Tag: hacktheday

Repost: 5 Terminal Hacker tips for the Mac

[This is a repost from my HackTheDay blog of 6 years ago. But these are rare-to-find tips that are still highly valuable.]

You don’t really need a reason to try out these Mac OSX tips and hacks. But they are fun, probably useful and definitely will get a nice reaction from your friends. They all involve typing some commands in the Terminal.app(each command is followed by the Enter key); if commands start with sudo, you might be asked to also type down your Mac administrator password(which you ought to have set when you first logged to your computer). For instructions on finding Terminal.app and tips on using it, see our great Terminal.app tutorial.

Forced reinstall of application downloaded from Mac App Store

In Mac OSX Lion, I opened Launchboard and deleted an app that I had previously downloaded from the Mac App Store
I was no longer able to download it, always getting the same annoying message from the Mac App Store software:
A newer version of this app is already installed on this computer

After spending hours trying to find the fix that does the trick (and, man, did I try them all: removed spotlight indexing from my HDD, removed launchpad db files, removed various folders and files), countless Trash emptied and reboots, I finally found the fix.

Here’s what worked for me (via stackexchange):
I opened up Terminal.app, pasted the line below, then pressed Enter:

/System/Library/Frameworks/CoreServices.framework/Frameworks/LaunchServices.framework/Support/lsregister -kill -r -domain local -domain system -domain user

A few minutes of waiting, and when it was done I launched the Mac App Store app and.. miracle: I was able to, once again, download my favorite app from the store.

I hope this will save a few hours for you as well

From laptop to the tablet/phone: 5 FREE key tools to keep you in sync

Desktop, laptop, iPad, iPhone.. – more often then not you feel like you might have too many gadgets. You are constantly searching for a website you glimpsed at only 2 days ago, and unable to find it in the browser history – so you wonder – Was I on my laptop when I found that article? Or was I on the iPad? Or maybe it was a Twitter link that I clicked on my iPhone.. ? Also, that quick note I had.. where on earth did I save it.. and on which device?

To get you sorted in this digital mess, we present to you the 5 most important tools you can use to de-clutter your digital existence Evernote, Simplenote, Dropbox, Push the Page and Instapaper:

Secure your Mac – Password protected screen lock

When your nosey coworkers enjoy peeking on other people’s desktops when they are gone, or you simply don’t want your kids to accidentally erase your soon-to-be-complete Pulitzer story while you were in the kitchen, your mac has the quick and simple solution, one that few people know exists: the screen lock

Enabling screen locking is pretty easy, although hidden where you’d least expected it. Here’s how it’s done:

You’ll need to open up Keychain Access, a utility app that comes preinstalled on your Mac and can be found inside the /Applications/Utilities/ folder. Once there, you’ll open up the Preferences menu (press ⌘, or as the submenu of Keychain Access menu). In the General tab, make sure the checkbox ‘Show Status in Menu Bar’ is checked. A tiny lock icon will appear in the menu, somewhere on the right. Clicking on it will reveal the long awaited option: Lock Screen.

PS. Make sure you know your mac password before clicking on it, because only those who know it will be able to unlock the computer.

Live longer (and fuller)

We don’t usually remember mundane things. Repetitive tasks somehow tend to blend together as we remember only general, global ideas. Need proof? Just ask yourself what you did in a given day in the past. Let’s say… April 27, 2001. Most people(me included) will fail remembering anything from that particular date, so they’ll just use the general information about that period, as well as their common-sense, to extrapolate what they might have been doing on that particular date. Me, I was in the last semester of my second year of college, so I probably studied, or worked on the numerous homeworks and projects. I was also, probably, spending time with my girlfriend from college. Nothing more comes to mind, though. On the other hand, what about February 17, 2000? Well, that’s a lot easier – it was my birthday, I visited my grandfather in the hospital, and it was the last time I saw him alive(he died one week later, may he rest in peace). I even remember a few of the things we talked about, and how one of the hospital roommates did a magic trick with a cigarette. What about December 31, 2007? That’s even easier – it was the date I proposed to my lovely current wife, and I can remember a lot more things from the date, including moments from the New Year’s party afterwards.


