Recent Posts

Annoying password loss in Outlook 2011 for Mac

Following the release of OS X Mavericks, some applications manifested odd behaviour. Outlook for Mac 2011 is one such app!

This generally occurs when the development team behind the app don’t release updates to allow the app to work in the new OS environment.

At present Outlook 2011 for Mac seems to (occasionally) forget passwords stored, particularly for Exchange and IMAP accounts. This results in the user receiving an incorrect password (or forgot password) error.

This is how to solve it:

  1. Open Outlook.
  2. Then, use Finder to select the Applications folder, then the Microsoft Office folder.
  3. Holding the Control key down, select the Outlook “O” icon, and select “Get Info” from the list.
  4. Once open check the “Prevent Nap App” box.
  5. Then close Finder, quit Outlook and then re-open it.

This action prevents  Outlook sleeping in Mavericks. This control  was designed to improve power consumption, however the Outlook app wasn’t modified to conform to this new feature. This workaround applies the fix and solves the password issue.

It’s possible that in a future update Microsoft will release a complete fix.

Outlook 2011 for mac

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New iMac in Target Display Mode: A common issue

The late 2013 iMac is a great piece of hardware – one of it key innovations is the thunderbolt connector. When paired with a MacBook Pro (I have the Retina model) the iMac can be set to act as an external monitor (secondary monitor) for the MBP. This is known as ‘Target Display Mode” or TDM and is discussed in ample detail in this post.

There is however a software issue which prevented the user from toggling the iMac in and out of TDM mode. While the standard recommendation is to trigger a CMD+F2 on the iMac – in my case this was only working when turning on the mode and not when turning it off (disabling TDM on the iMac).

Frustrated by this I researched a few blogs – yet to no avail. Here’s the solution for those desperate to toggle their iMac both on as well as off.

OS X has a (sensible) security setting which forces the user to enter the default user password when the iMac sleeps or when the screen saver begins. This setting is found in System Preferences > Security & Privacy. For whatever reason when the iMac switches to TDM mode, OS X considers this to be a ‘sleep’ operation and thus locks the underlying OS. As a result of this, the keyboard function to toggle TDM off (CMD+F2) is unavailable to the user.

To change this, simply alter the entry in System Preferences > Security & Privacy, from “immediately” to any value which is longer than that. Consider “1 hr” as a base option. Of course keep in mind that this will alter the security settings of your machine so keep an eye on that.

preferences

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Another solution to Apple Preview crashes

Apple’s preview app has a bad habit of hanging and although I addressed the issue in a previous post, I still get many emails from readers of this blog complaining of the same issue.

Here’s another solution to consider.

  1. Open the Terminal window to write some code. If you don’t know how to open the terminal window go to: Programs/Utilities/Terminal.
  2. Make sure you are in your home directory in which you should see your username (type “cd” (without inverted commas) and hit enter if you are unsure).
  3. Then insert this line of code without the inverted commas: “mv Library/Containers/com.apple.preview Library/Containers/com.apple.preview.hiding” and hit enter.

This command will ” hide” the com.apple.preview  folder found in your Library/Containers folder and when you re-open Preview next time, the OS will rebuild such folder thus purging any error or invalid content which generally create freezes of application hanging.

Apple's Preview app

Where to get a good espresso in Malta

Bad coffee is bad news. I’m rather particular about my espresso and find it increasingly important to have it served just right. As a result I have decided to keep this running blog of good espresso places and bad espresso places in Malta. Of course you should avoid the latter (for espresso). These two lists are not ranked in any specific order – I plan to keep adding more entries as I sample more espresso.

GOOD Espresso: A good espresso reminds me instantly of Italy. It should be short, just slightly dense, have a fair amount of surface brown foam/cream, it should smell aromatic and inviting and leave a super aftertaste. These are tell-tale signs that the variables of pressure, temperature and so on are under control and that the barrista knows his stuff.

