Friday, December 17, 2010

iTunes and AirPort Updates

I found two updates from Apple this evening. One is for iTunes and another is for AirPort Utility.

The following is the comparison of the used space difference between before and after:

Command: df -lakUsed(Kilobytes in 1024-blocks)
Before ...26,148
Difference (A-B)54,240

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Mac Apps: Glims Plug in for Safari and TimeMachineEditor

I found two great and long waiting Mac applications. One is a plugin for Safari to load previous tabs on start: Glims. Safari, unlike Chrome or FireFox, does not restore the previous tabs on start. I have tried to figure out a way to do that for long time. Now Glims does what I want.

The second one is to add TimeMachine backup intervals. By default, the TimeMachine does backups at about one hour interval and there is no configuration to change it. This frequent backups are not suitable for MacBook Air. I would like to schedule backup in a daily base. I think I found this app information from Mac Geek Gab podcast 300. This was an around table talk with several geeks. During the talk, each one mentioned his favourite apps. TimeMachineEditor got my immediate attention.

I really like this tool. Basically, it is a UI tool for backup schedule. In order to do the backup in the schedule way, the TimeMachine has to be turned off. I think that TimeMachineEditor is a script based app. It generates a script to schedule TM job.

Today I verified that my TM did have a backup as scheduled:

Monday, December 13, 2010

Mac App for MacBook Battery: coconutBattery

Battery usage hours and battery life are critical specs for laptop computers. Based on the information from Apple, my new MacBook Air 13" is supposed to have 7 hour usage. I am going to test out how good the battery is. One way to test it is to use it and keep eye on its battery hours. Another way is to use application to monitor and record battery hours.

I found one free Mac app related to Battery specs. It is coconutBattery. Here is the current status of my battery:

However, it does actually provide information about my MacBook usage history, such as when is the last charge time, and how many hours are in sleep mode and active mode since the last charge. It may be a good case for a Mac app.

The Mac OS does provide a tool to show the battery status. It is an icon on the right top side the system menu bar. It provides different way to show batter status such as time left, and access to Energy Save Preference.

Yesterday I noticed from this icon that my battery reached to a very low point. Then it displayed a warning message saying that my MacBook Air would be in sleep mode in a few minutes:

I waited for the moment. In a few of minutes, my computer went to a black screen. There was no respond for any key pressed. After that, I plugged in my power and the screen came back. It was very nice experience. I think the battery status icon does provide accurate status. This provides me a chance to save my data and turn off my computer if no power is available.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

MacBook Air Setup

I got a MacBook Air 13" base model last Black Friday(Nov 26, 2010). The price was abut $100 off the regular price, or $50 less than the education price. 11" did have special. That's why I did not hesitate to pick up this modal. Another reason is that I will take this laptop with me during my Christmas vacation back to Beijing.

Since the Air model has limited HD space, 112GB, I cannot migrate all my account from my iMac27 to this one. The basic I need are iTunes music, podcasts, and some applications. What I did is to use Migration Assistant app to only migrate my iTunes music and uncheck all the others. After that, I installed XCode from my iMac CD as shared, and simply copied some my favourite apps from my iMac 27 to Air's Public->Drop Box.

All works fine; however, I realized that all most of all the music contents, videos and podcasts are not available:

I thought that I may not do it correctly. I tried three times. What I have in my iTunes are all the icons and items only, but most of the contents are not there. In iTunes, for each item, there is one Show in Finder menu item in its context menu. This is what I had in my Air:

At my iMac 27, I can find out where the music file is. Actually, I realize that my iTunes at my iMac 27 has sharing turned on for all the contents. As a result, all the music, podcasts and videos are in my Public->Music folder. I did not check the Public folder in my Migration. The Migration does not show further detail under the Public. I could not turn Public as checked since the size was too big.

Fortunately, all my music are organized by albums, and each album is a folder. I first copied the albums I am interested from my iMac 27 to my Air's Drop Box. Then I moved the files from my Drop Box to the same location on my Air. After that, all the music I want are there in my iTunes.

