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#834: Wi-Fi Diagnostic Tool Update, No Linen For You!, Bring Back the Countdown


Hello All,

So…now that the heat has abated a bit, we can concentrate on hurricane season again. We are at ‘I’ (for Isaac), which means we have seen quite a few tropical storms and hurricanes already. I’m really hoping we avoid any direct hits this year—many places in Vermont are still struggling to rebuild from Irene, which hit last year, and there are many areas where the geography has been completely rewritten. I think I would find it difficult to endure hurricanes and hurricane damage every year. People adapt to the most amazing things!

The big tech news this week is Apple’s victory over Samsung in the courts. It was decided that Samsung stole patented ideas from Apple for interfacing with phones and tablets, including the ‘pinching’ and ‘opening’ gestures which zoom images in and out. All the buzz is about whether this decision will hamper innovation or inspire other companies to seek their own solutions to make their touch interfaces work. There are plenty of persuasive arguments for both sides, really, including one that argues that certain gestures are like the steering wheel, where form follows function so closely that changing it could render the device almost useless.

Imagine if Henry Ford had received a patent for the round steering wheel and anyone who wanted a Chrysler needed to use a square or triangle. Or two levers. The argument could be made that this would have spurred innovation in other car makers and therefore driven competition in the market. But it could also be argued that the round steering wheel (like pinching) is such an integral part of car design itself that exclusively granting its use to one company would kill competition and innovation. In any case, I’m sure the appeals will drag on for years. And I will still be reading on and pinching my iPad, unless someone makes something better.

Thanks for reading!


  Wi-Fi Diagnostic Tool Update  

Since writing the article on the hidden Wi-Fi diagnostic tool in Lion and Mountain Lion, I’ve gotten a few emails from people who haven’t been able to find the CoreServices folder in Lion.

Here’s a trick on how to get to folders that are hidden: Within Finder, go to the Go menu and choose Go to Folder. In the window that opens up, enter the following: /system/library/CoreServices

This should get you to the right folder. You can also use this trick to get to your hidden personal Library folder. Just enter: ~/Library

  No Linen For You!  

There are some users that really don’t like Apple’s use of the linen pattern background in their recent operating systems. During my daily blog reading I came across an article on Cult of Mac that shows how to customize it, at least in Notification Center.

You’ll need to go to the following folder: System/Library/CoreServices and find the Notification Center app. Right click on the application and select Show Package Contents from the menu. This will enable you to see the ‘guts’ of Notification Center. Let me warn you now that altering any of the contents of this application may cause the app to stop functioning. Proceed at your own risk!

Look for a folder called Resources, and in there, you will fins a file called linen.tiff. This is the picture file the OS uses for the background. Copy this to another location so that you have a backup and can restore the file if you want it back. To change it, you just choose another image, rename it to linen.tiff and replace the original file in the Resources folder.

To activate the image you can either restart your computer or go to Activity Monitor and quit Notification Center. The next time you open the Notification Center panel, the image should be there.

You can read the original article here.

  Bring Back the Countdown  

I’m not a mobile Mac user, although I do have an iPad and iPhone, so I was surprised to learn that Apple removed the battery life countdown timer in Lion and Mountain Lion. It now runs like iOS with just the battery percentage. For iPads, iPhones and iPods, this isn’t a big deal, but with a laptop it may be an issue.

Thankfully, there is an app out there that will bring it back. Battery Time is currently in beta status but appears to work just fine. It’s a no frills, super basic app that does just what it says it does: “Show the remaining time your MacBook (or any Apple portable) can run on its battery.”

As with any software that tweaks the operating system, use at your own risk.

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