I'm getting ready to buy a MacBook Pro 15", but would like some help regarding a few things.

  1. I witnessed somebody using a tool that showed all web requests' request headers / content, response headers / content, URL, port, other meta info, etc, sort of like a "Live HTTP Headers" on steroids (I thought it was a stand-alone piece of software, but maybe it's just a browser add-on). Do you know what the tool I'm speaking of is called?
  2. Mac OS X comes with Apache and listens at port 80 by default. This is no good, if you're developing an application (a Django app) and you want it listening on port 80 during development (not using Apache). Can I stop Apache from listening on port 80 or disable it altogether, or is it required for OS X (or some built-in software) to operate?
  3. MOST IMPORTANT: For about 3 days I had a high-res 15" but had to return it due to the fonts being difficult to read. I was able to cope with certain of the apps, but my code editor's text looked blurry no matter the font size, and a couple other apps' fonts did as well. Is there a trick to getting your fonts to look crisp on the high-res display (such as how Windows has ClearType settings, etc), or should I change fonts? I believe I only used Consolas during the 3 days.
  4. Are their any other tools (aside from Firefox add-ons) that you would recommend to a software / web developer who's new to Mac?

closed as not a real question by Nathan Greenstein Mar 23 '11 at 23:02

It's difficult to tell what is being asked here. This question is ambiguous, vague, incomplete, overly broad, or rhetorical and cannot be reasonably answered in its current form. For help clarifying this question so that it can be reopened, visit the help center. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • 2
    These points cover different areas and need to be different questions – Mark Mar 21 '11 at 22:28
  • Charles.app is a must tool for HTTP introspection but +1 to @mark from me! – nuc Mar 22 '11 at 1:05
  • I am closing this question because there are too many different things being asked. Please post new questions for each distinct question you're asking. – Nathan Greenstein Mar 23 '11 at 23:02

The first sounds like Wireshark, which you can install from Fink, MacPorts, or Homebrew.

The second, you don't need to run the built-in Apache at all. System Preferences > Internet & Wireless > Sharing, uncheck "Web Sharing".

The only real font control in OSX is System Preferences > Personal > Appearance, where you can control whether font smoothing is done at all and at what size OSX stops trying to smooth small fonts. Some people don't handle smoothing well, so turning it off can be useful. (Smoothing is done by borrowing and halftoning neighboring pixels, so the fonts really are fuzzy. Some people find it easier to read, some harder.)

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    Just a note so new users don't get confused: Web sharing is off by default, so it won't be checked in the first place. Also, if you do want to use web sharing, you can change the port Apache uses by changing the file /etc/apache2/httpd.conf – ughoavgfhw Mar 21 '11 at 22:41
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    Wireshark is too low level for this imho. It's better to use Charles proxy or browser specific plugins (Firebug in Firefox, or Chrome dev tools in Chrome, or Safari dev tools). – Peter Štibraný Mar 22 '11 at 7:07
  • @Peter - indeed. Wireshark looks pretty hardcore. The tool I'm referring to was a bit more than Live HTTP Headers. It gave a bit more about the request / response, and even let you create requests, but it was really user friendly (and being stand-alone meant that I could use it without Firefox, which was nice for testing small interactions with an API). – orokusaki Mar 23 '11 at 20:41
  • @orokusaki: take a look at Charles proxy, it might be what you want. On Windows, there is Fiddler proxy that does the same. – Peter Štibraný Mar 23 '11 at 20:53
  1. It could have been an add-on, running in a separate window which may have made it appear to be a standalone application. With Firefox, I use the excellent HttpFox add-on which provides all of what you describe here.

  2. If you know how to configure Apache (via the configuration files), you will be able to do anything with it, including making it listen on a different or multiple ports. You could also install MAMP which is a LAMP/XAMP-esque bundle that includes Apache, MySQL and PHP for the Mac. It can be set up very easily.

  3. You may have to look at the font-smoothing or anti-alias feature on Mac OS X. As someone else has already pointed out, you can play with different settings from within System Preferences > Appearance.

  4. You will definitely want to look at a good editor/IDE to use for web development. You have multiple choices on the Mac, including: MacVim (or Vim on Terminal), TextMate, Coda, Aptana IDE, etc. You may want to look into version control for managing your code and docs. While Git, Mercurial, and Subversion, for example, can be used from the Terminal, there are nice GUIs for each available on Mac including: Tower for Git, MacHg, and Versions.


There are lots of ways to inspect HTTP data. There is a Firefox extension called, "Live HTTP Headers", which can operate as a Sidebar in Firefox itself, or can be popped out and have it's own window (which may look like a "standalone application"?). It does what it says on the cover.

Depending on how technically you need to dive into HTTP inspection, you can do it with various webapps and awesome free apps.

Just last night I used Hurl.it (yes, wonderful name, I know) to send rudimentary HTTP POST requests. I've used HTTP Client.app (Desktop app) to great success, and there is also the classic wireshark, or tcpdump to get loads of technical information. tcpdump comes standard on OSX, as a matter of fact.

  • It's none of those. I use Live HTTP Headers all the time. – orokusaki Mar 23 '11 at 20:39
  • My only response is. There's lots of tools that exist like this. Why do you need the exact specific one that you saw being used? Was there some "killer feature" that none of the other apps have? – Jason Salaz Mar 23 '11 at 22:52

Re the fuzzy screen... I recently discovered that when connecting to a LCD display with a VGA cable, it does this trick where it approximates its resolution as if it were talking to a CRT, often resulting in nasty moire patterns and strangeness. It's approximating the size of each pixel, pushing out pixels that aren't an exact match for the size of the physical LCD pixels, resulting in blurring and moire patterns. That's how you drive a CRT, where the pixels are generated in the gun at the back and they hit the screen wherever they hit the screen, but it messes up on an LCD.

The solution is to use a DVI cable. When you do that, the machine is actually talking individually to each physical pixel on the display, and it's super crisp and nice.

If you noticed regular vertical stripes of blurriness on the display, that's what's going on.

  • I'm talking about the notebook's display, but that's helpful for future concerns, thanks. – orokusaki Mar 24 '11 at 16:11

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