Better dictionary for Mac and Kindle

OS X DictionaryWant to have access to one of the best English dictionaries ever made? Learn how to install Webster’s 1913 edition right in your OS X dictionary application:

Posted in OS X, Tech

Going off the iReservation…

htc1The lure of the bigger screen finally got me to try a non-iPhone. So far, the pros outweigh the cons for my new HTC One, but there are a lot of little tweaks, hidden settings, and obscure apps that I thought I would document here for any other switchers. The annoying thing? Virtually all of the annoyances are due to AT&T removing or blocking functionality that is built into the phone.

  • If you are on AT&T, they have hidden a real nice HTC interface for driving, called HTC Car. To access it (it is already on your phone), get the app QuickShortcutMaker, then create a custom shortcut. Search for the application “Car”, then create the shortcut on one of your home screens.
  • The HTC Sync Manager program is pull-your-hair-out bad. DoubleTwist seems to be the best solution for syncing content to your phone. Because HTC or AT&T have eliminated disk-mount access through USB, you will also need AirTwist so you can sync through wifi.
  • Actually, Airdroid is amazing also. You get a desktop interface to your phone, including access to the filesystem, contacts, etc.
  • Battery life is a constant challenge. So why didn’t HTC/AT&T include the chipset manufacturer’s excellent battery management software? You want Qualcomm’s Snapdragon Battery Guru.
  • There is no good way that I have found to get lock screen notifications like the iPhone, especially if your phone is subject to a security policy where you have to enter the PIN before doing anything. Closest I’ve gotten is to set the lock screen to “none”, then swipe down for notifications right after unlocking the phone.
  • Ringtones, alerts, etc. Pain in the ass. You need to access the file system, which you can do on the atrocious HTC Sync Manager software, or better yet Airdroid (see above). There you can put copies of any sound files you want to use into multiple folders (Alarms, Ringtones, etc.).
  • Missing iMessages? Get MightyText. Cool desktop web interface and notifications for your texts. On the phone, I like Textra as my SMS app (be sure to set it as the default for notifications for texts.
  • Gonna need to get those emojis working if you are chatting with iDevices. Get this Textra add-on.

I will update this post on an ongoing basis as I learn more.

Posted in Android, iPhone

Allow native writing to NTFS

diskutil info /Volumes/**volume_name**
Replace **volume_name** with the name of your NTFS drive. If your drive name is more than one word separated by a space, you’ll want to replace it with a shorter name temporarily. You can return to the original name after the process. From the output of the last command, copy the “Volume UUIID” value to a text file. Then copy this to terminal and press enter:

sudo nano /etc/fstab
It will open nano, the little text editor that runs on terminal window. Write into it

UUID= **UUID you copied onto a text file** none ntfs rw
Replace the **UUID you copied onto a text file** with… UUID you copied onto a text file.

Press Control + X, Y, Enter It will save the file and quit the editor. Restart your computer. Repeat for every drive NTFS drives or partitions that you have to write on.

Posted in OS X

Nifty OS X Lion settings

Type any of these lines into Terminal to change how OS X Lion behaves:

# Enable full keyboard access for all controls (e.g. enable Tab in modal dialogs)
defaults write NSGlobalDomain AppleKeyboardUIMode -int 3

# Enable the 2D Dock
defaults write no-glass -bool true

# Disable menu bar transparency
defaults write -g AppleEnableMenuBarTransparency -bool false

# Expand save panel by default
defaults write -g NSNavPanelExpandedStateForSaveMode -bool true

# Expand print panel by default
defaults write -g PMPrintingExpandedStateForPrint -bool true

# Disable shadow in screenshots
defaults write disable-shadow -bool true

# Enable highlight hover effect for the grid view of a stack (Dock)
defaults write mouse-over-hilte-stack -bool true

# Enable spring loading for all Dock items
defaults write enable-spring-load-actions-on-all-items -bool true

# Disable press-and-hold for keys in favor of key repeat
defaults write -g ApplePressAndHoldEnabled -bool false

# Disable auto-correct
defaults write NSGlobalDomain NSAutomaticSpellingCorrectionEnabled -bool false

# Disable window animations
defaults write NSGlobalDomain NSAutomaticWindowAnimationsEnabled -bool false

# Disable disk image verification
defaults write skip-verify -bool true
defaults write skip-verify-locked -bool true
defaults write skip-verify-remote -bool true

# Automatically open a new Finder window when a volume is mounted
defaults write auto-open-ro-root -bool true
defaults write auto-open-rw-root -bool true

# Avoid creating .DS_Store files on network volumes
defaults write DSDontWriteNetworkStores -bool true

# Disable Safari’s thumbnail cache for History and Top Sites
defaults write DebugSnapshotsUpdatePolicy -int 2

# Enable Safari’s debug menu
defaults write IncludeDebugMenu -bool true

# Remove useless icons from Safari’s bookmarks bar
defaults write ProxiesInBookmarksBar "()"

# Disable send and reply animations in
defaults write DisableReplyAnimations -bool true
defaults write DisableSendAnimations -bool true

# Disable Resume system-wide
defaults write NSGlobalDomain NSQuitAlwaysKeepsWindows -bool false

# Enable Dashboard dev mode (allows keeping widgets on the desktop)
defaults write devmode -bool true

# Reset Launchpad
rm ~/Library/Application\ Support/Dock/*.db

# Show the ~/Library folder
chflags nohidden ~/Library

# Disable local Time Machine backups
sudo tmutil disablelocal

# Kill affected applications
for app in Safari Finder Dock Mail; do killall "$app"; done

# Fix for the ancient UTF-8 bug in QuickLook (
echo "0x08000100:0" > ~/.CFUserTextEncoding
Posted in OS X

Information Diet | Notifications are evil

Great perspective on maintaining focus. Get rid of or manage all those pesky notifications!

The only non-renewable resource you truly have is your time. Next time you’re asked to “pay” attention to something, remember that’s what you’re doing: you’re paying.

via Information Diet | Notifications are evil.

Posted in Learning

Steve Jobs Solved the Innovator’s Dilemma

Great article on how Apple has prospered by focusing on product, rather than profits. This is a great illustration of the power of Daniel Pink’s Alignment, Mastery, and Purpose in getting the very best from people.

Steve Jobs Solved the Innovator’s Dilemma

Posted in Learning

“Knowledge is the enemy of risk”

I said that in a meeting today and thought it was quite pithy. I’m posting it here in case some future historian ever wants to compile a collection of my quotes.

Posted in Learning

Why do they give you two keys for your rental car?

Now I have a big glob of electronic keys, and if I lose it I will be liable for double the cost. Grrr.

Posted in Annoyances

Davis Vantage Pro 2 updated USB to UART software

Did your weather station stop working with OS X Lion? You might need to update this little devil:
USB to UART Bridge VCP Driver

Posted in OS X

iTunes won’t copy some photos to iPad or iPhone?

Here’s a fix from user julienfromcugy on Apple’s support site. Worked for me:

So basically what I did to solve the problem is:
1) close iTunes
2) from the finder, right click iphoto library and choose “Show package contens”
3) delete the folder iPod phtoto Cache
4) restart iTunes
5) in photo tab choose to synch foto from a folder
6) in photo tab choose to synch photo from iphoto
7) choose the events, etc…
8) apply

Posted in iPhone, OS X