Remove Unwanted Google Calendars

white and black weekly planner on gray surface
Photo by Bich Tran on Pexels.com

I have been using GSuite in the last year or so at work. In general it seem to be fine, good usage of the email capabilities provided by Gmail and the storage, together with shared drives, and things like that are fine.

Calendar is ok and it does the work, however there was a very irritating thing when being invited to see other colleague’s calendars and/or subscriptions to them. On the one hand it is useful to see calendar availability, but I don’t want to see all of those calendars on my mobile device, or the Calendar app on my Macbook all the time.

A quick solution would be to “uncheck” the unwanted calendars on your device, but… The problem is, when you uncheck those calendars, they’re still there. You may not see them, but boy, you do continue getting reminders, notifications, alerts – and most (all?) of the time they are not even for me to act on!

So if you require to remove these extra calendar, bit still access then via the web and Google apps then do the following:

  1. Go to https://www.google.com/calendar/syncselect
  2. Login to your Google Account, and
  3. Uncheck the calendars you don’t want to sync

Then you can select what device you may want to be able to see the delegated calendars in the Apple Calendar app. Simply

  1. Go to Calendar – Preferences
  2. Select Account Information and look for the Google Account in question
  3. Select the “Delegation” tab and check the things you may want to see (or not)

Et voilà!

Importing Organised Picture Folders to Apple Photos

I have been considering moving a considerable photo collection I have amassed for a few years now after getting my first digital camera. I used to take a lot of pictures before that with a beloved Cannon SLR that belonged to my father. Sadly that camera got stolen in a holiday in Cancun… but that is a story for another time.

Anyway, I used to use Picasa to organise my photos into albums and upload or share some with friends and family. Picasa was superseded by Google Photos and I never quite liked losing some control on where my photos went.

I have been an iOS user of Apple Photos — I like the simplicity of taking a picture and it being part of an album that I keep in my phone until I clean the album… I did try using the Mac version, but as I said I never liked just getting a soup of pictures. I wanted to keep them in the album/folder hierarchy I curated myself. It is until now that I have found a way for Apple Photos to respect my hierarchy. Here is what you need to do:

  1. Find the place where your pictures are organised folders and drag the top folder onto the Photos App icon in the Dock. It does not matter if the App is running
    • NOTE: Do not drag it to the Photo App window. If you do, the applications behaves in a different way and you will end up with a soup of photographs.
  2. At the top of the window you will see a checkbox that reads “Keep Folder Organisation” on the top right (see the screenshot above)
  3. Click the blue button, “Import All New Items”

Et voilà! Your imported photos will show up in an organised folder in the sidebar.

Installing MacTeX in M1 Apple Macs

I have been playing with a new M1 MacBook Air and I must admit it is quite an experience. It is a very responsive fast little machine with no fan! Great so far. I have been looking into using a lot of the software that enables my own work and that includes, among other things, LaTeX.

I had a look at the MacTeX pages about ARM and it was great to see that the view is that Rosetta 2 would have me covered… I am not ready to go native just yet… So after installing the software I was surprised to get some messages in my terminal telling me that pdflatex could not be found.

After playing with things for a bit I found that the location of the files ended up in a folder indicating the architecture of the machine. So if you are looking for things in your machine, please take look for things in the following path:

/usr/local/texlive/2020/bin/x86_64-darwin/

I have had to point some other software to this location and things seem to be working fine. I have not looked into the implication of other things such as the conversion of jupyter notebooks into LaTeX documents…. I will do and report back.

LibreOffice – Dialogue boxes showing blanks

I have been using LibreOffice on and off for a few years now and generally I think it is a great alternative to the MS Office offering. It does the tasks that are required and the improvements over different versions have been steady and useful

I had however a very strange experience in which dialogue boxes and other windows such as alerts and messages just showed blank text. It was obvious that there was some important information in them, but it was not possible to read them. In some cases it was ok… I mean I knew here the “OK” button was expected to appear, or where “Cancel” should be placed. However, it was an annoying (at best) and limiting (at worst) exoperience.

After digging in a bit I realised what the problem was. The fonts that were supposed to be showing were at fault. The culprits were as follows:

  • DINRegular.ttf, and
  • DINRegularAlternate.ttf

After removing these two fonts from ~/Library/Fonts/ everything went back to normal. I hope this helps in case you are having a similar issue.

MacOS – No Floating Thumbnail when taking a screenshot

Have you tried taking a screenshot in your Mac and are annoyed at having to wait for the floating thumbnail – in other words you wait for 5 seconds before the screenshot becomes a file? Well here you can find out how to get rid of that.

Follow these steps:

1) Type CMD + SHIFT + 5
2) Click OPTIONS
3) Uncheck “Show Floating Thumbnail”
4) Et voilà!

See the screenshot above!

Backslashes v Forward Slashes – Windows, Linux and Mac

“Why do I have to use backslashes (\) in Windows, but forward slashes (/) in everything else?” This is a question that I have been asked by a number of people over the years and I have been meaning to write something about it for a long time now. 

