Sep 7, 2008

New site: Changing it up!

I'm moving this blog over to Wordpress under my domain. Time
for something a little (lot) more modern, and I'm very pleased about
it. I think I'm going to keep the Mac Whisperer title, even though
Carlos hates it.

Hopefully Sunday will see the end of my redesign. Thanks for visiting!

Sep 5, 2008

Logos in emails

When I see that someone has a graphic in their email signature, I try
to encourage them to ditch it. It always implies that each of their
email messages has an attachment, and sometimes I search for or sort
by messages with attachments.

It's not what email is best at, and nobody in the world will think
your organization less professional if you don't have your logo in
your signature. And there are ways of formatting your signature so it
will look good.

Aug 27, 2008

Finally ported to Google Apps

My email, calendar, and docs are now all managed by Google Apps. I'm pretty impressed. Setup is easy. They even gave specific instructions for GoDaddy's domain manager. And things like syncing calendar (with Calgoo) and address book (with Apple's iPhone-Google sync) make business so much easier. I've also signed a couple of other folks up on it, too. 

So if anyone has been using my j2worldofmac-at-gmail address, please delete it and stick with It's official!

Aug 9, 2008

Aug 3, 2008

Disable backups to speed iPhone/iPod touch syncing

Anyone who has iPhone 2.0 software is faced with the gi-normously long backups that iTunes performs almost every time the phone is plugged in. I'm grateful for the idea, of course; I spend a lot of time customizing my phone, and I would like all my settings, and logins, and game levels, and data backed up. Problem is, Apple's implementation is terrible. Here's the Ars Technica article about the issue, but in a nutshell: 

~ The backups can take anywhere from 30 minutes to 4 hours.
~ The backups are not "incremental," i.e. they backup all the data on the phone.
~ If someone calls you, the backup is interrupted. 
~ Whenever the backup is cancelled or interrupted — when, y'know, have to use the phone — that backup data set is corrupted.

So here's a solution. I recommend reading the whole post.

I have several (more than 30) applications installed in my iPhone 2.0 (some of them are over 10MB). I've been a bit disappointed with the oh-so-slow syncs in iTunes due to the required backup process. Searching a bit, I found that I could disable the backups by setting a hidden iTunes preference. Quit iTunes, open Terminal, and enter this command:
defaults write DeviceBackupsDisabled -bool YES
From the comments:
Also check out the free Backup Disabler, which is probably just a GUI for this hint.

UPDATE: iPhone firmware 2.0.1 dramatically sped up my backups! Yaaaaaaaay! We'll see if it fixes the other stuff. In brief testing, the phone feels less crashy.

Jul 31, 2008

The new iPhone SHUFFLE!

This might be ancient, but after watching my phone stuck at the Apple logo all day, I appreciated the levity.

Confirmed: Only install apps via iTunes

The guys on MacBreak Weekly back up what I've experienced: Installing
apps via App Store on the iPhone just spells trouble. Do it only
through iTunes.

Keep your surfing secure

This is a tiny but important tip: When you go to Gmail or Yahoo! Mail or any other personal web-based service, you can make your connection less hackable by changing the "http://" to "https://". The "s" stands for "secure," and it means that traffic — the 0s and 1s — between your browser and the online service will be encrypted.

"Using an https: URL indicates that HTTP is to be used, but with a different default TCP port (443) and an additional encryption/authentication layer between the HTTP and TCP. This system was designed by Netscape Communications Corporation to provide authenticationand encrypted communication and is widely used on theWorld Wide Web for security-sensitive communication such as payment transactions and corporate logons."

Getting in this habit is especially important for laptop and mobile users. It's easy to store the https:// in your bookmark. When you use a secure link, you'll see a little lock icon in one corner of your browser window.

Jul 28, 2008


Jerked with Google Apps & Calendar today for an hour. Several
roadblocks, making it basically unusable as a collaborative tool. And
today, Google Calendar just got CalDAV. And it shows up in iCal!
And ... it doesn't sync from iCal to the iPhone, over MobileMe or


I don't want 3rd-party, $$$-eating shareware conduits. I don't want
miscegenatin' web services. I just want to have one calendar that me
and a partner can edit and share.

I'm so sick of this, I can't see straight. (SSX Blur snowboarding on
the Wii might have something to do with that.)


Bra Power: Can Bouncing Breasts Charge an iPod?

This one's for real!

