Monthly Archives: July 2012

no sound or volume after upgrading

A problem that seems to be affecting quite a few users after the Mountain Lion upgrade is loss of sound in iTunes, QuickTime and other apps. Some people are reporting that the Volume control is greyed out or won’t move.

The resolution here is to quit and resart the coreaudio process. To do so:

1. Open Activity (Applications > Utilities > Activity

2. Select ‘All Processes’ from the drop down menu next to the search bar (called ‘Filter:’) and type in ‘coreaudio’.

3. Select the process name and click the ‘Quit Process’ button at the top. Chose ‘Quit’ or ‘Force Quit’ from the resulting dialogue box.

The coreaudio process will automatically restart itself (if you look closely at the PID number in Activity Monitor you’ll notice it changes after you hit ‘Quit’) and your sound problems should be solved. However, if you find that this procedure only partially solves the problem or doesn’t work for you, also try this:

4. Open (Applications/Utilities/ and copy/paste this command into the Terminal window

rm /Library/Preferences/

then press ‘return’ on your keyboard.

5. Restart your mac and test.

6. Still not working? Check your audio configuration here:

/Applications/Utilities/Audio MIDI

Make sure the window has the title Audio Devices, and click ‘Built in Output’ in the sidebar. Are any of the boxes under ‘Mute’ in the main panel checked? If so, uncheck them. Is the format set to 44100.0hz? If not, change it so that it is.

Hope this helps!



Mountain Lion’s hidden wallpapers

If you’ve been enjoying Mountain Lion’s beautiful new Screensaver images, like National Geographic, Aerial and Cosmos, you might like to have some of those images as wallpapers for your Desktops in Mission Control.
First, from a Finder window, navigate all the way to here:

[Macintosh HD] > System > Library > Frameworks > Screensaver.framework > Versions > A > Resources > Default Collections

Select the four folders inside and then press ‘command’ and ‘c’ on the keyboard. Navigate to your Pictures folder from any Finder window’s sidebar and press ‘command’ and ‘v’ to copy the folders and images.

You can now add them to your collection of available Desktop pictures by clicking the Desktop tab in

 > System Preferences… > Desktop & Screensaver

and clicking the plus ‘+’ button in the box underneath the list of folders on the left. From the window that pops up, choose ‘Pictures > National Geographic-1’and hit ‘Choose’.

Repeat for any of the others (Aerial, Cosmos, Nature Patterns) that you want to add. 🙂

Related Posts

how to change all Desktop backgrounds

creating secure folders and files

With FileVault 2 having a number of drawbacks, a common question I’m seeing is how best to secure data on Lion and Mountain Lion without using FV2.

There’s a number of tricks on offer, from making transparent folders, excluding folders from Spotlight, or using Terminal to make them invisible or hidden.

However, all of these methods suffer from one inevitable drawback: anyone who knows their way around Terminal can open, read, copy or delete your folders as if you had never employed any of the above tricks at all. Well, not many people know their way around Terminal you say? But everyone knows their way around Google, and learning how to find files via the Terminal is information easily found, even on Applehelpwriter! In short, all those methods listed above are really a waste of time if it’s security that you’re after.

Fortunately, there is a simple answer to securing localised files or folders, and that’s to make a local encrypted disk image with Disk Utility and then move your data into it. To do so, follow this procedure:

1. Open Disk Utility (Applications/Utilities/Disk

2. Click near the bottom of the sidebar in empty space to make sure none of the disks in the sidebar are selected.

3. Click the New Image icon in the task bar.

4. Give the image a name and choose a location to store it. Storing it in the User Library is not a bad idea. Give it a boring name like ‘old system’, ‘old data’ or something like that, but don’t hit ‘Create’ just yet.

5. At the bottom of the dialogue box is a field for encryption. Click on the option button and choose either 128-bit or 256-bit (the second choice is the strongest but also slower. 128-bit is still so strong that almost no-one save the CIA will be able to crack it!)

6. Create a password that you’re not going to forget. Do NOT use the same password that you use for your Admin account or for anything else for maximum security. Uncheck the ‘save in my keychain’ option.


if you forget the password don't waste time seeking help trying to break it. The system is designed to be uncrackable. If you forget the password, your data is lost for good.

