Posts Tagged ‘mac’

Why does Mac VoiceOver keep saying the word “simul”?

Saturday, January 12th, 2019 | Tech

I’m currently working with a client to improve the accessibility of their website for visually impaired users. This has involved a lot of time working with screen readers. As part of that, I have found a rather weird bug with Mac’s VoiceOver. It keeps saying the word “simul”.

Which isn’t a word. Maybe it’s saying simmul or simmel, or something else. None of these are words.

It happens when we give it a range to read. Something like “4-6”. The screen reader says the first number, then goes suspiciously quiet and says simul, and then starts building back up to regular volume as it gets to the final number.

I even asked about it on Stack Overflow, and everyone else was confused, too.

I wondered whether it might be a language issue. So, I tried adding a custom pronunciation, and double-checked the HTML tag had a lang attribute set to en-gb. Alas, no luck.

This is only a problem on Mac: TalkBack on Android works fine, for example.

In the end, I was able to get it to read correctly by changing the voice. By default, macOS comes with Daniel Compact set as the voice. However, when I switched to Daniel, Kate, or Kate Compact, it read it out correctly.

In a way, this is frustrating, because there is no much we can do to fix it. It’s a bug with the voice in Mac. But it is at least somewhat comforting to know that I wasn’t making some obviously silly mistake.

How to open the containing folder in Mac’s Spotlight Search

Saturday, May 13th, 2017 | Tech

One of the irritating things about Spotlight Search in Mac is that you open want to open the folder that contains a file, but there is no obvious way to do this.

Luckily, there is a non-obvious way. And it’s pretty simple. Just hold down the Option key and double click on the file you want to open.

Google Chrome and the missing hard disk space

Tuesday, June 14th, 2016 | Tech

I was recently clearing space on my laptop hard drive when I noticed Google Chrome was taking 20gb of space. You read that correctly: 20gb.


After some searching, people suggested it could be old versions of Chrome. You can see into the package by right-clicking on it and clicking “Show Package Contents”. Inside I did indeed find dozens of old versions of Chrome and deleted them all. However, this only brought the size down to 19gb.

I wondered if the cache might be stored inside the app. I wouldn’t expect it to be, as typically it is stored in the user directory. However, when I went to clear out the cache, it only had 400mb in it away, so that ruled out that as a problem.

Next, I went through all the files in Finder to see if I could spot any large files. I could not. This made me suspicious, so I opened up terminal and checked it from there.

cd /Applications
du -sch ./* | grep Chrome
195M	./Google

Google Chrome isn’t actually using the space: Finder is just reporting it incorrectly. However, it clearly showed up on Daisy Disk before, and disappeared after I cleared out all of the old versions. So whether they were contributing or not I’m not sure.

iPad Air 2

Thursday, November 27th, 2014 | Life

I recently had to upgrade my iPad because a lot of the apps have stopped working on it. It has had a good four years, but that is all you get out of a tablet, so I felt like I was forced to upgrade something I didn’t really want to upgrade.

This was also my first experience of iOS 8 (until then everything was running iOS 6).

I do not think it is Apple’s finest release. Getting started on it was a pain. I was prompted for my iCloud password at start-up but it refused to accept it (even though I could log on to with the same password repeatedly). Therefore I had to turn iCloud off at first and then re-enable it once I was up-and-running. Except it then prompted me for the password over and over again.

It then prompted me for the passwords to all my email accounts and worse, wouldn’t let me switch out to 1password to copy and paste it in. I had to open 1password on my phone and manually copy the passwords in, which is a massive pain when you use log and complicated ones.

After that the App Store kept insisting it had 11 updates even though I had updated everything, and most of the apps, including Apple’s own settings app rapidly crashed.

Apple are having a bad year. One bad release you could overlook, but Yosemite, the new version of OS X is preforming very poorly too. It took me 8 hours to complete the upgrade and since then I have found my Mac has crashed numerous times and there is a bug which causes file dialogues to continually grow so big they disappear off the screen that Apple does not seem to have any plans to fix.

The hardware on the iPad Air 2 is quite nice. It is a lot lighter than my old iPad 2 and I do really like the touch ID.


