Macintosh Blog Posts

August 26, 2015

MacBook Pro Laptop

macbookpro

Yesterday I upgraded my Latitude E6520 laptop computer at work to a new MacBook Pro (Retina, 15-inch, Mid 2015). This is the first time in my career that I am using a Macintosh as my primary computer. I have used a Macintosh laptop in the past, but it's always been my personal laptop. It's great having the latest and greatest Macintosh laptop as my primary computer. I do have an iMac at home that I use when I work from home.

I was even more surprised when my desktop was replaced with a Thunderbolt display. My previous setup had a dual monitors with 1080x1950 resolutions; now I have a single monitor with 2560x1440 resolution. (I was able to figure out the resolution by taking a screenshot and then seeing the dimension of the image.)

It's been a long time since I been actively using a Macintosh laptop. My last one was a PowerBook G4 from 2003 and my most recent use would be for simple tasks, such as recording radio broadcasts and using an old version of Photoshop to touch up files. The Powerbook Titanium G4 has 70 GB hard drive and 8 GB of memory. This computer is so much thinner with a 500 GB flash drive and 16 GB of memory. It's amazing the difference of the computers when they are put side to side.

The first set of applications that I installed was TextExpander and Drop Box. I needed TextExpander because that's where I store my website login shortcuts. On Windows, I use Breevy and the application integrates with Text Expander very well. I store the database files in Drop Box and simply link it to my Text Expander on the new computer.

Other applications that were installed right away include Firefox, Evernote, Transmit, BBedit and Pixelmator.

I plan to keep things simple on this laptop. After backing up my Drop Box files to a DVD, I removed most of the files. I realized that there were a lot of files that I just didn't need on a regular bases. I plan to only install only essential applications.

August 21, 2015

Re-enable Spotlight Indexing

A few months ago I purposely turned off Spotlight indexing because the service would be running whenever I used the computer. As a result my computer suffered some serious performance issues to the point of frustration. Once the service was disabled, the computer seemed to run faster. Part of the problem was that I didn't have enough disk space available and the Spotlight indexing was using more memory than it should.

Yesterday, I decided to re-enable spotlight so that I could use some of the computer search capabilities. However, I encountered the following error when trying to restart the service.

I ran this command via Terminal:
sudo mdutil -a -i on

I got back the following error:
2015-08-19 21:46:42.541 mdutil[1155:170668] Metadata.framework [Error]: mdsCopyStorePaths failed: (268435459) (ipc/send) invalid destination portSpotlight server is disabled.

I research the error and it turns out that using the 'mdutil' command isn't the right way to restart the service. To successfully turn on Spotlight, simply run this:

sudo launchctl load -w /System/Library/LaunchDaemons/com.apple.metadata.mds.plist

and to turn it off, simple use:

sudo launchctl unload -w /System/Library/LaunchDaemons/com.apple.metadata.mds.plist

If your not familiar with sudo, it makes you run the launchctl command as the superuser. If you haven't setup the password for root, the password will be the primary user on your computer.

Keep in mind that when your re-enable Spotlight that indexing will happen right away. So think twice before turning it back on, and make sure to disconnect any external hard drives that you may not want to index right away.

June 19, 2015

Disk Space Usage

Did you know there is a very quick way to see what file types are mostly using up valuable disk space on your Macintosh hard drive?

If you go under the Apple menu and select "About this Mac" you'll get a dialog showing basic OS information. Select the "storage" and you'll see storage information on all the drives that are connected to your computer. This is the data from my computer:

Apple Space

Instantly you'll see how much Photos and Videos are taking up on your computer. Note that this is for your entire computer, so you may have photos and videos outside of iPhoto.

The only category that can be tricky is the "Other." This is basically the general bucket that's not worth breaking down any further. Apple has defined some of the 'Others' as being:

  • System files
  • Documents (Word, Excell, PDF, EPS etc...)
  • Zip and tar files
  • Disk Images
  • Browser Cache Data
  • Virtual Machine Drive Data file

If your running low on disk space, check out the storage tab for a quick glance at where you should purge first. Consider investing in some cloud storage to help you manage space on your computer.