BAD Espresso: I define bad espresso as having at least two of the following characteristics: (i) too watery, (ii) burned coffee beans spoiling the aroma, (iii) not ‘creamy’ to the right extent, (iv) more akin to instant coffee than espresso, (v) too damn hot, (vi) terribly cheap coffee beans making it tasteless, (vii) white foam instead of brown, (viii) served in Styrofoam or a cold glass cup,  (ix) grit floating in the espresso or at the base of the cup, or (x) a cheap plastic stirrer rather than a teaspoon.

PS. If you’re a restaurant owner or a barrista and reading this – please invest in your espresso. Your customers will love you ! And if you’re still green at preparing an espresso – read this.

Where do you sip your espresso? Drop a comment below…

Get good espresso in Malta

To me, the smell of fresh-made coffee is one of the greatest inventions – Hugh Jackman

Last updated: 6th October 2013

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Preview takes ages to quit – Here’s the solution.

I run a pretty sturdy Mac BookPro with a 2.7Ghz processor and I’ve been loving OSX8 save for the fact that PREVIEW‘s app has been taking ages to close once I quit it. It’s an annoying snag considering Preview is intended to be a light, quick app.

If it’s tormenting you too: here’s the cause and the solution. When using Preview to handle PDFs, upon quitting, Preview tries to add a virtual bookmark which would allow you to re-start reading from the last page when you re-open the application. Disable this and Preview will run lightning fast.

To do so: (i) Open Preview, (ii) Click Preferences from the Preview Menu, (iii) click the ‘PDF’ tab, then (iv) un-check the option ‘Start on the last viewed page’ (see image below)

Solve Preview quit time lag

Preview Preferences screen

 

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The authenticity of a brand

One thing I look out for in a brand is authenticity.
This is what draws me to the age-old Wilkin & Sons products.

Established in 1885 the Tiptree-based family has been farming in this area for ages and has produced some of the best conserves you could buy. Because they manage their own farms they have unusual fruits such as medlar, loganberry, mulberry, quince and greengage, which makes their offering interesting.

Their brand identity correctly translates into a positive sentiment of credibility and consistency. They haven’t spruced-up their logo or packaging. Both of these have stood the test of time and the two work brilliantly in positioning the product as genuine and authetic. Without succumbing to design fads, the brand has garnered loyalty.

Staunch fans as well as newbies generally associate the packaging with a nostalgic food-manufacturing process of days long gone. While the process may have been modernised, the same ingredients and passion for good products are still the driving force behind this brand.

Wilkin & Sons logo

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A space for carols

It’s too easy to squeeze music out of Christmas.

Busy bars, stressful schedules, long lists and a cacophony of other requests can distance one from the music which is rightfully part of Christmas.

Then come those graceful opportunities which envelope you in a blissful Christmas cheer and stillness: carols.
Today I squeezed into a lovely Christmas concert by Chorus Urbanus at the majestic St. John’s Co-Cathedral in Valletta.

It’s extremely magical to sit in a Cathedral built in 1577, decorated by some of the most distinguished artists of all time and partake in an age-old ritual of listening to sacred music.

Sitting in expectation of a choir is always great: the sense of anticipation, the tuning of the string instruments and the occasional whiff of burned incense set the mood perfectly.

Under the direction of Mro. John Galea the choir performed some of the most well known carols such as Adeste Fideles, Little Drummer Boy and so on. Jacop Portelli’s harp solo: Nataliana was magically awesome.

There is something nostalgic and calming in Christmas carols. Perhaps their familiarity brings consistency in a mad world. Possibly their slow progression freezes time for a moment and allows one to focus on the very present experience of listening. Maybe the innocence of carols draw us back to a childhood of better, simpler days.

Merry Christmas to all :)

St. John's CoCathedral in Valletta, Malta

St. John’s CoCathedral in Valletta

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Pack your life with interesting experiences

I recently came across an interview with memory genius and author Joshua Foer.
His book ‘Moonwalking with Einstein: The Art and Science of Remembering Everything’ is an incredibly beautiful journey into the workings of the mind.

