Archive for the 'Technology' Category
Using a (likely) 300 baud sonically coupled modem, people could read the news from a few newspapers from their TRaSh-80′s via a BBS type system I am guessing. It took a few hours to download an entire newpaper and it was only text back then.
Today I have a 20 million baud connection and I am guessing my CPU is 20 million times faster as well. But the best part is that the CPU I am talking about is the one I first viewed the video on….my iPhone!
Too funny.1 comment
The latest OS install brings very little in the way of new features. I am not complaining, it just is what it is. But there are a couple of little nuggets that I have found which I believe are new and which are very nice to see.
1) In 10.5 when you had a folder open, there was a nice search bar at the top. When you typed something to search for, the search would revert to searching the entire Mac instead of the folder you were in. You then had to click on the folder again in the list to search the folder you had been in. Annoying. Now there is a preference in the Finder preferences to fix that and have the search just search that folder. This is very handy for searching system folders and library folders which Spotlight does not automatically provide results for….trying to find that hidden preference file that you want to blow away for troubleshooting, etc.
2) You can now add a file server (Apple Share, etc) to your Login Items under System Preferences/Accounts. This will automatically open up that file share when you login! There were ways to do this under 10.5, but I believe this is now new and very easy under 10.6. Perhaps I am wrong and it existed before…but it is new to me :-)
Make it three features….
3) In an Open/Save dialog box, you can press APPLE (command) + SHIFT + “.” (period) and you can toggle seeing hidden files (those with a prefixed dot/period). This is great for editing unix .profiles, .htaccess files and more. No more having to use the terminal and vi or toggling the hidden file preference in the file for everything. Smart.No comments
1) It’s not perfect.
2) It’s better than Entourage in many ways.
3a) Address Book (Contacts) seem to sync really well. The updates work both ways (Mac, PC, and I assume Blackberry). But Groups are NOT respected if you use them in Outlook. This is not a huge issue for most people, but I do have a client who uses these groups to segregate his contacts into what is approaching a relational database of sorts!
3b) Everything else also seems to work fairly well for syncing – Calendar, Mail, and more. Overall it is a good experience and mostly for the better compared to the dreaded Entourage.
5a) Delegate access to Calendar and Tasks can not be set-up from the Mac side. Well it can to some extent, but at least for me working with a Rackspace hosted EX07 environment, delegate set-up barely works for READ ONLY access. If I do read only, someone can get view my calendar and task info from their Mac. But if I try to set a higher permission for a delegate (e.g., read/write), I get an error “Unknown Error from Exchange Server. CalExchangeErrorDomain 239.” Is this a Rackspace issue or an Apple issue? Who knows. I have tickets with each to find a solution.
5b) So I can’t set-up a delegate on a Mac, but I know I can on the Windows side in Outlook. If the delegate permission is set-up in Windows, then other people on a Mac can subscribe to the delegatee’s Calendar and Tasks from their native Mac Apps (iCal and Mail). BUT there are some glaring omissions…there are no options to subscribe to their address book/contacts, mail or anything else! There is simply no option. Apple reps sort of confirmed this is a lack of feature and I got the sense it is coming in the near future.6) One strangeness to report in addition to the bugs. When you use the Mac apps to access your personal mailbox, contacts, calendar, tasks, etc, there is a strange thing with Tasks/Todo. The Tasks show up under Todo in Mail.app. But iCal is the program actually doing the syncing. So you have to open iCal to get the tasks up to date in Mail’s Todo list! And if you want to instantly refresh the Todo list, right clicking on the todo list in Mail and selecting “Synchonize” will NOT do it. You must currently open iCal and/or hit refresh (command-R).
I think I understand why Todo items (tasks) are sync’d through iCal. But what I can’t understand is why the Synchronize command is broken in Mail.app. Nor can I understand why in iCal if a Todo item has a DUE DATE assigned, why it never shows up in the actualy iCal Calendar somewhere (the due date would make sense).
Oh, and the To Do items (tasks) are available in iCal although they do not show by default. You have to tell it to show your To Do list in iCal which is under the VIEW menu.
