Eric Roller's blog

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

System Preferences hangs with RSS screen savers

Here are the symptoms: open System Preferences, select Desktop & Screen Saver and click on the Screen Saver tab. In the list of the screen savers, I had an RSS feed which turned out just to be too slow for my aging machine.

However, selecting the feed to delete it just gave me the beach ball, rendering System Preferences totally unresponsive. I gave up after a few minutes. To close System Preferences, click long on its icon in the dock and select “Force Quit”.

To delete the RSS feed, I resolved to tracking down the corresponding preferences file and I found this one:


While System Preferences is closed, open the file in a text editor (I like TextWrangler) and delete the feed entry from the dictionary. My resulting file looked like this:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<!DOCTYPE plist PUBLIC "-//Apple//DTD PLIST 1.0//EN"
<plist version="1.0">

Save the file and reopen System Preferences to verify that the RSS screen save is no longer in the list. Done!

Update: I hear that you also can simply delete the file and you may need to restart or at least logout and login again.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Fixing web site presentation for iOS

For a while now, I have been puzzled by the fact that Mobile Safari, the iOS version of Safari, opened any page on my web site at a much larger width than the CSS value for the main content area (570px).

It turns out, there are a number of Apple-Specific Meta Tags that can be used to provide background information for your web page, like how to scale it, or providing scaling limits.

To set the initial scaling of a window when presented on the iPhone or iPad, there is the viewport meta tag. If missing, a default width of 960 pixels will be used, or more if the web content is wider. Setting it to 590 pixels, thus adding a 10 pixel padding, works just fine for my particular case:

<meta name="viewport" content="width:590px">

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Opening hours in Open Times iPhone app

For years, I have had a constantly growing list of shop opening hours in my notes on my iPhone. There has never been a proper place to put them. Until now.

The Open Times iPhone app makes it simple to store all my shop opening times and it is flexible enough to handle any custom combination of when a shop opens and closes (or is open for 24 hours). Best of all, the business hours are presented graphically in a calendar-like view which is an intuitive way to check which of the shops are currently open or closed.

Now that I have entered my data into the app, I have confidently deleted that long entry from my notebook. Success!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012


I see from my web-server log that people like to guess the path to phpMyAdmin in all different variations, colours, shapes and sizes. Now, this is exactly why I have not installed it in a fashion that makes it visible to anyone other than me. Better yet, come to think of it, I have not installed it at all and I don’t think I ever will. But if I do, you should probably search for all variations, colours, shapes and sizes of phpMyNeatlyStashedAwayAndHiddenInstallationOfMyAdmin.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Custom UILabel Fonts on the iPhone Simulator

Wasted a couple of hours debugging an issue with the use of a custom font on a UILabel; the text simply wouldn’t show up on the iPhone Simulator.

No such problems with the (bold) system fonts of any size.

As it turned out, this is an issue (bug) with the iPhone Simulator; when running it on a device, the label is shown correctly.

Also note that there is a “fonts” app and an iOS fonts website that show all the fonts that are available on the iPhone or iPad.