Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Behringer Digital Monitor Speakers MS40

I was not too happy with my previous sound system, the Logitech Z-4i. Although it looked nice with my white 24" iMac 2.33 GHz, I never was too happy with all the cabling it required and the resulting sensitivity to interferences caused by the iPhone in its dock next to the iMac.

I was looking at some alternatives, which would increase the sound quality, reduce the cable clutter and hopefully would be less susceptible to interferences. The selection was narrowed down to two candidates, which also were still in a not too painful price range, serving a small budget. The Behringer Digital Monitor Speakers MS40 and the M-Audio Studiophile AV 40 Desktop Speaker System were my final two choices, both available at the House of Sound. After some considerations, I went for the Behringer ones. I really liked the fact, that you have the power button as well as the main sound controls (volume, bass, treble) in the front side, wheres the M-Audio has only a volume button in the front. Furthermore, the MS40 features a digital input, which would again make one cable connection immune to interference.

So now I have the two MS40 speakers sitting next to my iMac, and I have to say, that I am very happy. They sound pretty neat for the price of CHF 190.00 (the M-Audio Studiophiles would have been CHF 219.00 ). And yes, I know, there are far better studio monitor speakers out there, but when you are on a tight budget for these gadgets, they are just fine. The bass feels of course different compared to my Logitech 2.1 system with a dedicated subwoofer, but the good quality of the middle and high tones compensate for a less heavier bass pretty easily in my opinion. I even found a place for my iPhone dock (on top of the left speaker) where there are no interferences. They are now only occurring when I place the iPhone in certain places and are caused by the cable connecting the left speaker to the amplifier in the right speaker. I might still be able to improve this setup. I actually plan to get some order in the whole cable mess and reduce the cables as much as possible by putting a cable connection board under the table plate just below the iMac.

My final conclusion is, if you are looking for some cheap but good monitor speakers with a low susceptibility to interferences (digital input, shielded speaker casings) and if you can life without a subwoofer pumping your guts all the time, the Behringer MS40 are a good choice.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Fix TimeMachine on OSX86

If your TimeMachine stops working on an OSX86 machine, this is most probably due to IONetworkingFamily.kext, located in /System/Library/Extensions/.

Just replace your current one with an older backup (from TimeMachine backup folder) using OSX86Tools. Using the same application you also can make occasionally (especially before making major updates to 10.5.x) a backup of your Kernel-Extensions.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Fix ALC889A sound for OSX86 after 10.5.5 update

Use OSX86Tools or Kext Helper to install only AppleHDA.kext from 889a.Audio.ICH10.zip, which can be downloaded from this forum post.

Friday, November 7, 2008

ATI Radeon HD 3850 on OSX86 10.5.5 (with sleep)

I finally managed to get my Asus ATI Radeon HD 3850 (EAH3850 Smart OC 1024 MB) to work with OSX86 10.5.5 using the following driver from lastExcile / Netkas (see also forum entry on InsanelyMac). Even sleep and wake-up works perfectly, which didn't work at all with my previous Sapphire ATI Radeon HD 3650 graphics card. The card is very silent and Aperture finally rocks (compared to Geforce 7300 GT 256 MB). Trying now another Asus ATI Radeon HD 3650 on another machine if sleep might work with a different motherboard.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Path to com.apple.Boot.plist

The file responsible for startup configuration
can be found at

It is always good to make a backup of that file if "something" goes wrong.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Screenium for screencasts on Mac OS X

I wanted to record what I show to people regarding how they can do certain tasks on a Mac. Therefore I checked what Screencast applications are available for the Mac.

I stumbled on the following site comparing several applications, as well as this site giving some tips on how to do Screencasts and which are nice tools to help you doing them, such as Backdrop .

