How to open .pages files on a computer without iWork

Here’s a problem I’ve encountered at work a few times: You are given a .pages file, but can’t open it because you don’t have iWork’s Pages installed.

What is iWork or Pages?
Apple’s Pages application is part of the iWork software suite for Mac. It is meant to compete with Microsoft Office Word. Pages can open word “.docx or .doc” files, but Word can’t open Pages’ “.pages” files.

How to work around this problem:
Luckily, a PDF of each document is embedded within the file, and we can extract that PDF file with a little work.

From a PC:

Step 1: save the file somewhere on the computer, such as the desktop. In this example, “resume” is the filename, and “.pages” is the file extension.

Step 2: change the file extension from “.pages” to “.zip”. This will cause the icon to change appearance.

Step 3: Double click the icon, and extract the .zip file.

Step 4: Once extracted, a folder will be created with the same name as the .pages document. In my case, the folder is called “resume”. Open the folder.

This is what you will see:

Step 5: Open the QuickLook folder, and inside you will find a PDF of the original file. You can print the PDF, copy and paste the text in it, or do whatever else you want with it!

From a Mac (this way is easier)

Step 1: save the file somewhere on the computer, such as the desktop. In this example, “resume” is the filename, and “.pages” is the file extension.

Step 2: Right click the file, and select Get Info. Under name and extension, change the file extension from “.pages” to “.zip”. This will cause the icon to change appearance.

Step 3: You now have a .zip file. Double click it, and it should unzip, creating a new folder with the same name as the document.

Step 4: Open this folder, and you should see another folder inside called “QuickLook”.

Step 5: Open the QuickLook folder, and inside you will find a PDF of the original file. You can print the PDF, copy and paste the text in it.

Not the most elegant process, but its better than nothing.

Messages icon is incorrect with winterboard themes

Jailbroken iPhones with winterboard installed sure have a lot of nice themes out there to choose from. The problem is that some of these themes don’t update the text messages icon. So what happens is you apply a nice theme, such as Deep, but the unchanges messages icon sticks out like a sore thumb.

dockmessagesOne of these things just doesn’t belong…

Why it happens: When 3.0 was released, apple changed the name of this icon from “Text.png” to “Messages.png”

How you fix your winterboard themes: You’ve got to just change the name! This fix works with any theme that has this issue.

SSH/bonjour into your phone. I personally like to use CyberDuck and connect with bonjour

CyberduckJust click your iPhone when it appears in the list (mine is named Cadence). You’ll be prompted to login, which is username “root” and password “alpine”.

Cadence.local. – SFTPThis will reveal the iPhone file system. To change the icon name, you’ll want to navigate to /Library/Themes/[theme name]/icons and then find and rename “Text.png” to “Messages.png”. These icon names are case sensitive, so make sure that you put a capital M in there.

Then reboot/respring that phone and you’re set!

Fix for when FAT-formatted devices from OS X Disk Utility do not not work on PCs.

Recently I’ve been having the issue where my PC says “You need to format this drive before you can use it” whenever I plugged in my USB stick.


And when I did click “Format Disk”, it would show up as a 200MB capacity disk! My USB stick is 16GB, so that is definitely not good enough.


The thing that confused me was that I was formatting this USB device as FAT using the Mac OS X Disk Utility, so it should have worked right?… well it turns out there are a few more steps.

Step 1: Open Disk Utility, and select your device on the left hand panel (of course).

Step 2: Under disk utility, you actually have to click the “Partition” section, and then select “1 partition” from the Volume Scheme drop down menu


Step 3: After that, click “Options” and select “Master Boot Record.” Otherwise OS X might use GUID which Windows doesn’t like.


Then you just hit apply, and you’re done with that business. That’s what got my 16GB USB stick to actually show up as a 16GB device under windows.

Note: this guide is for Disk Utility in OS X 10.5 and 10.6. If you’re running 10.4 or earlier you might have to do some exploring on your own 🙂

Is your trash emptying slow in Leopard or Snow Leopard?

Hey look it’s a new post! A few days ago I noticed that people were actually reading my previous entry, so I figured my little blog here might actually be useful, and therefore might deserve an update every now and then.

Anyway, my problem now is that I upgraded Leopard to Snow Leopard a few weeks ago, and it’s been great except my trash would take a friggin’ eternity to empty when I was deleting a lot of stuff. I searched around online for solutions in various forum postings about snow leopard to no avial, thinking I was the victim of some random bug that affected nobody else.

