Jan
16

How To Show All File Extensions on Mac

Posted by Aaron West at 2:43 PM in Mac, Leopard

I was on my new MacBook Pro the other day, working on some database stuff when I accidentally hit ⌘+comma in a Finder window. This keyboard sequence brings up the software preferences for whatever program you have activated. I was a bit surprised to see the Finder Preferences window pop up because I hadn't seen it in over a year. Since I was on a new machine I clicked through the various tabs in the window and noticed the Show all filename extensions in the Advanced tab. I'd never seen this setting before so I turned it on. And it did exactly what it says it does, makes all extensions of every file show up in all Finder windows.

I like this setting as I'm always editing file properties (⌘+i) that don't show an extension to force the behavior. The only downside to this setting - if you can call it that - is apps in the Applications Finder window show a .app extension. That's probably the only file type I don't want to show an extension.

Here's a screenshot of the Advanced tab settings in the Finder preferences window. Maybe someone else will be as excited to find this feature as I was. Incidentally, I thought this might've been a feature added in Snow Leopard. Sadly (sad that I didn't know), I checked an OS X 10.5 machine and saw the same setting.

Apr
11

When it comes to Adobe's Lightroom photography software I consider myself a super noob. I've been using it for over a year now but I'm still learning new things every few weeks. Yesterday I upgraded to version 2 and quickly discovered Lightroom can now run as a 64-bit application. Supported operating systems include Mac OS X 10.5.x and Windows Vista (64-bit).

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Jan
2

As much as I like and enjoy my Apple TV it has a tendency to frustrate the crap outta me. I've experienced two recent situations that made me wanna remove the thing from my closet and chuck it out the window (where it would probably land softly on the grass outside).

Blue screen? No, white screen!
I typically rent movies from Netflix but sometimes it's nice to rent something from iTunes. So after renting Hit Man and waiting a few minutes for the HD movie to queue up I was pretty surprised to be greeted by a glaring white screen. Audio was working fine but the video was a big mess of white nothing. I tried the immediately obvious things like fast forwarding, rewinding, and stopping and restarting the movie. I also adjusted the video display settings on the Apple TV to ensure it wasn't some funky HD setting. After none of that worked I used my MRF850 system remote to shutdown my entire home theatre system which basically amounts to power cycling equipment that is turned on (except for the Apple TV). The movie continued to display only white. It wasn't until I unplugged the power cable for the Apple TV (there's no on/off switch) and plugged it back in that the movie actually showed video. Lesson learned: reboots aren't just for Windows devices anymore. =(

Apple TV 2.3 iTunes 8.0.2 Syncing Issue
Apple released an update for Apple TV (version 2.3) that promised new features like AirTunes Streaming, additional third party remote support, better playlists compatibility with iTunes and enhanced music volume control (they didn't mention the Remote app on iPhone getting this feature but it does. And it's cool). What they didn't tell you was that a number of people were going to have some significant problems with the update. I was one of them.

After upgrading my Apple TV it no longer showed up in iTunes. I wasn't able to sync any new music, movies, or photos but I could still play all the content that was already on Apple TV. What was puzzling was my Apple TV continued to show up in iTunes Apple TV list which seemed to indicate my computer and Apple TV were able to see each other. To further add to the frustration my iPhone Remote app wasn't able to see the Apple TV and control content playback. After doing some searching I tried several of the solutions other sufferers had success with. I even wiped the entire thing and attempted to start over and resync all my music, movies, and photos. I was able to perform the factory settings reset but iTunes still wouldn't see my Apple TV.

While trying to remotely connect to my 1TB Time Capsule to check IPv6 settings (one of the suggestions from the previous link) I noticed my computer wasn't able to recognize the Time Capsule. Naturally, I power cycled the Time Capsule by pulling it's power cable. After it came back up I was able to connect via Airport Utility and surprisingly iTunes was now able to see the Apple TV. After all this fuss I was able to set up my Apple TV all fresh and anew and sync all my data (which took over 3 hours). Lesson learned: reboots aren't just for Windows devices anymore. See a pattern here?

Jun
7

I've had it up to "here" with Time Machine and Time Capsule. If you want to kill your backup productivity just use Apple's Time Machine and Time Capsule backup solution. For the past 3 months I have fought Time Machine and Time Capsule and estimate I've spent days trying to fix problems and backup errors. As soon as one problem is resolved it seems only days go by before I'm back under the hood attacking another issue.

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May
18

A Fix for Time Machine's Backup Failure

Posted by Aaron West at 1:30 PM in Mac, Leopard

Returning home from the Adobe Community Summit I knew there were a couple of things I had to do. Getting a bit of rest and hanging out with my wife and son were at the very top of the list. Closer to the bottom was plugging my MBP into a power brick in order to backup my computer to my Time Capsule. Little did I know it wasn't going to be as easy as usual.

