Archive for the 'OS X' Category

by mkeefe on Aug 21st, 2011

Lion Sucks

After using Lion since the day it was released (about a month ago) I feel the need to warn others! First off the install/purchase process is all handled through the Mac App Store*, which is interesting. No real opinion on that. Once the file was downloaded the installation is like any other OS X install, until you get to the part where Lion loses your account profile (sometimes) and locks you out of you own damn machine.

Now you better have another internet connected device because you need to Google and find the fix. Then wait about an hour for your profile to be recovered. Once you have everything ready you get to watch some of your apps get removed and locked away because Lion removed support for PPC, without any warning that I saw (other than release notes). For me the only app that got removed was Dropbox, but others have lost much worse.

At this point you should be back to using your computer as you were before upgrading, but wait, things seem “iOS like”. Thats correct, Lion is a “iOS++” and it sucks. iOS does convert to desktop usage all that well. Starting with the “natural-scrolling” which is a great thing to argue with other Mac fans.. but I don’t like it. Then comes the “hidden scroll-bars” but the worst part is the fact Lion is a memory and resource hog. I get the “beach ball” more now than I did before. Not being happy with performance I upgraded my MacBook Pro with 8GB of ram and its still not as performant as Snow Leopard was.

I’m sure you are asking, why post this? Simple, after a quick comment on Twitter this morning it got me thinking that Apple really doesn’t care about the desktop market or computers like they once did. Apple is all focused on mobile which is great for iOS but not so much for OS X users.

I guess desktop users are like the dinosaur to Apple, only problem is desktop development and usage is still as popular for actual users. Not “smartphone users” that need to check-in to the local McDonalds. It will be interesting to see how the next couple of years shift developers away from OS X. Which honestly will suck since their are some awesome apps, Transmit, Versions, 1Password, Things and TextMate, to name a few.

* Well I do have one bitch, that being Apple gets a cut of the sale and doesn’t offer trial versions. Not to mention soon they will drop the hammer on “forbidden apps” just like they did with iOS.

While working on a project I found the need to create subdomains on my local server to shorten the localhost URL and test some of the core features I was in the process of developing. After scouring the internet for quite some time and getting conflicting tips/tricks I finally got everything configured. However for my own future use and anyone else interested I figured i’d write a quick little post about the process.

For those unfamiliar with what MAMP is, you can check it out here.

As the title states this guide is for MAMP installations however most of the information can be re-used for other systems.

Editing the /etc/host file

Start by editing the host file, located in the root of your computer. You cannot see this file in Finder due to it being hidden (though PathFinder can) so open Terminal (/Applications/Utilities/Terminal) and type the following command

sudo vi /etc/hosts

The sudo command will require you to enter your password, and assumes temporary or “sudo” root for this task.

Note: If you use TextMate you could replace the “vi” portion with “mate” and it will open the host file inside TextMate for much quicker editing. Though you will be required to enter your password to save your changes.

Once you enter your password  you’ll be presented with a text editor. Type “i” to be able to edit the file, navigate (with arrow keys) to the 127.0.0.1 localhost line and replace it with:

127.0.0.1 localhost mysite.localhost.com

Replace mysite with your desired subdomain. Then save the file by hitting ESC and typing SHIFT+: then type “wq” and hit ENTER. This will write the file to disk and close the file.

Editing the Apache configuration

Now that the host file has been configured we need to set up the Apache portion. If you typed “mysite.localhost.com” in your web browser it’d either show a “server not found” error or display the default MAMP directory. We obviously want to display the new location, whether it be a new directory or a completely different location on your local web server.

Open Finder and navigate to the MAMP installation directory to locate the httpd.conf configuration file. The full path (default) is:

/Applications/MAMP/conf/apache/httpd.conf

Open the httpd.conf file and scroll all the way to the bottom. You should see a note about Virtual Hosts, such as:

### Section 3: Virtual Hosts
## VirtualHost: If you want to maintain multiple domains/hostnames on your# machine you can setup VirtualHost containers for them. Most configurations# use only name-based virtual hosts so the server doesn’t need to worry about# IP addresses. This is indicated by the asterisks in the directives below.

Add the following line of code, which enables name based virtual host mapping.

NameVirtualHost 127.0.0.1:80

After that add the following block of code. Which configures the path to your virtual hosts. The first block of code always has to be your default since Apache routes linear, which you may be familiar with using ModRewrite.

<VirtualHost 127.0.0.1:80>
ServerName localhost
DocumentRoot /Library/WebServer/Documents
</VirtualHost>

Then add the block for your new subdomain.

<VirtualHost 127.0.0.1:80>
ServerName mysite.localhost.com
DocumentRoot /Library/WebServer/Documents/mysite
</VirtualHost>

Now restart MAMP (either by opening/closing the app OR opening and closing the preferences panel) for your changes to take effect. Now when you type in “mysite.localhost.com” in your web browser you should see your new directory (or 404 if you haven’t actually created the directory yet).

