New Mac User

Mac Essentials : VirtualBox

VirtualBox
VirtualBox

VirtualBox, as the name suggests is a powerful virtualisation tool which in lay man’s term means installing the second OS within your existing OS. VirtualBox is a feature rich tool that can not only be used by  home users but can be easily and deployed in an enterprise setup. VirtualBox is very light in weight and is available for all platforms which include Mac, Windows, Linux and of course Solaris.

One would find it difficult to understand the reason why VirtualBox is included in the Mac Essentials list. The main reason on including VirtualBox in this list is because of the fact that many a times you come across an application that requires a specific OS to run it on. This is especially true and critical when this software is deployed by the company you are working for and wants you to use it to carry out certain tasks. On the other hand, if you are a developer, VirtualBox is a must have, purely for the reason that you can test your application that you’ve created on all OS on the same machine rather than owning one machine per OS. This makes life much easier for you to operate from any location of your choice instead of being confined to one location that has all facility.

VirtualBox is a Sun Microsystem product and that is why it is freely available as an open source software under the GNU General public license. You can install a large number of guest OS on VirtualBox on any of the platforms mentioned above. The guest OS include Windows (NT 4.0, XP, 2000, Server 2003, Vista, Windows 7), DOS 3.x, Linux (2.4 & 2.6), Solaris and OpenSolaris,  OS/2 and OpenBSD.

VirtualBox is constantly upgraded by the developers and there are new features that are constantly added to the software. VirtualBox does not support resource intensive 3D games yet, but for normal usage like office, internet etc it is more than sufficient. With recent upgrade of VirtualBox to 4.0 it has now included the support for modern operating systems (64 bit OS) which runs as smooth as it would on a dedicated hardware.

VirtualBox is available for free at link below

Click here to Download VirtualBox

VirtualBox on Mac

 

Mac Essentials: NameChanger

NameChanger
NameChanger

NameChanger, as the name suggests is a simple to use tool to change names of multiple files at the same time. You must have come across many situations when you have a list of files on your Mac machine and wish that they were all named in a particualar format or that they all had the same name with a sequential numbering. NameChanger is a handy tool that helps you do exactly that.

It gives you different options by which you can change names of files. The interface is very simple to use. You can drag and drop files that you need to change names and watch the changes take place as you type them. It also contains Image browser for visual re-arrangement of photos, quicklook and an ability to save the rename for a later use.

It offers a variety of ways by which you can modify names which includes wildcard, prepend, append, character removal, sequence, date, replace by occurrence etc. It is possible to write a script on Mac to be able to do the same thing for you. But como’n, how many of us can actually do that? and moreover, how many of us actually want to do it that way?

Click here to download

How to create an install disk / USB drive of OS X Lion

 

Disk Utility
Disk Utility

Please remember: This method is not an upgrade method but a fresh install method. Installing Mac OS X Lion on your Mac through this process shall result in a fresh install of the operating system. It’ll wipe everything from the hard drive. You need to have taken a backup of your entire machine and need to have verified your backup before you go ahead with the install process described below.

1) Download OS X Lion from the Mac App store

Since this is a 4 GB download, it is expected to take some time before the download completes. You may want to plan your download time based on download speed available to you.

2) Copy the install file in a different location.

Once the download is complete, it’ll take you through the installation procedure and ask you to press continue to install. Stop right here. Do not hit continue. Go to the Applications folder instead. Application folder can be found by clicking on finder. It generally appears in the list of folders under places in the left hand bar.

  • Locate the file that says “Install Mac OS X Lion”
  • Right click (ctrl+click) on the file
  • Select “Show Package Contents”
  • Expand the folder “Shared Support” by clicking on the small arrow on its left to view its content
  • You’ll find a file called “InstallESD.dmg”
  • Copy the file to your Downloads or Documents folder

3) Create install disk

  • Start the “Disk Utility” application
  • You should see all Hard drives, optical disks and thumb drives connected to your machine in the left hand bar
  • Insert a blank DVD in the DVD slot
  • The blank DVD should show up under SuperDrive
  • Click “Burn” icon on top of the screen
  • It should ask you for file location
  • Select the “InstallESD.dmg” file that you copied in Downloads or Documents folder before

Allow burn to complete. That’s it! You now have an installation disk for OS X Lion

To install on USB Drive:

Repeat step 1) and Step 2) as described above

3) Create installable USB drive

  • Start the “Disk Utility” application
  • You should see all Hard drives, optical disks and thumb drives connected to your machine in the left hand bar
  • Connect USB drive with more than 4 GB capacity to your machine
  • Select the USB drive from the left hand menu
  • Under Restore tab enter the source and destination
  • Source = “installESD.dmg” copied in Downloads or Documents before
  • Destination = Drag the USB drive from left hand menu to the space for destination
  • Remember to select “Erase destination”

Please note that this action shall erase everything on the USB drive and re-write it with the Mac OS X Install program. If you are sure you want to use this drive then go ahead and click Restore at the bottom of the screen

Allow restore to complete. That’s it! You now have an installation disk for OS X Lion

To install Mac OS X Lion from the newly created USB drive/DVD, you need to restart your machine by holding down the option key. You will be given options to boot from DVD or USB drive. Go through the installation process. Once installation is complete, you can then restore your applications, folders, documents from the backup you had taken earlier.

 

How To disable applications (Skype) to auto-start on login

Skype
Skype

One common problem that user face after installing applications like Skype is that they start automatically as soon as you login to your Mac. In most cases user wants to be in control of what application should start when one logs in or when the Mac starts.

I consider it as a bad software promotion practice. One that I highly recommend to keep away from if you are a developer as it is the right of the user to decide how he wants his machine to behave. There should at least be a prompt during installation that suggests that the software will get activated on login and a small process step that shows how to disable in case the user does not want it to be activated on login.

Anyways, thats not the point of this article. This is a “how to” to help you manage the auto start up issue with Skype on your Mac. This process is similar for most applications that start up automatic on login.

Mentioned below are two methods by which you can disable Skype from auto starting-

Method-1

  1. Start the application. (In this case Skype)
  2. Hold ‘cmd’ and click on the application(Skype) icon in your Dock. You can use right click if you have activated it on your mouse
  3. Click on Open at Login to uncheck the tick
  4. That’s it. The application(Skype) will not start up on login any more.

Method-2

  1. Go to system preference
  2. Select the Accounts optionSelect your login id from the list of logins that appear in the left hand side pane
  3. Click on the ‘Login Items’ tab
  4. You’ll see a list of Applications here that start up when you login. To disable applications from auto starting on login you need to select the application and then click ‘ – ‘In this case select Skype and then click ‘ – ‘
  5. The selected application (Skype) is not disabled to auto start at Login