Posts Tagged ‘OS X’

Unhide ~/Library in Mac OS X Lion 10.7 [Take Two]

As many people have no doubt noticed by now, Mac OS X 10.7 hides your Library folder by default in the Finder. For power users, developers and other such creatures in regular need of the Library, this means a trip to the Terminal, which seems like a step backwards (to me, at least).

There has been a hack floating around to reenable hidden folders which I detailed here, however it really goes too far, enabling the whole Unix filesystem for view in the Finder.

A more useable alternative uses the ‘chflags’ command, and can be invoked with the following:

$ chflags nohidden ~/Library

Restore Hidden Files to OS X 10.7 Lion Finder

One step Lion takes in the direction of erasing the file system altogether is hiding the Library, System and other OS- and user-crucial directories in the Finder.

Obviously as power users we’re fully used to delving into the (already abstracted) file system of Mac OS X, and we want those folders back! Via this site, there is a Terminal command to restore access to these directories, but be warned that it comes with a caveat: by enabling access to these folders, you open up the whole filesystem including UNIX folders (etc, var…) and DS_Store files for view in the Finder.

In short, it’s way annoying, especially when browsing Linux volumes.

Irritating as having bits of the filesystem whipped away from prying eyes, I think I’m going to stick with Terminal for accessing those folders. TextWrangler can still browse them, and that’s enough for me. For those who want to see everything, and I mean everything:

$ defaults write AppleShowAllFiles YES

RAM Disk vs SSD vs Hard Disk – The Photoshop Test

A few weeks ago I posted the Macintosh version of ‘rdmanage’, my super-simple Unix RAM disk creation tool, as well as stacking the volatile disks up against fixed hard drives in a Linux I/O benchmark shootout. One thing which has always bothered me about synthetic benchmarking, however, is how far removed it is from most real-life computing contexts.

In order to realistically demonstrate the advantages and disadvantages of the three main types of disk – RAM drive, hard drive and solid state – I’ve prepared a short video of a basic Photoshop loading test, embedded after the break.

I’m a huge fan of solid state disks (the X25-M is one of my all time favourite pieces of computer hardware), but due to their high price and limited capacity they aren’t a complete no-brainer just yet. Using something like ‘rdmanage’ to easily create RAM disks, users of machines with hard disk drives can get a serious boost in application load time (as demonstrated in this Photoshop loading test) without having to spend a dime extra on hardware. The SSD is still the winner in my book, but if you can spare a couple of hundred meg of RAM you can get some of the perks with zero additional cost.


Remove the Hardware Growler Icon from the Dock

For anybody who’s using Growl, specifically the Hardware Growler addition, one thing you might be a tad irritated by is the presence of the program’s Dock icon.

Hardware Growler doesn’t actually attach itself to Growl as a service and needs to be running all the time that you wish to receive notifications from it. This also means that it takes up room in your Mac OS X dock, which is a crowded area for many users. To remove the icon when the program is running:

  1. If Hardware Growler is running, close it down
  2. Right click ‘Hardware Growler’ in the Applications folder and click ‘Show Package Contents’
  3. Under ‘Contents’, open ‘Info.plist’ in TextWrangler or TextEdit
  4. At the end of the file (before the </dict> & </plist> keys) add the following:
  5. <key>LSUIElement</key>


  6. Save, exit your text editor and relaunch Hardware Growler, now 100% icon free

Save High Res Program Icons in Mac OS X

Often on this site I like to highlight some software programs of which I am particularly fond, and this usually means augmenting my text with an image of some sort. The best way to identify a piece of software quickly is by its icon so for anyone who needs to do the same, here’s the way to grab high resolution versions of Mac OS X software icons.

  1. Right click the program in your Applications folder and press ‘Show Package Contents’
  2. Open the ‘Contents->Resources’ folder and double click on the ‘[program name].icns’ file (for example ‘QuickTimePlayerX.icns’)
  3. The Icon package will open in Preview. Now, simply press ‘File -> Save As’ and select a picture format (such as JPEG) to save the icon as a high resolution image file.

Make Your Own MacBook eReader / Tablet

…also known as the DIY-iPad.

I don’t know if it’s the frustration of having to read hundreds of pages on my laptop or my burning desire to enhance the lives of others which drives me to create innovations like this. Sometimes you’re just blessed with a life changing idea. Instructions below.

Introducing the MacBook Pro eReader:


Linux Command Line Basics Part II: Navigation

Knowing basic *nix terminal commands is an absolute must for any computer pro. Whether you use Windows, Mac OS or Linux, you’re bound to face the command prompt at some stage, so here’s my crash course in CLI. Part 2 covers some basic commands for navigating the file system.



‘pwd’ stands for ‘print working directory’, also known as the ‘where the hell am I?’ command. Depending on the default shell running on your machine, you may not have any information about your whereabouts in the file system, which is where ‘pwd’ comes in. pwd will print the current (‘working’) directory on a new line.

pwd in action


Web & Coding Tools for Mac OS X

Here’s three essential tools for anyone who uses Mac OS X for coding or remote admin.

FTP: FileZilla

If you work on a remote machine of any sort the chances are you’re going to need to send files to and from your local terminal.

FileZilla is not just the best open source FTP client I’ve ever used, it’s the best FTP client I’ve ever used period – it’s fast, free and dead easy to use, as well as being available for all three major platforms. I can’t recommend the Mac OS X version highly enough – it’s essential.

You can grab the latest version of FileZilla here, and remember, it’s donation-ware so if you love it, hit up PayPal and help out.




Converting .bin & .cue to ISO Under Mac OS X

I’ve been sent some disc images in .bin / .cue format which I need to mount on my Mac. This format has always seemed a bit more trouble than it’s worth in my experience – so I’m going to convert them to ISO files instead.

Luckily, performing the conversion is dead easy with Toast Titanium on Mac OS X.

First, open the .bin file (not the cue sheet) with Toast. Now, you can hit CMD-D, or go to File -> Save As Disc Image.

Toast will now rip the data from the .bin/.cue and save as a .toast image file. To complete the job, just change the file extension from .toast to .iso.

I haven’t tested this method with audio CDs (where the cue sheet is normally more detailed) but it works great for data images.

Fixing Finder Error -10810

Finder error -10810 is one of my most passionate personal hates. 10810 normally occurs when you’re accessing a bad/cheap/slow/oddly formatted external storage device, but can also crop up when using the Finder to access a remote server. The symptom? Beachball and no response from the Finder – the only option is to ‘close and relaunch’. Unfortunately, only the first half of this solution can be carried out automatically: the desktop icons will disappear, Finder will close, and you’re presented with the following error message:

Usually it takes a reboot to coax the Finder back into responsiveness, but this trick has worked more often than not for me:

  • Open a Terminal window – you still have access to the Dock, but if it’s not in there you can search for it in Spotlight – and navigate to /Volumes
  • List the directory contents with ls and find the name of the drive/FTP server/etc… which has become problematic.
  • We can now force the system to unmount the disk. When this last happened to me, I was browsing an FTP server called ‘pub’, so I typed:
  • sudo umount pub

  • Substitute in the name of your problem disk, and after the disk unmounts, the Finder will open immediately.

Hopefully this will save you a reboot some day.