Zeke Franco

Digital stalking made easy.

Here you can find most of my what I’m doing around the Web. All of my series of tubes point here—at least the tubes with feeds.

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Open Quickly: Coda Quick Tip

Panic has added a new feature in Coda version 1.6 called Open Quickly. It’s basically spotlight for the files within your site’s project. In the lower left-hand corner you can click on the gear if you want to adjust which folder Open Quickly is searching. By default the Open Quickly will search the local root folder you have set-up for the site your working on. To access Open Quickly use the shortcut command ctrl + Q. Then just start typing in a few characters of the file name or folder you want to access.quasarkitten.net | twitter.com/quasarkitten

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The New Apple Line

Gradated Screens?

CC: Motionblur Studios

I was on a mission last night to check out the new Apple line up. I was set on testing the new Apple notebook screens. I focused on the screens because I was worried about the screen being gradated. Any one who has done design on a 20in. iMac knows what I'm talking about. The display washes out color towards the bottom of the screen. The 24in iMac doesn't have this problem. So I tested out the new Al MacBook and MacBook Pro screens. The gradiant was very minimal on the MacBook—pretty much a non-issue. The MacBook Pro has a clear screen very beautiful. The main difference between the screens seem to be saturation. The Macbook Pro's screen has a better, more accurate saturation compared to the MacBook. The MacBook is slightly washed out. It very slight.

CC: iBuffet

I wasn't able to check out the 24in LED screens, because they only had one and some creepy dude was on it the whole time. So I'm still trying to decide on which Mac to get. I'm leaning towards the MacBook, because I really love the size. The MacBook pro seems so big to me, but I would love to have a dedicated video card and FireWire. I'm thinking that I'll use the savings from the MacBook and put it towards a Mac Pro—I'm hoping for a redesign this spring.quasarkitten.net | twitter.com/quasarkitten

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Use Automator to Auto-Install Widgets

I posted an article called Automated Dashboard Widget Installer on July 4th, 2007 about a workflow I wrote that automatically installs dashboard widgets for me. Leopard contains a new version of Automator which breaks my workflow. So I’ve created a new workflow for OSX 10.5 Leopard. The BOMAchiever in Leopard has seems to have been improved. In Tiger if I selected five or more .zip files it would choke when trying to unzip them all at once—at least on my system. Now that I’m running Leopard this has been fixed. So if you download ten widgets that are contained in .zip files, you can install them all at once. Instructions

Download the Install User Widget(s) workflow file Double-click to unzip it Double click the .workflow file which will open it in Automator Then Select Save as Plug-in—a dialog will pop-up Name the Plug-in (In the text field Save Plug-in As:) Make sure the Drop-down list is set to Finder (see Figure 1 below) Press Save

Figure 1 I have also created a video demo which shows how to use the workflow and how to install the .workflow file. You can watch the HD version on Vimeo if you to actually want be able to read the screen text.

Click on image to play video.Use Automator to Auto-Install Widgets

If you want to learn more about Automator or maybe just download some other workflows then check out automator.us. Automator.us is the personal website of Sal Soghoian who is the AppleScript product manager at Apple. If you head over to twit.tv, Sal has done some video podcasts showing some really cool things you can do with automator. Just do a search for automator to find the shows.

Install User Widget(s) by Zeke Franco is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.

Based on a work at http://www.quasarkitten.net. quasarkitten.net | twitter.com/quasarkitten

