Brief Notes
Noteworthy links, summaries and concise prose on stuff.

Macs from Apple

All about iMacs, MacBook Airs, MacBook Pros and the Mac Pro.


OS X keyboard shortcuts and trackpad gestures

Install the latest Python versions on Mac OS X Mountain Lion (10.8)

Install a specific or beta/development version of Sphinx with pip

Noteworthy links

A great laundry list of tips and tricks for Terminal in Mac OS X at Ask Different.

Change the default font and text size for the Notes app - works in Mac OS X 10.9 Mavericks too.

Mac OS X: launchd is cool -

One of the core components of Mac OS X is launchd, and it turns out it can do some cool things.

I particularly like the idea of using QueueDirectories to monitor and act upon files dropped into a directory, without having to run any extra daemons. The files could be uploaded to S3, transcoded to a different video format, gzipped… anything.

Anyway, I recently fell into the launchd documentation, and came out with this write-up.

See also: launchd(8) Mac OS X Manual Page.

Great explanation by bmike aka Mike Bradshaw on virtual memory concepts at osx - Isn’t Inactive memory a waste of resources? - Ask Different:

Here’s how I explain things to someone new to the concept of virtual memory:

  • Wired: The system cannot run without this amount of RAM (never swapped)
  • Active: Programs are really using this memory now or in the last few seconds
  • Inactive: Things that programs have read from the slow disk or elsewhere and said they never need again. We know better, you will go back to Facebook in a few minutes or re-launch Word after quitting it.
  • Free: Wasted RAM - you only need one or two MB free since we can simply use some of the Inactive RAM if you need more RAM to do something.

Let’s be precise - how many pages free in vm_stat do you consider “no more free RAM”? When the Mac is “slow” what are the page in and page out counts for vm_stat 1? Any time I’m watching this on a problem system, I like to have vm_stat 15 running in a terminal window (or logging to the filesystem) so I can know precisely what the paging activity is when deciding if/when I’ll tune things like the pager. This example has 100 MB of free RAM, so it’s not likely even under paging pressure.

MacScripter - A fantastic AppleScript resource containing:

  • Scripting Forums, Tutorials, Articles, Scripts & Resources
  • Applescript Sourcebook & FAQ

AppleScriptObjC in Xcode Part 1 - this is a fantastic starting point for understanding what AppleScriptObjC is all about.

What’s the advantage of ApplescriptObjC versus Objective-C?

Alvin Alexander writes very nicely-explained AppleScript tutorials.

Find an excellent collection of AppleScripts to extend the functionality of a number of Mac apps, plus an AppleScript Library that adds missing functionality to AppleScript itself, at Brati’s Lover. One example that stood out for me, and which I’ll definitely put to immediate use, is Export iWork Numbers Table to HTML AppleScript.

Free window managers:

  • Spectacle - Move and resize windows with ease. Window control with simple, customizable keyboard shortcuts.
  • Slate on GitHub - Slate is a window management application similar to Divvy and SizeUp (except better and free!). Originally written to replace them due to some limitations in how each work, it attempts to overcome them by simply being extremely configurable. As a result, it may be a bit daunting to get configured, but once it is done, the benefit is huge.

Tons of hard-to-find technical stuff on OS X by Lauri Ranta (via Mac Kung Fu: Select word/paragraph under the cursor). Examples:

  • osx.html has notes on:
    • Spotlight and mdfind
    • duti, a command-line tool written by Andrew Mortensen, designed to set default applications for document types and URL schemes on Mac OS X.
  • applescript.html - sample AppleScripts
  • keybindings.html - Lauri’s DefaultKeyBinding.dict, and notes on shortcut strings.