Archive for the ‘Leopard’ Category

Accessing Your Recent and Favorite Folders in LaunchBar

Friday, March 26th, 2010

LaunchBar is a great ‘mouse-free’ utility for instantly getting to files, folders, URLs, music, addresses, and just about anything else on your Mac.  Hit command-spacebar and start typing the first few letters of whatever you want – LaunchBar lists the choices that match and you just hit the return key to open or go to that item.  I use it all the time and recommend it to everyone I know.

There’s a really handy way of including your recent and favorite folders from Default Folder X in LaunchBar’s index. After doing this, you can instantly access those folders from the keyboard using LaunchBar.

To make Default Folder X favorites and recent folders available in LaunchBar do the following:

  1. In your Default Folder X preferences, click on the Advanced tab and turn on “Create aliases of Recent Folders and Favorites in your Library folder”.
  2. In LaunchBar, choose Show Index from the Index menu.  Click on the “Folder+” button in the toolbar to add a folder.
  3. Select the HOME/Library/Favorites/ folder.
  4. Once the folder is added, click on the Options tab for that folder and set Search Scope to “Search 1 Subfolder Level” and Search for “Folders”.
  5. Click on the Schedule tab and turn on the “Update automatically” checkbox.
  6. Repeat steps 2-5 for the folder HOME/Library/Recent Folders/
  7. Once you tell LaunchBar to reindex, you’ll have access to all of your Default Folder X favorite and recent folders.

Thanks to Gary Schelling for asking about this and jogging my brain 🙂

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Being careful with LSSharedFileListAddObserver

Friday, November 6th, 2009

So, Apple added this cool little capability to the Launch Services API in Leopard: LSSharedFileListAddObserver will call your observer function whenever there are changes in a number of different file lists maintained by Launch Services. One of those lists is the “Recent Documents” list in the Apple Menu. “Great!” I thought, “I’ll roll this into Default Folder X to ensure that it doesn’t miss any recently used folders.”  It’s a simple API – what could go wrong?  As a long time developer, I should have known better – if you EVER say this (even if you never even say it out loud), you need to poke yourself with something sharp and realize that the consequences will probably hurt quite a bit more than that. “What could go wrong?” indeed.

So yes, here I am apologizing for not having poked myself after I used LSSharedFileListAddObserver without asking more questions – or at least without testing more.  Here’s how Default Folder X ended up using 60% of some users’ CPUs while doing nothing useful:

  1. DFX added itself as an observer for kLSSharedFileListRecentDocumentItems.
  2. The observer function got called by Launch Services because the user double-clicked a document in the Finder.
  3. DFX looked at the list, took the most recent entry in it (the first one), asked Launch Services for the URL of the document, and added the folder enclosing that document to its Recent Folders list.

Pretty simple, right? Yeah, I thought so too. This was tested thoroughly on Snow Leopard and performed fine, and all my Leopard testers reported that it worked well for them too.

So what’s the problem then?  Well, there’s this little “issue”…  If a user has a Windows server mounted on the Desktop, things get a little more interesting.  Normally, when Launch Services calls your observer function, it hands you the file list and you ask for a copy of the list.  The list itself is just a series of ID’s and references – to see what’s in an entry, you have to call LSSharedFileListItemResolve().  And that’s where the interesting part happened.  On Leopard, if the shared file list item lies on a Windows server, the act of calling LSSharedFileListItemResolve actually results in the item being changed, so your observer function gets called again the next time you hit your event loop.  The result of this is that you get called over and over again if you naively use LSSharedFileListItemResolve to get more info about the items that Launch Services is handing you.

So – the warning:  If you use LSSharedFileListAddObserver to watch the list of recent documents, keep a copy of the ID’s from the previous call and ONLY call LSSharedFileListItemResolve if there’s a new ID in the array.  Otherwise do nothing, or work off cached information – otherwise you’ll end up in an infinite loop, sucking down lots of CPU time.  And if you’re doing anything that interacts with the filesystem, make SURE you test with SMB shared volumes too.

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Default Folder X high CPU-usage and responsiveness problems

Thursday, November 5th, 2009

Well, there’s definitely a bug in Default Folder X 4.3.2.  When running under Leopard and accessing SMB file servers, DFX will start consuming 20-60% of one CPU and will start to lag or become completely unresponsive.  This may also affect Snow Leopard and / or other types of file servers besides SMB.

