The Quick Response Code (QR code) is a two-dimensional, machine-readable, barcode developed in the 1990′s for the auto industry. Apart from its application in things like inventory tracking, the QR code has become a popular way to add smartphone readable URLs to print materials.
Consider using it on posters, business cards, or documents when you want to direct your audience to web pages, data sets, movies and other content. Moreover, if you use a Googl URL you can easily track your page hits.
There are many sites on the web that will encode text to a downloadable QR code image file. Just search on QR code generator. The QR code above is the URL
ImageMagick® is a software suite for the manipulation of bitmap images. It can read and write images in 100+ formats and runs on Linux, Windows, Mac OS X, and other operating systems. ImageMagick is free and is distributed as binary applications or as source code under an Apache 2.0 license.
ImageMagick is typically run from the command line. On the Mac, embedding an ImageMagick command in Applescript is a great way to make droplets for specific tasks (e.g., make a thumbnail, adding a drop shadow). ImageMagick features can also be called from a variety of languages (e.g., Java, C, C++, PHP, Python, Perl).
The current release of ImageMagick is available from www.imagemagick.org/download. On OS X it can also be installed via MacPorts. The ImageMagick web site is www.imagemagick.org.
GNU GRUB (short for GNU GRand Unified Bootloader) is a Linux boot loader package from the good folks at the GNU Project. It is one option for creating dual- (or multi-) boot systems.
You can create a custom GRUB splash screen by replacing the image file splash.xpm.gz in /boot/grub/. This is a compressed XPM formatted file. Image constraints: 640×480, 16 colors (only 14 are available for your image). You may not know the XPM format. X PixMap was intended for X Window System icons. You can convert an image to the XPM format using GIMP or ImageMagick.
Xcode is Apple’s integrated development environment (IDE) for OS X and iOS. Its tool set includes: an editor, interface builder, project and source code managers, LLVM compiler for C, C++, & Objective-C, a debugger, and more.
Xcode can be installed from the App Store or downloaded from the Apple developer web site. Happy coding.
While it is best in most cases to update you Macintosh software via the App Store, you can download manual update installers from
This can be a useful option when, for example, you need to update multiple computers, but only want to download the update once.
Apple recently ( October 2013 ) released major updates of its iWorks application suite ( Pages, Numbers, Keynote ). In addition, Apple is offering free copies of the updated iWork apps to all current owners. iWorks is also free with the purchase of a new Mac.
Unfortunately the iWorks update was a major rewrite and Apple choose to drop a number of features. Apple is aware that this made a lot of people unhappy and says it will reintroduce many missing features within the next 6 months. For more info see
About the new iWork for Mac
Perhaps the most notable thing about this release (v10.9) of Apple’s new version of OS X is that it is free. To upgrade, simply open the App Store and select the Mavericks install. The installation will take a couple of hours. Before you upgrade however be aware of the following caveats:
- The upgrade does an un-install of Java and X11. Both of which are needed for MatLab. After upgrading, if you use X11 or Java, you will need to re-install.
- Parallels v7.x and below does not work in Mavericks. Parallels v9.x is required for full support. Parallels v8 latest update will be able to open virtual machines, but won’t have the new integration features between Mavericks and Windows.
- Some people, myself included, have had problems with the Mail application. For example, Mail’s IMAP support is not playing nice with a number of mail servers (e.g., Gmail). Also the Mail app is routinely not quitting, requiring a force quit. [The "Mail Update for Mavericks 1.0", released November 9, seems to have fixed most of the Mail app's problems.]
When you create a link to a network file server (aka mapping a network drive), you can access it from Computer or File Explorer without having to browse or enter its network address each time. To map a network drive on Windows 8:
1. Open Computer by moving your mouse to the upper-right corner of the screen, move down, and click Search, enter Computer in the search box. In the Menu bar, click Computer, and then click Map network drive. Alternatively, open Windows Explorer by pressing the Windows key and the letter “E” simultaneously. Select the Computer tab at the top of the window, and then click Map network drive.
2. In the Drive list, click a drive letter. You can choose any available letter.
3. In the Folder box, enter the path of the sever and share folder (e.g., \\FileServer.smast.umassd.edu\theFolder). Or click Browse to find the server on the network.
4. To connect every time you sign in to your computer, select the Reconnect at sign-in check box.
5. If your computer and server are in different Domains, select Connect using different credentials and you will be prompted for your username and password.
5. Click Finish.
While you have likely visited the Google Maps site (maps.google.com) you may not be aware that by simply adding a few parameters the Google Map URL can be used in an anchor tag href to link an address, location, zip code, etc. to a map. For example,
<a href=”http://maps.google.com/maps?q=UMass+Dartmouth”>UMass Dartmouth</a>
will create a link to a map of the area around the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth main campus. Note: Since spaces are not allowed in URLs, notice how the space between UMass and Dartmouth has been replaced by a + sign.
In this example we are using the Map q (query) parameter. There are many other parameters that can be used for search or to change the style of the displayed map. Additional parameters must be preceded with an &. The table below lists a few parameters that are useful for linking a location to a map.
||The map query string. Can be an address, town, city, zip code, landmark, etc. Spaces should be replaced by + signs.
||Type of map: m – normal map; k – satellite; h – hybrid; p – terrain.
||Latitude and longitude of the map center point. Must be in decimal format.
||Zoom level. Range: 2 to 20
||Opens print window.
- Using ll, without q, doesn’t show a marker.
- To add a custom title to a location, put the title text in parentheses at the end of the query. e.g. q=706+S+Rodney+French,+New+Bedford,+MA+(SMAST)
Much like TinyURL and Bitly, Googl is a URL shortener. When created with your Google account you can also track the clicks and referrers on your shortened URLs. For simple tracking this is a great solution, no pages, or redirects or Google analytics required. To use Googl go to goo.gl, sign in to your Google account… Shorten, share, track.