mac

Trouble Printing in Mac OS X Lion? Reinstall the driver

It always seems to happen after a major OS upgrade—no matter what the operating system... You go to print, and all the sudden you get a warning saying your printer drivers are not up-to-date or are not installed correctly.

In my case, I tried printing to my trusty and reliable Brother HL-2140 (laser printer), and I got a warning that Apple needed to update its drivers via Software Update. I let it try, but that failed. Any time I sent a new print job, the printer dialog simply told me there was an error, and the drivers were out of date.

I then deleted and added the printer in the Print & Scan system preference pane, which sometimes helps, but in this case did not. My printer is listed as being compatible with OS X 10.6 / Lion (check your own printer here), so that shouldn't be a problem. But, as is the case almost always, giving things a big konk in the head works.

Tips for Using a MacBook (Air, Pro) in Clamshell Mode

On this page, I will compile all the knowledge, tips and tricks I have for using a MacBook, MacBook Pro, or MacBook Air as a desktop replacement, in clamshell mode.

I've used a variety of Mac laptops in the past few years (starting with a PowerBook 100, moving on to a 190, then a 1400, a 5300c, a G3 Wallstreet, an iBook G3, iBook G4, PowerBook G4, MacBook, MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, and back again to a MacBook Pro. With all of these laptops, I tended to use them most often at my desk. And what better way to sit at a desk on a computer than with a huge 20"+ display and a full keyboard and mouse?

Along the way, though, I've learned a lot about effectively using these Macs while their open next to the main monitor, and while they're closed—in 'clamshell' mode.

Convenience and Stands

One of the great advantages of having a laptop is being able to take it with you on a moment's notice for some mobile computing. However, many of the stands and I've used to help me get the most out of my laptop while at my desk made it very hard to grab the laptop and go.

Reeder (RSS reader) for Mac released - finally out of beta!

Reeder, the new best RSS reader for Mac, is finally out of beta! It's only $9.99, on the Mac App Store.

Reeder Icon

I used NetNewsWire back in the early '00s, but it has become a complicated beast, and after learning about Reeder beta 1 a few months ago, I was an instant convert.

Reeder is great, because all I ever do is arrow-down through news stories, glance over ones I might be interested, press 'B' to open the really interesting articles in my browser, and then press 'A' then 'return' to mark all stories as read.

Grab a Single Frame from a Video in QuickTime X

Update: More recent versions of QuickTime Player have the ability to copy frames of the video by using 'Command + C'. In recent versions, to grab a frame, do the following:

  1. In QuickTime Player: Pause on the frame you want to capture (use arrow keys to go forward/backward by 1 frame).
  2. Press 'Command-C' (or select Edit > 'Copy').
  3. In Preview: Press 'Command-N' (or select File > 'New from Clipboard')
  4. Save the new file where you'd like.

There are many things to like about QuickTime X, and many improvements were included over QuickTime Pro 7... but there were also a ton of features removed (like being able to set advanced export options, save a movie as images, and do some other more advanced edits/exports.

However, I'm glad I finally figured out how I can grab one frame from a movie in QuickTime Player X. The problem I was having is this: If you pause the video and use the left/right arrow keys to move the playhead exactly to the frame you want, the player controls are still showing over the video (in addition to the video title bar/window chrome.

Who needs a Calculator? Spotlight is better.

When I'm performing quick calculations or estimates, measuring things, or balancing my checkbook, I just hit Command + Spacebar, then type in what I need to know.

Spotlight Math

  • 1+1? (Spotlight gives the answer right away: 2)
  • ((1+1)/4*(232.2-28))+55? (Spotlight gives the answer right away: 157.1

Instant math... way better than any calculator or calculator app I've ever used... and it's always at my fingertips.

Bonus: press Command + C to copy the result to the clipboard. Awesome.

Things: Opportunity Lost

Dear Things developers (Cultured Code),

I know you are perfectionists. I know you're purists. Your software is inspirational, in a way. It's clean, it's fast, and it's functional. You make beautiful software, and I'm glad you've had such great success in the past.

But I have to say, "Goodbye."

The one and only feature that I've been waiting for—OTA sync—is still not here.

You've made some pretty status indicators telling me nothing, but impressing me nonetheless. You've posted some great developer stories about this feature, but given no backbone to your words.

Doing Some Benchmarks - Mac Processor Speed

I currently own or use a variety of Macs, and am approaching the end of a 'cycle' of Mac usage, where I need to decided what Mac I'd like to purchase next. Currently, I'm using a 27" iMac at work, an 11" MacBook Air (from work) for travel, and a 24" iMac at home. They're all great computers in their own right, and using Dropbox, MobileMe, and a couple other helper services, I can operate simultaneously on all three Macs, without any hiccups.

So, I'm thinking about getting a new Mac for hardcore development work (web and app), some graphic design, and possible portability. I have an iPad for lighter computing (reading, browsing, email, videos...), so even though the MacBook Air is probably the best thing to happen to a laptop in a very long time, I'm shying away from it as my primary personal computer.

Prepping for Git on drupal.org - Need a Git client? Try Tower

A few weeks ago, I heard rumors of a new Git client for the Mac that was supposed to be even easier/prettier than my past favorite, GitX (specifically, brotherbard's fork of GitX). GitX is simple, and very usable, but just feels rough sometimes. But... it's free, so it is very nice in that way.

Tower for St. Louis Review
Yes, I often work on the server. "Do what I say, not what I do."

This new Git client is Tower, and it is awesome. I paid for two licenses for my two Macs, and I highly recommend it for other Mac users deeply invested in Git. The interface is simple, it has searchable commit logs, it lets you stage and unstage (and modify) changes and commits with efficiency and ease, and it is $50 well-spent. Check out the Tower demonstration video on YouTube.

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