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MarsEdit 2 Review

MarsEdit 2 was released about two months ago. So I thought I’d give it a try. I’m not going to go over every feature, just the experience I’ve gained in the last month while using the trial period. I’m going to cover: Creating & Editing PostsUsing an External EditorMedia Panel’s Flickr Integration Draft Preview Overall Pros ConsMy Blog's ConfigurationI have sort of strange configuration… I started blogging in 2004 and at this time I didn't know anything about HTML or blog engines, so I started my blog on blogger. Since then I have throughly learned HTML and CSS. I'm planning on moving to a self-hosted WordPress site by February of next year, but as of now using my hand-coded template with blogger. Blogger pushes all of the content on to my own server. This is bit unconventional since most blogger blogs are usually hosted on blogspot. This may explain some of the “bugs” described later.Creating and Editing PostsCreating and editing blog posts is the main feature of MarsEdit. Starting a post is as simple as clicking on New Post (Screenshot 1 Item 1). Once you’ve set up MarsEdit to access your blog, you can start editing a post by first selecting the desired post then click on Edit Post. (Screenshot 1 Item 2) At this point, whether you selected Edit Post or New Post the editor window will popup. (See Screenshot 2) In this window you can write up or edit your posts. After you’ve written you can start adding the related tags or labels for you post. To do this select Options (Screenshot 2 Item 1) and started adding label/tags to your post. Finally when your done you can select Send to Weblog (Screenshot 2 Item 2) to post to your site, or just select Save as Draft (Screenshot 2 Item 3) which will save the document locally if you haven't quite finished it yet. Screenshot 1 Screenshot 2Using an External Editor Screenshot 3 Screenshot 4I prefer to do my markup stuff in Textmate, so if you go to the MarsEdit preferences, (See Screenshot 3) select the Edit tab then towards the bottom there is a drop-down list labeled Edit With external editor:. This list it will show the well know editors: BBEdit, SubEthaEdit, TextMate, TextWrangler, WriteRoom. (see screenshot 4) If you use something different such as Taco HTML editor, or Coda, you can just select Other… and then browse to your desired application. MarsEdit has assigned the keyboard shortcut CMD + j as a way to open your draft in your desired external editor. When shortcut activated MarsEdit will open a new document in your chosen application. The document is usually named something like: ODBEditor-com.red-sweater.marseit-0000001. In a sense this is a temp file. MarsEdit automatically takes the text you had in the New Post window and put this in the new document, when you close this new document all the text you had in the external editor will now appear in the New Post dialog.Media Panel Screenshot 5The media panel is part of the editing window. See Screenshot 5 for the media panel and Screenshot 2 Item 5 show you how to open the media panel. It allows you to insert images from from you website, hard drive or flickr. I'm just going to cover the Flickr portion. The integration with flickr is very seamless. From this panel you can browse and search all of your flickr photos. You can choose to search by either the image's name or by tags. The strange thing I've found is that you can't search by multiple tags or by multiple words that are in the name unless they are in order. Here is an example. Let's say you have a image named Cheese Ball from the Moon and it is tagged as cheese, food, dairy. If you do a search for “from moon” you won't get a result, but had you type “from the moon” the image will show up. Also you can only search using one tag at a time. Search for “dairy” will bring up the image but search for “food dairy” will not. Despite the searching quirks it is still very easy to find the image you are looking for.Once you've found the image you are looking for it is very easy to add it to your post. All you have to do is click on the image you want, then if needed select the photo size and alignment position and then press insert. You can also just drag the image from the panel on to the place you'd like the image to be. The sizing options you have are square, thumbnail, small, medium, large, and original—same sizes flickr gives you. I don't recommend using the align feature, just leave it on unaligned. This is because code used to align the image is the align attribute which is deprecated presentational markup.Draft PreviewOne of my favorite features of MarsEdit is the ability to preview your drafts before you post them. It's easy to set up if you know HTML and CSS, but not so easy if you don't. I hope to do a post in the future that will go in depth on how to setup a preview. Once you’ve setup you preview template view you preview your draft can be done by clicking on preview. (Screenshot 2 Item 4)Overall Pros Editing and posting a blog entry is extremely easy and a pleasure to use. Flickr integration is simple to setup up and and use.The Preview Drafts feature is extremely useful.I really like the Options sidebar that allow an easy way to add tags to you posts.ConsView on Web feature doesn’t work for me. This may be due to my strange configuration. I haven’t been checking this feature often, but today (03/14/08) I did and it works. I’m;using version 2.1.2. If you don’t know HTML or CSS then setting up the Draft Preview may be difficult.Flickr searching needs to be improved.quasarkitten.net | twitter.com/quasarkitten

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Leopard Release

The Leopard release was pretty neat. It was the first time I’ve ever waited in line for a product. In fact I wasn’t even there to get Leopard—I had already pre-ordered it. I was just there for the free t-shirt. Unfortunately I forgot to bring my camera, so the only pics I took was with my razr; which sucks. I’ll be getting an iPhone when it has 3G wireless internet support. Anyways I had a pretty good time, I met a few people, and most importantly I got my free t-shirt. The one question I have is where are all the ‘Justin Long’-looking Mac people? We all look like a bunch of dorks. heehee. Maybe all the ‘cool’ people were in the back…