I finally decided to buy Screenium, because it seemed to have the most features for a reasonable price of only $20. It allows to fade in some text via hot-keys and also can embed the feed form a webcam aside the screen that is being recorded. Finally the recorded Screencasts can be easily exported to more compressed formats. It works fine with 1920x1200 resolution and does not use much resources when you record with 100%, not scaling down while you record. You always can afterwards reduce the resolution and optimize the overall file size of such recorded movies. So far I'm happy with it. It's easy to use, not overwhelmed with useless features and works very reliable.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Shutdown / reboot problems on OSX86

When your OSX86 based machine does not want to shutdown properly (fans still running although all LEDs are off), try to install the OpenHaltRestart kext extension. You might want to use the Kext Helper to easily install the kext module.

via InsanelyMac

Soundcard (ALC883) broken after 10.5.5 Update on OSX86

It can happen that after the 10.5.5 Update on OSX86, ALC883 based soundcards do not work anymore (not detected by OS X). To fix this, download the ALC883.dump.txt file and the AppleHDAPatcherv1.20. Unpack the latter, start the patcher and drag the dump file on it to patch the faulty kernel extension. Should also work with other ALC88X soundcards by using the appropriate dump file (Google is your friend for finding those).

OSX86 10.5.5 Update

To successfully perform a 10.5.5 update on OSX86 machines, you need to download the 10.5.5 update manually from the Apple webpage, open a Terminal and enter the following lines before running the update (and leave it running during the update):
  1. sudo -s
  2. while sleep 1; do rm -rf \
    AppleIntelCPUPowerManagement.kext; done

via InsanelyMac

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Avoid apple setup agent

Avoid apple setup agent in Mac OS X Leopard 10.5 (on OSX86)
  1. start OS X in the single user mode (e.g. using -s flag at boot)
  2. mount file system as mentioned in boot messages
  3. change root password passwd root
  4. create the .AppleSetupDone file with touch /var/db/.AppleSetupDone
via InsanelyMac

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

ProjectPlus for TextMate

I installed ProjectPlus for TextMate a few days ago and I already can't live without that handy plugin. I mainly fell in love with the SCM status features it has to offer (e.g. shows the status of files being handled by Subversion).

Friday, August 8, 2008

Shell Scripting Primer

I guess I should have a look at the Shell Scripting Primer by Apple. Maybe they write about some tricks or hints I don't know yet about. Will be a good time waster during waiting periods reading it on my iPhone. Added it to my @Read/Review bookmarks.


yes, you guessed right: 2008-08-08 :-)

Inspired by powerbook_blog

Location of iTunes backups of the iPhone

Since the backups of the iPhone always take a long time, I started to wonder how big they actually were, when they finally got stored on my computer. So first a needed to find out where the backups are stored, which was answered by a forum post on everythingiCafe.

The backups are stored in:
~/Library/Application Support/Mobilesync/Backup/

Since this folder was only about 126 MB large, I stopped worrying about how much gets actually backup'd but started to wonder why it takes such a long time to backup such a small amount of data via USB. Hopefully Apple will accelerate the iPhone Backup in a future update of the iPhone or iTunes software.

Run Log in XCode 3

I haven't been using XCode for a while, but when I had time to play again with it, I was missing the window where you could see your @NSLog outputs. Before XCode 3, I remember that it was visible in a dedicated "Run Log" window. Luckily Mikey-San on macosxhints.com came to the rescue:
The "run log" is no more in Xcode 3. What you want is the debugging console.
Xcode > Preferences > Debugging > On Start: Show Console
You can also show the console with:
Run > Console

Open bundle menu (⌃⎋) in TextMate not working

I recently had the problem that the "open bundle menu" shortcut (⌃⎋) did not work in TextMate. After a bit of research in the web I found a post on the TextMate WiKi about the problem. It is caused by Apple’s Remote Desktop application. To fix it, just disable ARD in "System Preferences" → "Sharing" ("Remote Management" in Leopard).

Mac OS X shortcuts

A good and nicely presented collection of Mac OS X keyboard shortcuts can be found at Dan Rodney's blog.

By quickly looking at it again, I found something I didn't know before. You can right-click (or ctrl-click) the title of a some windows and in return you will get a path-selection of the current file (e.g. in Finder or TextMate) or the current and basic URL of a webpage (in Safari).

