If Parallels Desktop 18 hangs while signing out or signing in #

to your Parallels account via the GUI, try these commands instead:

Sign out:

% prlsrvctl web-portal signout
The user has signed out successfully.

Sign in:

% prlsrvctl web-portal signin "mail@example.com"
Please enter password:
The user has signed in successfully.

Activate license (registered license beforehand at my.parallels.com/home → "Register a License Key"):

% prlsrvctl install-license -k XXXXXX-XXXXXX-XXXXXX-XXXXXX-XXXXXX
The license has been successfully installed.

/mac | Nov 24, 2022

Offline speech-to-text that is accurate and free (as in speech) #

Accurate speech recognition has largely been relegated to the cloud, with unfortunate if predictable results:

Even Apple's "privacy respecting" macOS has removed offline-only speech recognition since macOS 10.15 Catalina.

Happily, there is an accurate and free (as in speech) option for offline speech to text processing - OpenAI's Whisper (GitHub | Hacker News). According to the blurb, it "approaches human level robustness and accuracy on English speech recognition"; daily testing has borne that claim out.

Installation is a breeze:

pip install git+https://github.com/openai/whisper.git

as is basic usage:

whisper audio.mp3.

A number of models are available, including the default "small" (which "works well for transcribing English" and weighs 483MB) and "large" at around 3GB.

/nix | Nov 02, 2022

Check ISO images for consistency #

with filesystem-level headers via Isolyzer. Supports "ISO 9660, High Sierra, Universal Disk Format (UDF), Apple Hierarchical File System (HFS), Apple HFS+, and hybrids of the above file systems, e.g. ISO 9660 + HFS; UDF Bridge (UDF + ISO 9660)". Open souce Python / Windows binaries. Detailed documentation.

/misc | Oct 11, 2022

Image-to-text OCR tools for macOS #

Because Live Text in Preview is so fickle:

/mac | Oct 11, 2022

Backing up IMAP accounts in macOS #


* For now at least; Apple vows to remove Ruby and Perl too (what's next Apple, ed?!), though both remain as of macOS 12.6

If you receive

ERROR: While executing gem ... (Gem::FilePermissionError)
You don't have write permissions for the /Library/Ruby/Gems/2.6.0 directory.

avoid the impulse to use sudo, instead specifying GEM_HOME and updating your $PATH in ~/.zshrc (.bash_profile for Bash users):
export GEM_HOME=/Users/username/.gem
export PATH="$GEM_HOME/bin:$PATH"

then reloading .zshrc:
% source ~/.zshrc

Otherwise, messages imported into Mail will show "No Sender" in the From field. This command will put the exported messages into ~/"Library/Thunderbird/Profiles/UID.default-release/Mail/Local Folders/imap-backup.sbd/".

Additional closed-source GUI options

/mac | Oct 08, 2022

Fastest method for deleting massive directories in Windows #

This method appears to be the winner:

del /f/s/q folder-name > nul && rmdir /s/q folder-name

Tested on a ~10TB directory (containing many hundreds of thousands of files) residing on a SATA-connected 32TB Windows Storage Spaces SSD array. Time to delete: ~10 seconds. On a USB 3.1-connected 32TB RAID 0 HDD array, the process took just over a minute.

Despite a claim to the contrary, I found this robocopy method to be slower:

mkdir "empty" && robocopy "empty" "deletetest" /mir /w:1 /r:10 /mt:32 > nul

(See also Robocopy: Is /MT with more threads faster?)

Speaking of timing commands in Windows, check out this neat batch script by user87453 for approximating *nix's time command:

@echo off

set start=%time%

:: Runs your command
cmd /c %*

set end=%time%
set options="tokens=1-4 delims=:.,"
for /f %options% %%a in ("%start%") do set start_h=%%a&set /a start_m=100%%b %% 100&set /a start_s=100%%c %% 100&set /a start_ms=100%%d %% 100
for /f %options% %%a in ("%end%") do set end_h=%%a&set /a end_m=100%%b %% 100&set /a end_s=100%%c %% 100&set /a end_ms=100%%d %% 100

set /a hours=%end_h%-%start_h%
set /a mins=%end_m%-%start_m%
set /a secs=%end_s%-%start_s%
set /a ms=%end_ms%-%start_ms%
if %ms% lss 0 set /a secs = %secs% - 1 & set /a ms = 100%ms%
if %secs% lss 0 set /a mins = %mins% - 1 & set /a secs = 60%secs%
if %mins% lss 0 set /a hours = %hours% - 1 & set /a mins = 60%mins%
if %hours% lss 0 set /a hours = 24%hours%
if 1%ms% lss 100 set ms=0%ms%

:: Mission accomplished
set /a totalsecs = %hours%*3600 + %mins%*60 + %secs%
echo command took %hours%:%mins%:%secs%.%ms% (%totalsecs%.%ms%s total)

/windows | Oct 08, 2022

Mail.app: Updating From name for iCloud email accounts #

Neither Mail.app nor InternetAccounts.prefPane offer a way to change the From name for iCloud email accounts.

Edits to "Name" at https://appleid.apple.com/account/manage/section/information are reflected at the top of System Preferences but not in Mail.app.

One must instead:

  1. go to https://www.icloud.com/mail/
  2. click gear icon at top left
  3. click Preferences...
  4. click Accounts
  5. click account name
  6. change text in "Full name" as desired
  7. click Done

in order to update the name in Mail.app.

/mac | Oct 08, 2022

macOS: Cannot sign in to iCloud #


Proceed at your own risk (and joy).


macOS 12.6 Monterey


Signed out of an iCloud account. Attempting to sign in to another iCloud account (or even the original iCloud account) failed silently and repeatedly, even after rebooting. Creating a new macOS user account and signing in to iCloud therein worked as expected, but the prospect of manually migrating over user data and settings (while not borking the now-functional iCloud sync) was not especially congenial.


The ability to sign in to iCloud under the orignal macOS user account was restored thanks to nikhilgohil11's suggestion from 2019:

  1. Backup
  2. Empty ~/Library/Caches/ (the original advice to delete the directory itself requires admin credentials; standard users cannot delete their own ~/Library/Caches/ directory, but can delete its contents)
  3. Delete ~/"Library/Application Support/iCloud/"
  4. Delete ~/Library/Preferences/MobileMeAccounts.plist
  5. Reboot

The urtext for this answer appears to be from 2015 by Kurt Lang, who credits Apple support. richard2's 2016 post mentions signing out of iMessage and FaceTime as well as disassociating the Apple ID from your macOS user account (if they were previously linked) beforehand.



/mac | Oct 08, 2022

iOS: Disable WiFi (not just cellular) for specific apps without jailbreaking #

by buying an iPhone in China and using Apple's "Apps using WLAN & Cellular" feature:

Extremely disappointing that Apple does not permit this critical privacy and security feature on all iOS devices irrespective of region; it's especially surprising given that China usually gets the short end of the stick:

See also A humble iOS 14 wishlist.

/mac | Sep 10, 2022

macOS: Rotate text in Preview.app #

  1. System Preferences → Trackpad → Scroll & Zoom → enable Rotate.

  2. Open an image in Preview → Tools → Annotate → Text.

  3. After entering desired text and with the text box still selected, use the rotate gesture to turn it as desired.

For more fine-grained control, use Pixelmator (Add text on a path) or Acorn (Path Text | video tutorial).

H/T: blueswirly and Zabobon

/mac | Sep 08, 2022

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