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Software - OSX
Dec 31, 2014

Screensavers on OSX Mavericks (10.9)

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The brain was in a guddle trying to work out Node-Webkit stuff so I tried some old screensavers on OSX as a wee retro shot.

Quite interesting is an app called SaveHollywood.saver ( )which allows movie files to be run as screensavers (10.8 or later).

Run the screensaver on XP SP3 VM and use ScreenFlick app to record the screen for the duration of the saver.
ScreenFlick allows export as a MP4 file.
Editing of the screen capture was done with an app called MP4Tools – select the start and end time of the piece to be extracted and used with SaveHollywood app.
SaveHollywood.saver is doubleclicked to install and then is selected via System Preferences>Desktop & Screensaver tab. An Options button will allow 1 or more videos to be selected and used.

I decided to try some old favourites -

Pink Floyd PULSE (Earls Court Shows)
Jordan F1
Heineken bouncing bottle cap
Newcastle Broonale (2nd version with bouncing balls)

These work great but some screensavers are more interactive and don’t suit the movie method of using eg: the Johnny Castaway saver uses system parameters to provide features over time and would therefore require a very large movie but savers like PF and Jordan suit the Movie method quite well.

Not really suitable -
Johnny Castaway
Toshiba Flying Laptops

I suppose this means I’ll have to try KillerBean or maybe even LOTR if I want to kill the hard disk ….

Hardware - Mac
Jul 29, 2014

iPhone 4S – WiFi setting greyed out after IOS 7 Upgrade

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Well, I know someone with an iPhone 4S bought second-hand and out of Apple warranty and working fine on IOS 6 – however after upgrading to IOS 7 he found the wireless setting was greyed out so wifi was no longer available on the phone. To cut a long story short it seems that a lot of folk have been getting this and of course being older hardware Apple is as interested in getting to the bottom of the issue as merging with Microsoft.

After reading lots of forums and getting the lowdown on the issue various issues are blamed such as hardware that requires a new phone to be bought, solder joints breaking, etc.

Anyway the other day this particular phone got left in a hot summer house and eventually issued a temperature warning and then the phone was taken away for an hour or so. Later on I looked at the phone and the wifi was still greyed out but after it was fully switched off/on and the Bluetooth was toggled the wifi was back and working.
This YouTube video seems to indicate the the problem quite well ( and interestingly the chap suggests that when his phone was reinstalled as IOS 6 the wifi was as good as gold.
Apple understandably wants no truk with freezer fixes since any possible moisture/condensation in an iPhone would be a bad thing and indeed in my case it proved unnecessary anyway.

My feeling on the issue is that IOS 7 probably runs ‘hotter’ than IOS 6 and the soldering is OK but IOS 7 possibly has new code to cater for the new heat requirements and creates an issue with the older hardware when setting temperature limits, etc. So, it looks like every IOS 7 update on the 4S may require heating of the phone to get the first temperature warning and then to be shut off fully and allowed to cool down in order to reset the wifi chip.

Jul 29, 2014

Unable to Connect to OSX Shared Folders from Win XP VM

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Since the later OSX releases networking using SMB, etc between XP and OSX has been a bit tricky – however in this case I found I could connect to the XP folders OK but not in the other direction.

On OSX machine goto System Preferences > Sharing, ensure File Sharing is checked and goto Options. Both SMB and AFP were checked but under Windows File Sharing I needed to check my Account in order for OSX to store the password in a less secure manner. This did the trick.

Software - OSX
Jul 29, 2014

User Library Folder Missing from Finder on Mavericks

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This is annoying as I tend to go into the Application Support folder within the Library quite a bit but later OSX versions tend to hide a lot of the System type folders.


In Finder > Go and hold down ALT(Option) and Library will appear. (occasional use)

In Finder open folder then VIEW > SHOW VIEW OPTIONS and check Show Library Folder. (permanent)

Again I like the concept of change the OS but retain the old option.

Software - XP
Jul 29, 2014

XP Soldiers On ....

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Well here we are - XP is dead apparently.

So what to do?

