Steve Jobs Life and Death

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life,” Jobs said. “Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”

Steve Jobs passed away today at 56 years old.

Firefox 7 brings speed and UI annoyances


For power users who need their address bar to show the “http://” in a web address, you can revert to the original, preferred behavior:

  1. Open a new window and type about:config into the address/URL bar
  2. Paste in this quick filter-field search: browser.urlbar.trimURLs
  3. Double click on the browser.urlbar.trimURLs field to change its value from true to false
  4. Close the window (or tab) and your URL protocols will be unhidden

Why would you want to do this? If you copy/paste web address routinely — say, to clients, via email — you don’t want to be manually adding back the protocol to every email you send or document you create, so that the URL can be clickable.


Firefox 6 introduced a new “domain highlighting” feature, where the address bar grays-out any protocol (like http://  or https:// )  and the directory path in the URL, leaving just the domain in black. The thinking was that it would help inexperienced users easily catch phishing websites.

It is annoying to me, though. It makes the true path harder to see, and since I work with URLs on a regular basis — copy/pasting them to clients in emails and documents — I wanted to turn it off. Here’s how:

  1. Open a new window or tab, and type about:config into the location bar
  2. Search for browser.urlbar.formatting.enabled in the filter field; you can copy/paste it from here
  3. Double click on the browser.urlbar.formatting.enabled field to toggle the value to false
  4. Close the window (or tab) and your domain paths will be unhidden

That’s all there is to it! Now you can revert to a better way. :-)

firefox snapshot

Web Security Flaws – Domain Names and Certificates

This recent article by MacWorld is an excellent primer on SSL security, the underlying technologies that power HTTPS://  browsing.

This year there have been numerous reports suggesting that the fundamental security infrastructure of the Web is on shaky ground. In March we heard about a collection of stolen security certificates, and in August the release of more than 500 improperly issued certificates came to light.

It focuses on protecting Mac browsers, but talks about Windows and Google Chrome as well.


Mac PowerPoint How to Export Text from Slides

PDG is continually astounded at how unhelpful and unintuitive Microsoft programs can be. But thankfully in this case, my not-uncommon gripe has a happy ending.

The unmet need, as framed as a typical google search query:

I want to export all of the text from a 20-page PowerPoint file to a plain text file.

Why? so that we can translate the text easily… or perhaps to proof read the text, or use the content in another medium, like in an email or Word document.

Out of thousands of hits, only 1 website solved the problem. I’ll share with you the solution next.

Thinking (wrongly) that surely PowerPoint 2008 for Mac lets us export the text from slides, I hunted for the option. First discovery: there is no export function. Okay, let’s try Save As… no, these options are useless, as the RTF outline text or HTML options do not export any slide text! Astounding.  The “Outline” option requires some unusual structuring that ignores any actual content on the slides! And the “HTML” option actually flattens all the text into a graphic. Wow. Because in this SEO era, we surely don’t care about text-based content on our web pages, right?

I found one helpful web page out of thousands that had a solution. It involves running a simple macro snippet, after adding it to the PPT file. I have never used Macros before, but I was able to figure it out in under 5 minutes.

But this technique does not work for POWERPOINT:MAC 2008 — because Microsoft removed Macro support in Office 2008.  Astounding again. Who does the thinking at the Mac Business Unit there?  UPDATE:  Macro support is back in Office 2011.

However, luckily, I also have Office 2004 for Mac. If you do too, follow along.

powerpoint Mac 2004

The website with the macro solution is here, at the PPT FAQ site. Credit to Stephen Rindsberg, who modified code from Kris Lander.

Copy the 2nd chunk of code. Here it is for you:

Sub ExportText()

  Dim oPres As Presentation
  Dim oSlides As Slides
  Dim oSld As Slide         'Slide Object
  Dim oShp As Shape         'Shape Object
  Dim iFile As Integer      'File handle for output
  iFile = FreeFile          'Get a free file number
  Dim PathSep As String
  Dim FileNum As Integer

  #If Mac Then
    PathSep = ":"
    PathSep = "\"
  #End If

  Set oPres = ActivePresentation
  Set oSlides = oPres.Slides

  FileNum = FreeFile

  'Open output file
  ' NOTE:  errors here if file hasn't been saved
  Open oPres.Path & PathSep & "AllText.TXT" For Output As FileNum

  For Each oSld In oSlides    'Loop thru each slide
    For Each oShp In oSld.Shapes                'Loop thru each shape on slide

      'Check to see if shape has a text frame and text
      If oShp.HasTextFrame And oShp.TextFrame.HasText Then
        If oShp.Type = msoPlaceholder Then
            Select Case oShp.PlaceholderFormat.Type
                Case Is = ppPlaceholderTitle, ppPlaceholderCenterTitle
                    Print #iFile, "Title:" & vbTab & oShp.TextFrame.TextRange
                Case Is = ppPlaceholderBody
                    Print #iFile, "Body:" & vbTab & oShp.TextFrame.TextRange
                Case Is = ppPlaceholderSubtitle
                    Print #iFile, "SubTitle:" & vbTab & oShp.TextFrame.TextRange
                Case Else
                    Print #iFile, "Other Placeholder:" & vbTab & oShp.TextFrame.TextRange
            End Select
            Print #iFile, vbTab & oShp.TextFrame.TextRange
        End If  ' msoPlaceholder
      End If    ' Has text frame/Has text

    Next oShp
  Next oSld

  'Close output file
  Close #iFile

End Sub

Now open the PPT file in PowerPoint:Mac 2004, open the menu item “Tools –> Macros” and you will see the Macro editor. It will be empty at first.

