Mac OS X

I’m a bit overdue for updating my Load Images AppleScript for loading images in Apple Mail messages for the latest version of Apple’s operating system for Mac OS X, 10.10 or “Yosemite”. I actually had a version ready during the betas of Yosemite, but somewhere along the way the button text changed from “Load Images” to “Load Remote Content”. So I had to repeat the investigative work to extract all of the translated versions of the button text. In other words, <whine>localization is hard.</whine> Also, I was lazy / busy.

At any rate, you can find the latest version on the Load Images in Apple Mail project page.

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I recently got a new Mac laptop at work, and as part of setting it up, I wanted to add two of the printers on the office network. As I went through the process of setting them up, I tried to remember which printer protocol was the “right” one to use these days. And when I turned to Google, and then Bing, to try to find the answer, I discovered that this information just isn’t published anywhere online. (Is it just me, or are search results becoming more and more terrible?)

Apple’s own documentation isn’t helpful. It describes the three options, but makes no recommendations. So, here’s the answer, really simple:

  1. If you have an HP printer, use HP Jetdirect - Socket.
  2. For any other modern (less than 10 years old) networked printer, use Internet Printing Protocol - IPP.
  3. If and only if that doesn’t work, try Line Printer Daemon - LPD.

Choose a network protocol for an IP printer

The explanation is simple, too. If you have an HP printer, you want to use the HP-specific protocol. Otherwise, IPP is the modern printer network protocol (and it works with HP printers, too). LPD is actually pretty ancient, technology-wise, but there are still some printers, or print spoolers, that only work with it.

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A reader question made me aware that my Load Images AppleScript for loading images in Apple Mail messages is specific to, and hard-coded for, the English language versions of Mac OS X. This is because the script is looking for a button with the text “Load Images”. Switch to any other language, and that button won’t—can’t—be found by the script. This is a limitation of using GUI Scripting to activate the button.

I’m not an expert in internationalization, and I don’t know if there’s a way to detect the active language of Mac OS X or, even better, look up the string to search for, regardless of language. If anyone knows how to do that kind of thing in AppleScript, please let me know. I’d love to add it to the script.

In the meantime, I’ve revised the script to make the text of the Load Images button easy to change. It’s one line at the start of the script, after the initial comments:

-- The text of the [Load Images] button in your version of Apple Mail.
-- If you're using a non-English version of Mac OS X, uncomment ONLY the line with your language on it, and save.
set loadImagesButtonNameTextString to "Load Images" -- English
-- set loadImagesButtonNameTextString to "Carica immagini" -- Italiano
-- set loadImagesButtonNameTextString to "Cargar imágenes" -- Español

If you want to use the script with a non-English version of Mac OS X, simply uncomment the line that has the right button name for your language, and save the revised script.

These are just the languages for which I could type the button name on my keyboard. For other languages, I had no idea how to type them on my US English keyboard! If you can contribute additional strings for the Load Images button in other languages, I would be grateful to add them, and will credit you for the addition. Just send them to me using the email in the sidebar.

The project page has the download link, and the script contains the version history, and a lot of details in the comments.

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Courtesy of “Tripp”, here’s a great tip for making it super fast to Print to PDF in any application. Once you’ve set this up, you just press Command-P twice to go directly to the Save as PDF dialog. Read the rest of this entry (201 words) »

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Load Images AppleScript Updated for Mavericks Mail.app

by Michael Alderete on 11/25/2013

I’ve updated the Load Images AppleScript that lets you load images in a Mail.app message via a keystroke, to be compatible with Mac OS X 10.9 “Mavericks”. The original post has the download link, and the script contains the version history, and a lot of details in the comments.

There are some important changes to the script’s behavior in Mavericks. If you’re using the script with Mac OS X 10.9, you need to give the script permission to control your Mac, and the process isn’t as intuitive or as clear as it could be. Read the rest of this entry (519 words) »

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Recommended: AppleTV (3rd generation)

by Michael Alderete on 6/13/2013

I currently own four AppleTVs. I bought a 1st generation AppleTV used, years ago. I hooked it up and played with it for an hour. Disconnected it, and put it in my pile of tech to get rid of. Not useful.

I bought a 2nd generation AppleTV shortly after they were released, and liked it well enough. It’s a great Netflix client, and we used it regularly. AppleTV is still the best way to watch Netflix that I’ve used.[^1] If you have a streaming Netflix subscription, that alone makes AppleTV worth getting.

When the 3rd generation AppleTV came out, I got one of those for full HD (1080p) on the large TV, and moved the older AppleTV to the small television we have above our treadmill. And there, it found its calling. Read the rest of this entry (396 words) »

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Based on some feedback from people who tried it, I’ve updated the Load Images AppleScript that I use with Apple Mail to load images in email messages using a keyboard shortcut.

