Friday, October 17, 2014

No Safari Title Bar
In OS X 10.10 Yosemite?!?!
--> A Quick Workaround


Apple has allowed me to be an AppleSeed beta tester for a couple years so far. I offered some bug reports and suggestions regarding OS X 10.10 Yosemite. But Apple has ignored feedback about one really odd change that breaks an eternal Mac standard: Apple removed the Title Bar from several application windows. I totally do NOT understand. This isn't a universal change in OS X. It's mixed into a few different standard applications and is an option for third party developers. Needless to say, my advice to developers is: DON'T DO THAT! 

My favorite example is the mess that has resulted using Safari version 8. I've complained to Apple, as have others! But Apple hasn't listened, so far.

This may not be an issue for casual Safari users. Many may find enough space up there where the Title Bar is supposed to be to grab Safari windows and move them around just fine. But for we fanatical power users, this is a BFD! Removing the simple, wonderful, eternal Mac Title Bar has created havoc.

Check this out:

(Click images on this page to see BIG versions)

Where, exactly, am I supposed to grab this Safari window in order to move it? Tell me! OMG, what hath Apple wrought?!

So I made a workaround.

Concept: Stuff a bunch of 'Flexible Space' items into the area where the Title Bar is supposed to be. This provides a nicely reliable, reasonably sized area for grabbing and moving Safari windows.

I) Right-Click (CTRL-Click) on the Toolbar (where the Title Bar used to be).

Up pops the "Customize Toolbar..." button. Click it.

II) Down drops the Toolbar pallet where you can drag and drop items into the Toolbar. 

We're going to drag in lots of 'Flexible Space' items. We need to put a lot of them in because they are indeed flexible down to a very minimal size of a few pixels. Because we have a traffic jam going on in the Toolbar and no Title Bar, we have to stuff lots of these minimal spaces somewhere in order to create a usable space for grabbing the Safari window.

My choice: I drag in four extra Flexible Spaces to the right of the Address and Search item. Add as many as you like. Pull some out later if you wish. It can be slightly tricky dragging flexible spaces to exactly where you want them. Practice and patience makes perfect.

III) Click the 'Done' button and away goes the Toolbar pallet. Now you can check out your work by trying to grab and drag around the Safari window. Play with adding or removing flexible spaces as you find useful. This is how mine turned out:

The space I created is fine for my utility. My new space is not going to move. It's going to stay exactly that size unless I remove Toolbar items, at which point it will flexibly expand.


I know someone's going to whine about filling up the Toolbar with too much junk. Shut up. I like all that stuff in my toolbar and I use all it. The entire Safari traffic jam problem is due to Apple's decisions, NOT mine. Go blame them. Got it? Good.

It is my fervent hope that Apple sees the error of their ways and stops the madness. Title bars are a Mac mainstay and should NEVER EVER be removed. That's not a Luddite opinion. It's a UTILITARIAN opinion. Usefulness wins. Get back to useful Apple!


Monday, September 1, 2014

Skype: Ready For The Grave


Skype version was released today. It comes with a surprise. Below is an essay on the subject I've been posting around the net:


This POS crapware is to be avoided. It has been turned into a Microsoft product, with the usual crapification. Here is the supreme crapification:

Version 6.19.blah has the following LISTED and wrong system requirements:
All you need to get started is Mac OS X 10.5.8 or above, a webcam for video calls and a microphone.
And yet v6.19.blah requires OS X 10.9.x. FSCK -U Microsoft.

Earlier this week there was a lot of blahblah about Skype only working on 64-bit Macs in the future. And yet, here I am on a 64-bit Mac running 10.7.5 (the highest it will run) and the morons at Microsoft managed to screw up their '64-bit' rhetoric and screw over thousands of 64-bit Mac users. FSCK -U Microsoft.

If you and your friends and relatives use Skype, STOP. Use something else, such as CryptoCat or Apple's Facetime.

Microsoft's DETAILED System Requirements for Skype 6.19.blah, which are WRONG:
Skype for Mac 
1GHz Intel processor. 
Mac OS X 10.5.8+.
100 MB free disk space.
Either USB or regular headset if your Mac does not have a built-in microphone. 
Download drivers if you are using an external webcam.
For voice calls recommend broadband connection with 100 kbps down / 100 kbps up. 
For group video calling everyone on the call needs Skype 5.0 for Windows or Mac or higher plus webcams. For best quality we recommend you use a high-speed broadband connection of 4Mbps down/512kbps up and a computer with a Core 2 Duo 1.8 GHz processor. As a minimum you’ll need a high-speed broad connection of 512kbps down/128kbps up and a computer with a 1 GHz processor.