Jul 24, 2008

New product announcement

Apple announced today that it has developed a breast implant that can store and play music. The iTit will cost between $499 to $699,  depending on cup and speaker size. This has been hailed as a major social breakthrough, as women are always complaining about men staring at their breasts and not listening to them.

Jul 18, 2008

iPhone 3G display: So warm it's cool, because it's not as cool, because...

This from digital-imaging-guru friend Scott, on how the new phone's screen is better for viewing images: iPhone 3G screen commentary

Jul 12, 2008

Original iPhone successfully transformed into iPod touch

I didn't have to jailbreak it, or wipe it, or anything. I just popped out the SIM card (using the ultra-modern, paper clip-emulating Jonathan Ive-designed "extraction tool" supplied with my iPhone 3G), and I've got an iPod touch to give my daughter (and a home remote, and perhaps necessary as a spare lest my 3G suffer a mishap).

Freakin' awesome!

Jul 11, 2008

iPhone Friday: Epic clusterf**k + happy ending

This from the NY Times:

This from "Sluggo":

AT&T sucks... so does Apple for forcing them on us, very un-Apple-like behavior if you ask me.

Yeah, they do suck. I'm nonplussed at how badly today has gone. I mean, I'm comfortable and happy sitting at a restaurant with wifi, but that's blissful ignorance, 'cos I can't receive any phone calls and don't know who might be trying to get ahold of me. The grilled salmon at Luca is helping, too.

I don't guess Apple had much choice but AT&T. Anyone who pays attention to the mobile communications market, and I mean worldwide, knows that a manufacturer has to choose a partner provider, or they can't get a deal anywhere. It's like the guy with the greased hair at the high school dance trying to put his hand on every sophomore girl's ass, and pretty quick he's got no one to dance with.

It's also important to remember that, according to reports, Apple did offer the iPhone deal to Verizon, who said that Apple drove too hard a bargain. I know, you're shocked. So, I'm gonna posit that Verizon is the second best provider in the States to AT&T. Better coverage, slightly more fascistic, about the same level of customer service. Sprint sucks rhino, and T-Mobile rates high in customer support, and terrible in connectivity.

So maybe if you can't get Verizon, you go with AT&T. It's possible, too, that the Verizon deal was itself a myth: AT&T is the only GSM provider worth its weight, and GSM is quickly becoming the world standard. Apple doesn't want to make two iPhone models, one for GSM and one for CDMA, a whole different chipset.

Whether you're a consumer or a manufacturer, whichever provider you marry, bring a jar of Vaseline to the nuptial consummation.

Perhaps Apple couldn't have avoided this fiasco. What carrier on earth is used to thousands of devotées showing up, some a week early, to buy a bloody mobile phone on day of launch? We hoped Apple would have been able put up the infrastructure to handle the traffic. It was iTunes that was reporting the failure, but who knows whose servers were at fault?

Ah well. 6 hours after I got started, I have an new, activated iPhone 3G. 
I was without a connection for maybe 2 hours. 
My voicemail has been deleted, but I did take screenshots just in case. 
My original iPhone remains a wireless iPod, which is awesome. 
I've got GPS, good fast internet, and a bunch of cool apps. 
There are also more cool apps that cost more than I feel like paying. 
I don't have copy & paste. 
I don't need MMS. 
I haven't tried the 3rd-party video recorder. 
I'm still with godawful AT&T, but I have an unlimited-minutes plan at a reasonable price (not more than I was paying before).

Today was a good day.

Jul 10, 2008

It's twoo! It's twoo!

Originally posted last Thursday night, but it didn't go through:

I just put iPhone software 2.0 on my gen 1 phone. I got a bunch of free apps on, and Cro-Mag Rally. So far so good. The Mail app is  
improved nut I don't see much else yet. And I have to reset sync history I think before contacts & calendar are going to work right. But in the meantime... Whoop!

Jul 9, 2008

J2 News: Clarification on Friday's iPhone-a-rama

Please come to Luca anytime between 11am and 4pm, and stay as long as
you want. I'll be discussing and presenting and helping the whole time.

Lunch and beverages of all sorts from Luca's fantastic menu will be
available for purchase.

Don't forget to RSVP! I need to give a head count as soon as I can.

Looking forward to seeing y'all!

As always, check my blog at for
updates and news.

