Saturday, October 31, 2009

Down memory lane with a TrueType VT 220 Font

Viacheslav Slavinsky created a DEC VT 220 truetype font so you can take a nostalgic trip down memory lane when using Terminal. Just download the font, double-click and install in Font Book. Then go into terminal, duplicate your current profile in preferences and change the font. Size 20 works best on Macs. Change the color to green and we're walking back down memory lane. Or change it to any color you want :)
Thanks to Simon for the tip.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Looking for a free SQLite database manager?

Since developing for iPhone OS 3.0 I've been creating, editing and maintaining sqlite databases. The command-line tool "sqlite3" is quite nice to use but sometimes you just want a graphical editor.

Mike Titlebaum has created the ridiculously literally named: "Mike T's SQLite Database Administrator Tool". It's free and even goes further than the basics to offer an import function, SQL query autocomplete, a comprehensive schema view and export functionality. You can also create new tables and edit data.

It does have its quirks but for a free app it's worth a look.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Snow Leopard disk eject quirkiness

After installing Snow Leopard the eject button in the Finder for external hard disks occasionally fails. If you click eject and nothing happens (repeatedly) the solution is to right-click on the drive and choose the "Eject" menu entry. This will just about always eject the disk (unless it's still spinning up and Finder is waiting for the control signal to kick in). You would think the selectors for the widget and menu item are the same, but they mustn't be. I thought I'd mention it here in case anyone else had the problem.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Convert any text to your own mp3 automatically!

I heard Andy Ihnatko on MacBreak Weekly saying you could convert any text to an audio clip using an automator action in the services menu. This is handy for any time you want to hear something read back to you but listen on your iPod (in the car, for example). Andy was right - this is an awesome feature of Snow Leopard. Here's how to do it.

Launch Automator or if in Automator, File | New
  • Choose "Service" type of workflow
  • Make sure the service receives "text" in "any application"
  • Search for "audio" in the Variables pane
  • Choose "Text to Audio File" and drag to workflow workspace (right-hand pane)
  • Choose a voice (default is Alex)
  • Choose a file name: TextRecording
  • Choose a location (default is desktop)
  • Search for "audio" in the Variables pane
  • Drag "Import Audio Files" under the "Text to Audio File" workflow action
  • To save space, check "Delete source files after encoding".
  • Click Save, call the service "Text to mp3"
The service will now be available. To test, go to mail, highlight some text and choose from the menu: "Mail | Services | Text to mp3". The automator action will take the text, convert it to speech and convert that to an mp3 file in iTunes. The file can then be played straight away or synced to your iPod or media player.

If you want to run the automator action, search for "Get Specified Text" from the Actions pane and drag "Get Specified Text" above the "Text to Audio File" action. This will let you type text and run the workflow in Automator. You will have to remove the "Get Specified Text" action to save the workflow as a service.

Thanks Andy and thanks Apple for this amazing, easy feature.

(And if you were wondering where this magically puts the services entry, go to System Preferences, Keyboard, KeyBoard Shortcuts, Services and you'll see a list there you can modify)

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Gatting and iPhone - the joke's on you

The iPhone's auto-correct mechanism makes Gatting (a famous English cricketer) out to be an arse. As you can imagine, Australians particularly like this joke.

Gatting auto-corrects to be farting. The keys are close together... many thanks to my Aussie friend Michael for pointing this out.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Warning: Parallels 3.0 does NOT work with Snow Leopard and upgrading will cost you $50

I found out that Parallels 3.0 doesn't work with Snow Leopard when I tried running it today. This is highly annoying because version 4.0 costs $50 to upgrade. If you don't upgrade, your virtual machines will be inaccessible under Snow Leopard.

Parallels will not support version 3.0 under Snow Leopard in the future according to their website.

So I'm stuck with the forced upgrade. I wonder how many other customers feel annoyed at being forced to spend $50. Not cool Parallels and not appreciated. VMWare Fusion works fine on Snow Leopard. I'll be moving my machine to that as soon as I can.

Taking out the trash - keyboard shortcut to empty the trash

Ok, this is trivial but how do you empty the trash using a keyboard shortcut?

empties the trash with prompt.

and if you're really sure:
empties the trash WITHOUT a prompt.

Note: A friendly warning, if you rely on this too much, it'll become a habit so beware! You might lose something you want.

The most annoying Xcode error ever: The Info.plist for application at (null) specifies a CFBundleExecutable of (null), which does not exist.

If you're developing an iPhone application in XCode and getting the error:
“The Info.plist for application at (null) specifies a CFBundleExecutable of (null), which does not exist.”
here's how to fix it:

In Xcode, choose "Executables" from the project hierarchy. Click your project executable then press Command-I. Choose the General tab and set the working directory to "Build Products directory".

This fixed the problem. The advisory from Apple did not help much, but did mention the Build Products directory. Under SDK release notes for iPhone OS 3.1, XCode/Developer Tools:

"Changing an iPhone Executable's working directory from “Build Products directory” may cause the application not to install properly with the error message “The Info.plist for application at (null) specifies a CFBundleExecutable of (null), which does not exist.”"
Hope this saves you a little time. It frustrated me for a while.