The new version deals better with older versions of Mail, and adapts to several different configurations of Mail for Mac OS X 10.7 and 10.8. It should work reliably for a lot more people.

The original post has the download link, and the script contains the version history, and a lot of details in the comments.

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I like Apple Mail for Mac OS X, but one thing that irritates me to no end is that the Load Images button (Load Remote Content in Mac OS X 10.10), which loads the images in a message on-demand, doesn’t have a keyboard shortcut. Because it’s not a menu item, there’s no easy way to add one. I looked for a way to add a keystroke to Load Images for more than five years before I finally found a way to do it.

The hard part is triggering the Load Images button itself, by anything besides a mouse click. What finally did it was using the GUI Scripting feature of AppleScript to tell the button to click itself. Once I had an AppleScript that worked, it was simple to use FastScripts to trigger the script with a keyboard shortcut.

Why don’t I let Mail load images automatically? Spammers use image loading to confirm the validity of an email address. See this Apple Support Forum post for some details, and how to turn it off.

AppleScript to Load Images in Apple Mail

Download the Load Images script v1.6, 2014-12-31

The work of the script can be done by a single line that might look like this:

click button "Load Images" of 
    UI element 1 of row 1 of table 1 of scroll area 1 of front window

(Because Mail.app’s user interface has changed across various versions, and with different preference settings, the actual code is more complex. See the AppleScript for the full, ugly details.)

This user interface elements path, or specifier, tells the GUI Scripting system how to reach a specific user interface element, in this case a button, and what to do with it. It’s far from obvious how to determine one of these UI specifiers just by looking at a Mail window; I used the very interesting developer tool UI Browser to figure it out.

It’s also specific enough to be brittle; it has changed from prior versions of Apple Mail, and will probably change in the future. When it does this script will stop working and start beeping. I’ve written the script to adapt to a few different version and configuration possibilities, and I’ll try to update it if it ever breaks. The current version (v1.6) is compatible with Mac OS X 10.5 (“Tiger”) through Mac OS X 10.10 (“Yosemite”).

The rest of the script is error handling and AppleScript ceremony. It should make sense if you’re familiar with AppleScript, and there are plenty of comments, so I won’t describe it here.

Add a Keyboard Shortcut for Running the AppleScript

Adding a keyboard shortcut for an already-existing menu item is easily done using the Keyboard preference pane. Adding a keyboard shortcut for an AppleScript requires a third-party utility. You might already have a favorite—there are lots to choose from—and so do I. FastScripts from Red Sweater Software does a great job handling application-specific AppleScripts, and it’s free if you don’t need more than 10 keyboard shortcuts. (It’s also a good value at $14.95 for the unlimited version.)

Create the shortcut for the AppleScript

  1. Install and run FastScripts, and then switch to Mail.app.
  2. From the FastScripts menu, choose Open Mail Scripts folder. Open Mail Scripts folder menu item
  3. Move or copy the Load Images script into the Mail Scripts folder.
  4. From the FastScripts menu, choose Preferences…, click the Script Shortcuts tab, and add your preferred keyboard shortcut. Keyboard shortcut for Load Images AppleScript

Note: If you use the same keyboard shortcut I did, Command-Shift-L, you’ll need to change the keyboard shortcut for the existing menu command that uses it, by adding a new one to that command, using the technique at the Mactuts+ article linked above.

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Notes on Importing Audiobook CDs into iTunes 11

February 18, 2013

To read Apple’s marketing copy for iTunes 11, you’d think that the new app was a massive rewrite, or maybe even All! New! Fortunately for my instructions for importing audiobook CDs, while there’s some nice changes, lurking right below the surface is much the same user interface. Importing audiobook CDs using iTunes remains much the […]

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Audiobook Builder 1.5

May 30, 2011

My recommended solution for creating digital audiobooks from CDs, Audiobook Builder, has recently been updated, and comes with a new feature for renaming the chapters in an audiobook: I don’t know that I’d want to use this on every book, but for those without interesting or meaningful chapter names (or if you’re just not as […]

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iTunes Syncing 101

May 27, 2009

Researching the answer to a reader question, I came across the following article in Apple’s Knowledgebase, and it’s so generally useful, I thought I mention it: It covers the most basic information about how to sync audio from iTunes to your iPod or iPhone, but that’s often the best place to start when you have […]

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MacHeist II: 11 great Mac apps for $49

January 14, 2008

This year’s MacHeist includes 11 applications in the bundle, which individually would sell for $368.75. When bought as part of the MacHeist promotion, the whole collection is under $50. Now, it’s a rare person who would want and use every single one of these applications; there’s just too much variety to have everything fit perfectly. […]

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