Nov 19, 2007

Batch changing file types/creators

For some reason when downloading files via FTP with Interarchy, all my .html files end up being owned by IE (yuck). Here’s a handy one-liner to fix that (run from the directory containing the errant files). You’ll need the developer tools installed to get SetFile.

find . -name "*.html" | xargs /Developer/Tools/SetFile -c R*ch

This sets the file creator to R*ch, which is BBEdit’s creator code. Of course the *.html can be changed to change other files, like *.txt.

You can also use the -t option to set the file type, for example -t TEXT.

permalink | computing/mac/tips | 2007.11.19-22:33.00

Apple’s WWDC 2004

I’m off to WWDC in San Francisco tomorrow. It’s exciting; this will be the first time that I’ve had a badge all to myself, and will be able to go to the keynote.

permalink | computing/mac/wwdc | 2007.11.19-22:33.00

GUI wrappers around SSH

I just spent most of the weekend writing a tool that provides a nice GUI frontend for SSH, specifically for creating SSH tunnels. Yeah, I know about SSH Tunnel Manager, but it has a fiddly UI, and, as I found when looking at the source, the author doesn’t care too much about security (it writes your password to a short-lived file in /tmp).

So about 10 hours of hacking later, I had a nice little app with an NSStatusItem which showed the connected state of tunnels, and some tunnel editing UI.

Then Google presented me with SSHKeychain. Wow, what a neat little app. It does everything mine did, and more. Hopefully it will make using CVS over SSH with mozilla a little less painful.

permalink | computing/mac/software | 2007.11.19-22:33.00


CSSEdit is another nice web development tool for Mac users. It’s not much use for positional-type stuff, because it doesn’t know anything about your page structure, but it’s great for color, border and font tweaking.

permalink | computing/mac/software | 2007.11.19-22:33.00

Color Schemer

In a previous entry I pointed to Color Designer as a nice color design application, useful for web pages and more.

Apple’s downloads page recently featured a different application which does much the same thing, called Color Schemer Studio. This one comes as a 15-day free trial, after which it’s $50. Color Schemer is nicely designed, and seems a little more polished than ColorDesigner, but doesn’t have quite the flexibility.

permalink | computing/mac/software | 2007.11.19-22:33.00

Fixing MT-NewsWatcher bugs

I spent a few hours this weekend fixing some MT-NW bugs, which is long overdue. I’ve been distracted by other projects, like redesigning this web site.

For the curious, the bug fix list so far looks like:

  • Fixed file type/creator reversal when saving binaries.
  • The “Mark as not junk” menu item works for article windows now.
  • The Advanced dialog in the binary extration prefs has a sensible title now.
  • Fixed the display font for UTF-8 messages to use the font prefs, rather than default to 9pt Monaco.
  • Fixed an odd behaviour clicking on the radio buttons in the filter edit dialog for a date filter.
  • Fixed a linkage issue that could cause library errors on launch on some machines (GSS-related).
  • Fixed some minor message window layout issues (helpful for translators).
  • Accented characters are no longer stripped when pasting.
  • When bringing up the Spelling panel with a misspelled word selected, it no longer goes to the next misspelled word.
  • MT-NW will now try to authenticate when requested in more situations, making it less necessary to use the ‘Always authenticate’ option.
  • Underscores (‘_’) will no longer be converted to spaces in message with a Content-Transfer-Encoding of Quoted-Printable.
  • Fixed some bugs relating to Smart cut and paste in message editing.

I also ran into another long-standing bug (it’s amazing how pretty fundamental bugs can go lurking unreported for years!) which I started to fix, and then backed off. It’s a stupid issue where “child” windows are tracked via a parent window and an index into the parent window’s list (e.g. the group index in the parent window). That works fine until the parent’s array changes, for example by a resort or quicksearch.

It may sound easy to fix, but there are some complications with the full groups window that make it a bit more tricky.

This is one of those bugs that makes me tempted to start rewriting MT-NW from scratch in Cocoa, and pull in code from the old codebase bit by bit. However, this is a huge task (probably over a year of heavy part-time work), and not one that I’m prepared to embark upon.

Thinking about this also put me in mind of the the real cost of writing and maintaining a freeware application. Taking into account the hundreds of hours that I’ve put into MT-NW over the past 8 years, and using a pretty conservative hourly rate that a developer would get paid, the cost is at least $100,000. Makes you think, eh?

permalink | computing/mac/mtnw | 2007.11.19-22:33.00


I just found a pretty nice color design tool called ColorDesigner (screenshot), which is ideal for picking combinations of colors to use on web sites. All the color suites you see on this site were chosen using it.

You can find get it from the author’s site, or download from

There seem to be a few bugs (like failing to track saved documents), and there’s some stuff that I don’t understand, but it’s pretty neat, and spits out CSS-compatible hex values.

permalink | computing/mac/software | 2007.11.19-22:33.00

How They Improved Mac OS X Performance

MacIntouch just pointed to this really interesting review of various performance improvements in Mac OS X, on

Note to self: should read the other articles on

permalink | computing/mac/os | 2007.11.19-22:33.00