I like my new MacBook Pro, but…


A few days ago I bought a MacBook Pro to replace my previous Dell laptop. It looks very pretty and for the most part I’m really happy with it, but there are a few things that are really annoying about OS X. The one that is bugging me the most today is File Associations…

You can associate a program with a file extension, but it doesn’t really work properly. If I associate an editor like jEdit or SQL Developer with the “.sql’ file extension, clicking on the file starts up the editor, but the editor doesn’t actually contain the file. I have to do a File > Open, which kinda defeats the object of a file association.

I’m at an Oracle ACE Director briefing at Oracle Headquarters in Redwood Shores and there are loads of Macs around, but I’ve not found anyone who can get this to work yet.

A close second to this is the warning messages when you click a file link in a PowerPoint presentation. On Windows this produces a warning message, but on OS X it produces two warning dialogs. I’ve Googled this “feature” and I can’t find a sensible solution on Office 2008.

So I’m currently in a position where I can’t seemlessly switch from my PowerPoint slides to example code. I have to manually switch to the editor and open the file. Very annoying.

I’m a Mac newbie, so if anyone knows anything about either of these issues I would love to hear from you. 🙂



Author: Tim...

DBA, Developer, Author, Trainer.

20 thoughts on “I like my new MacBook Pro, but…”

  1. I don’t have a direct solution, however, I would recommend investigating Keynote as a PPT replacement. I found it to be superior to PPT in many ways. That might change the behavior of clicking the link, but still probably won’t change the file association issue.

  2. welcome to mac tim. i use textwrangler for all my text editor needs. just “get info” on a sql file either by using command-i or right-click. change the “open with” to your desired application, then click change all. now all .sql files will open in that application

  3. Hi.

    I tried textwrangler before I tried jEdit and SQL Developer. That didn;t work either.

    I did the file associations in exactly the way you mentioned. Regardless of the editor used, the editor program starts, but doesn’t contain the file. It’s like I’ve just opened the application from a normal shortcut. Very confusing. 🙁



  4. Sir, what would you be using to run oracle on Mac? Only 10g is there so far available for it. This is the only thing which is stopping me to switch over Mac 🙁 .


  5. Hi.

    I’ve running VirtualBox on my Mac. On that I install an Oracle Enterprise Linux 5 VM, which is what I use for running Oracle 11g. It works fine so far.



  6. Hey Tim:
    given that Macs are suppose to be running Unix under the hood, is it easy to get a text window up with a vi-like editor or is that a no-no?
    Been thinkinbg about getting one but my first/last Mac was a SE30 with Apple’s A/UX loaded in it, decades ago, lost track of what they do nowadays…

  7. tim,
    you can try deleting the plist file that handles file associations.

    rm ~/Library/Preferences/com.apple.LaunchServices.plist

    this will cause all your files to go back to their default application to open. sometimes preference files become corrupt in os x and deleting them is a safe way to have the OS revert to default settings.

  8. Hi.

    Deleting the file only affects the current associations after I reboot the machine.

    After the reboot, I reassociate a “.sql” file with editor (whichever one) and it does the same thing. The editor opens, but there is no file in it. I reboot, just in case, and there is still no change. It doesn’t work.

    I’ve tried SQL Developer, jEdit and TextWrangler. All fail in the same way. The only editor that works as expected is the built in TextEdit, but that also fails to open the document sometimes (according to one of the other ACEs).

    It would appear file associations is just plain buggy.

    Of course, I’m still hoping I’m being a dunce and someone will show me which switch to flick. Maybe after teh Snow Leopard upgrade. 🙁



  9. tim, that’s weird… very weird. I’ve never heard of that before, and mine works as expected. you could always take the mbp into an apple store and see if a “genius” can help… though my luck with the “genius” has been bad, i think they usually get really basic switcher questions. if you have any luck, post it here, will you?

  10. Chris: No difference between the two association methods. 🙁

    Tommy: On 3rd intallation of TextWrangler, the file association now works for that. It still doesn’t work for any other editor, but I can live with TextWrangler. 🙂

    Regarding my warning messages from PowerPoint, the solution seems to be to move to KeyNote. 🙂



  11. weird tim, that doesn’t really make any sense… you definitely have something strange going on.

    also, i tried to duplicate your powerpoint issue, i don’t get any warnings going from a hyperlink in a slide show to the default browser. what specific warnings are you getting?

  12. Hi.

    The URL messages are only when you link to a non-browser link, like a text file. If you link to a web URL it works fine.

    It’s a “feature” of powerpoint. Security by annoyance. 🙂



  13. yeah, microsoft thinks they understand security now… wait until you get blocked attachments in entourage, you have to open the plist file and manually add the extensions you want to allow through. how annoying is that?!? they could have a button in entourage allowing you to override the block, but no, they definitely know better than you!

  14. Tim,

    Welcome to the Mac world. I also replaced my old dead laptop with a new Macbook Pro as well. The new features for stretch and resizing web pages with the touch pad is quite nice. The terminal Unix tools are great. My only beef really is that VMWare Fusion sucks compared to the Linux and PC version. There is no real way to clone VMs and setup multiple shared storage with VMWare Fusion for 11g RAC. Other than that works well. I run R12 EBS and 11g databases under VMWare with the Mac and they are quite fast.


  15. They heard you at Apple. I read this post a while ago and when I saw the Apple – Pro – Tips a couple of days later I knew they were reading this blog.

  16. That methods works fine for some executables, but not all. For example, it works fine for editors like the default TextEdit or TextWrangler, but it will not perform the association correctly for all editors.

    I think the file association on OSX is buggy to say the least.



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