One thing I realize that copying a group of music or video files in large size takes long time to complete. The communication between my iMac and Aire is in WiFi mode. There is no wire connection. I have placed an order of ethernet to USB cable and USB male to male cable from Monoprice. When I receive it, I give it a try again with 4.11GB in size again.

By the way, to get the summary size of group files, select a group of files in Finder first. Open its context menu, control+click. Then hold option key, the menu "Get Info" will change to "Get Summary Info". "Get Summary Info" will display one info window, while "Get Info" will display a group of Windows.

Update: today (Dec 16, 2010) I received my USB to Ethernet adaptor. I gave it try again. With 400MB video file, it took about 14 minutes with the USB-Ethernet wire connection:

while Wifi took about more than 20 minutes for the same file:

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Free App: EasyFind

I found a great tool for finding files, EasyFinder by DEVONTechnologies. This is a supplementary tool for Mac Finder. I could not find figure out a way to find a file by matching file patterns. EasyFinder provides a nice UI with a lots of features in addition to what I need.

The UI is a Finder like window. To search for files, for example "black friday", type in the word in search box, and click on Find button on the right. The result will be displayed in the main area with detail information by columns. The UI supports quick view, open, reveal in Finder, and delete.

Be careful with delete, there is no warning for delete. By default, the deleted file will be in Trash. Unfortunately, if the deleted file in a long path somewhere hard to remember, you cannot restore it back from Trash. The restore feature is a long demanded feature from Mac users. Therefore, I removed the Delete button from toolbar and add Info instead:

I found out that Control+C copies file names with whole path if one or more files are selected. This may be a way or good habit to take a note of files before you delete any files.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Update: Safari 5.0.3

Today I did a update: Safari 5.0.3. It looks like that there are no any new features in this update. I did have some crash issues with Safari. Not sure if this update will resolve the issue or better than before.

and the following is the comparison of the used space difference between before and after:

Command: df -lakUsed(Kilobytes in 1024-blocks)
Before ...18,908
Difference (A-B)72,284

Saturday, November 13, 2010

iTunes 10.1 Update: AirPlay is Out

The expected iTunes 10.1 update is out. The major item in the update is AirPlay. Couple things I realized new in my iTunes are that first there is one icon on the lower right corner of the main screen. This one has Apple TV option when it is clicked:

This one does work to transfer audio content to my Apple TV. However, it does not work for video content, even there is one similar icon in the video control component:

I hope that AirPlay will work with video content soon.

Here is the update information:

and the following is the comparison of the used space difference between before and after:

Command: df -lakUsed(Kilobytes in 1024-blocks)
Before ...491,992
Difference (A-B)-411,308

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Mac OS Update 10.6.5

Today Apple released the expected update of Mac OS 10.6.5. The expected AirPrint is not included in this release. There many rumours about the delay of this new feature. For me, it is not very important. I have not used print for years. All my files are either in doc, excel or pdf files. I event rarely print at work. I am expecting AirPlay coming out in iOS 4.2.

Here is the snap-shot of the update:

and the following is the comparison of the used space difference between before and after:

Command: df -lakUsed(Kilobytes in 1024-blocks)
Before ...34,180
Difference (A-B)649,924

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Shortcut Key to Skip Partial Section in Audio/Video Play

I posted a blog on how to skip partial section in iPod Touch and iPad. Those devices are touch based devices. The corresponding feature on iMac can be done by using mouse drag. However, I prefer to use keyboard shortcut keys if possible. It is slow and sometimes painful by using mouse.

Apple support web site has a summary of iTunes Keyboard Shortcuts. It is nice to know some shortcuts; however, I could not find keys to skip partial sections while playing audio or videos. For example, some podcasts has repetitive beginning section or commercials within their contents. It is painful to drag mouse to skip.

