OSX Hints

Subscribe to OSX Hints feed
Macosxhints.com RSS feed
Updated: 21 hours 53 min ago

Getting Java client apps to run the way you want

Tue, 09/16/2014 - 15:00
I sometimes find the Java setup on my various Apple devices to be a mystery.

Recently, I was trying to get a Java applet to run in the same way on 2 iMacs and my MacBook Air. The applet is a simple vpn client from Juniper that lets me access a Citrix Desktop from any Mac that I can install the Citrix receiver client on so I can work on 'Company stuff' from a large screen iMac when I'm sat at home or from my MacBook when I'm on the road (it works fine over 3/4G).

The first thing is that you have to do some configuring of both Java and Safari to get the applet to run at all.

Once that was all done, I could log in from all my Macs, fire up the applet and establish a secure connection.

On two of the Macs, as soon as I fired up the Citrix app, the Java vpn window would show 'error'. The console showed a Java crash. But on the third Mac, everything worked fi ...

Siri: workaround Content Not Available error

Thu, 09/11/2014 - 15:00
A few weeks ago, a number of people started reporting having trouble with Siri. Phrases like 'Call my wife' or 'Tell my dad' stopped working. Siri knew who those people were but proclaimed 'Uh oh, I don't have a phone number for Jane Isa Doe." and beneath, there's a message: "Content Not Available."

I debugged this for over an hour and on a hunch, found a workaround that seems to work for nearly everyone who has tried it. All you have to do is delete the middle name of the person in *your* contact card where it is stored as a relationship.

I'm not sure why that works; it shouldn't, but it does. That's why I call it a workaround instead of a fix. I figure Apple is mucking around with Siri and perhaps caused a bug or some sort of corruption.

I'd be curious to know from MacOSXHints users whether they are experiencing this problem in the first place and if the workaround works for you, too. I'd also like to understand why this works and why the problem even e ...

Older browser behavior changes in Google search

Thu, 09/04/2014 - 15:00
As of August 29, 2014, Google has decided to intentionally break old browsers. They say it's not a bug, it's by design here, even though Google's support page says it accepts Safari 4 as a fully supported browser.

If you want Google searches to go back to the modern style, you need to change your User-Agent string. For Safari, enable the Develop Window and use an option in there that works. Internet Explorer 9 (Windows) works, for example.

[crarko adds: I don't have an older system active at the moment to try this. It's inevitable that older software becomes obsolete, the same way older hardware does. I think the actual hint here is a reminder that if a site misbehaves, changing the user agent can be an effective troubleshooting tool.]

10.8: Open a specific browser based on the URL

Wed, 08/27/2014 - 15:00
Usually I want to open Gmail in Chrome and URLs pointing to my development server in Firefox. For everything else I use Safari.

There is this nifty free app called LinCastor that enables you to register your own handler for an URL. Although it had beed designed to register your own non-standard URL schemes, it can intercept standard http and https as well.

In LinCastor (which you need to double-click twice to fully open for editing):
  • Add a new URL scheme
  • Choose AppleScript handler
Paste the following code in, (replacing the stub code at the bottom): on handle_url(args) if (|URL| of args starts with "https://mail.google.") then tell application "Google Chrome" open location |URL| of args ...

Setting Up an iOS 7 On-Demand VPN

Wed, 08/20/2014 - 15:00
I'm writing a detailed set of instructions for getting VPN 'on-demand' working with iOS 7.

See Setting Up an iOS 7 On-Demand VPN for the details (it's way too much stuff to post via MacOSXHints, as much as I've been a fan of this site for many years).

The complete set of instructions include: A few comments about this work:
  • One of the primary objectives was to document a setup where the VPN-connected iOS devi ...

Mousecape – Customize Cursors on OS X

Tue, 07/22/2014 - 15:00
Mousecape is a new open source Mac App which is available on GitHub to finally allow you to create and use your own mouse cursors, or 'capes' as the app calls them.

Once you download the app, there is a remastered version of the Svanslös cursor set created by Max Rudberg which is retina-screen ready.