I am still trying to figure out a good cloud storage solution for my videos. One option would be to burn them to a video DVD. There was once a time where I thought I would never use up my 1 terabyte drive.

June 3, 2015

Not Enough Watts

If you are suffering from some issues with your computer/device the root cause could be that your not allocating enough AC/DC power to the device. That is you think your sending 12 Watts to the device but in reality you are actually sending a lot less.

As a result of the device not having enough power you may encounter poor performance with the device and you may mistakenly blame the device for not working correctly. A couple of real world examples of this happening to me:

A few years ago I had a US Robotics modem that wasn't recording phone calls correctly. I checked every possible thing with the modem and couldn't understanding why it wasn't working. I discovered that I actually plug in the wrong power supply into the device, I plugged in a 5 watts power plug where the modem was expecting 8 watts. Once I found the right one everything worked fine.
More recently, I was having problems with my USB Satechi 12 Port USB hub. Every time I plug my iPhone or Amazon Kindle the devices would tell me that there wasn't enough power or the device wasn't supported. Turned out that the problem was I had too many things plugged into my power strip that all my devices were not getting enough power. To solve this, I simply removed the non-essential items and everything now works much better including my iMac Computer.

The life lesson here is that if your encountering any problems with your devices, you may also want to check to see if there's an issue with how much power the device is getting.

April 15, 2015

Photos App

Last week Apple officially shipped the new 'Photos' application which will be the long awaited replacement for iPhoto. I have been waiting for this application because I really need to clean up my iPhoto library.

I installed the application last night and when to look into my Pictures folder in the Finder, I found the following listing:

This is all good, except that my hard drive is only 1 TB. Apple has once again managed to break the laws of physics they managed to double my physical disk space. In reality they didn't it looks to be a bug with how the OS is reading files.

The application does looks cool, but I still need to learn how it all works. I was disappointed that there's still no way to create a Smart Album based on a file size. This would make it super easy to remove very large movies.

November 5, 2014

iPhoto Backup

It's time to clean up my iPhoto library. Currently it has 538.84 GB! That would take 114 DVDs to back it up! Since each DVD takes 20 mins to burn/verify, it will take 38 hours to backup my libary!

One practical alternative is to back up the photos/video to a USB flash drive. 64GB drives sell for about $30, and I can put certain events on each drive. For example, I can put 2012 photos on a couple of USB flash drive. (I expect to see a lot of deals during Black Friday!)

Hot Tip:

In iPhoto, If your trying to delete photos/videos from a Smart Album you may find that all the menu options for deleting are grayed out. (Even moving things to the trash can is not doable.) The way around that is to select the photos and they use the following keyboard combination: Command - Option - Backspace.

This will move the files to the trash. Empty the trash in iPhoto and then Empty the trash in the Finder to permanently remove the photos.

August 26, 2014

iMovie Audio Clips

If your doing a lot of YouTube Video Logs, there are many sites that offer great background sounds. You should know two of them that have excellent libraries for great background music aned effets when you need it. There's only so many times that you can use the Apple's Playful Sound Effect. Why not be unique and invest in something that will spice up your videos.

Pond5 - This is an open marketplace for buyers and sellers of royalty-free clips in all categories. Some of the clips can be pretty expensive. $34 for a 2 minute background music? Just make sure you know what your buying. After Effect text and Pre-Key Footage are really cool and really can add some professional touches to your videos.

Stereobot - Lots and Lots of background sounds. They can also be pricey but have a lot of good Playful alternatives to spice up your videos.

Audioblocks - A subscription service where you can download unlimited amounts of audio clips. Great selection and mix of music types.

August 14, 2014

Stuck DVD in iMac

Last night I encountered an issue where a blank DVD got stuck in my iMac computer. This happened because there was an clear empty disk stuck to the botton of the blank disk. Ya, it's hard to explain. I wasn't really paying attention and sort of forced the disk into the drive. As a results the computer wasn't able to eject the disk. I could here it try to eject the disk when I click on the eject button, but nothing was happening. Almost immediately I went searching online to find the solution to the problem.

