Remove Snapz Pro X’s splash screen

Ever since installing Snapz Pro X, I have been interested in turning off the splash screen that appears every time I startup my MacBook. Today, I took the time to do a little digging at Ambrosia Software’s website and found the FAQ that answers my question:

Can I get rid of the Splash Screen?

Which provided the following solution, open a terminal and type in the following:
defaults write com.ambrosiasw.snapz SkipSplashScreen true

First computer mouse and Usability Dilemma

First Mouse

Engelbart’s Usability Dilemma: Efficiency vs Ease-of-Use
— The mouse was the original idea of Doug Engelbart who was the head of the Augmentation Research Center (ARC) at Stanford Research Institute. Engelbart’s philosophy is best embodied, in my opinion, in the design of another device that he invented, the five-finger keyboard – with keys like a piano, used by one hand. The problem was, Engelbart’s five-finger keyboard and mouse combination was very difficult to learn.

Just reiterated to me that while you may come up with the most efficient design it still may have too high of a learning curve for the average user to every approach and use your web app. Definitely something to keep in mind as you design your web apps, it needs to be the balance between the efficient design and the easy-to-use product that people want to use. And for web applications that first visit impression is huge and can be the difference in whether the user even makes a return trip to your app.

I started using Picnik recently and everything about the site draws me back. The efficiency with which they are solving a particular user problem (the ability to quickly edit a photo on Flickr, or for blog posts) and the ease-of-use of the design (nice clean white buttons, that are enjoyable to use, with advanced features that are easy to play with, and yet not overpowering on first use). Picnik strikes the perfect balance between having lots of features but only showing you what you need to cover the 90% use case, and the other 10% can go under Advanced and see a menu full of additional features/functionality.

Custom Folder Icons in MacOSX

I found the following site that explains what you need to do, I will simply summarize for my specific application/needs:

  1. Make an image that is 128px by 128px in Photoshop (other other program)
  2. Save as a PSD or as a PNG file with a transparent background
  3. If you don’t have Apple’s Developer Tools installed, install them now
  4. Open “Icon Composer”, /Developer/Applications/Utilities
  5. Drag your PSD/PNG into the 128px square and confirm the defaults for the dialogs
  6. Save this file to your computer
  7. Download Icns2Rsrc
  8. Open Icns2Rsrc and File->Open and select the file you saved from step #6 above
  9. It will save a file with the same name and location (with a .rsrc extension)
  10. Command-I that file and and the folder you want to use the new graphic
  11. Highlight the graphic in the upper right of the .rsrc file and Edit->Copy (Command-C)
  12. Highlight the graphic in the upper right of the folder and Edit->Paste (Command-V)
  13. Close both “Info” dialogs and the folder should now display your custom graphic in Finder (including Cover Flow view).



Disable Content Preparation Progress Dialog in Adobe Acrobat

Content Preparation Progress Dialog

If you have been annoyed by this following dialog when you open PDF files in Adobe Acrobat v8, here are the two different ways is the way you can disable it.

  • Rename the Accessibility.api and ReadOutLoud.api to Accessibility.old and ReadOutLoud.old (or you can move them to a different folder). These files are found in C:\Program Files\Adobe\Acrobat 8.0\Acrobat\plug_ins. This solution however, has the possibilty that a future upgrade of Acrobat would cause these plugins to renable.
  • Remove “Speech Recognition” from the Language Tool bar, settings, Installed Services. The other way to get this, if you don’t have the Language Toolbar visible, is via the Regional and Language Options Control Panel, under the Languages Tab, and click on the Details button and then you can remove any references to “Speech Recognition” that you find under the Installed Services.

Winmail.dat Viewers (Mac and Windows)

I occasionally run into a winmail.dat file that I can’t open (typically because some outlook user has “rich text” as their default email type. Although, occasionally they aren’t sure how this happened and the default is HTML or plain text.

I wanted to post on two utilities (one for MacOSX and one for Windows) that allows you to open these files and see the attachments contained within these annoying files. Thanks Microsoft!

Winmail Opener

TNEF’s Enough:

Useful little programs for getting around these problematic files, and definitely a lifesaver when you have a winmail.dat and need the contents.