After plugging in and initiating the backup, Time Machine took over 20 minutes to prepare the data - it simply displayed "Preparing data" for what seemed like ages. Finally, it finished the prepare data phase and displayed how much data it was backing up, about 5.3 GB. I'm simply amazed that one weeks worth of work could generate 5.3 GB of changed data. Realizing it was going to take Time Machine quite a while to copy 5.3 GB wirelessly to the Time Capsule I shut the MBP's screen about 80% of the way and decided to return to the living room to do other things.

A few hours later I came back to my MBP to see the following message:

First, many thanks to Apple for giving me a useful error message I could do something about. Pfff. I tried several things to get Time Machine working again including rebooting, reconnecting to the Time Capsule, and simply restarting the backup process. All failed with the same error message.

After hitting up Google for answers (Google always seems to have answers you know) I found a few posts on the MacCast forums that seemed promising. A user by the name of "karinlord" deserves credit for the right set of steps to mitigate this problem.

I believe my problem started when my computer decided to sleep in the middle of the backup process. I am unsure if this occurred because of my systems preferences or whether I actually shut the computer lid enough to force it to sleep. Regardless, Time Machine seems to freak out if it gets interrupted during the backup process. When this happens several files and folders are left on your backup volume that deter any subsequent backups.

To get Time Machine going again, you need to remove the errant files with the following steps:

  1. Ensure your backup device is turned on and connected to your computer (wirelessly or wired, it doesn't matter)
  2. Turn off Time Machine using the big button in Time Machine preferences. NOTE: I did not execute this step and was still able to fix Time Machine.
  3. Make sure the backup volume (which is just part of the backup drive) is mounted to your desktop/Finder. You may have to initiate (and subsequently cancel) a Time Machine backup process in order to see the drive on the desktop or in Finder.
  4. Access your backup volume in Finder (it should be named "Backup of your-computer-name..." or something similar) and double-click into the "Backups.backupdb" folder.
  5. Next, click into the "your-computer-name" folder. You should see a bunch of folders with dates. These are all the dates corresponding to days you ran a successful backup.
  6. At the bottom of the folder listing will be one or two things you need to move to the trash. You may see only one or both of these, but delete the file that starts with a date (it should be the date the backup failure started) and ends in ".inProgress." Also delete a file named "Latest" if it exists.
  7. Return to Time Machine preferences and turn Time Machine on. Remember, I was successful without performing this step.
  8. Initiate a backup using the Time Machine drop-down in the menu bar or wait until the next scheduled backup run.
  9. A final but important step, be patient. Time Machine may sit in "preparing" mode for a while. It's important to at least let it run for an hour or so to see if the process will continue actually writing files to your backup volume.

If you continue having problems and are unable to get Time Machine to perform a successful backup, I recommend running the following command in Terminal. This command will let you view your system log - where Time Machine errors are located - in order to [possibly] get a clearer picture of what is causing your backups to fail.

sudo grep backupd /var/log/system.log

Jan
16

Dear Apple: I Don't Get It

Posted by Aaron West at 10:17 PM in Mac, Leopard

I was cruising around Apple's Web site the other day when I happened upon the OS X product page. I was immediately presented with an ad (well, not so much an ad as a photo) for Leopard which is shown below. What the heck Apple? What does this ad mean? What do you mean I can add a new Mac to a Mac? Are you serious? Further thought on the ad produced the idea that perhaps their message is that by buying and installing Leopard (on your existing Mac) you are effectively getting a new one. If that's their point, I think they missed the point of advertising. This has to be the worst attempt from Apple in a long time... they typically are so great at advertising.

Jan
14

UPDATE
With the 8.0.1 update of ColdFusion, OS X 10.5 Leopard is natively supported. To install ColdFusion you simply download the 32-bit or 64-bit version of the OS X installer and walk through the installation screen. The steps I outlined below, getting a custom compiled version of the Apache 2.2.x connector are no longer necessary as CF8 ships with an appropriate connector.

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I've had ColdFusion 8 running on OS X 10.5 (Leopard) and hooked to Apache 2.2.6 for a while now. However, two things have occurred that are prompting me to write this blog entry. First, I've gotten several questions on exactly how I got things working - even with the other blog entries that outline a similar process. Second, I ran into an odd issue Friday when configuring everything on my new work MacBook Pro.

This is a small part of an article I'm writing for the Fusion Authority Quarterly Update Volume 2 Issue 4, due out in February. The information is so important I felt it could not wait, and am publishing this with permission from Fusion Authority. In this blog post, I will discuss the installation issue and its resolution, and provide my consolidated, easy steps for getting ColdFusion 8 hooked to Apache 2.2.x on Leopard.

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Dec
5

I recorded a short video that demonstrates two new features in Leopard's Dock: Stacks and spring-loaded folders. I also show a little known setting that adds a nice visual feature to Stacks.

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The following code is shown in the video and placed here so you can copy it and paste it into Terminal.

defaults write com.apple.dock mouse-over-hilte-stack -boolean yes
killall Dock

The Stacks tip shown in the video is not my own. Credit goes to this page.

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