Almost everything I read said that I was pretty much out of luck and would have to take it to a service center, or the Apple store to get fix. This of course means that it could cost a lot of money, since the computer isn't under warranty anymore. Also there's some risk that I could loose all the data on my computer. (Apple has a disclaimer that you should back up your entire computer before getting it service.)

I used some of my Macintosh experience and was able to get the disk out. Here's what I did to fix the problem:

  • First I restarted the computer
  • When the computer came back up I could hear the disk try to eject, but it wasn't coming out of the computer far enough for me to try to get it out.
  • I opened up the Terminal Application and then typed in this command three times:
  • drutil eject -drive internal
  • The disk ejected just fine.

I am not sure exactly why restarting and then attempting to eject worked. But that's what it took to make it work. After I ejected it, I put in another DVD in the drive and was successfully able to burn data.

July 22, 2014

Delete iMovie Event

In iMovie, when you delete an event, have you seen the dialog box that says 'All media files an d projects in this event will be deleted. Clips used outside this event will remain in your library.' Do you wonder if the original media files get deleted too?

In other words, when you delete an event in iMovie are you deleting iPhoto movies too?

Well your not, when you delete iMovie events the original iPhoto movies that you may have used/linked to are not touched.

After your done with creating your masterpiece in iMovie and you share it to YouTube, you are safe to remove the event without destroying the original video source. This will save a lot of disk space and iMovie Memory.

June 10, 2014

Apple Keyboard Space Issue

Recently I was experience problems with my aluminum Apple Wireless Keyboard and my iMac. For some reason the spacebar would be clicked multiple times and cause space to be inserted for absolutely no reason. This would happen when I use the computer and caused the computer to wake up from sleep. As, a result this made it extremely to use the computer, especially when typing and trying to fix the problem. This is because no matter what I tried the space would be typed multiple of times. In the Console logs, I would see entries such as:

...Type selection took over 1.000 seconds. Stopping early....

I tried different things to fix the keyboard, I notice that the battery level was low, so I replaced the batteries with fresh Energizer ones. I also tried disconnecting and reconnecting the keyboard, but that would work for a while but then the space problem would return.

I found the following information on Apples site, 'Avoiding radio frequency interference.':

Nearly every electronic device is subject to radio frequency (RF) interference from external sources if inadequately shielded, designed, or otherwise configured to be compatible. As a result, iPhone may cause interference with other devices.

This got me thinking, near my computer keyboard, I had my iPhone 5s. When I moved it away from the keyboard, I notice that the space issue stopped! Very strange. For some reason it appears that the iPhone was causing some type of interference with my Bluetooth keyboard.

So if your experiencing issues with your aluminum Apple Wireless Keyboard try this:

  • Replace the batteries.
  • Tip your Keyboard upside down and shake anything that might be stuck.
  • Move away anything that might cause interference with the keyboard.
  • Bring the keyboard to the Apple store and see if it works on another computer

May 28, 2014

Cool Texts in iMovie

Over the past couple of weeks, I have been using iMovie 11 a lot. I have been getting really good at learning all the tips and tricks to be more efficient and building better Vlog video clips. Once you learn some of the key keyboard shortcuts you can cut down production time and focus more on creating better videos.

From the beginning I have been frustrated with making really cool text in videos. Apple includes a bunch of template text formats, but they don't really seem to be enough. I have found that Apple's Keynote application actually works hand in hand with iMovie. It makes for an excellent text toolkit for iMovie, I found this online:

If I need to do some complex typing and use it in iMovie, I will create it in Keynote, then Export it from Keynote as a QuickTime Movie in timed advance mode (not manual advance). I will then use it in iMovie. With Keynote, you have total control over the font, the background color, the size, and hundreds of text effects.

The key thing to remember is to always export the Keynote sides in timed advanced mode. There's lots of great slide making examples on YouTube, all of these slide types can easily be exported to add some cool effects in your movie.

April 10, 2014

Macintosh Spyware

Macintosh users should be aware of any file that from gophoto-it. This is a pretty bad hijacking software and will control Chrome, Safari and Firefox on your computer.