Jul 8, 2008

J2 News: Invitation on iPhone Friday


If you didn't catch footage of an Apple Store on June 29, 2007, that was the sound of a greet-&-cheer line of Apple employees whenever a customer left the store with a new iPhone. It was a geeky good time. One so rarely gets applauded for being a gearhead.

This Friday will see the release of the next generation of iPhones, featuring faster internet (a.k.a. 3G), GPS navigation, and hopefully better reception and longer battery life. All iPhones, new and old, will also get the iPhone App Store, with hundreds of ultra-mega-cool applications that will be available and downloadable straight to your iPhone or iPod touch.

The stores at La Cantera and North Star Mall will open at 8am. History and logic say that you won't need to stand in line. There should be plenty of stock. But plan on it taking a while, as you will have to activate your new iPhone at the store. (AT&T stores will have stock also, but they're not nearly as much fun, and the staff rarely as knowledgeable.)

I think it's gonna be a fun day. Lots to discover. Lots to play with -- have you seen these awesome games coming out? Or this one?

I've been getting calls to help folks get up to speed on their new iPhones, transfer data, update software, activate Mobile Me (which we hope comes out by Friday), and download apps, soooo....


Here's my idea:

Everyone is invited down to the marvelous Luca Ristorante [map] on Friday, starting at 11, and we'll have ourselves an iPhone-syncin', 3G-surfin', GPS-navigatin',', new-fashion' hoedown! 

$15 gets you into the session, and until 4pm, you can ask me about anything related to iPhone or Mobile Me. And if you want to discuss something else, I bet we'll be able to accommodate.

Please RSVP to this email address. Bring a laptop if you can -- there will be wifi -- or be prepared to look over someone's shoulder. 

And pass it on; the more the merrier!



Apple has posted a guide to replacing an original iPhone with an iPhone 3G, and I do encourage everyone to scope it. Most important: 1) Sync your existing iPhone before plugging in your new one! 2) Run Software Update to grab the latest iTunes.

Read the "What to bring" section of this page.

If you're running Leopard, I would recommend updating it to the latest 10.5.4.

If you don't have a hard drive backup of your computer, now is a good time to snag one at the Apple Store.

I'm also hoping this news -- "AT&T says original iPhones can be deactivated and used as WiFi iPods" -- is true about what we can do with our old iPhones.

Q: Should I buy a new iPhone?


J2 Consulting ~ Chicken soup for the Mac ~ 210.367.3420

"The National Weather Service advises you to stay away from Windows."

Jul 2, 2008

LogMeIn available for Mac... um... last year

Oh, man, this is top notch: LogMeIn, probably the leading package that let's you control your computers from afar, finally came out with a Mac controller for their Free package, and ... I guess I'm the last to know about it.


Previously we have been able to control PCs with LogMeIn, because it has been browser-based, and the same company has had Hamachi, a free VPN thing that I always meant to play with, but didn't like that I had to use a 3rd-party app to do it. But now LMI has a plug-in to install on the Mac. Very very sweet.

So, I was talking with a new client who lives a little ways out of San Antonio, and we were discussing the methods I use to provide support, and he said, "Well, you could always connect to me with LogMeIn." 


Sho' 'nuff: About 20 minutes later, I had an account at LogMeIn and was able to access my own computer from afar. I had set up a VPN for this already, but LogMeIn is way easier. I can't believe they released it to beta a year ago, and went 1.0 in December, but anyway I'm glad to have it now!

Now, they don't have their Pro version available for Mac, so you can't grab files or print remotely like you can with a VPN, so that latter option might still be preferable for many folks, perhaps with Hamachi and perhaps with the iVPN solution I mentioned previously. But just being able to get to your screen is huge.

Incidentally, security goes like this: You have a password to log in to your LogMeIn account, and then to control your computer you need to enter the name and password for your user account. 

And what do we learn from this? Pleeeeeeease make sure you have good, strong passwords on all of your accounts, both online and on your computer, and please don't use the same password for every frackin' thing you do!

Log me up, Scotty.

Jun 28, 2008

More options for web galleries

MacBreak Weekly mentioned Photrade and SmugMug in their picks. They both cost, but they both look and feel really good.

10.5.3 fixes Server

Download and run the 10.5.3 Server Combo Update, and the problems I wrote about in this post go away. Finally.

