Splash of Style...Macs, Photography, Design, and other Passions

I Will Miss You Steve Jobs

October 6, 2011 by debbie T | Mac Corner

I didn’t hear about his death until 11pm last night. I was watching TV in our bed and a local news update came on mentioning Jobs. I thought I misunderstood but then a 2nd update later mentioned the death again.

How sad. I got out if bed and logged on to twitter to see what happened. Yes, it was true. He was really gone.

What to say about it? It’s difficult. I knew it would happen eventually; the news of him resigning as CEO of Apple only a month and half ago was sad, but I didn’t think the end would come so quickly.

He’s gone, but never will be forgotten. He’s shaped the technology world with his vision and imagination. I will miss you Steve Jobs!

TextExpander for iPhone

February 11, 2010 by debbie T | iTunes & iPhoneMac Software

I am still using TextPander (old old old version that was originally free) on my Mac, and I find myself missing the functionality when typing on my iPhone.

Good news, I found out that TextExpander is available for the iPhone! I just downloaded for only $2, BARGAIN!

For those that are not familiar with the app, it uses keystroke abbreviations to add snippets of text to your content. On my Mac, I use it a lot for signatures and even html coding. I find a lot of uses for it!

I will probably use it for signatures on the iPhone.

I haven’t installed on my iPhone yet, but I will post again after I have used it for a little while.

Stuck CD in Macbook Pro

October 31, 2009 by debbie T | Mac CornerMac SoftwareWindows on the Mac

I inserted a data file DVD into my Macbook Pro, and it only spun up for a few seconds, then fell silent. It wasn’t mounted on my desktop, or when I checked in Disk Utility.

It wouldn’t respond when I hit the Eject button either. It was silent.

I googled “stuck cd macbook pro” and found a few answers, but it was puzzling because most users were hearing a struggling super drive trying to read the disk, not silence.

Okay, so I decided to try the suggestion to reboot while holding down the trackpad key.

I started closing my apps, and was surprised when I went into my VMware Fusion virtual machine window. Surprise Surprise! There was my DVD; the files were displayed in an open Windows Explorer window. So that’s where the DVD went. It mounted in Windows for some reason, not Mac!

So, I right-clicked on the drive in My Computer and ejected. Yay, problem solved! And I didn’t even have to reboot!

iCal Alarms After Snow Leopard Upgrade

October 10, 2009 by debbie T | Mac Snow LeopardMac Software

After upgrading to Snow Leopard, I noticed that older alarm messages were appearing. It happened two nights in a row now.

I have an alarm set to take a vitamin every night, and ALL the older iCal alarm messages were popping up. The event was originally set back in August, so I deleted all instances of it, and created a new reoccurring event.

I hope it fixes the problem.

I also panicked when I saw that there was no option to backup my iCal file. Whenever I make any changes in iCal I always like to create a backup file for safe keeping. It was always File>Backup

I was happy to find the backup was moved to File>Export>iCal Archive – not sure why it’s called “archive” when I am not really archiving anything, just backing up.

Textpander Works in Snow Leopard

October 10, 2009 by debbie T | Mac Snow LeopardMac Software

Yay, my oldie but goodie freeware app Textpander (before it was sold and changed to TextExpander) works perfectly in Snow Leopard.

I wasn’t sure if it would come through, but I am happy to report that it’s fine!

Snow Leopard Upgrade

October 10, 2009 by debbie T | Mac Snow LeopardMac Software

Important: Before upgrading, I carefully researched all my installed apps to make sure there wasn’t compatibility issues with Snow Leopard: http://snowleopard.wikidot.com/

So, Thursday was the big day. I decided to upgrade to Snow Leopard on my MacBook Pro (Santa Rosa 2.2 GHz, 4gb Ram) previously running Leopard.

Create a Bootable Backup of your Hard Drive

First and foremost, I regularly create a bootable cloned copy of my hard drive. I use Super Duper, but Carbon Copy Cloner will also work. Making a complete clone of your hard drive will ensure that you can easily revert back to Leopard (or Tiger) if something goes wrong with your upgrade.

