Tag Archives: Apple

FinderPath Extension for Alfred

I use Alfred for all of my application launching, number calculating and folder-finding needs. It usually does a good job at finding what I’m looking for, though sometimes you already have an exact file path in mind and want to jump right to it. One example is the Library folder. I find myself digging around in there regularly for whatever reason (retrieving Minecraft screenshots, diagnosing crashy apps, etc.) and it just takes too long to get there manually. Lion and Mountain Lion made it especially vexing, as it’s hidden by default. (And it re-hidden after each software update, even if you change the setting with a terminal command.)

So I made an Alfred extension that will open any supplied path in a new Finder window. No fancy searching, just a direct “open this.” It uses the standard “cd ~/Documents/GitHub” syntax experienced users of the command line will be familiar with. It even escapes spaces automatically.

Installation Instructions

  • Download the FinderPath extension
  • Unzip the archive and double-click the resulting FinderPath.alfredextension file
  • Alfred should do the rest

Fixing Slow Hosts File Lookups in OS X Mountain Lion

Mac users with custom entries in their /etc/hosts files may have noticed that, under Mountain Lion at least, lookup times for local resources are incredibly slow. I routinely set up names that point to virtual hosts on my laptop so I can give projects their own local domain instead of having http://localhost/projects/something/index.php or somesuch. Typing something.dev is much easier. I noticed that, since upgrading from Snow Leopard to Mountain Lion, Firefox would spend several seconds trying to look up those names before consulting the hosts file and loading the page.

While I don’t know why it’s happening, exactly, I do have a fix. The wait goes away if you put the local entries on one line.

Instead of having something like this:

#virtual hosts myproject.dev wordpress.dev somesuch.dev

You need to have this:

#virtual hosts myproject.dev wordpress.dev somesuch.dev

Leave the lines that say “localhost” alone, of course. Messing with those could cause all manner of Bad Things.

Prediction: Higher Resolution MacBooks Soon to Come

The addition of a 2048×1536 pixel “retina” display on the latest model of the iPad has created an interesting conundrum: many developers will no longer be able to fit the iOS Simulator on their computer screens. If you toggle it into the mode added for the third-generation iPad, it’s too big to fit on the screen of any MacBook or iMac. According to Paul Haddad, developer of Tweetbot, it just barely fits on his 30″ Apple Cinema monitor.

If you’re not familiar with iOS development, the Simulator is used to run an Xcode project on a Mac instead of waiting for the freshly compiled binary to sync to the device and then launch. (Also, sometimes you may not have an iOS device handy while you’re making a minor bug fix…or you might not have an iPad yet at all!)

I can’t be the only one to think it strange that Apple would, in the long term, make it difficult for developers to work on their apps on anything other than a desktop Mac driving a 30″ monitor. (That’s a surefire way to cut down on software for the new iPad!)

This, to me at least, seems like a strong suggestion that a refresh of the MacBook Pro line is on the way, bringing with it screen resolutions equal to or higher than the iPad’s. Maybe the iMacs will get a resolution bump, too.

Edit: Ars Technica is now reporting (it’s uncanny, they posted just a few hours after me…) that the latest Mountain Lion beta has double-sized graphic resources, indicating that this is something Apple is at least working towards.

Lions and iClouds and iOS 5: WWDC 2011 Roundup

Too busy to watch the liveblogs of Apple’s big WWDC keynote? Here’s a quick rundown of some of the most noteworthy links. There’s a lot changing in iOS, and OS X Lion is just around the corner. Then there’s iCloud, the crazy service that does more than most speculated.

Apple to Announce iCloud, iOS5 and OS X Lion on June 6

Apple put out a press release that they will be unveiling a large batch of “next generation software” on June 6th at the World Wide Developer Conference. This will include iOS 5, Mac OS X 10.7 Lion and something known as iCloud.

CUPERTINO, California—May 31, 2011—Apple® CEO Steve Jobs and a team of Apple executives will kick off the company’s annual Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) with a keynote address on Monday, June 6 at 10:00 a.m. At the keynote, Apple will unveil its next generation software – Lion, the eighth major release of Mac OS® X; iOS 5, the next version of Apple’s advanced mobile operating system which powers the iPad®, iPhone® and iPod touch®; and iCloud®, Apple’s upcoming cloud services offering.

It is speculated that this press release, specifying exactly what will be covered at the keynote, is a stab at preventing the usual stock drop from disappointed speculators hoping for new hardware. (That will probably be in September.)

We already had a sneak preview of Lion last year, but this should be a look at the final product—as well as a release date. The big news will likely be iOS 5 though, with its rumored widgets and notification overhaul. iCloud is the big mystery—I’m thinking it will be some sort of storage and syncing API, integrated with iOS and Lion, for app developers to leverage.