New Apple Store at North Star Mall

Originally uploaded by j-squared
Man, I haven't really minded driving out to La Cantera, but it'll be great for us and the clients to have a Retail Store this much closer. Here's the requisite greeting line with all the cheering and clapping. Always a good time.

Free VPN!

Finally I had the opportunity/need/inspiration/circumstances to look for a free VPN server that would run on a server with a static IP on a LAN. 

Turns out Mac OS X has one built in! It's an open-source UNIX deal called vpnd, and it's the same one on OS X Server and configured through the GUI. It's no surprise that Apple left a VPN GUI out of OS X client — Server costs either $499 or $999 — but a very nice developer named Alex Jones came up with the free iVPN, and after a little port forwarding on the router, and 30 seconds of config of iVPN, we had ourselves a legit L2TP VPN tunnel.

It was important to me that the VPN be accessible by the client built-in to OS X — found in Internet Connect in Tiger or earlier, and in Network System Preferences in Leopard. I have become bored with downloading and config'ing standalone software: too many checkboxes, not enough stability.

So.... whoop! Very easy, very free. 

Now, one thing about most VPN connections that has always bugged me is that, even if the client connects to a network resource, say a server, via its local Bonjour hostname, e.g. server.local, when a connection is attempted over the VPN it fails, and the user has to revert to using the IP address. Which is sort of fine, but a turn off to the less technically minded. So I just found this article on about editing the /etc/hosts file:

I haven't tried it yet, but it makes sense to me. 

May 26, 2008

Creating a web gallery for artwork

What is the best place for me to do a website for my artwork?

As usual, there's free...

Post images to a photo site like Flickr

There are multiple benefits to this approach: easy slideshows, easy "tagging" (e.g. ceramics, painting, installation)

... or cheap...

Apple has the .Mac service for $99/year. You can look at all the features -- it's pretty useful, especially when you get a laptop, but just for example, here's one of my web galleries, and one in a different style.

One posts all the images straight out of iPhoto.

You can also point your domain name (e.g. to .Mac, so people won't see that the real URL is

Also, you can design your own site with a program like RapidWeaver. Hosting a web site can be as cheap as $4/month. I have yet to find a reason to go somewhere besides GoDaddy.

... not cheap: hire a web designer ...

This is doable, but in most artists' case, let's just say a cost/benefit analysis would favor this approach.

I know that, many times, a gallery who represents you will post the work that you have given them. Finesilver, for example, has some nice-looking pages. 

Finally, I would suggest googling a bunch of artists you dig, see whose web sites you like, and asking them how they did it. FWIW, I just looked up Lloyd Walsh off the top of my head, and he used .Mac for at least a few images.

May 20, 2008

Leopard Server: file names are screwed up when connecting over SMB

Apple is all too aware of the chronic Apple File Protocol authentication issues with 10.5 Server. Some people have fixed this with a cron task that restarts AFP, say, every night. In my experience, this starts to corrupt file sharing altogether, to the point that, eventually, nobody can log in over AFP.

So I've been switching people to using SMB (Windows file sharing), which sucks just on principle, but it also cuts out Time Machine backups. I am also nervous about it losing Apple-specific file resources.

Anyhoo, at one site where I've asked everyone to connect over SMB, several on the server appeared with weird random file names, such as "_GNEWM~A" or "4UI5WM~7". Didn't matter which machine or which user account I was using to connect.

After some poking around, I figured out that folders and files with odd characters in their path, and especially with spaces at the ends of their names, were the culprits. Extra long names, too.

I don't know if this is an historic problem with OS X Server, and I just never ran into it because most of my clients use Macs, or whether this is specific to 10.5. Regardless, right now OS X Server is hurting my schedule really bad, and I can't believe I'm having to be wary of proferring it as a recommendation.

May 12, 2008

Re: Space Question

I've been receiving messages that I don't have enough space on my computer for this and that.  Most recently it had to do with optimized albums and syncing to my iPhone.  Last it was about my startup disk.

Yeah, that's a pretty definitive indication. A modern rocketship MacBook Pro will quickly turn into a land tortoise when it doesn't have enough hard drive space to do the do. Common wisdom has been spread that the Mac needs about 10% of its hard drive to function properly.

Besides moving files over to my external drive or to the trash, is there something I can do to open up space?

There is a lovely utility called WhatSize that I have long used to discover what's taking up room on a drive. But since HDs have gotten so big, the culprits are no longer system-level items — 2 or 3 gigabytes in the GarageBand Audio Loops and WorldBook Encyclopedia data are now kind of small potatoes — and thus we're faced with delving into our user data and figuring out what we don't need constant access to.

