Category Archives: Apple

How to access your Windows 7 printer from Mac OS X

Adding a windows printer to your mac can get a frustrating job. There are various solutions for that task (e.g. workgroup settings) but today I’d like to show you the easiest way – the LPD way.

Before you follow these instructions, make sure you have shared your printer.
Important: The share name has to be one word (no spaces allowed).

Windows 7 Setup

  1. Go to Windows 7 Control Panel
  2. Select “Programs and Features” pane
  3. Click “Turn Windows Features on or off”
  4. Turn on the LPD protocol.
  5. And of course you need to ensure your printer is shared

Mac Setup

  1. Go to System Preferences/Print & Fax
  2. Hold down the “Option” key and click the “More Printers” button
  3. From the top menu choose “Advanced”
  4. Set the “Device:” field to “LPD/LPR Host or Printer”
  5. In the “Device URL:” enter: lpd://windows7_name/printer_share
  6. Choose the right printer driver
  7. And finally hit the “Add” button

So if your Windows 7 machine is called “MyPC” and your printer network share is called “myprinter” you should have the following Device URL:

Power Tip #4: Showing & Hiding Hidden Files on a Mac


As a web developer I'm often working with .htaccess files in my projects. When I want to test a new .htaccess configuration for mod_rewrite I usually make an upload directly to the ftp server (not quite the best development cycle ;-) … I know).

Trying to locate the file in Finder I had no luck. The reason is that Mac OS an unix based operating system is and all files starting with a dot won't be shown in Finder.
One could however upload the file via Terminal with a command line, but that's not a solution to me.

There is a Mac OS command that reveals these hidden files:

defaults write AppleShowAllFiles TRUE
killall Finder

And you can hide them again with:

defaults write AppleShowAllFiles FALSE
killall Finder

It's important to kill Finder to apply the changes.


Now there is even a better solution without any command line typing: a widget for your Dashboard.

It's called hiddenfiles and you can download it directly from Apple's website.


Making Screenshots on your iPhone


Recently I was asked about how to make a simple screenshot on an iPhone. Although it’s not much of a secret there are still iPhone owners that don’t know how to do it.

You can achieve that by a very simple key combo: Press shortly the Home button and the Power button at the same time (until the screen flashes up).


The screenshot is stored inside the Camera Roll in your Photos App. Now you can sync it with iTunes and finally your screenshot is placed in iPhoto (or any folder you have selected in iTunes for syncing photos).

Taking a screenshot works at any time within any application you are currently using.

Power Tip #3: Speed Up Mail Client on Mac


If you get a lot of emails or if you have an IMAP account you have maybe noticed that Mail gets slower and slower. The reason for the speed decrease is Mail’s Index file that grows with time. Deleting and moving mails causes gaps in that index file.  To speed up Mail you just need to send that index file on diet.

(before you continue here make as usual a backup)

  1. Quit Mail
  2. Open Terminal ( Applications -> Utilities -> Terminal )
  3. Run command: sqlite3 ~/Library/Mail/Envelope\ Index vacuum index
  4. Optional: automate it on a weekly basis

Now your Mail should be fast again.

Missing the Extract Filter in Photoshop CS4? Download it from


Photoshop comes with a very powerful filter for extracting complicated areas like hair, clouds, trees and others. Whenever I need to extract parts of an photo where there are no sharp edges the Extract Filter is the best tool for the job.

Photoshop CS4 does not include the Extract Filter in the basic installation but you can copy it from the Goodies folder on the install DVD. You can also download it directly from Adobe’s website.


Adobe Photoshop CS4 Optional plug-ins pack includes:
• Bigger Tiles
• Picture Package (ContactSheetII)
• ExtractPlus
• PatternMaker
• PhotomergeUI
• Web Photo Gallery (WebContactSheetII) plus presets
• Textures for Texturizer
• script for Layer Comps to Web Photo Gallery

Mac Download:

Windows Download:

Power Tip #2: Softer Volume Control on a Mac


This is another part of the Power Tip Series. Today I’d like to show you how to control the volume softer on a Mac.

Normal Volume Control

As you already know turning the sound volume up you press volume-up and respectively you press volume-down to turn the volume down. On your screen you see the current volume settings:


Now what can be sometimes annoying is the fact that the jumps from level to level are to strong. But there is a trick.

Soft Volume Control

When you press shift+alt together with the volume control keys you will notice that the volume will increase/decrease in smaller steps (usually one third of a box). So this is what you will see on your screen:


Brand-New iPhone OS 3.0 Update available


The long awaited software update for the iPhone is finally available. There are no big surprises but some necessary features for your iPhone.

Copy, Cut & Paste

One of the features I was missing since the very first moment was the ability to copy and paste throughout all applications on the iPhone. I am so glad to have that functionality now.


Next Generation iPhone Apps

The new update will bring tons of new apps with more advanced functionalities to the AppStore.

Spotlight Search

Searching for files, apps, and other things will get much more easy using the newly integrated Spotlight for iPhone. Spotlight is one of the best productivity tool for Macs – so why shouldn’t it be great for the iPhone as well?


Voice Memos

Sometimes it is quite handy to record some thoughts vocally. Much faster and easier than typing in text.


