Mac Setup: Clean & Simple Mac Mini Desk

Jul 14, 2012 - 12 Comments

Minimal Mac Mini workstation

If you like simple and clean workstation setups, this weeks Mac desk should be right up your alley. Coming to us from Ed W., he uses his Mac mini for photo editing and word processing, and it also doubles as a media server. Hardware includes:

  • Apple Cinema Display 27″
  • Mac Mini – 2.6GHz Core 2 Duo 8GB RAM and 500GB HD
  • Twelve South BackPack shelf attached to the Cinema Display holding 1TB External HD
  • Apple wireless keyboard and trackpad joined with a Henge Clique

Not shown is an iPhone 4 16GB, used to take the picture, and you can’t see the Backpack shelf because it attaches to the back of the Cinema Displays and iMacs.

The wallpaper on the Cinema Display is from OS X Mountain Lion. If you don’t want to wait until it’s released later this month you can get that one directly or see all the wallpapers here.

Do you want to be a featured Mac setup on OSXDaily? Send in a good picture or two with a list of hardware and a brief description of what you use the Apple gear for to

By William Pearson - Mac Setups - 12 Comments

Check Bluetooth Signal Strength in Mac OS X

Jul 13, 2012 - 10 Comments

Check Bluetooth Signal Strength in Mac OS X

If your Bluetooth device connections seem flakey, or if your Apple wireless keyboard or Magic Mouse isn’t as responsive as you think it should be with your Mac, there are two easy ways to check Bluetooth signal strength in OS X. Using the Bluetooth signal data, you can then make adjustments accordingly to improve the connection, either by reducing obstructions, changing batteries, or limiting interference.

Here’s how you can check Bluetooth signal strength from OS X from the menu item, and from the preference panel:
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By Paul Horowitz - Mac OS X, Tips & Tricks - 10 Comments

Move SSH Keys From One Computer to Another

Jul 13, 2012 - 4 Comments

Move SSH Keys from one computer to another

For those that rely on passwordless logins via ssh, rather than generating a new SSH key for a new client machine, you can easily move SSH keys from one computer to another. This is a quick and easy solution for a temporary machine or username or for use on an auxiliary workstation. You could also use this to copy SSH keys between user accounts on the same machine.

Moving SSH Keys Between Computers

If you’re already connected to a networked Mac, using the Finder is an easy way to copy the SSH keys. First you’ll want to show hidden files in OS X either through defaults write or a tool like DesktopUtility, then just open up the .ssh directory on both machines and do a drag and drop:

Migrate SSH Keys through Finder

On the other hand, if you’re already in Terminal to enable hidden files, you may as well just use the command line to move them over.

Copying SSH Keys from the Command Line
Using the terminal is faster for many of us, you’ll obviously have to be connected to the other computer through a network for this to work.

cp .ssh/id_rsa* /Network/path/to/username/.ssh/

Simple enough, and will work for any version of OS X and most variations of unix or linux.

If you wanted to, you could also zip the key files and then transfer them through AirDrop, but that’s probably more work than necessary.

Because SSH keys allow for passwordless logins, you’ll want to securely delete or better yet securely format the hard drive before it goes to a new owner. This is especially true with temporary computers or loaner machines.

By William Pearson - Command Line, Mac OS X, Tips & Tricks - 4 Comments

Make iPhone Photos Look Better By Using Auto-Enhance

Jul 13, 2012 - 4 Comments

Auto-Enhance makes Photos from iPhone look better

The iPhone takes pretty good pictures as is, but you can make your photos look even better by using the built-in Auto-Enhance tool. It’s not an overwhelming effect by any means, it’s more of a subtle boost to contrast and saturation, which generally makes the picture look closer to how it would be seen in real life.