So, we can use WhatSize or its more free cousin, Disk Inventory X, to find the 300-pound gorillas, usually our music and movies, and pull them off to an external hard drive. Or, in fact, to TWO external hard drives, because we have to remember that a digital file doesn't exist unless it exists in two places.

One can burn CDs or DVDs, but I find these cumbersome, time-intensive, untrustworthy, and hard to store. A second external hard drive is the way to go. 

May 6, 2008

VMWare Fusion 2 beta is out

Features sound fine, especially better Windows printing [crossing fingers], but the extra cool thing is that v2 is going to be a "free downloadable upgrade for all VMware Fusion 1.x customers, as a sincere thank you to our early supporters." I really like that kind of language.

May 1, 2008

AT&T offers free WiFi for iPhone users

Now this is a P-E-R-K.

And in case I missed anyone in my last iPhone-related post, the new Unlimited minutes plan is worth repeating. 

iPhone 2.0 is expected in June. This is when Apple will officially open the iPhone to software created by third parties. There are some very exciting, and very fun little apps, and more are on there way. A new model with 3G faster internet is also expected, but it's impossible to know yet whether there will be any other features that will attract existing owners to upgrade. I for one will probably wait... ummm, don't quote me on that...

Apr 20, 2008

Networking over AC

Heard of this? Instead of running Ethernet, and when wireless isn't an option, you run IP over your power lines. I've known about it for a while, and I keep forgetting it's available.

Apr 8, 2008

Scan IP addresses on the local network

In Terminal, type "arp -a" (no quotes) and hit return. Thanks, LaCie!

Apr 7, 2008

A sort-of fix for Leopard Server

Duane Maas posted this on his blog:

Unfortunately, I have tried to use Leopard as an Open Directory Master, Calendar Server, and AFP server at one account since 10.5.2 was released and in stops functioning under very light load at least once a week. The server starts refusing connections and complains and incorrect user:password combination was entered. After troubleshooting, I have not determined the cause, but I did find out the problem can be solved by stopping and starting the AFP server. Hopefully this will be fixed with the 10.5.3 release.

I have been having this same AFP problem with Leopard Server. The issue is unfortunately epidemic. I was myself hoping it was going to be fixed in 10.5.2. I have had to convert one graphics lab's home folders to NFS (not secure), and they have to connect to file shares over [shudder] SMB! Blech.

I finally, however, discovered this: If you first install 10.5 Server with the "Simple" settings, even though it doesn't initially turn on many of the features one might eventually want, it does do some automated configuration that a) takes some of the nitty-gritty hassle out of setup, and b) seems to make AFP work right!

After you've done Simple, you can config and test the basic features using the new Server Preferences, and then eventually go into Server Admin and Workgroup Manager to get more detailed.

Now, admittedly, the AFP bug is still a stupid thing for Apple not to have fixed yet, or provided a kbase article to solve. And the solution I've just described might not work for every environment. But I was at least heartened that AFP will in fact work on 10.5 Server, and I got to glean some Apple-sanctioned configurations for other services, too.

Mar 30, 2008

MacBook Air hacked in under 2 minutes

This is an important cautionary tale, and one that has always applied: One should assume that if someone can lay their hands on your computer, they can get at your data.

Mar 17, 2008

Airport Express is now Extreme!

Finally, Apple has put the faster 802.11n in the Airport Express, so
now you can mix an AXP into your Extreme network for AirTunes and not
reduce the speed of your network.

Mar 14, 2008

New iPhone plan: UNLIMITED minutes, text, & data

$140/month! I just saved $720 a year!

Blogged from my iPhone

Mar 12, 2008

Transferring files from PC to Mac

I want to do a quick Word file backup on my wife's PC.  Can I use a DVD? - Thanks, JW

You sure can, JW. I don't know what DVD burning software you have on the PC, but it should be easy enough.

For what it's worth, however, several slightly easier, and perhaps cheaper, ways to do this are:

~ Email those files to your Mac.

~ Use a flash drive (also called thumb drive, RAM stick, memory stick), which might be cheaper in the long run if you plan to do a lot of this.

~ Turn File Sharing on on the Mac and just drag the files across your home network.
Please call me for any additional explanation on that one, or here's one quick explanation on the web. 
Here's a longer one.

