Scanning Mac WiFi networks from the command line

Thanks to for this tip.

First, do this (one-time operation):

$ sudo ln -s /System/Library/PrivateFrameworks/Apple80211.framework/Versions/Current/Resources/airport /usr/local/bin/airport

Then, anytime you want to query the nearby Wi-Fi networks, make sure Wi-Fi is enabled, and do this:

$ airport -s

This will create output that looks like this (B/SSIDs changed to protect the innocent 🙂 ):

SSID BSSID             RSSI CHANNEL HT CC SECURITY (auth/unicast/group)
XXXX 1a:2b:3c:4d:5e:6f -66 149 Y US WPA2(PSK/AES/AES)
XXXX 1a:2b:3c:4d:5e:6f -68 6 Y -- WPA2(PSK/AES/AES)
XXXX 1a:2b:3c:4d:5e:6f -43 6 Y US WPA2(PSK/AES/AES)
XXXX 1a:2b:3c:4d:5e:6f -65 6 Y -- WPA2(PSK/AES/AES)
XXXX 1a:2b:3c:4d:5e:6f -84 1 Y US WPA2(PSK/AES/AES)
XXXX 1a:2b:3c:4d:5e:6f -70 1 Y US WPA2(PSK/AES/AES)
XXXX 1a:2b:3c:4d:5e:6f -58 1 Y US WPA2(PSK/AES/AES)
XXXX 1a:2b:3c:4d:5e:6f -86 11 Y -- WPA(PSK/AES/AES) WPA2(PSK/AES/AES)
XXXX 1a:2b:3c:4d:5e:6f -85 11,-1 Y US WPA2(PSK/AES/AES)
XXXX 1a:2b:3c:4d:5e:6f -58 11 Y US WPA2(PSK/AES/AES)

Installing Boost on macOS High Sierra (10.13.2)

Assuming you have Homebrew installed already:

  1. Launch Terminal
  2. brew install boost” (without the quotes). Notice errors. Try updating brew by doing a ‘brew update’. Failures.  Notice by looking at /Users/<userid>/Library/Logs/Homebrew/boost/ that “brew” is at version 0.95 on my machine. Research brew and see it’s on version 1.4.0. Reinstall Brew as though it’s never been installed (even though it is). Notice install says success despite printing a couple of errors during the install. Use “sudo rm /usr/local/share/man/man1/brew.1” and “sudo rm /usr/local/share/doc/homebrew” and re-install brew: /usr/bin/ruby -e “$(curl -fsSL” to fix.
  3. Retry “brew install boost”.  Success! And brew has installed the latest Boost (1.66.0); under the old version of brew it was trying to install version Boost 1.59.0.

How I installed IPython on macOS 10.13.1 High Sierra

So I installed IPython today. It was a bit of an adventure, so thought I’d document it here, in case it helps anyone else (including my future self, heh):

  1. Installed Python 3.6 (the default, 2.7, included with macOS, isn’t new enough).  This puts the “python3” executable on your machine, which you can invoke similarly to “python” (which will invoke the default OS-supplied Python, probably 2.7).
  2. Got ‘pip‘. Note this was a convoluted process that involved copying some text from the pip website, pasting it into a text file, then executing that text file from python3 like so: ‘python3’ (without the quotes).  This yielded the ‘pip3.6’ executable, located here: /usr/local/bin/pip3.6
  3. Used the ‘pip3.6’ executable to download ‘ipython’: /usr/local/bin/pip3.6 install ipython
  4. Noticed that IPython looked like it installed correctly, but ‘ipython’ didn’t run from the command line immediately after that, and the installation path wasn’t noted anywhere in the installation output.  Turns out, IPython added its installation location to my PATH via my .bash_profile file, but didn’t tell me. I reloaded my .bash_profile like this, and all was good: source ~/.bash_profile
  5. Now I’ve got IPython! Invoke like this from the command line like this: ‘ipython’. Output looks like this:
    • Macintodffeb798:local me$ ipython
      Python 3.6.3 (v3.6.3:2c5fed86e0, Oct 3 2017, 00:32:08)
      Type ‘copyright’, ‘credits’ or ‘license’ for more information
      IPython 6.2.1 — An enhanced Interactive Python. Type ‘?’ for help.In [1]:

Chrome still opens last session instead of home page

This is still a problem exhibited in Chrome 55 on the Mac (I know, I know, not the very latest available at this moment, but still, pretty new):

“I was prompted (the little up arrow on the wrench icon) to update yesterday (Sept 28 2012), so I did. Now when I open Chrome after shutting it down, it opens my last session. This is not what I want to happen. I have always set Chrome to open my home page on start. I have confirmed my setting is still set to open my home page. I did change the setting to something else and change it back, it didn’t help. Version 22.0.1229.79 m on Windows 7 Ultimate 64 bit”

Can’t type into Spotlight? On 10.12?

This afternoon I found myself without the ability to type into Spotlight on my new iMac running macOS 10.12.3. All other apps received keyboard input just fine. At the time I was using Spotlight to do some basic calculations involving adding two sums of money up. A bit of Googling lead me to this page, one answer for which was to restart the Spotlight process using the Terminal command “killall Spotlight”. That did the trick for me, Spotlight once again accepted keyboard input.

Mac files, Windows and removable media

A good post on this topic by Brian Dickens over at HostileFork:

If you’re reading this, you have probably found some USB stick or external drive with files named .Trashes, .fseventsd, .Spotlight-V100 (and possibly even the more rarely reported ._.Trashes) on it. You might also be annoyed to see files in various directories called .DS_Store. Right?

Got an annoying “Top Hit” in Safari?

Check out ravi.rajendra’s solution here, which I’ve copied below in case the post goes away:

  1. Quit Safari
  2. Go to ~/Library/Safari/ in finder.
  3. Find “History.plist” file and edit it using textedit or text wrangler. (you may want to backup this file in case you messed it up)
  4. Search in the file for the URL (for e.g. or the text you are entering in the “top hits”.
  5. Identify the parent “<dict> …. ….. </dict>” and delete it from the file.
  6. Find any other instances of the same and delete the entire “” tags.
  7. Start Safari and enjoy. “” will no longer be there.

Worked for me in Safari 7.1.2.

Update: Unfortunately the top hit came back a little while later.  I think it shows the top level of the site as a top hit if you visit any subpage a few times.