Category Archives: me so g33ky

my attempts at g33k cred… w00t!

Culling an information overload

I am certain I’m not the only one who does this: Find an interesting article online, or a product to look at in more detail later, and whack it into the Reading List feature of the Safari browser. [This is assuming you are on a Mac, iPad, or iPhone.]
Once I do that, I completely forget to reference those ever-so-important things again. My brain is convinced its dealt with the information, having diligently filed it with all the other ever-so-important things. The mountain of links grows and grows, and I’m totally convinced things are just fine.

One of the tasks Pete has been tackling for months is getting his own reading list under control. Now, his level of lack of control is something I can only dream of possessing, but in his head, he had an information problem. As I’m writing this, he’s got about 30 items in his reading list. I’m down to 547 after spending ALL DAMN DAY very quickly assessing, speed-reading, saving to Pinterest, and deleting from my whopper of a total of 933 unread items. Approximately 41% of my reading pile is now dealt with. Phew. I need gin.

Now, I was completely happy as a pig in poop having no earthly idea how much I’d let this get out of control. Then Pete brought up this Terminal script he wrote that would calculate the number of articles you have in your reading list, and also spit out a txt file to document your reading list plus bookmarks. I kinda hate and love him for introducing me to this, but hey, if I want to get my proverbial shit in order this year, a major reading list cull is a good place to start.

Actually, it feels great. Kinda like a digital version of going through your wardrobe to discard all the clothes you’ll never wear again. I may have been living in a bubble by having no idea about my reading list mess, but the knock on effect is that I’m now wondering where else in my life – my physical life – I can reduce my junk burden. Shame Pete can’t write me a Terminal script for that… [And don’t even try it, Pete.]

If you’re interested in running the script yourself, it’s on github. Enjoy.

Removing hidden Mac files from USB stick drive

Good evening. It is for me too, now that I’ve solved a particularly tricky little problem. I have been in the following applications trying to solve the appearance of hidden files (.fseventsd, .Trashes, .Spotlight-V100, etc.) on a USB stick drive:
Disk Utility
Graphic Converter
Eject for Windows
(Didn’t need most of this stuff in the end, and most of it I hadn’t used in years.)

Let me explain what’s happening: A Mac creates a few hidden files on USB sticks because when the files are accessed by a Mac, it needs these other bits of information. I wrongly assumed the days of that kind of thing were in the past since OSX happened. Nope. (I haven’t done tech work for years, so I don’t keep up on stuff anymore anyway.)

These invisible/hidden files are completely harmless in most situations no matter what operating system that USB stick gets stuck into. However, enter my issue: I need to play a folder of jpegs on a television.
Sounds easy enough, I know, so I spent all day assembling a collection of 54 images I want to display as a slideshow in a café to accompany an art exhibition for the next two months. Sadly, the extra files kept showing up, and not only that, but they also doubled how many image files the Sony TV thought were on the stick because the Mac had written a ._(filename).jpg for every one of the genuine images. (The dot indicates it’s a hidden file.)

I ran the images through ImageOptim thinking I could strip out extraneous information. It certainly did strip it down… to the point the TV couldn’t render the images correctly because ImageOptim removed the colour profile data. Oops.
To make a long story short, here’s what worked for me:

1.) Batch export the images from Aperture (or other photo library app) to be the same colour profile. (In my case, sRGB IEC61966-2.1 – Sony TV likes that one.)
2.) Stick them all in a folder that contains no spaces in its name, or uses an underscore if needed.
3.) Copy this folder to a USB stick you have just freshly erased to become a FAT32 file system in Disk Utility.
4.) Drop the USB stick icon/filename onto a utility app icon called Eject for Windows. –> You can download it here* <–

That’s it. Eject for Windows is the miracle needed to delete those hidden files before ejecting the stick. No more garbage showing up on the TV browser. No more hidden files looking like broken images. Easy, finally, and it only took me hours to figure this all out.

Hope it helps someone else out there.

* Download and do this stuff at your own risk. Thanks. 🙂

The Elephant in the room

It’s been a long time coming, I think, and so it’s my pleasure to announce my latest online project: The Elephant of Surprise.

The Elephant of Surprise podcast

We’re a couple of episodes in now, and so I feel it’s safe to say that Pete and I will be continuing this new podcast for as long as it’s fun for us. (And it is loads of fun, I must say.)

To keep up to date with episodes, you can subscribe in iTunes, use RSS, or follow us on Twitter.