PowerPointt 2004 Macro dialog box

You will not see this macro like I show, at first; to begin, type in a simple name, then click CREATE.

Copy/paste the visual basic snippet into the new dialog/edit box that appears, then SAVE it.

Now you can RUN this macro. Voila. The exported txt file will be placed in the same directory as the PPT file itself.

It worked seamlessly, without a hitch.

And his script works for Mac and PC.

Try it out! it saved me lots of manual copy/paste time.

Mac OS X – how to clear the print queue

Credit goes to Techie Corner for this tip:

mac, clear print queue mac

The print queue is stuck in my Mac machine. I’m not able to clear the print queue. Whenever i clear the print queue, the print job will show up again. These print jobs has stucked in my Mac machine for long time.

To clear the computer’s print queue in Mac OS X, follow the steps below:

  • Go to Finder -> Application -> Utilities -> Terminal
  • Enter the command below:-
    $ cancel -a
  • Once entered, it will clear the entire print queue in your system.

* ‘cancel’ is a command that used to clear all the print job in Mac OS X. With the parameter -a, it meas clear all the print jobs, in other words clear the print queue.

Using Mac OS Lion (10.7) with Adobe products

Adobe has posted a tech note about how its products interact with Apple’s new OS X operating system.

As expected, the glitch-and-bug list is lengthy.

* * *

Macworld posted an article about other Lion glitches and compatibility issues with other Mac programs. Among others:

Finally, Microsoft promises an update to Office in the next few months that will add support for Lion’s Autosave, Versions and full-screen features.


The Auteur vs. the Committee

The Auteur vs. the Committee

From an article in digital domain at

 AT Apple, one is the magic number.

One person is the Decider for final design choices. Not focus groups. Not data crunchers. Not committee consensus-builders. The decisions reflect the sensibility of just one person: Steven P. Jobs, the C.E.O.

By contrast, Google has followed the conventional approach, with lots of people playing a role. That group prefers to rely on experimental data, not designers, to guide its decisions.

The contest is not even close. The company that has a single arbiter of taste has been producing superior products, showing that you don’t need multiple teams and dozens or hundreds or thousands of voices.

A well-known commentator, John Gruber, gave a talk a few years ago about design leadership and creative vision.

 Two years ago, the technology blogger John Gruber presented a talk, “The Auteur Theory of Design,” at the Macworld Expo. Mr. Gruber suggested how filmmaking could be a helpful model in guiding creative collaboration in other realms, like software.


Mac Malware spreading

Because of gamed SEO placements and poisoned links, some thousands of Mac users were tricked into installing a fake Mac security program.

Mac security vendor writes:

Intego has discovered a rogue anti-malware program called MACDefender, which attacks Macs via SEO poisoning attacks. When a user clicks on a link after performing a search on a search engine such as Google, this takes them to a web site whose page contains JavaScript that automatically downloads a file. In this case, the file downloaded is a compressed ZIP archive, which, if a specific option in a web browser is checked (Open “safe” files after downloading in Safari, for example), will open. The file is decompressed, and the installer it contains launches presenting a user with the following screen:

UPDATE: See Intego’s full security memo with detailed information about the MAC Defender fake antivirus.

PDG Recommends:

Sophos makes a free Mac security program. Read more about it in another post, and use it soon!

Apple will release a cleaner update for it as well. See their recent tech note.


Hype Flash replacement spawned at Y Combinator

The Startup Foundry website published an interview with a software programmer, one of the cofounders, Jonathan Deutsch, of Tumult Co.  He left a job at Apple to launch a startup.

I was faced with the decision of continuing to work with the great people on my team on a clearly high impact project, living with the “what if” syndrome, or trying to forge my own path.  ”Regret Minimization” is what should win out in life, so it did.  I had done a lot of different projects at Apple, and felt I made my mark both internally on the company and externally on Mac OS X.

About his experience at Y Combinator:

YC is definitely worthwhile. The network effects are staggering… it gives any YC company an advantage in making the right contacts, finding investment, and being in a support net with others in the same boat. And if you’re starting a company, why wouldn’t you want every advantage available to you? Paul Graham, Paul Buchheit, and Harj Taggar all give great advice with brilliant ideas sprinkled in. The dinners are fun, and there’s a lot that we learned from the speakers. Most founders would come early before each dinner just to hang out and discuss their startups or demo their products. The atmosphere is electric and contagious.

Visit the Hype website. Unfortunately for Mac OS Leopard (10.5) users, the app requires 10.6. A bad decision for many thousands of us.