Tag Archives: OS X

Printed Circuit Board Photo Collage Screensaver for OS X

OS X Flickr PCB Pool Screensaver
PCB Photo Pool Screensaver

One of my favorite ways to keep tabs on the Printed Circuit Boards Group on Flickr is with OS X’s built-in ability to turn an RSS feed into a screen saver, as shown above.

To create this cool and constantly changing screen saver, open the “Desktop & Screen Saver” pane of the OS X System Preferences, as shown below.

Desktop & Screen Saver Preferences

Click the + button and select “Add RSS Feed…”  OS X will prompt you for an RSS feed URL to use for the screen saver.  Enter


and click OK.

Make sure that the Display Style is set to “Collage” mode (the center option) as shown above.  Click Test and you should see photos from the pool appear on your screen.  Now the next time your screen saver activates, you should see a collage of cool photos from the PCB photo pool.

That’s it!

PS. If anyone knows of an equivalent screen saver for Windows or Linux, please let me know in the comments.  I don’t want OS X users to have all the fun!

Teleport allows keyboard/mouse sharing between Macs


Teleport is a program for OS X that lets you share one keyboard and mouse between multiple computers – very handy for when you want to turn a macbook into a makeshift second display for your Mac desktop.  Before I discovered teleport, I was using synergy, which achieves almost the same result but requires an open Terminal window to launch and use it (synergy’s daemon functionality is broken in Leopard).  Teleport has some other advantages over synergy, including drag and drop file support (really cool!) and working mouse-wheel scrolling.

I initially had some problems with a short delay when moving the mouse from my desktop to the remote display, but I quickly resolved this by making a couple changes to the teleport configuration:

  1. Uncheck “Show bezel when controlling shared Mac” in the teleport control panel options, as shown below.  This actually makes a noticeable difference.
  2. teleport_config

  3. Disable the switch animation by executing this command in a Terminal window:
    defaults write com.abyssoft.teleport showSwitchAnimation NO

Now my pointer moves almost instantaneously from one display to the next, even with one machine on Wi-Fi.  Curiously, I only had to make the changes on the server side, I left the client machine preferences alone.

Hopefully this will help other folks who are having the same issue.

abyssoft – teleport.

AVR, Eclipse and the Mac

Pete Harrison at Micromouse Online wrote a short tutorial about using Eclipse to program AVRs.   Eclipse is  an open source IDE that is supported on many platforms, including OS X on the Mac.

I have never used Eclipse myself, so I can’t vouch for how well this works, but I would like to upgrade from the command line tools I am using (part of AVRMacPack, which is now called CrossPack).  I could use Apple’s Xcode but last time I checked, the AVR integration in Xcode wasn’t that great.

Is anyone using Eclipse for AVR development? What do you like/dislike about it?

AVR, Eclipse and the Mac | Micromouse Online

gerbv – A free, open source gerber viewer for Linux / OS X

When you finish a PCB design, you typically use the CAM export function of your layout tool to generate a set of gerber files to send to the PCB manufacturer.  To avoid errors in the finished board, it’s usually a good idea to review the files before you click send.

Enter gerbv, a free, open source gerber viewer that is available for many platforms, including Debian and OS X (via fink).

I recently upgraded to version 2.0 (I was using the really outdated version 1.0 on Macports) and I am really impressed by the improvements in the GUI and overall usability.

gerbv is a part of the gEDA suite, which also includes layout and schematic capture tools that are slowly becoming more popular vs. more established non-free tools like Eagle.

Update: I missed an interesting update to a post over on My 2uf, not everyone seems to like the rest of the gEDA suite.

gerbv screenshot
gerbv screenshot