Reformat your USB stick for Mac

Icon Disk Utility

USB sticks are commonly used to quickly exchange data between machines without any direct connection. Of course, you can use the handy devices on every macintosh as well as on PCs. Clearly one cannot install Windows applications on Apples OS X or vice verca. The problem is though, that if you not only want to open/read content from the external medium but also write/copy data onto your Mac, the stick must have a compatible file system.

A Mac differs in several areas from a Windows PC. The competing operating systems offer pretty much the same functionality, the OS handling however is completely different. While many USB sticks use the standard Windows file system NTFS, Mac runs on AFS and is also able to work with FAT32.

In order to check out what file system is currently installed on your stick, open Finder, right-click on the USB device and select Informations. The Info window will open and under General there will be a Format entry. If you were, so far, not able to write on the stick the entry will probably state NTFS. Therefor you need to reformat the USB device if you want to have full access to your stick on Mac. Fortunately, OS X comes with the appropriate tool to do so. Before you undertake the following steps, please make sure to backup all files that are on the USB stick. Reformatting the device will inevitably delete everything on it.

  1. Plug-in your USB device
  2. Open the Finder and go to your hard drive
  3. Go to Applications and open Utilities
  4. Open Disk Utility
  5. To the left, choose your USB device, not the underlying current partition
  6. Select the Delete tab to the right
  7. Choose the new format (I would recommend FAT)
  8. Assign a name to the new stick format (optional)
  9. Hit the Delete button to the lower right
Disk Utility Application

Disk Utility Application

The disk utility app will now reformat your USB stick. If you selected FAT as the new format, you will now be able to read/write on both Windows and Mac systems.

How to apply Sublime Text 2 and Skim to MacTeX on Mountain Lion

LaTeX is a very powerful platform for creating/writing professional documents. It is widely used in scientific context for writing papers and exams mostly because of it’s robustness when it comes to typesetting large documents. This is a short abstract on my experiences setting up LaTex with my favorite text editor Sublime Text 2 on Mac.

The first task is to download and install the MacTeX Package. The download is available on the MacTeX Users Group website under The regular MacTeX download file is about 2 GB big. After completing the download, just run the installer and follow the regular instructions to install the package. I strongly recommend to always install the latest or 2nd to latest version of MacTeX.

Next step is to choose an editor to work with. There’s tons of software out there to create full LaTeX documents. The MacTex package includes the open source program TeXShop. Others, like Latexian, LaTeXiT, or TexMaker are easily find and freely downloadable. This tutorial, however, focuses on the editor Sublime Text 2 (ST2) available under ST2 is available for free as a test-version without functional limitations or a time limit. If you start using ST2 on a regular basis, I recommend to purchase a license in order to support further development of ST2. Download ST2 and run the installer. ST2 supports all major syntaxes including LaTeX, BibTeX, etc.

In order to enjoy the full power of ST2 you need to install a couple of extra tools.

Strongly recommandable is the open source extension Package Control. Will Bonds “full featured package manager” enables users to find and install available add-ons directly in ST2. It also keeps everything up to date installing new versions automatically. It is important to read the instructions available at Package Control’s website carefully. In my humble opinion, an awesome package!

To open Package Control in ST2 hit cdm+shift+p. The Sublime Command Palette will open and you can browse all options including the newly installed Package Control items like ‘Install Package’. There you will find lots of add-ons like iTodo, jQuery bundle, WordCount, or LaTeXTools.

Package Control

ST2 Command Palette - Package Control options

In order to see the result of your LaTeX code you need to have a PDF viewer. There’s tons of good stuff out there – for this tutorial please install Skim the usual way.

At the heart of this tutorial stands the installation of the LaTexTools package. To simplify working with LaTeX documents in ST2 LaTexTools is the main package you need to install. It enables, for example, compiling of your LaTeX source via hotkey, showing a logfile with warnings and errors, as well as launching the Skim PDF viewer at the current cursor position. Just find and install LaTexTools easily via Package Control.

Finally, you should now be able to compile your .tex code using hotkey cmd+b. The Skim editor will open and jump to the pdf spot of the corresponding cursor position in ST2.

Hint: Right after everything was set and seemed to work fine, I started trying to edited different existing .tex documents. Surprisingly, Skim would not open automatically when compiling (command + b) certain documents. My first thoughts were rotating about errors in the LaTexTools package or missing statements in the .tex file as the problem only occured in some documents. Turns out after consulting miscellaneous google hits it’s a language specific problem. I’m from Germany and we have those strange characters with two dots on top called “Umlaute”. Skim does not show up when compiling documents that are located in folders which contain one or more Umlaute (ä,ü,ö) in the folder name. After changing the folders everything just works great!

Cancel “Sending email” in Outlook:mac 2011

After Outlook:mac 2011 update 14.2.0 the email outbox disappeared from the main Outlook UI. Instead, a progress bar is shown on the bottom right where you can monitor the status of transmitting emails. In contrast to Microsoft Windows versions of Outlook, one cannot right click on the small progress bar in order to cancel the sending.

If you, however, need to cancel the transmitting of a mail, use the following manual:

  1. In the menu, click Window > Progress
  2. An extra progress list window opens
  3. Remove/cancel the designated progress
  4. The missing Outbox is now shown on the mailbox bar
  5. Open the Outbox and select your mails as desired
  6. Delete the selected emails

This approach is especially helpful if emails with large attachments are not sent properly.