Speed up navigation in Finder column view

I found a post at The MacTipper regarding fast navigation with the Finder. Mainly it talks about the different behavior wether a folder is selected (indicated by a white arrow) or wether you are active in the whole column (indicated by a outlined arrow). Selection of a folder (without selecting the first item inside the folder) can be done by clicking on a folder or hitting the Tab key (⇥) when navigation around the columns. When a folder is selected, jumping to a folder using the alphanumeric keys occurs inside the selected folder, while when a folder us "unselected" jumping occurs in the active column.

Evening before "to prepare" list

Inspired by the 10'O Clock rule I made myself an "evening before to prepare" checklist:
  • Check upcoming events for the next day in iCal
  • Transfer files from and to USB stick
  • Pack bag for work (USB stick, read/review stuff, wallet, ...)
  • Write a note about what still needs to be done in the morning
  • (trash, dishwasher, ...)
  • Prepare and if necessary iron clothes for the next day 
  • Prepare the table for breakfast
  • Plug the iPhone into the charger
  • Set the alarm
I don't  do it exactly at a specific time in the evening, but try to always take some time during the evening to prepare for the next day.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

MacFuse and MacFusion SSH mount problems with TextMate

In order to mount remote file-systems I started to use MacFuse. Before using MacFuse, I have been only mounting remote file-systems via AFP or Samba, but it was always slow and didn't work very well when using different user names for the same server.

With MacFuse and the nice GUI wrapper for SSH mounts called MacFusion it is more convenient and very flexible. But I had some problems when mounting a file-system from an old Solaris server. When I edited some HTML files and saved them frequently with TextMate, I started to have some strange behavior with misplaced characters in the displayed webpage in Safari.

I added the following lines to the "Extra Options (Advanced)" field for the different favorites stored in MacFusion:

-o sshfs_sync -o workaround=truncate

So far I didn't encounter anymore problems and I hope this fixed the issue.

More about the possible Extra Options can be found at Jannis Hermanns' place.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Elgato Turbo.264

I just posted a comment aver at Macsimum News about the Elgato Turbo.264:
I bought myself a Turbo.264 recently. It is about 25-30% faster than my iMac 24” C2D 2.33 GHz using Quicktime (roughly a 400 MB XVID of 45 minutes playtime takes about 15 minutes instead of 20 minutes to encode). On the other hand the CPU usage is only about 10-15 % when I use the Turbo.264.
Encoding with subtitles is though a completely different story. The moment a srt subtitle file is present, the encoding slows down significantly, the CPU usage goes up to 50% or even more. It seems that with subtitles the Turbo.264 does not really improve the encoding time anymore and also the CPU usage is not that much different when using Quicktime with or without the Turbo.264 plugged in.
I mainly bought the Turbo.264 to re-encode videos with subtitles to be watched on the iPhone. I was a bit disappointed about the performance with subtitles at first, but then just switched to watch the movies without subtitles (it’s a good training to improve my English). I’m very happy with the easy handling of the Turbo.264, just drag the movies you want to re-encode to the Turbo application, select in which format you want them to be (iPhone, iPod, AppleTV) and hit start. One notice though, the files seem to be about 20-30% bigger than compared to ffmpegX, but also the bit-rate of the produced videos is higher with the Turbo.264, which results in an excellent quality for a 1-pass encoding.
Overall, despite the fact that the Turbo.264 does not really improve anything when you want to have subtitles, I am really happy that I bought it. I can now re-encode videos in the background while working without any noticeable performance-decrease using other applications aside.

GTD "morning arrival at work" checklist (Update)

I'm assembling some GTD related worklists for my daily and long term work-flows and perspectives.

This is my "morning arrival at work" checklist:
  • Make yourself tea and get something to drink (water)
  • Start all programs (use Script to start all applications)
  • Check calendar for upcoming events (today & tomorrow)
  • Check OmniFocus for due tasks
  • Check and collect/process/organize "Inboxes"
    • Check and collect/process/organize emails
    • Check and collect/process/organize physical in-basket
    • Check and collect/process/organize @Inbox folder on Mac
    • Check and collect/process/organize @Inbox/@Office folder on USB-Stick
    • Check and collect/process/organize @Inbox folder on Safari Bookmarks
  • Start "doing"(highest priority in context depending on time/energy available)
  • At the end of the day check upcoming events in calendar
UPDATE 29.07.08: added handling of Safari Bookmarks in the @Inbox folder, related to my post about Safari Bookmark taming with GTD

UPDATE 05.08.08: added handling of @Inbox/@Office folder on USB Stick

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Google Translate

Google Translate can become very handy for translating short sentences or even web pages from one language to another to get just an idea what the text is about. I haven't been using it much so far, but if I end up finally learning Finnish, I might need it more often to help if I have a hard time understanding an article or some words.