  1. From the Photos app, tap on the picture you want to modify
  2. Tap the “Edit” button in the corner and then tap the little magic wand icon from the toolbar to enable Auto-Enhance for that picture
  3. The “Auto-Enhance On” message appears at the bottom of the image showing you what the picture looks like with the feature enabled, tap “Save” to confirm the changes to the image

With some photos you will barely notice a difference because auto-enhance can be very subtle, but with others it gives pictures a nice pop in color and contrast. With some images the changes are almost impossible to notice, so don’t think you will get Instagram-like adjustments out of this.

While in the Edit menu you can also rotate images, crop pictures, and even remove red-eye.

There’s no way to turn this on automatically for every picture so you will have to use it selectively. Technically the feature works on an iPad and iPod touch too, but for most of us the iPhone is what we snap pictures with on a regular basis.

By Paul Horowitz - iPad, iPhone, Tips & Tricks - 4 Comments

The Best Way to Convert a PDF File to DOC for Free is with Google Docs

Jul 12, 2012 - 11 Comments

Convert a PDF to DOC free with Google Docs

With the countless paid options that offer file conversions out there, it’s always a huge relief to discover an excellent free service. Today that comes to us from Google, and if you’re looking to convert a PDF file to a DOC, while retaining it’s formatting and serving as a PDF editor too, you won’t find a better free choice than Google Docs, the web based office suite from Google. The other perk to this approach? It’s completely cross platform compatible, so you can convert and edit the document from any browser on any OS, be it Windows, Linux, or Mac OS X, and you’ll know the document will turn out the same every time.

Read more »

By Paul Horowitz - Tips & Tricks - 11 Comments

This iPhone Case is a 650,000 Volt Stun Gun

Jul 12, 2012 - 10 Comments

Yellow Jacket is an iPhone stun gun case

Yellow Jacket is an all new iPhone case that doubles as a powerful stun gun, zapping potential threats with 650,000 volts of electricity. Not only that, the case also doubles as an additional battery for the iPhone itself, providing up to an additional 20 hours of use – assuming you don’t use the stun feature of course. Sounds interesting, doesn’t it?

The story behind Yellow Jacket is also interesting if not disturbing, apparently it was created by a guy who was robbed at gunpoint in his own home. That story and more are told in the slightly overdramatic promotional video embedded below, but it does a good job of showing the cases application as a self defense tool.

As you probably expect, the Yellow Jacket case does add some additional bulk to the iPhone, totally about an inch thick and weighing 4oz. Even still, that could be a small price to pay for some added security for those who feel they need it.

iPhone stun gun case

The Yellow Jacket stungun case will retail for $125 after it’s produced, but can be “pre-ordered” through IndieGogo at $85 and $100. Current versions fit the iPhone 4 and 4S, but more smartphones will be supported soon.

We’ve seen some weird iPhone cases before, but this is certainly the most unique iPhone case I’ve heard of that actually serves a purpose. What do you think? Would you want a stun gun case for an iPhone either for yourself or a loved one?

Quite the find by Macgasm

By Matt Chan - Fun, iPhone - 10 Comments

Show Download History List of All Files Ever Downloaded Within Mac OS X

Jul 12, 2012 - 35 Comments

List Download History of All Files on a Mac

Have you ever wanted to show a list of the entire download history of a Mac? Maybe you know you downloaded a file but you can’t quite pinpoint where you got it from and the “Get Info” trick didn’t work. Or maybe you are trying to track down a file that has been placed on a system that led to problems. Whether it’s for troubleshooting, personal interest, or forensics, the following command will show you everything that you’ve downloaded to a Mac regardless of the application that it came from:

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How to Disable Versions Auto-Save in Mac OS X

Jul 11, 2012 - 24 Comments

Diable Auto Save and Versions in Mac OS X

Tired of Auto-Save continuously saving files in the background? Does Versions annoy you with it’s saved states of your work in each apps? For the vast majority of users, Auto-Save and Versions are excellent features in Mac OS X, but some advanced users are annoyed with the features that came in Lion (and are here to stay in Mountain Lion, Mavericks, Yosemite, El Capitan). If you fall into that crowd here is how to disable the automatic file saving and the entire Versioning system on a per-application basis.