SyncServer Unexpectedly Quit (resolved)

I believe that I have finally resolved the problem on my MacBook when starting that it would display this error message “SyncServer has unexpectedly quit” with a relaunch button.

After doing a few google searches I found a site that referenced this problem a way to resolve it.

Since, I wasn’t using .Mac for anything the solution was to:
1) Delete the following folder: /Users//Library/Application Support/SyncServices/
2) Reboot

Bluetooth AV Controls under Windows with iTunes

In this post, I wanted to document the steps that I had to follow to enable the A/V controls (play, pause, next song, previous song) buttons of my Motorola-S9 headset with my windows computer using iTunes.

Setup used:

  • Motorola S9 headset
  • Dell Latitude D830
  • Dell internal Bluetooth adapter (2.0 adapter with A2DP and AVRCP profiles)
  • Standard Drivers from Dell’s site (Toshiba drivers)
  • iTunes (v7.6.1.9)

I successfully paired the Motorola S9 headset with the Dell Laptop and it appeared as a Headset (Device Class: Audio/Video Wearable Headset Device, and Service Claass: Audio Sink). Once complete, I could listen to the music from my laptop but could not control the playback.

I confirmed that the Dell Bluetooth adapter in the Latitude D830 has the A2DP and AVRCP profiles so that it should allow the audio playback controls, however it wasn’t working. After digging online at both the iTunes site and the Dell site I had determined there must be an incompatibility with the setup that I was using. However, when I was unable to make Windows Media Player work as well… I figured there had to be a configuration issue.

I opened up the Bluetooth Settings window (double-click on the bluetooth icon in the systray, near the clock) and started looking everywhere for a setting to enable this. I found it under Bluetooth->options and on the General tab at the bottom is “AV Remote Control Service” but it wasn’t checked. So I checked the box and then tried the headset Play button and lo and behold Windows Media player popped up. So now it was talking using the AVRCP controls but how do I make it talk to iTunes instead.

So I checked the other tabs under Bluetooth->options and found on the “Other” tab the section for AV Player Selection with a button “AV Player…”. Clicking on the button you are presented with a window that allows you to pick the program for each of the following:

  • Play music file
  • Play CD Audio
  • Play DVD

And below that is a setting for where it displays the “command” that it was requested to do. I selected iTunes for the Music File and CD Audio and set the Display position to Bottom-Right where all my other alerts appear and clicked OK.

Success! The Motorola S9 now correctly controls iTunes for Play, Pause, Next Track, Previous Track.

I hope this helps someone else, as I was surprised that I could get the S9 to work just fine with my iMac but couldn’t get it working with iTunes under Windows. Apple probably has all the services enabled by default, where it seems that Dell doesn’t enable the PAN Networking service, nor the all important AV Remote Control Service.

easyPages v0.22 is available for download

You can download it here:

I recently updated easyPages to include a few enhancements:

  • Added file icons for MSProject, WinZip, and Unknown filetypes
  • Display last modified time in format “(Updated DD-MMM-YYYY HH:MM)” after file names
  • Display “new” icon if the file was updated in the last 14days

easyPages is a PHP script that creates a listing of the documents/folders that are contained in the same directory on the webserver as this script. The resources directory contains all the necessary graphics. This script was created originally as a way for me to quickly post new documents to my Intranet pages at work, without needing to edit the HTML/PHP to create new links to them.

easyPages requires a web server with PHP 4 or higher installed.

Extract the easyPages* file to a folder in your webspace
Create subfolders (beside the index.php) and they will appear when you browse to that folder on your web server.

There is a “Sample_Files” folder in the .zip that will also help you get started with creating the file structure.

Currently, easyPages-v0.22 only supports one level of sub-folders.

Download is available at

Twitter and WordPress

I wanted to document one of the hacks that I have made to a the Twitter WordPress Sidebar Widget.

Edit to “Twitter WordPress Sidebar Widget”

I wanted a line break after the time, so I added the following line:

As the last line inside the following “if” statement:
if ( showTimeFirst == 1) {

I also attempted to hack up the Twitter Updater to provide a nicer URL to twitter that would then appear nice in the above mentioned Twitter SideBar Widget… but ran into some issues. I have determined that I need to make the change to the Sidebar Widget and detect the URL and then place it into a ““. A project for another day.