Monday, July 28, 2008

How GTD helps me to tame my bookmarks

Bookmarks have the habit of growing ruthlessly over time. Using GTD to tame my bookmarks results in having different folders reflecting the different states of a "task" or project (which would correspond to a link or a collection of links). Bookmarks are either collected in the "@Inbox" folder if I'm short on time or then are directly processed and put to the appropriate folder as described below:
  • @Inbox: When I'm short on time, then new bookmarks land in the "@Inbox" folder, which does not contain any sub-folders. Like with the physical Inbox basket or the email Inbox, I every now and then (best at least once daily) go through the "@Inbox" folder and process the bookmarks in it. If the content can dealt with within 2 minutes I do the appropriate action, then discard or archive the link (see below for folder "Archive"). If it takes more than 2 minutes to deal with the "task, the links will be renamed to reflect the action or topic, then it will be processed GTD like (action, defer, read/review, etc.) and is put inside the appropriate folder as described further below.
  • @Action: Links belonging to a project are put inside the @Action folder in a sub-folder with the project's name (1-level hierarchy only). When the project is over, the sub-folder is moved to the @Archive folder (see below) or just deleted if it is not worth keeping. The @Action folder has two fix sub-folders:
    • @Blog: Things I read and want to blog about land in this folder.
    • @Download: Links to files or other things I want to download at a later time are stored here.
  • @Defer: When I collect information about things I might plan to do in the future (for product evaluations for  something I like to buy, travel info about a possible holiday place to visit, etc.) it will be put here inside a sub-folder with the project's name (1-level hierarchy only). In the GTD way, these projects in the future either, become active (moved to @Action), or are archived (moved to Archive), or are just discarded.
  • @Read/Review: One-time reading material that I want to read when I have time (e.g. using my iPhone during train travel or in-line waiting) is put into the @Read/Review folder. Material belonging to the same topic is put in an appropriate sub-folder (1-level hierarchy only). After I read the related pages I wither archive them (move to Archive) or discard them.
  • Archive: Bookmarks that I want to keep for future reference are saved in the "Archive" folder. If multiple links belong to a project or topic, a sub-folder with the project or topic name is created to host the collection of links. As before, the folder hierarchy is flat (only one sub-folder level allowed), I do not put folders in sub-folders inside the Archive.
To find specific bookmarks later on, I use the search feature of Safari's Bookmarks window, which allows me quickly to find the link I'm looking for. This though makes it mandatory to give the sub-folders (project names) as well as the bookmarks some intelligent names, which makes it easy to find the link or project folder for a certain topic in the future.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Fixing constantly growing OmniFocus database files

I had the problem that my OnmiFocus database file kept on growing and synching with the iPhone got really slow. When my file was around 2.3 MB I started to google around a bit and found a thread about the problem at the Omnigroup forum. The last entry at the time I was reading the whole 8 pages of the thread actually was the one helping me to reduce my file to manageable 540 KB.

What I did:
  • Rebuilt my Database selecting File->Rebuild Database
  • Selected File->Export (selected "OmniFocus Backup Document" from the drop-down) and saved it to the Desktop
  • Selected File->Revert to Database Backup (and used the previously saved backup on the Desktop)
  • When OmniFocus asked about using either the local copy or the server copy, I told it to use the local copy)

EOM (End of Message)

Just read at Lifehacker a post about EOM. I guess I will try to use that as well, though when I send such a EOM message the first time to someone, I will put in the body of the message the link to the related WikiPedia article as well as the link to the blog entry at Lifehacker.