I’ve got a test build available with a fix:

http://www.stclairsoft.com/download/DefaultFolderX-4.3.3b1.dmg

If you’re having any trouble with Default Folder X, please download and install it.  It should fix your problems.  If you run into any problems, please let me know as soon as possible at DefaultFolder@stclairsoft.com.

Thanks, and I apologize for the bug (I’ll post the gory details in a few minutes, since it’s an interesting little ‘gotcha’ in the Launch Services API).

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Default Folder X 4.2.1 Released!

Tuesday, July 7th, 2009

It’s out!

Default Folder X 4.2.1 now lets you quickly see the contents of your files by showing you preview images in its hierarchical menus. You can visually browse through folders full of files quickly, straight from your menu bar. This release also offers additional support for Path Finder, improvements to Default Folder X’s “Rebound” feature and a bunch of compatibility fixes. Version 4.2.1 is also compatible with the latest developer release of Mac OS 10.6 “Snow Leopard.”

Full details are on the Default Folder X Release Page.

Thanks to everyone who provided feedback, bug reports and testing!

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Default Folder X 4.2.1b2 is available for testing

Tuesday, June 30th, 2009

Here’s the 4.2.1b2 build of Default Folder X:

http://www.stclairsoft.com/download/DefaultFolderX-4.2.1b2.dmg

The new menu preview feature now has an on / off switch in the preferences window, and due to popular demand the small sized previews have increased to 192 x 192 (instead of 128 x 128).  The zoom-when-you-pause feature now works reliably on all systems, and this build works correctly under Mac OS 10.4.  Please download it and give it a spin!

Send any bug reports, impressions, and feature requests to defaultfolder@stclairsoft.com.  Here’s the full 4.2.1 change history from the ReadMe:

  • Default Folder X now gives you file previews in its menus.  As you mouse through Default Folder X’s hierarchical menus from the menu bar, you’ll see a preview of the file that’s highlighted in the menu.  Hover there for a couple of seconds and the preview will enlarge.
  • In Open and Save As dialogs, Default Folder X now puts a “Computer” item at the top of the folder hierarchy in the path menu.
  • New Spotlight tags were sometimes not written out to the shared OpenMeta recent tag list.  This has been fixed.
  • Spotlight tag completion now ignores differences in diacritical marks.
  • Added support for Fluid site-specific browsers when they’re running as menu extras.
  • Previews now correctly follow aliases so that a preview of the original file is shown when you select an alias in an Open dialog.
  • When two folders with the same name are in a menu, the menu items for them will now include the name of the parent folders that uniquely identify those folders (Default Folder X used to just show their immediate parent folders, but sometimes those had the same names too).
  • Fixed an AppleScript problem that would cause Preview to print a PDF file over and over again if you selected a the file in the Finder and chose Print from the File menu.
  • Changed the rebound feature so that filenames with a ‘:’ character are recognized correctly in Cocoa applications.
  • Corrected a problem that would result in Default Folder X not loading in multiple running applications that had the same creator signature (when running both Photoshop CS3 and CS4 at the same time, for instance).
  • Default Folder X was saving empty Finder comments, resulting in Spotlight attaching empty com.apple.metadata:kMDItemFinderComment attributes to some files.  This has been fixed.
  • Fixed compatibility problems with python-based applications that use appscript.
  • Added support for 64-bit PowerPC applications to the scripting addition.
  • Corrected inconsistent rebound behavior on network server drives.
  • Fixed the Extras/DFX script so it doesn’t show a busy cursor when it pops up the Default Folder X menu.

Thanks!

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Menus with Previews: Default Folder X 4.2.1b1

Saturday, June 27th, 2009

So I rolled a new preview method into Default Folder X’s system-wide menus in the menubar.  Now, not only can you browse all of your files and folders through its quick hierarchical menus, but you can see file previews in little bubbles, like this:

And if you hover over the menu item for a few seconds, that little preview will expand into a large one so you can see more details.  Just browsing my hard disk with this has turned up ton of images and documents I didn’t know I still had!

This and a slew of other improvements are in the first beta release of Default Folder X 4.2.1.  You can download a copy here to try it out:

http://www.stclairsoft.com/download/DefaultFolderX-4.2.1b1.dmg

There’s a full change log in the Beta Read Me file, and usual disclaimers about it being a prerelease version apply (it may have bugs, etc).  I’d love to get some feedback on both the menu item previews and the other improvements, so grab a copy, give it a try, and let me know your thoughts!

