TIP: Save to recent locations

As OS X has changed over the years, I find myself missing some of the nuances I in the new interface.  Recently I had been working on a number of documents in various applications and while saving them, repeating many steps.  I would click Documents in the sidebar, then find the folder I had been saving in, choose it, then name my document.

Until I saw, at the bottom of the navigation popup menu in the Save dialog:


 At the very bottom of that menu is a list of recent places!  Very handy to have because for some reason, the OS X Save Dialog keeps resetting to my default folder each time I open it.


Proper Mac OS X Permissions

I just spent a bunch of time trying to figure out why my Time Machine would not restore data. The restored folders were empty, but the data was on the Time Capsule.

I tried to copy the folder via the Finder and that failed silently as well. Even more oddly, I could open some folders on the Time Capsule and even open the contents of the folder, but if I tried to copy the folder, it said I didn’t have enough permissions.

So after some google searches, I got pointed in the direction of my user’s group setting.

Opening System Preferences, I selected Accounts. I entered my admin password by clicking the padlock, and then I right-clicked my user in the list and chose “Advanced Settings…”

Sure enough, my user’s group value was 501, the same as my user. This means that the operating system stuck me in a group of myself only.

Apparently the proper group should be “staff” or value 20. I changed my group to 20, saved my changes, and now I could restore via Time Machine.

Warning: Changing values in this Advanced Options dialog can be dangerous. Be very careful to only change the group ID if you need to.

Following this, I checked my wife’s Mac. On that machine, my user had a proper group of 20. A user I had created for the Apple Store geniuses to use also had a group of 20. But her user had a group of 502 (her user ID). So we changed it to 20 also.

Older versions of OS X had a default group that was the same as the user. This has changed at some point, but if you have used Panther/Tiger and migrated forward, you might want to check your group ID.

I have suggested to Apple that they check this when updating/installing the OS and offer a fix if they see a bad value here, because it is a very geeky, very unixy, very hidden value that can directly affect a user’s ability to use their Macintosh properly.

Is Safari’s Autofill choosing the wrong phone number for you?

Safari uses the first phone number listed in your Address Book card. There is no direction UI manipulation gesture for controlling this order, but there is a preference.

Address Book -> Preferences -> Template

Make the number type you wish to be used by Safari (Home, Work, etc) be the first number type in the template. Set others as needed.

By default, Address Book only has Work and Mobile on the template, so Safari will always choose Mobile over Home. If you make the first entry in the template “Home” and then add a new entry for “Mobile,” your home number will always be used for Safari Autofill.

Using PathFinder and keeping changing desktop patterns

For some time I have been a big fan of Path Finder as a Finder replacement. One of the things I missed tho was changing desktop photos.

It turns out, I could have had this all along, but the convoluted preferences are well, convoluted!

You see Path Finder has a much nicer display of desktop icons. They can have info below them, they layout on the desktop better, etc.

Path Finder can also hide the Finder’s desktop. But this is where it gets confusing – The Finder is not in charge of the desktop picture, the Dock is! The Finder’s “Desktop” refers to the icons on the desktop.

So if you use Path Finder and would like to get your changing desktop photos back (via System Preferences->Desktop) here is what you need to set:

  • First, click on the Desktop

    • From the View menu, choose Show View Options
    • Next click the “Set Background…” button
    • Uncheck “Show Desktop Background”
    • Close the Desktop Options palette
  • Secondly, open Path Finder’s Preferences

    • Path Finder -> Preferences
    • Click General
    • Check “Hide Finder’s Desktop”

This will hide the Finder’s desktop icons but not occlude the images being shown by the dock with Path Finder’s desktop image.

Whew! I told you it was confusing.

Asked at PMUG – My MacBook is running the fans a lot

At PMUG last night, someone asked what to do about their fans running non-stop on a MacBook.

Aside from bad sensor, or a runaway application, we told the person to update their SMC firmware. But where do you get that?

Well luckily Apple just redesigned the Apple Support page and I really like it.

From there, you can choose MacBook from the popup on the left, and end up here

Wow, right on the main page, every bit of information we needed. Nice!

image of macbook support page

Lock Screen

I often want to password lock my screen, but not log out. OK, I can set the security preferences to lock the screen when the screen saver kicks in, but I don’t want to do that every time the screen saver kicks in.

Thanks to FourOhFour on #macintosh, I have a solution.

Open Keychain Access, open Preferences and check “Show Status in Menu”

You’ll now have a little lock icon in the menu which you can select “Lock Screen” from!


Updated: I have added a screencast to show how to set this up. Watch

Werid Fonts Issue

Along with this security issue, Font Book ran into corrupted fonts which I removed as noted earlier. I had also tossed my Caches and byHost folder to see if that would help.

As a side effect, Mail.app was drawing its from field on top of the subject field. Safari and OmniWeb had the wrong display font. Even though Times, a system font, showed in User A’s font book, it did not show in mine.

