Tech Timeout: Don’t Forget to Reboot Yourself

In the salad days of my youth we didn’t have HDTV, iPhones or iPads. Video games weren’t considered military simulators. And social media was an honest-to-goodness handshake. If this is sounding like your grandfather’s rant about having to walk to school, uphill, both ways, in a snowstorm, barefoot, that’s not my intent.

On the contrary, having just passed GO on my mid-thirties, I’m fortunate to have been on ground level with joystick in hand from the beginning of Atari, Nintendo, Sega, Playstation and Xbox. Back in the day I taught Bowser a thing or two about how to treat a princess. Up, up, down, down, left, right, left, right, B, A, select, start, isn’t nonsense to me, it’s nostalgia.

These days I’m constantly connected. As the director of a Web development team, the majority of my work is performed online. In the car I’m streaming Pandora through my iPhone. I have as many social media accounts as I do fingers. I can’t remember the last time I’ve watched television without my iPad in hand. And the vast majority of my precious “free” time is spent working on my Web site, northeasthikes.com.

If this is sounding all-too familiar, perhaps you’re also wondering what the long-term effect all this technology will have on our health? The abhorrent amount of time I spend sitting and staring at a computer, tablet, phone or television screen certainly can’t be a recipe for longevity.

Oh, sure, there have been studies, and studies of the studies. Google “health effects of technology” and it returns over 88 million results. But here’s the thing: as the first wave of generation tech, how can anyone know what the long-term effects on our aging process will be until we—well, age?

That said, there may be a way to have our tech cake and be healthy too. The next time you’re on a black-ops mission into cyber Afghanistan, or are defending a bag of Doritos from a zombie invasion, consider pushing pause on Call of Duty to answer the call of the wild. A recent Outdoor Magazine article explored research showing “…that nature can lower your blood pressure, fight off depression, beat back stress—and even prevent cancer.”

As an avid hiker, I’m a believer. The exhilaration of peering out from a mountaintop—legs burning, lungs clamoring for air, goosebumps raised—has a palpable knack for dissolving the stresses of everyday life, providing clarity of thought, and returning perspective. As good as HDTVs are getting, 1080p is no match for the restorative powers of real-D nature.

What I don’t understand is why more people don’t take a timeout to get outside? We know to reboot our devices when something isn’t working properly or the apps are sapping battery life—why don’t we do the same for ourselves? When I’m old and gray, I’m betting I won’t be wishing I could have one last crack at Bowser. More likely I’ll be pining for another trek across Katahdin’s Knife Edge, or to watch the sun set on the White Mountain’s Presidential Range.

These thoughts are what drive the development of Northeast Hikes. With the goal of promoting a sport that can be enjoyed by people of all ages and abilities, we provide trail reviews for hikes across Maine and New Hampshire, as well as adventures along the Appalachian Trail. Please come check Northeast Hikes out, and consider taking a tech timeout this weekend.

Who knows? It could save your life.

Northern Presidential Range

The northern Presidential Range in New Hampshire’s White Mountains as viewed from Mt. Washington. From left to right are Mt. Clay, Mt. Jefferson, Mt. Adams and Mt. Madison.

Mt. Lafayette Winter

Winter hiking is twice as nice. This photo was taking on Mt. Lafayette’s Old Bridle Path.

knifebackview

No hiking bucket list in the Northeast is complete without a trek across the Knife Edge on Katahdin.

Quick & Easy CSS3 Generators

Here are a few CSS3 Generators that you should definitely take a look at.  I say this because in my opinion they cover the most ground when it comes to ease of use all in one place and browser support.  These CSS3 Generators are great for border-radius, box-shadow, background gradient and opacity.

There are a ton out there for all sorts of variables, but these hit the mark quickly when it comes to the more common effects you would like achieve on your website.

The CSS3 PIE is especially great, for it’s quick easy set up and ability to satisfy IE 6-8.  However, I’ve been advised that it can be quite the performance hog in IE.  I researched it a little and came across this posting that gets into the details.  Does anyone know if there is a way to improve performance using CSS3 PIE’s HTC in IE?

See below for more CSS3 generators:

Search 1Password with Google Chrome’s 1Password Extension

1Password is one of the Apps on my Mac that I use the most. 1Password can create strong, unique passwords for you, remember them, and restore them, all directly in your web browser. It come bundled with extensions for all the major browsers. Recently I have started using Google Chrome for Mac more and more. I happened to discover a new feature that I had no idea existed and decided to do a quick post to share it.

If you want to find a website login in 1Password you have to unlock it an then start searching for where you want to go.

Some browsers like Safari have a keyboard shortcut ( option + command + \ ) to bring up the quick search called Go & Fill Login. Safari’s version looks like this:

Until just recently I had no idea you could do something like this in Chrome, with Chrome it is actually even easier. All you have to do is start to type 1password in the browser bar area. This will start the quick search for 1password right from their. You will have to unlock 1password before you can use this feature. It looks like this and is just awesome.

If you don’t already use 1Password I highly recommend it. 1Password has certainly made my life easier, you can even sync it between multiple computers using DropBox.

Get 1Password
How to install 1Password browser extensions: http://blog.agile.ws/1518190697/
Get DropBox

How to Split Your Mac Hard Drive into 2 Partitions

If you’re like me, then you’re probably trying to figure out how to install OS X Lion on your Mac. The first requirement is that you have an extra partition on your Mac. Follow the instructions below to add a new partition to your Mac on the fly without formatting anything.