Update: For those not using MAMP you just need to edit the httpd.conf file located wherever you installed Apache. Then just use the command line to restart Apache. If you’re scared of the command line you can also restart your entire computer, though that may take upwards of 3-10 minutes depending on your setup.

Thats all. To recap we edited the /host file and httpd.conf configuration file to enable subdomains on a development server to more closely resemble the live environment (which is always the goal).

by mkeefe on Jun 21st, 2011

Wireless Printing Horror

The Beginning
It all started when I needed a printer for PixelBit, so I hopped in my car and headed down to Best  Buy. After spending some time looking at the different models I picked up an Epson NX420 since most Epson products worked pretty well. When I got back to the office I unpacked, setup and installed the printer drivers. All was going well so far. Everything got setup and configured and was able to start printing, sans-wires! Life was good.

However when I tried to print about 20 minutes later the print queue stayed stuck on “Looking for Printer…” and would not print anymore. I restarted the printer and tried again, it worked, but I was apprehensive as to what could cause this issue. After digging around I found the printer “goes to sleep” and releases its IP Address.. but whats worse is even after I assigned a static IP it still wouldn’t stay connected. So basically you can wirelessly print as long as you turn the printer on/off each time, thats real convenient. Especially considering it takes 2-3 minutes for the printer to come online.

At this point I had enough fun with the NX420 and decided to pack it all back up, drive back to Best Buy and return it. Oh but the fun is just beginning.

Starting Over
I returned the printer and picked up an HP OfficeJet 6500A for a bit more, but figured if it worked i’d be happier in the long run. Again I returned and set everything up. Installed the software from the disk, updated everything and started printing. Life was once again good. However just like the Epson I had “connection” issues and after digging through thread after thread of HP and Apple forums I formulated a list of steps to try. Those included.

– Uninstalling ALL printer drivers, updating via “Software Update”
– Assigning the printer a static IP address
– Assigning the MAC address of the printer to the router list of approved devices
– Reset the router AND printer more times than I can recall
– Manually entered the WIFI info into the printer AND via web (when it would connect)
– Update the printer firmware AND reset to Factory Defaults

Giving up on Wireless
I basically did everything but open the printer and solder a wire to the circuit board. At this point I am at my limit with the “wonders of wireless printing”. I am going to get a 20 ft USB cable, disable the wireless on my laptop and hopefully the printer will start working. If that doesn’t work its going back and i’m getting a laser printer and separate scanner. In this day/age to not have clear cut installation instructions is just lame. Not to mention its clear “plug-n-play” doesn’t work on a Mac either. Oh and the best part is this printer is rated by Apple because of it being one of the 10 that can use Air Print.. yah, of course the damn printer needs to stay online long enough to print.

by mkeefe on Feb 2nd, 2010

1Password 3 – An amazing update

Agile Software has recently released version 3 of their popular password manager, 1Password. Its no surprise I am a huge fan of this application, but with all that packed into this new version I love it more.

The feature list for 1Password 3 is about 50+ but some of them really stand out. Especially the custom keychain, mobile syncing, software licensing management and even the new design.

64 Bit, check!
Starting at the core the new version runs natively on Snow Leopard in 64bit mode. This of course means more responsive and faster performance overall.

Mobile Syncing
With the 1Password iPhone app you can travel with your passwords and even use the app to login to MobileSafari web pages without ever having to enter a password.

Faster search
1Password 3 now features much better and robust searching. You can quickly drill down on your passwords and find the correct one with ease.

Accounts
This is a lesser known feature but extremely useful. It gives you the ability to store account passwords, such as those for Airport, FTP, IM and the iTunes store, for example.

Attach files
You can now attach files (licenses, order receipts, keys) to any item in 1Password. This is especially useful for digital purchases, which normally have a simple email key that you often times misplace over the years.

Closing thoughts
I would like to see Chrome supported in a dot release soon, but I suspect that feature is held on the limitation of plug-ins with Chrome on the Mac.

In the end, the peace of mind with having all of my passwords stored safely really is priceless but the low price of $39.95 or $24.95 for the upgrade is a drop in the bucket. Stop remembering all those passwords and use 1Password.

Pick up a copy today, over at the Agile Online Store.

After much searching online for linux type installations, dangerous hacks and other really involved installation proceses I figured there had to be an easier way. Turns out I was right. I simply installed the drivers for the 2430 printer and attached those to the setup process and was up and running in a matter of minutes.

Here’s how:

1. Start off by visiting Konica Minoltas site and downloading and installing the OS X drivers, found here:
http://printer.konicaminolta.com/support/current_printers/mc2430dl_sup.htm

2. Open “Print & Fax” located in System Preferences and click the + to add a new printer. You should see your 2300DL located under the Default tab, select it and choose “Select Printer Software…” from the Print Using option. Follow the onscreen options and you are all set. Its really that simple.

I hope this helps save someone time as I spent a good 2 hours trying to find the perfect solution.

Disclaimer: The driver installed is for the newer 2430 printer so there could be issues, use at your own risk.

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