How to Import and Export ICNS with Photoshop

If you’re interested in making replacement icons for Mac OS X applications, the Leopard Developer Tools received an updated version of the Icon Composer utility, which combines multiple PNG images into one ICNS file. Once exported, the combined file is suitable for use inside an application bundle, by choosing Show Package Contents from the Finder’s action menu (or a right-click) and browsing to Contents/Resources/ and replacing the appropriate ICNS file (make sure to rename your icon to match the existing one!).

To run the process the other way, first find the desired ICNS file inside the application, and open it with the built-in Preview application. Preview understands the transparency inherent to ICNS icons, and allows you to save the file as a PNG, ready to open and work on in Photoshop!

Update: After looking around on MacUpdate for something simple, I found img2icns, a freeware drag-and-drop icon converter that can turn a PNG image into a folder icon. With it, you can Get Info for the converted folder icon and copy and paste it onto another application or document. It’s the perfect little icon utility to go with this minimalist workflow, and it’s Leopard-ready!

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How to Import and Export ICNS with Photoshop

Halo 3’s Fixed IP Problem

Ever since opening Halo 3 and hopping on Xbox Live with it, it’s been complaining about my router’s NAT settings. Apparently, it needs certain ports open to connect to other gamers. Tonight, I finally set out to get it working properly, but came up short.

After first doing a little research and discovering that Xbox Live uses TCP and UDP port 3074 and UDP port 88 (largely UDP port 3047, as indicated by my Ethereal packet dumps), I thought I could get away with forwarding those ports straight to my Xbox 360. Since my console was set to automatically lease an IP address from my router, it would quite probably get a different IP each time it boots up, thus “breaking” my carefully forwarded ports. The obvious solution is to choose a fixed IP address in the Xbox Dashboard. Once the IP is set statically and the appropriate ports are forwarded, all seems to be well, except for one minor hangup…

If you boot directly to the Halo 3 disc with with a fixed IP address, the network connection never links up before executing the game. Halo 3 runs, then refuses to connect to Xbox Live. I have to exit the game, go back to the Xbox Dashboard, Sign In to Xbox Live, then re-launch Halo to get it to go online. It couldn’t be a more roundabout way, but it seems that’s the only answer aside from enabling uPNP on the router, which I’ll never do for security reasons. I doubt my DD-WRT powered WRT54GL router is “Microsoft Certified,” but the problem seems to lie with the Xbox 360 or Halo 3, as it won’t even acknowledge the presence of an Ethernet cable until the Xbox Dashboard launches. Weird.

Update: Here’s one solution: Open the DD-WRT settings, go to Administration, Services, then the DHCP Server grouping and set a static lease for the Xbox 360’s MAC address. Set the Xbox 360 back to Automatic IP address leasing, and the router will assign a fixed IP based on the console’s MAC, ensuring it’s the same every time, without the Xbox having to be set to static.

Halo 3’s Fixed IP Problem

AppleScripts for iTunes

AppleScript is the hidden “glue” language that binds software on the Mac together and allows for unparalleled interaction between apps. When built into a program, it allows anyone with the right tools to automate nearly any function of the appication. In fact, it’s what Apple’s Automator is built upon, making AppleScript more accessible to end users who don’t want to know or care about things like variables and loops. Where Automator is as easy as drag-and-drop, programming AppleScript can be complicated (perhaps more so for seasoned programmers).

Doug Adams, however, is an AppleScript wizard, and his huge library of scripts covers all kinds of Mac applications. Of particular interest are his iTunes scripts. He offers dozens upon dozens of cool and useful ready-to-run code samples that do all kinds of tricks with iTunes, including managing playlists, embedding and exporting album artwork, finding and replacing text in track names, and tons more. For getting more out of your Mac and iTunes, check out Doug’s AppleScripts library.

AppleScripts for iTunes