How to Enable Trackpad Dragging on OS X

Problem:

I have recently updated the OS X to Yosemite on my Mac Air. All was good except that the “double tab on the trackpad to drag an item around the screen” function stopped working. I had a look around in the System Preference but couldn’t find anything. Mainly because I didn’t know that the “double tabbing on the trackpad to drag stuff on the screen” action was actually called “Trackpad Dragging“! Else, it would be so much easier to search the Mac or the Internet for a fix. I tried to live without of it but soon the annoyance was creeping up on me. After a bit of persistent research, I found where Apple hid the option to enable “Trackpad Dragging“. The following explains How to Enable Trackpad Dragging on OS X:

Solution:

  1. Go to System Preference system-preference
  2. Click on Accessibility accessibility-icon
  3. Scroll down to Mouse & Trackpad accessibility
  4. Click on Trackpad Options
  5. Select Enable Dragging
  6. Select option With Drag Lock
  7. Click OK

eBooks: iBooks Author or Pages

I am a big fan of eBooks. I have many eBooks in formats other than .epub so I wanted to convert them into the proper eBook format – ePub. How difficult can it be? It turns out that its easy to make your own eBooks as long as you know the basic rules and tools.

Tools I use:

Notes on the tools:

  • iBooks is an eBook reader. It’s not a perfect software but it enables me to read everywhere and from any of my iOS devices. The main feature that I enjoy the most is that I can read a book on one device and continue reading on another device in anther room, at exactly the page I was on last.
  • TextWrangler to me is equivalent to Notepad++, a text tool that recognise a lot of syntax from programming languages. I even use it to write instead of Word.

iBooks Author vs Pages:

iBooks Author and Pages can be both used to make eBooks. I tired both and found out that there is a Golden Rule – Books made with iBooks do not let users changing the font size. To me, that’s just stupid. 🙂 Because that I read a lot, I have my books all set to certain font size for easy reading. To me, this is the biggest fail for iBooks Author.

In short, if you want to make an eBook with loads of interactive features and multi-touch gestures (e.g. pop-up videos that expand, galleries of images on the same page) use iBooks Author; use one of the preloaded beautiful templates. I think that Apple pushed it out only for professional e-publishing purposes so the teaches can make their own textbooks etc. Click here to see beautiful examples of eBooks published by iBooks Author.

If you want to make an eBook with loads of texts, Pages can do the job for you simply. I had to use this option. You can still include video and audio files in your eBook with Pages but they won’t function as smooth as the ones in iBooks Author.

Apple‘s recommendation is to use the ePub_Best_Practices_EN.pages as a template for producing eBooks. I tried different Pages template and I had to admit that the template is well optimised for eBooks. I used another template, the eBook it produced was much slower to open and the font was not great to read with either.

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TextWrangler Codeless Language Module

I have always been using text files to manage my todo lists but only recently been enlightened of the Todo.txt concept. This post will teach you how to write and deploy a markup definition file for TextWrangler on Mac so it will automatically highlight your Todo.txt like this:

sample-to-do

Tools I use:

Notes on the tools:

The concept of the Todo.txt is very simple. There are only 3 rules to follow:

  • Priority e.g. (A), (B), (C) and I added (U) for undecided
  • Project e.g. +Health
  • Context e.g. @home

I won’t elaborate too much here because you can learn more by visiting this page from the Todo.txt website or click here to download a sample file.

To make sure that TextWrangler highlights my Todo list as I wish, I wrote a .plist (property list file) for my installation of TextWrangler on my Mac. What is TextWrangler? It’s a text editor that offers much more functionality than Notepad. It’s a Mac equivalent to Notepad++ – my favourite text editor on Windows OS. I would suggest any programmer to use TextWrangler.

ToDoCodelessLanguageModule.plist

My .plist reference to the TextWrangler Codeless Language Modules. The following is the contents of my ToDoCodelessLanguageModule.plist





BBEditDocumentType
CodelessLanguageModule
BBLMLanguageDisplayName
To Do
BBLMLanguageCode
ToDo
BBLMColorsSyntax

BBLMKeywordList

(A)
(B)
(C)
(U)

BBLMSuffixMap


BBLMLanguageSuffix
*.todo


BBLMLanguageSuffix
.todo


Language Features

Comment Pattern

String Pattern
@w+s|+w+s
Identifier and Keyword Character Class
A-Za-z0-9_?!()


The code above is open source so feel free to use it at your own risk. If you are going to repost it else where, I hope that you would give credit to me.

