Alvin Alexander | Java, Scala, Unix, Perl, Mac OS X

As I continue working on a text editor built for an audience of one (me) I've written a tutorial on how to make a Java/Swing application look like a native Mac OS X application.

My goal is to take this as far as I can, trying to make a complicated Java application look and feel like a Mac Cocoa application, but, I want to do this without severely compromising the cross-platform benefits of Java.

Mac ISO burning FAQ: How do I burn an ISO image on Mac OS X?

It seems like lately all I'm doing is burning stuff to a CD or DVD on my Mac OS X system, first backups, and now I'm burning ISO images.

If you've never burned an ISO image to a CD or DVD on a Mac before, it's pretty easy. Here's how I just burned a Fedora ISO image on my MacBook Pro, which is a Mac OS X 10.4.10 system.

Wow, I missed this news from last year: the Mac OS X Cocoa-Java API is deprecated.

I know that when I was reading Cocoa Programming for Mac OS X earlier this year the author (Hillegass) said not to use it, but I didn't realize it was a total no-no. As the first link says, use JNI instead.


Mac OS X Finder FAQ: What keyboard shortcuts can I use with the Mac OS X Finder?

Mac OS X Finder keyboard shortcuts (keystrokes)

Wow, once I learned a few Mac OS X Finder keyboard shortcuts, I like the Finder much more. It was freaking me out that the [Enter] key doesn’t actually open a file or directory, it just lets you change the name. The keystrokes are much different than Windows, and it takes a while to get used to them. But once you start using them, they’re easy to remember.

I've published a new software cost estimating tutorial. As much as any tutorial I've ever written, this one is a work in progress.

That being said, I hope it's off to a good start. As mentioned in the tutorial, I'll update several items when I can get to some IFPUG documents that are currently stored in a box about 5,000 miles from my current location.

I just updated my tutorial titled Mac CD/DVD backup using Mac OS X Burn Folders. I've found the Mac burn folder approach so effective I actually make Mac CD and DVD backups on a regular basis these days. :)

On a related note, as opposed to burning Mac backups to CD or DVD, I've also been researching Mac online backup services, and I'm documenting those findings in these Mac backup articles:

My third installment on creating podcasts on the Mac with GarageBand is now online.

For now that's the final installment, unless I get a bunch of requests to cover some other features. This installation covers splitting clips, joining clips, importing audio files, adding tracks, and working with background clips.


A few days ago I sat down and talked to myself (you can do that a lot in a small cabin in Alaska) and tried to think if there were any ways I could be more productive.

The biggest thing that was bothering me (the problem statement) was the time it takes after I've "finished" writing a long, multi-page tutorial before it can be published. I prefer writing longer tutorials, but they do take a fair amount of effort.

Mac batch image resizing FAQ: Is there a built-in Mac OS X command I can use to batch resize images and photos on my Mac OS X  computer?

This article shows a “Mac batch image resize” approach you can use from the Mac Terminal command line, and in the link I share below I also show to how to batch resize images using a Mac GUI tool.

Here's a Unix shell script that converts all "*.png" files in the current directory to lower-case names. In my case I had files named "Slide1.png", etc., and I wanted them to be named "slide1.png", and this script did the trick.

I've converted my Function Point Analysis (FPA) and software cost estimating slide presentations, and they now play much nicer with IE. They aren't perfect yet, but they are much better.

For the record those presentations are at these URLs:

Here's one of my favorite Linux shell scripts. I use it to change the extensions of a bunch of files all at once, i.e., to batch rename multiple files with one command.

For instance, I just had a situation where I got a bunch of files with an extension of .PNG, using capital letters like that. That's no big deal if you have a few files to deal with, but what if you have 200 or more? That's where this script, named mmv, comes in.

Using my shell script is really simple, like this:

Mac problem: Can't delete a Mac burn folder. (Problem solved.)

I just had a problem on Mac OS X where I couldn't delete a Mac burn folder. Something happened during the process of trying to burn a DVD ... frankly I can't remember what the problem was. (I had one problem with a DVD during the verification process, so that may have been it.)

As a follow-up to my popular first GarageBand tutorial, my second tutorial on creating a podcast with GarageBand shows you how to add introductory music, special effects, delete recordings, and move clips to control gaps in your podcasts, and introduces the concept of ducking.

I'm probably goofing around a little too much today, but I just created an Apple/Mac landing page on the site. I'm not going to link up to it just yet (other than this post) but I thought I'd experiment using a black background with similar structure and content.

I won't tell you how long ago I started it, but I've (finally) posted a new tutorial "Mac Podcast - How to Create a Podcast on the Mac with GarageBand". I'm looking forward to writing more, longer tutorials like this now that I have a little bit of a system set up. I hope you like it.

Hmm, more rumors that Google may come out with their own browser. There's nothing to be seen at right now, but maybe some day.

Working on my Mac OS X system, when I use the ls command on a remote system, that system is configured to show blinking text for all files ending with the ".sh" filename extension. If you've ever had to look at blinking text when trying to read output from an ls command you know that can be really annoying. (Is there ever a time that blinking text isn't annoying?)

So, to disable blinking text in the Mac OS X Terminal application just follow these steps:

Mac DVD burn FAQ: How do I burn a CD or DVD on a Mac? (iMac, MacBook, Mac Pro, etc.)

It's funny, I've had a MacBook Pro for well over a year now, but haven't burned a CD or DVD until today. I actually didn't know how to do it, so I just inserted a blank DVD-R into the drive and then figured out what to do. Here's a quick summary of the "Mac CD/DVD burn" steps I followed.

Working on a Unix system, I just needed to reverse the contents of a file, and thought I'd show how I ended up doing it.

My file-reversal needs

For my situation I needed to (a) get 10 lines from the end of a file, (b) reverse those ten lines, and (c) save them to another file. If my Unix system supported the -r option of the tail command this would have been a no-brainer, but it didn't, so I had to work a little harder.