Monthly Archives: July 2011

Mac OS X Lion (10.7) and the much-maligned monochrome sidebar

If you’re not working with Lion yet, you might not know that the icons in the Finder sidebar are all monochrome. It’s dull and ugly and frankly less useful – an awful choice for a UI change. Somebody at Apple thought they were being “cool” and hip but this is more like foolhardy and sickening.

Until someone comes up with a way to give us back colored icons in the Finder sidebar, here’s a workaround that I’ve come up with:

Make a new folder in your home folder (Finder Go menu > Home), and name it (for example): MyNav
Place shortcuts for your favorite folders in there: Go to the original folder you want to list in MyNav folder, click it and hold (keep holding down the mouse or trackpad button) and right after you start dragging the (original) folder, simultaneously hold down the command (aka “Apple”) and option keys, and drag the folder to the MyNav folder, and let go. The result will be a colorful alias of your source folder.
Add as many aliases as you like.

Next, click on/into the Finder, and open the Finder Preferences, staying in the General tab. Where it states, “New Finder windows show:”
click and drag down to “Other…” and then navigate to your Home folder with your “MyNav” folder in it, click on it and hit the “Choose” button in the lower-right.

Now anytime you open a new Finder window, there you’ll have your colored icons.
If you like, go back to the Finder preferences, and select the (check-box) option for “Always open folders in a new window” – and that way the MyNav folder will always be where you left it.

The next thing I did is go back to the Finder preferences, and in the Sidebar tab, I de-selected everything listed under “FAVORITES.”
If you open a new Finder window (and it takes you to the newly setup MyNav), and you still see some unwanted items listed under Favorites,
hold down the Command-key and click and drag the item out of the Sidebar.
Doing so has left me with Shared items still listed (which I happen to want there), and Devices.

One more handy part of this setup that I suggest – but you might not like as much. Consider it entirely optional,
since mounted drives will still show up in your Finder sidebar under Devices.

Here’s what I’ve done that you might also appreciate:
Navigate to your Home folder (for example) – the main thing is you need to select a native folder (not an alias of a folder),
and right-click on that folder – or hold the control key and click with your trackpad, or with multi-touch use a two-finger click 😉
Scroll down towards the bottom of the list that appears, and select “Folder Actions Setup”.
Cancel the list of options that shows up for now. In the left-hand side of the Folder Actions Setup window, click on Enable Folder Actions.
Down to the bottom-left of the dialog window, click on the + button, and then press (all at once): Shift Option G (for “Go to”)
and enter exactly the following: /Volumes
Select that folder (Volumes) in the left-hand list and then click the Open button on the right (should be highlighted in Blue).
That will bring up the list again to “Choose a Script to Attach:” and you want to select the first one listed, “add – new item alert.scpt”
The result should be a check-box for under the heading On, with the heading beside that of “Folders with Actions” and Volumes
listed below that heading. To the right of it, also selected “On” should be the Script, add – new item alert.scpt

Now, when a new drive gets mounted, you’ll get a dialog pop-up asking if you’d like to view it (or them for a drive with
multiple partitions).

This write-up is © David Haines, c/o the Core Solution Group. Redistribution or copying in any form without explicit permission is strictly forbidden.
All technology terms relating to Apple and Mac OS X (Lion or otherwise) are of course the property of Apple.

Mac OS X Lion – Should you take on the new beast, and are you ready ?

Mac OS 10.7 – Lion – are you ready and should you take the jump ?

The first and most important considerations before upgrading to Lion are the following:

If you’re thinking of updating a business-critical machine, don’t. See further down,
but we recommend against an *upgrade* install, and if this really is a critical machine for you
with business needs & revenue generation attached, it’s simply unwise to to dive into any new major OS update
right away. As the well-worn saying goes, “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it” and that could not be more true
of a machine you rely on for business purposes.

Do you have a spare Mac to use, that won’t impact your workflow in any way ?
If not, are you realistically prepared to invest significant amounts of your time for all of:
Installing Lion and getting acclimatized with it, discovering incompatibilities with your 3rd-party software and updating *where available* yet having to wait an uknown period of time before an update is released ?

Does your intended Mac for installing Lion meet the system requirements ?
http://www.apple.com/macosx/specs.html

There’s no retail (off-the shelf) installer disk(s) for Lion, instead you might want to purchase Apple’s USB-key installer – see
http://store.apple.com/us/product/MD256Z/A?

If you don’t have a brand new Mac that comes with Lion, and you want to run this latest big-cat Mac OS X,
be prepared to purchase and download the installer (approximately 3.7 GB in size !) using Apple’s App store application (10.6.6 required but 10.6.8 recommended).
So, for the download, you’ll need a high-speed internet connection. If you have a slow DSL or Satellite-based Internet connection, you might like to visit your nearest Apple store, (I suggest you call ahead and ask first of course), but word is they’ll let you use their WiFi to download the Lion installer.

But let’s take a step back: Before you do anything, run don’t walk and do a backup of your computer. Never ever hope for the best because that’s no fail-safe against the worst that might happen. Time Machine makes it easy.
Next, make sure to verify your Mac’s hard drive. You can boot from an external hard drive if you’ve created one
(beyond the scope of this write-up), and it should have a matching OS, in this case 10.6 (ideally 10.6.8),
or: Boot the install disk that came with your Mac, click through the first couple of screens until you see a Utilities menu available.
Use that to launch Disk Utility, select your Mac’s HD (hard drive) and click the verify button. If problems are found, use the Repair button. If that fails, I suggest you contact us and arrange for a more thorough check-up of your computer.

It’s also possible to use Disk Utility (found within Applications/Utilties) to verify (but not repair) your startup disk (ie: while you’re started up from it, as you typically do when using your Mac), but I strongly recommend you quit all other applications (please do),
and whatever method you choose for verifying your Mac’s HD, if it’s a laptop make sure it’s plugged in. If you have a Desktop model (Mac Mini, iMac, MacPro), a battery backup (with surge protection) is a good investment (you should already have one, for reasons also beyond the scope of this particular write-up). Even with a laptop, a decent surge-protector is a good idea.
As always, remember that as it does it’s job over time (years), a surge protector can lose its effectiveness.

Something else that you really should do before upgrading to Lion, is to check on compatibility for your critical and preferred applications, and peripherals (scanners, printers, cameras, etc.). Google is your friend, do some searching.

It’s very important to know that Classic (running OS 9 within Mac OS X) is non-existent (already true as of 10.6)
As far as printers go, it’s likely (although I’m not guaranteeing) that if your printer or scanner works in 10.6, that it will be supported in 10.7, see: http://support.apple.com/kb/HT3669

As with any major OS upgrade, you’ll need to allow for some down-time, and lost productivity. It’s new, a new environment, and many things you may be accustomed to working in a particular way will either be changed or even gone. Give yourself time to adjust and adapt !

Further recommended reading:

http://www.macworld.com/article/161064/2011/07/installing_lion_complete_guide.html?lsrc=top_3
http://arstechnica.com/apple/reviews/2011/07/mac-os-x-10-7.ars