Tags: osx



Saturday, March 18th, 2017

Apple has given my son a hand! – the surprised pessimist

One of the accessibility features built into OS X:

Using Switch Control, and tapping a small switch with his head, my son tweets, texts, types emails, makes FaceTime calls, operates the TV, studies at university online, runs a video-editing business using Final Cut Pro on his Mac, plays games, listens to music, turns on lights and air-conditioners in the house and even pilots a drone!

Tuesday, December 8th, 2015


The missing font generator for Mac OS X.

Very handy for subsetting fonts for the web. It doesn’t (yet) export WOFF2 unfortunately.

Wednesday, October 1st, 2014

OS X bash Update 1.0 – OS X Mavericks

Incredibly, you have to manually download and run this patch for Shellshock on OS X: it’s not being pushed as a security update.

But the new U2 album? That’s being pushed to everyone.

Tuesday, March 5th, 2013

Tools of the trade

I remember when Rebecca wrote about A Baseline for Front-End Developers:

I think we’re seeing the emphasis shift from valuing trivia to valuing tools.

I know that Paul places a similar emphasis on the value of front-end development tools. Personally, I’ve always been lax with keeping up to date with start-of-the-art tools. I’ve been working on the web long enough to see yesterday’s cutting-edge tools stagnate or fall out of favour.

Still, I should really do more to keep up. There are a few design tools cropping up that I should really investigate.

LayerVault and Pixelapse both offer git-style version control for Photoshop, Fireworks, and Illustrator files. Sounds useful.

Then there are the tools that I think could be really useful for making HTML prototypes: Easel is browser-based, while Hammer and Mixture are OS X apps. They’ve all got enough time-saving shortcuts to make them worth investigating further. I wouldn’t use them for production code, but like I said, handy for prototyping.

Thursday, August 18th, 2011

marstall/shim - GitHub

A very clever and tricksy way to sync up multiple devices so that when you refresh a URL or follow a link on one, it happens on all of them. It uses OS X’s Internet Sharing feature combined with locally-hosted Node.js. It’s positively McGyverian!

Thursday, June 23rd, 2011

GitHub for Mac

This Mac desktop GUI should go some way to making designers less fearful of getting stuck in with GitHub.

Tuesday, June 14th, 2011

Latin Text Generator for Mac OS X - LittleIpsum

A cute little lorem ipusm generator for the mac.

Monday, January 10th, 2011


This code editor for OS X looks interesting.

Tuesday, October 26th, 2010

random($foo): Secure Connections

Leonard has some handy tips for protecting yourself against Firesheep and its ilk.

Wednesday, June 10th, 2009

Google Quick Search Box

A Quicksilver rival from Google.

Monday, May 25th, 2009

Tom Taylor : Projects : Clarke

A sweet little Skyhook/FireEagle desktop app from Tom. It updates your FireEagle location every five minutes by pinging Skyhook's API to triangulate your position. A small piece, loosely joining two small pieces.

Thursday, December 27th, 2007

Hacky holidays on OS X

Christmas is a time for giving, a time for over-indulgence, a time for lounging around and for me, a time for doing those somewhat time-consuming tasks that I’d otherwise never get around to doing… like upgrading my operating system.

I used the downtime here in Arizona to install Leopard on my Macbook. I knew from reading other people’s reports that it might take some time to get my local web server back up and running. Sure enough, I had to jump through some hoops.

I threw caution to the wind and chose the “upgrade” option. Normally I’d choose “Archive and Install” but it sounds like this caused some problems for Roger .

The upgrade went smoothly. Before too long, I had a brand spanking new OS that was similar to the old OS but ever so slightly uglier and slower.

My first big disappointment was discovering that my copy of Photoshop 7 didn’t work at all. Yes, I know that’s a really old version but I don’t do too much image editing on my laptop so it’s always been good enough. I guess I should have done some reading up on compatibility before installing Leopard. Fortunately, I was able to upgrade from Photoshop 7 to Photoshop CS3—I was worried that I might have had to buy a new copy.

But, as I said, the bulk of my time was spent getting my local LAMP constellation back up and running. I did most of my editing in BBEdit—if you install the BBEdit command line tools, you can use the word bbedit in Terminal to edit documents. If you use Textmate, mate is the command you want.