How to get rid of menu bar items

If you have some items in the menu bar that you want to get quickly rid of or which can't be disabled anymore in the system or program preferences (e.g. remove bluetooth status when no more bluetooth device is plugged in to the Mac), just cmd-click and hold it, then drag it out of the menu bar.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

GTD Workflow Tips

When looking for some GTD related workflow lists I found the GTD Workflow Assessment/Tips Checklist by Matthew Cornell.

Basically he gives a more details to the basic GTD tasks for Collecting, Processing, Organizing, Reviewing and Doing in form of self-proclamations (check the list to see what I mean by that).

It help me at least to look at my GTD based workflow from a new angle, looking at some details that I was not aware before.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Remove all metadata from JPEGs

I was looking for a tool to remove all meta data (including EXIF data) from JPEG files, before I would upload them to Picasa. Unfortunately CocoviewX does only remove some EXIF data, but not all other meta data such as comments, copyright notice, etc. Fortunately jhead, a command line tool for all major operating systems, allows to tune the degree of info removal and has also a nice "remove all" feature.

You can strip all meta info from JPEGs in a folder by using the shell and typing:

jhead -purejpg *.jpg

PS: After downloading jhead from the official website you might need to make it executable (chmod 755 jhead) and move it to a proper location (sudo mv jhead /usr/local/bin).

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Take screenshots on the iPhone

Hold down the "home" button and press the "Lock" button. This will make a screenshot of your current iPhone screen and put it to the "Camera Roll" in the "Photos" application. This is especially handy to make snippets of e.g. Google Maps directions to access this information also "offline".

via Lifehacker

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Type URLs and email addresses quicker in MobileSafari and Mail on the iPhone using shortcuts

To quicker type domain names with the iPhone keyboard in MobileSafari, press and hold down the ".com" button to have alternatives (".edu", ".org", ".net"). This even works country specific, so when you have the German keyboard enabled it will also offer ".de" (but will omit ":net") when pressing and holding down the ".com" button. 

This also works in Mail, if you press and hold down the "." button you will get the same choices as mentioned before with the ".com" button.

via Lifehacker

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Videos with subtitles on the iPhone - Part 1 - Quicktime Pro

Since I got lucky yesterday getting an iPhone, one of the first things I tried to do is to convert some series that I want to watch to the iPhone. I always watch them with subtitles (srt files) and that does not cause any problem with Quitcktime and some additional Plugins (Perian, Flip4Mac) when I watch them on the Mac. 

To get them played back on the iPhone is though not that easy. I tired a few solutions and here comes what I found out about using Quicktime Pro to do so.

  1. make sure that you have Quicktime Pro and Perian installed
  2. rename the subtitle file (only works with srt format subtitles) to have the same name as the video (except for the ending of course)
  3. Open the movie in Quicktime and select "Export" from the "File" menu, then select "Movie to iPhone" in the the "Export" dropdown that appears in the dialog
  4. hit save and wait (can take some time)
  5. copy your newly created file to the iPhone and enjoy

If you have the subtitles not in the srt format at hand you can use Jubler to convert it from all formats (sub files are pretty common) to the required srt files.

In the next post of this series I will show how you can convert the video using FFMPEGX.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

More infos about the availability of the iPhone 3G in Switzerland

Swisscom posted today some more info about the availability of the iPhone 3G in Switzerland. Looks like I will have to get up early on Friday and find a nearby Swisscom shop to get in line at 6h30. I already have a reservation for an iPhone 3G in another store, but it is not sure that they will get enough in stock on Friday to satisfy all reservations made. I'm somewhere in the queue at number 80 for my model of choice and around 250 overall in queue. And by the way, I'm going for the 16GB white model with the largest price plan option.

Saturday, July 5, 2008


Just signed up for a Skitch account. Looks like a handy application for taking screenshots, specially for blogging. Your screenshots (which you can also edit) will be hosted on the Skitch website and can be easily made available to others or used for your blog.

