09
Nov
11

Winter is approaching and so is static-time

It’s that time of year when the air is dryer and, thus, we need to be more careful to ground ourselves before touching our computers. Even a small static shock can affect the computer, causing it to mis-function, so please try to ground yourself by touching something metal (other than your computer) before sitting down at the keyboard. Your computer will appreciate it.

12
Jun
11

Slow-responding Mac App Store

After the OS X 10.6.7 update was issued, I noticed that the Mac App Store was much slower to respond. The app itself launched quickly, but the majority of the window remained a solid light-gray for a minute or two. Moving the mouse cursor over it revealed a spinning beach-ball. My first thought was that the Mac App Store had somehow crashed and, right-clicking on it’s icon in the Dock showed a “Force Quit” item that seemed to support that thought.

However, if I was patient and waited a minute or two, it started working correctly until I clicked on one of the buttons at the top to move to Update or Categories or, well, you get the point. It then went back to a spinning beach-ball for another few moments. Patience rewarded me with it going back to normal, though it was frustrating trying to just check for updates, let alone trying to look at new apps where the process repeated itself.

A bit of research showed that I wasn’t alone and that many others were experiencing the same thing. Per the suggested fixes, I repaired permissions with Disk Utility, downloaded and reinstalled the 10.6.7 Combo Updater, but the problem remained.

There was one other mentioned “solution” and that is to disable the Certificate Revocation List in Keychain Access’ preferences. I say it’s a “solution” only in that it does let the Mac App Store return to its originally snappy performance, but I’m not a fan of disabling security solely to run an app. So, I’ve written a small Applescript that I launch immediately before running the Mac App Store. It disables the Certificate Revocation List (using the UNIX defaults write command), displays a dialog window that suggests I turn it back on as soon as possible, and presents me with two buttons (“Leave OFF and exit” and “Turn ON and exit”). I then run the Mac App Store, run my updates or look at new apps, exit the Mac App Store, and then go back to the Applescript dialog window and click the “Turn ON and exit” button that re-enables the Certificate Revocation List.

This allows me to use the Mac App Store without the long waits, while turning off the Certificate Revocation List for the shortest amount of time.

The Applescript is below. As always make sure you create a backup of your original com.apple.security.revocation.plist file before you run it the first time, in case you mis-typed the Applescript. Once I created the CRL_off_on.scpt file and verified it worked, I then did a save-as and saved it as an .app to my Desktop to I’d have quick access to it. If you add a comment with your email address, indicating that you’d like a copy of the Applescript, I’ll be glad to email it to you.

25
May
11

Apple releases info on removing MacDefender malware

As mentioned by MacWorld, Apple has just released info and step-by-step instructions for removing the MacDefender malware (also known as MacSecurity and MacProtector) from a Mac if it’s been “infected”. It must be stressed that MacDefender is not a virus, but a bit of phishing malware whose sole goal is to dupe you into giving them your credit card information. As everyone else has said, always know up-front who you’re giving your personal and financial info to.

Apple’s knowledge-base article with removal instructions can be found here.

24
May
11

further editing the Mail app “Previous Recipients” list

Yesterday I wrote about editing Apple’s Mail “Previous Recipeients” list, showing how to edit a single record to include a missing first/last name. The next obvious question that someone posed was, if you had a company that was changing its domain name, whether there was an easier way to update the records. There is!

As I suggested to the “question-asker”, copy the MailRecents-v4.abcdmr file to the Desktop first, so the commands could be tried out before running them on the live file.


The important command from above is

set ZEMAIL = replace(ZEMAIL,’somewhere.com’,’newdomain.com’)

where the generic form of the command is

set FIELDNAME = replace(FIELDNAME,’what-to-replace’,’replace-with-this’)

If the results are as you expect/want, then perform it on your live ‘MailRecents-v4.abcdmr’ file.

23
May
11

Editing the Mail app “Previous Recipients” list

As you send emails through Apple’s built-in Mail app, it keeps track of recipients that you send messages to. This comes in very handy when you have an email address at one point and then forget what it is, as the auto-complete will show you email addresses that you’ve sent to before while you’re filling in the TO/CC/BCC fields. You can see your list of people that you’ve previously emailed by selecting Window > Previous Recipients from the menu.

This morning, I came across a post on the Mac OS X Hints page that I follow wherein someone was showing how to do some bulk deletions from the Mail app’s Previous Recipients list. It was helpful and as I looked at my Previous Recipients list, I realized there were a few people who didn’t have names list, just email addresses. So… I posted a comment to that page/post where I laid out the steps for updating a record, adding first and last names for a specific email address.

WARNING: Make sure you’ve quit out of Mail and Address Book before issuing these commands. Also, it makes sense to make a backup of the “MailRecents-v4.abcdmr” file before running these commands, particularly if you’re not yet comfortable with SQL and sqlite.

Using Terminal:

12
May
11

Apple’s mid-2011 iMacs use custom hard drive connector

Just a quick tidbit. I came across an article from AppleInsider that indicates that the mid-2011 iMacs feature “a new custom 7-pin serial ATA connector and proprietary temperature control system that will make hard drive upgrades difficult for end users.” Based on this info, my recommendation is to order your iMac with the largest hard drive you can afford. Currently, all but the base model offer up to a 2TB (terabyte) drive… or the 2TB Serial ATA drive and a 256GB solid state drive combo if you want the ultimate in performance and capacity.

You can find that full AppleInsider article here.

05
May
11

Take control over web-surfing tracking

Dan Frakes at MacWorld has just released a review of a new, free Safari extension called Ghostery that allows you to see who is watching your surfing habits and, better yet, control whether they track you or not. As Dan says in his article, lots of site use a combination of hidden scripts and images that provide ad companies and tracking companies with info about “the kinds of sites you visit, which topics you find interesting, and possibly even specific items you’ve purchased.”

Take a few minutes to read the full article and try out Ghostery for yourself. I’ve already installed it on my Mac and I’ve already seen that it works well.

NOTICE: When I tried it against this blog, I did not that WordPress (the company who hosts my blog) does do some minimal tracking. Please know that under no circumstances am I now (or ever will) track you. Feel free to disable the tracking here as well!




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