Leopard ships with Apache 2 which manages virtual hosts differently to the previous version. Instead of keeping all the virtual host information in /etc/httpd/httpd.conf (or /etc/httpd/users/jeremy.conf), the new version of Apache stores it in /private/etc/apache2/extra/httpd-vhosts.conf. I fired up Terminal and typed:

bbedit /private/etc/apache2/extra/httpd-vhosts.conf

That file shows a VirtualHost example. After unlocking the file, I commented out the example and added my own info:

<VirtualHost *:80>
   ServerName adactio.dev
   DocumentRoot "/Users/jeremy/Sites/adactio/public_html"

The default permissions are somewhat draconian so to avoid getting 403:Forbidden messages when trying to look at any local sites, I also added these lines to the httpd-vhosts.conf file:

<Directory /Users/*/Sites/>
    Options Indexes Includes FollowSymLinks SymLinksifOwnerMatch ExecCGI MultiViews
    AllowOverride All
    Order allow,deny
    Allow from all

I then saved the file, which required an admin password.

The good news is that Leopard doesn’t mess with the hosts file (located at /private/etc/hosts). That’s where I had listed the same host names I had chosen in the previous file: localhost adactio.dev

But for any of that to get applied, I needed to edit the httpd.conf file:

bbedit /private/etc/apache2/httpd.conf

I uncommented this line:

# Include /private/etc/apache2/extra/httpd-vhosts.conf

While I was in there, I also removed the octothorp from the start of this line:

# LoadModule php5_module libexec/apache2/libphp5.so

That gets PHP up and running. Leopard ships with PHP5 which is A Good Thing.

Going into Systems Preferences, then Sharing and then ticking the Web Sharing checkbox, I started up my web server and was able to successfully navigate to http://adactio.dev/. There I was greeted with an error message informing me that my local site wasn’t able to connect to MySQL.

Do not fear: MySQL is still there. But I needed to do two things:

  1. Tell PHP where to look for the connection socket and
  2. Get MySQL to start automatically on login.

For the first step, I needed a php.ini file to edit. I created this by copying the supplied php.ini.default file:

cd /private/etc
cp php.ini.default php.ini
bbedit php.ini

I found this line:

mysql.default_socket =

…and changed it to:

mysql.default_socket = /private/tmp/mysql.sock

I had previously installed MySQL by following these instructions but now the handy little preference pane for starting and stopping MySQL was no longer working. It was going to be a real PITA if I had to manually start up MySQL every time I restarted my computer so I looked for a way of getting it to start up automatically.

I found what I wanted on the TomatoCheese Blog. Here’s the important bit:

Remove the MySQL startup item (we’ll use the preferred launchd instead):

 sudo rm -R /Library/StartupItems/MYSQLCOM

Also, right-click and remove the MySQL preference pane in System Preferences because we’ll be using the preferred launchd instead.

Copy this MySQL launchd configuration file to /Library/LaunchDaemons, and change its owner to root:

sudo chown root /Library/LaunchDaemons/com.mysql.mysqld.plist

That did the trick for me. When I restarted my machine, MySQL started up automatically.

So after some command line cabalism and Google sleuthing, I had my local webdev environment back up and running on Leopard.

Thursday, December 20th, 2007

John Resig - Sexy Firefox 3

If you want to install the beta of Firefox 3 on OS X but you still want to keep a copy of Firefox 2, John will show you how.

Wednesday, November 21st, 2007

Safari Microformats plugin

Oh yes! A plugin for Safari that will detect, display and export hCard and hCalendar data. Caveat: it only works on Leopard so, because I haven't upgraded yet, I haven't had a chance to testdrive this yet myself.

Friday, October 19th, 2007

The Marble of Doom

Contribute to the pool of data by inputting how much time you've wasted watching the spinning beachball of death.

Thursday, September 20th, 2007

Orbicule | Undercover

An interesting product designed to catch the thieves after your Macbook gets stolen.

Saturday, May 19th, 2007

Color Oracle

A very handy little app that sits in your menu bar on OS X and can instantly show you how your screen would look if you were colour blind.

Saturday, August 27th, 2005

Google Talk on iChat

Here's how you can set up iChat to work with Google Talk.

Thursday, August 18th, 2005


A nice app for browsing and buying audiobooks - but why isn't it a website?

Thursday, August 11th, 2005


A nifty app for OS X that allows you to browse your iTunes music by album cover.