Posts tagged “snow leopard”.

MacBook Meltdown

I sit at an “L” shaped desk in my home office; to my left is my personal mac book pro, in front of me is my work PC. I was working feverishly this afternoon when I smelled something burning. Specifically, I smelled plastic burning. I jumped up from my desk panicked that my house was on fire.

I dashed out of my office headed for the closest of two fire extinguishers we keep in the house when I realized with a shock that I no longer smelled the burning plastic out in the hallway. Relieved that it wasn’t the pre-wired Christmas tree melting downstairs I bolted back into my office, feared an electrical fire, and frantically worried over what action I could take if it were the wiring in the walls.

I entered my office and sniffed the air in front of me like a bloodhound. It came from my desk. Then I saw wafts of faint grey smoke which rose over the back of my MacBook Pro. I moved all the wires away from my computer. I quickly disconnected the power cord, Firewire 800, and USB wires that were plugged into the device; fearing a short circuit I inspected each wire.  The wires were fine, not warm at all and still a smell like burning nylon persisted. I picked up the computer and sniffed it. Immediately I knew something inside my MacBook Pro had melted.

I opened a window, turned on the overhead fan, and aired out the room. The smell dissipated quickly. I realized I felt a little light headed; that too quickly passed.  With the power cord unplugged, the laptop only running on battery power, everything seemed fine.  I immediately started a backup of my data.  I’ve heard horror stories about Apple support replacing whole devices and not restoring data — that wasn’t going to happen to me.  I then looked for the support number and called Apple Care.

My Apple Care phone experience was extremely pleasant. My computer is under warranty and they scheduled an appointment for me to meet a technician at the local Apple Store in town. While I was on hold, on a whim, I plugged the power cord back into my computer.  I immediately smelled the burning plastic again, and unplugged it promptly.

So, some time in the not too distant future an Apple technician will crack open my laptop and either see a stray bit of plastic that got too close to something hot, or identify a faulty part and replace it.  Either way, I think my next Apple purchase will be Apple Care for my MacBook Pro.

To Change One Simple Picture

I really like Apple’s new Snow Leopard OS. If you look back through my blog you’ll see my trials and tribulations I went through, lamenting the upgrade. I felt that Leopard was never quite up to par — that it fell short of Tiger in many ways. I really liked Tiger, that was a solid operating system.

But in any good OS, you have to be able to tweak it; customize it in seemingly mindless little ways to make it yours. It starts with naming your machine. There’s a big difference between a machine named “Dilbert” or one named “Loki”. And you want to start from there and expand. Tweaking your background, cursors, file icons, screen animations, you name it… it should be tweakable and fit into your Norse Mythological scheme or your Dilbert Philosophy.

Please don’t misunderstand me where I’m about to go next. I love astronomy. I like Apple’s sense of style and design. But, I never liked the Aurora.jpg that was the default background for Leopard. I wasn’t happy when it became my default background when I upgraded to Snow Leopard from Tiger. And I wasn’t happy when changing my Desktop background as an administrator there wasn’t a checkbox to Change Login Background also.

It annoyed me. I really grew to despise that image. And for months I’ve searched and searched for the solution — how do I eradicate Aurora.jpg from displaying on my mac? Finally I recently became obsessed and refusing defeat I continued searching Google. Coincidentally, Googles new “Bing” tools made the difference and I finally found the solution.

Open up Terminal and enter in the following commands.

cd /System/Library/CoreServices/
mv DefaultDesktop.jpg DefaultDesktop.old.jpg
sudo mv DefaultDesktop.jpg DefaultDesktop.old.jpg
sudo cp /Library/Desktop\ Pictures/Nature/Horizon.jpg ./DefaultDesktop.jpg

I chose to copy the Horizon.jpg image to the DefaultDesktop.jpg image. But you can choose any image you like.

And that is how to change the default background image for the login page on Mac OS X version 10.6 otherwise known as Snow Leopard. And just as a side note and a way to help other “search engine challenged people” like myself, it helps to figure out the file name of the image you’re searching for and not just call it space image, leopard default image, and other generic things like that.

I’m a little disappointed in Apple. I think it was MUCH too complicated for the Mac experience. I think Apple should pay closer attention to making every little thing easy to customize… and easy to restore to its default values in future versions of their Operating Systems.

It will be the little things that matter in the near future too. The devil is in the details. Google is pressing the court and developing Android to complete with the iPhone. It won’t be long until they follow in Apple’s footsteps and take a Linux kernel and make an OS that rivals Mac OS (although Apple used BSD Unix instead of Linux, I can’t see Google making that same choice).

Customizing Front Row in Snow Leopard

I picked up a new apple remote when I got my MacBook Pro the other week and I just started watching my media files yesterday evening through Front Row. It was pretty Mac-tastic, except I thought the menu was kind of cluttered. You see, I use iTunes, but I do not ever intend to use the Apple iTunes Store — it’s my personal boycott for the crappy things that have transpired online around independent developer’s iPhone applications being removed from the store for no good reason.

Do you see where this is going? I didn’t want to stare at iStore options. When I selected TV Shows, it told me I didn’t have any TV Shows, and I should go buy some from the iStore. Ha! Not any time soon. So, I wondered if I could get rid of it? A quick google search yielded some disappointing results. Wiki’s that were defunct. Questions unanswered. I was getting discouraged. Until I checked google’s cache. On one defunct wiki link, google still had the content cached. Google FTW! (That’s geek-speak for “Google for the win!”)

Now, the information on the link was incorrect, but it gave me enough insight into how things worked to be able to figure it out for myself. The following mini-howto is the result of my research and hacking.