Even worse, evidently there are sync issues way beyond the small issues I listed above. We have been seeing tasks and other info more or less corrupted by Apple 10.6 Snow Leopard users that are delegates on other people’s accounts. Basically when you are a delegate and have not signed in for a while as a delegate to that person you are a delegate of, old data can be sync’d into the account you are a delegate for even though that data was removed/deleted long ago by the account owner! This happened twice with TASK data. I suggest staying away from Apple’s implementation of Exchange 2007 for a long while (until they fix their shit).
When you set-up a new RSYNC job on a readynas you typically want it to do a FULL backup initially and then incrementals on each subsequent backup. And you get the option of having it do another FULL backup weekly or every two weeks, etc, if you like.
But what if you don’t want it to ever do a full backup? Why you ask? Well in my case I just switched from a ReadyNAS 1100 to a 2100 as my primary machine. My off-site backup server has not changed (an old freenas box). So my backups have been running for a year and I have no need to do a full backup. Nor do I have the time as it would take about 3 months to finish a full backup over the internet! And why bother with a full backup as the data on the new 2100 is the same data as was on the old 1100. And certainly the off-site freenas server still has the current backup data. I just want to continue on doing incrementals… that’s all. But there is no option in FrontView to skip ever doing a FULL. But there is a way:
Install Toggle SSH and SSH Root add-ons and shell into the box
cd /var/log/frontview/backup vi status_backup_XXX (where XXX is the your backup job #)
Remove whatever is in the file (likely somthing like CANCELLED!!Wed Aug 26 21:49!!warn) and replace with this:
COMPLETED!!Wed Aug 26 08:44!!OK
This tells the readynas that the job ran at some point in the past and to just do an incremental. Feel free to replace the day/date/time with something closer to the current date (once this blog post becomes dated).No comments
I have had a few clients complain of not being able to attach with Wifi networks which they have been using for months and months. I usually fix it by deleting the password for that wifi network from their keychain. My hope is that the 10.5.8 release that was posted today from Apple will solve that issue.
See this Techcrunch article for more details.
Oh, and this is pretty funny at the bottom of the article talking about the upcoming upgrade process we will all enjoy going to Windows 7 or Mac OS 10.6 (Snow Leopard)….it gave me a chuckle. (click to enlarge)No comments
Apple is an awesome company, but they have really been f-ing the consumer when it comes to their ipod dock connector. They have been changing the way it works and disabling many accessories that consumers have bought over the years. And for the most part and from what I can tell, there are very few legitimate reasons Apple is doing this.
I won’t go into every example (different charging voltage, different docks for different ipods/iphones, encryption chip to view video, etc) but I will tell you that it pisses this guy off. I have “fixed” my accessories several times to make them work again. And it is a pain in the ass that I don’t wish to repeat. Why does Apple insist on f-ing everyone who bought a car adapter for their expensive factory radio? How about those speakers with docks (BOSE, etc) that don’t work anymore? Special headphone jacks (original iPhone)? Why does Apple insist on making a simple USB charger not work unless certain other pins are held at specific voltages? This was the reason I will never buy Motorola phones again (they will not charge via USB 5V to a computer without a driver installed for that phone!)
Apple claims to be a “Green company” but the amount of material going to landfills because Apple wants more money from their accessory “Made for Apple” program is down-right criminal. The AG for California should look into it :-)
OK, enough of the bitchin’. I feel better now.
So on to the latest chapter in the refuse to re-pay Apple for a cigarette lighter adapter saga…. A number of years ago I bought a Belkin Auto Adapter. The adapter was nice because it was a single connection to my ipod and it allowed for line out as well as charging.
I ran a standard 3.5mm headphone to the back of my stereo in my car and I had a nice system for listening to music. Even better was that the Belkin had a special feature that would pause the iPod when 12V was cut to the cigarette adapter (so when I got out of the car, the iPod paused). This was a great feature which saved the battery on the iPod (from just running down) and also allowed me to start listening to the song or book on tape, etc where I had left off.
