How to tweak OS X Lion to disable window zooming and other eye-candy

lionDon’t like Mac OS X 10.7 Lion’s annoying window zoom effect for new windows? Thanks to Tomas Franz, you can disable it. Open Terminal (Applications > Utilities > Terminal) and copy and paste the following line:

defaults write NSGlobalDomain NSAutomaticWindowAnimationsEnabled -bool NO

You then need to restart any apps that are running for them to get the new setting.

Hurrah! Snappy window performance again.

Also, if you want to restore CMD+D to being “don’t save” as it was in previous versions of OS X, you can do that with this command:

defaults write NSGlobalDomain NSSavePanelStandardDesktopShortcutOnly -bool YES

Video of the Vancouver riot kiss couple

Ahhh… very interesting. Like everyone else, I love that amazing picture by Getty Images photographer Rich Lam of the couple kissing in the middle of the riot in Vancouver, but there are so many theories about whether the picture was posed; whether the couple was doing some new form of planking (or perhaps a much older form), etc…

This amateur video from a balcony overlooking the Vancouver riot lets you see what really happened.

Even though the video makes clear that the girl was knocked down roughly and the guy was comforting her (and he gave her a quick kiss too, by his own account), it’s obvious from the video that it was a bona fide moment, not something staged.

The picture itself is one of the best pictures I’ve ever seen — both in the evocative emotions it captured and the framing and technical photography. Just stunning.

It also warms the cockles of my heart to know that the guy is Australian Scott Jones, with his Vancouver girlfriend, Alexandra Thomas. His dad, Brett Jones, posted on Facebook, “That’s my son! How’s that for making love, not war!”

Just awesome.

Cheapest car parking for Sydney Airport?

4d0af4eb941c415ea8a20252767f1340-Car_park_-8Ever wondered whether there are cheaper carparks than the excruciatingly expensive ones at Sydney Airport? The answer is yes!

I just spent a day researching this and found all the carparks in the area — and which ones were cheapest for a 1 day, 2 day, 3 day (etc) stay right through to 15 days.

Check it out — (I’m posting it here for my own reference as much as anyone else…!)

Cheapest car parks around Sydney Airport

How to backup your iPhoto library to Dropbox – and resize images to save space

how-to-backup-iphoto-to-dropbox

iphoto-library-finder-infoIf, like me, you took Steve Jobs at his word when he said iPhoto 6 onwards could support up to 250,000 images, and you’ve been piling them in ever since, you’ve probably got a very large iPhoto library.

Mine is currently sitting at 66,431 images and is 220GB on disk. It’s so big that it convinced me to part with $1800 (Australian) to get the 512GB SSD Apple is making an option with the latest MacBook Pros. Obviously, at that price, it’s a ludicrously overpriced option at $3.50/GB compared to smaller, cheaper SSDs, typically around $2.50/GB, or mechanical hard drives at about $0.14/GB, but I wanted to have a boot drive on which I could have my full iPhoto library so I could work with pictures much more quickly (and boy, does it make a big difference.)

However, one problem I’ve been seeking an answer to for years now is how to backup my photos off-site, in case a house fire takes out both my MacBook Pro and my Time Capsule backup. (Or, if my house was burgled and both the MacBook Pro and Time Capsule were stolen — which actually happened to a family member of mine.)

Simply dropping the iPhoto library into an online backup program like Carbonite or Mozy isn’t viable, because uploading 200GB of data takes so long that it basically never completes — or the backup system gets so far behind that you’d be losing a lot of new photos if your house burned down.

The ‘ideal’ solution I had in mind was to do Time Machine backups constantly to my Time Capsule, as well as a fallback backup of downscaled resolution photos to an online backup location. I like Dropbox (my referral link included in that link) because it works so quietly and reliably in the background, but you could use any online backup service. Although some people might say that backing up the full resolution photos is important to them, to me, the most important thing is making sure those frozen memories don’t get lost — and if I downscale them to fit within 1920x1920px, then I still have a high definition, albeit not camera-resolution, version of the photo.

I’ve now figured out how to do it! Full details after the jump.

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UNBELIEVABLE!! NAB’s systems down at critical moment AGAIN!

After my iPad-buying rant a few months ago when I’d travelled to the US to buy one of the first iPads for ACP, only to find NAB’s systems were all down and I therefore couldn’t pay for it, I was assured by NAB’s PRs that they would look into putting better processes in place to warn customers of scheduled outages.

Yet, here I am in the US again, trying to check in to a hotel and all my NAB cards are declining — even though I know there’s plenty of money in the accounts.

NAB’s internet banking presents this message, advising me to try using phone banking instead.

nab-unavail

Which yields this recorded message. Sigh…!

It does appear that NAB is making an effort to let customers know of forthcoming scheduled maintenance on their systems. For example, the last message I got from them is below:

Screen-shot-2010-09-11-at-8.21.06-PM

However, that message says nothing about scheduled maintenance on 11th/12th September.

My guess is that today’s six-hour long outage (their systems are back online now) was probably a system failure, and there was no-one rostered on to fix it overnight. The problem got fixed pretty much around Australian breakfast time, September 12th. It is really irritating, though, that the standard message that comes up in case of system failures specifically says “scheduled maintenance”. I would appreciate a bit of honesty here: either the system is down and they are fixing it urgently, or they are doing scheduled maintenance that they failed to tell me about, and left me in the lurch AGAIN.

Dual TomTom & iPhone charger – the options

TomToms are tricky little suckers to get third-party USB chargers for, because they use an unusually high amount of power. While most USB car chargers put out a maximum of 0.5A, TomToms need 1.2A – 2A depending on the model.

If you want to charge your iPhone and TomTom at once, the choices are slim; you can:

– buy one of these dual cigarette lighter adaptors from Dick Smith and plug in two chargers at once…

P1691LGE

– install a car stereo that has an iPod cord and charge your iPhone off that, and use your cigarette lighter jack for the TomTom charger
– manually swap between the chargers…!

Now Scosche in the US has released a $US24.99 dual USB car charger with one port that puts out 2.1A and another port that puts out 1A. The former is perfect for TomTom and the latter for iPhones or most other USB devices.

Its marketing name is Scosche ReVIVE II, but confusingly there is another product called ReVIVE II that only puts out 2 x 1A — so you are better off searching for it using the product code Scosche USBC3.

scosche-usbc3-revive-II

Only trouble is that they’re currently out of stock on Scosche’s website. Scosche reckons they were in stock as recently as 10th August — so they must have sold out quickly. They are, however, in stock at Amazon.com, if you use a US buying agent such as PriceUSA.com.au.