Then, backing those files up, to a DVD or exteral hard drive is, like everything else on the Mac, easier to explain.

Videos on tech "in Plain English"

Love this: Common Craft has created videos to explain things like RSS & Twitter to non-techophiles. I've tried my explanations, almost entirely unsuccessfully, so these will come in handy!

Mar 8, 2008

Forget FTP

Following up on the question about FTP software: I just listened to net@night, when they interviewed the creators of, a nifty new web-based file-sharing service. It's impressive. Some of the cool benefits & features:

~ free! ~ very simple ~ requires no sign-up, no login, and thus no personal information is collected ~ you can send  in files via the web, email, SMS, by phoning in an audio message, or even with a free fax number anyone can use to fax a doc into your box ~ free conference calls ???

Thought y'all who were needing FTP might want to check this out. Graphic designers can of course use this to share proofs ... you get the picture.

100MB is free, and you can upgrade to 1GB for a tiny $10 a year.

Mar 7, 2008

Pogue on "How Dangerous Is the Internet for Children?"

People ask me about parental controls from time to time, and while the new Leopard has better ones than previous Mac systems, my answer remains the same: "If you need it, then you probably have bigger problems than the internet."

David Pogue recently cast a really good look at the subject. He also references a PBS documentary. All parents should probably take a look at both.

Mar 6, 2008

Backups: How not to assume nuthin'

I am using Carbon Copy Cloner to backup my MacBook. Any suggestions on how to confirm the stuff is there?

You bet. First of all, whether you are using it manually or on a scheduled basis, you'll get an error if things don't go well. You can go to the Window menu and to CCC Log, and while the log might look a little geeky, you can see if there were any errors.

Also, open external the hard drive on your desktop, go into Users, then into your home folder (probably has your name on it). Go to the View menu and view as List, then click at the top of the Date Modified column to sort the folders in date-order. If you see files with the same date as your last backup, you should be golden.

Your backups: Don't assume nuthin'

Funny how situations seem to arise in groups: I received several calls from folks these last couple of weeks whose automatic backups were not working. One of them LOST THEIR DOCUMENTS.

Fortunately they were able to retrieve the important stuff with the help of FileSalvage, which thankfully most of us will never need.

When I put a backup solution in place, I ask that our client be sure to check regularly to see that the backups are happening. It's the one place where, regardless of how comfortable or tentative someone is with their Mac, I kind of insist that they become familiar with the setup, at least enough to know when it's broken. 

Backups can fail for any number of reasons: 

~ The external backup drive (the box sitting outside your computer) can fail.
~ Power can go out and confuse the backup software.
~ The software can get broken by an update to the Mac.

Suffice to say that it's crucial that you not assume that your backups are happening. If you're not sure how to check them, or which backup software we installed, please give me a call. We should set up at least a short appointment to go over that stuff. Erick or I can write up very quick instructions -- 5 to 10 clicks and you'll be golden.

Thanks for reading!

Feb 26, 2008

FTP client, and how to find Mac software

I need to FTP some files and I was wondering if you had a recommendation for a cheap program to use on the Mac (or maybe there is something already on here?).  I used to use Cute FTP, but the version I have is for Windows.

Pardon a longer response, but there's some more general info below that may help in your mastery of the Mac:

Whenever I need software for the Mac, I go straight to Versiontracker or Macupdate, and search for the thing I need, in this case "FTP." Then I sort the results by "Product Rating." The user reviews are so helpful. Then I might sort by "License" to see if any of it's freeware, or at least cheap.

Even though I had a recommendation for you already, I just tried that search at Versiontracker, and found I needed to narrow it down a little further to "ftp client." (In software terms, "client" is one side of a "client/server" relationship, where a server provides services, such as FTP, web, email, what-have-you, to clients. The terms could refer to the application itself or to the computer it's running on. Examples: "We have a file server in our office." or "The FTP server software needs to be updated.")

You'll see that only four of the top 10 packages fit the bill precisely by having "FTP" and "client" in their description and are "freeware" or "shareware," and only Cyberduck is free. (Plus, its icon is a frickin' cute rubber duck, and you just want to squeeze it. One of my other oft-used Mac apps is a chicken. Y'know, you can't call many Windows programs adorable.)