To remove the “TV Shows” option from the Front Row Application in Mac OS X Snow Leopard

  1. close Front Row
  2. open a terminal window
  3. cd /System/Library/CoreServices/Front
  4. sudo mv TV.frappliance TV.frappliance.old
  5. type in your password
  6. ls


You can remove any of the Front Row options, or buttons, by changing the name of the corresponding file listed above. For example, if you didn’t want podcasts, you would ‘sudo mv Podcasts.frappliance Podcasts.frappliance.old’.

Fire up Front Row and the option is gone. To put it back, you just need to remove the .old from the directory name with a command like, ‘sudo mv Podcasts.frappliance.old Podcasts.frappliance’ and the menu button will reappear.

It’s all about sharing.

Facebook Ad Removal for Glimmer Blocker Update

I have updated the Facebook Ad Removal Glimmer Blocker Filter. Details follow…

Facebook went through a Facelift the other week, and with the changes they made, a few advertisements slipped through. I have updated my filter to deal with the new changes. You can click on the colored ball (green or blue as pictured below)

screen shot of glimmer blocker filters

Glimmer Blocker Subscription

after the filter name to update your subscription manually, or set it to update automatically (pictured below).

Glimmer Blocker Subscription Update

Glimmer Blocker Subscription Update

The source of the file is published below.

<?xml version=”1.0″ encoding=”UTF-8″?>
<filter-data name=”Facebook Ad Removal” format-version=”3″ gb-version=”1.4.4″>
<rule rule-id=”296551197″ priority=”5″ host=”” host-type=”domain” type=”modify” whitelist=”1″>
.adcolumn { display: none; }
.ssponsor { display: none; }
.sponsors { display: none; }
.pagelet_adbox { display: none; }
.emu_sponsor { display: none; }
.contact_importer_frame { display: none; }
.UIEMUPHFrame_creative { display: none; }
.ego_unit { display: none; }
<js placement=”body-end”><![CDATA[
var a = document.getElementsByClass(‘UIHomeBox_Sponsored’); //UIHomeBox UITitledBox’);
while (a.length) {
if (a[0].parentNode)
var b = document.getElementsByClass(‘UITitledBox_Content’);
while (b.length) {
if (b[0].parentNode)
var c = document.getElementsByClass(’emu_sponsor’);
while (c.length) {
if (c[0].parentNode)
var d = document.getElementsByClass(‘UIEMUHPFrame_creative’);
while (d.length) {
if (d[0].parentNode)
var e = document.getElementsById(‘pagelet_adbox’);
while (e.length) {
if (e[0].parentNode)

See my earlier Glimmer Proxy post for more information.

Glimmer Proxy

In my quest to upgrade my apple experience I have tried to leave Firefox behind and use Safari in Snow Leopard. One of the things I loved about FireFox was AdBlock. I can’t tell you how much Internet advertising annoys me. Well, I could try to tell you, but you’d get bored and stop reading, so I’ll spare you. Let’s just say it REALLY ANNOYS ME!

Nowhere does it annoy me worse than on facebook. If you use facebook, I’m sure you see the ads every time you view a page. The ones that irk me the most are the photos of girls in bikinis for the sites that say, “Who’s been googling you?” As if girls in bikinis are googling you. Ha!

So, to remove advertising using Safari on a Mac I installed GlimmerBlocker Proxy. Installing it creates an entry in your System Preferences.

Glimmer Blocker in System Preferences

Glimmer Blocker in System Preferences

Glimmer Blocker runs a proxy on your local machine and sets Safari up to use that proxy to connect to the Internet. It’s a wonderfully elegant setup because it doesn’t hack Safari to do the ad removal. Inside the Glimmer Proxy configuration you can subscribe to several default filters which makes getting setup quick and easy.  You’ll be blocking most advertisers immediately with little to no effort at all.

Subscribe to default filters

Subscribe to default filters

What it didn’t do well out of the box, so to speak, is block the advertising in facebook.  I investigated and saw that Glimmer Blocker could do transformations — change the content of websites before sending the data to Safari.  What I didn’t find is an easy way to rip out the <div> tags that surrounded the Facebook Ads.  An email to the developer got me on the right track.  Instead of transforming the data, adding cascading stylesheets and javascript entries could stop the ads from displaying.

I have created my own personal filter to remove Facebook Advertising and I’m publishing it here for you to benefit from.  All you have to do is select the top little gear icon under the Filters and choose Subscribe to filter.

Subscribe to my Facebook Filter

Subscribe to my Facebook Filter

In the window that opens just type in “”.

Subscribe to my Facebook Filter

Subscribe to my Facebook Filter

Important Note: you should trust me before doing this! So, I’m putting the contents of my rule here for you to see:

<?xml version=”1.0″ encoding=”UTF-8″?>

<filter-data name="Facebook Ad Removal" format-version="3" gb-version="1.4.4">
<rule rule-id="950390245" priority="5" host="" host-type="domain" type="modify" whitelist="1">
<css><![CDATA[.adcolumn { display: none; }
.ssponsor { display: none; }
.pagelet_adbox { display: none; }
.emu_sponsor { display: none; }]]></css>
<js placement="head-end"><![CDATA[function(){
var a = document.getElementsByClass('UIHomeBox');
while (a.length) {
if (a[0].parentNode)
var a = document.getElementsByClass('emu_sponsor');
while (a.length) {
if (a[0].parentNode)

Keep me honest.  Download the file first to see if it matches.  Or download it and make your own.  I’ll probably update the file in place, since the actual contents of the XML file are published here as a historical record of what the file used to look like.  If you don’t want to get updates, choose the appropriate radio buttons on the last screen above.

I hope someone finds this useful.  I know I personally like facebook much better without the annoying, misleading and uninteresting advertising.