Blog News

Importing a comma-separated csv file into Numbers Tool

I created this to scratch an itch of mine when reading a csv file into Numbers that contained commas. It turned out that Numbers puts each line into a single cell. It ignores the commas. And there’s no way to specify that the delimiter needs to be a comma, not a semi-colon.

Here’s a small tool made using a small python script and Platypus that will launch as a ‘droplet’ and will allow you to drop a csv file on it that has COMMA (meaning this , ) separated values.

It will accept any csv file and convert from commas (,) to semi-colons (;) and save the result out again as “filename2.csv” – Numbers should be able to open it correctly then. Your original csv file is only read.

Please note that commas inside double quotes are preserved and not converted.

It works on my smallish csv files, but please note :


Please note there is NO feedback if something goes wrong.

It works on my 2 macs (using OS X Mavericks), so I figured I would throw it out in the wild for those people who also might need it.

You can download the (non-signed) app here : – you’ll need to open it using RIGHT-CLICKING on the App the first time.

Feedback, comments, bug reports, etc are very welcome. If possible, I’ll try to respond and help you out.

Blog News

Apple iWork updates : Numbers becomes slightly more useful

Some new iWork updates this morning on my Mac Mini : KeyNotes, Pages and Numbers can now save password protected documents, can now display charts based on time series, more compatibility with MS Office Documents.

iOs Keynote Apps have received similar updates.

You can now do some things with Numbers that Office Excel already can since ages : sort on multiple columns, chart on time series… Progress!

All in all a good update, but frankly, this is late in coming, and the updates should continue coming to get even more functionality in there. I understand that this is a from-the-ground-up-rewrite, but these functionalities are what people expect from the start, not delivered 6 months or more waiting for it.

Now if only with the new version I could figure out how to updating an existing chart line with a new entry that is in the same column as 4 other chart lines…

I have one column of numbers that has a monthly entry for each measurement. Multiple years in one column. I want to graph each year in this column separately. This works, but when I add a new monthly measurement at the end of the column and try to update the appropriate graph line, this results in a mess of graph lines.

So far, I haven’t found it, except redoing the whole thing from scratch. Somehow I expected a more intuitive process on doing this, but perhaps my intuition is failing me on this, or I have been brainwashed too much by Excel ūüôā

Also, what is really bothering me is importing a csv file that has “,” separated values instead of “;” separated values. This results in the whole line being imported into the first cell, as Numbers expects “;” for csv. Nothing else.

I can’t even *FIND* the “import” command, you can only OPEN a CSV file in the regular way, and there are no options possible to indicate HOW you want to open the file / import it. Very disappointing.

Apple, please keep the updates coming, and make Numbers something worthwhile to use. Meanwhile, I have to write little scripts to do my work for me.

Blog News

I love iFixit ! Highly recommended !

Last week the HD in my mother-in-law’s hand-me-down iMac went the way of the dodos and crashed, loosing all the information on it.

Did you know you can burn a copy of Ubuntu (I used 12.10) to a CD and it will load and boot on a mac, even with EFI firmware ? This helped me verify that the disk was indeed dead and non-salvagable (it was the /Users directory that was totally destroyed !).

The 24 inch screen is still great, the CPU (an 2,16 Ghz Intel Core 2 Duo) is a bit slow nowadays but still more than good enough for surfing and showing photos and playing music, so I figured why not replace the hard disk and save some money ?

I visited and checked if they had a repair guide for that particular iMac model and sure enough it was there. I bought the necessary hard drive and Torx screwdrivers, and I have just now succesfully replaced the failed 500 GB disk with a 2TB disk.

When I subsequently booted from the Snow Leopard disk, it couldn’t see the drive, but a quick trip to the disk utility made it show itself, and I was able to format it and continue the installation – everything is just fine, thanks to those iFixit people !

Note that iFixit is a free service, but you can help them out by buying repair tools or hard disks from them, or writing your own guide.

I figured I could help point some people in the right direction – they have an amazing amount of DIY repair manuals !

PS – for those who break the temperature sensor on the HD or the wires (I didn’t) : there’s a software solution for that !

Blog News

Boxee, Plex, Majestic, XMBC on your mac mini for streaming to your TV or ps3 ?

I just spent the past few days installing and playing around with a few media center softwares that you can install on your mac mini.

The aim : streaming my media directly from the mac mini to either my Samsung SmartTV or to the PS3 connected through it. The mac mini is installed in another location, so streaming is either wireless to the PS3 or via a UTP-cable to the TV (although I can switch them easily enough, this is the current setup).

Anything else (streaming to iOS, for example) is a bonus. But my main itch to scratch was that I wanted to stop running around with portable disks and usb keys, and just centralize everything in one location, and my mac mini seemed the ideal place for that.