You can access my public Skitch page here.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Technorati claim

Technorati Profile

ZIPCleaner helps to get rid of those .DS_Store and other Mac-specific hidden files from Archives

When you create an Archive of a folder under Mac OS X using the built in "right-click" (cmd-click) context menu functionality "Compress ... ", you end up having the .DS_Store folders in the resulting ZIP-file. That's no problem for you, but if you send that to a Windows user, they end up having a bunch of (at least for them) "strange" folders and files when they unpack the Archive.


Using ZIPCleaner, you can remove those .DS_Store, Icon^M and __MACOS files from the Archive by just dropping it in the application's window or dock icon.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Swisscom announced price plans for the iPhone

Swisscom finally announced the prices for the iPhone related mobile contracts. I'm still hesitating between the mezzo and grande option. Although Orange will also offer the iPhone and probably will have better contracts, the network coverage is not as good as with Swisscom concerning UMTS. I hope that Orange will soon announce their prices, so I still can decide before July 11th, where and with which contract to to get the iPhone.
 Retail price 8GBRetail Price 16 GBMonthly
Hourly call rate**Included volume  in megabytes***
NATEL®  liberty piccolo*CHF 249CHF 349CHF 25CHF 0.70100
NATEL®  liberty mezzo*CHF 199CHF 299CHF 35CHF 0.50250
NATEL® liberty grande*CHF 99CHF 199CHF 55CHF 0.501'000
NATEL® easy liberty unoCHF 519CHF 619-CHF 0.80-
(CHF 1 / MB)
  * Contract duration 24 months
** Price per hour for calls from the Swisscom network to Swisscom mobile and fixed-line numbers
in Switzerland
*** No roaming traffic included

Clear all .svn files from a subversion working copy (UPDATE)

To detach a checked-out subversion working copy and therefore clean all subversion related files (e.g. those nested .svn directories) you can type:

rm -rf `find . -type d -name .svn`

You can also make yourself a little bash script (called e.g. svnclear):

echo "recursively removing .svn folders from"

rm -rf `find . -type d -name .svn`

via AnyExample

Update 04.05.2009:

As Isimonis pointed out in the comments, it is better to use a different approach if you have many files:

find $DIR -type d -name ".svn" -print0|xargs -0 rm -rf

Or you can use the new options of newer "find" versions:

find $DIR -type d -name ".svn" -delete

Best practices for research in the Internet

Whenever you do research in the Internet try to make a summary of your findings and conclusions. You might not make a decision about the outcome of the research just now and therefore it will be much easier to go again through your thinking process and conclusion when you finally want to take action about the issue later on.

These are the important things to consider when making a summary of your online research:

  • make a dedicated note (txt, Word, WiKi) for the current research issue (e.g. memory upgrade for the 2nd generation MacBook)
  • put the question that this summary answers at the beginning (e.g. where to find good quality memory for the 2nd generation MacBook at a reasonable price)
  • write down any useful link together with a few sentences describing what the page is about (e.g. best price for MacBook memory but no-name brand)
  • at the end write down a conclusion (e.g. go not for the cheapest memory but buy brand x from store y)

Where to find a good quality memory upgrade for my 2nd generation MacBook?

Webpages checked for that issue:

  • Corsair seems to be good quality and works with 2x2GB kit, though my MacBook will only support a bit more than 3GB; also the speed for the 2x2GB kit seems to be very good (better than the 2x1GB kit)
  • Kingston officially only offer a 2x1GB kit, but probably their 2x2GB kit might also work with my MacBook
  • The prices for the Kingston are generally cheap
  • The Corsair memory kits cost a bit more
The Corsair kit is about 20-25% more expensive (at trustworthy dealers) but seems to be the better choice because they officially say that the 2x2GB kit will be compatible with my 2nd generation MacBook; also the speed info is missing for the Kingston kit. I probably would by the kit from Digitec.