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The Apple Aluminum Keyboard

I broke down and bought the new Aluminum Apple wired keyboard. I went my local Apple store the day after the announcement to get iLife and iWork (possible future post), but unfortunately they didn’t have the new iMac out so I couldn’t try the new keyboard. Well this Sunday I went in to exchange my wireless Mighty Mouse, I’ve went through two, I’m now on my third, I love the mouse, but the stupid scroll ball nipple thing always breaks. (another possible future post) So since I was there I tried out the new keyboard and decided to buy it. I went with the wired one because I need the extended keyboard.As for my review of it… I love it. It looks OK in photos, but looks great in person and on my desk. I love the way it feels and ergonomically it is much more comfortable for me. I’m stuck on a computer probably 9-12 hours a day so ergonomics are important to me. At work I use a Dell keyboard and an evoluent vertical mouse (possible future post #3) and at home I use a Wacom intuos3 4x6 tablet and Wireless Mighty Mouse.Good BitsBasically if you like the Macbook keyboard you’ll like this keyboard. I was always of fan of "clicky" keyboards, but I enjoy the soft touch this one has. It’s great when your blogging at 4A.M. since it is quite. I also like the extremely low profile; it keeps me from bending my wrist too much. Finally the USB ports are 2.0! I hooked up my Canon EOS 350D and downloaded 30 or so raw images in a minute or two. It was nice not have to worry about where to plug the cable in. The port are recessed so when you do hook up a USB cable to the keyboard you don’t have to see the fat knob part of the USB cable sticking out.Negative BitsI haven’t fully been able to get the "special keys" functioning. I did install the keyboard software update (1.1), which got the media, volume, and brightness keys working, but the exposeé key, and dashboard keys don’t work. I haven’t spent much time fiddling with it so if I get them working I’ll post back here. Lastly the USB ports will only power a high powered device if the keyboard is hookup to the new Al Imacs. Bummer.Flickr: Apple Al Keyboard Photos09/11/07 Edit: Keyboard Software Update 1.2 was released today and has fixed all the above issues for me.quasarkitten.net | twitter.com/quasarkitten

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Open With... Menu shows Duplicates.

Edit 01/03/2008: This article was written for Tiger. But I’ve added the new terminal command for Leopard below. Remember use this information at your own risk!

I install a good amount of Apps each week. Which means I get a lot of clutter. One of the tool’s I’ve used since I have been on the Mac is AppZapper. It great for uninstalling all the lame preference files that don’t get removed when you drag an App to the trash. This reduces the worries of worry about having a bunch of crud all over you hard drive.

The dilemma I had was when Apps update themselves. I’m a web developer/design student. Being such I’m always installing and updating different browsers to do testing. I also have multiple programs for editing html and/or other markup/programming languages. So I noticed the problem this week when right-clicking an html file and finding that I have a bunch of options.

Now, I like having a bunch of options, but why do I have the same App listed multiple times? It is because a lot of Mac Apps update themselves by downloading the new .app file, then putting the old .app file to the trash, and then placing the new .app file into the Applications folder. Apparently doing this will cause the updated version of the App to get added to file association list again which causes you seeing the same App twice in the “Open with” contextual menu. At least that is what my assumption is… Solution So what’s the solution? It appears to be a long command in the terminal. Tiger Terminal Solution /System/Library/Frameworks/ApplicationServices.framework/Frameworks/LaunchServices.framework/Support/lsregister -kill -r -domain local -domain system -domain user Right-click and choose Save as to Download text file of code for Tiger.

Leopard Terminal Solution /System/Library/Frameworks/CoreServices.framework/Versions/A/Frameworks/LaunchServices.framework/Versions/A/Support/lsregister -kill -r -domain local -domain system -domain user Right-click and choose Save as to Download text file of code for Leopard.

Here is what it looks like in the terminal. The terminal doesn’t give you any sort of feedback so to test just right-click an item and see if the problem as been fixed. I was happy to see it didn’t require a restart. I was able to find the information in a post called How to rebuild the LaunchServices database from the Mac OS X hints website. The article details what the command does as well as the commands options are. I’ve only tested this on an Intel Macbook running Mac OS X.4 Tiger, so I can not vouch for other systems. If the only problem you are having is that Apps that are no longer installed are still showing up in the “Open with” contextual menu then try this tip from Apple.com. I tried this before I tried the terminal command and it didn”t work for the duplicated apps.quasarkitten.net | twitter.com/quasarkitten

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One Year, One Mac, and Seven Hard Drives

I’ve been on a mac for about thirteen months. Prior to that I had been following mac news and podcasts for two years, but at the time I couldn’t afford a new computer. Unfortunetly by the time I was ready to purchase Steve announced the Intel switch. I decided to delay my purchase until both laptop lines went Intel so I could make the best decision. Now I know that during this time everyone said if you need a Mac, buy one, its not like a ibook or powerbook is going to be useless in a year. I agree with that statement, but if you already ready have a moderately fast computer, I already had a great self-built PC, I think there is less of a hurry.

