Friday, April 30, 2010

6 New Updates

After I got my iMac 27 HD replaced and my TM restored back, I checked Software update from my iMac. I found 6 new updates. Actually some of them I think I did before(see my previews update blogs). Maybe my TM did not include them? I don't know. Anyway, I went straight to get them installed.

The following is the summary of space difference between before and after the update:

Command: df -lakUsed(Kilobytes in 1024-blocks)
Before ...705,108
Difference (A-B)-67,528

Here are updates:

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Yes, Time Machine is a Must-Have

My iMac 27 was ready for pick up yesterday. I got the message when I got back from work. I did not leave my work phone number when I drop the iMac, but I phoned back last Monday and told the store to phone me at work. The store did not phone me at work and left a message at my home number. It was late and I did not have car. Today this morning there was heavy snow and wind, so I decided to work from home. At the lunch time, I went to the local Apple retail store to get my iMac 27" back.

I checked the iMac at the store. The hard drive was replaced and set back at initial setting. When it was turned on, a welcome screen and music were up. The first thing I did when I was back home was to migrate my time machine back. The job took about 3 hours. All my original settings, applications, movies, photos and data files are back! The only thing I did not backup was my dropbox folder, which I use DropBox cloud service to sync my files up to internet. When I logged in and started the, I was asked to re-connect and set up my local folder as DropBox, just as same way as I set it up. After that, all the files from my internet DropBox account were back to my HD. That's all, very smooth and easy.

I remembered that when I was at the store I saw two senior couple at the genius help desk with their iMac 24. It looked that they knew very little about Mac. The screen was white, the same way as I had before. I hoped that they had time machine to back up everything, files, photos and movies. What a nightmare if they did not.

Yes, time machine is a must-harve for Mac users.

Caution When You Turn TM on!

While I was writing this blog, I got a warning message from my time machine backup:

After I got my TM back to my iMac, I did not give it a thought about the content on TM. I turned TM on from system preference. It looks like that it was just doing a whole new backup appending to the TM. Since it is a TM backup, all the original content are gone, and only the last date one (restored) was kept. The new backup then starts a whole back again. As a result, double spaces are required and my external HD does not have enough space. Here is what I have now on the TM's external HD:

and here is the my TM failure (in system preference):

Therefore, my advise is that when you have your iMac HD replaced and then restored the TM's content, don't rush to turn on TM on the same external HD if you want to keep all the history files. Keep the TM in a safe place, and get another external HD as your new TM.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Time Machine is a Must-Have

iMac 27 dead. Last night I had some friends over my place. To watch some YouTube shows, I moved my iMac 27" to my kitchen. We had some drinks and enjoyed shows. When I moved the iMac back to my computer room afterward, my iMac was dead. It stayed in the initial white screen with spinning wheel running for ever. I turned it off and on again, nothing help. tried this morning again, the same screen. I actually realized something wrong last night and I booked only one spot the next morning at the local Apple retail store.

The genius person was very nice and had British accent. I told him the story. He turned on the iMac, and it was the same result. He told me that it was the symptom of hard drive failure. "I'll replace the hard drive for you", he said. "Did you back up your hard drive", he asked. I told him that I have an USB external hard drive as a Time machine. "That's good.", he smiled.

"OK. I have no choice." I accepted that, "I also have an iMac 24, from my experience, I did not get Time machine migrated to this machine (27) from my 24 when I purchased this one (27)."

"I can give you step by step instructions of how to do that if you want." he said, "it should be very simple and straightforward, and I don't think there should any problem since your time machine was running against to this one."

"I think I can do it. I'll give it a try", My voice showed a little sign of hesitate.

After he checked status on his computer, he said, "We don't have hard drive in stock right now." He offered one option, "I am sorry we have to keep it in store. I have placed an order. The earliest date from the system may be next Wednesday. Is that OK?"

"OK", I was reluctant, but I had no choice. That's my story of my dead iMac 27. I am expecting to get it back next week.