Mousecape is as non-instrusive as possible, never asking you for your password for anything. It works by using private APIs created by Apple to register system cursors so it has no performance hit at all.

Capes, or cursor sets, are applied for as long as display state doesn't change, meaning until you change resolution, monitors, sleep your computer, reboot or logout. However, inside of the application is a helper application that will detect when the cape is reset and will apply it again.

Mousecape is available for free, open source and with no obligations. ...

Make iWork 09 the default and avoid update nagging

Fri, 07/18/2014 - 15:00
Many people continue to use iWork 09 apps, because they contain features missing in the newer versions. However, having the older apps on your system mean a constant nagging from Apple to update to the newer versions. If you do download the newer versions, then it is impossible to make the older apps the default for your documents. The old Get Info » Change All trick doesn't work.

Here's what to do to remedy that.

First, make a backup. Then install the latest iWork apps. Your older versions get moved to a subfolder called iWork 09. That's why you have the backup.

Next, move the NEW apps to an external disk or other partition. You can then restore the 09 apps to the /Applications folder. Or leave them in the subfolder if you prefer.

Having the apps on different volume from the system disk lowers their priority, so the 09 apps in your /Applications folder remain the defaults for your documents. What is more, any fu ...

10.9: Update OS without creating a user on a new Mac

Mon, 07/14/2014 - 15:00
This is my take/an update on las_vegas' hint I found here awhile back for running OS updates without creating a user on a Mac. It is applicable to any system 10.5 and up.

This can be helpful if you have a Time Machine backup that's on a newer OS than your install media, or if you're selling/donating your Mac as it saves the new user having to update things.

First things first, wipe your drive (and zero it if you don't trust the end user of this computer) and reinstall your desired OS.

Once your OS is installed, boot to your install media or the Recovery Partition if available. Open Terminal from the Utilities option in the menubar. In the new Terminal window, type the following:
resetpassword
This will bring up the Password Reset utility. Click Macintosh HD or whatever your HDD is called. You'll notice the only user account that's avail ...

Name Faces in iPhoto efficiently

Thu, 07/10/2014 - 15:00
I've become somewhat obsessed with the faces feature in iPhoto. Currently, I have about 7000 unidentified faces in my library. I knock out a few hundred here and there. It's oddly satisfying, but I go to a lot of large events - events where a lot of people look familiar because they are regulars, but I don't know them. This makes finding faces rather cumbersome, especially since the method of ignoring faces requires the mouse. Everything else can be done with the keyboard. Plus, doesn't track repeatedly ignored faces, so the same faces keep showing up. Well, I've discovered a way to work around these cumbersome limitations.

Doing everything with the keyboard makes things go a lot faster. If you're using the Find Faces feature and skip faces you don't know (because you don't want to pause to use the mouse), the next time you click on Find Faces, you'll be presented with those same unknown faces over and over again. They build up and always get presented in the same order, s ...

10.9: Terminal text shortcuts still work in Safari

Fri, 06/27/2014 - 15:00
I should have stumbled on this one years ago but I have just realised typing in Safari's address bar and unconsciously doing Ctrl+a to go to the start of my query, that it works.

We recall these life saving Unix text editing shortcuts:
  • 'Ctrl+a' : go to start of the line
  • 'Ctrl+e' : go to the eol
  • 'Ctrl+k' : delete all chars to the right of the cursor
I have tested those with success in various standard Dialog Boxes, TextEdit windows andin Safari's address bar; it seems to be a relatively system wide standard. Of course no luck with MS apps, they use their non-standard Alt+arrows (when most other Mac apps use the widely known Ctrl+arrows).

First my sincerest apologies to all those who knew and if there ever was a similar hint since 2003 in the DB. [crarko adds: At the time this hint was originally submitted the site's search function was not working.]

Ever watchful of posting eti ...

Automatically restart Logmein Hamachi

Tue, 06/24/2014 - 15:00
If you are having trouble with Logmein Hamachi starting up correctly, the following script will check to see if the connection is up. If it is, it will attempt to restart and then send you an email when it's done.

