Print to PDF: Command-P Command-P

Yup: two command-P’s in a row, and you’re printing to a PDF. No more hunting thru menus!

Cool!     How?

You have to put in some effort one time. Here’s what you do:

Just add the second command-P as a short-cut:

System prefs/ keyboard / shortcuts / App shortcuts / +

You have be -exact- when adding it, caps, ellipsis and all:

Save as PDF…

that is … and not three periods . . . 

Use option semicolon.

Where did my disk space go?

There are lots fo reasons for missing disk space; most are well known.

Here’s one that I’ve just found and have not seen elsewhere.


I have 10 volumes I keep mounted (boot drive; photo work; video work; programming; data and so on) and a couple of shelves of bare drives I use for backup of all that, popping them into an external hot-swap enclosure as needed.

If any of that looks like what you do, then (based on yesterday’s experience) here’s a quick and simple check you might want to make.

Using Pathfinder (or however you make invisible files visible in the Finder – or the terminal if you prefer) visit the “Volumes” directory at the root level of your hard drive. (No: “Go” won’t suffice.)

What you should see there is a symlink to your boot drive and N number of aliases to other volumes you may have mounted.

What you should NOT see there actual folders which bear the name of your backup drive(s). If you see that, then the backup went to your boot drive, and not to the external drive you expected to use as the destination.

Until I discovered this “little issue” I was wondering where a significant chunk (113 GB) of my boot-drive space went.

Just “sharing” like a good Californian. 🙂

Using your NAS to develop websites

Most people think that network attached storage (NAS) is just a box with drives in it attached to your local network. In fact, NAS is a computer, minus the monitor and keyboard. As such, it can be incredibly powerful, containing its own CPU and memory.

I recently found another good use for my NAS in setting it up as a Web server to use when I develop websites. I added Apache, PHP, mySQL etc, and several virtual hosts for the various sites. (Yes, there are software solutions such as MAMP and XAMP, but these have conflicts with your mySQL database, if it is already in use.)

So, by having everything on the NAS, it is completely independent of my machine and serves as a more realistic test bed.

The most interesting thing, however, is that I set up my NAS as a DNS server too, allowing me to use my mac’s web browser and type in my development name for each site, such as or, while still allowing me access to the internet as a whole. The Synology NAS will forward through to a web based DNS if it is unable to find the requested site locally.

Then, all I had to do was go to network settings on my Macintosh and change the DNS to point at my NAS instead.

I thought that was pretty slick. I can work on development sites as well as continue to surf the web without any changes to my workflow. Very convenient.


Do the bad guys have your password?

Not sure how many of you folks know about this site, but it’s certainly worth visiting, and signing up for. It will tell you if your email address(es) have been made public, and what info was released in the hack.

Somewhile back, I signed up for their email notifications (free) and yesterday got one. This time the hack included passwords. Then I spent 4 hours pouring thru 467 1Password accounts from 2007 -2008 that I had (foolishly) used the same, simple password on. Fortunately, most are harmless forums or some such, but I did find about 40 which went to accounts with stores. I had to visit each one, and change my password.

THIS time, I’m taking full advantage of 1Password’s unique password generator for each site. At least I won’t have to go thru all this again.

Now I’m off to check that list a second time, and likely make more changes.

What a way to spend the day…

How to move emails from one ISP to an other

The other day, I moved a client’s domain from one ISP to another; from A to B. That involved moving their email addresses as well, while keeping them identical between the previous ISP “A” and the new ISP “B”.

Convenient as that is for the client, there’s one issue: all their email prior to the move are still on IPS “A”.  After the move, if they look for their mailboxes, they will all be empty.

Not a good thing.

Here’s how to move their old emails to the new service provider:

(You can do this on your own computer, BTW.)

Create two email accounts, one for the old ISP “A”, and one for the new ISP “B”. Obviously, the will be identical – same name; same password; and same address.

With one exception.

for ISP “A” -the previous ISP- the server address must not be the URL, the domain (which now points to the ‘new ISP) but instead needs to be the IP address of the previous email server.

So, if you were moving “” to a new server, and the email account accessed “” to do the transfer, you’d have the new one still use “” but the account you make for the old one would be “123.222.476.930” or whatever the direct access address is. (That may not be an IP address per se; it might look more like “”.)