Vista – a breed of dog, bad enhancement of XP, your choice.
Win 7 – appears quite good and stable but now 2 versions old with Win 9 due.
Win 8.1 – trying this in a VM and appears quite stable but the desktop mode is a bit dodgy ( it always seems to want to go back to mobile/metro mode). I could in some ways live with the Metro mode for some uses but not at the expense of losing normal desktop use.
The big hassle I found with 8.1 is the super enhanced security features that make it difficult to modify system files. I used a theme adjuster (as I did with XP with no issues) and managed to bork the install when applying Win 8.1 Update.

The answer I guess was to uninstall the theme adjustments prior to updating.

Also impossible to modify the system startup sound to my favourite Win95 tune – I’m a dinosaur at heart.

My solution:

Keep using XP Pro SP3 in VM’s for occasional desktop use and prefer OSX for using the internet.
Keep Win 8.1 as a toy
Use OSX as a proper desktop OS that hasn’t as yet lost the plot to the mobile world.

XP Update:

Thought I could keep running Microsoft Security Essentials but no the last update crocked that with annoying messages about systems at risk,etc (shades of the Windows Genuine Advantage garbage) so now running with Comodo Internet Security.

CIS installed OK but I found that I needed to clean up the VM with CCleaner (registry, etc) after MSE was uninstalled
Prior to the registry clean there were various errors such as ‘cmdhtml.dll not found’ and ‘cis.exe unable to start’.

Hardware - Mac
Jul 29, 2014

MacBook Pro 5,3 SSD Upgrade

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Mavericks looks pretty good on the Mini and feels a bit like Snow Leopard – solid and it works with good speed.

The two issues found so far are the lack of dependibility of the mass storage subsystem (which hopefully is now under control) and the separation of the ebook cataloguing from iTunes into iBooks. I found iTunes to be handy enough for cataloguing my PDF’s etc along with the music and then synchronising with the iDevices but the new iBooks method appears to be very poor in comparison which means for the moment I will just retain a Snow Leopard drive for this use.

Decided to upgrade the MBP to Mavericks on a SSD and is working quite well at the moment.

MacBook Pro 5,3 (Late 2009) with 320GB HD running 10.6.8 (Snow Leopard), 8GB RAM.


Clone Macintosh HD -
Use StarTech USB 3.0 caddy to house SSD (Crucial M500 480GB drive).
Use Disk Utility to format SSD. (1 partition – HFS+ Journalled and named Macintosh SSD – the SSD is larger than the original HD so no partition size issues were encountered)
Use Carbon Copy Cloner installed on Macintosh HD (original 320GB drive) – (I bought a copy but the 30D trial may work OK)
Clone took c. 3.25 hrs for 206 GB.
When complete reboot and use ALT key to provide Volume options – select Macintosh SSD and voila.

Replace HD –
Crucial supply good instructions in PDF form on how to do this.

Upgrade MBP to Mavericks –
Download the Mavericks OSX Installer from the App Store (it’s free!) and it installs into the Applications folder.
I already had a saved copy to avoid re-downloading as it is a big file. Use the installer to update from Snow Leopard to Mavericks (I went from 10.6.8 to 10.9.2).
This took c. 1hr or so.

After reboot by and large everything was fine, Mavericks picked up some anomalies and offered to upgrade/fix them but just needed to go through the apps and upgrade as required really (I guess you could use a program like AppFresh to do this). Parallels 8 is Mavericks ready but needed to be re-installed then worked fine – most of my VM’s on the Mini are now using Parallels 9 which is better for Mavericks.

Tidy up:
Use TRIM Enabler utility to set TRIM on SSD (Cindori Software)
Status for this can be viewed under System Information > SATA/SATA Express (needs to be done after updates).

Also with SSD’s it is desirable to limit the amount of disk writes since they do have a life compared to the old HD tech so according to NET wisdom -
Rule: Don’t use Secure Delete on Trash
Rule: Don’t use defragmention utilities
Option: Disable file access time logging (I haven’t bothered)
Option: Disable Hibernation (I haven’t bothered)
sudo pmset –a hibernate mode 0 - disable hibernate
sudo rm /var/vm/sleepimage - remove sleepimage
Option: disable SMS (Sudden Motion Sensor) (SSD’s apparently don’t use this so I haven’t bothered)
sudo pmset –a sms 0
sudo pmset –g shows status. 1 – on, 0 – off

Overall the machine now appears quicker to boot and battery life appears to have improved a bit – just glad I have a MBP model that can be upgraded easily unlike the newer ones with soldered/glued in everything - impressed.

I guess a good question is ‘why not a clean install?’ – well for me if it was Windows, yes that is almost mandatory but so far I haven’t encountered too much bad karma with the OSX – in fact I even find Windows seems to run better on Macs than on PC hardware. Of note with OSX is the ease at which install/un-install of apps can be done and they are very portable – I still have nightmares of the dotNet garbage.

I suppose the problems with the Mass Storage Subsystem bear this out in a way – since removing the vendor drivers for the RAID boxes they are behaving themselves better.

Hardware - Mac
Jul 29, 2014

Legacy Epson Printers on Mavericks

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Good to see that 2 old printers still appear to work on Mac Mini Late 2012 running 10.9.2 Mavericks

Epson Stylus Color 740 – just plug in and get message ‘driver available from Apple’.

Epson Stylus Photo 1290 – ditto.

Interestingly the Epson website tended to indicate that these printers were not supported by Mavericks so there you go.

Software - OSX
Jul 29, 2014

Linux distros in Parallels 9 VM on Mac Mini running 10.9.2 Mavericks - Experience

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Tried a installing few distros for fun and largely OK.

Firstly a useful tip for setting the root password –

From User level –
sudo passwd root (will ask for users password then if successful will offer Enter/Retype UNIX password)

Ubuntu 14.04 LTS and Kubuntu 14.04 LTS:

Downloaded the ISO’s –


Create new VM in P9 and select the ISO (you may have to manually search for it for some Linux types).
I got an error about ‘unable to detect operating system’ but just pressed continue and selected ‘other linux’. I generally set the VM memory to 2G.

Problem 1: (This happened on both the Ubuntu and Kubuntu distros)
Install completes but display window is default size (800 x 600) and no options available.


In the /etc/X11 folder there is required a file called xorg.conf however this is found not to exist , only a backup file will be found (something like xorg.conf.05032014).

Looking at various forums the fix appears to be to create the xorg.conf file.


Open the terminal using CTL-ALT-CMD-FN-F1 (5 finger salute)

Login under USER then –

sudo cp /etc/X11/xorg.conf.05032014 /etc/X11/xorg.conf (needed copy on Kubuntu)


sudo mv /etc/X11/xorg.conf.05032014 /etc/X11/xorg.conf (needed Move on Ubuntu)

then -
sudo reboot

This fixed issue 1.

Problem 2:
Install completes and after login the desktop presents just the wallpaper and Parallels Shared Folders – nothing else!
(close to being a cabbage).


Open the terminal using CTL-ALT-CMD-FN-F1 (5 finger salute)

Login under USER then –

cd ~/.config

rm –Rf * (this appears to remove all folders in .config folder recursively without prompts – the folders appear to be regenerated after reboot)

sudo reboot

This fixed issue 2.

Good to have some workrounds to get the OS’s going but again this annoys me about Linux – never very long before you need to hit the command line …. Having said that it is possibly more the fault of the Parallels than the distro in this case.

Parallels Tools seem to install a lot better in the 14.04 distros – just do Re-install from VM menu and supply the root login details.

Both the Kubuntu and Ubuntu 14.04 look good but I think Ubuntu (Unity) is looking slicker and the KDE version is getting a bit tired now.

Networking to the internet appears to work OK – I changed the TCP/IP settings from DHCP to manual and the connection type in the VM to Bridged Ethernet (from Shared) - it worked great.

OpenMandrivaLx 2014:

This appears to be the successor to the old Mandrake/Mandriva distro which I always quite liked but haven’t managed to get it going yet – keeps dropping into command line mode with localhost login: being presented.

Software - OSX
Jan 04, 2014

Mavericks – initial impressions on Mac Mini

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Mac Mini 6,2 Late 2012 model running OSX 10.9.1 (new not an upgrade)

Retired the ol’ P4 (Brilliance 17” monitor from 1996 still going strong!) and put a wee Mini on the shelf.
Mini looks good and very upgradeable which is more than can be said for most of Apples newer offerings aside from the Mac Pro. Good amount of ports, most of which are in use except Firewire.

Not too bad, the scrolling direction is reversed but is still optional and basically seems to work with older stuff in the network OK. Very happy to see that YWE/Konfabulator widgets still work and the LG DVD-RAM drive appears to function OK.

The main issue I’ve found (could be a pun there!) is the dodgy handling of external storage drives.

Issue 1::
I moved a WD Mirror Edition RAID 1 drive from the old P4 onto the Mini. The drive was formatted as NTFS and could be mounted/read by OSX no problem but I decided to re-format it as Journaled HFS+ using the WD Drive Manager app (default name – MyBook). This was no problem and worked fine but I did find that intermittently the drive would be dismounted and a ‘Incorrect Disk Eject’ error was produced. This does not inspire confidence in the storage system.
The forums are ablaze with reports of lost data on WD drives after upgrading to Mavericks so there is a problem there somewhere.
I had a play round with the Energy Saver settings in the System Preferences and have had some limited success.

Fix: Unchecked ‘Put hard disks to sleep when possible’ setting – this appears to have stopped the random dismounting issue.

Issue 2::
Lacie 2big RAID would sporadically start c. every 70 sec or so and remain on for 1 min

Fix: Unchecked ‘Wake for network access’ in Energy Saver panel.

Issue 3::
LG external drive (LG BE08LU20) sporadically turns on/off (no disk in drive) when Mini in sleep mode.
Not sure what was happening here but when a disk is inserted the drive became very active for a long while – it looks like Spotlight was the culprit as it was indexing the disc. Messages relating to the .`Spotlight-V100’ store were filling the Console.

Fix: Disabled Spotlight indexing of the DVD volume.

How: Use Terminal
Enter - sudo mdutil –i off “/Volumes/MEI_UDF”

Get - Password: (need admin level password here)
Then get - /Volumes/MEI_UDF:
Indexing disabled (took a while since I did this while it was indexing)

Issue 4::
Using Finder quite often the contents of folder would be very slow to show – makes the system feel like a dog!

Fix: Again in the forums there seems to be reports of this as being an issue. It seems to have improved since doing an SMC reset on the Mini (basically switch off and unplug for 30secs then replug and wait 5secs then start up again).

With hindsight I would probably forgo the Fusion Drive for a large ordinary drive since the fast part of the Fusion Drive is quickly used and so a lot of data transfer will happen between the SSD and HDD. I think it would be better if the user could specify what type of data should reside on the fast part of the volume and in the future when larger/cheaper SSD’s are available just replace the Fusion Drive.


Still getting the clicking on/off with the ROM drive.
At one point I inserted a CD into the drive whereupon the WD RAID dismounted with a message saying ‘Not ejected properly’. I checked the LaCie Raid Monitor and it said ‘No compatible RAID detected’ although the RAID was still functioning OK.
A restart didn’t bring back the WD RAID but a repower did.

The solution appears to be to uninstall all the manufacturer monitor apps which is inconvenient but they do seem to be incompatible with Mavericks.

Update to 10.9.2 went OK

Dec 31, 2013

Firefox Nightly 29a on OSX crashing when New Tab opened.

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OSX 10.6.8 Snow Leopard.
Had a problem with a crash when a New Tab was opened by clicking the New Tab stub or via the Menu. Tabs would open OK if done from a link on another page. Problem still existed in Safe Mode with all Extensions/Plugins disabled
(implemented via Terminal - /Applications/ -safe-mode ).
Backed up the bookmarks/etc and did a Reset Firefox that was offered from the crash restart screens. Reset worked great and the Nightly came back with the Plugins and bookmarks intact and the Extensions cleaned out. Just needed to re-download the extensions and everything was good.

For general info on OSX –

Profile folder located at - /Library/Application Support/Firefox/Profiles
Extensions located in above folder under something like - dgte7tfw.default-1387301888020/extensions
Bookmarks these days are held in a sqlite file but can be exported as HTML via the Show All Bookmarks which gives the Library. The Library has a wee button which provides options for –
Backup and Restore, Import/Export as HTML and Import from another browser.

Looks like the Reset option is a good way of cleaning out an old (maybe archaic) installation without losing all history etc.

117 Posts. Displaying page 10 of 12.
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