You'll need to update these variables with your own data: email_address='XXXXXXX@gmail.com'
hamachi_network="xxx-xxx-xxx" Also update the machine names and IP address (e.g. test_ip_address) in the case statement.

You can use the command hamachi list (from a Terminal window) to get your network ID and IP addresses.

Once you set this up, you can run this from any of your connected machines and it will try to connect to the other machine. If it cannot, it attempts to get Hamachi working again.

Here's the script: ...

Placeholder info for AppleTV in Profile Manager

Fri, 06/20/2014 - 15:00
While importing a placeholder for some iPads into Profile Manager I was peeking through profilemanager.log, when I found this gem. [351] [2014/05/22 16:17:21.942] I: Imported placeholder device "MH-Gary Ho_iPad Mini45", SerialNumber=F7NMXXXXXX84, IMEI=, MEID=, UDID=, DeviceID=, AirplayPassword= What I did next was add a new column AirplayPassword= to the placeholder CSV file and put a password in. I then uploaded the placeholder for an AppleTV and it added the Airplay password to my AppleTV Device in ProfileManager.

Just yesterday I added 20 AppleTVs to Profile Manager, I could have saved a few steps with this hint.

[crarko adds: If you don't know about Apple Profile Manager for OS X Server ...

10.9: Convert gitolite managed git repositories to Xcode Server

Tue, 06/17/2014 - 15:00
So you finally want to take the plunge and convert from gitolite managed repositories and Jenkins to doing everything with Mavericks' Xcode Server? It turns out it's actually not that hard.

Disclaimer: I just figured this process out, everything appears to work (pulling the repository, committing/pushing back to the repository after making changes. I think that everything should be working properly outside of my very basic tests, but they were very limited.

Converting gitolite repositories for Xcode server.
  • Find your repositories folder (for me i had a special 'git' user so the repositories folder was in /Users/git/repositories).
  • Create a tarred gzip file (as admin with following settings) to create carbon copies of the directories preserving ownership and permissions:

    sudo tar cpz -P --exclude .DS_Store -f repositories.tgz /Users/git/repositories
  • ...

Bypass Chromes SSL/certificate blockades

Fri, 06/13/2014 - 15:00
There's something with Chrome (and Firefox as well) that has driven me crazy for some years: when browsing the web via a proxy server while at work I can't access some pages via the HTTPS-protocol.

Chrome and Firefox are showing error messages like this one and this one (sorry, both are in German). Safari just shows a blank page and I'm not able to open that specific web site although I'm sure that this site is not going to harm my computer or myself. For example this problem appears when I try to access my router at home or some other sites having problematic certificates - but they play fine when I'm at home.

Finally I found a solution for the problem.

Unfortunately there's neither a visible setting to set Chrome to warn me but allow the warning to be ignored, nor is that one in about:flags. But you can start Chr ...

We're back

Wed, 06/11/2014 - 15:00
As I'm sure most of you have noticed, MacOSXHints was not in action since mid-May. There was an issue with the site software, but I'm really happy to say that is now fixed, and I look forward to resuming publication of new hints. This is especially pleasing as the Public Beta of OS X Yosemite approaches, and the new goodies in iOS 8 as well.

I'll just say it's good to be back.

Craig A.

iOS: Maps wrong destination Work-around

Wed, 06/11/2014 - 15:00
It just so happens that the building where I work has no street address, as it is part of a university campus. When I asked Siri where I was, it gave me an address, which I put as my work address in my contact card. However, whenever I asked Siri to give me directions to work, it would lead me astray - about a mile down the road. Yet when I double-checked by asking Siri where I was, it aid I was at the address previously reported. I also discovered that if I manually touch the address in my contact card and touch Directions to here I would get directed to the correct spot! I played around with Siri today and figured out a work-around so that I could ask Siri for directions to work and get there properly.

I believe this is all due to some sort of Apple Maps bug. Manually touching to get directions versus asking Siri for directions to the same address should give you directions to the same place. I suspected that Siri was using different address mappings than Maps was ...