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How to Expand all Open/Save Dialogs on MacOS X

Here’s another good fix for a MacOS X default-

How to expand all Open/Save Dialogs on MacOS X:

defaults write -g NSNavPanelExpandedStateForSaveMode -bool TRUE

comment on this | posted in: Mac Tips Unix

How to Enable AirDrop on Unsupported Systems

One of the more interesting features of MacOS X 10.7 Lion is the ad-hoc, wireless, peer to peer networking feature called AirDrop.  Unfortunately, this is only supported on the very latest hardware.  It turns out that you can easily enable AirDrop for many older Lion systems with a simple visit to the Terminal.

At the commend line, you need to enter:

defaults write com.apple.NetworkBrowser BrowseAllInterfaces 1

Then, restart the Finder with the following:

killall Finder

Open a new finder window and you should now see AirDrop listed on the left-hand side under favorites.

comment on this | posted in: Mac Tips Unix

On Steve Jobs

From the my first computing experiences with the Apple ][+ to my current MacBook Air, Steve Jobs has inspired me.  Both my wife and I “grew up Apple.”  Nearly everyone who matters to me both professionally and personally has been influenced by his work.  His personality, conviction and attention to detail has been imprinted upon us all.  In his passing, I feel as if someone close to me has died, although I never knew him personally.

As I learned of the news on via an AP alert on my iPhone, I kept quiet not wanting to ruin the mood at the tech meetup I was hosting.  Secretly, I noticed that everyone in the room was receiving the news (from their Apple devices).  Finally, someone verbally acknowledged the news and silence fell among our group.  Gradually, murmurs and hushed conversation began, and slowly, our world of tech reluctantly moved on.

An era has passed and a historic luminary is gone. 

Steve Jobs, 1955 - 2011

comment on this | posted in: Mac News

How to View the /Library after Lion Upgrade

After upgrading to MacOS X Lion 10.7, you’ll find that the system conveniently hides the Library folder in your home directory.  If you’re wondering how to view the /Library folder after the upgrade, here’s how.

Of course you can still view it by using the Finder’s “Go to Folder” feature.  Just type command-shift-g in the finder and enter:


But if you’d like to keep it visible all the time, you can change the hidden flags on that directory with the following command:

chflags nohidden ~/Library/

update: I just noticed that Dan Frakes over at Macworld has posted a completely over the top 18 ways to view the ~/Library folder in Lion.  I think this hint is now complete.

comment on this | posted in: Mac News Tips Unix

Using iTunes Auto Bit Rate Conversion To Save Space on iPhone

iTunes offers a bit rate conversion feature which allows you to load more music onto your iPhone, iPod and iPad devices by downsampling high bit rate audio files.  This was initially introduced with the diminutive iPod Shuffle, but has available for all devices since iTunes 9.1.

This iTunes conversion feature is most useful if you have songs that have been imported directly from standard audio CDs to Apple Lossless or other high bit rate formats.

bit rate conversion options

Upon enabling the “Convert higher bit rate songs to 128 kbs AAC” checkbox in the device options screen, iTunes converts all music set to transfer to the iPod, iPhone or iPad.  This conversion happens during the sync process.  All original music is left intact in your iTunes library, and the compressed audio is stored solely on the device.

This conversion process does reduce the quality of your music, but you’re likely not to notice if you use Apple’s included earbuds or other inexpensive compact headphones.  It’s perfect for listening on the go.

comment on this | posted in: iPad iPhone iPod Music Secrets of iTunes Tips

Apple WWDC Recap


This year’s Apple Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) kicked off with a keynote by Steve Jobs.  With his team of execs, he revealed three major products- all software-based.  Thousands of new features, services and APIs were announced setting the stage for future products and services across Apple’s compete line of products.

1. Mac OS X Lion- Apple’s next desktop operating system- aka 10.7.

As previously demoed, multi-touch gestures and many details from iOS have been brought over to the desktop.  Security and OS refinement are central as well as the initial integration of iCloud for document, photo and data access.  Release date is “July.”

2. iOS 5.0- The next mobile operating system for iPhones, iPads, iPods & AppleTV. 

The early beta build shows that Apple has continued chipping away at the most-requested features list.  The most visible and obvious change is the introduction of a better notification system.  The OS is now a very capable desktop replacement on the iPad and even more feature-rich on the phone.  Other changes are much more subtle refinements.  Release date is “fall.”

