Alex Kaloostian

Apple Certified Master Trainer | Systems Integrator | Video Editor | Motion Graphics Artist

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What are all these hidden items on my Mac? Part 1

If you open the root of your Mac’s hard drive, you’ll see four very neatly organized folders: Applications, Library, System, and Users. But there is much, much more hidden from you, that your Mac needs to do what it does. Do you need to know what any of them are? Absolutely not. But you’re a geek, and you’re curious, so lets find out anyway. Continue reading


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Mandatory Reading for Mac Geeks

In classes I often mention a couple articles from John Siracusa of, but it can be difficult to find them. I’m finally compiling them here for my own convenience, and yours. Warning: these articles are deep and technical, but very good reading if you want a deeper understanding and respect of OS X.

Metdata, the Mac, and you

John’s in-depth review of OS X 10.4 Tiger, or jump directly to the page about Extensible metadata & uniform type creators

OS X 10.9 Mavericks: The Ars Technica Review, especially the section about Mavericks’ energy saving features.

Edit: Mr. Siracusa would like me to remind you you can find ALL of his writing here:

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Command Line Basics 6: time savers

I was planning on mentioning these tricks in a later post, but my good friend Hank made me see that this is the perfect time. Today I’ve got one problem, and three shortcuts for you.

Problem: spaces.

Ever notice that email addresses and web sites never have spaces in them? Spaces are a problem in Unix. Let’s say you had a folder called “Important stuff” and you wanted to look inside. You’d probably try typing

Lion-Apps:~ fmcadmin$ ls Important stuff

But you’d get an error:

Lion-Apps:~ fmcadmin$ ls Important stuff
ls: Important: No such file or directory
ls: stuff: No such file or directory

See what happened? It thought that Important and stuff were two different folders, and you wanted to look inside each. This is why “old schoolers” never use spaces in file and folder names. But all is not lost, it’s actually easy to deal with spaces in two different ways: just use quotes, or a black slash.

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Kerberos resources

Here’s a really entertaining, and informative article about the behind-the-scenes workings of Kerberos… well, as entertaining as any article about Kerberos can be.

Honestly, though, it really is an easy read, and it does a great job of explaining what is going on in a step-by-step way… and why all of it is going on. A good, short read.

Here is an Apple-produced video that shows all of this behavior

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My favorite Mac utilities

Every time I teach an OS X class, I like to mention a few utilities I can’t live without. With the Mac App store coming, it will now be even easier to find and download apps.. and I wanted to take the time to review the apps that I cant life without at the moment. I hope you enjoy some of them too. So here are some of them, in no particular order:

You love OS X, but every once in awhile theres some little setting that drives you crazy and you wish you could change it. Like the TimeMachine backup interval time. Or showing invisible items in the finder. This Preference Pan collects dozens of secret settings in one clean, easy clickable interface. Free!

Proton Pack Server
An easy way to create .plist files for ASR Multicast streams. Free!

Hide your Terminal app and call it up with any hotkey you want. Free!

Monitoring of disks, network bandwidth, temperature, memory usage and more. $16 and worth it.

It only does one thing, but it does it better than anyone: repair your hard drive directory. For about $75, if you only use it once it pays for itself. This is on my Must-Have list.


A very user-friendly way to write LaunchDaemons. Free.

A database of the speed & specs of everything Apple has ever made. Your mom wants to upgrade her 7-year-old iMac? This will tell you what speed RAM it takes. Free.
easily batch change file ownership & permissions with drag-and-drop.

Play WMV files on your mac with Quicktime. Free to play, $ to encode your own.
Crack open installer files and install just the components you want.

Play all those pesky video codecs QuickTime doesnt understand out of the box. Free.

I trimmed this list down to the IT-related apps I mention in my classes most. For a longer and more up-to-date list, see the “downloads” link at the top of the page.