I also found that Yummy FTP got good reviews, and I also know Transmit is very very popular. You'll see both of those list "advanced features," which you may not need, but if for whatever reason you find Cyberduck lacking, you may find those features, or just their interface or organization, worth the $25 or $30, respectively.

So, all you have to do is click on the link to one of those programs, and click "Download Now" over on the right. Your web browser will download and extract the installer. (Since you're in Leopard, you'll find the file in your Downloads folder, which is in your home folder and shortcutted in the Dock.) You want to make sure you install the app properly, which may mean just dragging its icon to the Applications folder, or double-clicking an instaler. After that you can throw out the installer file if there's one left in Downloads.

Feb 21, 2008

Type alphabetically to search messages

By accident, I started typing when I was in the message list, and it
went to the nearest best guess. So if I wanted to find "Rodney" I can
type R O D. Sweet!

Feb 13, 2008

Why I hate syncing

Here are a couple of screenshots from iCal. In each case, one event on
one calendar got duplicated a gazillion times between four different

It happened a couple of different times. one time I fixed it by doing a search for the title, selecting all results and deleting; the second time I just deleted the offending calendars, which got spuriously created by the syncing process anyway — between iCal, Entourage, Plaxo, .Mac, a Treo, an iPhone, and maybe some other devices or services. Having this mass of baloney records in a database just makes syncing go slower and worse over the course of months.

I hope somebody (everybody) fixes this soon. There should be warnings or alerts or errors or something when potential duplication is going to happen.

Feb 12, 2008

Leopard finally updated to 10.5.2

As I mentioned in my last newsletter, since 10.5.1, Leopard has been fairly stable. But a couple of computers I manage, especially servers, have run into some pretty dire problems with Leopard.

So I've been waiting for this with baited breath:

Leopard finally updated to 10.5.2

Basic info here, and there's a complete list of fixes here. But what I really want you to know is that, as with any major OS X update, you should download the combo update, rather than letter Software Update do the work for you. I promise, it does a much more thorough job, and keeps your Mac happy.

The 10.5.2 Combo Update can be found here. And the one for OS X Server, here. Just click the blue-underlined file size over on the right., the go-to site for Mac troubleshooting, hasn't released any reports about 10.5.2. Please let me know if you have questions about the update.

Jan 20, 2008

Find (and delete) previous email recipients

Want Apple Mail to unlearn your friend's defunct email address?

In Mail, go to Window > Previous Recipients

Click on the one you want to ditch, and click Remove from List.

Alternately, if you have someone's old address in the To: field of a message, click the white drop-down triangle to the right of the address (inside the blue oval). Remove from Previous Recipients List is in there, too.

Jan 18, 2008

Maybe my favorite hidden Mac feature

Did you know about the built-in dictionary? This is in OS X since Tiger: It's a weird key combo, but it's sooooo cool: In Mail or TextEdit or Safari -- any good Mac app (which excludes, par exemple, MS Office 2004 but includes Office 2008) -- put your cursor over any word, and hold down ctrl-command-D. Cool, huh? (The "command" key is now called that on newer keyboards; it used to be the key with an apple and a squiggly thing.)

Now move your cursor over other words while holding down those keys. Notice that there's a thesaurus in the drop-down that says "Dictionary." Now tell me that's not friggin' sweet.

Jan 17, 2008

Finally: real Mac speech-recognition software!

MacSpeech Dictate, shipping in February. I just saw a demo at David Pogue's Macworld Live. It's still young, but it works!

Shipping in February. It's by the folks who did the less-than-perfect iListen, but it's based on the Dragon NaturallySpeaking engine. This is really great news.

Jan 16, 2008

Macworld keynote: the Cliff notes

My impressions are the same as everybody else's, I suppose. So here's a quick recap.

Yay, movie rentals!

Boo, 24 hours to watch 'em!

Yay, movie rentals and other shit on Apple TV, justifying the money early adopters (including your humble) paid.

Yay, iPhone updates!

Boo, lame iPhone updates!

Yay, MacBook Air!

Yaaaaaaaaay, MacBook Air, although the maximum of 2Gb RAM is a smart move by Apple to prevent it being used for serious work like graphics or photo manip. (I make grandmas buy 2Gb for their Macs.)

Yay, Time Capsule!

Boo, not letting existing Airport Extremes use their Air Disks for Time Machine backups! (Although one can do it with Mac OS X client or server.)

Yay, Manhattans at Jilian's next door to MacWorld............!