Categories: Apple, DIY, Geek, Mac, Technology, Videos


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Published by António Lopes on July 2, 2013
Categories: Apple, Geek, Internet, Mac, News, Technology

And so an era ends.

RIP Google Reader

I’ve been using Feedly as an alternative because the mobile apps are quite good and the website is a “prettier” google reader. And they actually listen to the users and implement requested features. Also, it seems my Mac RSS app of choice, Reeder, will soon have support for it, so I probably won’t miss Google Reader that much.

Published by António Lopes on March 7, 2013

When I close the lid of my Macbook I usually just assume it will go to sleep as expected. This one time, however, when I got back to my office and opened the lid I noticed the Mac was absurdly hot for a computer that has just been in sleep mode.

I decided to test it again and close the lid. To my surprise, the usual flashing light on the macbook didn’t flash at all. It just remained steadily lit. At first, I thought it was some hung app that was causing this so I decided to close every app and check if there was some process using the CPU heavily, but that wasn’t the case. I even tried rebooting and still that didn’t solve the problem. I checked the power settings and nothing pointed to it being the responsible for the sleep mode prevention.

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Categories: Apple, Geek, Internet, Mac, Technology

WebGL is starting to draw quite a lot of attention as a simple way to display 3D-rendered scenes on your browser and since it is now supported by the major browsers, it is accessible enough for anyone who wants to try it.

However, if your browser of choice on the Mac is Safari you’ll most likely see an error when trying to access a website with WebGL-based content. This is because Safari does not support WebGL by default and it is not that clear how you get it working on the Mac. In fact, the extension is “hidden” in the Safari settings and you need to perform this two-step process to activate it:

  • First got to the “Preferences…” menu and in the “Advanced” tab check the option “Show Develop menu in menu bar”. This will add a new menu at the menu bar with the word “Develop” on the bar. Shocking, I know!

Show Develop menu in menu bar

  • Then in this newly added Develop menu, choose the option “Enable WebGL”, et voilá!

WebGL Option on the Develop menu

Mind you this does not work for Safari on Windows. To view WebGL-based content on Windows, you may want to consider using Chrome or Firefox.

Categories: Apple, Geek, Internet, Mac, Technology

The outrage on Twitter today regarding Tweetbot for Mac‘s pricing point of $20 is actually misplaced. It’s not Tapbots‘ fault, it’s Twitter’s fault.

Tweetbot for Mac

I’ve been using Tweetbot since it first debuted on the iPhone, then on the iPad and finally when they started letting users try out their alpha version for Mac OS X. It may not be the best or the most complete Twitter client out there but it’s definitely the most suitable for my needs and tastes. When I saw the amount at which they decided to price the app today, I wasn’t shocked or surprised, I simply recognized that the time for the first victim of Twitter’s asinine hate towards third-party apps has come.

It’s easy to understand: because Twitter has decided to introduce a user limit on third-party apps, Tapbots doesn’t have the potential to capitalize on their development over time as more users would buy their app at a smaller price. Instead, since they already know the maximum amount of users they’re going to have, they needed to price their app in a way that that maximum amount of users would be enough to cover the costs of development (and some). And because of that, everybody loses.

What really disturbs me is Twitter’s position on this matter. If it wasn’t for third-party apps, Twitter wouldn’t be where it is today. It’s true they need to fuel their website’s traffic to monetize their platform but to piss on the group of people that made it possible, it’s just dumb. For me, once my Tweetbot beta version app’s token expires, I’ll probably stop using Twitter on a regular basis (I loathe their website and I still don’t know if my use of Twitter justifies buying a $20 app) and just use Mountain Lion’s native features to post and receive mentions/messages.

Published by António Lopes on July 6, 2012
Categories: Apple, Geek, Mac, Personal, Technology

My 14 months old SSD has started to act up presenting some occurrences of bad blocks to a point that yesterday my Macbook didn’t even boot. So, I decided to buy a new one with more space (since they’re getting so cheap now) and after a few hours, thanks to Time Machine, I had my whole setup working again just as it was.

Apple is well known for having developed great products that are well ahead of their competitors but the simplicity of Time Machine is just amazing. It’s one of those awesome features that you wish you never have to use, but you’re glad it’s there to help you when you need it.

Published by António Lopes on June 25, 2012
Categories: Apple, Geek, Mac, Personal, Technology

Following up on some Raspberry Pi setup notes, I’ve been trying to use it as a media server, but besides the basic stuff, I’ve been unable to use the RPi to its full potential so far. Basically, I installed RaspBMC, which is an XBMC build designed specifically for the RPi, and it works pretty much right away. For the basic stuff anyway…

Categories: Apple, Geek, Mac, News, Technology

2 weeks ago, amidst all the hype surrounding the iBookstore and the business model chosen by Apple to allow people to sell iBooks on the iBookstore, I asked the following question:

When I publish something through the iBookstore, am I the copyright holder of the book’s content?

Why was this question so important? Because, If the creator of the iBook is in fact the copyright holder of the book’s content, he/she can then publish the same book in other formats to reach out to other “readers”. If not, that’s a more serious issue because then authors are “stuck” with Apple’s format and cannot publish their books in more “widely-accepted formats”.

At the time, this was not clear in the iBook Author’s EULA. Rather, the wording in the EULA suggested that Apple was not only the owner of the format of book (.iBook) but also of the book’s content.