**WARNING: It should go without saying, but just in case, you should ABSOLUTELY TAKE A BACKUP before attempting any of the steps below.**

1. List Disks

Open the Terminal App and list your available disks by running:

diskutil list

Output:

Apple_HFS Macintosh HD            249.7 GB   disk0s2

2. Find Disk Identifier

The one you will split is probably called “Macintosh HD”, as shown above, although there will be 3 entries if you have a single partition. Each disk will have a disk identifier. Mine is disk0s2.

3. Check Min/Max Disk Size

Query your disk to find it’s min and max sizes by running this command and replacing “disk0s2” with your disk identifier:

diskutil resizevolume disk0s2 limits

Output:

For device disk0s2 Macintosh HD:
Current size:  249.7 GB (249715376128
Minimum size:  122.5 GB (122549932032 Bytes)
Maximum size:  249.7 GB (249715376128 Bytes)

4. Split your Boot Disc

Split your disk and make sure you don’t set your boot disk to less than the minimum. This can be run as many times as you want until you run out of space. In other words, if you want 3 disks instead of two split the disk again using the disk identifier of the newly created disk.

I want to make my boot disk 200GB and my Second (Lion) partition take up the rest of the space, about 50GB:

diskutil resizevolume disk0s2 200GB JHFS+ Lion 48G

The command causes the second partition to use the rest of the space on the disk, so just make sure that you specify a number, 48GB, that is less than the total available disk space after the split.

5. Dealing with Errors.

If you get an error like this then you should boot off your Mac’s startup disk, Open Disk Utility and click Repair Disk. Then re-run the command. You can even run it from terminal while booted off the install disc.

Started partitioning on disk0s2 Macintosh HD Verifying diskError: -9915: 
Could not modify partition map because filesystem verification failed

7. Now when I run diskutil list I see a new drive:

2:                  Apple_HFS Macintosh HD            200.0 GB   disk0s2
3:                  Apple_HFS Lion                     49.6 GB    disk0s3

8. If you have access to Mac OS X Lion you can now use this partition to install it.

Google Chrome – Full Screen Kiosk Mode

Here are steps for running Google Chrome in full screen Kiosk Mode on a Windows PC:

1. Right click on your Desktop and go to New > Shortcut

2. Browse to the chrome.exe file (depending on your set up, it might be found here: username\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\Application\chrome.exe) and click Next

3. Type a name for the shortcut (ie “Chrome Kiosk Mode”) and click Finish

4. Right click on the new shortcut on your Desktop and go to Properties

5. At the end of your Target replace chrome.exe with “chrome.exe –kiosk http:// [enter URL here]” and click OK

6. Double-click the shortcut on your Desktop and it will launch the full screen Kiosk

7. To quit the Kiosk, press Alt + F4 on your keyboard.

Speed Up & Improve iPhoto ’09 Performance

Okay, since I updated to iPhoto ’09 (yes, I realize it’s currently 2010), I noticed a huge lag in performance upon opening the application.  Not only would it take long to load, but once the interface came up, if you tried to click around with your mouse, the rainbow wheel of death would start spinning.  Nobody likes that.  Follow these steps to improve and speed up iPhoto performance:

  1. Option + Command click the iPhoto application
  2. A box will pop up entitled: Rebuild Photo Library
  3. Check “Reclaim unused disk space from databases”
  4. Click “Rebuild”
  5. Checking any of the other ones doesn’t hurt either, it actually speeds it up even more.  Give it a try!

Also, if anyone has any additional advice or tips, please feel free to share.

Organize your dock by adding spacers in Snow Leopard

There is nothing like a shiny new mac and if you are like me, then you start with a fresh install rather then cloning your old machine. Since the dock on the new machine was not setup the way I like it a had to make a few changes and one of them is to add separators between applications. I do this to group like applications together. So to get started the first thing you will need to do is open Terminal on your Mac.

This is what my dock currently looks like.

Terminal can be found in: Applications > Utilities

To add a separator to the left side of the dock

defaults write com.apple.dock persistent-apps -array-add '{tile-data={}; tile-type="spacer-tile";}'

To add a separator to the right side of the dock

defaults write com.apple.dock persistent-others -array-add '{tile-data={}; tile-type="spacer-tile";}'

Each time you run one of the commands above it will create a new separator but you need to restart the dock to see them. To do this just type this into Terminal:

killall Dock

Backblaze Icon Missing from Menu Bar in Snow Leopard

Long story short, Backblaze is awesome!  Up until I lost my Backblaze icon from the menu bar in Mac OSX Snow Leopard.  I researched online a little and couldn’t find an easy method of fixing the issue.  With that nifty little icon missing, I worried if it were working at all – all those precious photos, video and digital memories gone?

By going into the Backblaze settings in your System Preferences, you can select the check box next to “Show Backblaze icon in the menu bar.”  However, every time I checked the box, the icon would not come back.  And upon return to the preferences, the box remained unchecked.  A mystery?  Yes, indeed.

Therefore, I contacted customer support and they gave me a quick and easy solution that made my day.  Try the following steps below to fix the mysteriously missing Backblaze icon from the menu bar in Snow Leopard.

  1. Click on the Finder
  2. Press Command + Shift + G
  3. Enter /Library/Backblaze in the text field and press “Go”
  4. Right click on the folder “bzdata” and Get Info (or press command + i)
  5. Change the permissions, so that all users have “Read & Write” permissions.
  6. Then click the gear icon and select “Apply to enclosed items..”
  7. If the Backblaze icon doesn’t show up on the menu bar, follow steps 1-3 again and this time double click “bzbmenu” and this will place the icon in the right spot.