PRO TIP: For that reason, you might like to use a password manager like ‘1Password‘ for this and all your other passwords. The main reason people forget passwords is infrequency of use. With 1Password you use a single password to unlock all your other passwords and to have them entered automatically into web pages and other fields.

7. Set up the rest of the options as in the screenshot below.

8. When you’re ready, press ‘Create’ to make the disk image.

9. Once the image has been created, copy the files you want to protect into the disk image window, just like you would a hard disk or other connected device. Now, whenever you want to access your protected data, just click on the disk image and enter the password and your data is ready to be used.

10. Test mounting and ejecting the disk image a few time. Open a few files and save your changes. After you’re sure everything is working as expected, delete the files from the original location that you copied them from. Also, don’t forget to eject the disk image in Finder’s sidebar each time when you’re done using it to prevent anyone else accessing your protected files.


Camtasia 2 reviewed

I’ve been a long time user of TechSmith’s Camtasia screen capture software, primarily for two reasons: ease of use combined with a rich set of editing features. Camtasia for Mac 2 strengthens this product in a number of significant ways although there are still some usability issues that need addressing, as well as room for further improvements in the feature set. In this review, I’ll walk you through what Camtasia has to offer as well as indicate the kind of uses where it excels as an aid to the technical communicator. Read the review…

how to change all Desktop backgrounds

With Lion came the welcome ability to have individual background wallpapers for each Desktop. However, what Apple forgot to add was an option to easily make all the Desktops have the same background image when you want it that way.

There are a few workarounds, but probably the simplest – once it is setup – is to use this little script I wrote for some ASC members. It should take you about 5 to 10 minutes to set this up if you follow the procedure carefully.

1. Open TextEdit, and choose TextEdit > Preferences.
Change the settings from ‘Rich Text’ to ‘Plain text’ for New Documents. Close the Preference pane and chose File > New.

2. Copy everything in the box below and paste it into the TextEdit file you just opened:

#! /bin/bash
#script to change all desktop backgrounds

echo -n “Drag and drop an image file here then press ‘return’ or
press ‘control-c’ to cancel…”
read -e WLPR;

function change_wallpaper
defaults write Background “{default = {ImageFilePath=’$WLPR’; };}”; killall Dock

3. Save the file to

/Library/Desktop Pictures

with the name ‘ChangeAllDesktops’.

IMPORTANT: Make sure you remove the ‘.txt’ file extension in the name field AND uncheck the option at the bottom of the Save box that says ‘If no extension is provided, use .txt’.

Note that you will need to press the ‘authenticate’ button when prompted in order to save anything into the ‘Desktop Pictures’ folder. Type your password in the dialogue that pops up.

4. Open
Make the ‘ChangesAllDesktops’ file executable by copy/pasting this into the Terminal window:

sudo chmod a+x /Library/Desktop\ Pictures/ChangeAllDesktops

Press ‘return’ and type in your password. The password won’t echo to the screen, so type carefully.

5. Make Terminal the default app for the file
Open a Finder window. Click on your hard disk icon in the sidebar (if you can’t see it, go to Finder > Preferences > Sidebar and check Hard disks under the ‘Devices’ section). Navigate to the Library/Desktop Pictures folder and right-click on the ‘ChangeAllDesktops’ file.

Select Open with and then Other…. In the window, navigate to in /Applications/Utilities. It will be greyed out, so change “Recommended Applications” to “All Applications” in the menu at the bottom of the window. Do not check “Always Open With”. Choose ‘’ and ‘OK’.

6. Make a shortcut for Desktop Pictures
Drag the folder ‘Desktop Pictures’ to the Finder sidebar to make a convenient shortcut. Now when you want to change all Desktop backgrounds at the same time, click in ‘Desktop Pictures’ in the Finder sidebar, run the ‘ChangeAllDesktops’ file, and drag an image from the (already) open Finder window into the Terminal window that appears.

Press ‘return’ and your desktops are all changed! 🙂

Related Posts
learning the Terminal — Part One
learning the Terminal — Part Two

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