mac

Drupal Development Environment on Mac OS X 10.6 - Multisite Capable

I've begun working a lot more with Drupal multisites, as doing so saves a lot of time in certain situations (usually, when you have a large group of sites that use the same kinds of Drupal modules, but need to have separate databases and front-end information.

One problem I've finally overcome is the use of actual domain host names for development (i.e. typing in dev.example.com instead of localhost to get to a site). This is important when doing multisite work, as it lets you use Drupal's built-in multisite capabilities without having to hack your way around using the http://localhost/ url.

Here's what I did to use dev.example.com to access a dev.example.com multisite in a Drupal installation using MAMP (the dev.example.com folder is located within Drupal's /sites/ folder):

How to Avoid Spyware, Adware, Viruses, etc.

This article will help you to discover ways to avoid malicious software that can cause your Mac or Windows PC problems.

Most Windows users will encounter malicious software at some time or another. But the frequency of these encounters can be greatly reduced by keeping in mind some general tips.

Tips for Avoiding Malicious Software

You should keep in mind a few important things while using your computer to check email, install programs, browse the Internet or chat:

Cleaning Your Desktop or Laptop Computer

This article will help you to properly clean your computer, monitor, keyboard, mouse, trackpad, etc., to keep them looking and working like new.

Keeping your computer clean can not only make it look great, but it can also help your computer to run great. I've seen many really dirty computers (both inside and out) that have problems simply because they are dirty; dust, grime and electricity don't mix well. It is also very hard to see what's on your screen if you have a layer of dirt or grime. And don't get me started on sticky keyboards and mice! Ick!

The following are essential items for cleaning your computer:

My Mac is Running Really Slow - Help!

This article will help you to diagnose common problems such as lack of maintenance, permissions conflicts and Hard Drive glitches that cause your Mac to run slowly.

There are two main routes to take to make your Mac as lean and mean as it was when you bought it (or even more so!)—hardware upgrades and software maintenance. One of the easiest things to do is to purchase additional RAM. As a rule, I say you can never have too much RAM. If you don't have at least 2GB of RAM, you should immediately upgrade. In addition to RAM, you should consider getting a faster hard drive (an SSD drive is what I recommend–more on that later). If your Mac is more than five years old, however, you might want to consider purchasing a new one, especially if you're running newer applications or the latest version of Mac OS X.

The following are essential utilities for keeping your Mac running smoothly and for fixing little problems that may crop up (Click the links to go to their download sites):

Upgrade to Mac OS X Snow Leopard: Initial Impressions

This morning, before heading into work, I ran by the Apple Store to pick up a few copies of Snow Leopard. For most of the morning, I alternated Macs while upgrading one of them, and this post will provide some initial reactions / thoughts on running Snow Leopard.

The upgrade went smoothly—took about 1 hour on my new Macbook Pro 13.3", and about 1.5 hours on an older Core Duo Macbook Pro. No real hiccups, but I have to say I was disappointed that Apple didn't make a new 'Welcome' video. It's the same one as they had for 10.5 :-(

On the first startup, the Setup Assistant displayed the welcome video, then simply said "Thanks for installing 10.6" (I did the upgrade install instead of a Clean install, FYI), and I went about my normal routine. The screen gamma was changed to OSX's new default, 2.2, which is a bit more contrasty... but I simply recalibrated with my Spyder color calibrator and colors were back to my preference.

Exchange Support

Apple's built-in support for Microsoft Exchange is the main reason I went as soon as possible to pick up my copy of Snow Leopard. Immediately after installing, I started playing around with the settings. The biggest question I had was how to set up multiple personal calendars (through MobileMe) concurrently with multiple Exchange calendars (a task impossible to accomplish on the iPhone).

Mail Exchange Server 2007 Setup Options Pane

Tethering Your iPhone to Your Mac with OS 3.0

Tethering your iPhoneAlongside today's news that Apple has finally released the iPhone/iPod Touch OS 3.0 to the public (download it by opening iTunes, connecting your iPhone or iPod Touch and clicking the 'Check for Update' button), some websites are noting that it is easy to enable tethering on your iPhone, even if AT&T hasn't officially announced support for this feature.

Tethering is great for small Internet browsing sessions, or when your iPhone just isn't enough to do what you need to do (for instance, adding content to a website, or uploading a large file). But don't Tether too much: First, if a lot of people are tethering, it can slow down the network for everyone else, and second, your iPhone's battery takes a huge hit (even if charging) while you're using it's 3G signal for tethering.