I went for the macbook. Mainly because I new I was going to be buying a powermac now a mac pro in the future so I didn’t see the need to have a super fast video card. Plus I just like the white plastic better. :) So now I’m gearing up for school in the fall and Intelm hoping on getting a Mac Pro sometime this fall. I’m kind of waiting for upgrades of the CPUs, video card options, and hopefully a new redesigned case. Maybe this is more like hoping.

This past weekend was basically used for backup, backup and more backing up. I found myself with one group of HFS+ drives, another group of NTFS drives, and one 500GB FAT32 drive with a mixture of Mac and PC stuff on it so I could transfer one thing to another. The only thing I use my PC for now is to download podcasts, since I had all my subscriptions and music library on my PC. So I bought Superduper (blog-review, podcast interview w/ the developer) and got to work. It was very simple I backed up each NTFS drive to a disk image on one of my HFS+ drives then reformated each NTFS drive to HFS+. Then the disk image was blasted back onto the newly formatted drive. SuperDuper made this really easy to do.

Here are the steps I used to back up one of my drives.

General Interface Notice in the interface it tells you in plain English what is going to happen.

Pick the drive you want to copy.

Pick the drive you want to backup to.

Select the type of backup you want to do.

Click Options to choose settings:

General Options Smart update is feature you don’t get in the free version. Its definitely worth the price as its function is to read the source drive for any changes then update them on the destination drive. Of course the first time you do a back up will have to copy everything over.

Advanced Options

The next question people usually have is “How did you hook the internal drives to you Macbook?” Part of the reason which made this easy was my AMS Venus T4 RAID box (the T4 has been updated to the T4U). Its able to connect up to four IDE drives. These drives can set it up to be seen as 4 seperate drives, one combined drive, or 2 separate drives. The device doesn’t require four drives to be connected. The T4 can work with one, two, three, or four drives connected. Also the drives don’t need to be equal in size. It doesn’t do automatic RAID 5 like the Drobo, but it is $375.00 cheaper. OS X can create a RAID 5 from the drives, but software RAIDs are not considered as reliable or robust as hardware RAIDs. I have had the Venus T4 for about 12 months and I’ve never had a problem with it, I just hope they come out with a SATA drive compatible one that has Firewire 800 out. The last part of my setup was a 500GB Western Digital My Book. This is a pretty barebones external drive, but the price is great, and this drive is only used as a third backup for offsite storage. Remember if you house gets robbed or burnt down, all you data will be gone too. This now brings me to my favorite feature of SuperDuper. It has the ability to backup a hard drive to an encrypted disk image. This way you don’t have to worry about partitioning the backup drive or buy one backup drive for every drive you have. I have three drives backup to my WD My Bookquasarkitten.net | twitter.com/quasarkitten

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Automated Dashboard Widget Installer

Edit 01/01/08: This workflow only works in Tiger. I’ve created a new and improved workflow for Leopard. The new one doesn’t work in Tiger, so if your still using 10.4 stick to the workflow described in the article below.

It has been a constant debate since Mac OS X.4 Tiger was released on the usefulness of Dashboard. One of the things that has bothered me about dashboard is installing widgets. It is fairly simple if you only download one widget every once in a while. But I usually go to Apple’s widget page and download five to ten widgets at a time. I usually don’t even keep half of them, but I like to test new ones out. So to explain the problem I’ll have to describe the typical installation methods.You go to Apple - Downloads - Widgets (or any other website you’d like) pick out the widgets you like to download. Widgets are almost always packaged as a .zip file, so you end up with a bunch of .zips on you desktop. From here you open them all which then puts a bunch of .wdgt files on your desktop. I find that selecting them all at once and trying to open them usually results in Apple’s uncompressing program BOMarchivehelper.app choking. Generally only when I have more than four times selected. (This is important for later) So it’s more of a pain in the butt because to extract them I can only do 3 or 4 at a time. So anyway, your now done extracting them, you have now have 10 .zip files and 10 .wdgt file on your desktop. To install them you can either double click the .wdgt files or just move them to ~/Library/Widgets.Then move the .zips to the trash.I found this process very tedious after a year of using my mac. So I took advantage of one my favorite features in Tiger—Automator. I wont go through all the steps that make up the workflow as you can view them yourself once you download the file. Basically how it works is you select the .zip files that you downloaded from where ever you get your dashboard widgets, you right-click (or control-click) them select Automator then select Install User Widget (or whatever you named it). At this point the workflow will move the extract the .wdgt file to your Users Widget folder and then put the .zip file in the trash. Since BOMarchiverhelper.app chokes only select 3 or 4 .zips at a time. Installation Instructions: Download my Install User Widget workflow file Unzip it Double click the .workflow file which will open Automator Then Select Save as Plug-in Name the Plug-in and make sure Drop-down list is set to Finder (see image below) I have also created a video demo which shows how it works and how to install the .workflow file. You can download the HD 720p video file (format: Quicktime h.264 Size: 9.3MB) if you to actually want be able to read the screen text. To download just right-click (control-click) and select Save As.