So on a lark I tried selecting all fonts in /System/Library/Fonts/ and did File->Open. Then I quit font book and now Mail, Safari and Omniweb are happy.

Whacky networking issues

For awhile I would get issues about certificate errors, etc. Today, I could not go to my webmail, check mail nor go to say godaddy.com in Safari, Omniweb nor Mail.app.

After 90 mins of mucking around, deleting corrupted Fonts (now my TextMate font is all messed up, later issue) I found this thread on apple discussions

In short, deleting com.apple.security.revocation.plist from ~/Library/Preferences/ and relaunching Omniweb/Mail cured the problem!

Airport Extreme N Users – Turn on your IPV6 Firewall!

As noted in the linked Ars Technica article, Apple messed up and left the IPv6 firewall off. Oops.


Out of the box, the router will connect you to the IPv6 Internet using an automatically configured tunnel. This means putting IPv6 packets put inside regular IPv4 packets. Those of you who really want to test IPv6 (you know who you are) are better off manually configuring a tunnel to your ISP or a tunnel broker, this is faster. If you don’t want IPv6 and don’t want to turn it off on all MacOS X and Windows Vista systems connected to the AirPort Extreme, you can select “Link-local only” as the IPv6 mode. If you leave IPv6 turned on, you may want to select “Block incoming IPv6 connections” to turn on the IPv6 firewall or your network is wide open over IPv6, even if it’s firewalled over IPv4.

Ipv 6 Airport Extreme n

Have I complained about iChat lately?

As you can tell from my mystic posts, I’ve been trying to solve this can’t iChat AV in Tiger issue even though I’m talking to people with PhDs and what not. Or not talking to them should I say.

I had Vonage switch to SIP port 5061, but then eliminated the Vonage router altogether and still had issues.

I then upgraded my Linksys WRT54GS v1.1 to Talisman/Basic 1.2.RC2 and wow, with just uPNP I could talk to John, or Tim, or Patrick, but not more than one of them at once. Grrr.

Oh anf then, my wireless in WPA mode is dead. Known issue, rc3 coming soon.

So I got the offer to buy a refurbed Apple Airport Extreme Basestation for like $20 off list. I’m going to try it but my gut tells me I won’t be happy. I already lose a port, which means some other piece of hardware is needed (I was using 1 2 ports on my linksys in conjunction with a Netgear 4 port gigabit switch). I’ll test the wifi speeds, the lan to wan speeds and see if it actually works for iChat and Vonage. Report later tonight.

Apple, if anyone is listening. Come on, please. At least make a cool wizard that says “Hey, we noticed you actually connected to two people, mind if we snag your router info, ISP so we can let people know what works?” Anything would help other than this religious voodoo we’re going through.

In these days of “Get a Mac” ads, its sad my ichat experiences are reminiscent of why we’d giggle at Windows users.

Apple revises MacBook Pro

According to Daily Tech, Apple has now released 3 revisions of the MacBook Pro hardware. The latter having no known issues.

I am glad my order took so long and was BTO as I have W8612, the latest known version. I still think there are wifi issues with speed, reconnecting and very hot temperature issues however, but no whine.

You can check your serial # by choosing About This Mac and clicking on the “10.4.x” area twice (once to show the build of OS X, then the serial #)

Did I finally get iChat 3 A/V Working?

Thanks to info at Ralph John’s iChat Page, I finally got iChat AV working, we think. It still depends on the remote end being configured properly, so if you have problems, see the linked image.

Basically I turned off uPNP and used port triggering instead. I have a Linksys WRT54GS v1.1 with Firmware Version: v3.37.6 – HyperWRT 2.1b1.

I found John’s information a little confusing so I set it up like this:

Picture of Linksys Port Triggering Settings

iChat3 and iChat4 are for Jabber I think. I didn’t know the trigger port so I left them zero and disabled. Don’t enable them, it breaks other stuff. 🙂

The only thing I cannot do is video chat with myself between two machines here and a third person hosted from the G5. The laptop comes back with insufficient bandwidth. I have 1,500kbps upstream, so it should not be an issue, but maybe I am missing a port that is used the bandwidth negotiation process?

I can video chat myself between the G5 and laptop. Wow, a first.

Security Hole in Safari – Take action now!

A flaw has been found in Safari if you have open “safe” files after downloading checked. Any site can use this flaw to attack you, just by visiting it.

To secure yourself, go to Safari Menu, Choose Preferences, click General, and uncheck “open “safe” files after downloading”

You’ll now have to double click widgets, sit files etc to open them, which is no big deal compared to losing every file in your documents folder.

iTunes 6.0.2 adds “Do not auto delete”

iTunes rocks for podcasts but I had my settings set up to delete podcasts after I had listened to them.

This was fine, except for some podcasts, like Tikibar TV, I wanted to keep them all, even if I had listened to them.

When now in iTunes 6.0.2 you can control-click on a podcast and select “Do no auto delete”


screenshot of itunes popup menu