Archive for March, 2007

We don’t all love the mouse, Apple!

Friday, March 16th, 2007

Obviously, Apple has a long-standing love affair with the mouse. Fair enough, they’re damn useful things. However, some people prefer to use the keyboard wherever possible. For example:

  • My wife prefers keyboard shortcuts, because she has a bad wrist and using a mouse for more than a couple of minutes is agony.
  • I prefer keybaord shortcuts, because I find the mouse is slow and imprecise for performing repetitive actions, and my time is important to me. Also, if I perform those actions a lot, it hurts my wrist too.

Macs have always had a bit of a reputation for being poor when it comes to keyboard shortcuts, but one of the things that sold me on the Mac last year was that Apple are supposed to have improved shortcuts considerably in the last few years. Well if the iMac I have in front of me represents an improvement in keyboard support, I shudder to think what old Macs must have been like. ;)

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Creating clean archive files

Monday, March 12th, 2007

As Mac users (and friends of Mac users) will know, Mac OS loves splattering hidden metadata files and folders throughout your directory structure. For example, open up a terminal and do an ‘ls -a’ of one of your directories, and you’ll probably see a .DS_Store file in there.

This is all very well when browsing the folder on your Mac, because Mac OS X sensibly hides these from view in the Finder. However try tarring or zipping that folder, sending it across to a Windows machine, then unzipping/untarring the archive file in Windows. You’ll see the .DS_Store file sitting there in Windows Explorer, in plain view. Even worse, if you zip a folder using Mac OS X’s “Create Archive” option, it creates another Mac-specific __MACOSX folder in there too, further cluttering up the archive for non-Mac users.

Naturally, Windows and Linux have no use for such files and folders; all they do is confuse matters for the poor users. This can be a bit of a problem when distributing zip files to hundreds of people, like we do on PageKits.com. Of course, it’s easy enough to write a shell script to recursively scan a folder and remove all these Mac-specific files and folders prior to archiving, but it’s still a bit of a pain.

So I was pretty chuffed to discover CleanArchiver the other day. It’s a nifty little archiving utility that removes those pesky Mac-specific items as it archives. All you have to do is drag your folder to the CleanArchiver icon in the dock, and it does the rest. It can create gzip, bzip2, zip and dmg files, and you can tell it which Mac-specific things to remove and which to leave in. Perfect for zipping up folders to send to your non-Mac-using buddies.