Life, Technology, and Meteorology

Month: February 2004

DesktopSweeper 1.0b1

Philippe Martin released an initial version of his haxie called DesktopSweeper a couple of days ago. DesktopSweeper allows you to toggle whether or not your desktop icons are displayed. To me, this is very useful since I don’t like having a lot of clutter on my desktop, but I still want to have shortcuts there to my most often used locations on the file system. The key combination used to toggle whether or not the icons are shown is configurable, but is set to command-enter by default. Hit that key combo once, and it hides all your icons, leaving a nice clean desktop. Hit it again, and all your icons show up again right where you left them. Response time is fast, and you don’t have to be in the Finder to use the key combination.

This is the most useful utility I’ve seen since I discovered LaunchBar 6 months ago. I also want to mention that I’ve had the pleasure of knowing Philippe for quite awhile now. He has given me a lot of input and ideas for XRG since the early days, and he does a great job of picking out small interface bugs and pointing out how things on XRG’s interface should work. Anyway, if you have a Mac, check out DesktopSweeper.

NSUIElement Caching

For awhile now, people have been requesting that I put something in XRG’s interface to allow them to turn off the UI Elements, such as having the XRG icon shown in the dock. There has always been kind of a hack to do this, by adding the following text to the app Contents/Info.plist file:


This is fine, but in Panther it got a little bit more difficult. Panther now caches these Info.plist files. This is great…the more caching the better, especially for things like Info.plist files that don’t change often. The bad thing is that the cache doesn’t check the last modified date of the plist file. Instead, it checks if the modification date for the .app directory has been changed. I’m not sure why they would do this, as it seems to me that checking the plist file modification date would be just as easy, and that way they know they have a copy of the latest file.

Some people have remarked here that if you move the application to a different directory and back, that the cache gets updated and all is well. This is fine, if a user is changing this value by hand and using the Finder to do it, but it leaves a little to be desired if you are trying to change this value programmatically. I thought of just moving the .app to “X Resource Graph” and then back real quick, but that doesn’t seem like a nice way of doing things. So that got me thinking, and I found a much easier way to do it using the simple Unix executable, “touch”. I was very pleased to find that making the change manually and touching the application worked just fine. Since it’s very easy to run a quick system command from code, this shouldn’t be a problem at all, so it should be in the next version of XRG.

Anyway, so if anyone is trying to do this same thing from code, hopefully this will help. Now all I need to do is find a way for the change to take effect without having to restart the app. Maybe some kind of hack on the Dock like the one other coders use to add rogue menu extras.


I came across this application called teleport for MacOS X. Basically, it works as a software KVM switch between two computers. You configure one Mac as the server, and the other as the client, and when you move your mouse to an edge of a screen on one computer, it will appear on the other computer and send all keyboard events there as well. Kind of like having multiple monitors, except with multiple computers as well. I never would of thought of doing something like this in software. This type of application has a ton of potential. I hope the developer keeps on it, as right now the released version is “Public Preview 1.”

XRG 0.5.0

As a lot of you probably noticed, XRG 0.5.0 was released this morning. Version 0.5.0 includes many new features and bug fixes. Some of the new features include contextual menus for each of the graph modules (mentioned in an earlier post), the option to change the graph font, a new highlight border feature to help with window resizing, a graph minimizing feature that will minimize the graph into the title bar and optionally expand the graph whenever the mouse is over the title bar, and the option to set the graph window level to stay in the background.

Anyway, if you have any comments on the release, feel free to leave them in the writeback.

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