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May 10th, 2015 - Safari Updates the Clear Browser History

Safari and all other web browsers give you the ability to clear your browser history. Sometime over the last year it appears that Apple has updated Safari to allow you to clear your history based on periods of time. Now, you can just clear your browser history for the last hour. This is really handy if you’re doing web development.

Check out this video demonstration showing how it’s done.

March 29th, 2015 - Re-run the Setup Assistant on OS X Mavericks

I recently needed to install OS X Mavericks on an old iMac. To make sure that everything was fine I ran the machine through the full Setup Assistant — setting up a user with my name in the process. Rather than reloading Mavericks on the iMac to clean it off, I did a quick Google search on how to get Mavericks to re-run the Setup Assistant, and I was lucky to find a post on the now defunct TUAW that describes the process.

If you hate using the command line it might be easier to reload OS X. If you’re feeling brave or do understand the CLI here’s how you can clean up your Mac and start back at the Setup Assistant:

Boot into single-user mode by holding down Command-S on the keyboard during startup

At the command-line prompt,

type mount -uw /
 rm -R /Library/Preferences
 rm -R /Users/YOURUSERNAME/  cd /var/db/dslocal/nodes/Default
 ls (to list the files)

Delete the file that is named after your user account with a .plist extension. For example, for user name “joe” you’d type rm joe.plist

rm /private/var/db/.AppleSetupDone

At this point, OS X restarts and the Setup Assistant launches automatically, initially asking you what language you want to set up the Mac in. Since you’re going through this entire dog-and-pony show to set up the Mac for a new user, you don’t want to run Setup Assistant again, so just press Command-Q at the language screen, then click the Shut Down button.

When the new owner boots up their shiny “new to them” Mac, they’re greeted with the Setup Assistant just as if they’d picked up the device at their local Apple Store.

February 24th, 2015 - How do I turn off the volume sound on my Mac?

sound preferences paneI just came across a really neat tip that solves a problem that kind of drives me crazy. When you adjust the volume of your Mac using the keyboard it makes a little doink sound as the volume goes up or down. I’ve rarely found this useful although I guess is you weren’t sure if your sound was working it’s nice to get a little confirmation. Basically though, I think it’s kind of annoying.

You can silence the sound two ways.

Your first option is to hold down the Shift key while adjusting the volume with the keyboard. The second option is through the System Preferences Sound Preference Pane. Launch the Preference Pane and click Sound Effects. Then, de-select “Play feedback when volume is changed.” Doink is now gone.

Once you’ve turned off the sound effects in the Preference pane holding shift while adjusting the volume will play the sound.

February 22nd, 2015 - Keep Your Mac Desktop clutter free with Hocus Focus

Hocus Focus hides unused windowsI usually start out the day with a nice clean Mac desktop free from the clutter of application windows. Over the cource of the day that changes until by the end I have so many app windows open I often lose track of which application window I need to work in.

If you’re like me then you should check out Hocus Focus – a Mac menu bar app which automatically hides inactive apps.

On launch, Hocus Focus will default to hiding inactive apps after 30 seconds. I’m currently trying it out so that’s a reasonable default setting for me. If you want more fine grained control over your applications Hocus Focus let’s you configured the settings on a per-app basis. You can also disable hiding for certain applications.

I can see me using these extra controls to hide things like Glui after I’ve taken a screen shot but keep Omnifocus open all day because I’m always bouncing in and out of it.

Due to restrictions that Apple imposes on developers, Hocus Focus isn’t available in the App Store. You can download it for free directly from the developers website.

February 14th, 2015 - How do I export images from Evernote and Skitch

Skitch is a Mac application that will let you quickly take screen shots of your screen. When Skitch first came out it was a brilliant application and made my life a lot easier. A few years ago Skitch was purchased by Evernote and ever since then I think it’s gone down hill.

I was an early Evernote adopter when I purchased my iPhone. The idea of having notes that would synchronize across my iPhone, desktop and laptop was really appealing to me. Overtime though I came to loathe it mainly because it’s a walled garden that doesn’t easily allow you to get your files out. Anything saved to Evernote from Skitch can’t be easily exported back to an image format from within Evernote.

Luckily, the one saving grace with Evernote is rich support for Apple Script. After a little Googling, I found a script by developer Chris Sauvé that goes through Evernote and extracts all of the images. The script itself had a bug in it, so like any self respecting hacker I cloned the Git repo and fixed it.

If you want to export your images here’s what you need to do.

Download the script from here. If you don’t use git, don’t worry, just click the “Download Zip” button

Extract the Zip file somewhere.

Open up a Terminal window and change directory to the evernote-extractor directory

Run the following command: osacompile -o "Evernote Image Extractor.scpt" "Evernote Image Extractor.applescript"

This will turn the applescript into a binary that you can then run in order to extract your images.

Now, run the compiled binary by typing osascript "Evernote Image Extractor.scpt"