It seems that Windows is really the odd one out as Linux, OS X and even Android uses forward slashes. It seems that the cause of this annoying (at times) difference is due to accidental events. 

In the 1970s, Unix first introduced the forward slash to separate entries in a directory path. So far so good. In the meantime, the initial version of MS DOS did not even support the use of directories… and we are talking early 80s here! At the time, IBM has the main contributor to Microsofr utilities and they used the forward slash as a flag or switch character (In Unix we use a hyphen for this). You can still see a vestigial tail in some commands… Think dir /w for example. 

 The next version of MS DOs started support for directories and to keep compatibility, IBM expected to continue usage of / as a flag and as such the alternative for directory path separation, Windows started using \. Once you start using this in your own environment, who cares what other people use in their operating systems!! Right? In that way, in Windows the use of the different slashes tells you if you are running  an option (/) or a directory path (\). 

And the rest, as they say, is history!

Magic Mouse – Secondary Click Not Working

I have recently taken Mojave for a spin and I am really happy with the changes in the new OS. I know it is merely eye-candy, but I really like the dark theme. Things have been working well, but I came across a nagging issue with my MagicMouse:

For some reason the secondary click would simply not work. I had made sure the settings were enabled by making sure that the “Secondary Click” option was ticked (see screenshot below). I tried ticking it on and off, restarting the machine, deleting the mouse and reconnecting it… nothing had worked…

Finally I decided to take a look at some of the plist files and here is my solution to this problem:

    1. Go to the ~/Library/Preferences/ directory
    2. Delete the following files:
      com.apple.AppleMultitouchMouse.plist
      com.apple.driver.AppleBluetoothMultitouch.mouse.plist
      
      Restart the machine

Et voilà!

Persistent “Previous Recipients” in Mac Mail

Hello everyone! I am very pleased to take a question from John who got in touch with Quantum Tunnel using the form here. John’s favourite scientist is Einstein and his question is as follows:

In Mac mail I cannot delete unwanted email addresses. I have done the routine of deleting all addresses from the previous receiptant list, but when starting a new email unwanted addresses appear.. Any help is appreciated. Thanks, John

John is referring to the solution I provided in this earlier post. Sadly, the list of his lucky friends/colleagues/family (delete as appropriate) he has email recently persists even after clearing the “Previous Recipients” as explained in the post before.

There may be a way to force the clearing of these persistent email address:

  • Quit Mail and Address Book (in case the latter is open)
  • Open a terminal and type the following command:
    • `rm ~/Library/Application Support/AddressBook/MailRecents-v4.abcdmr`
  • Log out and back in again
  • Start Mail
  • You may have to clear the “Previous Recipients” list as per the post mentioned above

You should now be able to clear the list. And… In case you were wondering, the file we deleted should be created afresh to start accumulating new “recent recipients” (yay!)

Et voilà!

Finding iBooks Files in My Mac

I was looking for the location of iBooks files (including ePub, PDFs and others) so that I can curate the list of manually exported files. Finding iBooks in my Mac should not be a difficult task, although it took a few minutes. I thought of sharing that here in the blog for future reference and in the hope that some of yo may find it useful.

We will use the Terminal, as doing things from Finder tends to redirect us. A first place to look into is the following one:

/Library/Containers/com.apple.BKAgentService/Data/Documents/iBooks

Now, that may not be the entire list of your books. In case you have enabled iCloud, then things may be stored in your Mobile Documents folder:

cd ~/Library/Mobile Documents/iCloud~com~apple~iBooks/Documents/

For things that you have bought in the iBooks store, take a look here:

cd ~/Library/Containers/com.apple.BKAgentService/Data/Documents/iBooks

Et voilà!

 

Python 3, Pandas and Encoding Issues

It is not unusual to come across encoding problems when opening files in Python 3. The subject matter is a large topic of discussion, and here I am providing some quick ways to deal with a typical encoding issue you are likely to encounter.

Say you are interested in opening a CSV file to be loaded into a pandas dataframe. If the stars align and the generator of your CSV is magnanimous, they may have saved the file using UTF-8. If so you may get away with reading the file (here called my file.csv) as follows

import python as pd

df = pd.read_csv('myfile.csv')

You should in principle pass a parameter to pandas telling it what encoding the file has been saved with, so a more complete version of the snippet above would be:

import python as pd

df = pd.read_csv('myfile.csv', encoding='utf-8')

Encoding conundrum

What happens when you don’t know what encoding was used to save the file? Well, you can ask, but it is very unlikely that the file generator know… What to do? Well there are some libraries that can be helpful.

Install the chardet module as follows from the terminal

pip install chardet

And use the following snippet as a guide:

import chardet
import pandas as pd

def find_encoding(fname):
    r_file = open(fname, 'rb').read()
    result = chardet.detect(r_file)
    charenc = result['encoding']
    return charenc


my_encoding = find_encoding('myfile.csv')
df = pd.read_csv('myfile.csv', encoding=my_encoding)

Et voilà!