How To: Disable Dashboard in OS X

How To: Disable Dashboard in OS X

Dashboard in Leopard is a love it or hate it application. There are several useful applications that can make life easier. On the other hand, it’s easy to hit the activation buttons on Mighty Mouse by accident. Other people may begrudge Dashboard’s use of memory. It’s not much, but on low end machines every bit counts.

This is how to disable Dashboard:

Open Terminal (as an admin user)

type: defaults write mcx-disabled -boolean YES

Hit Enter

type: killall Finder

When Finder restarts, Dashboard should be gone. To turn it back on follow the same instructions, but replace YES with NO.

The first command is the powerful one. There are a lot of default behaviors that can be changed in OS X if the write command is known.

The second command, killall Finder simply does the same as force quitting Finder from the GUI. It forces the Finder to quit, relaunch and reload everything, including the Dock. In this case it does not relaunch Dashboard though.

Please let me know if you find this helpful. Also suggestions for other terminal commands would be appreciated.

How To: Leopard File Sharing

How To: Leopard File Sharing

Setting up File Sharing in Leopard is incredibly easy to do, but has a couple of gotchas to watch out for.

Step 1 is to open File Sharing under System Preferences. If you’ve setup printer sharing already then this looks familiar.

Step 2, put a check in the box that says “File Sharing”. You will see a list of users who can be “shared” to. From a security standpoint you should have a second, non-admin user setup to share too but that could cause some confusion down the road. On the right side is a list of user permissions, the defaults work pretty well. But if you’re the paranoid type you may want to change “Everyone” to write only, or even “No Access.”

At this point file sharing is good to go between multiple Mac’s only. The machine that you turned this on is going to be the “server”. Connect to it from another machine by going to finder, click on go, then “connect to server”. (Note the shortcut key of Apple-K btw.) simply type in the ip address of the “server” and hit connect. If you do not know the IP address, go into Network Settings under System Preferences to check it.

It’s a good idea to hit the + sign to add the address to your favorites so that you remember it. A password/username box will come up, enter in the credentials of the user you setup in file sharing. This is why you might want to setup a second user just for file sharing, if you have the server locked down for Parental Controls for instance this is the same password to unlock that.

Alas this will not allow Windows users to connect to your Leopard server yet. Go back to File Sharing and hit the “options” button in the lower right hand corner. By default Windows does not know about AFP or Apple File Sharing, so you need to click on SMB. Also take this opportunity to check the box that says “Account” is configured the same way as the previous screen. Simply uncheck the box next to the ones you don’t want to connect, which should be as many as possible.

On the Windows machine click on start then run. Type in (from Network settings on the server) then hit enter. A box will come up with all the shares on the server you can connect too, including printers if that was enabled. Right click on the user folder that was setup earlier and choose “Map Network Drive”. Choose a drive letter, something like h or x works best. Put a check in the box that says “Reconnect at Logon” to have Windows automatically reconnect back to the server every time it’s rebooted. If you’ve got different users with passwords setup, you’ll need to type that user name and password in on the next box.

After that, simply open up “My Computer” and you can drag and drop files to the server, or take them from there. On the server side, keep in mind that files will need to be put into /Users/username/Public folder for any other computer to access them.

One thing to be aware of is that the IP address of the server may change due to DHCP on your router. If the connection fails for any reason, double check the IP address you’re entering. That’s all there is to it, reading through the direction above it looks hard, but it’s actually pretty simple.

Please leave a comment if you have any questions about this.

How to: Run Gimp from Linux Machine and display on Mac OSX

How to: Run Gimp from Linux Machine and display on Mac OSX

Unix machines are known for their great versatility in configuration, and their “power”. Traditionally Unix machines were “headless” or without a monitor or other display device except for Terminals. These days another whole computer can replace the terminal. But Unix machines as the whole tend to be pretty beefy machines when it comes to CPU and RAM. Instead of just using it as a glorified File Server, with a few simple commands they can used to run pretty complex pieces of software such as the Gimp.

On the OS X side make sure you’ve got X11 installed. Follow the XCode Install Directionshere.

Once that is done, launch an X11 window and type ‘xhost +’ or optionally ‘xhost +machinename’ or ‘xhost +username’ xhost allows other computers to use your X11 program as the display instead of their own display. The + means everybody which might be bad for security, but good if you’re going to be using a lot of different machines. Looking at the man page it can be limited to just machine name or even specific users names.

Login to the remote machine using ssh or telnet.

type ‘setenv DISAPLY :0.0’ in a tsch or csh shell. Bash will not work. This tells the remote machine to redirect it’s display to your machine.

Launch software! In this case just type gimp, but you may have to type in the full path to the software.