Mac & OS X

How to Stop Downloaded Files Opening Automatically

So I thought I’d write a quick post about this as it was a problem when I installed Firefox on my new system.  Basically what it boils down to is this:

Safari = Evil

Seriously.  Don’t ever use a browser that does things like this by default.  But I digress.

So, I had my Macbook Pro back all fixed and such and I installed Firefox and everything was working fine.  And then I downloaded a couple of pdfs using Firefox and they opened themselves automatically.  And it kept happening.  Whenever I downloaded a file, regardless of type – pdf, mp4, png or whatever, it would open automatically. 

Now, I do NOT like my computer to open things without me asking it to.  EVER. 

I assumed the issue was with the browser I was using, so, naturally, I was looking for a solution in the Firefox preferences.  I should have remembered that this had never ever happened before in all the ten years I have been using Firefox. But thinking logically, if you were having problems with files automatically opening after being downloaded using a browser, you’d think the problem would be with the browser, right?

WRONG!! 

The problem is NOT with Firefox!!  It is with Safari!!!  Stupid stupid Safari.  If you have Safari installed it is causing this problem!!!

But yes, rant over here’s the fix.  Continue reading

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Categories: Firefox, Mac & OS X | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 32 Comments

Airport Issues Part 2: Self Assigned IP Address

Recently I had problems with my Airport assigning itself a “self-assigned IP address”.

self assigned IP

I tried various suggested methods for fixing this and none of them worked. However I managed to fix it in the end without any online help, just some common sense and various stages of trial and error. So in case it helps anyone else, this is what worked for me. 

What you will need:

  • an Ethernet (network) cable (and an Ethernet port on your Mac)
  • access to your network both Wired and Wireless (WiFi)**

**I am working on the assumption that your Wireless and Wired network are the same (both from the same router)  Continue reading

Categories: Mac, Mac & OS X | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

How to downgrade from iTunes 11 to iTunes 10.7 + Solutions to Error (-42408) and iPhone Syncing Issues

After using iTunes 11 for about a month, to give it a chance after my initial disgust (see this post), I couldn’t stand it any longer.

And, after weighing up various options, including various alternative players, I decided to downgrade to iTunes 10.7. iTunes 10.7 supports iOS 6 so I would still be able to sync my iPhone while enjoying all the features and aesthetics which are sadly (and annoyingly) lacking in iTunes 11.

I can confirm that by using this method my iPhone, which is currently running iOS 6, does not get the “restore factory settings” error and has no problems syncing and accessing all the apps I downloaded using iTunes 11.

I also did not get the dreaded error message (-42408).

I had both these problems when I tried to downgrade previously.  So this guide also provides a solution to these errors.

I would also like to add that my iPhone is not jailbroken (just FYI).

Continue reading

Categories: Free Software, Mac & OS X, Macbook Pro | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 20 Comments

Working Around the Regressions of iTunes 11

I decided I wanted to upgrade to the newest version iTunes as I had just bought an iPhone. I would have quite happily carried on using my old iTunes 10.2.1 which had never let me down but I wanted the iTunes setup option for the iPhone ready just in case of emergencies.  And it said I should get the latest one.  So I updated to the newest iTunes (at the time of this post 11.0.1).

I have to say, if you don’t have to update, don’t do it! The new iTunes is hideous and also really annoying in so many ways. It was probably marketed as “sleek and simplistic”, or some other rubbish, which just means it has less features, looks more boring, and is less user friendly.

Anyway.

There are several things you can do to make using the new and regressed iTunes more bearable.

Continue reading

Categories: Free Software, Mac & OS X, Macbook Pro | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Taking Screenshots on a Mac

How to take Ordinary Screenshots

There are several options for taking screenshots on a Mac. They save by default to your desktop but you can probably change this if you want.

a.) Full Screen

To just take a screenshot of the whole screen (you can crop it later using GIMP or Photoshop or even Preview) just use:

cmd+shift+3

b.) Selected Area

To take a screenshot of a selected part of the screen use:

cmd+shift+4

After you have pressed these 3 keys you will be able to select the area you want. As soon as you let go it will take the shot so there isn’t much scope for resizing.

Continue reading

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Using Preview as a Handy Image Editor

Personally I never use iPhoto. For me, using iPhoto is like bashing my head repeatedly against a brick wall. Gods forbid that something straightforward like organising my photos into simple user-friendly folders should be anything other than incredibly fantastically complicated!

Anyway!

Having tossed iPhoto back unto the blackest pit from whence it came, for any image editing needs I use Preview instead. Of course for complicated graphics and painting related image editing I use GIMP or MyPaint or similar, but for easy tasks Preview works just fine. Preview is simple, straightforward and user-friendly which is all I ask. Continue reading

Categories: Art & Design, Mac & OS X | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Changing File/Folder Permissions and Privileges in OS X

Sometimes you want to move a file or folder from another computer to your Mac. And every time you want to change the information, move it or change it in any way it wants you to give Admin permission.

Every single time!

How annoying!