Then, using your mail client, log into both. Wait a bit until the old email populate the inbox for the old account, and then just drag and drop them to the inbox of the new account.

That’s all there is to it.


1) I suggest that you verify success by accessing the new account via webmail. 

2) some email clients are better than others at mass moves. (MailMate for Mac has no troubles at all.) Outlook, OTOH, may required that you drag-n-drop in small batches.

As usual, YMMV. This worked for me without any trouble at all, but the risk of using any of my suggestions is entirely your own. Etc.

Are better cables better?

OK: take this FWIW:

It’s been my experience that better data cables are worth the extra cost, up to the point where some sleaze tries to sell you solid silver USB cables “for audio” for $125.

I do know that “real” CAT 6 ethernet cables are more reliable than the generic (and some not so generic) brands merely marked as CAT 6. (No: there is no regulator body. Yes, there is a spec for CAT 6, but that doesn’t mean a cable stamped as such meets it.)

And AFAIK, it’s ditto for USB cables as well.

You can pretty much be sure that the USB 3 cable that came with your Acme RocketSpeed Doohickey Drive was sourced from the Chinese factory with the lowest bid.

However, and strictly anecdotally, when I replaced some critical USB 3 cables with the Lindy ones, things just seemed to be more reliable. Since doing that, I’ve not had any hubs suddenly drop offline, or drives magically dismount in the middle of a backup.

Does that mean that the Lindy is a better cable, or that my old cable was faulty, and any new one would have worked?

¿Quien sabe?

Lindy makes “enterprise” products, here in the USA. A typical cable costs $12, not $2.

Is it worth it? Maybe not to you, but I’m now a repeat customer, so it obviously is to me.





On moving to an SSD

(This is my answer to someone who was concerned about durability, size and speed, when thinking about switching to an SSD.)

Durability: pretty much forever, based on write cycles.

I have a 2 year old Samsung Evo 840, which has been on 15 hours a day, 365 days a year.
Samsung uses a wear-leveling indicator (SMART #177) which runs from 100 down to 1, at which point the drive should be running out of go juice (although tests by others indicate that there may still be a lot of life left.) After 2 years of intense photo editing, video editing, programming and internet use, my wear leveling indicator has dropped from 100 all the way down to 98. At that rate, the drive would theoretically last another 98 years, and will be running long after I’m dead.

Being an old guy, I can rather accurately predict that reality doesn’t work that way, but my point is that I’m a heavier-than-usual user; my drive has 11,509 hours on it, and it’s still rated as having 98% of it’s life left. Other tests indicate that drive life on SSD simply is not an issue.

As to capacity, my Evo is 1TB. It is my boot drive. (Actually, I have a number of SSDs, one of which is my boot drive.) I have over 4 million files on that drive. I moved my iTunes folder (500 GB) to a different drive, as I did my Apple Audio files (35 GB) and my Virtual Machines (ie Parallels) 116 GB. When needed, a symlink replaced them on the boot drive.

It’s pretty easy to find the files/folders eating up your drive space (DaisyDisk is much faster than GrandPerspective). Moving them to a different drive is generally very simple.

While some folks have succeeded in living with a moved /Users home folder, I tried it and do not recommend it at all. It works fine for a while, but if/when it goes bad, you’re in a world of hurt.

Speed: SATA busses are rated at 1.5, 3.0 and 6.0 Gb/s. If your machine has a 1.5 or 3.0, you won’t see spectacular speed improvements (because the bus speed is the limiting factor), but if yours has a SATA III/6 Gbs bus, I’d wager you will be mightily impressed (because the spinning drive is the limiting factor.)

So, if you’re not opposed to an external drive (I won’t mention how many I have, so as to not scare you), switching to an SSD ought to be pretty much all plus.

iTunes tips

I’m an old guy, and can’t seem to break my habit of using iTunes to do my updates, instead of Over The Air, the way everyone else does it.  If you’re part of the OTA crowd, you can quit reading now.

I’ve seen (with more regularity than I’d hoped) these two problems:


1) Often one or two updates will download painfully slowly, while the rest just whiz right by.

