Posts Tagged ‘Mac OSX’

timemachine-newDoing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result is said to be the definition of insanity. Well, you can call me insane.  But don’t lock me away just yet.

I bought a new external Thunderbolt drive (TB) for backing up my MacBook Air (MBA), since the one i was using for Time Machine was saying it was full all the time, and was around 6 years old.  A backup is only good if it actually works, and as we all know, hard drives fail so to ensure I didn’t lose any data I decided to replace it.  After all, according to Apple’s own knowledge base, it’s a simple procedure to copy the old backup to a new one.

Yeah, i beg to differ.

After waiting approx. 2 hours for the copy command to calculate all the files in the “Backups.backupdb”, then another couple of hours for the actual copying to occur, I got an “Error code 8062“.  Which is a lovely generic error, that really doesn’t help me to figure out what the actual problem was.  It mentioned a few of the files were not compatible “Newer version of iWork needed” which confounded me a tad, since I don’t use iWork except for Pages on my iPad and iPhone.  There was about 50 files I had to cancel on and then the backup hung.  I went back and started again, reformatting the drive, changing the permissions and all, just like the Knowledge base article described.  To no avail.  I Even tried to copy the files within the backupdb (database) individually but something happens when you do that. It is as if the linking of files is disabled and each folder inside the larger db becomes massive. Folders were 139gb each. After 4 folders I had already copied more info that the total db size was listed at in the first place.

It was about this time I had to decide if I really wanted to waste more time trying to continue from the existing backup, or just start anew.  Eventually  I realized I didn’t have to get rid of the old Time Machine backup, it can stay right where it is for a while until I’m comfortable enough with the new backup to feel secure nothing will be lost, or nothing will need to be restored.  When that is?  Who knows.  That is the beauty of Time Machine and OS X, you can use more than one drive or location to backup to.  So, throwing caution to the wind (okay not really, since existing old backup is still accessible – just going for dramatic effect here), I connected the clean TB drive and let it do its initial backup, all nice and new and empty.  A few hours later I had a current backup.  Sure I couldn’t go back more than a few hours to retrieve anything, but its a start, and like I said I did still have the old backup if worse came to worst.
Gotta love the speed of the Thunderbolt drive. I plugged in my backup when I got to the office and it had 1.4 gig to update. Took less time than it took to type this paragraph I swear.   I was using a FireWire drive previously, with a TB adapter since the MBA no longer sported a FW connection, but the real deal TB is Soooooooo much zippier in its native form.
We’ll call this one a win, and a lesson learned.  Now, can someone help me out of this straight jacket…
barkerp

I get emails from various companies, most of which I read and file 13 them (trash can), but sometimes I get emails and offers that I feel may be useful and deserved to be passed along. Free stuff is usually in this group.

A current giveaway you may want to get in on is from my friends over at Digiarty Software Inc.  They’ve even have gone so far as to “easter-cize” their website as part of their Easter Giveaway 2012.  Very cute.  But it is not all fluffy bunny tails, they are giving away some of their popular software free over the next few weeks and its up for grabs to anyone who wants it.

As their press release says… “Today, Digiarty Software finalized and announced 2012 Easter giveaway that will start from April 1 and last for half a month. Three mysterious Easter gifts for DVD Blu-ray Video backup will be donated in succession, each being given away for only 5 days, until the expiration date April 15.”

the link is http://www.winxdvd.com/giveaway/, go ahead go check it out.  You may find some software that will make your digital life that much easier, and we can all use that, especially when it is FREE.

tcg

I’m sure most Mac users who have ever been frustrated by the default actions or setup of the Mac OS X, have spent time in the System Preferences trying to get your Mac working the way you’d like. Sometimes to the point of frustration. For some of those goofy default actions, TinkerTool may be the answer for you.

I admit I only use a small percentage of all the things Tinkertool can do, but it’s been a part of my tool bag since it was introduced in 2001, and with the latest edition that is Lion compatible, it was the answer for me to the question “how do I get preview to stop showing me past images all the time?

Sure, I could disable versions in the System Preferences, but I wanted a more app-by-app solution.  That is exactly what TinkerTool brings to the table.

Preview and QuickTime changed to not restore

The little 1.5 meg free download is available here.

Once you get it installed, take a little tour thru all its options and you’ll be amazed at what it can do and all without opening up Terminal and typing in any cryptic command-line code.