I create a backup clone approximately every month or two. I also do it before I install any major Mac OS X upgrades. It has saved my butt on more than one occasion, even when my Macbook Pro hard drive failed. It’s easy to boot into your external drive and carry on!

To make a bootable clone, you must have a blank external hard drive. You can partition a section of a larger external drive, or utilize the whole drive. Either way, the external “target” drive will be completely erased, so do not use a drive with important backups or files.

Launch Super Duper.

Choose your hard drive as the “Source” on left and your external drive as the “Target” on right. Then hit the Copy Now button.


You will be asked for your admin user account and password. It will probably take a few hours to complete the backup depending on how large your hard drive is. A good time to complete this is when you are at work or asleep.

Once the bootable clone is finished, it’s very important to boot into the new drive to verify that it works properly. Restart Mac OS X, and when you hear the “gong”, hold down the ALT/Option key. When the icons appear, choose the newly created boot drive, and Mac OS X will start in that drive.

How can you ensure that you are truly booted into your boot drive?

In Finder, choose one of your folders or files. The path to the file/folder will be displayed at the bottom of your Finder window. ie Boot>Users>MyProfile>Desktop

If you do not see this path, in the Finder menu bar, choose View>Show Path Bar.


Comparing Hard Drives

Okay, I admit it, I am obsessively over-organized sometimes. So this is a step you can ignore if you feel it’s too analytic!

When I create a bootable backup, I always compare used space on both hard drives. Click to select your hard drive in finder, then hit File>Get Info or you can use the keyboard shortcut ⌘ + I (Command key + I for Info)

boot vs hd

I never really looked into what constitutes the difference in drive space, but I assume it’s temp or cached files and stuff like that. In order to keep my Mac running smoothly, I take an extra step and copy my bootable drive back to my HD space. It can add back drive space (in my case, almost 4gb) and it’s an easy way to optimize the drive if it’s fragmented. Most times, I have found my system runs quicker after this step.

Okay, so you have to be booted into your cloned boot drive if you want to complete this step. Follow the same procedure as when you made the initial backup, except the Boot drive is the “Source” on left and your system hard drive is the “Target” on the right.

Once that is completed, compare drive space on both drives again. It should be almost identical, give or take a few bytes.

IMPORTANT: It’s important to now restart and boot into your system hard drive!!!!

Time to Upgrade

Now I am finally ready to upgrade from Mac OS X Leopard to Snow Leopard. (Make sure you are booted into your hard drive, not your bootable backup clone)

I safely ejected and removed cables to all USB and Firewire hard drives from my Mac hardware.

Inserted the Snow Leopard Install DVD.

In the Customize options window:

I removed checkmark next to Language Translations and X11.


I was surprised that it didn’t ask me if I wanted to install fresh or upgrade. I was planning on “upgrading” initially anyway just to find out how much hard drive space I was officially gaining. I then planned on re-installing fresh later if there were problems.

Once the upgrade started, it indicated that the process would be 45 minutes, then it quickly adjusted to over an hour. I decided to leave it alone and go downstairs to watch TV for a few minutes. I took my iPhone stop watch with me.

I came back upstairs after approximately 17 minutes, and it was in the middle of a reboot.

After the reboot, it stated 30 minutes remaining.

I left again to return in 12 minutes, where the install process was stating 4 minutes remaining.

All in all, the upgrade process was approximately 40 minutes.

After the Smoke Cleared

Mac OS X automatically rebooted and started in Snow Leopard. It didn’t seem any quicker to start, but I have a ton of start up menu items and apps, so I don’t expect miracles there.

I was pleased to see my hard drive space was indeed thinner.

I started with 58.26 gb (after restoring my cloned backup) and after the Snow Leopard upgrade, I was @ 55.35 gb.

Software update started, and after the 10.6.1 update, my hard drive space was lowered to 55.22 GB, so I saved almost 3gb in the upgrade. Not bad.

