OSX and Public Wifi – Toggle settings with AppleScript

I like to remind folks when moving their Apple laptop to public wifi that they need to remember to turn off the iLife application sharing such as iTunes and iPhoto. Then turn on their firewall.

So here is an AppleScript that will do just that. It is written and tested on OSX Lion with iLife 11. So you may have to play with it for your version if that is not what you are running.  Keep in mind it is a toggle script.  It will reverse the settings of iPhoto, iTunes sharing and the firewall. So it is assumed you share both with the firewall off when at home.

Also you need to ensure Enable access for assistive devices is checked under Universal Access in System Preference.

Just cut and paste the below script into the AppleScript editor.  Then save either as an application on your desktop you can double click. Or save as an AppleScript where an application like LaunchBar can use it as an action. ~/Library/Application Support/LaunchBar/Actions

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A sample of my notification automator

Here is an audio sample. I just quickly recorded it on my phone. So quality isn’t as good as usual. Also her narration of the traffic status needs work.  I also just noticed she is getting day and month backwards.  I need to fix that in the parsing code.

Need to open a password protected zip on Mac OSX?

Recently we were sent a password protected zip file at work. If you have ever tried to double click open a protected zip file you know that you will get an error not a password prompt.

If we ignore third party applications to open these files we are left with running the unzip command from terminal. You can use the option “-P password” where you replace the word password with actual password used to protect the file. An example command might look like:

This may have been good enough for me. But we have less technically inclined folks in our group who needed access to the provided files. So I made an Automator that everyone in the group could reuse for even future files. The Automator needed several features.

  1. Provide a GUI browser selection box to choose the protected zip file.
  2. Prompt for the password needed to unzip the file.
  3. Send the content to the user’s desktop regardless of whom ran it.

Here is how we build the Automator. The key components are the use of variables within Automator and a shell script object that takes the file and password as arguments that were provided by the user.

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drive defrag

So who says Mac hard drives don’t need to be defragmented for performance at least once in a while? This is my 1TB external raid I use for audio/video projects Note the big red region it has yet to defrag.


Using Hazel on OSX for Podcast Audio Production Archival

I got into setting up some Hazel file maintenance today. Hazel is a powerful app you can find at http://www.noodlesoft.com/hazel.php

It was a good episode of http://macpowerusers.com/2010/04/mpu-025-geeking-out-with-hazel/ that got me going.


I have my audio work files on a firewire based raid mirror. As I am regularly doing the audio production for http://cyberspeak.libsyn.com/ disk space becomes a concern over time. Yet I want to keep all the files. So I whipped up a hazel rule set that compresses all audio related files to zip if they are older than the current month automatically.


I have included screenshots here. The key is the subfolders rule. It ensures all the files under the Cyberspeak show get handled. Yet I make sure to exclude my show template from soundtrackPro and some music etc files. I show the rule for AIF uncompressed audio which is just replicated for each of the large file types I am concerned about.


Lastly I also use Chronosync from http://www.econtechnologies.com/pages/cs/chrono_overview.html This lets my system automatically weekly sync over my entire audio production folder and file area to another hard drive across my network. This ensures I have copies of all my work on effectively three different hard drives. The two mirrored drives from the raid then a third drive across the house.


TwitPic – Scraping Exif Data

A couple of days ago Dr. Johannes Ullrich did a real interesting post on scraping gps data from twitpic posted photos from twitter users.  You can read the original post with graphs over at the Internet Storm Center blog. He wrote a couple of perl scripts for use with the exiftags tool.

So I was inspired to do a similar trick without the perl script and using my favorite, Exiftool by Phil Harvey.  So here comes yet another one of my automators for OSX.  You can download it in the zip below.  Just copy the imagecsv.txt to the root of your user home folder.   Then run the automator app.  You can of course edit the app in Automator to see how it works.  It will prompt you for the twitter user name of your target.  Then it goes to twitpic, scrapes their rss feed of all full sized images and runs exiftool on them.  It makes all the output in a folder on your desktop using the twitter user name.  You may alter what fields the exiftool puts to the exifdump.txt file by editing the imagecsv.txt.  It is just a print format file under the rules of exiftool setup to be tab delimited.

Just make sure you have exiftool installed or you wont get the tag dump.  You will end up just getting all the pictures scraped from the user’s rss feed.

OSX Automator – TwitPic – ExifScrape

crowbarPGP – Version 1.0.1

I have finally released my crowbarPGP Cocoa application.  Included in the Install DMG you can download below is a folder called Extras.  I put several OSX Automators in it that I have found useful or mentioned in other blog posts.  You can edit them in Automator to see how they work.

I also added a new preference that lets you choose not to growl notify the found password while still getting a notification.  Soon I will add that to the other crowbar apps.  I also finally fixed the code to automatically ignore the carriage return character that comes from dictionary files originating on the Windows OS.  This too I will shortly add to the other crowbar apps and release through the auto updates mechanism.

crowbarPGP is a dictionary attack tool for cracking PGP (www.pgp.com) Whole Disk Encryption and PGD virtual PGP Disk files.  It requires 10.5 or 10.6 OSX.  One key thing. I included the PGD attack feature.  However I found a memory leak in the pgpdisk command last year.  I informed PGP of it and provided them the backup material.  Unfortunately my contact is no longer with PGP and the memory leak is still there in the recent v10.0 PGP for Mac OSX.  So I strongly suggest you do not use that feature until they patch it.  When they do I will post a blog update and likely do a small version increment to the program through the automatic updates feature.

Thanks again to Paul Figgiani for his patience in making GUI layout and improvement suggestions.

Thanks as well to the following code and frameworks:

crowbarPGP - Download