If you have been experiencing any strange behavior when your clicking on any websites, such as strange popups saying you should install an update utility software you may have a bad browser extension. You should see if you may have inadvertently installed the gophoto-it software.

Basically what 'GoPhoto.it' does is add an extra bit of code to every webpage you load in your browser and they can manipulate what you do. For example, you may want to go to product page on Amazon.com, but GoPhoto.it will send you to another page or product on Amazon.

Here's a sample of the code in the page: (Click for the full size version.)

Don't be fooled! You don't want to have this software on your computer. This is really bad spyware and should be removed. Here are the simple steps on removing the extension that get's installed:

In Firefox:


In the software installer is a credit.rtf file with the above contents. Satisfied now that this isn't legit software?
  1. Click Shift-Command-A to open Firefox Add-Ons.
  2. Click on the Extensions on the left side
  3. Look for anything that says, GoPhoto.it and then click Remove
  4. Restart Firefox

In Chrome:

  1. Under the Windows menu, select 'Extensions'
  2. Look for anything that says, GoPhoto.it and then click on the trash can
  3. Restart Chrome

In Safari:

  1. Under the Safari menu select Preferences
  2. Click on Extensions on the Top Bar
  3. Look for anything that says, GoPhoto.it and then click on the Uninstall button
  4. Restart Safari


March 19, 2014

iMac Memory upgrade

If you purchased a iMac in 2012, chances are that you have an iMac Mid-2011 model. You should consider getting more memory to help performance and allow you to do more with iMovie and iPhoto. Most likely that you didn't add memory when you purchased the computer and only have 4GB of memory.

Apple made the Mid-2011 model easy to upgrade the memory, so you don't need to bring it to a dealer or the Apple Store. Certainly if your uncertain about adding memory to the computer, you should consult an expert.

However before you do, watch this video to see how easy it is to install.

This is the memory that is supported in the Mid-2011 model:
DDR3 1333 MT/s (PC3-10600) CL9 SODIMM 204-Pin 1.35V/1.5V Notebook Memory Modules

Crucial is one of the highest rated manufacturers that makes the memory. You can purchase them at Amazon Prime, MacSales.com or BestBuy.com.

March 17, 2014

Data Rescue 3

This weekend we experience a serious hard drive crash with our 2T Buffalo DriveStation. Basically the drive stopped working in the middle of coping over large amount of data. As a result, when we re-mounted the drive the drive showed up empty in Mac OS Maverick and Windows 7. The drive is using NTFS format, which isn't 100% supported by Apple, but should be fine for coping data.

When the drive would mount, I saw that at least 300 GB of data was being used, but I couldn't see any files, in Finder, Terminal or in Windows 7 using Parallels 9.

I tried to run chkdsk on Windows 7 and it wouldn't work in the Parallels environment. Under Parallels, Windows see's the connected external drive as a Network drive. Turns out that the chkdsk app doesn't work with network drives. When we connected the drive to a laptop running Windows, it came back as not able to fix the disk.

I tried numerous times using the fsck tool on the Macintosh and it came back as saying that it couldn't connect to the drive. I checked various options that Apple and other users suggested, but they didn't help. First Aid wouldn't work since it's using the NTFS format.

We were able to fix the problem by downloading Data Rescue 3 by Prosoft Engineering. After running a Deep Scan for 12 hours, yes for 2TB it would take that long, we could identify some of the files on the disk. (Note: A lite version of Data Rescue is available in the Apple store but it doesn't work in Maverick.)

We are not finished yet. We need to buy another hard drive, as we no longer trust the integrity of the Buffalo DriveStation. Once we get another hard drive, we'll copy the recovered files to the new hard drive.


February 2, 2014

com.apple.medialibraryservice.xpc

Recently I notice that the application/service 'com.apple.medialibraryservice.xpc' was bouncing in my computer dock. I did a quick search on the internet to see what was going on. I wasn't able to find a firm answer.

I did discover that this was happening when I was importing some photos via iPhoto. Some of the import were movies and some of those movies were using the new 'Slo-Mo' feature on the iPhone 5s.

I am guessing that the application was bouncing because it was rendering the 'Slo-Mo' movies as it was importing them.