Most useful hack: how to get your mail

December 20, 2007 by

Ever eager to supply you with the most useful how-tos, we couldn’t withhold this: simplicity, availability, beauty:



macbook mouse move graphics error and fix

November 30, 2007 by

This is what happened: suddenly the lower half of the upper half of my screen started to jump approximately 1 pixel up and down, when my mouse crossed a certain horizontal line on the screen + I had two vertical 1 pixel offsets in my screen + I couldn’t grab the effect in a screen shot, because everything was fine in a screen shot. It didn’t really jump a lot – so the screen was usable – just the bit, that makes your unconsciousness go really crazy with the thought ‘right, thats my graphics card, minimum time after guaranty expiry’ …

If you just want to fix it, jump to the ‘quick solution’, while I rant on here …

Things that you can do, but that don’t really help

You can clean up your startup list of programs, and remove everything – doesn’t fix the problem, but my mac starts with light-speed again. You can remove the desktop background – well this one I put back in place by now. You could restart, change the screen resolution, the number of colors displayed, go through lots of forums … or:

The quick solution

I had a basically unused spare account on my mac, and copied the from this account, and replaced my version on my account. BAM. fixed. (this took the better part of a day)  Note that from the preference panel point of view, universal access was turned off all the time during this episode.

change the 3D Dock in a 2D Dock (Mac OSX Leopard)

November 18, 2007 by

One week ago I installed Leopard. Well I am quite happy. There are some disappointing bugs, but I hope they will be fixed soon. (like my beloved python does not compile and mplayer from macports works only with disabled SSE and MMX).

Another thing was the 3D Dock. I find it a little bit ugly. So if you want to change it to 2D, here’s the trick.

open a terminal an execute

defaults write no-glass -boolean YES; killall Dock

You can undo this with

defaults write no-glass -boolean NO; killall Dock


have fun



I found this in this german blog (thanks guys)

PS: Sorry corrected a error (removed the sudo)

command line @ your mac

October 2, 2007 by

At they have a nice wrapup on useful command line tricks in macos. Real sweetness with command line arrives if you install quicksilver.

(This will come in handy, when we explore the systemless-gtd-sytem btw)

GTD Salsa: in 80 days around the world

October 1, 2007 by

Ever wrote all your super important and time sensitive info in a gadgety note taking and self administration tool? Ever recovered that info exactly half a year after its relevance horizon? Then this post is for you, but beware, this is not the post for the quick info, so I have marked these posts with GTD Salsa, for the less focused break and hellish self reflection.

Frequent readers might notice that I am the guy, who first installed a ruby based instiki – which crashed on me, just after I had gotten serious with hacking its database internals (speak: added a slash in a path definition) – who then spent a night transforming my macbook into a mediawiki server just for myself, and promised to keep you up to date with how my media wiki information and project planning was coming along. What to say? I just discovered that reminder while skimming through this blog.

My MediaWiki: I have dumped it. My personal wiki was working reliably, I just turned out to fill it with information that I never ever retrieved out of it. I could have, it was all there, and in a thought-out structure, but to be honest I was just to lazy to click 5 links in order to know what the next step in a certain tasklist would be. It is important to note here, that this was a personal wiki. Shared wikis are quite a different affair, and I enjoy using some of them, bit this post is about organizing just yourself.

The all new system without a system

So, for two weeks now I have a new system, that is extra easy and just for me. no hyperlinks, no databases, and I will explain it to you in a series of postings, because I have just lost you now for today, and have half a Charles Stross left at the side of the sofa.

stay tuned …

will I like zeroconf?

September 15, 2007 by

will I like zeroconf?

YES you will (or do)

what is this magical thing everyone is talking about.

Well, simply spoken – its sends a broadcast in your network and gets back the ipadress of another machine.
I hear you saying – but thorolf, that’s a normal broadcast. You are not telling us really news.

… and it gets back the port and a decsription – ahhh that sounds cool.

zeroconf was former called Rendezvous or Bonjour in Apple systems. Now you can find it under linux also, under the name Avahi.

A longer good video about it – google zeroconf video

have fun

jabber – why it rocks

August 20, 2007 by

Jabber – why it rocks

Jabber is an instant messenger based on the XMPP, near real time XML streaming/routing protocol.

There are tons of specifications out there – but what does it actually for you. Well think of a protocol, which does not need a port for every extension and with that every function you use.

You can have a client capable of sending text messages over XMPP. One day the developer of the the chat client decide to extend the client with a white board and you and your friends can now draw images together. And maybe other developers decide to implement some telephone features – now you can talk to your friends.

The really nice thing is – if you have a fully functional client for speech, chat, drawing and your friends not – the clients are not useless. the client “knows” which features it implements – and gives you the best he can offer.

But its not only for chat and drawing – because there is enough stuff out there. The interesting stuff begins when you use it as a transport layer for web services. Imagine you can see the status of your coffee machine in your chat client. or you get every time a message when someone of your project group add some code to the subversion repository. Fiction ? no its working – and I love it.

A protocol which you can extend dynamically. Of course you can use it with SSL and Kerberos. All the beauty of network transportation on top of all layers.

Of course I am simplifying it, but its really easy and very extend able. So why is jabber so cool, if XMPP is the cool protocol. Because jabber does not care what it transports – its an XMPP router. You can use it for transporting all your XMPP streams through your networks and far beyond.
links for more information

the main site (rfc’s, extensions, ..)

and of course in Wikipedia – there are also lots of links for more information

dig in and have fun

MAC keyboard short cuts … all of them

August 14, 2007 by

The ‘one to rule them all‘, the comprehensive list of all Mac OSX keyboard short cuts, kept up to date by the empire itself.

via TUAW

DxO Filmpack

July 29, 2007 by

Ever thought: well these digital photographs look nice, but I want my Kodak Tri-X look, and no matter how I squeeze the color-mixer, contrast and exposure it does never arrive?

DxO Filmpack does exactly that: it takes your digital photographs and simulates the look of a range of films and processing techniques, you can choose positive and negative color, black and white and cross processed film looks.

I tried DxO Filmpack, and it is very very impressive! Of course your first thought is, why the heck would I destroy my photographs with simulated grain? What can they do, what I can’t with the curve-tool? But when you see the results you will think: I don’t really care about destroying perfect files as long as this is what comes out – and no I could not do the same with the curve-tool – and actually the result is what matters.

Especially black and white films look great. A side effect of the grain is that over-exposed regions in the image don’t look blown-out any more. The color film options were nice, too, but there is something strange about a heavily boosted saturation that sometimes seems to be beyond the colorspace. … I’ll have to look into that. Anyway, I only really cared about Tri-X and Delta400. Try it with portraits!



Crops of a photograph: upper image: desaturate, lower image: filmpack tri-X

python – convert tab’s in spaces

July 19, 2007 by

python is a nice language for programming, but recently we engaged a problem with tabs and      spaces.

you guessed right – there was emacs and vim users on the project with different coding rules in there configs 🙂

to fix the problem of this mixture of tabs and spaces, I used a bash one liner.

just change in your project directory and execute

for file in `find . -name “*.py“`; do expand –tabs=2 $file > $; mv $ $file; done

and for the other direction you can use “unexpand”