By incident, I found a shortcut key to do it: option+command+right arrow key! It works very well. Holding both option and command keys, then pressing right arrow key once, it will skip about 5 second play. This shortcut key can be pressed repeatedly to skip partial sections quickly. I like it very much.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

I got Apple TV!

I purchased Apple TV yesterday. I went to the local Apple store for my appointment regarding my iMac27 reboot issue. There were a lots Apple TV available on shelf. However, I don't like Apple's 10% restocking charge. After my appointment, I went to a close-by Future shop and Best-buy. Apple TV was sold out at both locations. Finally I got it from another Future shop, 15 minutes drive.

AppleTV is so small and it is very easy to set up. Only two lines I have to plug in, one for power and another HDMI wire. I use my AirePort Extreme Base Station wireless as my internet connection. It does support Wi-Fi connection as well. I tried to use it with its original remote controller and my 1st gen iPod Touch, Remote App. It works well. Some of YouTube contents take some waiting time or pause. I think that may be caused by internet or YouTube. There are a lots from Podcasts and I enjoyed some shows.

I also tried to access to iMac 24's iTunes. In order to do that, I have to set up my iTunes sharing on from iTunes Preference. Then I have to log on with my Apple ID. Then I have to set it up from Apple TV with the same Apple ID, which can be set in Settings|General|iTunes Store. In order to view content from iMac 24, I have to let it on. Unfortunately only one computer can be set up.

I am going to get Netflex service. Since there are so many contents available in AppleTV, I have cancelled my cable TV service.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Disk Utility: Repair Disk

Today I found my iMac 24 has disk linkage issues when I tried to use OnyX to clean my Internet cache and cookies. This is the first time I have seen this problem. I know I can use Disk Utility to fix the problem. I gave it a try.

The first thing I did was to use the tool of Disk Utility (which can be found in Spotlight) to verify the issue. Click the Verify button to start checking:

It did report the problem. After the problem was identified, a prompt dialog was displayed with instructions to fix the issue. I remember that it says to start from the OS installation disk and choose Disk Utility to fix the issue. Coincidentally, I went to the local Apple store to ask the same question about my daughter's MacBook Pro (she had memory failure, none Apple memory). Her laptop has disk issue but she has no time to fix it. I tried to confirm to fix the issue by using Disk Utility tool. The genius guy told me to use the tool from the installation disk, not from the OS tool on HD.


It took me a while to reboot my Mac from the installation disk. I tried to insert the disk and then restart. It did not start from the disk. Soon I realized that when I put the disk in, there is restart button in the OS installation app. First click on the Utilities... button:

and then click on Restart button:

This made the boot from the installation disk!

NOTE: I later found out that there is one option available from System Preference: Startup Disk. You can select the startup disk from this option. If you place the OS Installation CD into the CD driver, you should see the disk there and make the selection:


After that, I saw installation window displayed (I could not take any snapshots). To start the Disk Utility tool, select menu Utilities and then Disk... The instruction is also explained in the Disk Utility tool (see above). Note: there is nothing in the installation window to tell you where to find the Disk tool. It is in the top menu's drop-down!

The repair went smoothly and the problem was fixed. After that, I verified the disk again. It was OK.

I tried the same step to boot from the installation disk on my iMac27. I could not start from the disk. This is another problem. I tried many times. The Apple logo in while screen stays there forever. I think I have a different problem. Even my HD is OK, but why not I cannot start it from the disk. I set up a genius appointment with the Apple store, this Saturday. I'll update the result.

NOTE: I realized two days later after the time when I wrote this blog that I actually have two sets of OS Installation CD. I then tried to use another set OS 10.6.2 disk. Reboot from this disk works fine. Not sure if I have to use the original disk to boot or not.

I have another two sets of OS disks. I tried them and only one installation disk works. It seems that not any boot disk work with iMac.


Another issue I have is the disk permissions. When I run it from Disk Utility tool, I got some messages about my disk permissions. For example the following snapshot is the one I just run today:

Click on Log, all the log messages are displayed in another window:

2010-10-30 09:05:57 -0600: Disk Utility started.