Read more »

By William Pearson - Mac OS X, Tips & Tricks - 24 Comments

Mac Won’t Sleep? Here’s How to Find Out Why And Fix It

Jul 11, 2012 - 14 Comments

Find why a Mac won't go to sleep

On the rare occasion that you go to put a Mac to sleep and, well, it won’t sleep, there’s an easy to way to find out what the holdup is. Though this is a somewhat technical approach, it should give a good starting point to anyone who’s confused as to why something like automatic sleep isn’t taking effect, and hopefully provide a quick resolution to the problem.

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Hide SMS & iMessage Previews from the Lock Screen on iPhone

Jul 10, 2012 - 5 Comments

The lock screen of an iPhone (or iPad, iPod touch) defaults to showing a preview of all received Messages and SMS, showing both the senders name and the content of their text message. That can be very convenient, but it also has the potential for oversharing private information and dialog between others, which could lead to an embarrassing situation or the disclosure of unintended information to others. If you’d rather those messages be hidden from the lock screen of the iPhone, you can make an adjustment to accomplish your level of desired privacy.

Disable the message preview on iPhone home screen

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By Paul Horowitz - iPad, iPhone, Tips & Tricks - 5 Comments

How to Install Paramiko and PyCrypto in Mac OS X the Easy Way

Jul 10, 2012 - 6 Comments

Installing paramiko and pycrypto for Mac OS X

Paramiko is an SSH module for python that allows for secure connections to be made, and pycrypto is a cryptography toolkit for python. Whether you need one or the other, or both, the easiest way to get them both installed through Mac OS X is through paramiko. No need to use HomeBrew, MacPorts, or any funky installers, you can do the entire thing yourself rather quickly. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, you probably don’t need any of this.


It is absolutely critical that gcc and the OS X command line tools are installed before beginning the installation process. Trying to build and install paramiko and pycrypto will fail with a variety of errors ranging from “autoconf error” to “ImportError: No module named Crypto” – if you encounter either of those errors it’s because Xcode’s command line tools are not installed yet.

Installing paramiko and pycrypto
Assuming you have GCC and python installed in OS X now, here’s the incredibly simple installation process:

  • Unzip the Paramiko archive and cd to that directory
  • Type the following command:
  • sudo easy_install ./

That’s it. The process is extremely quick if you have the dependencies, so grab Xcode and install the optional command line tools before beginning and be on your way.

Remember, installing Xcode on it’s own from the App Store does not install the command line tools by default, they are optional. That’s new to the App Store installation method, and frankly it hung me up for a few minutes figuring out why builds were failing on a newly formatted Mac, so I’m sure this information will help out someone else too.

By William Pearson - Command Line, Development, Mac OS X - 6 Comments

Screen Sizes of Rumored iPad Mini, iPad, Nexus 7, & Kindle Fire Compared

Jul 10, 2012 - 9 Comments

iPad vs iPad Mini and other tablet screen sizes compared

With all the recent rumors, there is a lot of talk on the tech web about the theoretical iPad mini. If you’ve been assuming the mini’s speculated 7.85″ screen would be about the same as a Kindle Fire or Nexus 7 tablet, you’ve assumed wrong, and as the above graphic demonstrates it’s actually a lot closer to an 8″ screen than 7″, which provides a whopping 40% larger usable screen surface than the 7″ tablet competitors.

Click the image above to see the full sized version, and don’t forget to check out some of the mockups of what a 7.85″ iPad might actually feel like.

Is anyone else increasingly hopeful the smaller iPad comes to market? The idea of a smaller and cheaper iPad is becoming very appealing to me.

Good find by DaringFireball

By Paul Horowitz - iPad, Rumor - 9 Comments

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