If you want to learn more about Automator or maybe just download some other workflows then check out automator.us. This is the personal website of Sal Soghoian who is the Applescript product manger at Apple. If you head over to twit.tv, Sal has done some video podcasts showing some really cool things you can do with automator. Just do a search for automator to find the shows.

Install User Widget – Tiger by Zeke Franco is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.

Based on a work at http://www.quasarkitten.net. quasarkitten.net | twitter.com/quasarkitten

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Ubuntu 7.10 Feisty Fawn on a Macbook

Here is a screen capture of Ubuntu running in Parallels on my Macbook. There are some screen shots of the installation process in my Ubuntu Linux Flickr set.

Music by: Orbital – P.E.T.R.O.L.

Software used:

Ubuntu 7.04 Feisty Fawn Parallels iShowU Editing software

iMovie HD Quicktime Pro

Here is the direct link to the Ubuntu wallpaper I created. quasarkitten.net | twitter.com/quasarkitten

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How to Properly Clean a Mighty Mouse.

I recently had a problem with my scroll ball on my wireless mighty mouse. I couldn’t scroll down so I did a google search to see if others were having this problem and I found an apple support page that describes how to properly clean the scroll ball. This page also links to a video which shows how to do this. This is pretty obvious, but I’d thought I’d post it anyways. Apple’s Support doc The method described by apple’s support page did work for me, but I think it is very annoying that after most of us have made the transition away from ball mice to optical or laser mice Apple brings out a scroll wheel that is a BALL, so now I stuck cleaning out the scroll ball.I do like the mouse and the main reason I bought it was that it is nice to have a bluetooth mouse that I can pack along with my macbook. I know their are others, but this seemed like the best choice for me. I wish the Logitech MX Revolution was made in bluetooth, I’d love to have that mouse. They do make the Logitech V270 Cordless Optical Notebook Mouse for Bluetooth , but it isn’t nearly as feature rich as the mx rev, and not as sleek as the mighty mouse. I really do like the mouse though, the 360 scroll ball is great for Google Earth, Photoshop, iMovie. One thing I really like about the mouse is the fourth ‘button’—the one that you squeeze. I have set this button up that if I squeeze it, I get Exposé, F9, that shows all the open windows. I’ve added modifier keys to this so if I hold down the cmd key instead I get the show desktop function of Exposé. The opt plus the fourth button will activate Exposé’s show all window from the particular app your working in, F10. And lastly if I hold down the opt and the cmd keys it will activate the Dashboard, F12.

Broken Scroll Ball Update 10/12/07: About two months after I wrote this post my scroll ball died. I went to the Genius Bar and they tried to clean it, but nothing worked so they gave me a new one. Three months later the same thing happened with the new mouse. So now I’m on my third Mighty Mouse. The guys at the Genius Bar said they haven’t seen this problem before, so I’m not sure why the scroll ball keeps breaking. My best guess would be, because I have sweaty-ish hands… Now even though it sucks that I’m on my third mouse I have admit that Apple’s service has been great. Both times I was at the Genius Bar, it only took five minutes to get a new mouse. The best thing about the exchange is that when ever I get a new mouse it comes with a brand new warranty. Most companies only honor the product until the initial year is finished. i.e. If you exchange the product after eight months of ownership most companies will only cover the new product for an additional four months. The only time they deviate from this is when your warranty has less than 90 days left, then by default they usually always give you 90 days. Apple gives you a full one year, even if you had the product for 364 days. Now I’m pretty sure they don’t do this with computers, but I always buy AppleCare.

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