Thursday, June 21, 2007

Even Microsoft prefers Apple hardware?


When you look at advertisements in newspapers, magazines and on TV, you may get the impression everybody's using Macs. This is old news.

However, it seems even Microsoft is now showing Apple hardware on their site (more specifically, on their Dutch Office Online start page). Have a look at the laptop in the picture: clearly an Apple.

Mac OS X 10.4.10 update problems

After installing the Mac OS X 10.4.10 update on the brand-new 20-inch iMac, it didn't come up after reboot anymore. All I saw was the Apple logo and this spinning wheel.

Thanks to the support guys from the Apple shop called 'The Innovators' (Tilburg, Netherlands) the problem was quickly fixed as follows:
  1. If you don't have one, then buy a FireWire 400 connecting cable, so with the same connector on both ends.
  2. Connect 2 Macs using the cable.
  3. Restart the faulty one and hold T while it boots. You should then get the FireWire logo on the screen. The harddisk of the faulty machine is now mounted on the other one.
  4. Download the combined Mac OS X update.
  5. Run the update package from the good machine.
  6. When asked for a destination, select the other machine, connected via FireWire.
That's it :-)

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Remote VNC via SSH tunnel

Quick tip: To use VNC through an SSH tunnel, make SSH bind to a local port while connecting it to a remote port. Then just connect your VNC master application to the local port.

Setting up an SSH tunnel goes as follows:
ssh -N -Llocalport:remoteip:remoteport intermediate_machine
For example, if you have a remote machine at 10.0.0.1 behind a server some.domain.com you can connect to with SSH, do:
ssh -N -L5900:10.0.0.1:5900 some.domain.com
Press Ctrl-C to kill the tunnel.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Improve DNS lookups on your Mac

Here's a quick tip for Mac OS X users that want to speed up their DNS lookups. If you don't get annoying 'Looking up server' messages frequently, you're safe to skip this one:
Warning: This is only for power users (those that know what UNIX and Terminal are about).

Firefox find-on-page highlighting like Safari 3

Although I'm not too enthusiastic about the new Apple Safari 3 beta, one simple feature I do appreciate a lot is the way it highlights find-on-page results. It really makes day-to-day browsing more productive.

I wonder if there is any Firefox 2.0 plugin that can do something similar. So far I haven't been able to find anything.

GrApple and Hyperwords

Some more hints for Mac OS X users:
  • Use the GrApple Eos Pro theme in Firefox to make Firefox look like a decent OS X citizen.
  • And install Hyperwords for nifty inline hyper-referencing of (groups of) words; see the demo.
GrApple looks fantastic. The only thing I noticed is that the Tag button (part of the del.icio.us extension) looks quite vague. That's probably because the icons are now a log smaller than they used to be. Otherwise it looks great.

Some more Mac apps for regular users

Here's a list of a few more of my favourite Mac OS X apps for regular users (not developers or artists and such):
  • QuickSilver (Ctrl-Space), a kind over über-Spotlight - for quickly starting programs and much much more...
  • Growl, for more notifications than you can possibly think of; mainly for incoming e-mail.
  • Tomato Torrent, just in case you happen to need to download via Bittorrent.
  • StuffIt Expander 11, for accessing different kinds of archives (e.g. .zip, .sit, etc.)

Configuring a new iMac 20-inch [updated]

For a customer I bought an iMac 20-inch (2.16 GHz C2D, 2GB), which I'm now configuring. On top of Mac OS X 10.4.9, iLife and iWork '06 I'm customizing the machine as follows, to suit his needs:
Some challenges I'm still facing:
  • Which version of Office 2007 should I choose? I expect only Word or Excel is occasionally needed.
  • How do I convert all current faxes from WinFax Pro 9 to the Mac?
  • How can I use VNC through the DSL modem and firewall? -- Update: this is fairly easy with an SSH tunnel.
  • (How well) does VueScan integrate with PageSender? Or how well can I make them integrate using Automator?

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Safari 3 beta

The Apple Safari 3 beta is out for both Windows and Mac OS X. From the Safari page there is a link to a Safari page for developers.
Funny detail is that the pages linked from there indicate they haven't been updated in ages: