How To Connect To A MacBook With A Broken Screen

My wife accidentally dropped her Macbook Pro off the sofa and broke the screen. Amazingly the computer was still running but she could no longer interact with it because the screen was completely blank. She was just finishing some work and didn’t have a backup. I think that the best thing to do in this scenario is remotely connect to the computer and rescue it. I don’t recommend restarting the computer because there is always a chance that it won’t come back up. You will need another working computers (preferably a Mac) to follow these instructions.

Here is how I did this:

1 – Open The Terminal On Broken Computer
Although, you can’t see the screen, you will need to open the terminal. You can open the terminal using the shortcut: command-space and typing terminal and pressing enter.

2 – Allow ssh connections
On the broken computer, you will need enable SSH. This requires some accurate typing because again you can’t see what you are typing. You need to enter this command (from within the terminal that you have just launched).

sudo systemsetup -setremotelogin on

3 – Find the computer’s IP Address
Using another computer, you will need to find the IP Address of your broken computer. The best way is to connect to your router and view the DHCP leases table. I can’t provide instructions for this stage because it varies so much between different routers. Here is how my Virgin router’s DHCP lease / reservation tables looked. I’ve covered over the mac addresses for privacy.

DHCP Lease Reservations

You can see the entry at the bottom shows a computer with an IP Address of This was my wifes Macbook.

4 – SSH into the Macbook
From your working computer – you should then be able to SSH into the broken computer by opening the terminal.

ssh username@ipaddress

5 – Enable remote desktop
You should now be connected over SSH to the broken computer and should be able to enable remote desktop. This varies depending on the version of OSX that you are using. You can see full instructions on the Apple website. This is the command that I used:

sudo /System/Library/CoreServices/RemoteManagement/ -activate -configure -access -on -restart -agent -privs -al

6 – Connect Via Remote Desktop
You should now be able to connect the broken computer via remote desktop. The best tool that I’ve found for this job is Easy Remote Desktop. You open it and enter the IP address of the broken computer:


And voila…. you are connected to the computer…

I hope that this helps someone.

How To Clear Your Apple Maps Search History in iOS 8

I wanted to clear my Apple Map search history because it was auto-completing the wrong things. However, it isn’t very obvious how to clear your Apple Map search history. Here is how I cleared it:

1 – Open the Apple Maps app.

2 – Click into the search bar at the top.

Clearing your Apple Map search history.
Click into the search bar at the top

3 – Click on favourites

Clearing the search history on Apple Maps
Click on the favourites button

4 – Click the clear button.

Push the Clear Button
Click on the clear button!

Apple are generally great at usability.  However, this simply doesn’t make sense to me and seems massively confusing. I wish that Apple would add a control clearing the search history from within the iPhone setting app. This would fit in with their general settings paradigm and is exactly how they do the clearing of Safari browser history.

Hope this helps someone.

Great Image Viewer for Mac OS X … Lyn image browser

Apple Mac OS X is a brilliant OS but unfortunately it’s missing a good image viewer. In comparison, Windows has Preview and Ubuntu has the Gnome Image Viewer both of which are great. I did some research and the image browser i found was Lyn Image Browser. I like it so much… I thought I would put write a little review for it.

So why is it so good?

1 – Great Thumbnail Viewer
Lyn Image Browser has a great thumbnail viewer where the images are large enough to actually see them. You can browse through folders really quickly and easily.


You can also view all the image information:


2 – You can flick between images
This might not sounds like much of feature but frankly it is. Apple’s Preview is missing this key feature and is super annoying while both Windows preview and Gnome image viewer both have this feature.


Finally… its fast and lightweight
I hate slow applications and this one is very fast and lightweight and doesn’t hog the cpu.

So, if you are looking for a image viewer for Mac OSX then I can highly recommend Lyn Image Browser.

How to stop .ds_store files being created in Apple OSX

I use source control while developing software. Apple’s OSX creates .DS_Stores files in any folder that you browse with Finder. These are normally hidden but they obviously aren’t ignored by version control which is designed track everything including hidden files. I could add them to the .ignore files in both Mercurial or Git – but this is time consuming and annoying.

Therefore, I installed asepsis which an lightweight opensource tool. This forces Mac to store all the .DS_store files in another location. It was quite straight forward to get going.

1. Download the software
2. Install it
3. Restart the computer
4. Migrate all the existing DS_store files using the command:

asepsisctl migratein 

Hope this is helpful.

Firefox Spell Checker Doesn’t Work In Apple Mac OSX – How to fix…

I’ve moved from Ubuntu to Apple Mac OSX and like to use Firefox.  However, rather annoyingly the Firefox spell checker doesn’t appear to work on Apple by default.  Bizarrely, it doesn’t highlight any incorrect spellings.  I found that the only way to fix it was to add another dictionary to Firefox.  Here is how I did it.

Step 1 – Find a dialogue box or text box and right click.  You should see a menu like so.  You could click Language -> Add Dictionaries


Step 2 – You will be taken to the Firefox Dictionary and Language Pack Page .  You should select and install the right dictionary for your locale.


Step 3 – I installed English (United Kingdom) dictionary and immediately the spell checker  immediately started working.  Hope this helps someone else.

p.s. if anyone from the Firefox team are reading this – why doesn’t Firefox work with native Apple spell check / dictionary?

How to install ssh-copy-id on OSX (the easy way!)

If you have migrated from Linux to OSX… you might well be missing ssh-copy-id. Frankly, the easier way to do this is to install the Brew repository / package manager for Mac and then install ssh-copy-id on your Mac in one command.

Install Brew (if you don’t already have this awesome tool!).

ruby -e "$(curl -fsSL"

Then simply..

brew install ssh-copy-id

Job done!