The fix is to open the downloads window and pause the download. Count to two, and resume. 99%  of the time, it starts downloading at full speed.


2) Sometimes (albeit much less frequently than #1, thankfully) I’ll get a message that “The app “(name)” was not installed on the iPhone “(name)” because an unknown error occurred (0xE800002D).” 

The fix is to show the list of apps on your device in iTunes by clicking on “Apps” in the left-hand column. You’ll get the  usual list of apps in a new column to the right, and another (larger) column to the right of that named “home screens.”  Now, in the list of apps, find one of the apps that would not sync/install, and click/hold/drag it to one of the screens and release.  So far, that  has always worked to re-initiate the sync attempt, and will sync not only that particular app, but all the rest that would not sync as well.


YMMV, but HTH.


How to repair and replace Safari’s iCloud-sync’d bookmarks

PRINT THIS PAGE, since you’ll be quitting Safari to do this, and the page will go away, eh?  🙂  I suggest reading thru all this before getting started…



Here’s the problem: your Safari bookmarks are all messed up.

In my case, repeated syncings (and probably stupidity on my part) ended up with 10,700 bookmarks, 75-80% of which were duplicates. Not an ideal situation.

So, I used third-party software to remove the duplicates. I chose BookmarksDuplicatesCleaner from the app store, but what you use is up to you.

What needed to happen, after the bookmarks were fixed was to

1) make sure they didn’t automatically sync with iCloud right away, and thus end up with same mess all over again.

2) the iCloud bookmarks needed to be removed, and replaced with the new, clean list of bookmarks;

3) my other computers and iOS devices needed to get that new “master” list from iCloud.

There is nothing preventing Apple from making this simple to do… but they didn’t, so here’s the bunch of steps that I had to take to get it all done correctly.

The big picture is three stages: One – fix the bookmarks on my main Mac (easy – depending on the software you use), two – then replace the iCloud copy with that fixed list (too complex) and three – get all of that back on to all my other devices (simple).

stage one takes:

however many steps you want to devote to cleaning up your bookmarks. For me, it was two steps:1) buy and run BookmarksDuplicatesCleaner2) export the repaired list to an HTML file on my desktop 

Stage two takes 4 steps:

A)  —– (delete your old bookmarks)

B)  —– (delete the automatic bookmarks created by Apple) 

C)  —– (import your new, good bookmarks from stage one)

D)  —– (upload those new bookmarks to iCloud)

stage three takes one stepE)  —– (update your other devices)

stage one (get your Safari bookmarks fixed):

(I’m assuming that your main Mac is where all the corrective work is being done, and when it’s finished, your other devices will sync to the fixed bookmarks uploaded to iCloud by your main mac.)

First, run Safari on your main Mac and export (File/Export Bookmarks…) your current bookmarks to an HTML, just as a safety backup. (If something goes horribly wrong, you can just import this file and start over.)

Next, quit Safari.

Run BookmarksDuplicatesCleaner or whatever software you are going to use to clean up your bookmarks to delete the dups & do whatever other organizing you want.

Run Safari and see how the repairs look to you, and if it’s all OK, then export the (new) Safari bookmarks to another (different) HTML file. We will import that file later on in Stage two, so you MUST do this export!

(Now you have two files: your old messy bookmarks and your new cleaned bookmarks.)

stage two:

[Notes:  “Turn -OFF- sync” or “turn ON sync” as seen below, means you should visit your system preferences/icloud, (on iOS, this is in Settings/iCloud) and turn -OFF- or ON the sync button next to the Safari item.]

Stage two involves turning sync ON and -OFF- several times, and running and quitting Safari several times as well. Do not skip any step!

First, we are going to get rid of all your old bookmarks on all your devices and Mac.

(WARNING!!! You DID export those bookmarks in stage one, right? If you didn’t, you’re going to be very sorry if you do not STOP and export your good bookmarks now!)

OK: here we go…

On your main mac and on all other macs or iOS devices you have sync’d thru iCloud:

A)  —– (delete your old bookmarks)
1- Quit Safari.
2- Turn -OFF- sync.  
3- On your main Mac only, go to your ~/Library/Safari folder and drag the Bookmarks.plist file to the trash.  (If you see it being re-created automatically, it means that you haven’t turned -OFF- bookmarks syncing or that Safari is running.)
4- Run Safari, and if you see any bookmarks, delete them. 
5- Quit Safari.
[  Do this A) step for all your devices and computers before proceeding to B)  ]

B)  —– (delete the automatic bookmarks created by Apple) 
Now, JUST on your main Mac (NOT ON your other Mac or iOS devices!) :
Turn ON sync. 
Open Safari, and you’ll see that Apple has furnished you with a set of generic bookmarks. Delete them all.   Wait a few minutes to give iCloud time to delete the cloud version of those generic bookmarks. While waiting, your deleted Safari bookmarks should not reappear. You should have no bookmarks at all showing in Safari at this point
Quit Safari.
Turn -OFF- sync.

C)  —– (import your new, good bookmarks)
Run Safari again. You should see no bookmarks at all. (If you do see bookmarks, stop and check that you followed the steps exactly, until you can reach this point and see no bookmarks in Safari. Then proceed.)
Go the the Safari File menu and import the GOOD bookmarks file you exported (as the last step of stage one.)
(It may be necessary to quit and restart Safari to see your imported bookmarks.)
Using “Edit Bookmarks” in the Safari Bookmarks menu, make whatever adjustments and arrangements you want.
Once you have them as you like, quit Safari.

D)  —– (upload those new bookmarks to iCloud)
Turn ON sync. 
Run Safari, give it some time to sync, then quit and restart Safari, and make sure everything looks correct.
(If not, start at stage two all over again.)
At last!   Now at this point, iCloud should have a copy of your good new bookmarks.

stage three:

E)  —– (update your other devices)
NOW you can now turn ON sync on your other Macs and iOS devices. Everything should update correctly in short order.

Done  🙂  


(Remember: if anything goes wrong you can always restore your old, messed-up bookmarks, or your shiny new fixed ones, from the two exports you did in stage one. I assume NO responsibility for how these steps work out for you. I can only say that they worked for me.)

SATA drive experiences today… (One bad drives makes another look like it’s failing.)

Just an anecdote, to tuck away in case you ever need it.
I have a 256GB SSD on my internal SATA bus, which I use for my (Parallels) virtual machines. Today I decided to update Windows 10, and away we went, on a long download because I foolishly opted for developer builds a year or so ago. It finally downloaded and started the 20-minute update process, and got about 25% thru the install when suddenly the SSD dropped of the bus. (That means it unmounted and disappeared.) Not good. Needless to say, the VM image was toast, but I have backups, so no problem.
So I restored and tried again… and got pretty much the same thing, albeit later in the update process.
Fine… off to re-initialize the drive. It was initialize with SoftRAID, so I headed over there to reformat it… and it couldn’t get pas 1/3 way without tossing up I/O errors.
Not good, again. I tried another SSD… and got the same thing! I tried a different SATA port (still internal) and got the same thing.
Now I’m surmising that it wasn’t the SSD nor the port used. Off to SMARTUtility, to see if it would tell me anything.
Yep. Failing. (Really? an SSD with less than a year on it?)… but -also- out in an external port-multiplied enclosure with two other drives, was my TimeMachine drive, a Seagate 3TB I tossed in to see if I could live with TimeMachine yet. And it was marked (by SMARTUtility) as “failed”.
WHEE. Are we having fun yet?
Well, first: the Seagate 3T drive has a higher failure rate than pretty much all other drives, (almost “all other drives combined”) so I decided to yank it, and see what happened.
What happened was that as soon as that Seagate 3T was out of the mix, (and even though it was controlled by a PCIe card, and not the motherboard SATA) the SSD ran like a champ.
So, to be sure, I stuck the drive into the computer (the motherboard port) and it had massive I/O errors, and would not format at all. (I destroyed it, and put the parts in the trash.)
What makes this interesting is that one failing drive, on an entirely different bus, caused an SSD on another bus to appear as failing. Removing the truly malfunctioning drive, fixed the situation.
(Oh… and the Seagate 3T had less than 3000 hours on it. If the cause-and-effect of this little story doesn’t interest you, perhaps the recommendation to stay away from Seagate 3TB drives will … )