There are many more new features that come with this update. To get the new OS 3.0 for your iPhone just follow these steps:

  1. Connect you iPhone with your Mac/PC
  2. Run iTunes
  3. Select your iPhone in the Devices list on the left side
  4. In the iPhone Summary pane, click Check for Update.
  5. Click Download and Install

Power Tip #1: Forward Delete on a Mac


As of now I will post from time to time short articles with interesting hints on various topics. These articles will be to short to call them tutorials and that’s why I introduced today the Power Tip series.

Today’s power tip is about the forward delete key combination on a Mac computer. As I switched from Windows to Mac missing the Del key I thought this could be a good hint for people in the same.

To delete backwards you use the Backspace key on Windows and Mac the same way.

To delete forward you have the Del key on Windows PCs. On a Mac you won’t find such a key. The solution is to use the fn key together with Backspace.


By the way, I tested it with Sun VirtualBox where I run Windows for testing purposes and it worked fine as well. Just hit fn+ctrl+alt+Backspace to get the process list, to log out or to lock the screen.

Fixing a broken Face Detection Database in iPhoto


From time to time iPhoto’s face detection database gets broken and faces are not recognized on new imported photos. It can even happen that face information of old photos is lost or only partially working.

I think one of the reasons could be using iPhoto image library among several users ( there is an how-to i wrote recently: Sharing iPhoto Library among several users on a Mac). To be more precise it could have something to do with file privileges.

Well the bad news here are that there is no fix for that matter from Apple and all face data is lost. The good news: you can reset the database and make it work again.

The Solution


To reset the face database you need to delete the database files of iPhoto can create a new one. To achieve that you need to launch the Terminal application (you will find it in the Utilities folder within you Applications).

Now type the following commands in the terminal application (before you continue here make as usual a backup and quit iPhoto):


sudo bash – this will give you superuser privileges after typing the admin password
cd /Users/… – change to the folder where your iPhoto library is located
rm -rf face … – delete the two database files that start with “face”

Now when you run iPhoto again your face database will be empty and you can start to add new faces. Depending on the number of photos you have in you library the first scan of all photos can take a while (10.000 photos made me wait half an hour).

Ultimate Spotlight Secrets on Mac OS X


I think the majority of mac users would say that spotlight is a really nice tool. But most of them don’t even know what cool tricks Spotlight can even do. In my opinion, Spotlight is one of the best productivity tools that comes for free (well, you have to buy Mac OS anyway).

Windows users can only dream of it. You would need to buy a lot of software to cover the same functionality. And performance I don’t even want to mention here.

So, what can we actually do with Spotlight?

1. Normal Search

Searching for some documents is pretty simple. Just hit cmd+Spacebar (Spotlight will open in the top right corner of you screen) and start typing the phrase. Let’s say we are looking for: script. And voila, we get a list of everything containing script.


2. Boolean Search

Now that we’ve got a nice list, we want to refine it a little bit. We don’t want to get results that contain editor. Spotlight comes with boolean search functionality. It works with the following operators: AND, OR, NOT. Now the important part here is to type these operators all in capital letters, otherwise they will be understood as search terms.


3. Type Search

When you are looking for a specific type of document, let’s say an image, you can use the kind command followed by a colon and the file type. In this case the command would be script kind:image.

spotlight-kindMake sure that you don’t have any space before and after the colon. There is a list of types you can use with this command:

Search for: Use:
Aliases kind:alias
Applications kind:application, kind:applications, kind:app
Audio kind:audio
Bookmarks kind:bookmark, kind:bookmarks
Browser history kind:history
Contacts kind:contact, kind:contacts
E-mail messages kind:email, kind:emails, kind:mail message
Folders kind:folder, kind:folders, kind:fol
Fonts kind:font, kind:fonts
iCal Events kind:event, kind:events
iCal To-Do Items kind:todo, kind:todos, kind:to do
Images kind:image, kind:images
JPEG files kind:jpeg
Keynote files kind:keynote
Movies kind:movie, kind:movies
MP3 files kind:mp3
Music kind:music
Numbers documents kind:numbers
Pages documents kind:pages
PDF files kind:pdf, kind:pdfs
PowerPoint files kind:powerpoint
Preference panes kind:preference, kind:preferences
Presentations kind:presentation, kind:presentations
QuickTime files kind:quicktime
TIFF files kind:tiff
Word documents kind:word

4. Calculations

There is a nice calculator in the Dashboard but you could use the space for another nice widget. Spotlight can to all basic calculations as well. It also can handle brackets withing the formulas. Furthermore it is capable to handle a few more advanced calculations too, like square root, power, PI, …

As you can see spotlight is more advanced than the regular Dashboard calculator.


5. Application Launcher

That’s my absolute favorite one. The Dock has a limited space to place icons. Of course you can extend it with a stack and put there even more icons but it’s so much simpler with Spotlight. Just start typing fire to show Firefox in the list.  Just think about how many clicks it can take you sometimes to launch a specific application.


6. Definition

Another nice feature of spotlight is that it can show you the definition of a word you type. Just hover the definition row in the result set and it will show you the definition of that word in a tooltip. Really nice.


7. Show in Finder

If you don’t want to open a document within Spotlight but show it in a Finder window you just press cmd and hold it while clicking the found document.

Spotlight is a powerful tool to speed up your work. It is included in every open/save file dialog box and helps you finding lost files in TimeMachine.