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I just learned some great new shortcuts for OS X!

You can adjust the volume and brightness in finer grains than you are used to by simply pressing the "shift" and "alt" keys while doing so. Another nice shortcut is the overview of special characters and emoticons that you can trigger by pressing CTRL + CMD + space. This should work in any most text input boxes.

  • Finer-grained volume adjust: Shift + Alt + Volume-Button
  • Finer-grained brightness adjust: Shift + Alt + Brightness-Button
  • Special character and emoticon overview: CTRL + CMD + Space
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In combination with a MagSafe-to-MagSafe2 converter the power adapter from my 2007 MacBook is still useful. I keep it at home so that I can use my newer power adapter at work and leave it there. After 7 years of constant use unfortunately the cable that is connected to the MacBook broke very closely to the outlet.

MacBook Power Adapter

The first website to take a look at is of course iFixit. The guide explains very well how to open the casing and how to solder the shortened cable to the adapter. The trick how to open the casing is from an Instructable. I found it easier to use the pliers instead of heating the casing with a hair dryer. To prevent things from flying around I kept the adapter in position with my knees while I pushed the casing with the pliers apart.

MacBook Power Adapter

Inevitably the plastic of the casing will break at certain points but it should break very evenly that it can be glued together afterwards.

MacBook Power Adapter

The next step is to prepare the cable relief. It is glued to the cable so it is necessary to remove most of the plastic and to make sure that the shortened cable fits into the hole.

MacBook Power Adapter

I removed about 6-7cm just to make sure the damaged part of the cable is gone.

MacBook Power Adapter

Now the stripped cables can be soldered together and isolated with heat shrink tubing. I also added a zip tie as cable relief.

MacBook Power Adapter

With the old cable relief back in place we are ready to glue the casing together.

MacBook Power Adapter

Just make sure the cord winding ears are in position before you start. ;) I used a glue which was explicitly suitable for the ABS thermoplastic of the casing.

MacBook Power Adapter

DIY is great! It was a lot of fun and also saved 79€ for a new power adapter. ;)

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A few weeks ago I decided to replace the battery of my iPhone 4S because it barely lasted half a day. Furthermore it simply shut off at a battery level of 20% which couldn't even be fixed by calibrating it. The replacement instructions at iFixit seemed pretty straightforward containing only seven simple steps. I was glad that iFixit has a webshop in Europe where I bought a battery replacement kit including the necessary tools. As far as I know iFixit sells only OEM parts which is great because I didn't want a cheap (and probably low-quality) replacement battery.

iPhone 4S screws

iPhone 4S screws

Opening the case was easy. After removing two screws next to the dock connector the rear panel could be pushed away.

iPhone 4S battery replacement

iPhone 4S battery replacement

The battery itself was adhered to the case and had a connector that was screwed to the mainboard. After removing the screws the battery could be pried up with the plastic tool. Inserting the new battery and following the guide in reverse order finished the job.

The iPhone could be turned on without a problem and had a battery charge of 75%. But wait.. The signal stayed at "Searching...". Did I destroy the antenna? After disassembling and reassembling the battery several times nothing changed. I remembered the warning in the guide:

"When reinstalling the pressure contact, be sure to clean it with a degreaser such as windex or isopropyl alcohol. The oils on your fingers have the potential to create wireless interference."

So I bought isopropyl alcohol and cleaned every piece of the connector, the screws holding it in place and the pressure contact grounding the antenna. No change and still "Searching...". There were strange comments below the guide at iFixit recommending to turn WiFi on which solved the problem for some people. Well, WiFi worked indeed but did not fix the GSM problem. Pascal had a great idea: Setting the date and time! He was right, with the date 1970-01-01 my phone could not connect to the carrier. After synchronizing the time and rebooting the phone everything worked as expected. :}

(Thanks to Pascal for taking the photos and troubleshoot. ;) )

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It's always funny what kind of crazy stuff is possible by just using bash and basic Unix tools. :eek3:

Most websites hosting scientific publications offer citation information in BibTeX format. Unfortunately some of them think it would be extremely helpful to force you to download a single .bib file containing the requested citation data. Of course you can save the file, open it, select the contents, copy it and paste it into your desired bibliography file. But this is neither convenient nor efficient. :D

At first I tried to find a program that watches the contents of a folder on OS X. A post on StackOverflow suggested to take a look at the launchctl daemon. It's a nice program that can launch a script (or other program) when a file path has changed. Based on that I wrote a small bash script which reads the contents of a directory, copies the first file into the clipboard and deletes the file eventually. For an easy installation please follow the instructions I present on GitHub. :}

Now I can just save the file into this folder and the content is copied to the clipboard, ready to be pasted into my bibliography file. ;)

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This is brilliant. Download Joypad Legacy and start using your iPhone as a gamepad for your Mac or Windows computer.