FSCK -U Microsoft.


Wednesday, August 20, 2014

How To Play M3U Music In Safari:
2014 Edition



Back in time, circa the middle of 2010, some terrible things happened to QuickTime. I continue to wonder if Apple's QuickTime wunderkind left the company, leaving people who remained to pick up the pieces when QuickTime was made 64-bit. I recall writing to Apple a few times about what followed. To date, QuickTime 10 remains hobbled compared to QuickTime 7. It has no 'QuickTime Pro' option. It has taken years for Apple to finish updating the QuickTime components to 64-bit. It has literally been an incoherent mess, forcing serious QuickTime users to still use QuickTime 7 for full functionality. Explain that to me Apple, please.

One of the casualties of Apple blundering through the QuickTime 10 update has been the total loss of functionality playing M3U files on the web through Safari. Despite the QuickTime Internet Plugin being 100% capable of playing M3U linked audio files, Apple broke the connection ability in Safari 5 and lazily left it that way. Explain that to me Apple, please.


I know someone or other is going to disagree with my assertion above. So here's how you can prove I am correct:

1) Grab any M3U file off a website. Amazon is a great place to find them. They're what Amazon uses to play samples of tunes they sell as MP3s.

2) Drop the M3U file onto TextEdit and view the URL buried within.

3) Copy the M3U URL.

4) Open QuickTime Player 10.

5) Hit Command-L ('Open Location…') to open the URL entry box.

6) Paste in the M3U URL.

7) Click 'Open'. See the linked M3U audio file play perfectly. Shake your head at Apple trying to figure out why they cut access to this functionality out of the QuickTime plug-in. It's beyond comprehension.


When you click on an M3U link in Safari, what you get is an M3U file downloading to your Mac. Double-click the file and it iTunes will open, follow the M4U link and play the tune for you. I find this to be unacceptable. I don't want iTunes running when I'm browsing the Internet, cleaning up after Apple's bungled QuickTime plug-in. I want the tune to play INSIDE Safari, as intended.

So what plug-in can we use instead?

I believe it's still possible to finagle around with RealPlayer plug-in, if you want to bother with it. I don't. I don't know what's the point of RealPlayer any more.

That leaves the Adobe Flash plug-in. Oh no. If you read my Mac-Security blog you know that Flash is the second-most dangerous, insecure plug-in you can use on the Internet, second only to Oracle's awful Java plug-in. But thankfully, some bright and brilliant people at Apple now take OS X security seriously, and have written some excellent plug-in control into Safari. This helps to keep nasty Flash malware off our Macs. But it also means that the old methods for getting Flash to play M3U files has changed. Therefore, here is the new, current, 2014 Edition of…

How To Play M3U Music In Safari

Below, I'm providing a method for setting up Flash to play M3U tunes at Amazon. But this method applies to any website where you encounter M3U files. Simply substitute that website in the first step:

1) Visit an page with MP3s you can sample and buy.

2) Open up Safari Preferences. (Command-comma)

3) Click open the ‘Security’ tab.

4) Go to the bottom and check ON “Internet plug-ins” Allow Plug-ins”.

5) Click the button “Manage Website Settings

6) In the drop-down page, click on “Adobe Flash Player”, likely at the top of the list.

7) On the right of the page, scroll UP to the TOP of the ‘Adobe Flash Player’ sub-window. You should see “Currently Open Websites” as a header with “” listed below (or other web page from step 1).

8) Click the popup menu and select “Allow”. 
(Please never, ever choose ‘Allow Always’ or ‘Unsafe Mode’ as they invite Flash security exploits. And that's a bad thing).

9) Click the ‘Done’ button.

10) Close the Safari Preferences window.

11) Reload the Amazon page (or other web page from step 1)

Tada! The Amazon play buttons will now actually play music within Safari.

You’ll also see a new header menu above the tunes labeled ‘Samples’ as well as a back button, ‘Preview all songs/Pause’ button, Forward button and volume slider.

M3U functionality restored!

Here are a couple images to help illustrate the instructions. Click to blow them up for viewing:

I hope you find this helpful!