Usage:

The ToDoCodelessLanguageModule.plist should be saved to folder: ~/Library/Application Support/TextWrangler/Language Modules

  • Priorities will be highlighted as blue
  • Projects and contexts will be highlighted as red
  • 2 types of comments: line comments starts with a # symbol; block comments are enclosed in /* … */
  • A completed task will be highlighted the same colour as a comment
  • To mark a task completed and ensure the highlighting was applied, you must follow the format: X YYYY-MM-DD (see screenshot at the beginning of this post for more details)

To test it, start a new file in TextWrangler and save it as a .todo file. For example:

save-file

Close the file then open it again, try to type “(A) Call Mom @Phone +Family”, the automatic highlighting should start as you type.

You can also verify it by checking that “To Do” appears on the language bar as a user defined language. For example:

todo-as-language

iMessage Not Showing on Multiple Mac

Problem:

SMS texts messages are received on iPhone fine but is only forwarded to one of the Macs, regardless of the model of Mac.

I have a slick Mac Air that I take with me everywhere and a sexy iMac at home. To keep all my offline data synced, I find it easier sometimes just to restore my Mac Air to the iMac or vice versa. The restoring process is not difficult, just use the Migration Assistant with the connection to a Apple Time Machine.

I soon find out that the SMS text messages that I receive on my iPhone would only be forwarded to one of the Macs, not both. I turned off iMessage on the iPhone then enabled it again but I can only see one of the Macs displayed under the Text Message Forwarding option. For example:

text-message-forwarding

text-forward-iMac

My research online led me to an Apple Support Forum. The poster Macsterguy explained this error as a Keychain issue which made total sense. Because the user on one Mac was restored from another, it would be possible that for the users on both Macs, the restored and original, to have the same user ID (UUID). In that case, the two Macs could be misinterpreted as one to the iPhone. Follow these steps to check the user UUID:

  1. Open System Preferences
  2. Click on Users & Groups
  3. Right click on the user in the current user list
  4. Select Advanced Options (if this does not appear, check that the “Click on the lock to prevent changes” option at the bottom of this window has been turned off.)

I would not advise you to change anything under the Advanced Options.

Solution:

  1. Turn off the iMessages option under Messages on the iPhone (see the image above for the location of the option)
  2. Login to ALL Macs as the restored user
  3. Sign out of iMessage on ALL the Macs via the Messages application
    1. Open Messages application on the Mac
    2. Go to Menu
    3. Click on Messages, then Preferences
    4. Click on Accounts tab
    5. Select the account then click on the Sign Out button
  4. Quit the Message application on ALL the Macs
  5. Open the Keychain application on ALL the Macs
  6. Backup the key “com.apple.ids: localdevice-AuthToken” on ALL the Macs
  7. Delete the key “com.apple.ids: localdevice-AuthToken” on ALL the Macs
  8. Restart ALL the Macs and the iPhone
  9. Sign in to iMessage on ALL the Macs and the iPhone

Now you should see multiple devices listed in the iPhone.
text-forward-iMac-Air

Hello World

Welcome! 👏 🎉

I hope that you will visit my blog often and leave a comment or two. Don’t be shy, the internet was originally created for collaboration not those social network.

What will I do with this space? I will write mainly about my travels, my love of photography, my work as a geek and maybe other little stories that worth remembering.

This Hello world post is the default post that comes with the WordPress installation. I’m keeping the this default post! 👻 Most programmers would have started their training with a little piece of code called “Hello world“! My first ever “Hello world” code was in Pascal! What’s yours? 😎

Here’s to the crazy ones, the misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers, the round pegs in the square holes … the ones who see things differently — they’re not fond of rules, and they have no respect for the status quo. … You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them, but the only thing you can’t do is ignore them because they change things. … They push the human race forward, and while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius, because the people who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world, are the ones who do. – Steve Jobs

I close my first blog post with this quotes by my favourite human, Steve Jobs. Chinese has a saying – 天时地利人和. I believe that Steve Jobs’s success was not because of luck or any other external environmental factors but because of his vision, hard work, and being himself. I feel that these quotes reflect that.

Be yourself and work hard!

So Long and Thanks for all the Fish! ✌️