2010-10-30 09:08:09 -0600: Verify permissions for “10.6.1 boot”
2010-10-30 09:08:31 -0600: Permissions differ on "System/Library/Frameworks/JavaVM.framework/Versions/1.6.0/Classes/jconsole.jar", should be -rw-r--r-- , they are lrwxr-xr-x .
2010-10-30 09:08:31 -0600: User differs on "System/Library/Frameworks/JavaVM.framework/Versions/1.6.0/Home/lib", should be 95, user is 0.
2010-10-30 09:08:31 -0600: User differs on "System/Library/Frameworks/JavaVM.framework/Versions/1.6.0/Libraries", should be 95, user is 0.
2010-10-30 09:09:26 -0600: Permissions differ on "System/Library/Frameworks/JavaVM.framework/Versions/1.6.0/Resources/JavaPluginCocoa.bundle/Contents/Resources/Java/deploy.jar", should be -rw-r--r-- , they are lrwxr-xr-x .
2010-10-30 09:09:26 -0600: Permissions differ on "System/Library/Frameworks/JavaVM.framework/Versions/1.6.0/Resources/JavaPluginCocoa.bundle/Contents/Resources/Java/libdeploy.jnilib", should be -rwxr-xr-x , they are lrwxr-xr-x .
2010-10-30 09:09:42 -0600: ACL found but not expected on "private/etc/apache2/httpd.conf".
2010-10-30 09:09:42 -0600: ACL found but not expected on "private/etc/apache2/users".
2010-10-30 09:09:51 -0600: ACL found but not expected on "Library/Preferences/Audio".
2010-10-30 09:09:51 -0600: ACL found but not expected on "Library/Preferences/".
2010-10-30 09:09:52 -0600: ACL found but not expected on "Library/Scripts/Folder Action Scripts/Image - Duplicate as JPEG.scpt".
2010-10-30 09:10:04 -0600: ACL found but not expected on "System/Library/Keychains/X509Anchors".
2010-10-30 09:10:19 -0600: Warning: SUID file "System/Library/PrivateFrameworks/Admin.framework/Versions/A/Resources/readconfig" has been modified and will not be repaired.
2010-10-30 09:10:19 -0600: Warning: SUID file "System/Library/PrivateFrameworks/Admin.framework/Versions/A/Resources/writeconfig" has been modified and will not be repaired.
2010-10-30 09:10:21 -0600: ACL found but not expected on "private/etc/hostconfig".
2010-10-30 09:10:21 -0600: ACL found but not expected on "private/etc/master.passwd".
2010-10-30 09:10:21 -0600: ACL found but not expected on "private/etc/passwd".
2010-10-30 09:10:21 -0600: ACL found but not expected on "private/var/yp/binding".
2010-10-30 09:10:23 -0600:
2010-10-30 09:10:23 -0600: Permissions verification complete
2010-10-30 09:10:23 -0600:
2010-10-30 09:10:23 -0600:

I tried to verify permissions and repair permissions from boot disk and my HD. Still it looks like that I cannot resolve the permission issue. I don't experience any issues when I use my iMac. Not sure how I can resolve the disk permission issue.


I came back from my visit to local Apple store's genius bar. I was told that I do need to use the original Mac OS disk to boot. It will not not boot from other disks. This is what I expected. In case I lose my original disk, I have to call Apple support line to get a disk. The tech person told me that it is strongly recommended to get Apple Care plan since I am off my 90 days warranty with call support.

In terms of disk permission, I told him that I tried to repair the disk permission problems from local and disk reboot. None of those resolved the disk permission issues, which stays there. I was told that it used to be problem for previous OS such as tiger. As long as I don't experience any problems, I should not worry about the issue. I might get advice from Apple Care support if I to phone in.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Mac OS Updates: JavaForOS and ProKit, and FaceTime beta

On the same day of Apple's Back to the Mac event, two new updates are released: Java for OS 10.6 Update 3 and ProKit 6.0.1.

Space difference between before and after:

Command: df -lakUsed(Kilobytes in 1024-blocks)
Before ...815,956
Difference (A-B)-211,608

After that, I downed FaceTime for Mac beta. It looks like Skype or iChat. I tried it without any calls because it was too late. With it I can make any calls to another Mac or iPhone FaceTime over Wi-Fi. One thing I feel not convenient is that the contacts do not have groups, nor search is available. I can add my favourite, that's it. Here is the space difference before and after the installation:

Command: df -lakUsed(Kilobytes in 1024-blocks)
Before ...4,348
Difference (A-B)36,528

Saturday, September 25, 2010

iTunes 10.0.1 Update

This update is iTunes 10.0.1 Update with a long list of fixes and new features.

The following is the comparison of the used space difference between before and after:

Command: df -lakUsed(Kilobytes in 1024-blocks)
Before ...656
Difference (A-B)1,948

Delete Old Time Machine Backups

Recently I get several Time Machine warning messages about my TM is full. My mac's disk space is about 271GB in use and my TM is 500GB. I have to either update my USB TM to bigger size or I have to delete some old backups. Before I go the former solution, I think the later one is quick solution for me, since I know my oldest backups can be removed without any concern.

Although the deletion is very easy and straightforward, I did not find it through TM UI when I went to my TM history. I quickly found the way by googling. Here is a snapshot of the menu item from a backup:

The Action menu list provides deleting and restoring actions depending on the current selections as well. For example, if I select a file, I can delete it from TM or restore it back to my current OS.

By the way, TM does not allow me take a selection screenshot by Shift-Command-4, but I can do whole screen snapshot (S-C-3). Then I take a selection screenshot from the image's quick view.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Mac OS Security Update 2010-06

This update is a security update.

The following is the comparison of the used space difference between before and after:

Command: df -lakUsed(Kilobytes in 1024-blocks)
Before ...316
Difference (A-B)504

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Safari and iWeb Updates

Today I got two software updates prompt: one for Safari and another for iWeb. I knew the former from AppleInsider during my work today, the later, iWeb, is a surprise. It is a update related to MobileMe with minor issues. Not sure if there are any new features added or not. I hope iWeb would support multiple users for web sites.

The following is the comparison of the used space difference between before and after:

Command: df -lakUsed(Kilobytes in 1024-blocks)
Before ...851,852
Difference (A-B)-398,212

Thursday, September 2, 2010

iTunes 10 Update

Today I tried to update again from iMac and soon I saw the update of iTunes 10, just as expected. This update does not require reboot. After reboot, I started iTunes. The interface is very similar to the previous version. There may be some different UI layout in Music. The biggest new feature is Ping.

I tried Ping. From there I can follow some artists, Yo-Yo Ma, Katy Perry and Taylor Swift. There is section to set up my personal profile with brief description. However, the description is only a text box. It does not take HTML tags such as anchor. It looks like I cannot directly post my messages in Ping. I can post comments to other people's reviews or artists' posts. Ping is an integrated part of iTunes. I can write reviews to songs or videos, click Like and mark stars. All those activities are displayed in my Ping's Profile and My Reviews. As Steve Jobs said, Ping is all about music. It is truly a social platform for music. I think it is good for music lovers. For me, it is a great way to find out good music pieces and learn about western culture. Interestingly, today, I also find out many Chinese singers, and I left some my Likes and my rating Stars for their songs.

The following is the comparison of the used space difference between before and after:

Command: df -lakUsed(Kilobytes in 1024-blocks)
Before ...235,664
Difference (A-B)-42,468

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Apple Music Event with New Product Release

Today is the Apple Music Event. I actually wrote this blog a few days (started on August 27, 2010) before the event and I have scheduled this one as a post dated blog on September 1, 2010. Therefore, this post contains two sections: one with my hope or guess and one we see today.

