Viewing Hidden Files and Folders on Apple OS/X

Most operating systems make this rather trivial to expose, Apple seems to have made it just a tiny bit more difficult… as such, I provide the simple steps here for my own memory as well as your benefit.

Open Terminal…

  • Launch Terminal, located at /Applications/Utilities/.
  • Type or copy/paste the following commands. Press the return key after you enter each line.
    defaults write AppleShowAllFiles TRUE
    killall Finder

WARNING: Be particularly careful about the files you modify or delete, you could impact your system in very critical ways… there is a reason they are ‘hidden’, most often it is to keep less-technical users from breaking things 🙂

Return hidden files to their usual state.

Open Terminal…

  • Launch Terminal, located at /Applications/Utilities/.
  • Type or copy/paste the following commands. Press the return key after you enter each line.
    defaults write AppleShowAllFiles FALSE
    killall Finder


NOAA Weather Radio All Hazards

As we enter storm season in the US, and storms ‘seem’ to get more intense each year… particularly for those of us that live in tornado territory, it’s often advised to get a “Weather Radio”.

I’d heard about these for years, but never really looked into them… with my communications background, they prove quite interesting. There are over 1000 stations in the US and coverage is pretty good (excellent in my area). Obviously you need a special receiver to receive the broadcasts, VHF requencies are below…


ReplayTV Internet Video Sharing (IVS)

ReplayTV, as a predecessor to the commonly known Tivo had two features that ultimately lead to the companies undoing:

  1. Commercial Advance (automatic)
  2. Internet Video Sharing

Obviously, advertisers did not like the first feature, and movie studios did not like the second. As these boxes could easily share ‘anything’ that they could receive it was/is relatively easy to send video that was captured from cable networks or DVDs over an internet connection.

Mind you that sharing is not as easy as it is over the file sharing networks, user interaction is required to both send and recieve files, and that process is far slower than most people would be willing to wait if they just wanted to ‘pirate’ something.

Several years ago, when I first purchased my unit, it was easy to go to to remotely manage my hardware, that service is now gone but in it’s absence there have been some creative solutions.

My ReplayTV (5xxx) ISN: 00004-54831-42373

Test your connection (or mine):

Merry Christmas!

Linux kernel updates without reboot

Here’s another great reason to use Linux over Windows.    Ksplice Uptrack provides for runtime patching of the Linux kernel without rebooting of the machine.  This has great advantages where you need to maintain the security of a server but have limited opportunites to reboot due to SLA’s (Service Level Agreements).   Ubuntu Linux was the first supported operating system, other variants are now available too, though often for a fee.

Free Computer Based VOIP

I’ve used a variety of computer based VOIP over the years. My current preference in this space is Skype as it’s free for computer-to-computer calls and even allows calls to and from regular phones (at a fee).

Video and text chat are also provided, as is ‘white-boarding’ with additional plugins.

Skype is available for most platforms, even mobile phones… I’ve found that while the Windows beta versions has some additional features, the Linux release is rock-solid.

There are also several hardware based solutions, like Vonage, available to replace your traditional phone service… perhaps we’ll cover that later.

Skype me!

Shellback initiation

I first crossed on way from the Persian Gulf to Darwin, Australia on USS Helena (SSN-725) on 22 February 1994 (15 years ago, wow!), Longitude CLASSIFIED!

As is Navy tradition, there were some initiation rituals and a ‘Steel Beach Picnic’ and swim call on the equator.

Now get below decks and swap – Pollywog!

Digital Television Transition – starts today

Today is February 17th 2009… up until a few week ago when President Barack Obama signed into law the “DTV Delay Act” officially making the new date June 12th because the government ran out of money for coupons to offset the cost of converter boxes.

Regardless, in many communities some television stations will end their analog transmissions and begin digital-only.

I’m all for digital content as the quality is obviously better, but from my background in communications it’ll likely be impaired more by foul weather and not have the range of the analog stations in the past… oh, well!



Veterans Day

Happy Veterans Day.

As a former submarine sailor, and son of a career Navy “Chief”, I’ve got first hand experience as to the sacrifices made by our men and women in uniform.  Please take the time to thank them for their service to the country, not just today…. but every day.

If you’re a vet, please consider joining one of these or the many other organizations that support you:

If you’re a civilian, please consider contributing to one of these organizations or their respective causes.

I salute you all.

Open Source Office Suite

I am surprised that I have failed to neglect this topic for such a long time.

Some of the most common business applications in use are in the Microsoft Office suite, notably Word, Excel and PowerPoint. If you’ve ever had to purchase this package at retail prices, you were probably amazed at just how expensive this package is, particularly when you only use a small portion of the functionality that they each provide.

The alternative is to use compatible software; originally this meant that you relied on one of many packages that were available in the free-domain. Sun has it’s StarOffice suite which was later released as OpenOffice which over several releases has become the Gold Standard for office suites. It is available on most platforms and is regularly updated. Many features even outperform the Microsoft offerings, my favorite of which is to save just about any document in PDF format.