Tag Archives: mac

Alfred 2 Workflows

I was a huge Quicksilver fan until I switched to Alfred. When QS went 1.0 I gave it another shot, but I still preferred Alfred. Alfred 2 got even better with the introduction of workflows. Workflow requires the Powerpack, and it’s definitely worth it.

I’ve been using Alfred 2 for a few months now, and these are the workflows I depend on:


  • prepend to memo. I keep a memo.txt file on Dropbox, I use Drafts in iOS to prepend to it, I wanted to do the same with Alfred so I hacked up this workflow. Edit the script inside the workflow to change the destination. (now it prepends to ~/Dropbox/Notes/memo.txt)
  • quick focus on contact in Messages. It quickly focuses on a contact in Messages, very useful if you have a ton of open conversations.
  • dial with iphone. If you have Prowl on your iPhone, this workflow sends a phone number to your phone so you can dial it quickly with a single tap. You can also integrate it with the Alfred built-in contacts browser.
  • Recent Documents
  • Do Things. Quickly add tasks to Things.
  • Pocket. I switched to Pocket as my *-it-later service a while back, this workflow adds stuff to Pocket quickly.
  • Spotifious
  • Spotify Mini Player
  • Uni-Call. Quickly make all different kinds of phone and FaceTime calls. Very customizable so you can disable all the services you don’t use.
  • NLP currency converter
  • my shortcuts. Hotkeys to launch Finder, Safari, “lr” keyword to launch Lightroom. Modify to suit your own needs.



If you know what any of these things are, you will love these workflows:

Updating workflows

You can find more at alfredworkflow.com and Alfred forum, and it’s very easy to make your own.

Finally reverted Lion’s clamshell setting back to that of Snow Leopard

Lion has this feature to switch to the external display when you close the lid of your Mac laptop. It seems like a welcomed feature at first. I do a lot of screen sharing over iChat/Messages Beta, and had to switch from dual-desktop to single-screen for screen sharing to work nicely. In Snow Leopard I had to close the lid, wait for Mac to go to sleep, and then wake it up with my keyboard or magic trackpad. However, there’s a huge problem with the new clamshell setting in Lion – the machine gets very hot when used in clamshell mode, especially when you do development on it such as hacking in Xcode, with the iOS app running in the simulator, the app itself talks to a local Rails app served up with Pow, and the Rails app also talks to MongoDB or MySQL running on the same machine, Redis, and a whole lot of other standard techs we use to get things done.

Today I finally got fed up and switched back to the way Snow Leopard worked, there really isn’t a documented way to do this, but you can get the old behavior back by changing the nvram boot arguments:

sudo nvram boot-args="iog=0x0"

Bounce the Mac after that and you’ll get the behavior back.

Don’t run MySQL 5.5 on OSX

So while setting up a Rails2 development environment with RVM for one of my clients on my new Mac, I came across the infamous uninitialized constant MysqlCompat::MysqlRes error. Typically this is because the mysql gem isn’t compiled with the right archflags, but of course that wasn’t the case. After messing with it for a bit, I found out that the MySQL server I was running was 5.5.10, and 5.1 is supposedly more stable. So I downgraded it and everything worked.

credit: this post helped a bit.

root caused my Leopard wifi problem

Short version: disable and/or remove the JiWire dashboard widget if you have it.

Since I got my MacBook Pro with Leopard pre-installed I’ve never had a usable SSH connection. When I worked in the semi-conductor industry I worked over SSH 100% of the time, as the CAD tools only ran on company servers. Now I do local Rails development so I just avoided using SSH, like I edit files with TextMate over CyberDuck connection vs login and vi files. This works okay but I am a huge VIM user and it bothered me a little that I got a brand new Mac with unusable SSH connections. I’ve googled a lot about this and could never figure out why.

I also found out the problem was not just with SSH, but it was with my wifi. First the problem went away when I’m plugged in with an ethernet connection. Also I was not able to sustain any wifi connection without lags, all my Skype voice and video calls were getting chopped off. This really drove me crazy as I use Skype a lot. So last Friday I scheduled an appointment at the Genius Bar to see if the genius could help me with this. The guy was knowledgeable with all things Macs and he could tell that I am sorta a power user by the stuff I had running, so he skipped the usual debugs and he suspected it was either that I had something running that interfered with my wifi or it was a hardware problem. He created a new account, we logged in with that account, and the SSH problem went away. I tested a Skype voice call and it worked great. I logged back into my account and the problem went away. He even said he didn’t do anything but if it comes back bring it in again and we’ll debug more.

I didn’t occur to me until this morning that the difference was that my Dashboard widgets weren’t running. With most Macs the dashboard widgets aren’t loaded until you look at them the first time after you login. This morning I got into the office and my SSH connection was slow again, I looked at all the widgets I had running, and disabled the JiWire wifi hotspot locator widget, and boom, my SSH connection was normal again. I can’t believe I didn’t figure this out earlier, the JiWire widget scans for nearby APs and it was probably scanning way too often. I had the same widget on my PowerMac running Tiger for years and everything was fine though.

Just thought I’ll post this up in case someone out there has the same problem. I had tried everything from adding a SRV record for the SSH service to my domain, to SSH’ing to IP addresses to avoid all DNS problems, nothing helped.

Flip Ultra and easy way to make Mac icons from images

So we got a Flip Ultra, when you plug it into the USB port it shows up with an ugly default USB drive icon in the desktop. I wanted to change it to a picture of the Flip Ultra itself. I googled on how to make Mac icons and found this post. It involves using either a PS plugin or Icongrapher. I tried that and it was a bit too much work to just make an icon.

It then occurred to me that I can just look at the info (?-I) on any image file, clip on the icon in the File Info dialog, ?-C that, go to the File Info dialog of thing I want to change the icon for, and ?-P to paste that in. Real simple!

Uploaded with plasq‘s Skitch!

Now I should really make that image transparent so it looks better. We love the Flip btw, super easy to use, quality is pretty damn good too. If you get one use one of these links…


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