Make a true background app in one step

The goods:

defaults write /Applications/ LSUIElement 1

What a busy week it’s been in the cloud file hosting world.

I don’t like ‘set and forget’ apps cluttering up my Dock/app switcher. So since that’s exactly what the SkyDrive preview is doing on my Mac, that little one liner is how to fix it.

(Assuming you’ve already downloaded and installed the preview into /Applications/, pop open a Terminal and hook up that one-liner. Tested on Lion 10.7.3. Bonus hack: The Info.plist file also is where the minimum OS requirement is stored. i.e. you might be able to get to work on <10.7 if you poke around in that file, but whatever consequences that has are definitely on you.)
Change your mind?

defaults write /Applications/ LSUIElement 0

will set things back to default, or just download a new copy.

Surely there are some big challenges in building a project like So hey MacBU, or whoever’s on this, good work so far. But in case it’s not already in the pipeline, here’s one user’s humble request to put that checkbox in the prefs where it belongs.

[Shout out to you classy LaunchBar folks – the basis for this hack dates back to those halcyon days.]

Homebrew: 1. Mac App Store: 0.

CLI junkies, this one’s for you.

Mac OS X doesn’t ship with an official package manager in a Unix/Linux sense. And why should it? Apple has a proven track record targeting the casual technology user ready to trade a credit card number for convenience, and this approach earns buckets of money. Thus the recent introduction of the Mac App store should come as no surprise. (And personally as a fan of ‘Internet as change agent’ I love that it will, even marginally, help reduce carbon emissions – Apple already plans to remove boxed software from its retail stores.)

Unlike in the smartphone world, software distribution for both producers and consumers on PCs/Macs has been traditionally been ‘everybody is on their own.’ On Windows there are standard 3rd party conventions, such as NSIS, and Microsoft/Apple-sanctioned ways of packaging software for distribution (.MSI and .PKG respectively). But developers/ISVs are not required to use them, and many don’t. (I’m looking at you, Adobe – your Mac installers are seriously the worst I’ve ever seen! Sometimes devs have reasonable grounds (read: limited time/resources) to employ them, but VISE and other Java-based installers I’ve encountered are unabashedly gross.)

Let’s jump away from the commercial side of computing for a moment and talk open source. Command line junkies (read: me) are into simple, lightweight solutions. We probably won’t ever use the Mac App store, preferring traditional open source package managers. We’re the folks comfortable at the command line and with modifying config files. Debian’s apt, Gentoo’s portage, FreeBSD’s ports, Red Hat’s yum are our bread and butter. The philosophies between us and the App Store’s target audience couldn’t be more different.

Speaking from the command line junkie perspective, I recently made the move from Darwin ports to homebrew. The best experience so far was the first one:

brew install git

It pulled the source and ‘just worked’ with minimal messing with my existing system.

ports, we’ll chat again when

port install git

doesn’t start weirdly compiling perl 5.8 on top of the perl 5.10 already supplied, supported by Apple, and working fine, thank you very much.

Favicon update

To keep your bookmarks and RSS feed favicons looking shiny, I changed the favicon again. I was getting tired of the crusty current one which I made on a whim one day:

Passable at 64×64, but it always looked crummy at the more commonly seen 16×16:

After becoming intimately reacquainted with the various ways to disable Photoshop’s on by default selections and fill anti aliasing, I started with a 16×16 canvas this time, using the pencil tool and as per usual keeping the background transparent. This was a candidate:

But I’m happy with this new one for now- it retains the motif of circle + ‘p’ descender from onpaws -> op.

What do you think?