Use iCloud calendars with Snow Leopard

I have a MacBook Pro running Snow Leopard and a MacBook Air running Lion. Once I migrated my MobileMe account to iCloud, my iCal data would no longer stay in sync. I thought I was out of luck until I found a fix from Damien Barrett. In fact, it’s simple to get iCloud calendars working with iCal on Snow Leopard.

As Damien explains, you’ll have to first delete the old account, and then create a CalDAV account that points to as the server. Once you’re done give it a few moments to sync and you’re back in business. Read Damien’s post for all the details. I’ve done it and it’s working perfectly.

Custom sort, hide system preferences in Mac OS 10.7.2 [Update]

You can custom sort  System Preferences in Mac OS Lion 10.7.2, and even select which ones to show/hide with a check box. To sort your preferences, launch System Preferences and then select Organize by Categories or Organize Alphabetically from the View Menu.

To hide individual panes, select Customize from the View Menu. A checkbox appears next to each preference pane. Next, simply de-select the panes you want to hide and finally click Done in the toolbar.

To make them visible again, just repeat the process, re-checking each pane you want displayed.

I know this wasn’t possible in Snow Leopard, and I’m all but certain it was introduced with 10.7.2.

Update: Thomas Brand points out that sorting was available in Mac OS 10.7. Just the show/hide feature is new.

Preview bug in Mac OS X Lion

I’ve found an annoying bug in Lion’s Preview. If you open an image and select “Export” to save it as a new file format, you must change the file’s name after you select your target format from the drop-down menu. If you don’t, your custom name will revert to the default when you choose the new format.

For example, let’s say I take a screenshot. My Mac names it “Screen shot 2011-09-20 at 10.57.50 PM.”  Next, I open the image in Preview and select “Export” from the File Menu. Then I change the name to something like “safari_screenshot,” and finally select “JPEG” from the format drop-down menu. The name will then revert to “Screen shot 2011-09-20 at 10.57.50 PM.” This was not the case with Snow Leopard.

I hope this gets fixed soon, as I use Preview a lot for simple image editing.

Wren full-screen

I took Wren full-screen in Lion tonight, curious to see how an app with such a small window would handle it, and was pleasantly surprised. Instead of stretching that window to comical proportions, the app centers it against a field of grey linen. It looks nice. Good job, Andrew Ramos and Kevin Smith.

At Ease: Launchpad’s grandfather

At Ease was an alternative to the Mac Finder’s Desktop, developed by Apple in the 1990’s. It was meant to give new and young users one-click access to applications and documents they used most often, while restricting access to others. At Ease supported tabbed, color-coded browsing of software, files and removable media. An At Ease administrator could manage document sharing between account holders and other user-specific access privileges. An advanced workgroup version offered features like client configuration and network access control. Back when I worked at a Mac-friendly school, we used At Ease on several classroom machines.

It’s interesting to note that At Ease introduced multiple users to the Mac OS. It was released when Macs were running System 7, which did not support multiple users. However, At Ease’s multiple-user feature let folks log in with their credentials and create documents that would be hidden from other users. Of course, the Mac OS gained built-in support for multiple users with Mac OS 9.

Today I see aspects of At Ease in Launchpad, one of Mac OS X Lion’s marquee features. The tabs and document support are gone, as well as a UI that commandeers the Finder, but the single-click access to favorite apps is in place. In fact, even iOS shows the family resemblance with its no-frills, touch-to-open UI.

Launchpad certainly isn’t At Ease II, but it’s fun to step back and observe the evolution of Apple technology.