The Joy of Migration

I recently purchased a MacBook Pro. I was eagerly expecting a seamless setup experience.

The experience was not seamless. The good news is I have a working system. The bad news is it took a while to get here. I’m writing my experience to help others who may also be setting up a new Mac and trying to get things to work.

Categorized as Mac OS

Strange Safari Color Bug

I’m experiencing a strange Safari 3 bug on Leopard involving color on web pages. It seems that sometimes a page will “lose” its color past a certain point on a page after I scroll down. I can’t pinpoint the cause to any particular page or situation. Have you had this problem?

I’ve already reported it to Apple (Radar #5608552) but if you have had this problem, let me know and I’ll pass it along.

Screenshots and more info after the jump.

Protecting Your Laptop with Undercover 2

Undercover logoUndercover, a theft recovery solution for Macs, has been updated to 2.0 and is free to all existing users. This release includes a new “Plan B” feature: if you Mac is disconnected from the internet for two months, the Mac will become unusable until reconnected. This release also includes support for Leopard and takes up less resources.

In the event your Mac is stolen, Undercover transmits iSight pictures, screenshots, and network information to Undercover’s servers, where the information is given to law enforcement to help recover your computer. If this doesn’t work, Undercover simulates a hardware failure to encourage the thief to either sell the computer or take it in for repair. Because Undercover knows when network information has changed, they can determine when the computer changes hands. When it does, they then tell the computer to display a “this computer is stolen” message and make the computer unusable.

Fast User Switching menuPersonally, I have my MacBook setup with my personal user account and a password-less “Guest” user account with Fast User Switching turned on. (Note that this Guest account is not the “new” Leopard-style guest account: it’s a normal account that won’t delete data on logout.) When I want to put my MacBook to sleep, I select “Login Window” from the Fast User Switching menu extra, and then click the Sleep button at the Login Window.

If my computer is then stolen, the thief won’t know the password to my user account, so they will have to use the Guest account. The Guest account will retain data, which will be helpful as further evidence when the computer is recovered. If the Mac is then connected to the internet, Undercover will activate and begin sending mugshots of the thief using the computer and screenshots of what the thief is doing. By using a firmware password, the thief won’t be able to wipe the disk, and he won’t be able to stop Undercover, even if he knew it was installed, because he won’t have the privileges as a standard user to do so.

I wish this “Plan B” was adjustable to a shorter timeframe for even greater security, because my MacBook is connected to the internet at least every 2 days. Nevertheless, it’s a welcome addition, and with an upgrade price of free, it makes it even better.

Undercover is $49, and they offers a $10 discount to students, which is nice if you’re in college like me.

iPhone: It’s the small things

Being without an iPhone, I’ve quietly wondered why the iTunes icon was placed on the right side on the home screen instead of the left like everything else. 37signals explains the genius of how the iTunes icon is placed on the iPhone… right above to the “docked” iPod icon. It makes a lot more sense now. Equally interesting is how Apple seems to group icons by color according to their application’s function on the iPhone.

Calendar Editing on the iPod Touch May Be Added

If this MacRumors post is to be believed, full Calendar editing will soon be possible on the iPod touch, with Steve himself labeling the lack of editing as “a bug that will be fixed in a future software update.”

I’ve always wanted this feature and sent feedback to Apple about it. The touch would fit my needs well: a device to manage events, play music, and do light browsing over campus Wi-Fi. I think contacts make more sense on an actual phone.

Quickly Accessing Related Items in iTunes

You know those little arrow links that appear next to track names and artists in iTunes? Typically, clicking them takes you to the iTunes Store page for that item. What I didn’t know is that Option-clicking them will take you to related items in your music library, a feature I’ve always wanted.

The best part: you can invert the behavior so that the arrow takes you to your library’s items by default. Simply type “defaults write invertStoreLinks -bool YES” (without quotes) into a Terminal and restart iTunes. Enjoy!

Thanks to John F. Whitehead for publishing this hack.

Categorized as Apple, Hacks