in Activity Monitor, and skip making the conversions. This shows that I have a peak read speed of 137 MB/sec, and a peak write speed of 151 MB/sec (an SSD in a Mac mini). The commands above will give you average speeds, whereas Activity Monitor shows the speed in real time, as well as peak speeds. See the comments below for what may be a better approach.]
Make your own Reduce File Size presets for PDF export
Jul 05, '12 07:30:00AM • Contributed by: zpjet
I was never satisfied with results of "Reduce File Size" Quartz filter when trying to make some PDFs smaller before sending them by e-mail. It made them too small, and the graphics were fuzzy.
I eventually found where these filters are:
I was delighted to find out they're XML files easily editable with TextEdit (or any other text editor). I also found why this particular filter makes quite unusable PDFs, as these parameters were just too low:
Compression Quality 0.0
So I copied this file to my Desktop, and then made two more copies of it, and called them Reduce File Size Good, Better and Best. Then I changed the parameters of each file to 0.25, 0.5 and 0.75 for Compression Quality, and used these three values for ImageSizeMax:
842 (that's A4 at 72dpi)
1684 (A4 at 144dpi)
3508 (A4 at 300dpi)
Finally, I changed the default string for the Name key at the end of each file to reflect the three settings, so they display the names I have given them in the menu.
Then I copied them to a /Library/Filters folder I created (for some reason, ~/Library/Filters doesn't work in Lion) and now when I open a picture or PDF in Preview, I have the option of four different qualities for reduced file sizes.
As an example, I have a JPEG of scanned A4 invoice at 300dpi and it's 1.6MB. When exporting to PDF in reduced size, the file is only 27 KB and it's quite unusable - very fuzzy and hard to read. The Good one is much easier to read, slightly fuzzy and still only 80 KB. Better is 420 KB and clear, and the Best is 600 KB and almost as good as the original even on a laser printer.
[kirkmc adds: Interesting hint. I see this as useful only for creating PDFs from files. If I'm scanning something, and I don't want the file to be too big, I'll either scan it at a lower resolution, or change the resolution in an image editor before making a PDF.]
Share your iPhoto library with Aperture (or vice versa)
Jun 27, '12 07:30:00AM • Contributed by: kirkmc
I don't take a lot of photos, and don't use Aperture, but when I stumbled on this Apple tech note, I had a feeling that it might be useful to those who take a lot of pictures.
Apple explains how to use a "unified photo library with iPhoto and Aperture." Setting up the unified library isn't rocket science, but the document lists a number of limitations that are good to know about. If you use both programs, read this document to see how to share a library, and to see what you can and cannot do with each program.
In a conversation on Twitter yesterday, Daniel Jalkut, of Red Sweater Software, asked whether there was a way to find out what entitlements a sandboxed app has. Brian Webster, of Fat Cat Software, shared the solution. Apparently, this command provides the information:
(Replace "/path/to/app" with the path to the application.)
Not being a developer, I don't know exactly what this all means, but to those readers who are developers, this may be useful.
Disable low resolution in Retina Macbook
Jun 25, '12 07:30:00AM • Contributed by: Anonymous
If you have a Retina MacBook Pro, you'll find a new checkbox in the Get Info window for an application: it says "Open in Low Resolution." This box is checked for Pages, for example. Unchecking it cleans up the text enormously. Why would the box be there and why is it checked for iWorks packages? (And is there any harm in unchecking it and getting clearer text?)
[kirkmc adds: Can't test this one, unless someone wants to send me a Retina MacBook Pro... If anyone has insight into the questions at the end of the hint, feel free to comment.]
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