I’ve tried the following software so you don’t need to :

  • XMBC¬†: I was very impressed with it finding the media quickly and the indexing done on it, retrieving additional information from online internet databases as well as with the local “front end” experience. However, I was disappointed in it’s streaming capabilities : it did not appear on either my TV or my PS3. Although it advertises that you should just activate ‘media sharing’ and that’s all, it just didn’t work for me – some forum browsing shows that others have had similar experiences, depending on what type of router, etc, though for many it works just fine. I would have stopped here if the streaming worked as this seems to be an excellent open-source package. Certainly if your mac mini is sitting right next to your telly this seems to be a good solution.
  • Boxee¬†: while Boxee now sells it own hardware, the software available as-is has been discontinued. The software is still available on google code¬†though (last update was jan 2012 as of this writing). The boxee software is not installed through drag’ndrop, so not sure how this uninstalls. It worked, but after seeing XMBC I was slightly less impressed. Integration with the web works fine though. The interface consists of only icons instead of text, making it slightly harder for a first-timer to muddle through although this is only a slight problem.
  • Majestic Media Server : I found a reference to this on one or other forum, but couldn’t seem to find a download link on their website. Seems that is for sale (trial version), so not free to download. It’s only for streaming, nothing fancy. In the end I found a version on CNET. Very simple interface, just a small window. This didn’t work at all, complaining of a port that was occupied by another process.
  • Plex¬†: This was the final media center solution I tried, mainly because it is not open-sourced and is a spin-off from XMBC. It is however, free to download, and it works just beautifully. ¬†It does come in two parts : the media server which does just what it says, serving your media to whatever device, and the media center which is the front-end to play the stream. If you are only interested in streaming to your PS3 just get the media server, which provides everything you need to add your media to the plex database. It also provides a basic webpage that shows you an overview of all your media and allows you to change your metadata. On your PS3 the Plex server immediately shows up and you can browse your media and start playing it. The accompanying front-end can be installed on another mac for example. You can also buy an iOS app that allows you to stream from the Plex media server to your iPhone or iPad.

The result : in short, only Plex fulfilled my needs. All the others gave either errors or did not show up on either the Samsung TV or on the PS3. Only Plex showed up in both, immediately, and while the Samsung crashed when I selected “Movies” in the interface, on the PS3 it works perfectly and streaming even over wireless worked perfectly.

I’ll probably buy the iOS app as well, and start consolidating all my media on my mac mini.

The verdict : while not open-sourced, and while some component are to be purchased (e.g. the iOS app) Plex is well worth the install.

Blog News

Getting XCode from the AppStore ? Don’t forget to install.

Yes, really, I totally missed this one. I was sure that I had XCode, that I had installed it from the AppStore.

Several frustrating moments finally led (via StackOverflow!) to the realisation that XCode is only downloaded, and still needs to be installed afterwards. So just go to your application folder and find the “install xcode” app and double-click it.

Duh (slaps forehead) !

Oh well, onwards with the show of getting mysql-python to install on 10.7.

Blog News

Installing Entropy PHP5 on your mac 10.6

For a PHP library with all the bells and whistles on it I usually install the php5 library from Marc at Entropy software. The php5 version that Apple supplies with Apache does not have everything that for example, Magento, needs.

Seems that the version currently available for download on his site does not work with Mac OS X 10.6.x.

However, another user has rebuilt the php library for 10.6 (using the instructions that Marc supplied to ‘roll your own’) and you can download the binary installer from his site.

Thanks Tarique !

Blog News

I’ll be holding on to my iPad 1 thankyouverymuch

While I admit that I would like more memory and a faster CPU, I’m pretty sure that

  • I don’t have time to play more games than the ones already on there
  • most games for the foreseeable future will be compatible with the original iPad
  • watching movies and surfing the web is what I do most
  • the way things are going, end of this year or early next year we will have an iPad 3

So I’m waiting for iPad 3 or later. Depending on how strong my will is, actually.

Apple Hardware

The MacBook Touch (mockup)

Yep. This is droolworthy.



Mac OS X 10.6.2 makes sluggishnes go away!

When I upgraded from Mac OS X 10.6.0 to 10.6.1, suddenly my 2006 iMac became a sluggish beast, trashing the disk for every little thing that it needed to do. Changing to another virtual desktop became 10 seconds of pure torture instead of a slick swish… At first I thought this had nothing to do with the upgrade, and thought my disk might be going bad.

Onyx, the all-in-one swiss knife of maintenance tools that I ran found out that I had a disk error. I fixed this by rebooting with the Leopard install disk and using disk utility there to correct the error. But my iMac kept being sluggish. Launching programs became an interminable wait (ok, ok, 10 seconds are not interminable, but they do add up in the long run when you want to get things done !)

Now that I upgraded to Mac Os X 10.6.2 things are suddenly running smoothly once again. I don’t know what happened, but they did something !

Apple Hardware

Macbook Air costs 1699 euros in Europe, 1799 dollars in the States

Buying a Macbook Air in Europe costs 1699 euros. Converted to dollars you pay 2499 dollars instead of 1799 dollars if you bought it in the States. A price difference of 600 dollars !!

Conclusion : Europe is richer than America.