Posts tagged “upgrade”.

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).

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.

Upgrading to Snow Leopard

Booting from External Hard Drives

I installed Snow Leopard on an external hard drive a few months ago to give it a once over.  My daughter then received a Macbook from Santa for Christmas and I got more exposure to the OS.  I felt it was time that I took the plunge and migrated all my data over to Snow Leopard.  I stopped using Tiger and started using Snow Leopard exclusively this past week.  I have a 750GB Seagate drive that currently has Snow Leopard on it.  Tiger is still installed on a mirrored RAID set composed of the internal 250GB drive and an external 250GB drive; so, if I needed to, I can roll back easily.

Migrating Data and Configurations

Most people will find that the Migration Assistant, found in the Utilities Folder (⌘-shift U shortcut in the finder application), will be able to handily migrate average user accounts and machine preferences from one disk to the other, or from an old computer to a newer one.  I first used this automated way to migrate the ‘other’ users of my system, my wife and children.  I chose to migrate my data manually because my home directory had 82GB of data in it.  60GB of which were in my iPhoto Library.

Program Migration

I had hundreds of programs installed in my Tiger OS that I just never used.  I’m going to install my programs on an As-Needed basis.  Currently, I have the software I use daily installed.  iLife ’09, Gimmer Proxy for Adblocking in Safari, CyberDuck, and a half dozen other programs I use regularly.  I think I’ve covered 80% of what I need currently.

Migrating iPhoto Data

Migrating iPhoto was the easiest task possible.  In your home directory /Users/YOURNAME there is a directory called Pictures.  Within the Pictures directory there is a special item called iPhoto Library.  It’s actually a directory that Apple has labeled as a package — you can right click on the item and “Show Package Contents” to navigate into it, but trust me, you don’t want to.  The only thing I had to do to move everything in iPhoto was to move this iPhoto Library file from one disk to the other.  Just place it in your /Users/YOURNAME/Pictures folder and you’re done.  Fire up iPhoto ’09 in Leopard and it automatically upgrades your iPhoto Library and you’re done.


I have all my music on an external mirrored RAID set. I just needed to fire up iTunes, change the preferences to where my music library is, uncheck copy music to location, and in finger select all the subdirectories in the iTunes subdirectory and dump them into the Music Library area inside the iTunes program.  I lost all my ratings and such, but what are you going to do?


I have all of my movies on an external mirrored RAID set also.  I only had to fire up iMovie and it found all my movies and optimized them automatically.

Mail Data Migration

So, this is a little embarrassing.  I have almost every email I’ve ever received going back about 15 years or more.  Again, a lot of data to move and the safest way to do that is to do it manually.  This was only slightly more difficult.  There was one folder, and one plist file to move into place.  The mail folder to move was /Users/YOURNAME/Library/Mail and the plist file was found at /Users/YOURNAME/Library/Preferences/  After those files are moved to the new system, you fire up mail, and if you’re moving from Tiger to Snow Leopard, it automatically upgrades your mail archive.  You will have to type in your passwords again, but all your other settings, filters, signatures, etc. are saved.

Printer Configurations

I’m no where close to the bleeding edge on this migration.  As a matter of fact, I’m well behind the pack for a good reason.  I wanted other schmucks to figure out the difficult tricks to getting the supported peripherals in Tiger to work in Snow Leopard.  I had a slight issue with my Samsung ML-1710 Laser printer as it was no longer supported in OS X 10.6.  Not a really big deal, right?  Apple said, “see the manufacturers site for the updated driver.”   So, I moseyed over to Samsung and started searching and didn’t find a thing.  There was a “Live Chat” option, so I asked.  Nope, not supported.  The help desk person would send it up the food chain, as a request, but I needed to print now!  The printer doesn’t even support PCL or PS.  So I couldn’t even use a generic PCL4, PCL5 or PS driver.  Crap.  That was that, right?  Well, I don’t give up that easily… ever.

I kept searching.  Looking for cheap wireless print servers.  Thinking about tiny linux machines that I could use as a NAS and Print Server.  And then I found it.  A site that had instructions how to install foomatic print drivers in Mac OS X 10.5.  I thought to myself, it’s worth a try.  So I downloaded the links on the page.  Sadly there were broken links.  But I didn’t give up.  I copied the links, removed the filenames, and searched the internet directory looking for similar files.  Luckily, there were updated files!  I downloaded all three files, installed them, and my printer, which was not supported by either Apple or Samsung is now working again.  I saved these files to my site here so you’ll never run into broken links!

internet link: gplgs-8.64so-ub.dmg local link:  gplgs-8.64so-ub.dmg
internet link: foomatic-rip- local link: foomatic-rip-
internet link: samsung-gdi-1.816.2.dmg local link: samsung-gdi-1.816.2.dmg

I installed the above files in order.  First the GPL Ghost Script package, then the Foomatic package, then the Samsung drivers.  Afterwards, I opened System Preferences, clicked on Print & Fax, unlocked my preference panel, pressed the little + button in the middle on the left, and added my printer.  The driver automatically selected and came up as Samsung ML-1710 Foomatic/gdi.

Scanner Configuration

I know I’m going to have the same problem with my scanner, a Canon Canoscan LiDE 30.  It’s a great little scanner that I picked up years ago for $30.  I don’t want to upgrade it.  it does everything I want it to and it does it fast enough for me.  I’ve found a program that solves all my scanner problems, VueScan.  I just downloaded the demo and tested it out.  It supports my scanner without the need of installing drivers in Snow Leopard.  Can you ask for more?  And at $40 for the program, it’ll save me at least $30 and 2 lbs. of land-fill-guilt from my alternative of junking this scanner and buying another one.

Mission Completed

Upgrade completed.  I now have Snow Leopard installed on an external drive.  Now, I have to break my mirrored RAID set and reformat my internal hard drive (keeping the external hard drive intact with all it’s data for backup for right now).  This will allow me to image my current external drive to my internal drive moving my Snow Leopard disk into my iMac and finishing off the process completely.

This is the scary part.  I think I’ll sit on Snow Leopard for a week or so before proceeding, just to be safe.

Gmail and Apple Mail with Parental Control

Santa Clause brought a new 13″ macbook for my eldest daughter this year.  He was kind enough to set up most of the laptop for her, but left a few tasks for me to tackle after the holiday.  One of which was email.

Apple Mail has some wonderful Parental Controls allowing the parental units to define a white list of who the child can exchange email with.  Fantastic Stuff!  But my problem was my daughter has an email address from one of my google apps domains.  I needed to figure out a way for her to ONLY use Apple Mail and not login to Google via the web to circumvent those Apple parental protections.

I decided just on a monster password that she doesn’t know.  One that she will not be able to remember or type in.  We’re talking 35 characters long, upper case, lower case, numbers, and special characters.  It’s not a perfect solution.  The password is saved in the Keychain, and she can get it out of there, when she figures it out, but it seemed like a good compromise for now.

I could blacklist the URL for gmail so she can’t access her email via the web on her computer.  But, that won’t stop her from accessing her email  from another computer if she can figure out how to get the password off her macbook.

I’ll do some more investigation around this later.  It would be nice if Google allowed an account to ONLY be accessed via IMAP.  I’ll look into if that’s an option today, and if not, I’ll ask Google for the feature.  I think it would be a nice option to have.

Yesterday we also set up iChat, so now we have a video intercom in our house.  It’s funny to video chat when your kids just down the hall.  She is completely enamored with the Alpha Channel options in Snow Leopard’s iChat.  We need to get a green screen now.