Monday, June 30, 2008

Inbox Zero by Merlin Man

I watched the "Inbox Zero" Google Tech Talk from Merlin Mann. Yes, he's the guy from the famous 43folders blog, which also has its own Inbox Zero series. In order to watch the video off-line, you can use SafariStand (cmd-click on the video to save it locally) download the FLV video in Safari and WimpyPlayer to play it. These are the main things I got out of the video (besides refreshing the basic 5 steps for handling email: "Delete / Delegate / Respond/ Defer / Do"):
  • always carry a stack of index cards or a small notebook with me to catch tasks (e.g. buy toilet paper) whenever they come into your mind
  • whenever you start to fiddle with taxonomy go and do three tasks
  • use MailTemplate to improve answering similar emails
  • process things (Inbox, Email, etc.) by latest first
  • try to become a ninja at processing (learn to make quick decisions on what to do with stuff in your Inboxes)
  • only archive emails/things that you might need in the future, else delete/trash it
Of course there is much more mentioned in the video (watch it yourself, it's really worth the time), but these are just the few things that stuck in my head after having watched it.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

GTD best practices

These are some of my GTD best practices I found important for myself so far:
  • Get priority thinking off your mind!
  • Get some Someday/Maybe projects (including dreams, goals) to give you a better feeling that your lists have it all
  • The calendar is only for rock solid tasks that will occur at that time (not plans / tasks that you would like to do = not prioritizing)
  • Make some / more checklists and mind maps when evaluating possible projects or tasks, these will then go into the Inbox and be processed accordingly (incubate, trash, new projects / tasks?)
  • Put a date on all notes, lists, checklists, mind maps, memos, etc.
  • Have projects that have really good and well defined next actions
  • Try not to have too many single actions on Miscellaneous lists but instead ask yourself: "are these really single and independent actions, or would they actually be better off in a small projects, even only having 2-3 actions overall?"
  • Put all manuals that are too big to fit into the filing system (e.g. software manuals) to one place in a bookshelf or drawer, order them also from A-Z
  • Put non-file-able stuff that lays around into boxes, label them and store them in your cellar or pavement
  • Always add phone number to "phone call" related tasks
  • Every email that is a delegation, request or where you wait for an answer should be CC'd to yourself and then processed accordingly (add to projects / lists) and then put in the @Waiting folder in your email
  • Read the GTD best practices as often as necessary, until they are incorporated into your daily GTD mindset

Statistics and new features

Blogger (where my blog is hosted) does not offer any statistic evaluation of page visits yet. They have a page where they tell about external tools you can use. After searching a bit in the net I found a howoto for tracking page visits with Google Analytics. I also stumbeld on an  entry at the GoodLe blog mentioning a private beta of Google Analytics for Blogger. So I setup the account and added the required code, now lets see what the analytics tool will tell me in the near future.

The same GoodLe blog entry also mentioned Blogger in Draft, which seems to offer additional and new features for blogs hoster at Blogger. I guess I need to have a closer look at that as well.

Friday, June 20, 2008

"Folder Information Dialog" in TextMate projects

To exclude certain files in a referenced folder in a TextMate project open the "Folder Information" for that folder by pressing the "info" button in the lower right of the project drawer or by pressing ⌘i. Then you can exclude files or folders using regular expressions. You could e.g. exclude all .o files and .class files by adding the following to the "File Pattern" input field: !\.(o|class)

Caret movement in TextMate

One nice feature is the different behavior of ⌥→ and ⌃→:
  • To jump from word to word use ⌥→
  • To jump within CamelCase words use ⌃→
This works also in the opposite direction.

GTD workflow diagrams

I found some good GTD workflow diagrams for:
via zenhabits

Thursday, June 19, 2008

SnapNDrag for easy screenshots

Since I can't memorize the shortcuts for taking screen-shots on the Mac I tried SnapNDrag. The easy interface makes taking screen-shots painless and it even has some additional features to the default Mac OS X capabilities.