Oh, and the iPad versions of the iWork apps are now available on the iPhone.

TestFlight: iOS Beta Testing on the Fly

If you’ve ever tried a little iPhone development out, you might have run into an inconvenient problem. Apple uses a code signing system on iOS devices to ensure that software that ends up on them has either passed through the App Store (and has thus been checked for malware-like behavior) or has been assigned to the unique device ID using an ad-hoc distribution. This is generally good for the end user, but it’s a real pain to distribute betas.

Enter TestFlight.

I’m not sure how it does it, but TestFlight takes the pain out of iOS beta distribution. You just build an app, upload it, enter some email addresses, and TestFlight magically takes care of the rest.

When a beta tester gets an email from TestFlight, they register their device by logging into the TestFlight website on their iOS device. It installs a provisioning profile over the air, and lets them access your uploaded application builds in the same way.

However it does its magic, TestFlight is an indispensable tool for developers.

New Bookmarklet for Twitter for Mac

Back when I first started using Tweetie for Mac, I put together a modified version of the default bookmarklet available on the developer’s website. With a single click I could send the URL and page title of the current page in my web browser to Tweetie and hit send. Easy and efficient.

When Twitter for Mac came out, that bookmarklet stopped working, sadly. I managed to get it to send the URL after a little tinkering, but I couldn’t get it to work with the page title for some reason.

Fortunately, an enterprising Twitter user has written a new bookmarklet that works like my old one did. You can install it by going to this page and dragging it to your bookmarks bar.

If that wasn’t cool enough, it turns out you can select some text in any native Cocoa application, right-click it and select “Tweet” to send it over to the Twitter app. It won’t work with Firefox, though, as it’s Services-impaired.

The iPhone Comes to Verizon — For Real This Time

The iPhone is finally coming to Verizon in the United States. No, it’s not April Fools’ Day. The blogosphere is overflowing with news about the just-announced end of AT&T’s exclusivity. By February 10 you should be able to get your hands on one. (Verizon, being a CDMA carrier instead of GSM, requires a different cellular radio in the device, so if you’re an AT&T customer you will have to buy a whole new phone.)

You can read about that sort of stuff elsewhere though. Apparently Apple has been testing their CDMA iPhone since 2008, and finally has a chance to roll out a new feature in iOS 4.2.5 that (I assume) AT&T wasn’t too keen on having: portable hotspot. You can flip a toggle switch in the Settings app and broadcast a WiFi hotspot for up to five devices.

You can also set the Personal Hotspot up to use Bluetooth or USB. Obviously, the latter two are for one-to-one connections. Essentially, it looks like this replaces the “tethering” option found in the current iOS build. An Apple rep I talked to believed this was the case as well.

Anyway, I won’t rehash all of the gory details here. You can read up on them from my sources.

Further Reading

Mac App Store Launches…Along With Tweetie 2 for Mac

Apple just launched the Mac App Store yesterday, bringing with it a welcome surprise. The much-awaited Tweetie 2 for Mac is finally available, in the App Store, under the new name of Twitter for Mac. I’ll get to that in a little bit, though. Let’s take a quick look at this App Store that everyone has either been impatiently waiting for or relentlessly fear-mongering about.

There it is. The Mac App Store has launched with a good selection of applications, and their prices range from free to reasonably priced to, on occasion, absolutely bizarre. There are plenty of wonderful free apps, such as Evernote, TextWrangler, Caffeine, StuffIt Expander, and Twitter. There are hit games like Angry Birds and Bejeweled 3.

Here’s the strange thing: LEGO Harry Potter the Videogame (from the same folks who made the fun LEGO Star Wars games) is available in the App Store for a whopping $49.99. Meanwhile, you can get it for Windows XP for about $20 on a disc. They’re charging about twice as much for a fully digital version. I don’t quite follow that logic.

Continue reading →

Apple iAd Producer Lets You Design HTML5 Ads Visually

Apple has just launched a new OS X application intended for advertisers looking to run ads on Apple’s iAd network. The software package, called iAd Producer, gives you an iLife-style tool to visually design interactive HTML5 ads.

The iAd Producer displays a chart giving an overview of the ad bundle, allowing you to double-click the different elements and make changes to them. You can drop in graphics and videos, choose from the common page types used in ads (such as photo and video galleries, wallpaper pickers, coverflow views, etc.) and then preview the final ad in the iPhone simulator. The application also allows you to build iAds for the iPad.

It’s a great idea, I think. It may mean more advertisers will join the iAd network, since they will have to invest less resources into their ad in order to get started. A lot of big-name brands probably don’t have serious web developers on their marketing teams.