Two months ago I bought an iPhone 3g. I already knew there might be an issue with charging the phone as I had heard that for some time now, Apple had stopped supporting Firewire syncing and more recently did away with the extra circuitry for charging off of 12VDC (firewire). I did not know 100% if the Belkin would have the issue, but once I plugged it in, I got the warning that “iPhone will not charge” from this accessory.
So I did a little research and found a few places that sold a converter that had a female dock connector on one side and male on the other. You plug it in and it takes the 12VDC and chops it down to 5VDC (along with the various resistors you need to get the damn iPhone 3G to charge). So I spent $20 or so on a Griffin converter thinggy. I wasn’t happy about it but I had already looked inside the Belkin CLA (Cig Lighter Adapter) and did not see a way to fit a DC to DC converter inside. For $20, it also came with a little dock like thing which I plan on using in the car. So, I was happy.
But when I got the Griffin thing and tried it, I got another warning. The dreaded “This accessory is not made to work with iPhone”. It was charging, so I knew the Griffin thing was working. But what was this other warning? The Belkin lineout was working just fine as well…but ever time I plugged in my iPhone I had to clear that damn warning. Everything worked but the software on the iPhone 3G would always pop this warning.
After a search of the Internet, I found out I was not alone in my frustration. But I had trouble finding a solution until I found this forum. It was all about the issue and many people wanting to use the LOD (Line Out) feature on their iphone 3g but seeing this error. A number of people were saying that instead of the 1M ohm that the Belkin used to tell the iPhone what type of adapter it is (with that special pause feature), the iPhone 3g wanted to see a 68K ohm resister. And while a lot of people claimed it worked, others claimed it did not work…or worked sometimes.
So I tried it and found that it worked on my test bench. I was happy. I put the cig lighter back together and tested it in the car. It did not work in the car! I could not understand. So I went back inside and it was working/failing intermittently now back on my test bench with my 15VDC power supply. I tried a bunch of experiments. Finally I just hooked up a potentiometer to the accessory pin on the dock and tried adjusting the resistance slowly around that magical 68K mark. I found that 68K seemed to barely work on my test bench. But when I was actually testing in the car (which has a slightly lower voltage – most cars are around 13.5 volts) that 68K was not enough to get the line out to work and avoid the warning message.
What I found was that something around 75-85K ohm seems to work and be reliable. I ended up using exactly 78K and so far it looks happy.
I will post this link to the forum and see if this write-up helps some folks.3 comments
When the new iPhone 3G devices were released last year, one of my clients gave me his old iPhone (he upgraded). I played with the device and loaded it up with games. It was basically an iPod Touch on steroids (camera, etc).
Anyway, my kids loved playing games on it so we always took it on long drives. This past week my son was using it and stuck it in his jacket pocket but forgot to zip it shut. Later when he took off his jacket, the iphone fell out onto the concrete parking lot. Ouch!
The glass had 2 small “divots” but it was not cracked. The divots were a result of the impact which also seemed to broke many sections of the LCD display. The display was not cracked, but as I would later understand, the liquid itself had been forced out of some of the areas and as such the display had a lot of lines through it. I was especially bummed as I was about to switch to ATT and buy an iPhone 3g and give the old iPhone to my wife. Whoops!
When we got back I did a little research on the web and some experimentation with Brasso, a dremel tool, steel wool and a few other things. What I found that worked was some very fine wet/dry sandpaper. Like 1200 or 2500 grit type stuff. I used a somewhat coarse version (1200 grit) with water to literally sand out the scratched areas…all but the biggest one which I was only comfortable sanding out part way. I had to use a reasonable amount of pressure in the sanding process. The divots in the iPhone screen got a lot less noticeable from the 1200 grit sand paper but in the end the glass surface had a very finely scratched finish left over from the sand paper.
Next I used a finer grit (2500 or so) to smooth out the area a bit more. This worked well and left the iphone with more or less a “matte” finish in the area where I was sanding – basically finer scratches. The scratches from sanding were gone and what was left was more or less a haze. Oh, and a nice side effect of the sanding process (pressure) was that some parts of the LCD screen got better. I had fewer bad sections/lines in the LCD screen. I think the pressure forced some of the liquid back into some parts of the screen. As you can see from the pictures, the LCD is still not perfect, but it is better than it was (trust me).