I know, it sounds like I’m poo-pooing using the command-line, but I’m not.  I actually like the old-timer way of typing code for some things, but for the novice or someone who likes to use a GUI instead of it, then TinkerTool may be very handy.

A warning, kinda.  There isn’t a lot you can screw up too badly, but if you do, then that little “Reset” button at the end of the Toolbar may be your best friend.  It may be best to make changes one at a time and see what they do, rather than making many all at once and not really knowing which “tweak” did what.

For me, changing the “Resume” function for each app individually (as shown in the screenshot above) was one of the best features ever added to TinkerTool, and it keeps getting better with each OS and each release of the software.  Mad props to Marcel for keeping this program up-to-date and keeping it free.

tcg

“oooh, so modern”

When I got my new Samsung LED/LCD TV, I was excited by some of the new features and especially interested in the whole Smart HUB side of things. From what I knew, it would enable me to share media directly with the TV from my computer.  Upon further investigation it seemed the answer to whether media could be shared was a fuzzy one.

First off, you need to read the e-manual, which fortunately has its own button on the remote since the written documentation is a bit thin with this TV.  I guess the idea is they give you what you need to get it installed and connected enough to then be able to use the “e-manual”.  Not a bad thing at all since I’m sure most consumers would never use half of the features of this TV nor would they read the whole manual.  Me, I like a dry read.  Must be the tinkerer in me that likes to see how things work, and conversely, how to fix things once I screw them up, so I read it from cover to cover.  Once I got thru the initial setup and connecting of the TV, I wanted to see what else could be done, especially when it comes to getting media off my computer without having to copy to a thumb drive or burn to disk.  This is what DLNA is all about, and one of the reasons I wanted this specific TV in the first place.

What does DLNA stand for? It’s the acronym for Digital Living Network Alliance. Which is basically just a fancy way of saying the standards that let our electronics talk to each other, regardless of manufacturer.  Devices get DLNA certified which means they adhere to the standards set forth in the interoperability guidelines first set forth in 2003.  This interoperability is what I was looking for but having difficulty getting to work between my MacBook Air and the TV.  Sure I could use the XBox360 and Connect360 as I had been doing for a while now, but I wanted to be able to get the media directly from the MBA to the TV without having another device in the mix. Was it because Samsung doesn’t like to play well with Apple?  No. They have been supplying components to them for years. In fact many laptop screens were made by Samsung.  So what was the problem? As it turns out, it’s Apple’s fault.  The Mac OS X does not natively support DLNA.  Unlike the latest versions of Windows, Apple has not been putting much time or effort into making devices other than their own work with each other.

grab the version that’s right for your OS

So what can you do if you want to get media off your Mac to your smart TV?  Try TvMobili. (I know, strange name.  might be easier to just click the following link rather than typing it)

Thankfully third-party developers are pioneering this service and making it available for free.  http://www.tvmobili.com/download.php

What it does is install a program that runs in the background of your computer which allows your Smart TV to detect it like any other DLNA device.

add your files or folders to share

change your settings as desired.

Setup is simple.  Just turn on the components you want, make TvMobili visible on your network, and share the File (s) or Folder (s) you want to be able to access with your TV.

The tools are fairly self-explanatory.  The main ones you will want to tweak are the Content Tab and the Settings Tab. Maybe the Status tab as well since it will show you how much media you are sharing, and how much you have streamed, which can come in handy if you are streaming to outside your network and are concerned about data usage.

The program has the ability and option to make your content available outside of your home too, if you so desire.

I prefer to keep my content more locked down than that so I have turned that feature off as you can see in the following screen capture.  It’s under the Settings, in the GENERAL section/ EXTERNAL ACCESS, nice and easy to find which I appreciate.

Whenever you launch the program it opens up in your web browser, but you don’t actually need to have the web browser open to use the service.  It is running in the background all the time.  In fact whenever I am at home and open up my MBA which is running TvMobili I get an alert message on my TV that my “AllShare Device Connected ” is available and offers to connect to it.  A simple click on the “connect” is all that is needed to watch the media from my MBA on my TV over my home network.

samsung’s smart hub screen

So far, streaming speeds have been excellent, there is no lag or buffering occurring at all, and the pausing, fast-forwarding, rewinding etc works seamlessly using the Samsung TV remote (or the iPhone Samsung remote app, which looks exactly like the physical remote that came with the TV once it is paired with your TV).  Removing one device out of the link between my media and the TV is a great start to simplifying the process of sharing media within our household.  I’m sure it’ll be something I’ll be tweaking and playing with for some time, with this TV being a central part of that process, with the help of TvMobili of course.