This is because the permissions for whatever reason are set to Read only. A good way to check is to see if you can rename it by clicking on the name. If you can’t it’s probably Read only. You can also check by right clicking on the file or folder and clicking Get Info. Check the Sharing & Permissions at the bottom of the window.

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a.) Changing the Permissions for a File or Folder

To change your Permissions/Privileges just click where it says Read only and change the settings to Read & Write.

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b.) Changing the Permissions for multiple files or folders

So method a.) is fine for one or two files or folders but what if you have ten or twenty or a couple of hundred? For months I did this painstakingly for each file and folder, muttering dark curses against stupid user privileges for ordinary files… until I found out that there is actually a way of doing this!!!

To change the Permissions of multiple files or folders:

  • Open a finder window showing the folder CONTAINING all the folders/files you want to change
  • Right click on the folder and select Get Info
  • Unlock all Settings by clicking on the lock in the bottom right corner and type your Admin username and password
  • Click where it says Read only and change it to Read & Write
  • Click the Settings button and choose Apply to enclosed items

  • It will ask if you are sure and warn you that you can’t undo this action, so click OK (if you are sure)

  • Click the lock again to lock the Settings again

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Now you can change the name and extension of all the files in that folder and move them wherever you want without being asked for your Admin details all the time. Hurrah!

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Categories: Mac & OS X | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Configuring the Language & Text Settings on a Mac

This is obviously not a problem for everyone, but for those who type in different languages it might be useful. All the settings for language input are in System Preferences, to edit them go to:

Apple mark (in the top menubar) > System Preferences > Language & Text

a.) Language tab

Pretty straightforward, just arrange the languages in the order you use them.

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b.) Input Sources tab

This is the important one. Select all the input methods you use. I use Japanese so I have selected Kotoeri which is the input method for Japanese characters on a Mac. Then within the Kotoeri sub-menu I choose the methods I prefer to use. I also like to have Unicode available just in case.

I always have my language input menu in my menu bar so I can see what language my keyboard is set to at any time. To do that you just click the box that says Show input menu in menu bar. Then it will show up like this:

c.) Language Hotkeys

If you want to change your hotkeys you can either click the button on the Input Sources tab or go to:

Apple mark > System Preferences > Keyboard

Click the Keyboard Shortcuts tab and from the side menu select Keyboard & Text Input. The ones you want are the bottom two


To change the hotkeys to suit you just double click on the current key combination and type the keys you want to change to. Make sure you hold down the keys otherwise it will just take the first key you press. It saves automatically.

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Categories: Mac & OS X | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Solution for Volume Problems in OS X

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For reference, I am using Snow Leopard, 10.6.8, on a Macbook Pro.  I don’t use external speakers, just the normal built in ones.

Recently, I had some problems with the volume in OS X. The symptoms were as follows: 

– the volume keys on the keyboard (F10, F11, F12) stopped working 

– if I pressed the volume keys they made the “plick” sound but the sound level did not increase or decrease or change in any way even when at full volume or muted

– although the volume indicator appeared on the screen showing that the buttons were working (as the volume bars increased or decreased), this had no effect on the actual sound volume itself

– the volume icon in the menu bar at the top had no effect on the volume

Strangely, I could control the volume perfectly using the System Preferences sound controls.  So clearly the volume was not broken. 

As far as I can tell this problem only occurs when use headphones or my graphics tablet.  I’m no expert but I think my poor Mac just gets confused about how it should allow the volume to be controlled.  For example, when I used my headphones to listen to music in iTunes I had all the above symptoms BUT for some reason I could still use iTunes to control the volume (as well  as being able to control the volume using System Preferences.  This is how I solve the problem when it occurs.  A lot of this may not be relevant but I’ll include it all as I’m not sure which bits are key to the solution. 

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Step 1.  Go to System Preferences > Sound


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Step 2.  On the Output Tab make sure your settings are correct for your system.  These are my settings:

I use my built-in speakers and use the audio port for Sound Output

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Step 3.  This step is not  technically necessary, but in case it affects anything these are my settings on my Sound Effects tab.

I always set my master volume quite high and and make sure the Play feedback when volume is changed is ticked.  This makes sure that when you reboot you can hear if your volume problem is fixed or not.  

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Step 4.  Remove any USBs or headphones you may have connected. 

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Step 5.  Restart your Mac. 

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Step 6.  Sign in as Admin and check your settings for Sound in System Preferences, and whether the volume controls (keys, menu bar etc.) are working properly.  If they are all OK then you should find that they are also working properly in all the other user accounts.

Categories: Mac & OS X | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Free Art and Design Software for OS X

I am a firm believer in not paying ridiculous amounts of money for programs. I don’t think that any program, even for graphic design, is worth over 600 pounds.  I mean, you should just buy a new computer or something for that sort of money.  Not mentioning any names of course…. *cough*Photoshop*cough* …. There are countless downloads and hacks for programs like Adobe Photoshop but I don’t believe that resolves anything.  So I use freeware and opensource programs.  There are far fewer free programs available for OS X than for Windows.  However, here are few art and graphics programs which I think are worth considering. Continue reading

Categories: Art & Design, Free Software, Linux and Ubuntu, Mac & OS X | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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