OmniFocus: completed projects and the weekly review

To hide the completed projects in OmniFocus' weekly review you can put manually the review date in the project's inspector to the far future (e.g. 01.01.2999):

I personally want to go through my completed projects from time to time in order to trigger ideas for new projects, so I put the review cycle for my completed projects to 1 year:

Quick access to "Restart, Sleep, Shutdown"

To quickly access the "Restart, Sleep, Shutdown" dialog (like hitting the Power button on old Mac keyboards) hit ⌃⏏ (Ctrl-Eject).

via danrodney.com

Trouble with Spaces on Mac OS X Leopard

If Spaces has strange behavior such as not changing to the right "Space" when switching applications, you can try to fix it by restarting the Dock:

Launch Terminal, in Applications » Utilities and type "killall Dock".

via macosxhints.com

The TextMate "Go to File" dialog

When working with project, you can hit ⌘T to open the "Go to File" dialog. In this dialog, intelligent matching will be used. If you have a file called no_name.txt in your project, all the following letters put in the input field of the dialog box will match the file: "no", "na", "me" and even "nn" (which matches the beginning letters between separators).

Some useful TextMate shortcuts

⌘+make font bigger
⌘-make font smaller
⌥⌘Tinsert special characters
⌃⌘Topen "Select Bundle Item" dialog
⌃⇧Aopen subversion dialog
⌃⌘Rselect currently open file in project drawer

⌘Lgo to line number (opens dialog)
⌥→jump to next right word
⌘⇧Tgo to symbol (opens dialog)
⌘F2Add/remove bookmark
F2go to next bookmark
⇧F2go to previous bookmark
⌃Wselect current word
⌘⇧Lselect current line
⌘/comment / uncomment selection
⌃⌘↑move selection up (also works down/left/right)
⌥⇥indent selection (add ⇧ for opposite direction)
⌘⇧Vpaste previous entry from clipboard history
⌃⌥⌘Vpaste from history (opens dialog)
⌃⌥⇧Vpaste selection online (opens dialog)
⌘↩add empty line below current (and go to it)
⌘⇧↩add empty line below current (with line terminator)
⌘⇧&open HTML entity and escape tool dialog
⌃⇧Lwrap selection as link (URL from clipboard)
⌃⇧Nshow count (lines,words,bytes) of selection
lorem⇥add some (lorem ipsum) text

⌃⌘Nnew project
⌃⌘Ssave project
⌃⌥⌘Dshow / hide project drawer
⌃⇥toggle focus (drawer, buttons, editing)
⌘Topen "Go to File" dialog
⌘1-⌘9open tab number 1-9
⌥⌘→go to next tab on the right
⌥⌘←go to next tab on the left
⌥⌘↑switch between same name files (x.c & x.h)

Project Drawer:
open selected file
SPACErename selected file
expand selected folder
collapse selected folder

TextMate and the "mate" command in the shell

"mate ." opens current directory as new project
"mate x.c x.h" opens both files as new project
"mate *.c" opens all *.c files as new project

Make TextMate the default editor for the shell

Edit ~.profile with e.g. "mate ~.profile" and add the following lines:

export EDITOR="mate -w"
export VISUAL="mate -w"
export SVN_EDITOR="mate -w"

Now your shell will always invoke TextMate whenever a file needs to be edited (e.g. Subversion commit text).

TextMate input manager

Don't forget to install the "Edit in TextMate" input manager. It allows you to hit ⌃⌘E in many applications (e.g. Mail or Safari) to edit the text in TextMate. Save (⌘S) and close (⌘W) the TextMate document to give the contents back to the application.

Friday, May 30, 2008


At the moment I am reading the "TextMate Power Editing for the Mac" book from the "Pragmatic Programmers".

To keep the hints and things I learn better in my head I decided to put the most useful tricks, solutions and shortcuts to my blog.

So in the future watch for the "textmate" tag in the posts of this blog and you might find some tips useful for you as well.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Switching from Bloglines to Google Reader

I have been using Bloglines for about 2 years now and was quite happy about it. Specially with the new Beta my feeds were pretty neatly displayed. However I was missing a good notifier on the Mac. After searching a while I found BloglinesMenu, but it misses the support for Proxy servers, which would limit its usage at my work place.

I remember having evaluated also the Google Reader at the time I was looking for an online feed aggregator. At that time Bloglines convinced me more, I think it just looked better to me then. But wanting now a notifier to display the amount of unread feed posts in the menu bar of Mac OS X, I gave Google Reader another chance. Because the Reader Notifier for Google Reader also works behind a Proxy server, I installed Google Reader and so far am very happy with it.