[NOTE: Visual Voicemail may stop working after you follow the steps below. To get it back, simply go to the Settings app, tap on General, then Network, then Cellular Data Network; tap on the "Visual Voicemail" APN and change it from wap.cingular to acds.voicemail.]

How to Save 20 Watts while Running an iMac (or another Mac)

Something you don't think about every day, but something that could save you enough change to get a Big Gulp every now and then: You can take a few simple steps to drastically reduce the amount of power consumed by your computer. Especially when you're doing many things at the same time with multiple hard drives and the screen turned on at full brightness!

This article is written specifically for the 24" iMac (late 2008), but applies to pretty much any Mac that uses electricity (read: ALL of them). By following the steps in this article, you can save a bit of power, which translates into saving a small amount of change each month. And who wouldn't like a few extra nickels in this economy?

The Discovery

I recently purchased the APC Back-UPS NS 1250, and one of the most amazing features of the UPS is the ability to see how many watts are being actively consumed by a device plugged into it.

I found the results of my testing to be quite interesting. When I had the iMac running with the screen at full brightness, the computer was using the energy equivalence of an old 100 Watt tungsten (i.e. 'energy sucker') light bulb! I don't typically run the screen this bright, though, because the lighting in my computer room is typically subdued. So I turned the brightness down all the way (a comfortable level for my vision), and looked again. This time, the computer was using about 75 Watts. NICE!

iMac Power Chart (in Watts)
(Big bright chart for visual learners).

Review: Tweetie for Mac

Jeff's Rating: 5/5

tl;dr: Tweetie has had a great following for some time on the iPhone, so it was a logical jump for atebits to transfer some of the goodness of Tweetie to all the desktop Mac Twitter users.

A little late to the game? Sure. Worth the wait? Definitely.

atebits today released Tweetie—a full-featured and fast Twitter client—for the Mac. Tweetie has had a great following for some time on the iPhone, so it was a logical jump for atebits to transfer some of the goodness of Tweetie to all the desktop Mac Twitter users.

Backup Strategy for Mac OS X Using Disk Utility, Carbon Copy Cloner, etc.

A blast from the past! The following article is from one of my first websites, ca. 1999, and was updated a couple times throughout it's history. I am re-posting it here because my old website will be deprecated quite soon.

A few notes before we begin: Since the writing of this article, Time Machine came into being (along with Mac OS X 10.5), and has brought about a revolution in the way I maintain backups: my schema now is to have a local daily Time Machine backup to my external hard drive (I recommend a simple 1-2 TB External USB hard drive), then do a once-a-month DVD backup (stored offsite) of my most important files. For most home/small business users, this should be adequate.

Another revolution in data backup is the idea of backing up 'to the cloud' - with the prevalence of broadband Internet access, and the plethora of options for online storage, many companies offer solutions to online backup that were only dreamt of back in the late nineties. Some solutions I recommend: MobileMe (what I use, but not for everyone), Mozy, BackJack, and JungleDisk. (No, those aren't referral links—would I try pulling that on you?).

Backup Strategies for OS X

A question often asked on the Apple Discussion boards and by my fellow Mac users is: "How/when should I backup my Mac, and what is the best/quickest and most reliable way to do it." This is a complicated question, as there are many different ways one can go about backing up OSX.

There are three basic ways that I would like to cover in this article:

  1. Using Disk Utility to quickly and easily make a complete, bootable backup to an external drive;
  2. Using Carbon Copy Cloner to either (a) do the same thing as Disk Utility, or (b) to clone a certain folder or group of folders (another program that does a great job is SuperDuper!);
  3. Drag-and-drop copy files and folders for a quick backup of important files.

Connecting to a Windows File Share from a Mac

Here's a quickie: A lot of Mac users are on Windows networks, and need to sometimes connect to a shared folder on their network to share/retrieve documents with other Windows users. The easiest way to do this is to type in the path to the shared folder in the "Connect to Server..." dialog box. To do this, just:

  1. Switch to the Finder.
  2. Choose the "Connect to Server..." menu option in the Go menu (or press Command-K).
  3. Type in the path to your windows shared folder as follows:

smb://SERVER_NAME/share-name/folder-name

Hopefully, a dialog box will open up asking you to type in your username and password. If you need to find out the path of your windows shared folder, ask your network administrator. (note: private shared folders usually have a dollar sign after them—for example, smb://SERVER_NAME/share-name/folder-name$).

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