Saturday, November 17, 2012

SideEffects Troubleshooting


Side Effects

No issues reported with latest version 1.8.7

Techies may still find this page interesting reading.

So why is it so complicated to make some simple icons color?

(icons, that is, which used to be color in MacOS X 10.6 Snow Leopard)
Scroll down for a technical explanation of
what it takes to perform this seemingly simple tweak.

As for the reasoning

it could be one, or a combination of two things:


Apple are making a clear design point:
This is their new style and we must all adapt.

That is what Apple do, and usually we're grateful.. somewhere down the line.
Some prefer the grey icons. Myself and 100 000 SideEffects users disagree here.
When I'm building SideEffects my system goes back to grey, and it isn't growing on me.

But why did Apple go to the lengths they have,
making it impossible to change the icons to color without advanced code-injection?


It's possible that in the slow convergence of their mobile and desktop lines Apple directly transplanted some iOS code, completely replacing the old Sidebar with something designed for the iPad. That would explain why it requires some advanced code tweaking.

So are you having issues getting color to appear?

In the previous version: 1.8.6, some users reported no change / grey icons.
This version ( hopefully fixes this with a new permissions script.

Just in case, I have not removed my repair instructions for the last version:

Issues? Still Grey?

If it doesn't seem to work first time, then type
⌘ - option (alt) - esc
Choose Finder, then click Relaunch.
Type  ⌘n to open a new Finder window
Color in the Sidebar
Yes? No?
 Menu - Log out and then in again
Yes? No?
 Menu - Restart
Yes? No?
Uninstall and re-install SideEffects
Yes? No?
Open Spotlight by holding ⌘ and tapping the spacebar.
Start typing easysimbl, then hit enter to launch it.
Check "Use SIMBL" if it ain't.
Close EasySIMBL and relaunch the Finder.

Yes? No?

EasySIMBL may still require some coaxing before it kicks in:
relaunch the Finder, log out and in again, restart the Mac.

Yes? No?

Go to Lagente, get BatCHmod (free / donation) and open it:

⌘⇧G in Finder, go to
~/Library/Application Support/SIMBL/Plugins

Drop colorfulsidebar.bundle onto BatCHmod's window
Change owner to your username, apply to enclosed
Relaunch the Finder..
(alt-right-click in the Dock
type ⌘-alt-esc and choose Finder)

Yes? No?

Try previous version

Sticky "Use SIMBL" button?

In other words: Problem - Easy SIMBL resets itself every time you restart.
Sidebar is grey again until you open EasySIMBL and check "Use SIMBL".

Note: This fix has been incorporated into SideEffects 1.8.7

First try installing SideEffects again and / or logging out and in again.

⌘⇧G in Finder, paste in:

 Right-click, open the file "overrides.plist" with Text Edit
..unless you have a dedicated editor for .plist files,
you'll need to dig it out of Applications.

 Look for:
<key> com.github.norio-nomura.SIMBL-Agent </key>
<key> Disabled </key>

 Change <true/> to <false/>

 Save and Close

Open EasySIMBL - should be fine now..

Slow Finder Solved ✓

I was experiencing long delays in the Finder with SideEffects installed - usually about 5 seconds, but sometimes longer - especially when switching from other applications to the Finder.

Do you have Folders in your sidebar which reside on remote servers (online or offline) and external disks? They're the reason.. remove them from the SideBar.

I haven't finished testing, but it may be ok to add them again after SideEffects is installed.
Otherwise a workaround would be try making an alias of the folder and adding that..
Or else making a folder of aliases, and adding the folder  - not as direct, but it won't cause ColorfulSidebar / EasySIMBL to get into a data logjam, which is what was happening.

Will update my findings here as I work it all out..

Notes on SIMBL / EasySIMBL / ColorfulSidebar

SIMBL is an application enhancer developed originally by Mike Solomon, recently updated to EasySIMBL for Lion/ML by Norio Nomura.

SIMBL / EasySIMBL is a framework which allows code to be injected into parts of the system not usually accessed by applications. It's a framework for other developers to plug into.

ColorfulSidebar by cooViewerZoom is one such plugin.

When developers write apps they are given a kit of resources to work with. The Mac Finder is an app which uses special core resources located deeper within the system to give it enhanced efficiency.

To change the Sidebar icon colors, the ColorfulSideBar.bundle plugs into and uses the enhancement framework, EasySIMBL to get the old color icons from a bundle in the system.

You can look inside this bundle if you like. In the Finder type ⌘⇧G, copy and paste:
..then hit Enter.

CoreTypes.bundle/Contents/Resources - look, but don't touch.

Be careful in here - I don't advise changing anything.
And yes.. I did originally try changing the grey icons in here to color ones and it doesn't work - just makes grey silhouettes in the Sidebar.

Once ColorfulSideBar.bundle has the code for the icons, then every time Sidebar icons need to be displayed it injects that code back into the Finder. This behavior is outside of the "normal" functionality of the system (so it could be described as a "hack", although I use that word with caution seeing as it has acquired negative connotations and is sometimes associated with Viruses and Trojans).

In the case of SIMBL or EasySIMBL the most serious type of problem I've personally heard of as a result of having it on the system is a conflict with another app. If you experience any issues use the uninstaller provided.


EasySIMBL has to act additionally to the system so it adds to activity, but not to a significant degree. Although EasySIMBL logs errors, it's calls are very quick - they don't significantly impact performance to a noticeable degree, except in the particular scenario outlined earlier on this page: "Slow Finder Solved". With that particular issue seen-to, performance is excellent. I use my Mac for graphics and music production and I'm very happy with it's performance with SideEffects / EasySIMBL / ColorfulSidebar.

Error reports

Looking at the console log for SIMBL might make you nervous - all sorts of errors like:

2012/11/21 11:32:35,310 PM SIMBL Agent[1095]: -[NSProcessInfo enableSuddenTermination] has been invoked more times than necessary to balance invocations of -[NSProcessInfo disableSuddenTermination]. Ignoring.

2012/11/21 11:32:34,682 PM SIMBL Agent[1095]: warning: failed to get scripting definition from /Applications/Utilities/; it may not be scriptable.

Class SIMBL is implemented in both..

Much of the way a computer functions is by calling if/then statements. It's possible that because EasySIMBL must get in "under the hood" ie. outside of the normal resources given to apps it has to act in an unorthodox manner and therefore publishes more error messages. So instead of checking a standard resource variable with an if/then statement it has to steer it's behavior using other methods. These methods aren't any more resource-hungry than the "normal" methods, but they get logged by the system.

For example the message "Class SIMBL is implemented in both ..." may be logged because SIMBL needs to be in a different place to handle sandboxed apps. Just because a check was performed which is classified as an error by the system and therefore was logged doesn't necessarily equate to being a performance-hog.

If you have any questions relating to ColorfulSidebar you might want to try contacting cooViewerZoom at

 EasySIMBL is developed by Norio Nomura at

I'm the guy who makes the installer:

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