Firefox/Mozilla Home/End (Pos1/Ende) keys do not work on Mac OS X

Firefox does not honor the normal Mac OS X keybindings. Install this Firefox extension fo fix these keys:



Dashboard Widget on Desktop

It is possible to move Dashboard widgets back a forth between the desktop and the dashboard:

  • To enable this feature: defaults write com.apple.dashboard devmode YES
  • To disable this feature: defaults write com.apple.dashboard devmode YES
  • To move a widget start to mode it so it is attached to your mouse and then press F12. This works it both ways.

In fact I just had the problem that a dashboard widget was on my desktop and I did not know how to remove it again (move it back to the dashboard) since I completely forgot about this feature. This blog entry is the reminder for next time.



No md5sum in Mac ports? Use md5sha1sum

I recently installed snow leopard and got rid of all my old Mac ports. One of the things which I did not figure out immediately was how to install md5sum which I got used to from Linux. The answer is to install the package md5sha1sum instead:

sudo port install md5sha1sum

Macs come with md5 which solves the same problem but which has a different (worse) user interface.


Zoom/Maximize for Mac OS X Snow Leopard

The Apple behavior of the Zoom/Maximize button is annoying. It behaves differently for *every* application and the intended 'use only as much space as you need' does not work at all because window contents are dynamic.

The application RightZoom fixes this. It took me ages until a friend of mine pointed me at it:


How to manipulate (move/delete/ignore) time machine backups: fsaclctl

When I tried to move some time machine backups out of the way (so that the Migration Assistant/Migrationsassistent) would not find them (and would use an older, more useful backup) I always got:

Operation not permitted

Changing the UNIX wrx permissions with chmod did not work (no effect). Some googling revealed that the permissions are controlled by ACLs (access control lists). With Leopard these can be disabled for the whole disk with

sudo fsactctl -p /Volume/MyVolumeName -d

Now Snow Leopard does not have fsaclctl. But apparently you can just use the one you have from Leopard. You can just copy /usr/sbin/fsaclctl from one of your Leopard time machine backups to /usr/sbin of your Snow Leopard machine.

This post gave the hint: http://forums.macosxhints.com/showthread.php?t=105879


iSight camera stops working in Skype or iChat after installing eyetv hybrid

I just installed eyetv hybrid and after that I could not use my integrated iSight camera (in my Mac Book Pro) with Skype or iChat. They would simply say: No camera connected.

Fixing this:

However, starting Photo Booth once fixed this issue. After starting Photo Boot (which showed that the iSight camera works) and just closing it Skype and iChat video worked again. I assume that the eyetv installation just disabled the existing video devices and forgot to insert them again and that Photo Booth does a better initialization than Skype or iChat.

Of course I assume a reboot would fix this as well, but who likes rebooting all the time. After all why do I have a Mac. :-)


MacBook Pro SuperDrive fails to burn DVD

Recently my MacBook Pro's SuperDrive would stop buring DVDs. It would try to 'open the session' and then fail with an error message which said that it cannot calibrate the laser for this medium. Putting in a different type of DVD did not help. A restart of the computer helped once, but that was just by chance. Burning CD still worked OK.

Apparently dust on the lens is the problem. This very good page describes how to remove the SuperDrive and disassemble it and clean the lens. But the procedure is quite involved and often there is just a bit of dust on the lens, just enough to make the burning fail.

I read through the comment on that page and looked at the pictures. Apparently a lot of people were able to clean the lens by using a thin credit card like thing and a dry soft cloth for cleaning glasses. I tried this as well and it worked after the first try! Burning DVDs works again. There is probably no control over the amount of dust removed by this procedure, but as long as one can remove enough dust to make DVD burning possible this is OK with me as the cleaning process just takes 1 minute. :-)

Obviously you should never do this if you are afraid of destroying your SuperDrive. There are delicate mechanics in there which could easily break.