– Jon

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Default Folder X 4.2 Delivers OpenMeta Tagging

Friday, April 3rd, 2009

Default Folder X 4.2 shipped today! It delivers support for OpenMeta tagging, improved Rebound behavior, a new AppleScript command, and compatibility with the latest developer build of Snow Leopard.  Full details are on the release page.  Also check out the list of OpenMeta compatible applications at the bottom of the page.

Oh, and something that’s not mentioned in the release notes: As a side effect of some changes I made for Snow Leopard, DFX now loads in Java applications.

Thanks to everyone for the great feedback, testing help, and suggestions.  As always, your input is what helps make Default Folder X such a great tool for all of us!

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OpenMeta coming soon to Default Folder X

Friday, January 23rd, 2009

I’m very excited about Ironic Software’s establishment of OpenMeta, a new standard for storage of tag metadata on OS X.  Storing spotlight keywords in the Finder/Spotlight comments of files has always been problematic, but up until now, it was the best solution available if you wanted general-purpose access to the tags via Spotlight.

Now OpenMeta uses the metadata capabilities in HFS+ to uniformly store tag information – and provides open source code to make it easy for developers get on board.  Ironic’s Deep application uses it, and Gravity Applications’ new Tags app is doing it too – you can assign tags to files, email messages, photos – it’s very slick and oh-so-much-better on a technical level – we just have to get more people to adopt it!  As always, one of the missing pieces is being able to tag documents as you’re saving them – Default Folder X already supports this using the traditional Spotlight comments, so it makes all the sense in the world for DFX to support OpenMeta.

So in answer to all the emails I’ve been getting – YES, Default Folder X will adopt the OpenMeta standard (while still supporting Spotlight comments too, for those of you that aren’t ready to switch).

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Troubles with InDesign’s Open and Save dialogs

Thursday, June 5th, 2008

I occasionally get reports of problems between Default Folder X and Adobe InDesign. One user has done some digging and found that InDesign has some pretty major, known problems with Leopard’s Navigation Services (NavServices is the part of OS X that provides the Open and Save As dialogs). You may get crashes in InDesign when running Leopard, regardless of whether you’re using Default Folder X or not, and unfortunately, they’re not things that I can fix in DFX. For more details, see:

There are a couple of workarounds described in the blog comments. Tim Cole at Adobe has written up one in his recent blog post.  A better one has been posted by Craig Swanson at CreativeTechs.

Thanks to James Wondrack for tracking down this info.

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Of Turkey and Travels and DFX 4

Tuesday, November 20th, 2007

Happy two-days-before-Thanksgiving! At least for those of you that live in the USA or for some reason share America’s penchant for excessive eating.

Here’s an update on new the look and feel for Default Folder X. Among many things, the buttons have lost their borders for better Leopard karma, fonts and alignment are correct now, and Scott’s been working his magic with the icon. Feature-wise, the previews are smoother, you can now see and change Finder labels in both Open and Save dialogs, and stuff just works like it should. There are also a lot of under-the-hood tweaks for Leopard. I’m happy with the features now and DFX 4 should be ready to roll after a couple more weeks of testing.

Speaking of which, I need a few more dedicated folks to nit-pick and test. If you’d like to get your mitts on a beta copy, drop me an email at betamacs@stclairsoft.com and let me know what kind of machine you’re using, whether you’re running Leopard or Tiger, and why I should listen to your opinions 😉  Sorry folks, but we’ve got enough testers now – thanks to all the folks that volunteered to help!  The release will be next week (the week of December 10).

I’ll be heading out to Denver for the holiday, but toting my MacBook Pro as usual, so I’ll never be far from the net. Opinions, rants, and kudos are all welcome (I’m not saying I’ll heed the former, but if you’ve got valid criticisms, I’m never above changing my mind). And yeah, I actually do like turkey, and I really love the getting-together-with-family part of the holidays.

Oh yeah – and to reiterate my response to one of the comments in an earlier entry, if you buy Default Folder X 3.0.6 now, you get 4.0 for free. I’m not going to charge you an upgrade fee if you buy the software 2 weeks (or 2 months) before the new version’s released. That’s just mean.

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