Tag Archives: osx

Tip: Don’t use HTTPS + Gears + Google Docs

https://docs.google.com, when used with Google Gears turned on and allowed, will result in some kind of unreported error in the Gears backend, leaving its users with a blank page. I have a feeling that Gears cannot handle HTTPS connections, but I’m not sure. It could be just a Safari and/or OSX issue.

Others have reported endless authentication redirection, which makes sense if you study the URL that the HTTPS version always gets stuck on. (There’s a “redirect” parameter which points to https://docs.google.com/?pli=1, which, if followed manually, simply circles back around through the authentication again and sticks back at the same old blank page.)¬†Hopefully Google takes notice and fixes this soon.

MacBook’s Extra Hidden Volume Level

I wanted to lower the volume a notch below the first one, before it mutes the sound. Ssuch a fine-grained level of volume control didn’t appear to exist on the MacBook keyboard (probably like any other laptop keyboard). Then I discovered an interesting key combination:

  • Hit the “Volume Down” button (the one indicated with a speaker and one wave coming out of it, I think)
  • Once the volume is all the way down, hit the mute button once.

What you’ll get is just a barely audible volume level, perfect for communicating with someone with some background noise to keep the idle part of your brain happy.

If you wanted more control over volume level, open System Preferences or click on the volume icon in the upper-right corner. There ought to be a way to control volume via the terminal, but I haven’t found it yet.

The Secret to Pidgin on OSX with Gentoo Prefix

OK, there’s no secrets really. It’s just a matter of avoiding potholes and fixing bugs enough so you can work around them.

So, first off, 2.5.7 is the version I use, even though 2.5.8 is out. 2.5.8 has its own set of problems, and if I recall correctly they’re not as easy to work around. Second, I use the following USE flags:

net-im/pidgin prediction perl gtk -ncurses gnutls debug aqua spell
x11-libs/cairo svg
app-text/enchant -hunspell aspell

Pidgin requires cairo with svg, so that’s a no-brainer. Currently ncurses wide-character support is broken, either in Pidgin or ncurses itself, so I avoid that altogether with the “-ncurses” USE flag. Also, if you want a spell-checker, aspell is much more stable than hunspell on Gentoo Prefix right now, and does the same thing. (Besides, other things use aspell more than hunspell, so it’s one less library to install.) That explains the “-hunspell aspell” USE flags.

There’s one USE flag there you may not recognize for Pidgin. It’s “aqua”. This USE flag was put there by me. This is the show-stopper that had be running in circles for quite a while. In order to get proper GTK+ aqua support, you’ll have to patch Pidgin and Pidgin’s ebuild. You can find all the resources you need at the Gentoo bug I made, or in a handily compressed file here, update: or, better yet, in my Gentoo Prefix overlay. With these in your Gentoo overlay, and the proper USE flags above, pidgin will install correctly. Huzzah! Continue reading

My MacBook Pro (v5,3) and Gentoo Prefix

As noted in a previous blog post, I am now an owner of the latest (as of this writing) 15″ MacBook Pro, the 2.66GHz model, and, let me tell you, it’s a superb laptop. (I don’t think I’ve gotten this excited since I took home my Wii.) I wanted to go in-depth on each thing I’ve done with it, so instead of covering the same topics twice, I decided to summarize my experience here, and write in-depth in other posts instead.

How has my experience been overall? OSX is not flawless, but it’s brilliant. For example, I’m constantly switching from Ctrl+Tab to Cmd+Tab to Cmd+` to Ctrl+A Ctrl+A depending on the application I’m using. (Ctrl+Tab for tab switching, Cmd+Tab for app switching, Cmd+` for window-in-an-app switching, and Ctrl+A Ctrl+A for terminal screen switching.) Another example is Finder. The fact that the Open dialog looks exactly like, and yet is different from, other Finder dialogs makes me do summersaults in my head when I try to do something in Open that I did in Finder or vice-versa. The library of software for OSX is lacking, but I supplement it with Prefix (more on that later). The hardware is sheer awesome, and I don’t think I’ll ever be able to leave it now. Continue reading

Turning to the Grey Side

It’s been a year since my opinion has changed from PC’s to Mac’s, hardware-wise. Now it’s time for my opinions to take physical form. Apple’s keynote presentation at WWDC today has convinced me that now is the best time to buy a MacBook Pro. What are my reasons? Continue reading