While the iPhone’s screen was very usable now, I wanted to get rid of the haze/matte look to the half of the screen where I had been sanding. So I ordered some Cerium Oxide and a large buffing/polishing wheel from Caswell Plating. The kit arrived in 3-4 days and I went to work.
I put the polishing/buffing attachment in my drill press and ratcheted the speed (RPMs) to the highest setting it would go. I mixed some of the cerium oxide powder with water to make a substance with the thickness of heavy cream. According to the directions, you want enough water in the solution so that the buffing does not heat up the glass too much. This is important as it is not only glass we are polishing, but an LCD display right underneath.
I applied the liquid cerium oxide mixture with my fingers directly to the iPhone screen and polished the screen for about 30-40 minutes total. The actual process was tedious…put solution on the screen, polish for 10 seconds, put on more solution, polish some more, repeat. Warning: you don’t want to put too much pressure on the buffing action as it will heat up the glass in one spot and might crack the glass or damage the LCD underneath. I would buff for a few seconds and feel the heat of the glass to see how I was doing.
Periodically I would wash the iphone with a wet rag to see my progress. This slowed me down, but being the first time I had done this, I wanted to make sure everything was going well.
In the end, I think you will agree that the screen is 1000% better than it was. I could likely go further and get it to be perfect, but that would take a lot of time and might risk damage to the screen. The only areas of the screen I found hard to polish was the area near the edge. I think the polishing wheel was not making full contact with the glass due to the small metal lip that runs around the edge of the iPhone. But it is pretty good.
After the polishing, I used a pin, a wet clothe and some canned air to get the polishing compound out of the small holes and gaps in the iphone case. Not sure if there is a better way or not, but this seemed to work just fine.
I have been using Time Machine to backup my user folder on my laptop for the last 6 months or so. Time Machine runs hourly and backs up my laptop to a network server (similar to Time Capsule). All has been running well…or so I thought!
Turns out that my Desktop Folder had some funky permissions on it and Time Machine was not able to read from that folder…hence it did not backup that folder. There was no error provided in my menu bar nor in the Time Machine system preference. Perhaps there is some error log in the console somewhere that shows the issue, but nothing to tell the user who thinks everything is just fine. Of course until you want something from that folder and it is not backed-up!
I fixed the issue by fixing the file permissions on the Desktop folder. But my faith in Time Machine is gone. Just be aware. Maybe someone from Apple will read this.No comments
Rogue Amoeba software released a new version of their Airfoil software recently. The software allows you to stream any sound from a computer (Mac or Windows) to another Mac or Windows machine (or even linux!) that has speakers connected to it. This was very useful for many things….no need to buy Airport Express’s for every pair of speakers in your house…if they had a computer hooked up, you are good to go.
And you could stream any audio…not just what was coming out of iTunes. For example, you could stream an audio source that iTunes could not play like some windows music streams, content playing in youtube flash players, DVD soundtracks and similar. Have an internet radio station that does not play through iTunes…bingo.
I never bought the software, though, because it had one limit. You could not stream sound TO an airport express with airtunes. Since I already had a couple of these, I wanted that capability. Well, today it can do that too! (oh, and it can also stream to an AppleTV which essentially has airtunes built in)
One more thing… Looks like you will be able to stream to an iPod Touch or iPhone later as well as they are working on some software to allow you to do that. I imagine you could hook your iPhone up to a pair of speakers and use it as a remote speaker. Not sure how useful that it or not. I doubt they coul allow you to stream it to your device as you travel around town as they would have to have a way to find your device on the wide area network. But maybe? Not sure how you would control the streaming source back at your house, but who knows what the good folks at Rogue Amoeba have up their sleeves.
Personally, I would love to be able to stream music that is stored at my house (in my iTunes collection) TO my iPhone and be able to control it from my iPhone. Then I would care a lot less about how much memory my iPhone has on it and less about syncing music to it….I could just stream music. Maybe that is battery intensive, but it would be cool.No comments