iPhone Dev Sessions: Using Singletons

Managing an application’s state can sometimes require complex interaction with persistence and messaging with various resources, or it can be as simple as keeping track of a counter from one view to the next.

How-To: Replace Your iMac’s Hard Drive

In an iMac’s life, there are two things that you may find yourself wishing to upgrade, the memory and hard drive. Memory is easy enough to get to but the hard drive can seem a little daunting to some.

iPhone Dev Sessions: Making a Splash Screen

All too often an iPhone application’s launch sequence is an overlooked detail. The most common approach is to misuse the provided Default.png file as a splash screen. This detailing of an application is more than a little challenging if you want to get it right.

How-To: Remotely Support Your Parents with Screen Sharing

We’ve all been in the situation. Your mother calls you with a computer problem and you know it’s going to take at least an hour to walk her through the steps over the phone. Then she yells at you when you sigh out of frustration.

If you have parents who use Macs then these calls happen less often but they still happen and usually at the worst time. This is how I use iChat and Snow Leopard’s Screen Sharing app to remotely control my parents computer and quickly solve their dilemmas.

Apple’s Screen Sharing is based on VNC and it is very powerful. Generally to remotely control a machine, you need to configure the host machine and open ports on the firewall. The genius behind Apple’s solution is that they use iChat to initiate the session and no other configuration is necessary. If you can talk them through setting up iChat for their account, you’re home free. Read More about How-To: Remotely Support Your Parents with Screen Sharing

How-To: Image OS X and Boot Camp to a New Mac

You get a new Mac and even though you know you should, you don’t want to start over from scratch and reload the whole system. To make matters worse, you have Boot Camp installed and really don’t want to start over on the Windows side. So, here’s how you can image both OS’s to a new machine using free tools.

You need to download the Carbon Copy Cloner and Winclone software packages. CCC was created by Mike Bombich and has been used for years to clone Mac machines. It is the standard tool for this job. Winclone is made by Twocanoes Software and this is what we will use to image the Windows Boot Camp partition. Read More about How-To: Image OS X and Boot Camp to a New Mac

How-To: Replicating Coda’s Books Feature With Google Quick Search Box

Espresso IconI recently made the switch to the newest version of the web development application Espresso. After having used Coda for all my previous web development needs, I’m naturally making some comparisons between the two. I’ll leave the blow by blow evaluation to others but thought it worth noting that the one feature I find myself really missing the most from Coda is the ability to quickly search through reference books. This surprised me a bit as I wouldn’t normally list this as a “killer feature” of Coda, but more than anything else I’ve found myself continuously cursing the lack of this option in Espresso.

Thinking others might be feeling the same way I quickly threw together this Google Quick Search Box plug-in (ZIP, 742kb) that will let you send searches to reference sources for HTML, CSS, JQuery, PHP, MySQL, Python, and WordPress. You can start the query by entering text directly into QSB or by selecting text within Espresso itself, or any other application for that matter. Read More about How-To: Replicating Coda’s Books Feature With Google Quick Search Box

Complete Guide to Cleaning and Disinfecting Your Mac

Computers get dirty, especially their human interface surfaces — keyboards and pointing devices.

In some instances, dirt can even affect input device performance as well as appearance. Some time ago the faithful SlimType gave me a scare when the F and W keys stopped responding properly. A keystroke would register only when the key was pressed more firmly than usual, and the subtle over-center click of the SlimType’s scissors keyswitch mechanism was missing — the malfunctioning keys feeling “numb” and offering higher than normal resistance.

The medicine that time proved to be blowing out the accumulated crud beneath the key console with compressed air. I successfully used an automotive shop compressor with a blow gun. For more cautious folks, or those without convenient access to a compressor, one of those little aerosol cans of compressed air used for cleaning photography equipment could do the trick.

But sometimes a bit of compressed air isn’t enough. So, here is our guide to cleaning everything from mice to laptops. Read More about Complete Guide to Cleaning and Disinfecting Your Mac

How-to: Enable Expose and Spaces for the Magic Mouse

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So you’re loving your brand new Magic Mouse but are missing the ability to activate Expose and Spaces right from the mouse? Not to worry, we’ve got you covered. Using SIMBL and a neat little preference pane called MultiClutch, we can map our own custom shortcuts to the left and right swipes coming from the Magic Mouse and have them activate Spaces and Expose instead of navigating forward and back.

Getting Setup

The first thing we need to do is to get MultiClutch up and working in a 64-bit Snow Leopard world. MultiClutch, like a lot of apps relying on InputManagers, kind of got gimped when the new big cat showed up. Luckily though, a recent fork in the project now allows for its plugin to be loaded through the latest SIMBL release.
You can find some detailed instructions on how to get MultiClutch up and running from the source of the new plugin, but essentially what you need to do is:

  • Install the original MultiClutch application.
  • Install the latest version of SIMBL.
  • Download the forked version of the MultiClutch plugin and load it into the SIMBL plugin directory at /Library/Application Support/SIMBL/Plugins.
  • Go in and remove the old version of the MultiClutch plugin from /Library/InputManagers.

Read More about How-to: Enable Expose and Spaces for the Magic Mouse

How-to: Create Services for Quick Search Box

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I’ve been playing around with Google Quick Search Box lately and am especially enjoying this services plugin from Martin Kuhl which lets you activate and pass input to OS X services right from within QSB.

One snag though has been that services created through the new Automator template included in Snow Leopard leave out some vital bits that limit integration. Luckily, a handy application from Waffle Software called ThisService makes creating proper services that integrate seamlessly with QSB a lot easier than you might think.

Being able to extend the functionality of QSB with OS X services really opens up a lot of possibilities. Grab text or files in QSB and pass them on to your services to do whatever you want with them, like creating a new To Do item in iCal. I’ve been focused recently on replicating functionality that I lost when I made the switch over from Quicksilver and I think that this improved service integration will get me about 90 percent of the way there. Read More about How-to: Create Services for Quick Search Box

Complete Guide to Apple Certification and Training

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Although I’ve been supporting Macs since they came out in 1984 (when I was in high school), I haven’t received any “formal” training. It has mostly been learning by doing, reading the occasional book and now of course, TheAppleBlog. Does formal certification really make a difference as a technician? You tell me.

Recently I got into an argument with a vendor that somehow thought a technician who first started repairing Macs sixth months ago trumped my 25 years experience. Did certification make this person a better technician? Having done quite a bit of hiring myself, I’ve too often found that certification only verifies your ability to take a test and may not have bearing in the real world.

Now that the market has changed and everyone seems to be competing for scarce resources, perhaps a certification would be an additional edge? What’s the business strategy for independent Mac technicians wanting more? The answer took a lot of research — even Apple wasn’t able to answer my questions — so learn from my journey. Read More about Complete Guide to Apple Certification and Training