Mountain Lion Audio-only Airplay to Apple TV

Posted by on Aug 1, 2012

One of the great new features of Mountain Lion (Mac OSX 10.8) is Airplay mirroring.With this option you can stream your Mac screen to your Apple TV. Unfortunately this only works on recent Macs (since 2011) so I have to lend my girlfriends MacBook Air to use it. My ancient iMac (’09) and MacBook Pro (’10) are too slow. Ouch.

A feature that does work on all Macs is Audio-only Airplay, which is way more useful since I listen a lot more to music (Spotify FTW!) than that I watch video or need to mirror things.

So if you check System Preferences in the Apple menu and go to the Sound option, in the Output tab you can now select your Apple TV!

But I found a faster way to switch between audio on your Mac and Apple TV. Hold the Option (ALT) key and select the Volume option in the menu bar. Here you can quickly select Apple TV or Internal Speakers.


Posted in: Lifehacking

How to survive a cold [Lifehacking]

Posted by on Jul 22, 2012

So I got another cold this week. Bah. Hate it. Looking back afterwards I can almost always point to a certain cause for getting a col: A period of too little sleep, bad stress, unhealthy eating and drinking, other sick people in the office.

Most people would say that I just have to live through it; Within a week it will be over. That’s of course true, but since I haven’t been really sick or hurt in ages I’m simply not used to such level of inconvenience.

So over the years I gathered a number of hacks to fight the symptoms. I know you can’t really cure a cold with a medicine or treatment, but I can at least try to get through these hell days in the best kind of way possible. So here we go:

1. Drink a lot. I have some XXXL mugs that I fill up with hot tea with a lot of sugar. If my throat really hurts I add honey to it. At the moment my favorite ‘hot cold tea’ is Lipton Apple Cinnamon. Other good drinks are of course water and Coca-Cola, which is soft on your throat.

2. Listen to your body. If you start to feel sleepy, go to bed, even if it’s still ‘early’. Yes you can skip that one Champions League match. Just watch the online replay in the morning after you slept for 10 hours.

3. Earlier this year I discovered this Vicks First Defence spray. You have to start using it as soon as you feel the first symptoms of getting a cold (sore throat). It promises to stop the development of a cold in an early stage so it won’t be as heavy as normal. I used it twice now and it seems to really help! Using it isn’t really pleasant though. It makes you sneeze a lot and it gives a bad taste.

4. Don’t sport or workout during your cold. You need all your energy to fight the cold. So take it easy.

5. Eat fruits: Oranges, bananas, kiwis, strawberries, pineapple. It provides you with a lot of vitamin C and simply gives you a healthy feeling. I also like to mix these fruits into a smoothy to drink.

6. Eat spicy food. When my cold is the worst, mostly the third day into it, I order some extremely hot Indian food for dinner. It makes your nose run and clear up the sinuses. Nowadays I go hardcore with the Vindaloo, for starters I would recommend starting with some mild curry dish.

7. Take a warm bat and throw in some eucalyptus bath oil. This also helps to break up the nasal congestion.

8. One of the worst things of having a cold is dealing with a nose that is both blocked and running all the time. If I can’t sleep because of it I use a decongestant nasal spray. I opens up your nose and you can sleep without a problem. I try to use this only if I really need to. If you use it too often or for a long period (over a week) it can get you in some kind of addiction cycle.

9. If it is possible, don’t go to the office and try to work from home. You really don’t want to be sniffing and coughing all day with a lot of people around you. It won’t be pleasant for anybody. By the way you will also spare the travelling time which gives you some extra rest.

10. Use quality tissues to sneeze in. I use the Kleenex Balsam tissues. If you keep using those cheap Euroshopper tissues that you bought for once in a while usage: You’re gonna have a bad time! Your nose will get red and very painful after a day or two. If you make this mistake you could use some Vaseline for your nose so it won’t hurt that much.

So this is my top 10. What other cold beating hacks do you know that I haven’t tried yet?

Posted in: Lifehacking

Lifehack: Audiobooks

Posted by on Feb 7, 2012

When the Steve Jobs biography by Walter Isaacson was announced I instantly pre-ordered it for my Kindle. I’ve read numerous books on Apple and Steve Jobs before, but none of them were authorized by Jobs. So I was excited to finally get the complete story. But when the book got released in November ’11 I tried to read it, but just couldn’t get into it. The book starts a bit slow, I already knew most of the early stories and maybe most important I just didn’t have the time to read for a while.

That’s when I tried audiobooks. I’ve seen those Harry Potter 20-cd packs at bookstores selling for over €50,- so I never looked further into this medium before. But after a quick web search I found Audible, an online audiobook mp3 store, owned by Amazon. Audible has this neat promo which gives you 2 free audiobooks upon registering without charging your creditcard!

So I downloaded the Steve Jobs book to listen in my car to try this concept. As I drive for over 2 hours each day I already listen a lot to BNR FM Radio (10% news, 10% traffic updates, 40% commercials, 40% boring bs blah), a selection of weekly podcasts and of course Spotify. Now, a few weeks later, the FM radio time has been minimized and mostly been replaced by a range of cool audiobooks.

Listening to somebody telling you a story is easy, takes almost no effort and is very relaxing. While listening you can think about the story instead of being annoyed by radio DJ’s and commercials. This made my daily car rides way more efficient. I recommend you to check this out too. Go to Audible, get the free books and give it a try.

By the way, the Steve Jobs biography was superb! What a great story and I even got some great new insights out of it!

Posted in: Books, Lifehacking

SAP GUI sessions 101 (updated)

SAP GUI sessions 101 (updated)
Posted by on Nov 28, 2010

The SAP GUI is the first application I start in the morning and the last one I close at the end of the day. Most of the time I use multiple sessions on multiple systems. Last week @pverstraeten saw me closing all these sessions one-by-one and showed me how to do this the right/fast way: Just type /nex in the transaction field. Thanks!

Update (11-2010): I added two fast shortcuts. TFTT @ron_nooren and @jurjen_heeck!

I listed the ‘session commands’ below:

/o Display list of all sessions

/o + transaction Open transaction in new session (/orsa1)

/n End transaction and go back to SAP Easy Access user menu

/n + transaction Open transaction in same session (/nrsa1)

/i Close current session

/i + number of transaction Close specific sessions (/i3)

/nend Close all sessions with prompt

/nex Close all sessions without a prompt

CTRL + (plus key) Open new session

CTRL / (forward slash) Put cursor in command field

SAP GUI Command Field / Magic Box

Posted in: Knowledge sharing, Lifehacking, SAP

Make your Playstation 3 region free HTG

Make your Playstation 3 region free HTG
Posted by on Oct 9, 2010

For the past weeks my girlfriend and I have been on holiday in the USA and Canada which was – of course –  awesome. With the cheap dollar/euro conversion and enough luggage space left we decided to do some serious media shopping: DVD’s, Blu-rays (Lost 6 is superb!) and some PS3 games (Playstation Move is fun!). Back home we started using these with our Playstation 3 console. Blu-rays and games worked fine, but the DVD’s refused to play due to a wrong region code. Damn, I totally forgot about this and I just threw away my old region free DVD player a few days earlier. Nice. Blu-rays and PS3-games are by the way always region free.

A quick Google search learned me that I wasn’t the only one with this problem. Sadly, the region code for the PS3 can not be changed. Bummer. The only workaround given was to make a copy of every DVD to a blank DVD and use the copy. Since I didn’t feel much for that (too much work) I found a better way to view your wrong-region DVD’s.

Go to this site and download the PS3 Media Server. This nice piece of software enables you to stream all kinds of media from your Mac/Windows/Linux computer to your PS3. Not only the usual AVI, MPEG or MP4 files, but it also works with DVD’s! Just insert the DVD into your Mac or PC and browse to the files in the VIDEO_TS folder with your PS3. Easy and it works! Okay, you don’t get a DVD menu but who cares, you can finally watch the content.

If your PS3 is connected to your network by Wifi you should lower the video quality settings because PS3’s Wifi is too slow (max 54 MBit/s) to receive all data in real-time, which will make the video playback stuttering. In the ‘Transcoding Settings’-tab I set the maximum bandwidth to 14 and chose keyint=25:vqmax=7:vqmin=2 /* Medium quality for HD Wifi Transcoding as the video quality setting. This setup seems to work fine.

Posted in: Lifehacking