My Expectations

There are many rumours about what Apple will announce in the coming event. As an iMac user with many Apple products, I really hope Apple will have some surprises with wonderful products and services.
  • New Version of iPod Touch with 3G and Retina Display. I agree with most people that iPod Touch will have Camera, both front and back, with retina display. As well iPod Touch will have option of 3G data plan with carriers similar to iPad one.

  • Renewed Apple TV. I hope Daniel's expectation will be true: iSight camera, iOS, and FaceTime on Apple TV.

  • More Services for MobileMe. Many rumours say that Apple has invested huge amount funds to build new cloud services. I hope there will be more surprise services available for MobileMe users. I enjoy using MobileMe as I just have this subscription service in less than two weeks. I have seen that in the past Apple had announcement on improving this service and adding new features such as Find My iPhone for mobile devices. For example, I really want to add iMac as a new FindMe.

  • Availability. First, I don't think products or services, except iOS4 for iPad, will be available right on this date. This is just a announcement of new or updated products and services. Most likely they will be available on September 7, 2010 or later.

Am I Right and What are Surprises?

Today Apple finally announced following new releases:
  • Yes. New iPod Touch is within the whole line of renewed iPod products, but no 3G.
  • No. Apple TV is renewed but not as expected as Daniel's list of iSight TV or iOS. However, it is much smaller than the previous version. The product is very simple. I think Apple is in the right direction. Instead of making another big and complicated product with storage and system, Apple TV is well integrated with other Apple products, such as iPod Touch, iPhone, iPad and Mac. I love the simplicity.
  • No. No new services for MobileMe.
  • Mostly but wrong with iPad's iOS. Very disappointed with the availability of iSO for iPad. I have to wait more than two months. I have to accept the fact that Apple is not ready for the release.

I just watched Steve's keynote speech at today's Music event. As I did before, I enjoyed watching his speech and was very happy to hear news about the updated products and iTunes 10. I think that Apple is on its right track to progress.

By the way, I just checked iTunes 10 from my iMac's software update. It was not there. However, iTunes 10 is available on Apple's web page. Not sure why it is not in the update. I'll wait to see if it will be in the regular update.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Tick and Tip: Adjust Audio/Video Position by Touch

I have trouble to adjust audio or video progress when I listen or watch a podcast. It is very hard to adjust the slide bar to a desired position. My touch finger is too big so that it blocks my view of the slide bar or its surrounding area. Today I found a tip to resolve this issue and it applies for iPad, iPod Touch and iPhone.

First, just touch the round button on the slide bar. Then move your figure down to an appropriate position. Move the finger left or right to adjust the play position. The slide bar now is clear in my view and it is much easy to adjust to a desired position. Here is my snapshot of my iPod Touch while I was watching CNN daily news. I added a yellow circle for my finger position:

One interesting thing I found is that the more your finger is far away from the side bar like down to the bottom, the less sensitive the movement adjustment will be. The same behaviour applies to the bottom volume control side bar. You just move our finger up.

Further I found that this behaviour applies not only to audio/video side bars, but it also works for side bars in other places. For example, in Settings->Brightness & Wallpaper->Auto-Brightness (iPad), you can also move your finger off the slide bar to adjust the brightness.

If you find your finger blocks your view, you may try to move it off the target and then move side ways. You may find it works well.

How Did I Find This Trick?

I have a free iPhone game: Boxed-in. I like to play it. One day I found out that I don't need to push or move the figure player directly. I can move the box-pusher easily when I move my finger any place on the screen, off the player. It is much easy to view when my finger is off my view of the player. This may not related to the default behaviour of side bar. It may be an application feature.

The trouble I have with adjusting audio/video position has been for so long and often I need to do it. A few seconds ago I thought that there must be a way to do it easily. Instead of reading menu of iPad(never read it even I have it in my iBooks) or googling a solution, the game's trick reminded me if I could move my touched finger off the bar. When I gave it a try, it worked beautifully! The same behaviour applies to iPad, iPod Touch and iPhone.