Found a Finder

Tuesday, June 12th, 2012 | Photos

We see so many broken displays showing their Windows backdrops, it’s a refreshing change to see a Mac one.


Btw, does everyone else still remember when Bed used to be Gatecrasher? I’m so old…

OSX Lion

Monday, October 31st, 2011 | Reviews, Tech

I recently updated my MacBook Pro to the new version of OSX, Lion.

So far, I’m not overly impressed. Firstly, when I upgraded Finder totally broke itself. It added a number of documents to the devices bar on the left, which I couldn’t click on, but because they had a long filename they would expand the devices bar all the way over, so every time I opened a Finder window I had to drag it back.

They’ve also got rid of Spaces which allows you to have multiple desktops. They’ve replaced this with Desktops, which is basically the same thing, except that you can only tile them horizontally, whereas before you could set up a grid and scroll each way. Desktops is quite good because you you can gesture from one to the other, but I Miss my grid.

They’ve also taken Dashboard and moved it onto it’s own Desktop which is annoying because the only time I use Dashboard is when I need a calculator, and I need it as an overlay because I want to input some figures which I’m currently looking at.

Some of the new gestures are quite nice, but I now need to use five fingers to show my desktop, which is quite a difficult gesture to perform. I’ve also noticed that it’s just not quite as fast as Snow Leopard and the new full screen apps system just isn’t as seamless as it is in Microsoft Windows. Finally, there are just a few bugs too that need working out, especially with the new scrolling system.

Other than that, it has some quite nice features. I haven’t used Launchpad or Mission Control so I’m not too fussed about those, but gesturing between Desktops is good and being able to turn wi-fi on and off without being prompted for the admin password is good. Unfortunately, if that is all I have to say about a brand new version of an operating system, it’s a bit of a poor show.


The adjustment period

Tuesday, December 8th, 2009 | Tech, Thoughts

I knew there was going to be a fairly painful adjustment phase as I got used to OS X but there are some things that are really bugging me.

Like bugs. For example when I close my final tab on Opera it should go back to my quick launch screen so I can access a shortcut easily. But it doesn’t, it closes the window meaning that if I want to get back to my start screen I have to close the window and open a new one.

Then it’s the little things. For example if I’m selecting a series of files to upload, I move my select file dialog to just over the file boxes to make it a lot easier. But in OS X the file dialog box jumps back to it’s old location between every file.

The image viewing is rubbish as well. On XP I just clicked an image and it opened and then I could just use the arrow keys on my keyboard to navigate through them. No such luck on OS X on any of Preview (the default application), Quick Look (the integrated OS X viewer) or Xee (a little image viewer I grabbed to try and solve the problem). Indeed OS X has nothing that can stand up to the might of IrfanView.

I’m sure I’ll figure it all out in the end and a lot of the problems I will find a workaround or just get used to. I’m sure I’ll eventually find a convenient one keystroke way to lock my screen and remember not to use the scroll bar. But until I do they’re irritating problems.

This sounds far too negative though, in general I’m quite enjoying it, much like having a fly in your drink on a tropical beach – it’s annoying but you’re still on a tropical beach.

I love spaces (same as workspaces for you unix geeks, I can’t for the life of me understand why Windows doesn’t have them), I love the fact I can get 7 hours out of the battery, I love the fact it shuts down in 2 seconds flat rather than the 2 minutes XP takes and I love gestures. Stick with it and good times are ahead.



Tuesday, December 8th, 2009 | Life, Tech

For those of you that aren’t aware, due to some unfortunate events that have befallen my recently I now have a new laptop. This one is going to be named Tolima and is a rather shiny MacBook Pro.

I went for the higher spec 2.5Ghz Core 2 Duo with the extended hard drive and so far performance seems reasonably swish. I haven’t really put it to the test beyond some big installing but it potters along quite nicely and does some lightening fast shutting down.

The battery life is also very nice, I squeezed around 7 hours out of it last night, a small amount of that time it was on sleep but I certainly wasn’t taking it easy installing going on 20gb of programs and I began to put my life back together. It’s also not much heavier than my old laptop while squeezing another inch into the screen which makes quite a difference to the point I wish I could run it at a higher resolution than 1280.

Only time will tell if I love it or hate it but I’m planning to duel boot it anyway as 7 really is a sexy piece of work.