Category Archives: Tutorials

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:

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.

100 Breathtaking Photoshop Tutorials (1st Part)


This is the first part of my 100 favorite Photoshop tutorials on the Internet. These tutorials are of interest for web designer, graphics designers,  beginners  and Photoshop freaks.

In these tutorials you can learn a lot about different techniques and styles. Amazing things you can do with Photoshop, try it and love it.

Tutorials 1 – 10:

1. Photorealistic Burning Text

2. Spectacular Grass Text Effect

3. Neon Effect

4. Speedy Shatter Effect

5. Logo On Fire

6. 3D Pixel Stretch

7. Waterbody

8. Vector Composite Effect from a Photo

9. Energy Spheres

10. Eery Eye

Make sure to check back for the next episode.

Reloading an IFrame via Ajax Request in Firefox and IE


Recently I was working on a web project where I needed to show a preview window which was basically an IFrame. As the whole page navigation was based on Ajax calls I was looking for a bulletproof method for reloading an IFrame.

The first solution (only Firefox)

IFrame code:

<iframe id="preview_content" src="preview.php"></iframe>

Ajax code:

var iframe = document.getElementById("preview_content");

Well, this solution was working quite nice with Firefox but IE wouldn’t reload the page at all.

The proper solution

Ajax code:

var iframe = document.getElementById("preview_content");
iframe.src = "preview.php?x="+Math.round(Math.random());

The additional parameter x (a random number) will cause IE to reload the IFrame properly without using the cache.

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.

Sharing iPhoto Library among several users on a Mac


When I started iPhoto for the first time and imported the latest shots from my camera I was amazed how simple it was to split automatically photos into events, place them on a map and improve the quality by few simple clicks. And the best part of course: Face detection.

Immediately I knew, that’s the right software for my photos. Back then when I was using a PC, I just copied the files from my cam into folders with the event name. Edited versions I placed somewhere else. Search for specific photos became soon a nightmare. And I’m not talking about a few hundret images. By now I collected over 10.000 photos. With iPhoto it started to make fun again to organize, enhance and geo tag my photos.

As I’m not the only user of my MacBook it became soon necessary that my wife could access the iPhoto Library from her account as well. Normally the iPhoto Library is placed in your user folder:

/Users/yourname/Pictures/iPhoto Library/

Other users won’t have access to this folder unless you change the permissions (I didn’t try it).

So here is what we are going to do: We move the library to a shared space and tell iPhoto to use the new library instead of the the old one:

  1. Quit iPhoto
  2. Make a backup !! (use TimeMachine or just copy the library to an external disk)
  3. Create a new folder “Shared” in the users folder ( /Users )
  4. Move the the Pictures folder from your account to /Users/Shared (your should have a folder structure like /Users/Shared/Pictures/iPhoto Library)
  5. Open the folder info window for the folder Shared (select it and press cmd+alt+i)
  6. In the Sharing & Permissions section add all users that need to access the library and give them “Read & Write” privileges
  7. Now click on the gear icon (gear-icon) below and select “Apply to enclosed items” (this will basically apply the new privileges for all files and folders under the Shared folder)

Now that we have moved the library to Switzerland and set all permissions correctly we are ready to feed iPhoto with the new information. Follow these steps for every user which will use the library:

  1. Hold down the “alt” key (on older Macs it’s the Option key) and open iPhoto. Do not release the key before iPhoto isn’t asking you about choosing a library
  2. Click Choose Library
  3. Locate the folder where you moved the library before
  4. Optional: Start having fun ;-)

All users should now be able to see the same content (photos, events, tags, geo information, albums, …) in iPhoto. Changes by any user will be visible for the others as well. Just make sure not to run iPhoto in the same time from different accounts.

Screenshot Secrets in Mac OS X

You probably know how to make a screenshot on your Mac, but when you are writing tutorials you need often just need an image of the current dialog box or application window. You can crop a screenshot in Photoshop or any other image editing software but there is a way simpler method.

Here is a list of the most important shortcuts for making screenshots on a Mac:

Key Combo


cmd + shift + 3 Capture entire screen and save as a file on the desktop
cmd + ctrl + shift + 3 Capture entire screen and copy to the clipboard
cmd + shift + 4 Capture dragged area and save as a file
cmd + ctrl + shift +4 Capture dragged area and copy to the clipboard
cmd + shift + 4 then Space bar Capture a window, menu, desktop icon, or the menu bar and save as a file
cmd + ctrl + shift + 4 then Space bar Capture a window, menu, desktop icon, or the menu bar and copy to the clipboard

If you know any other key combinations you are welcome to share them by posting a comment and I will update the list.

Fixing the HTTP error problem while using WordPress Flash Uploader

The reason for the upload error lies within the mod_security module which is basicly a web application firewall that protects your website from a range of attacks. So you shouldn’t turn off this module as it protects you but you can add a special rule for the flash uploader.

The Solution:

Open the .htaccess file in your website document root and add the following lines:

<IfModule mod_security.c>  
  <Files async-upload.php>
    SecFilterEngine Off
    SecFilterScanPOST Off
<IfModule security_module>
  <Files async-upload.php>
    SecFilterEngine Off
    SecFilterScanPOST Off
<IfModule security2_module>
  <Files async-upload.php>
    SecFilterEngine Off
    SecFilterScanPOST Off

This should do it.