As it turns out, the solution is simple. For whatever reason, “Empty trash securely” had become checked in finder preferences during the snow leopard upgrade-install process, which meant that that finder was secure-erasing everything (even when I clicked “empty trash” as opposed to “empty securely”). All I had to do was uncheck it, and voila! Problem solved!

uncheck empty trash securely

The answer to this problem was so easy that I overlooked it at first, so I hope this is helpful to those of you who are also confused by this deceptively-simple issue. No thanks is necessary dear readers (just send money.)

Edit: Updated for the retail version of Snow Leopard. Also, this setting wasn’t like this for me when I did a clean install of the retail Snow Leopard. Perhaps it’s a problem with certain upgrade-installs only?

Unibody MacBook and MacBook Pro owners: Got a screw loose? Tighten your trackpad!

A common complaint about the trackpad in the new Unibody MacBooks (Pro included) is that the click you hear when you press the button is too loud, or it requires to much pressure to click down.

Personally, I had the opposite problem. My trackpad button was too squishy on the right side, but felt normal on the left. It was no big deal and I ignored it for months, but then I stumbled upon this post at

As it turns out, unibody trackpad sensitivity issues can be fixed by tightening or loosening a singe, easy to access screw underneath the trackpad. And to get to it, all you have to do is remove the battery.

I fixed my trackpad sensitivity this weekend using this method. It’s so much better now! Definitely worth it for those brave enough.

Here is a picture of the screw on my macbook:


Here are the steps:

1) remove battery and battery cover. You can see the underside of the trackpad once you remove the battery.

2) find tri-point screw on the now-exposed underside of the trackpad. It is the lone, centered screw at the top of the pad.

3) take a tri-point screwdriver or whatever else fits into the screw, and tighten/loosen it A LITTLE BIT. I suggest rotating the screw just 1/8th of a full rotation before testing it. The smallest adjustment can make a big difference!
Note: If you over-tighten it the trackpad will not click down at all. This happened to me and it was a little freaky at first. If this happens, just keep loosening the screw  (it may take a few full rotations) and putting pressure on the trackpad until it becomes unstuck. I don’t know what will happen if you loosen the screw too much, but it is obvious when the screw is overly loose so it wasn’t an issue for me.

4) Test your trackpad. Click it a bunch, and click all parts of it to make sure it feels right. You should test it with the battery back in and the battery cover back on for accurate results.

5) Repeat  step 3 and 4 until satisfied. It takes a lot of trial and error to get the screw position correct. I changed mine perhaps a dozen times before I was satisfied.

A few final points

– Just keep in mind that this type of modification isn’t covered by Apple’s warranty, so be careful

– Of course though, you do this at your own risk and I’m not responsible for any damage you may somehow cause

– If you’re happy with your trackpad, don’t do this. It’s only worth the time if you have an issue to fix.

If you go ahead with it though, good luck and I hope I helped!

Update: This was written for the older unibody macbook/pros with the battery door on the underside. From what I’ve seen though, the newer macbook pros without easily-replaceable batteries have the same adjustment screw. You’ll just have to go through a few extra steps to remove the battery first (which don’t look very difficult). Look at steps 5 and 6 here to see how that is done.

Boot Camp files cannot be moved. Oh noes!

Yesterday I decided that I would like to install Windows 7 via bootcamp onto my Unibody macbook. I have bootcamp start to partition off 40GB for Windows, but it gets stuck for a few minutes and then I see this

Boot camp partition error
Boot camp partition error

What??? This is a not too uncommon problem actually. It’s caused by large files or file fragments residing at the edges of the OS X hard drive, which unfortunately is where a Windows partition needs continuous, empty space to set up.

OS X suggests you back up your data and wipe your drive (which would move all those pesky, large files to a better location), but obviously this will wipe your computer. Many online forum posters say the fix is to run an iPartition bootCD/DVD (non-free software), but this doesn’t work on newer macs, such as my unibody macbook… of course.  I also read that removing Parallels and disabling internet & screen sharing can fix this issue, but I tried that and it didn’t work for me.

Unfortunately there doesn’t seem to be another way if you are in my situation and can’t use (or don’t want to pay for) iPartition, other than time machine.

Here is what worked for me: I busted out my external hard drive, had time  machine copy everything (which is EASY EASY EASY by the way), then booted from the OS X install DVD and selected Utilities > Restore from backup. It sounds a little scary, but I can’t emphasize enough how easy it is. Time Machine is practically idiot-proof. Once it was done restoring about two hours later, my newly restored macbook was just like it was before, only faster and without the ridiculous levels of file fragmentation. And boot camp manager could now property format a partition. Yay!