Tag Archives: mac

Lion upgrade

Lion InstallerI upgraded the Macbook Air to OSX Lion this morning. Not much to say yet; it took a long time to download the 3.49GB upgrade, but it installed in 30 minutes during the course of which I had to unplug the Macbook – I would never dare do this on a Windows machine, but it worked fine here.

The first thing I did was disable the new reverse touchpad scrolling thing – that is, what Apple did to bring OSX in line with iOS from a scroll usability perspective. To me, it was just counterintuitive – I am sufficiently used to computers (as opposed to tablets) that I don’t find it unnatural to switch between gesture modes.

I do have some other new touchpad gestures to learn, and it generally seems shiny. Will post further impressions if I notice anything significantly different in the days ahead.

I’m trying not to be upset that they upgraded the Macbook Air I just got four months ago.

Macifying Windows

Mac sous Windows Seven : Soirée présentation Windows Seven{sigh}. Despite promising myself never to go over too far to the dark side, there are some aspects of OSX I’m loving and missing very much on the Windows machines I use. Some things I definitely am not happy about (the lack of a proper blogging client, for one), but here’s a few things I’ve twisted Windows into doing (or tried to) to mimic the capabilities of my Macbook. There was a recent Lifehacker post that inspired this one…

  1. Switcher / Expose clone. Much more practical than ALT-TAB, simple, small third party app.
  2. Two finger scrolling. The simple app doesn’t work on 64bit Windows 7 but I’m trying to mess around with this Synaptics touchpad hack – apparently despite the fact that most new PC touchpads are capable of multitouch gestures they are frequently locked out of using them!

Things I’d like to bring over….

  1. App store. I have to go through a manual FIlehippo trawl to keep my PC software up to date.
  2. Pinch to zoom etc., (which, infuriatingly, doesn’t work with Microsoft Mac applications)
  3. Sparrow!!! One of the most popular search terms on this blog is “Sparrow for Windows” so I know I’m not the only one. C’mon you guys!
  4. The instant sleep / wake and long battery life of OSX, and near instant boot time on the SSD

Things I’m not a fan of:

  1. Network settings on OSX. Feels too fiddly, locked down.
  2. New shortcuts. I’m starting to muddle Windows and Mac shortcuts, forgetting which is which
  3. Lack of decent, affordable blogging clients
  4. Resizing windows from any side. We had to wait through 7 iterations of OSX for that?

If you could create the bastard love child of Windows and OSX, what would you put in it?

Outlook 2011 defaults to local Exchange server details [troubleshooting]

I can’t fix this one or find information on it anywhere, but – probably due to Outlook 2011’s clever autodetect capabilities – when its within a corporate firewall it takes the local name of the server – not the externally visible OWA address – so when you leave the firewall the server doesn’t resolve.

My only fix at the moment is to keep changing the address manually in the settings. I’ve tried this but it doesn’t work – I’ve also tried configuring the mailbox manually from outside the corporate firewall but that resets once I’m on the office Wifi too.

Any tips from Macheads or Microsofties appreciated. Will keep scouring the forums, too.

How to connect to a Windows shared drive on a Mac over VPN

I had some real trouble with this one, and needed to get my IT support company on the case. But we worked it out, and here’s the knowledge.

  1. In network settings, set up your VPN in all location profiles that you might use it (e.g. mobile broadband AND automatic)
  2. Change the ‘service order’ so the VPN is at the top
  3. Change ‘advanced settings’ to ‘send all traffic over VPN’
  4. Repeat steps 2) and 3) in all relevant location profiles
  5. When you’re online. connect to your VPN
  6. In finder, click ‘go’ and then ‘connect to server’
  7. Type smb://<servername.domain> or smb://<server ip>
  8. And choose which drives you want to map, entering your (Windows Active Directory) network credentials to let you through!

And that’s it. Hope it helps!

Helpful Mac gestures and shortcuts for Windows users

I’m still getting used to the MacBook, so discovering things daily. The below are my current most helpful shortcuts and gestures. What do you use? Tell me, Macfans!

Option instead of alt, COMMAND instead of CTRL. COMMAND-OPTION-ARROW (or COMMAND-OPTION-SHIFT-ARROW). Keep messing that one up.

Command tab – switch apps, etc. Command generally replaces CTRL. Command-` will switch between tabs in an application.

Enter to rename files (F2 in Windows)

FN-DELETE – forward delete (delete key in Windows)

COMMAND-SPACEBAR – Spotlight search (keep thinking it should be left-swish – probably will be in Lion)

Loads of cool stuff with Expose, the applicaton switching, erm, application – COMMAND-F3 shows desktop, for example, Expose shows all open windows wby pressing F3 (same as three finger gesture)

Cool touchpad stuff:

Two finger touch gesture – scrolling.

Four fingers swoosh down gesture – view all open apps (or swoosh up to show desktop)

Three fingers sideways swoosh – back/forward

Pinch to zoom

Rotate to… rotate

A week with a MacBook Air

Ok, those of you who read my recent post on the matter (and Tom’s more detailed review) will know that, at long last, I succumbed to Mac envy. And when my parents were at a loss as to what to get me as a gift on my recent visit to Malaysia, and I spotted the Air cost 30% less than it does in the UK, I made the suggestion… and yes, I know that even as a grown man I continue to be spoiled by my parents…

So far, there’s a lot to love and a few things I’m still getting used to. I haven’t used a Mac in any substantive way since I had a late model Powerbook G3 gifted to me by a prospective employer back in 2000, so its taking a bit of getting used to…


  1. Multi-touch touchpad. Makes a laptop useful without an external mouse. Pinch and zoom, two finger scrolling, three finger, view desktop, back/forward, application switching… all amazingly natural and a big step towards where I think human/computer interaction is trending.
  2. Boot time (short), hibernation/resume time (instantaneous), performance (good), battery life (impressive)
  3. Design (fantastic), weight (negigible), screen (crisp)
  4. AppStore (needs more integration with other apps, but otherwise…) SPARROW for email is AMAZING, as I’ve also blogged before
  5. Application integration into OSX is less intrusive (thanks to growl and the more icon-driven menu bar) and therefore it feels less clunky than even the very good Windows 7
  6. Most of the apps I use regularly have been ported or have superior versions on the Mac including Skype, Evernote, Tweetdeck, iTunes (obv), Chrome, VLC and Teamviewer. And obv MS Office, although I intend to avoid that one…
  7. I like the launcher… much more intuitive than the Start Menu although a bit fiddly to configure with Stacks in the way that I’d like…
  8. Keyboard! The data card is coming out of the iPad and a USB data card is going to be stuck into the iPad to allow blogging and writing on commutes etc.

Dislike/getting used to…

  1. Learning the subtly different way of doing things (command/alt+shift+arrow for word select instead of CTRL-shift – why?)
  2. No CLI that I can find (how do I run a ping and do that random hackery I’m used to?) Terminal App in utilities folder! Thanks Jimjam!
  3. Finding new shortcuts – I love F2 for rename (enter to rename – too simple! Thanks Jimbo) and CTRL-K to add a hyperlink and trying to figure out how to do these things (amongst others) in OSX.
  4. Search doesn’t feel as well-integrated as it is in iPhone/iPad/Windows7. Need a left swish into Finder. Oh, there it is. Top right. D’oh.
  5. Touchpad gestures a bit temperamental
  6. I can’t find a decent blogging client – Qumana is OK but Marsedit is too expensive and Microsoft haven’t ported Live Writer to Mac.
  7. Flash seems less reliable than on Windows – presumably thanks to the ongoing spat between Apple and Adobe
  8. Software updating is fiddly outside the Mac store and System Update
  9. It shipped with two Apple stickers for me to proclaim my smugness to the world. They’re going in the bin…
  10. As GeowGeow observed, no sim card slot. Therefore, imperfect…

I’ll add to this list as more occurs. Any more tips on things I should do differently on a Mac, please let me know as I’m a long way from mastering this bad boy.

I’m not a complete convert – this is a mixed platform house and we continue to use PCs as well as Macs all over the place. It is telling how central the Internet is to our existence that Amanda used the Macbook for Facebook / eMail and didn’t really notice any significant difference to her normal Windows machines… the era of the OS is dead, the web is the new OS… long live GoogBook ad Facegle!

Windows Live Writer for Mac? Blogging clients for Macs

I’m learning a few things about Macs these days, and one of them is that free blogging clients are not quite as easy to find as they are for Windows. Marsedit, one of the major options available through the App Store, costs the best part of 30 pounds!

Thanks to the WordPress Codex, though, I’ve found Qumana. Nowhere nearly as powerful as Windows Live Writer and I need to work out the keyboard shortcuts… but its a start, and free!


Sparrow for Windows?

One of the other things that trigger my newfound Mac envy was seeing Chris use Sparrow, a lightweight Gmail client for OSX. Now I’m a big fan of the cloud and a big fan of the Gmail UI, so was impressed that an app had been developed that actually made me want to try something else.

Of course, it doesn’t do a great deal more than the web app, especially if you use Chrome (at least as far as I can tell without a Mac to try it on properly), and it would probably be hard to justify the $10 price tag as such, but it does look slick, productivty-lorious and it’s on my WANT list for when I eventually break and go the Mac way (ETA for Armand on Mac – about 3 years).

I’m not the only PC fan to think so, either.

Video here if you’re on Mac / use Gmail.

Sparrow – The new mail for Mac from domleca on Vimeo.


Been getting into Spooks lately. Tonight’s episode annoyed me slightly as they used an iPod Touch to hack into an iMac which was on the desk of a CEO of a City Firm – improbable on many fronts. Generally it was an awesome episode, though, just annoyed the geeky party of me, as I’ve never seen a non-marketing/design/publishing firm make widespread use of Macs — even at Google, where people can use pretty much any machine there want, there’s a fair mix of Mac and PC.

However… Spooks itself has clearly been having an impact on me. Today, walking back to the office at lunchtime, I didn’t see any bins where I’d expected to and so naturally assume that MI5 had moved them somewhere due to the threat level.

I think my brain works funny.

How to fix ‘cannot connect to Itunes store’ problem on a Mac

I originally posted a needless rant here, and decided in the interests of being constructive and not wanting to look like a ranty loon forever, to take down the post and instead write about how I addressed a recent frustration I had when troubleshooting my brother’s Macbook (much easier than editing my original, slightly inane, post). I’m a PC user so apologies if the following is unbelieavably obvious…

So the problem was: iTunes and Software update would not connect despite the fact the internet was otherwise working.

To fix the issue, change your location to the profile for your local wireless network instead of ‘automatic’.

It was incredibly simple but when I originally Googled whatever the exact error message was I couldn’t find an answer. So hoping this helps anyone who has experienced the same issue, and I’ll live with the embarrassment if the reason I needed help with this was that most Mac users find this as natural as uninstalling an application by dragging it to the recycle bin…

Thanks to Rich whose comment on my original rant was reasonable and helpful.