posts tagged with the keyword ‘windows’



Typically if I need to find a file while my Mac is connected to a network volume, I can easily search that volume using the Finder. This usually works well, and I can find what I need. This doesn’t work at all for the Windows shares I have to use at work.

It’s a full-on Windows environment at work, and everyone has a Windows machine on their desk. I’m the only one who uses a Mac as their primary computer. I do all my own support, which is fine. I just have to find my own workarounds sometimes.

ls -laR

Since I often have to look through one of the Windows shares for old files, I’m stuck browsing since I cannot search, so I originally went into the terminal and did a ls -laR and dumped it to a file so I could easily search for specific files. This sort of worked, but since the listing via ls lists the directory and then all the files in the directory, I had to look at more than a single line of text to find the path to the file I wanted.

find $PWD

I then found the power of combining find with $PWD for find $PWD. This allowed me to list every single file on the Windows share, and dump it all to a file (which is 18MB) that I can easily grep in about a second.

The file’s information isn’t real-time, but I’m typically not looking for new files, but old files that someone else created years ago. I can always refresh my local store every week or so.

If I need to find every Arduino sketch, it’s now as easy as egrep -i '\.ino' ~/WindowsShare.txt



Occasionally I save an email message from Thunderbird to a file, and when I do that the file has an .eml extension. For those new to this concept, the .eml file extension is usually applied to files in the MIME RFC 822 standard format used by email applications. You can open that .eml file using Thunderbird (which is available on Mac OS X, Windows, and Linux) or using on Mac OS X, and I’m sure using many other applications that adhere to the standards. I can even open .eml files in a text editor and easily read the text/plain portion of a multi-part email message.

Unfortunately I recently came across some emails with a .msg extension. It seems that Microsoft Outlook saves emails files to disk as .msg files, which is probably not the MIME RFC 822 standard format, and is some weird format you can’t easily read without Outlook… (It’s actually based on the “Compound File Binary Format” and require a MAPI-aware application to view them.)

Luckily MsgViewer is an application (well, a JAR file) which (as long as you’ve got Java installed) can open these .msg files. You can grab MsgViewer from SourceForge.

And seriously, why does Microsoft do this kind of stuff??


Mac OS X & Windows

It’s been a long time since I had to use Windows servers, probably ten years and six operating system versions. Back then I dealt with Windows shares not as an admin, but a normal user. I ended up writing utilities in bash or Perl that would delete .DS_Store files and “dot underscore” files being written to Windows shares by Mac OS X. Now that I am again dealing with Windows shares (again, not as an admin) I thought I should dust off my old scripts (one of which is dated 2002.)

But it seems the world has changed in the last ten years, and now I can deal with “dot underbar” (the proper name) using dot_clean, which is built into Mac OS X. I’ll also be using dot_clean on DOS formatted thumb drives and SD cards that are going into other operating systems.

There’s still those pesky .DS_Store files, which I do not want littering any of the Windows shares at work. It seems you can prevent .DS_Store file creation on network volumes by using the following command:

defaults write DSDontWriteNetworkStores true

That should make for neater volumes and file shares when I move things around… Now if only I could deal with the other annoying Windows server stuff. Often I cannot rename or delete a file or folder on a Windows share. Sometimes I’ll try it from a Windows machine instead of from Mac OS X, and occasionally it will work, but often I’m only able to move all the files out of a folder and then can’t delete a folder. If I can rename an empty folder, I end up renaming it “delete me” but I still cannot delete them. Does everyone have these sort of Windows issues? (Again, I am not an admin, just a normal user.)

Sometimes I really miss of the Mac OS X-based servers I used to run. (Well, every time I have to use a Windows server, actually.)


Windows 7

Since there will be a point in the future when I upgrade all my Macs to Lion, I figured I should start getting ready, and in order to get ready, I usually need to upgrade my virtualization software. I use VMWare Fusion as well as Parallels Desktop on my Macs. My main use of Windows is for browser testing, though now that I spend time at the Milwaukee Makerspace I also use a few Windows-only applications like CamBam.

My VMs were all running Windows XP, so I figured that it was time to move up to Windows 7, and my old pal Larry Clarkin suggested that I’d like it much better than Windows XP. So in the interest of science (?) I figured I’d review Windows 7.

(Note: This review will be heavily biased against Windows, because I don’t like Windows.)

OK, here’s the deal: I don’t like Windows.

Windows is ugly.
Maybe the interface is customizable, maybe you can skin it, or theme it, or whatever, but I find the default user interface just plain ugly. I’m a Mac user, and I’ve gotten used to a good looking operating system. I’m a Linux user, but I tend to use the command line mostly, but even when I did use Linux on the desktop, it looked better than Windows.

Windows isn’t UNIX.
I mean, Linux isn’t UNIX, but it’s close. Mac OS X is UNIX, or at least it’s very close to being UNIX, depending on who you ask. Windows 7 isn’t UNIX, and I find that annoying. 90% of the time I’m using a Mac I’ve got iTerm running, and I either using it on the local machine, or ssh’d into another Mac or a Linux server.

Windows has little value to me.
As I said, my primary use of Windows has been for browser testing. Specifically, Internet Explorer testing. So pretty much the only reason I used Windows was to test 2 or 3 different versions of the worst browser out there, which, oddly enough, a lot of people used. (Luckily that’s changed.)

Now that I need to use Windows-only software like CamBam, I may end up using Windows 7 more than I used Windows XP, but it’s still just a matter of being forced to use Windows because there isn’t a Mac OS X version of a specific application. There is no joy in Mudville.

So ultimately, Windows 7 may be awesome if you’re a Windows user, but as a long time non-Windows user, it doesn’t entice me, and my primary use is in situations where I can’t use Mac OS X. But remember, this is just my opinion, and my point of view. I know dozens of people use Windows every day and tolerate it, and some even enjoy it. Kudos to them!


We recently had to create a jump drive with promotional content on it that we wanted to be reasonably sure people could open. For the HTML pages, this was pretty simple. We kept the design very easy, and used just a single file, with the CSS in the head of the document. Any web browser created in the last 10 years should have been able to read it. (Even IE6 did fine with it!)

We also put video content onto the jump drive. I had a sample someone had given me from a company they used to do business with, and while it worked fine on my Mac, Windows was a no-go. Windows XP was the test platform, without QuickTime installed. Now, granted, lots of Windows machines would have QuickTime if iTunes were installed, and iTunes is installed on a lot of Windows machines, but locked-down corporate PC’s may not fit in that category.

So, we wanted to create a video that would be playable on Windows without QuickTime installed. And, we’re a Mac shop, so we wanted to do this all on a Mac. We ended up exporting the video from Final Cut Pro, and then using MPEG Streamclip to create an AVI file, using the settings you see in the screen shot below.

Encoding Video with MPEG Streamclip

It worked well, and testing with various Windows VM’s seemed successful, with the videos playing fine where QuickTime was not installed.

So for now, this is my solutions. Unless someone has a better one.

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