My Computing History - All the Computers I've Owned

For quite some time, I've been thinking about posting an article with a broad overview of all the computers I've owned—Mac, PC, Linux, Handheld, etc. Well, I finally decided I'd start on that article. Here goes!

Condensed Summary

If the rest of this article is tl;dr, here's the short history:


Tips for Using a MacBook (Air, Pro) in Clamshell Mode

On this page, I will compile all the knowledge, tips and tricks I have for using a MacBook, MacBook Pro, or MacBook Air as a desktop replacement, in clamshell mode.


Reeder (RSS reader) for Mac released - finally out of beta!

Reeder, the new best RSS reader for Mac, is finally out of beta! It's only $9.99, on the Mac App Store.

Reeder Icon

I used NetNewsWire back in the early '00s, but it has become a complicated beast, and after learning about Reeder beta 1 a few months ago, I was an instant convert.

Reeder is great, because all I ever do is arrow-down through news stories, glance over ones I might be interested, press 'B' to open the really interesting articles in my browser, and then press 'A' then 'return' to mark all stories as read.

It's fast, simple, elegant, and hides a ton of extra complexity (in case you want to do more with it than I do). I love it even more on the iPad... it's simply the best solution for iPad or Mac. I don't bother reading news feeds on the iPhone much, though (I use both NetNewsWire and Reeder on that platform).

More on Reeder and RSS:

Things: Opportunity Lost

Dear Things developers (Cultured Code),

I know you are perfectionists. I know you're purists. Your software is inspirational, in a way. It's clean, it's fast, and it's functional. You make beautiful software, and I'm glad you've had such great success in the past.

But I have to say, "Goodbye."

The one and only feature that I've been waiting for—OTA sync—is still not here.

You've made some pretty status indicators telling me nothing, but impressing me nonetheless. You've posted some great developer stories about this feature, but given no backbone to your words.

Two times in the past year I'd almost made up my mind to leave behind my $100 investment in your company, but two times I've waited. This, I fear, is the third strike. How can I ignore so many different people praising your competitor's software, but sit on the sidelines with nothing but hope and dreams of what could be?

Wanted to Believe in Things - Jeff G
(Image adapted from Things blog)

Things, I will miss your beautiful, simple, functional interface. I hope you will take this lesson to heart: ship early, and ship often. You can't string your users along forever.

Jeff Geerling

Visibility for Mac

Visibility IconI just released Visbility, a simple Mac application that makes showing and hiding invisible files easy, via Midwestern Mac, LLC.

I created this app for three reasons:

  1. I'd never programmed in Objective-C before, so I wanted to test the waters.
  2. I wanted to go through the process of submitting an App to the Mac App Store (crossing my fingers as to whether I would be able to get the App approved or not).
  3. I wanted an easier (and less buggy) way to show invisible files in the Finder on my Macs.

In the past, I've used a few different AppleScripts to show or hide files in the Finder, and they were all lacking in some way or another—one would lock up sometimes, another would take two or three clicks to get the files to show or hide again, etc.

Visibility is very fast (startup, toggle, and quit), looks nice, and runs on 10.6 Snow Leopard.

Alas, it was rejected from the App Store for changing Finder preferences... but that's okay—now it's a free app for all to enjoy! Check out Visibility—the easiest way to show invisible files on a Mac.

Removing a Stuck Disc (CD/DVD) from a Mac - EVERY Way Possible

CDMost of the time, I'm extremely happy with Apple's decision to make all their physical media (CD/DVD) drives slot-loading, as it means there's one less part to accidentally break off my Mac, and it just looks so darn pretty! But every now and then, I have a hellish experience with the drive. This usually happens when:

  • A CD/DVD disc is warped or really thick (like most discs with homemade labels)
  • I'm given a mini CD (business card size) or DVD (this rarely happens anymore)
  • A CD/DVD is way out of balance... usually it's just slightly warped

That's the hardware side. Sometimes, I just want to get a dratted disc out of the computer, but dragging it to the trash, or pressing the 'Eject' key won't work. Often a dialog pops up and says "the disc is in use" (but it doesn't specify what application is using it!), or worse, there is no error—the disc just won't come out.

Here are the steps I usually take in trying to eject a CD or DVD—in order from least likely to damage the disc and/or my Mac, to most likely... always try the steps in order!



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