I don't worry about any applications on 27, but I have many important data files and an iPhone project I have been working on. If I cannot get my time machine back to the new hard drive, that would be disaster for me. Fortunately I have had my iMac 27 connected with my time machine all the time, till the last moment when it was dead. "This would provide me one experience to see how the time machine works", I thought.

This afternoon, I had an idea: can I try my time machine on my iMac 24"? if I can get files and the source codes of my iPhone project back to iMac 24? The iMac 24 was the only one computer I had for the time. If I could get the files back, I could continue to work on my project. That's really good idea. I plugged the time machine to my 24's USB port. The drive appeared on the desktop. My Time was not running. I don't think it is good idea to get it running. The content of the USB drive is for my iMac 27.

However, I can browse the content of the drive in Finder. To my surprise, I see all the folders by time in chronic order:

Here is what I have in the latest date folder: my 27's hard drive:

and all the folders and files under the users/[myuser]:

What a life saving feature! I dragged some files and folders back to my iMac 24"s HD, and my iPhone project was back. Even without directly restoring all the content back to an iMac, I can still browse files directly and restore files manually. That's already good enough for me. Time Machine is a must-have item for Mac users!

It would be nice if I can restore the time machine back to my iMac 27 when it is back. Wait and see.

Monday, April 19, 2010

27 iMac Firmware 1.0 Update

Today I got a update: 27" iMac firmware 1.0 update. I think I got 27" iMac firmware update not long time ago. So quickly Apple released another one. This one is very interesting. Based on its description, during the update, the fan runs at full speed and I did hear the strong noise. Here is snap-shot of the update:

and here is the description:

This update fixes Target Display Mode compatibility issues on 27-inch iMac computers.

When your computer restarts a gray screen will appear with a status bar to indicate the progress of the update. Your Computer's fans will run at full speed during the update but will return to normal speed once the update completes. Do not disturb or shut off the power on your iMac during this update.

The following is the summary of space difference between before and after the update:

Command: df -lakUsed(Kilobytes in 1024-blocks)
Before ...567,064
Difference (A-B)-278,708

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

iMac EFI and Security Update

I found two new updates today. Here is the information about those updates:
27-inch iMac EFI Fireware Update

The update is recommended for all quad-core Intel Core i5 and Core i7 processors 27-inch iMacs.

This update addresses the following:

  • Resolves an issue that sometimes caused high processor utilization while playing audio through the headphone output mini-jack.
  • Resolves an issue that prevented the display backlight from turning on after powering on the iMac.

When your computer restarts a gray screen will appear with a status bar to indicate the progress of the update. Do not disturb or shut off the power on your iMac during this update.

Security Update 2010-003

Security Update 2010-003 is recommended for all users and improves the security of Mac OS X.

For information on the security content of this update, please visit this website:

Command: df -lakUsed(Kilobytes in 1024-blocks)
Before ...632,488
Difference (A-B)-433,608

Monday, April 5, 2010

QuickView: Folders in X-Ray View

I found a way to change QuickView for folders: X-Ray view. I got this when I was on the way to my work listening to Mac Cast podcast on March 24, 2010. The podcast notes provides detail information and a video (YouTube) on how this is set and what's the result.

This is done through the settings in You may need to check the current settings before update it:

defaults read QLEnableXRayFolders

The default value is 0. To enable the X-Ray view, set it to 1:

defaults write QLEnableXRayFolders 1

Another tip I found is a Terminal command to copy the piped result to OS's clipboard. For example, I copy the content of air.html to clipboard by using this command:

cat air.html | pbcopy

Friday, April 2, 2010

Update: Airport Base Station 5.5.1

Today I found a new update from Apple: Airport Base Station 5.5.1. I went to the update right away and missed recording the space before the update. So I would not be able to provide information of comparing the space difference between before and after.

Here is the description of the update:

AirPort Utility 5.5.1 includes general bug fixes and addresses the following issues:
  • Not importing all settings when importing a configuration.
  • Not propagating MAC address control lists when using an extended network.