Dimmed Icons

So there I was updating my Mac mini (which to be honest has been gathering dust on my desk for a while now, well no screen, no keyboard and mouse, it’s difficult to use…. certainly not easy to switch on and do stuff.

Mac mini

So how do I configure it , well I am currently using VNC/Apple Remote Desktop combination to control it.

On the Mac mini I have configured it through Apple Remote Desktop to allow others to access it.

System Preferences > Sharing

Check the Apple Remote Desktop checkbox and add a password by clicking Access Privileges…

System Preferences

On my other Mac, I don’t have the full version of Apple Remote Desktop, so I am using Chicken of the VNC which is VNC software (you can tell that from the name), and as Apple Remote Desktop is VNC compatible, means I can control my Mac mini from another Mac on my network, and the Mac mini doesn’t need a monitor or a keyboard or even a mouse!

So once I started it, I set about installing updates, it was running 10.4.6, so I upgraded to 10.4.11 (and will probably install Leopard on it, when it arrives this week (oh yes I have finally got round to ordering Leopard, family pack will upgrade the Mac mini first, but will wait on my other Macs until I am happy that all my peripherals and applications are Leopard friendly)).

However I noticed that all my OS X icons in Finder were dimmed or faded and couldn’t understand why, well more importantly I must have done something to it and couldn’t remember what!

Well a quick search on Google found this Apple Discussions thread.

I like to be able to view the normally hidden files and folders. However when this is enabled, the majority of icons show as faded.

Ah well, I must have done something in Terminal to change Finder to view hidden files, but couldn’t remember how I did this, or where I found out to do this.

So back to Google and this revealing MacWorld article.

Using a simple Terminal command, you can work with all the files on your machine from the Finder. Open Terminal, type this command, and press Enter:

defaults write com.apple.Finder AppleShowAllFiles YES

Well this is going to show hidden files, so as you might guess…

defaults write com.apple.Finder AppleShowAllFiles NO

..will hide hidden files again.

So started Terminal, typed the command and then rebooted the computer to restart Finder and now all my icons can be seen in all their multitechnicolour glory.

So why have I been messing about with upgrading my Mac mini, well I am going to put it under my TV and use it as a media centre.

I have ordered a 15m cat5e cable so I can also place my new 802.11n Airport Extreme under the TV as well, so not only will the Mac mini be connected (by gigabit ethernet on the Airport Extreme and alas 100Mb ethernet on the Mac mini. It should be faster than 802.11g though.

I will also be able to connect my EyeHome to the Airport Extreme by ethernet as well.

Pity it’s an old G4 PPC model, so not only just 100Mb ethernet also no remote!

Well if it works out as I hope and it works well, I will upgrade to a new Intel Mac mini which comes with the Apple remote…

Or get an Apple TV!


I was playing around with my new 802.11n Airport Extreme base station seeing how I could maximise the performance of the wireless network.

I switched to a pure 5Ghz 802.11n network and then using Chicken of the VNC on my work MacBook Pro made a connection to my iMac and set EyeTV going. I was quite impressed with the screen refresh, however it wasn’t good enough (even at 300Mbs) to watch remotely.

I also undertook some file transfers and was very impressed with the speed.

I had to switch back to b/g compatible mode which reduced the 802.11n speed down to 130Mbs, but as I have a fair few legacy devices I need the b/g compatability. I will at some point add an Airport Express or my older 802.11g Airport Extreme to one of the LAN ports of the newer base station to enable me to have a dual wireless network, one a pure 802.11n network and a b/g network.

The only problems I had were when I switched back to b/g compatible mode, I forgot to reset the security back to WPA/WPA2 mode which meant that my HP TC1100 Tablet failed to connect back onto the network. I had to reset the wireless security and then reboot the TC1100 before it would connect correctly to the wireless network. Other devices worked fine, butI suspect that was because theTC1100 hardware doesn’t support

I also had to delete and add back my wireless Canon MP600R wireless printer.

I am impressed with the new 802.11n Airport Extreme and I haven’t even started to utilise the full functionality of the device.