July 2007
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Month July 2007

Open With… Menu shows Duplicates.

Edit

01/03/2008: This article was written for Tiger. But I’ve added the new terminal command for Leopard below. Remember use this information at your own risk!

Mac OS X Tiger’s LogoI install a good amount of Apps each week. Which means I get a lot of clutter. One of the tool’s I’ve used since I have been on the Mac is AppZapper. It great for uninstalling all the lame preference files that don’t get removed when you drag an App to the trash. This reduces the worries of worry about having a bunch of crud all over you hard drive.

The dilemma I had was when Apps update themselves. I’m a web developer/design student. Being such I’m always installing and updating different browsers to do testing. I also have multiple programs for editing html and/or other markup/programming languages. So I noticed the problem this week when right-clicking an html file and finding that I have a bunch of options.
Screenshot of “Open with” menu

Now, I like having a bunch of options, but why do I have the same App listed multiple times? It is because a lot of Mac Apps update themselves by downloading the new .app file, then putting the old .app file to the trash, and then placing the new .app file into the Applications folder. Apparently doing this will cause the updated version of the App to get added to file association list again which causes you seeing the same App twice in the “Open with” contextual menu. At least that is what my assumption is…

Solution

So what’s the solution? It appears to be a long command in the terminal.

Tiger Terminal Solution

/System/Library/Frameworks/ApplicationServices.framework/Frameworks/LaunchServices.framework/Support/lsregister -kill -r -domain local -domain system -domain user

Right-click and choose Save as to Download text file of code for Tiger.

Leopard Terminal Solution

/System/Library/Frameworks/CoreServices.framework/Versions/A/Frameworks/LaunchServices.framework/Versions/A/Support/lsregister -kill -r -domain local -domain system -domain user

Right-click and choose Save as to Download text file of code for Leopard.

Here is what it looks like in the terminal. Screenshot of Terminal The terminal doesn’t give you any sort of feedback so to test just right-click an item and see if the problem as been fixed. I was happy to see it didn’t require a restart.
Screenshot of TerminalI was able to find the information in a post called How to rebuild the LaunchServices database from the Mac OS X hints website. The article details what the command does as well as the commands options are. I’ve only tested this on an Intel Macbook running Mac OS X.4 Tiger, so I can not vouch for other systems. If the only problem you are having is that Apps that are no longer installed are still showing up in the “Open with” contextual menu then try this tip from Apple.com. I tried this before I tried the terminal command and it didn”t work for the duplicated apps.

One Year, One Mac, and Seven Hard Drives

Image of macbook with superduper logo and the AMS Venus T4 I’ve been on a mac for about thirteen months. Prior to that I had been following mac news and podcasts for two years, but at the time I couldn’t afford a new computer. Unfortunately by the time I was ready to purchase Steve announced the Intel switch. I decided to delay my purchase until both laptop lines went Intel so I could make the best decision. Now I know that during this time everyone said if you need a Mac, buy one, its not like a ibook or powerbook is going to be useless in a year. I agree with that statement, but if you already ready have a moderately fast computer, I already had a great self-built PC, I think there is less of a hurry.

I went for the macbook. Mainly because I new I was going to be buying a powermac now a mac pro in the future so I didn’t see the need to have a super fast video card. Plus I just like the white plastic better. :) So now I’m gearing up for school in the fall and I’m hoping on getting a Mac Pro sometime this fall. I’m kind of waiting for upgrades of the CPUs, video card options, and hopefully a new redesigned case. Maybe this is more like hoping.

This past weekend was basically used for backup, backup and more backing up. I found myself with one group of HFS+ drives, another group of NTFS drives, and one 500GB FAT32 drive with a mixture of Mac and PC stuff on it so I could transfer one thing to another. The only thing I use my PC for now is to download podcasts, since I had all my subscriptions and music library on my PC. So I bought Superduper (blog-review, podcast interview w/ the developer) and got to work. It was very simple I backed up each NTFS drive to a disk image on one of my HFS+ drives then reformatted each NTFS drive to HFS+. Then the disk image was blasted back onto the newly formatted drive. SuperDuper made this really easy to do.

Here are the steps I used to back up one of my drives.

  1. General Interface SuperDuper's Interface Notice in the interface it tells you in plain English what is going to happen.
  2. Pick the drive you want to copy. Dropdown list for selecting which drive to copy
  3. Pick the drive you want to backup to. Dropdown list for selecting backup drive
  4. Select the type of backup you want to do. Standards scripts dialog
  5. Click Options to choose settings: Options Button
    1. General Options Smart update is feature you don’t get in the free version. Its definitely worth the price as its function is to read the source drive for any changes then update them on the destination drive. Of course the first time you do a back up will have to copy everything over. General Options Interface
    2. Advanced Options Advanced Options Interface

The next question people usually have is “How did you hook the internal drives to you Macbook?” Part of the reason which made this easy was my AMS Venus T4 RAID box (the T4 has been updated to the T4U). Its able to connect up to four IDE drives. These drives can set it up to be seen as 4 seperate drives, one combined drive, or 2 separate drives. The device doesn’t require four drives to be connected. The T4 can work with one, two, three, or four drives connected. Also the drives don’t need to be equal in size. It doesn’t do automatic RAID 5 like the Drobo, but it is $375.00 cheaper. OS X can create a RAID 5 from the drives, but software RAIDs are not considered as reliable or robust as hardware RAIDs. I have had the Venus T4 for about 12 months and I’ve never had a problem with it, I just hope they come out with a SATA drive compatible one that has Firewire 800 out. The last part of my setup was a 500GB Western Digital My Book. This is a pretty barebones external drive, but the price is great, and this drive is only used as a third backup for offsite storage. Remember if you house gets robbed or burnt down, all you data will be gone too. This now brings me to my favorite feature of SuperDuper. It has the ability to backup a hard drive to an encrypted disk image. This way you don’t have to worry about partitioning the backup drive or buy one backup drive for every drive you have. I have three drives backup to my WD My Book

Automated Dashboard Widget Installer

Edit

01/01/08: This workflow only works in Tiger. I’ve created a new and improved workflow for Leopard. The new one doesn’t work in Tiger, so if your still using 10.4 stick to the workflow described in the article below.

Otto the automator icon

It has been a constant debate since Mac OS X.4 Tiger was released on the usefulness of Dashboard. One of the things that has bothered me about dashboard is installing widgets. It is fairly simple if you only download one widget every once in a while. But I usually go to Apple’s widget page and download five to ten widgets at a time. I usually don’t even keep half of them, but I like to test new ones out. So to explain the problem I’ll have to describe the typical installation methods.

You go to Apple – Downloads – Widgets (or any other website you’d like) pick out the widgets you like to download. Widgets are almost always packaged as a .zip file, so you end up with a bunch of .zips on you desktop. From here you open them all which then puts a bunch of .wdgt files on your desktop. I find that selecting them all at once and trying to open them usually results in Apple’s uncompressing program BOMarchivehelper.app choking. Generally only when I have more than four times selected. (This is important for later) So it’s more of a pain in the butt because to extract them I can only do 3 or 4 at a time. So anyway, your now done extracting them, you have now have 10 .zip files and 10 .wdgt file on your desktop. To install them you can either double click the .wdgt files or just move them to ~/Library/Widgets.Then move the .zips to the trash.

I found this process very tedious after a year of using my mac. So I took advantage of one my favorite features in Tiger—Automator. I wont go through all the steps that make up the workflow as you can view them yourself once you download the file. Basically how it works is you select the .zip files that you downloaded from where ever you get your dashboard widgets, you right-click (or control-click) them select Automator then select Install User Widget (or whatever you named it). At this point the workflow will move the extract the .wdgt file to your Users Widget folder and then put the .zip file in the trash. Since BOMarchiverhelper.app chokes only select 3 or 4 .zips at a time.

Installation Instructions:

  1. Download my Install User Widget workflow file
  2. Unzip it
  3. Double click the .workflow file which will open Automator
  4. Then Select Save as Plug-in
  5. Name the Plug-in and make sure Drop-down list is set to Finder (see image below)

 

I have also created a video demo which shows how it works and how to install the .workflow file.


If you want to learn more about Automator or maybe just download some other workflows then check out automator.us. This is the personal website of Sal Soghoian who is the Applescript product manger at Apple. If you head over to twit.tv, Sal has done some video podcasts showing some really cool things you can do with automator. Just do a search for automator to find the shows.