Below is an excerpt from the interview which is a ‘mind’-opener:

Q: What is the connection between memory and our sense of time?

A: As we get older, life seems to fly by faster and faster. That’s because we structure our experience of time around memories. We remember events in relation to other events. But as we get older, and our experiences become less unique, our memories can blend together. If yesterday’s lunch is indistinguishable from the one you ate the day before, it’ll end up being forgotten. That’s why it’s so hard to remember meals. In the same way, if you’re not doing things that are unique and different and memorable, this year can come to resemble the last, and end up being just as forgettable as yesterday’s lunch. That’s why it’s so important to pack your life with interesting experiences that make your life memorable, and provide a texture to the passage of time.

20111213-094616 AM.jpg

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Getting a paint-job

If you never tried throwing paint at someone here’s a tip: try it !
Even better: get your camera and shoot the entire drama.

Having no idea whether it would turn out to be a mess or not, I agreed to submit my camera to the possibility of itself getting a paint job. Not being fond of chameleon magic, I made sure the paint’s ricochet wouldn’t surprise me. I stood back.

My subject: MG, boldly prepared herself on a cold Sunday morning on the edge of Riviera Beach in Ghajn Tuffieha (Malta). And Zap. Paint flew. Click, click. The shutter busily captured the milliseconds in which paint droplets exploded on MG’s skin.

Great fun and great results. Luckily I wasn’t the one who had to swim in a cold November sea to clean-out the paint (…one of the advantages of being the photographer).

Would you like some paint splashed on you?

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A list of mundane ‘likes’ and nervous ‘dislikes’

It’s been a persistent wish of mine to list those things that make me smile and those which make me despair.
I’m rather curious to see whether your likes and dislikes are similar to mine, so do comment with your own list below.

This is intended to be a constant work-in-progress so check back regularly as I intend to grow this list slowly:

The White List of things I like :)

  1. The sweet smell of rain.
  2. Great design which goes beyond the mere ‘good’ and which leaves me in awe of its craftsmanship.
  3. Heavy blue skies with deep blue hues and the occasional stray sun beam breaking through.
  4. Anything made of chocolate, yet especially the Tortino di cioccolato fondente caldo con gelato al zabaglione.
  5. Polaroids & Laughter.
  6. The zangy sound of my guitar with a set of new D’Addario strings.
  7. A long forgotten smell, sound or sensation which unexpectedly carries me back to my childhood – almost like a time machine.
  8. Soulful music that transports you beyond ‘everydayness’
  9. Warm rikotta pastizzi from Cordina on a Sunday morning with FT Weekend as their backdrop.
  10. That creative fever which forces me out on the street to take pictures, paint, write or make something.
  11. Calligraphy and typography: the beautiful aesthetic of the written word.
  12. Those grainy, somewhat vintage, warm contre-jour portraits that spring out of rickety film cameras (when you least expect it).
  13. Things organised neatly, in lines, possibly by colour.
  14. The smell of a new book and the crisp sound of its whizzing pages.
  15. The magical moments of silence in Keith Jarret’s Koln piano concert.
  16. Ink, pens, pencils, paints, copics and sketch books.
  17. That ‘aha’ moment after hours of research to solve a technical problem.

The Black List of things I detest :(

  1. Eastern European electronics which come with shoddy English manuals you can’t quite understand.
  2. The mangling of Maltese & English into atrocities like ‘il-parents’ or ‘il-bagit’. Grrrr.
  3. Blokes who talk during movies (especially those with a compulsion to explain the movie to their neighbour – in real time).
  4. Speakers who read-off their text-heavy power-points giving their audience a great view of their bottom rather than their face.
  5. Goons who insist on driving at a snail’s pace on the outer lane.
  6. Captchas which are impossible to understand and which leave you staring at your screen as though you’ve seen Casper.

 

corbusier

"I prefer drawing to talking. Drawing is faster, and leaves less room for lies" Le Corbusier

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