Sean Connery, Stephen King and the Most Important Advice on Conquering the Writer’s Block


Forrester: What are you doing?
Jamal: I’m writing.[…]
Forrester: Is there a problem?
Jamal: No. I’m just thinking.
Forrester: No thinking. That comes later. You write your first draft with your heart. You rewrite with your head. The first key to writing is to write. Not to think.
Forrester: Start typing that. Sometimes the simple rhythm of typing gets us from page one to page two. When you begin to feel your own words, start typing them.
Forrester: Punch the keys for God’s sake! Yes! You’re the man now, dog.

Sean Connery as William Forrester, a character inspired by J. D. Salinger – Finding Forrester

“When asked ‘How do you write?‘ I inevitably answer ‘one word at a time‘”

Stephen King

I could write this blog post in over 1000 characters, going on and on about the importance of starting something – anything as opposed to just sitting on your ass, thinking about how to start. How the simple act of typing – whatever random first words – unclogs that area in your brain responsible for inspiration. How, when you want to write something(a blog post, a short story or even an essay) but you don’t know exactly what, you could start by simply copying a random passage from a random book, and leave your mind flow from there to your own next sentence, own next scene. In the end, you might want to rewrite that initial first passage. Whatever. Don’t think about that end part, just think about the NOW.
But I won’t do that. Instead, I’ll just let the magic words of Stephen King and Sean Connery’s character from Finding Forrester sync in.

It’s easier than it looks

The year was 2005. I was having my lunch on a bench in the Trocadero Park, at the shadow of the Tour Eiffel. Hordes of tourists were bustling on the esplanade, photographing the breathtaking view. Me, on the other hand, was quite unimpressed by the view for which tens of millions fly to France each year. I had seen it hundreds of times. I was working at less than half a mile from the glorious symbol of Paris, in a software company providing the trading floor software for most of the banks in the top 50 world. Living and working there, in the 16eme Arrondissement, the poshest quarter of Paris, showed me that everything is possible; even for a Romanian geek born in the last decade of the communism regime and whose parents’ salaries were less than $200 per month. Me, on the other hand, had gotten my raise and, at age 24, was earning monthly more than both did in 1 year.


On Information Gathering and Archiving

This year I promised myself not to make any public personal New Year resolutions. Life is unpredictable enough as it is, and year-long commitments are way too often bound to be broken. So, why purposely aim to disappoint myself later on? Why should I want to feel like shit sometime later for not having been able to do stuff that was not in my power to do so, in the first place?

Instead, for the past days I’ve started to try out some new professional, productivity and lifestyle changes. The difference from New Year resolutions is that they are just that – try outs; I won’t feel like shit if they don’t work out, but I will like it if they eventually turn into habits.



Powertool for your Mac – Hyperdock

I’m not the kind to praise apps, but once in a while a recently downloaded app makes me so happy I need to share it with the world. Today I feel this way about Hyperdock, a currently free beta app (the developer warns us that once it gets final it will cost a small fee – although if you want to keep it free you can probably just disable the automatic updates). To be noted that there’s no hidden reward for me for this tiny review – the developer didn’t contact me about the app(as a general rule I tend to ignore all email I get that promotes web services or apps), I’ve hard about it from a Tweet and decided to give it a try.

Hyperdock installs itself as a System Preferences pane, and replaces the OSX standard Dock with a much more powerful version of it, kind of like a swiss knife of system goodies:

  • Window previews – when you hover over the icon of an opened app in the Dock, you get to see a small bubble with live preview of the app’s opened windows.
  • Powerful shortcuts – for all the apps in the Dock, you can configure particular or general shortcuts. Take the default shortcuts for instance – Option+Left click on any of the Dock apps will trigger Expose to show the windows opened by that app. Shift+Left Click will hide it, etc.
  • Window Management – by far the best feature, allowing to quickly snap and resize windows(Windows 7 style) by simply dragging them to the screen edges, etc. It successfully replaces the $14 Divvy app and adds, on top of that, quick shortcuts for moving and resizing windows.

There are other features listed on the app’s page, but I stop at this for now. I can only hope that the developer will chose a small enough price for the app(I’d expect less than $10, but I’d really hope something like $5) to encourage wide adoption of this pretty great all-in-one app.
Give it a try and let me know what you think of it in the comments below.