3. iCloud- The long-awaited Apple cloud services offering.

iCloud replaces the earlier MobileMe service with free Contact, Cal, Docs, Photos, and Music sync for free.  The service becomes a wireless digital hub, replacing the requirement for USB to PC functionality with a broadband network connection.

In addition, three of the Apple online stores (Music, Books & Apps) get re-download capability. Furthermore, an option has been introduced to automatically download purchased content on all associated devices “from the Cloud.”  This feature is immediately available in beta release form.  There was no mention of TV or movies.

Most interesting was the announcement of iTunes Match.  This service matches all songs in a user’s iTunes library, including those ripped directly from CD and obtained from file sharing sites, and offers them in the Cloud with high-resolution audio.  At $24.99/year, this is the only paid component of iCloud (other than upgraded storage). Release date is “fall.”

iCloud does not include traditional music streaming or even “iTunes in the browser.”  Instead, it’s positioned more like iTunes-as-a-service.  The vision Apple articulated was that the Cloud exists to make native apps better, not to replace them as Google and Microsoft are pursuing by running software in the web browser.  To drive this point home, Apple’s did not even show web interfaces to the iCloud services (although I do expect to see them at some point).

If iCloud’s services do deliver as advertised, expect this robust service layer will likely grow into an expectation of functionality across both the mobile environment and the entire computing space. 

A few closing stats:

- Apple has sold 200 million iOS devices

- Apple claims 44 percent of the mobile operating system market. Android is #2 with 28%, RIM is #3 with 19% and Others at 9%

- 15 billion songs have been sold through the iTunes Music Store.

- 14 billion apps have been sold on the App Store

- 130 million eBooks have been purchased from the iBooks Store

comment on this | posted in: iPad iPhone iPod Mac News

Open or Close All iTunes Playlist Folders

The secret shortcut to open or close all iTunes playlist folders in a given window is to Command-Click on one playlist folder’s disclosure triangle icon.  This will cause ALL folders to perform the action that a normal click would. 

So if the folder you’ve clicked is open, a command-click will close all folders.  If the folder is closed, a command-click will close all folders. 

This is great when you want to clean up your sidebar view or when you’re picking songs to sync from within the iPhone settings screens (where all the folder lists are expanded by default).

This trick also works in the Mac Finder, but the normal Apple convention is to use an option-click.

comment on this | posted in: Music Secrets of iTunes

How To Turn Off Safari Option To Open “Safe” Files Automatically

Turning off the Safari option to open “safe” files automatically is generally considered a good security practice.  To do this on a single machine, simply visit the Safari preferences and uncheck the box “Open ‘safe’ files after downloading” at the bottom of the “General” options.


It turns out that deploying this change to a large number of managed Macs is quite simple as well.  The following terminal command can be used to “uncheck” the box en masse using Apple Remote Desktop (ARD) and the “Send Unix Command.”

defaults write com.apple.Safari AutoOpenSafeDownloads -boolean No

comment on this | posted in: Mac Tips Unix

Hanging out at 1 WTC

Construction workers hanging glass at One World Trade Center.  They’ve sure got a lot of panels to go!

Large Image Large Image
comment on this | posted in: Photos from iPhone Gallery

Off to the races!

imageIt’s finally here!  I’m getting ready to head off to the Brompton US Championship bike race.  The race takes place at Fairmount Park in Philadelphia as part of the Philly Phlyer cycling day.  The grand prize is a trip to the Brompton World Championship in England.


The event requires that all participants ride a Brompton folding bicycle and british racing attire- a blazer, collared shirt and tie. Sports gear is strictly not permitted!


In preparation for the race, I’ve logged more than 1,000 miles on my Brompton M6L.  For a little speed boost, I’ve installed a new crank that gives me 8% higher gearing on my tiny wonder. 


I’ve mapped the route on Google Earth and inspected the course.  It doesn’t look all that different from a loop around New York City’s Central Park.

Download Google Earth KML File

With a little last minute advice from my friend Steven Huang, I’m taking Megabus and stowing my bike in the cargo bin under the bus.  It turns out that the Brompton and its nylon cover fits perfectly in $4 Dimpa bag by Ikea.  I removed the hinge clamps, added some extra padding in key areas and I’m good to go. Thanks, Steve!


Wish me luck!  More images coming soon from the actual event!

comment on this | posted in: Biking News
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