New icons on your mac

I have a number of folders that I put down on my dock. Applications, utilities, downloads, my programming software, my photography software, games, and so on. The generic blue folder icons all look pretty much the same, so I thought I'd liven them up and make them easier to distinguish. A clone trooper for the games. A camera lens for the photography stuff. Etc.

So how did I do that? Here's how: First, I found some icons I liked. There are tons of nifty icons at InterfaceLIFT. Download the ones you like; put them somewhere accessible. Second, find the folder whose icon you want to replace. For example, use finder to navigate to your downloads folder. Third, get info on that folder (use command-i or select "get info" from the file menu of the finder). Move the info window to one side. Fourth, find the icon you want to use. Get info on the icon file. Fifth, with the two info windows side-by-side, select the icon you want to copy (the icon in the upper left corner), copy it, and then in folder window select the icon you want to replace, and paste. The generic blue icon should be replaced by the snazzy new one. Spiffy.

Let me know if that works for you.

Zinni Optical

Someone recommended that we try out Zinni Optical, an online store where you can get glasses for $12.95. He was happy with his glasses, so we decided to try Zinni. We ordered one pair of glasses for Ann as a test. When they came in, we were a bit unhappy. Although the lenses were fine, the arms (the part that connects the lenses to your ears) were really flimsy and cheap. Because of the price, we decided to order more glasses for the family, but we paid really close attention to the pictures and only got glasses with thicker arms. It didn't help, they were flimsy as well.

So, would I recommend buying glasses from Zinni? Maybe. If you wanted a second pair cheap, an emergency backup or a pair to leave at the office, sure, that would work. But as a wear-them-everyday-all-around pair? Nope. I guess the old saying is applicable: You get what you pay for.

Mac case made with Legos

I love my iMac. I love Legos. What could be better than a Mac computer case built with Legos? Watch the time-release video some folks made of building a Mac case with Legos.

Dropbox: File sharing done right

We have 2 computers in our house, and often my wife and I need to share files back and forth or use the same file on different computers. We could mail each other. Or we could use a USB key. Or we could log into the other computer. These work, but they're cumbersome. Dropbox works better.

It's a fairly new file sharing software that I recently installed on both our computers. When I put a file in the dropbox folder on my iMac, it shows up near instantly in the dropbox folder on my wife's PC. And when I edit it on her computer, it gets updated back on my iMac as well. Nothing to it. There's also a web interface, should I need to access these files online or share them with someone else, and version control, should I delete or overwrite a file accidentally.

I like. Give dropbox a try.

New iTunes Visualizer

Ok, normally I don't care anything about visualizers for my music. They're boring. They're dumb. Whatever. But I gotta say that Magnetosphere in the new iTunes is pretty cool. It's like a concert light show smashed into some fireworks. Pretty cool. You get the visualizer free with you get the latest version of iTunes. Or if you just want to get a taste, you can watch a demo of it on Vimeo. (Uh, the song is in Spanish, and no, I don't know what she's saying. I hope it's not bad.)


Recently I mentioned that I was looking for some good software to backup my iMac to my networked hard drive. After looking through a list of available solutions, I finally found one that seems to work: ChronoSync. It does everything I need: one-way synchronized backup, automatic scheduling, error logging, and automatic mounting of the network drive. It even sends me an email when there's an error!

You can download a trial version from Econ's website, but the trial version is really annoying. It displays a splash screen that requires you to click on it, and it only lets you make one backup before having to restart the program. This made it impossible to adequately test it out. Fortunately, Econ allows you to request a temporary license; I did, and now I can test it fully functional for 30 days. So far, so good. Barring something unexpected, I'm going to be buying this backup software.

Photos: Jacen's new glasses

Well, not only does Emmy need glasses, so does Jacen. We found this out when he was trying to sing in church and had a hard time reading the words on the screen. So we got him a pair, and he looks sharp in them. I wanted to take some pictures, so this seemed like a good time to try out my new camera lens, so off we went. I hope you enjoy them.

080904 Jacens new glasses

Backup Software for the Mac

Yes, I know Leopard comes with Time Machine. And yes, I got Time Machine working with my Time Capsule. So I have a painless backup system. But honestly, I don't like it. Two reasons: 1) It fills up the whole stinking drive (almost). Time Machine just keeps mindlessly making copies of all my files until it fills up the hard drive in Time Capsule. If Time Capsule had a preference that said, "Only use up ___ GB of space," I could be happy with this. But no such option exists. 2) It's not recoverable from another computer. Suppose my iMac goes up in flames. I'd really like to recover my files using my PC. That means my files need to be saved simply as files, not as some strange binary format.

So, I need another backup program, something for my Mac like Second Copy on my PC. I don't know what I'm going to use, but I found this nifty page listing tons of options. I'm gonna start trying them out. Let me know if you have one you use.