I haven’t launched many apps yet, but I was most concerned about Thunderbird failing. I had read that several users were having issues after a fresh install of Snow Leopard. I launched Thunderbird, and all seems to be working fine. I’ve been using it for a couple of days with no problems. Phew.

I was also concerned about my older Wacom tablet, but so far it’s working perfectly.

Only other grumble was when I woke my system yesterday morning, there were several OLD iCal alarms (from back to August) that appeared. But no other problems with iCal other than that so far.

I have been browsing the web using Safari and Firefox, sending and receiving mail in Thunderbird, using Transmit for SFTP, and opening photos in Preview. So far so good.

Truthfully, I don’t think I will be sticking to my original plan to re-install from scratch. Surprisingly, there doesn’t seem to be a need yet, but time will tell when I start to launch more apps later.

I don’t know if I just got lucky, or if perhaps optimizing my hard drive by restoring the clone helped. I don’t know!

Mac Apps and Compatibility with Snow Leopard

October 2, 2009 by debbie T | Mac CornerMac Snow LeopardMac Software

I have Mac OS X Snow Leopard on order from Amazon. It will be here any day. In the meantime, I am getting organized and ready for the big re-install.

I have a plan to go the “upgrade” route first, to find out how much space I would save by upgrading.

Then the plan is to wipe the drive and install fresh.

Anyway, I want to make sure I get all my Mac apps in order with serial numbers, etc. I also want to make sure I download the most current version to ensure compatibility with Snow Leopard.

I found this great wiki site with lots of great info about Mac apps and their compatibility to Snow Leopard

AppleStore Robbed

September 3, 2009 by debbie T | Mac CornerRamblings

No, it isn’t funny that an Applestore was robbed, but the guy doing the voice over on the survellence tape sure is a riot. Who talks like that anymore?

“Leaving only the price tags behind!!!!” LOL. What a pompous jerk! I hate newscasters that sound like that!


(Note: I tried to embed the video, but for some reason, the code won’t work, so a link will have to do. Sorry)

Importing Plain Text Into Excel Spreadsheet

July 5, 2009 by debbie T | Content ManagementMac SoftwareWindows on the Mac

I needed to convert a text document with personal data to an Excel spreadsheet. I wanted to use Neo Office (Open Office) but couldn’t find a way to import text, so I fired up my Windows XP virtual machine, and installed an old copy of Office 2000.

So, here’s the dilemma, the data was pasted into a text file from a web page and it was formatted with line breaks. There were 180 blocks of data like this:

first last

first last

After googling, I found that it’s fairly easy to import text as long as there is some sort of delimiter like tab, comma, semi-colon separating the data.

In excel, choose Data>Get External Data>Import Text File

import text file into excel

Initially, I tried comma, but didn’t work well, since some of the text data already had commas, so I decided to use a semi-colon delimiter.

I typed a semi-colon after each section & painstakenly removed each line break.

first ;last;title;address;phone;email
first ;last;title;address;phone;email
first ;last;title;address;phone;email

I worked in small chunks, importing after a few sections. This was taking forever. I needed a short cut!

Since I was using Text Wrangler, I figured there might be a way to automatically remove the line breaks. Yay! Found it. Text>Remove Line Breaks. Couldn’t be easier!


Okay, now if only there was a way to somehow add a semi-colon after each line. Whoo-hooo, how about this:

Text>Prefix/Suffix Lines

I selected each section, added the suffix of “;” then removed the line breaks.

Text Wrangler cut my work in half!

NOTE: When Text Wrangler removed the line breaks, it added a space in between the items, so that messed up my spreadsheet by adding a space before each item in the cell. Before I imported, I did a “find/replace” and replaced all the ;(space) with ; and that worked!

iPhoto Smart Albums

June 29, 2009 by debbie T | Digital PhotographyiPhotoMac Software

Cas Rifkin posted a question on a recent iPhoto tutorial. Cas asked about more detailed ways to organize photos inside events. Smart Albums are a very easy way to let iPhoto organize your photos for you. And you don’t even need to do much work!

First, let’s go over some of the terminology.

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