Samsung had the common sense to provide the hardware components necessary, but fell short on the software side a little by not providing a complete solution.  Another great example of free software filling a need for the consumer.  Not sure if that’s a good thing entirely though, since it seems to be making the manufacturers lazy to some extent because they know that someone out there will figure out a way to make all your tech work together as long as you give them some of the tools and spark the interest of the developers.

Kind of a new take on the old adage “if you build it, they will come“.  In this case it’s more like “if you build it, they will come and finish the integration for you“.

tcg

* television photo from publicdomainclip-art.blogspot.com

This is one of those rants that needed to be said, at least as far as I’m concerned, so bear with me it should be a short but bumpy ride.
1Password:  it is a program for storing, as you may have guessed, passwords. I use the program on my Mac and also on my iPhone to keep track of all those pesky passwords and logins that I’d be lost without.  The two sync really well so it’s a very convenient and easy way to keep the list updated and complete.

I have no problem with the way it works, in fact I love the program, my problem is with the way they are handling the transition for it to be available in the Mac App Store, and in doing so screwing over some of their existing customers.

What looks like a price drop is only really a price drop if you don’t already have a current version of the program.  For instance, I purchased 1Password right after installing Mac OS X Lion and realizing my old faithful password storage app, PasswordMaster, no longer worked.  I have no problem with the fact PasswordMaster stopped working, it was a great app for what it did and the $10 it cost me many many years ago was well spent.

As for 1Password, I purchased it from them online directly, and its had a couple of minor updates since then.  The new version however is only available as a purchase from the Mac App Store, at a discounted cost that they purport as being a great price for new users and a great way for current users to get the next version free.  Umm, yeah, that fuzzy logic and math is not working for me.


Aside from the fact that an insurance company built an entire advertising campaign on the premise you don’t screw over existing customers to get new ones, which is pretty much what is happening here, there is the fundamental truth that to stay current you have to pay again for the same program with the latest changes.

So for anyone who has an older copy that they hadn’t updated or not one at all, then to have the current version PLUS the upgrade to version 4 when it is release will cost you $19.99.  The same price for those of us that have already paid full price for the last version.  Where’s our break?

A friend on Twitter ( btw, I love the way you can get instant comments and have real-time conversations on Twitter even if you don’t always see things eye to eye) made a comment about voting with your wallet” which really isn’t an option because they already have my money (did I mention I paid full price for the program from their online web store?), and also, one person not upgrading is not going to be noticed.  Besides, this isn’t really about the money, sure that’s part of it, but it’s also the principal of the thing.  When you buy a piece of software it with the understanding that it will remain current for a reasonable length of time.  45 days is not a reasonable amount of time in my opinion.

It all comes down to treating new customers better than the way they treat existing customers and that’s just not right.  The way to do this properly would be to provide the update to 3.9 on the web so we all have the same version or baring that, provide a refund for current web customers of the $19.99 that it costs us to buy the program in the Mac App Store.  Even a partial refund would have went down easier than this bitter little pill.

Hopefully the people over at AgileBits will rethink their pricing and upgrade policy to make it fair for people who already shelled out their hard-earned cash.  Neglecting old customers – whether they are 45 days, or a year, isn’t right and its the kind of thing that will make some people thick twice about staying with the software regardless of how well it works.

tcg

p.s. – After a little back and forth via email with a representative for the developer, Agilebits, I was given a refund of my initial purchase, which is more than fair as far as i’m concerned.  I would have been pleased with just a refund of the $19.99 that the new version would cost me.  (it was precisely 1 minute after being made aware of the refund that I hit the App Store and bought the new version)

As for others, I suggested to the developer that they should consider some kind of pro-rated portion of the $19.99 upgrade cost refund for recent customers that are beyond the 30 day guarantee they offer.  Not sure how that will go over, but it goes to show they are listening and responding to customers and I would advise anyone to contact them and discuss your scenario on a individual basis.  It can’t hurt to ask.

tcg