I'm always so pleased when I find a way round some exasperating computer problem that I thought I'd share my moments of triumph ...

Friday 29 November 2013

Quickly change to an open application

Sometimes it's difficult to return to a file or an application that's open by clicking an open window in the usual way. Here are two ways:

In System Preferences, set one of the corners of your desktop so that when you move the pointer into it it shows you either Mission Control - all the windows and applications that are open - or just the applications.

Or, press cmd-tab. You can then tab across the row of your open applications and stop on the one you want to return to. Neat and quick.

Year Walk, a well creepy way to waste your time

What, games? Of course I don't have time to play games on my iPhone. Obviously ... Oh dear, Year Walk. What creepy graphics, story, even the sounds ... Good heavens is that the time?

I admit I did need the guide, it's quite challenging.

Saturday 16 November 2013

Replace standard icons with custom ones

I like to waste time ornamenting my desktop and other icons - don't you?

First just to note that CandyBar is available free of charge for now, it seems they've given up the struggle to keep up with evolving Mac Os's. CandyBar is a convenient way to replace Mac icons.

As I'm sure you know, to replace an individual icon you do the following:
  • Click to highlight a folder or a file or an app.
  • Get Info about it - cmd-i, or right click and select
  • Highlight and Copy (cmd-c) the icon you want to use
  • Highlight the folder icon, top left in the Info panel, and Paste (cmd-v) your new one.
That's it! If you want to revert to the original standard Mac one, just call up Info again, and click and delete (cmd-x) the icon you pasted in.

Show the new icon in the Dock

Now, let's drag the pretty new icon into the dock ... Oh! there's just the boring old plain one in the Dock! To have the new one show, here's a workaround.

See in the screenshot above two icons for Downloads (click the image to enlarge it)? The second one is an alias.
  • Click to highlight the original
  • Right click and do Make Alias
  • To tidy up the folder name, you can just delete the word Alias and leave a space at the end of the folder name.
  • Then, you can drag your alias into the dock and there's the nice new icon.
An additional advantage is that when you click that dock icon you get just your preferred view of that folder, List for example.

Tuesday 12 November 2013

Mac OS X 10.9 Mavericks - install or wait?

It's always tempting to have a go with the latest software, specially if it's free as Mavericks is, from the App Store. Might be best to think about this one, though. A lot of people are identifying quite a few problems with Mavericks. There's a long list on the Apple discussion forums.

How to revert from Mavericks if you don't like it

Don't just rush and install it - I did :(  If you want to revert to your previous OS, the only way is to entirely erase the disk holding Mavericks and reinstall your previous operating system. So -

Before you install Mavericks -
  • Back up your system and files - preferably use Time Machine.
  • Make sure you've got a bootable install copy of your previous operating system. If you downloaded it it should be available in the Apple store > Purchases. But you'll still have to make a bootable install disk on a USB memory stick or on a disk partition.

Some problems people have found

I don't like to be negative but -
You can no longer sync your calendar and contacts straight onto your local computer. Instead you have to have an iCloud account and sync them via that. Many people strongly object to being required to allow Apple to store their personal information. http://bit.ly/1bsQEmg 
  • Apparently, Apple have removed SyncServices from iTunes / Mavericks - permanently.
  • If you want to continue syncing using iTunes in the future, it's said you should not install iTunes v 12 when it comes out (at the moment, it's 11.1.3).
  • Many users are finding problems with Mail after installing Mavericks.
  • Quite a few scanners and printers are no longer usable. Also, even more software than became unusable under Lion and Mountain Lion.
  • Passwords seem to be forced to be saved on Keychain (I don't consciously use Keychain so I'm not sure what this entails)
  • Mavericks offers finder windows that open in tabs, as in browsers. Personally, I don't like the tabs design (like Safari) and it mucks up TotalFinder, which I love using.
  • Coloured Labels for files and folders have been changed to Tags - much smaller coloured disks: http://bit.ly/HSAnNk.
Altogether, best wait a bit I think.

Solved: FINALLY got rid of DivX Plus popup and reminder

Yes! I've finally done it! No more popups from DivX Plus. Just search every item in both your libraries: the User library in your Home folder, and the system library in your Macintosh HD folder. Delete anything DivX and also anything Google.

You'll then need to download and reinstall Google stuff - it's free of course.

I had already deleted every single DivX item as described below. But in Google Chrome DivX plus appeared again, offering plugin services.

My earlier attempt - this got rid of the reminder pop-up

Quite a few posts on this from people desperate to get rid of the DivX Plus Update popup. This reappears constantly even if you delete the DivX application. (Useless software, don't go there)

To eliminate anything labelled DivX, I checked every single folder in both Libraries. To see your Library folder, hold down Option which clicking on Go.  There is a Library folder in your Home folder and also one in the Macintosh HD folder as well.

DivX plus items were lurking all over the place. I deleted each item by hand.

Surely these files should have shown up in a Search, but they didn't. Perhaps there's a special search for looking for system files.

Saturday 9 November 2013

VMware Fusion - use existing Windows after system reinstall

I've been running a legit copy of Windows7 on VMware. When I upgraded to VMware v6 I was desperate not to have to pay for a new Windows OS. Installed the VMware application - oh no! using the obvious dialogue box it wouldn't recognise the Windows 7.vmwarevm file in the Virtual Machines folder. Eventually I noticed that the Windows 7.vmwarevm file looked potentially active, so I simply clicked on it and everything started working :))

  • Click VMware to run it
  • Open the Virtual Machines folder that VMware previously made
  • Click on the Windows 7.vmwarevm file that looks cheerfully active (or, I guess, any other virtual machine you have previously run).

Possibly this may solve another VMware / Windows problem on another machine where after installing Mountain Lion the virtual Windows claims it is illegal (it is not). (However, I just carry on when it threatens me and it works though looking a  bit messy).