In comparison to a real gamepad I miss the physical feedback of the buttons. Sometimes your fingers even move slightly off of the touchscreen buttons so you cannot hit them properly. But after a few minutes you get used to it and it works great for playing some games now and then. :smile:

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Years ago I was looking for an app that could set context-aware preferences on OS X. The only one I could find was MarcoPolo, which has not been updated since 2007. The idea was awesome: You could add contexts (e.g. "work" and "home") and specify trigger rules to determine these contexts. E.g. you can set a switch to the "work" context if the WLAN SSID from work could be reached, etc.

Now I found a fork of this project called ControlPlane. This is exactly what I was looking for to automatically toggle the password for the screensaver and to mute the sound when I arrive at work. A nice Growl message tells you about the context switch and which actions were performed. It is highly configurable and even terminal commands can be executed if you miss a certain action. ;)

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Last week I noticed a small white spot on the lower side of my display. It was very noticeable but it either developed over time or must have suddenly appeared last week because I inspected the display very closely when I got the replacement the last time.

50 days of warranty left! – Let's visit the Apple store at the CentrO in Oberhausen. ;)

The ghosting problem is now well known to the employees and seems to be far more common than it was when I visited the Apple store for the first time with the MacBook Pro Retina. Ingo is the best employee I've ever talked to in the Apple store. He was very understanding about my complaint and immediately acknowledged the bright spot as a technical fault. Maybe it was due the fact that this was the third faulty display I received (which I told him) but luckily it has been replaced within 40 minutes. I was glad to receive a Samsung panel again and could leave the store with a brand new and flawless display.

Well, all good things come in fours‽ This is the 4th display I got with my MacBook Pro Retina:

  • 2012-07-04: Received the first MacBook Pro Retina with an LG panel – Sent back because of bright white lines
  • 2012-07-18: Received a completely new machine with an LG panel – Brought to the Apple store because of ghosting
  • 2012-10-19: Got a display replacement with a Samsung panel – Brought to the Apple store because of a white spot
  • 2013-05-23: Got a display replacement with a Samsung panel – Everything is fine (so far ;))

I really hope the initial problems with the Retina displays are solved and that this was the last display replacement I will need. ;)

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Thanks to LifeHacker I found this useful app called Type2Phone. I always loved the way iMessages could be send and received on the iPhone and via Messages app on the Mac aswell. For writing notes, reminders or messages on WhatsApp I still had to type directly on the iPhone. With the help of Type2Phone this is no longer necessary and I can type on the iPhone as fast as on the Mac! :eek3:

After pairing the iPhone with the Mac via Bluetooth the app sends any keyboard input immediately to the iPhone (of course only if you click on the app and not when it's in the background :D ). It works incredibly well and it's also possible to send special commands e.g. to emulate pushing the home button, turning brightness up/down, lock the screen, play, pause, volume control, etc. Very useful is that the well-known shortcut CMD+A for selecting the whole text works aswell. A quick copy and paste on the iPhone is possible without a problem.

It is free until Sunday, so be sure to get it today. :) By the way: The app works with any smartphone that supports Bluetooth keyboards and therefore it can also be used with Android phones. ;)

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Some things you only believe if you have tried them yourself. My MacBook Pro Retina offers one HDMI and two Thunderbolt ports which made me quite curious about the maximum amount of displays that could be connected. :}

There were people who already connected three displays to it, but I never saw anyone using VGA adapters instead of Thunderbolt displays. ;)

I can confirm that adapters work too:
MacBook Pro Retina with four screens




This creates a huge desktop with a width of 6560px (or 7960px if you consider the true retina resolution). :eek3:

Why all this? Well, because it is possible. :D


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This week it happened again: The calendar synchronisation between my iPhone and MacBook did not work.

The last time it was sufficient to delete the calendar cache file "~/Library/Calendars/Calendar Cache", but this time that didn't work. I tried to delete the cache, exported and re-imported the whole calendar archive, deleted all calendars on the iPhone, tried to replace all calendar data on the iPhone via iTunes, etc.

Nothing worked until I found this Apple support thread that led me to this knowledge base article. They suggested to reset the SyncService which I did in combination with deleting some more temporary files. :D

Here is what I deleted:

  • ~/Library/Caches/com.apple.CalendarAgent/Cache.db
  • ~/Library/Caches/com.apple.iCal
  • ~/Library/Calendar/Calendar Cache
  • ~/Library/Calendar/Calendar Sync Changes/
  • ~/Library/Preferences/com.apple.CalendarAgent.plist
  • ~/Library/Preferences/com.apple.iCal.helper.plist
  • ~/Library/Preferences/com.apple.iCal.plist
  • ~/Library/Preferences/com.apple.iCalExternalSync.plist
  • ~/Library/Preferences/com.apple.syncserver.plist

In general I deleted everything that seemed to be connected to the synchronisation service or the calendar in the "~/Library/", "~/Library/Preferences/" and "~/Library/Caches/" folders. (I think I don't have to mention that it is recommended just to move the files and move them back in case they were necessary. ;) )

Afterwards I resetted the SyncService by executing the following command in Terminal:/System/Library/Frameworks/SyncServices.framework/Versions/A/Resources/resetsync.pl full

Just to be sure I rebooted the machine and then I had to turn on the synchronisation options for contacts and calendars in iTunes. A few tests later I can say: It is working again. :smile:

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