OmniPlan for Mac–Setting a tasks’s default effort

 Posted by at 4:18 pm  Applications, Mac Applications, OmniPlan  Comments Off on OmniPlan for Mac–Setting a tasks’s default effort
Jan 022011

OmniPlan version 1.7 (for Mac) by the OmniGroup, is an aesthetically pleasing application for project management, with an ardent base of dedicated users. Recently I had the inclination to evaluate OmniPlan for my purposes, and I stumbled upon something that I couldn’t find in the help information. As soon as I installed OmniPlan and started a new project I noticed that the default task duration (effort) was set to one day (e.g., 1d).

About screen for OmniPlan 1.7

I changed the duration for that first task to 30 minutes, but as soon as I created another task the duration was again defaulting to one day. Searching the OmniPlan help showed that “default” was not in their vocabulary. How ubiquitous is the notion of default values? Every programmer and computer user knows what a default value is, don’t they? If you use a computer for a period longer than a month, you are likely to be introduced to the notion of what a default value is, so I should be able to find some reference to it in the Help, shouldn’t I?

OmniPlan Help has no reference to "default"

Some searching on the Internet revealed that task duration is a function of “Effort Conversion Factors” on the Project Formatting Inspector; and the confusing part is that it is a “function of.”

There is no simple label like “default task effort,” instead the interface seems to have been designed by OmniPlan programmers or technicians from their perspective, rather than from a project manager’s perspective. With repetition I am sure I would be accustomed to looking in the Project Formatting inspector to adjust the default task effort (or duration) but being new to OmniPlan, it was not readily apparent where to look.  Some experimentation fiddling with the interface allowed me to enter the correct fraction of “hours per work day” that result in a default task duration of 30 minutes.


The other bit is that this change only pertains to this project, and new projects continue to use one day as the default task effort.  What happens if a 30 minute task duration is the default you want applied to all subsequent projects? For this you’ll need to find and alter the “Empty Plan” template, called “Empty Plan.omniplan”. The Empty Plan template is buried within the contents of package, which means you cannot open the “Empty Plan” template from within OmniPlan. Why not? Because OmniPlan looks for OmniPlan files within your existing folders, and the finder utility within OmniPlan doesn’t allow inspecting files or folders, which is expected. Very few applications permit right-clicking on files when performing a file-open function.

You will need to use Finder to navigate to the contents of the application package and then open the template with OmniPlan (two-finder-tap the track-pad or right-click, with empty plan.omniplan selected, and select Open With OmniPlan from the context menu). Then use the Project Formatting inspector to adjust the “Effort Conversion Factors” as shown above and save the Empty Plan template (the following videos shows how to do this; there are two videos in order to keep video size below 10 MB in size).



My evaluation of OmniPlan is ongoing, and I haven’t yet made a decision what to buy, but I thought coverage of this pesky bit was not well covered so I blogged about it.  Hope some finds it helpful.

WireShark 1.2.9 install on Mac OS X 10.6.4

 Posted by at 3:33 am  Mac, Mac How To  Comments Off on WireShark 1.2.9 install on Mac OS X 10.6.4
Jul 252010

I wanted to install WireShark on my MacBookPro but found that simply following the instructions simply did not work completely, but I dd manage to work through the issues.Following the instructions installed the app but I could not see any interfaces, and as it turns out it is a permissions issue.

The ‘dmg’ file downloads fine and the instructions are clear enough in the “read me first.rtf’:

  1. Drag the Wireshark icon (i.e., to the Applications alias (folder).
  2. (Within the Wireshark dmg folder) open the Utilities folder.
  3. Drag the contents of the Command Line folder to /usr/local/bin (if you’re a Windows convert like I am that means using the Go menu in Finder to navigate to /usr/local/bin)
  4. You will need to adjust the permissions on /dev/bpf* in order to capture… You can do this by dragging the ChmodBPF folder to the StartupItems alias **But this did not work for me**� To be fair the instructions do say “you can do this by hand” and that is exactly what needed to be done in this case.

After several failed attempts I opened the ChmodBPF folder and examined the contents of the executable ChmodBPF and manually carried out its instructions from a command line to resolve the issue.

From the ChmodBPF file the two needed instructions, both prefixed with ‘sudo’, to be run from a command prompt are:

chgrp admin /dev/bpf*

chmod g+rw /dev/bpf*

Without this change Wireshark launches but fails to see any “interfaces” which means it will not capture nor decode packets.

Getting Up To Geek Speed on Mac

 Posted by at 9:33 pm  Mac, Mac How To  Comments Off on Getting Up To Geek Speed on Mac
Mar 112010

Switching over to the Mac platform has been an experience so far, but getting up to “geek” speed is taking a bit of doing.� I have taken to following a pod cast call Mac Geek Gab from The Mac Observer. It has helped me to think Mac and find a collection of useful tools to manage my new platform (new to me) in the same manner as I managed my past Windows platforms.� Plus, I have not abandoned Microsoft Windows platforms, I still need to manage Windows XP and maintain my personal knowledge base of Windows operating systems, I simply choose to use OS X as my base of operations.

One challenge has been to find alternate programs to help me do what I was doing on the former base of operations now on the new base of operations.

  1. Important point–Back space key: fn + Del on OS X emulates the MS Windows Backspace key; but I find myself adapting too, positioning the cursor as needed� so as to be able to use the OS X Del key as intended. Initially the disruption of wrongly deleted characters while hurriedly typing was rather annoying, but I’m up to speed now
  2. Other keyboard based cross overs: whenever the online tutor says “use the command key” it is the same as the “control key” on Windows.
  3. I use Mac Mail as my e-mail client and I’m forcing myself to discover all the various ways to do e-mail related tasks with the default tool on OS X before jumping to another tool too soon.
  4. On Windows I had been using VBox (or Virtual Box from Sun now Oracle) for virtualization but I’m using VMWare Fusion on OS X. I have a Technet Plus subscription and was able to load the ISOs of Windows 7 and Windows 2008 in separate instances on my MacBook Pro with relative ease.� Cool too was that when I would right click on a clearly Windows file under OS X, the Mac OS will offer to open that file with the appropriate Windows 7 application, even though the instance is not active: I’ll have to test that out some in the future.
  5. The iWorks trifecta of Numbers, Pages, and Keynote is functioning well for me, but I need to test it further.I use Pages as needed for documentation, but have not used Numbers very much yet, and keynote remains unused by me.
  6. On my wife’s MacBook Pro 13″ I installed the Mac version of Office, but was disappointed to see that the interface was entirely different which means I need to get her a different “How To” book.
  7. I heard about and procured OmniFocus as a task manager and find it helps me stay on project and to get things done. OmniFocus also sync’s nicely with my iPhone which makes updating my projects easy too.
  8. I heard about Notebook from, what I consider to be a OneNote replacement, the other day while listening to the Mac Geek Gab podcast and I love it.� I can print my online reciepts to NoteBook and use it to organize my thoughts and projects.

More to come…

Reading a “.pages” file on a Windows PC

 Posted by at 8:35 pm  Mac, Mac How To  Comments Off on Reading a “.pages” file on a Windows PC
Mar 112010

So I thought it would be useful to save a few password for some of my development web sites to my mobile me iDisk so that I could get at them from elsewhere, good Idea right!

But when I tried to open the “.pages” file on a windows platform, “no can do.”

A bit of research revealed the skinny!

Mac OS X “.pages” files which have not been exported as a “.doc” file can in fact be viewed on a Windows platform when you understand that a “.pages” file is a compressed file containing several other files.� WinZip or Winrar will open a “.pages” file and then from there you can open the “preview.pdf” file with your standard adobe reader. Bingo!

Working from the MacBookPro

 Posted by at 9:10 am  Mac, Mac How To  Comments Off on Working from the MacBookPro
Feb 132010

Since moving to the MacBook Pro, everything is a little different, but with a really nice feeling to it.� At the day gig today I discovered that there is a built in Cisco VPN Client on OS X Snow Leopard, and I was even able to VPN in from my iPhone to the company firewall; nice! This article explains the how to of the OS X Cisco VPN

I also made the plunge and bought a 13″ MacBook Pro for my wife, and she’s enjoying it so far. The backspace key work differently, but I have adapted!

OSX for the PC

 Posted by at 11:18 pm  Mac, Mac Research  Comments Off on OSX for the PC
Jul 252009

I know how to build a PC with Windows workstation and server OS, with Linux, and Solaris, so now I need to learn how to bring up an OSX rig.

A friend told me that the Mac OS has been ported to the x86 platforms, so this then is the beginning of a project to teach myself some new skill.� Acquiring and implementing the OSX system on an x86 platform.

Inital reearch has found some promising links: