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Hardware - iPhone
 
May 19, 2015
 
99


iPhone 5S – Frozen White Apple Logo issue

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This is a goodie – the phone boots up and gets a White Apple Logo screen and freezes. If plugged into a computer iTunes will not sync so it appears like an expensive brick albeit a thin one!

This trick found on the net seemed to work for me –

Press the Sleep and Home buttons together until the screen goes black. (Sleep is the top power button)
Release and the Apple will appear.
Press Sleep and Vol Up buttons until you get the lock screen.
Back to normal – thanks Apple for the wild ride ….





Software - OSX
 
Dec 31, 2014
 
98


Using iTunes for Books on OSX Mavericks (10.9)

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Always used iTunes to catalogue the books (mainly PDF’s) but since Mountain Lion (10.9) Apple has moved to using iBooks instead. Thought this would be a good idea but the iBooks app for OSX is a piece of horse dung so I went back to using iTunes which at the moment is still possible.

Basically if you want to have books in iTunes you have to get rid of the iBooks install which for me isn’t too much of a problem since I use iBooks mainly on the iPad anyway.

Use AppCleaner to remove iBooks app and restart to stop services, etc. the Books option will appear back in the iTunes app.

iBooks repository: (this will be populated when PDF's are dragged into iBooks app)

Macintosh HD ~/Library/Containers/com.apple.BKAgentService/Data/Documents/iBoo ks/Books

iTunes repository: (this is used for new book downloads if iBooks is not installed)

DiskStation (NAS Library)
/Volumes/music/iTunes/iTunes Media/Books/Robert Louis Stevenson/Treasure Island.epub (packaged)

in iBooks this would look like -
~/Library/Containers/com.apple.BKAgentService/Data/Documents/iBoo ks/Books/482743251.epub (unpackaged)


iTunes restoration for Books (as at iTunes 11.2.2)

iTunes uses packaged .epub files which are unpacked into .epub folders in iBooks. Also the .epub files from iTunes
which are named as for the book title will be renamed as a numerical/alphanumeric entity based on the internal itemId of the book.

In order to move a book from iBooks to iTunes -
1 make a copy of the folder and rename to title of book eg: 482743251.epub to Treasure Island.epub (you need to search the folder to determine the book title)
2 right-click folder and compress eg: Treasure Island.epub folder will produce a file called Treasure Island.epub.zip
3 kill the Treasure Island.epub folder and rename Treasure Island.epub.zip as Treasure Island.epub
4 place new packaged epub file in a folder named as per the Author and then put this into the iTunes Books folder


in iTunes do a Get Info on each book and do a Locate and Add Art if necessary.

Locate - navigate to the iTunes Books folder and the appropriate Author folder.

Add Art - inside the original iBooks folder there may be a file called iTunesArtwork - if so this can be renamed as a .jpg so call it cover.jpg and then use this file.

Use the Get Info to set the metadata -
Author --> Artist field
Title --> Album field (useful if a print to PDF is done using Album indexing)

Got corruption of the listings - but signed into account and checked purchases - the affected books had a cloud indicator on them so re-downloaded and OK.
The new downloads were placed in the Books folder in the iTunes Library.

Sometimes I end up with duplicate books because one copy is residing in the remote folder and the other is in the iTunes store within the remote folder. I use Get Info to locate the iTunes internal copy and delete it ( I also disable the auto-manage library option).

Update:

Updated OSX to 10.9.5 and unfortunately iTunes 12 is bundled so I lost iTunes 11 and a few things broke however Books in iTunes is still possible. HERE

If a PDF is selected and Right-click/Get Info used the dialog has changed and some fields can no longer be edited however if the Option/Alt key is pressed when doing Get Info then the old dialog is produced so business as usual.

New format: HERE
Released Date field always gives 05/06/1905 and can’t be altered
Year field unavailable
Album field unavailable

Add Fields option only allows Comments field.

Old format: HERE
No Released Date field
All legacy fields available

It was noted that if the Album and Year fields were completed with the old format then they would appear in the new format dialog and are editable.

What’s interesting about all this is that rather than stripping the the ‘old’ deprecated Books stuff out of iTunes they have actually changed it around as if getting ready for further improvements – maybe it will become an iLibrary that can catalog/manage/use all sorts of media.

UPDATE:
After update to Yosemite (OSX 10.10.2) the Option/Alt appears not to work however Dougscripts has a script called Multi-Item Edit which works fine for Music and Books.





Software - OSX
 
Dec 31, 2014
 
97


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 (http://s.sudre.free.fr )which allows movie files to be run as screensavers (10.8 or later).

Methodology:
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
T2Factory
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
 
96


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 (www.youtube.com/watch?4mVkiU2jNSE) 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.





Wireless/Networking
 
Jul 29, 2014
 
95


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.

Fix:
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
 
94


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.

Method:

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
 
93


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
 
92


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.

Process:

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
 
91


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
 
90


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 –

ubuntu-14.04-desktop-amd64+mac.iso
kubuntu-14.04-desktop-i386.iso

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.

Answer:

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.

Method:

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)

or

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).

Answer:

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.



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