This raised several concerns to authors (as pointed out above), which is only natural, but now Apple has decided to make the EULA quite clear and stated the following:

If the work is provided for a fee (including as part of any subscription-based product or service) and includes files in the .ibooks format generated using iBooks Author, the work may only be distributed through Apple, and such distribution will be subject to a separate written agreement with Apple (or an Apple affiliate or subsidiary); provided, however, that this restriction will not apply to the content of the work when distributed in a form that does not include files in the .ibooks format generated using iBooks Author. You retain all your rights in the content of your works, and you may distribute such content by any means when it does not include files in the .ibooks format generated by iBooks Author.

I think authors can relax now. Basically, Apple is saying: if you want to sell iBooks, you can only do it through the iBookstore. If you want to sell your own e-book (with the same content as the iBook as long as you don’t use any of the same files in the iBook) somewhere else, you’re free to do so.

Categories: Apple, Geek, Mac, Technology

I’ve been acumulating a lot of links to some interesting Mac OS X tips on my Instapaper in the hopes that I’ll have the time to write a post about them individually but since I don’t see any chance of that happening any time soon, here’s the list for your enjoyment:

  • Select Text in Quick Look Windows – This one has bothered me for quite some time, but I’m glad there’s a solution for that. It’s perfect for when you need to copy a snipet of text or code from a document and you don’t want to bother opening the clunky editor just for that.
  • Always show the Outbox on – This together with this will do the trick.
  • Enable Full Screen Support for All Apps – Pretty self-explanatory
  • iCloud Documents in OS X – If you need to create iCloud-stored iWork files on OS X, here’s the tip.
  • Share Files between Mac and Windows – I also used this tip to share a DVD that for some reason was not working on my Mac DVD drive.

You’re welcome.

Categories: Geek, Mac, Technology

With the arrival of iOS5, I finally decided to make the change to Mac OS X Lion and although I had to make some adjustments afterwards, the whole thing went quite smoothly.

“Relax, I got this”

First up, the installation process. I fired up the install file and it stated that it needed about half an hour to finish. So I went on with my chores (like bathing the kid and preparing dinner) and about half an hour later I peeked and there it was the new and improved login screen ready to be used.

The obligatory warning about the reverse scrolling thingy was up but in my case, as previously stated, it didn’t bother me… at all.

First impressions

The upgrade process was quite painless. My documents and apps were all there ready to be used and apparently nothing was affected by the process of changing to Mac OS X Lion (10.7), including my macbook’s speed and responsiveness. Some people have reported that Lion has transformed their macs into sluggish machines but I’m glad that my previous ward speed upgrade was good enough to make the change to Lion without compromising performance.

I love the new look and feel of Lion and especially the way it resembles iOS. Since I’m also an iPhone and iPad user, the way the two operating systems merge actually feels natural when switching between devices. This makes the whole Apple experience even more interesting.

Is the screen bigger or are you just happy to see me?

With Lion came full-screen apps and for my 13-inch Macbook this upgrade was very much appreciated. Now that there’s no waste in screen real-estate, the screen actually looks bigger and I feel like I got a new machine. And since switching between apps has become so simple with the new gestures, full-screen apps are really a great addition to the Mac OS. The only problem is that I now get really annoyed when a third-party app doesn’t have full-screen support.

Now that you mentioned gestures…

…yep, the new gestures in Lion are great but there’s one particular gesture that was ruined for me. I got used to using the three-finger right swipe to go back on the browser and other apps (like Finder, Twitter and others…). Since changing between spaces is now done through that three-finger swipe, to get access to that previous behaviour you now have to add the Option key to the swipe.

Talking about annoyances…

…what about NTFS? Sure, Lion has native NTFS support but only for reading not writing, which makes sharing an NTFS drive between a Mac and a Windows machine a real hassle. But worry not, as in most things, it is most likely that someone has already had the same problem on the Internet as you have and this case is no exception: I present you a free solution for getting NTFS working on Lion. I tried it, it works like a charm.

Other annoyances and their solutions

TRIM Native Support also comes with Lion but alas only to Apple-branded SSDs, which is quite ridiculous considering how easy it is to change that. Do not use this previously-mentioned solution since it is not adequate for Lion.

Lion is now a full 64 bit operating system and if your Mac is recent, Lion will boot in 64 bit mode. This is painless for most cases but for particular cases like my own, in which I’m stuck to using the Cisco VPN Client that only works in 32 bit mode, this becomes a problem. Sure, there’s a simple solution: when you boot your Mac just hold the keys “2” and “3” at the same time and it will boot in 32 bit mode. But if you want a more permanent solution (or simply because you can’t get around to remember pressing 3 and 2 every time your mac boots) here’s an hack for that. I tried it and works just fine and my VPN is now working on Lion.

Lion also introduced a new mechanism, called Local Snapshots, that keeps copies of files that you create so as to act as a local Time Machine. Considering that these backups are placed in the same disk as the original files, they do not constitute a reliable backup solution. Plus, it fills up your disk and sometimes it will feel like the computer is sluggish (especially if you have a slower hard disk solution) because it is updating those backups. If you feel like this is not that useful for you (because you have a regular backup solution like Time Machine already working) you can turn it off. But this is a decision that only you can make since it may involve loosing information that is important to you. I recommend reading this post on this subject since it is quite complete and very well explained.

More hints on Mac OS X Lion (10.7)

If you need to know more, Macworld has a great compilation of 10.7-related hints here. Enjoy!