Merging/concatenating PDFs under OS X

  • Open one PDF
  • Open the Sidebar
  • Drag the other PDF pages to the sidebar
  • In the sidebar drag the other PDFs on top of the first PDF. ┬áNothing will appear to happen, but if you then save the first file, it will show all the drag and dropped pages.

Simplicity or what!

Alfred: A Quicksilver replacement?

Alfred is a new app launcher (and as with the best of those apps it is much more) for OS X. It’s currently in beta, that you can sign up for at their website.

Ever since Raj pointed me to Quicksilver it’s become a pretty essential tool on any Mac I use. However, development has dropped off over the past few years and whereas it still works perfectly now if there’s any major OS update it could be that it breaks. Scary! It’s to Albert’s credit that after a week of using it it’s slipped straight into my workflow without hardly any interruption or even being noticed!


What’s also cool, although location only relevant for property programmes, is that the guys are local (to me in Cambridge that is!).

Startup items on OS X

For an unrelated reason I just checked the console on my Mac and found that an executable was being called every few mins, that did not exist. WTF!

I used to have a 3G modem made by Huawei (T-Mobile). The software dialler was pretty rubbish, and it appears that the naffness continued after I removed it. It had placed a file in my Launchpad folder which supposedly checked whether there was an updated version of the software available (note: in 18 months of running this software there never was!).

Anyway the upshot of it that it’s not just the StartupItems Preference Pane that shows such items. Also check the following folders:


Rebuilding Spotlight indices fixes search issues

Over the last few months searching in has been problematic to say the least. I’ve been hoping that Snow Leopard would fix this, but it did not. In fact since upgrading to SL it has got worse, although this was likely just coincidence rather than being caused by the upgrade. So I tried rebuilding the Spotlight indices from scratch. Previously I would have used Onyx to do this. However, the Snow Leopard compatible Onyx has only just come out in beta, and was not available when I did this. Other methods I was aware of include dragging that partition (root) to the Privacy part, then back again. However, this being UNIX you can of course do it quickly from the command line. MDUTIL is a command line tool to interact with MDS, which is the Spotlight indexing tool.

Note all the following commands were run using sudo (or you could su to root). If you do not know what sudo is, perhaps the command line is not a place you should dwell!.

mdutil -i off /

Now some posts seems to indicate that you also need to delete the indices


rm -R /.Spotlight-v100

I did not do this.

To add them back I simply turned on indexing again. Note this does take quite a while and leaves a few processes at 100% CPU.

mdutil -i on /

I have since been told that you can just force a rebuild using

mdutil -E /

However, despite the ease of this once the Snow Leopard version Onyx has come out I would recommend using that instead. It’s a cracking app, and I run this once a month at least.

Google beta of Sync for mobile contacts & calendar is live

Google beta of Sync for mobile contacts & calendar is live: “That thudding sound you’re hearing is the head-to-keyboard collision of everyone who, for the purposes of wireless PIM sync to an iPhone, renewed a MobileMe subscription last week. Google announced today that the beta Google Sync for Mobile capability, long a feature on the Blackberry, has now been extended to iPhones (via Microsoft’s ActiveSync), and also to other devices that support the SyncML standard. You can sync your Google-side calendar and contacts to your device of choice, free, bidirectionally, starting today.

There are a few caveats with this beta, as one might expect: the main one is that you cannot use the sync capability if you already synchronize with an Exchange account, as there can be only one ActiveSync config on the iPhone or iPod touch at any time. Setting up sync with Google will also nuke your local contacts and calendar on the device, so back up before you proceed. Still, this represents a big step forward in the delicate dance of Google services in cooperation with Apple’s mobile gear.

If you configure sync for your device, let us know how it goes! Early comments note that the lack of multiple calendar support is a showstopper — if that applies to you, check out the NuevaSync option. Update: You can apparently sync up to five calendars to the phone, see here for details.

[via Engadget]

TUAWGoogle beta of Sync for mobile contacts & calendar is live originally appeared on The Unofficial Apple Weblog (TUAW) on Mon, 09 Feb 2009 14:10:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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(Via The Unofficial Apple Weblog (TUAW).)

Resizing a Time machine backup

As spotted on this blog here’s a way to increase the maximum size used by sparse bundle.

I use Time Machine to backup to My Ready Nas. I found this thread and howto on the Infrant forums. It’s not supported by Appole but it works nicely. Although you’ve got to admit that using an usupported method for a backup is a little dodgy!

I had a problem where resizing was not supported. This post, and this post again on the Infrant forums and this post helped. Well they helped me realise that something Apple did with the OS X 10.5.2 update stopped AFP shares being supported 100% for HDIUTILS manipulation of Sparse/ bundles.

So this command line does not work ­čÖü

sudo hdiutil create -size 320g -type SPARSEBUNDLE -nospotlight -volname "Backup of Morcheeba" -fs "Case-sensitive Journaled HFS+" -verbose ~/Desktop/test.sparsebundle

So I just started again. I have multiple backups anyway!

As far as I understand it Time machine backups use Rsync and link. Much in the same way that my

online storage

I’m a bit of a paranoid sort, and I really do backup even the most trivial of my data. I’ve been thinking of offline storage and a recent loss of my entire HOME directory (due to stupid human error, but all backed up) has made me think more strongly about this.

I used For quite a while, but I’ve been getting increasingly interested in Dropbox. Rsync is a commendably Open standard company. They allow access to their storage via many widely supported protocols, rsync (using ssh), scp, sftp, webdav etc. However, as a home backup network they are fairly expensive. I used a 10Gb share for a while, that’s about 11 bucks a month ($1.2 per Gb per month) but that’s not large enough to backup all my data. I used Rsync in a script that backed up a directory containing various softlinks to various important data folders scatered about my home directory. However, I’ve always been of the opinion that backup needs to be indiscriminate and completely automated. That is I’d prefer for all my Home directory to be backed up offsite rather than specific folders.

Dropbox offers 50Gb for 99 bucks. Now this is only accesible using a web interface or their admittedly cool client. Useable on Mac and Linux (windows as well but I’ve not used that). The folder is kept synched between all clients.

As a home user how can I afford to have the same storage as Dropbox but the same flexiblity as…..?