Tagged: OS X

Resetting your NVRAM to fix certain Mac OS X problems

Mac OS X FinderYou may have heard that resetting the NVRAM can fix all sorts of problems. This isn’t the case, but it can fix a few issues. NVRAM is where Mac OS X stores information like your settings for speaker volume, your screen resolution and startup disk info. So resetting your NVRAM will only fix issues like sound not working, screen resolution problems, and slow startup times.

If you’re experiencing any of those problems, you can reset your NVRAM by powering on your Mac while holding down the Command + Option + P + R keys until you hear the startup chimes sound TWICE.

After you hear the second startup chime sound, you can release the keys and allow the Mac to boot normally.

Jony Ive isn’t killing the Mac, and Apple’s core isn’t rotten

I came across an article at ZDNet this past week that just drove me absolutely crazy. It serves me right for reading anything from ZDNet—because with little exception, they have no idea what they’re talking about when it comes to Apple and the Mac. But when I saw the headline: “Is Jony Ive killing the Mac?” I just couldn’t resist clicking through.

Jony IveThe first thing that got my hair up about the article is that other than the headline and the summary at the top, the article makes no mention of Ive, or why the author seems to think the Mac is being systematically killed off by him. I’ve spoken to Jony Ive personally, and he assures me that he isn’t a killer.

Disclaimer: I haven’t spoken to Jony Ive, but I’m willing to bet the only thing he’s killed at his time at Apple is a mountain of bad ideas.

Even if you don’t bother to read the rest of the article, or actually believe that Mac OS X has gone to hell, most Mac users know that Jony Ive has had absolutely nothing to do with OS X up to this point. Obviously the headline is click-bait in an effort to gather more page views.

Now the reason the article is so short is because it simply points out another blog post titled Core Rot at Apple. It is here that I found myself throwing my hands in the air in surrender at the feet of nitpicking at the least, or in many cases, outright stupidity. My thoughts on a few of his points below.

“iTunes — a nightmarish kitchen sink design cluttered with dozens of tabs and modes and animations and clutter, all mixing highly variant purposes Fortunately, Walter Mossberg likes it (but it’s time for him to hang up his jockstrap).”

This is perhaps the only thing in the entire article that I could somewhat sympathize with. iTunes DOES do much more than it should. But “dozens of tabs?” Where are there dozens of tabs? Modes, animations and clutter? If anything, I think Apple has done a decent job of hiding what a mess iTunes is. The dig at Walter Mossberg just goes to show he had nothing of substance to say about it.

Still, at this point in the article, I thought perhaps it had some merit because I know iTunes is a sore spot for many, many people. I’m not in love with it either, so I read on with anticipation. Unfortunately, it got worse. Here are further thoughts… (more…)

10 Defaults Write commands for customizing Mac OS X

OSXDaily has put together 10 commands you can use in the Terminal app to customize how Mac OS X looks and works. These commands are called Defaults Write commands because they alter the default settings of OS X. They are of course reversible, and the list shows the commands you need to type in the Terminal, as well as how to return it to Apple’s default settings.

Some of the commands include: Always Show Hidden Files in the Finder, Speed Up Mission Control Animations, Change Where Screen Shots Are Saved To, and Show System Info at the Login Screen.

You can see all ten commands here.

Bulk optimize folders of images for use on the web with ImageOptim


ImageOptim optimizes images — so they take up less disk space and load faster — by finding best compression parameters and by removing unnecessary comments and color profiles. It handles PNG, JPEG and GIF animations. It’s excellent for publishing images on the web (easily shrinks images “Saved for Web” in Photoshop). Simply drag’n’drop images or folders into the window! You can also drop files on ImageOptim’s Dock icon.

I love the simplicity of ImageOptim, and it’s a free app.

Get detailed battery time, info and notifications in Mountain Lion

Apple’s OS X Mountain Lion removed the ability for laptop users to see the exact amount of time left on the battery charge in the menubar – which annoys some users to no end. But you can not only get that info back, but add even more with this free app for OS X.

Battery Time Remaining app

Battery Time Remaining (BTR) is a small app that places a battery indicator in your menubar just like the built-in battery monitor, except it displays the time remaining instead of just a percentage. In addition, you can set BTR to show detailed battery information such as battery cycle count, temperature and power being used. You do so by turning on Advanced Mode in the preferences of the menubar item.

Battery Time Remaining notificationIf you like, you can also set BTR to add a system notification to Mac OS X’s Notification Center at specified times in the Notification menu of BTR. I like that you can choose more than one percentage for your notifications, rather than only offering one or two pre-defined settings.

Battery Time Remaining is a free app which can be downloaded from the GitHub page.

Create vector-based halftone and raster patterns with VectorRaster


Vectoraster is a Mac OS X graphics utility for creating vector-based raster patterns and halftones based on bitmap images, an effect that has been popular in illustration and design the last couple of years, but is quite tricky to achieve without the proper tools.

The raster patterns and point shapes can be freely configured to produce many different styles. The resulting rasters can then either be exported as vectors to EPS or PDF files, as images to JPEG, PNG or TIFF, or simply copied into most graphics software.

VectorRaster is $29 ($12 upgrade from previous versions) and a demo is available for download.

How to install and configure Apache, MySQL, PHP and phpMyAdmin on OSX 10.8 Mountain Lion

Mountain Lion Web SharingIf you’ve upgraded to OS X Mountain Lion, you may have noticed that turning on Web Sharing is no longer available.

But that doesn’t mean it’s not there. I suspect Apple would prefer users who need to serve websites from their Mac upgrade to Mac OS X Server instead.

Thankfully, you can install and configure everything you need to start serving websites from your Mac by following this relatively simple tutorial. It’s not the ideal situation, but it works.

OS X and Mac App Store signals the death of desktop customization

Back in the day of Mac OS 7, 8 and 9, Apple didn’t make it too terribly difficult to customize the OS with themes and custom icons. Theming your desktop was so popular that it was nearly its own sub-culture. Theming websites sprout up almost weekly, offering window themes, icons, and other theming items. There were literally thousands of options. But that all changed when Apple released Mac OS X.


Mac OS X was a top-to-bottom change to the system architecture, and theming was infinitely more difficult. It took a long time before creative developers figured out a way to bring customization to OS X. There were themes, if only a few dozen, and of course you could still customize icons. But it was never to the extent that you could in Mac OS 9.

Eventually (I don’t remember if it was OS 10.4 or 10.5), theming became nearly impossible. But when Apple released the Mac App Store, customizing your Mac desktop all but died. Because of the code signing of all apps sold through the Mac App Store, altering files contained in individual apps (such as icons) rendered them either useless, or at the very least prevented you from updating them in the Mac App Store.

Between code signing, recently implemented Sandboxing rules, and the release of OS X Mountain Lion (which prevents theming of the Dock), it’s all but a dead art. If you need any more evidence, Panic Software recently announced they were sunsetting their icon customization tool, CandyBar. For many years, CandyBar was the gold-standard of customizing icons. Thankfully, Panic made CandyBar freely downloadable, and updated it for Mountain Lion. For those like me who used CandyBar for it’s icon collection organizing feature, and the ability to quickly and easily export app icons as PNG images with transparency intact, the fact that it still works is a bit of relief. But it’s future is most decidedly in doubt. It surely won’t be long before it can no longer customize System icons.

It’s sad to see theming and customization fade off into the sunset. But to be honest, Apple has improved the appearance of the OS to the point where even the most avid themed simply preferred the clean look of the standard theme. And right now, you can get an absolutely fantastic icon customizing and organizing app for free.