Sunday, December 18, 2011

Apple Support Story

Yesterday I purchased iPhone 4S, 64G white model. It is a beautiful device.  However, I soon realized there is one issue: iPhone does not show in my iTunes. I have so many apps in my iTunes for my previous iPhone 4, therefore, I do need to use iTunes to sync my previous iOS contents back to this new device.

Last night, I tried to google for solution, but with no luck. It looks like a common issue, but all the suggestions would not work for my case. I restarted my iMac 27 and restarted my iPhone. Still my iPhone is not in my iTunes.

Today is Sunday. I was not sure if Apple support was available or not. I dialed 1-800-MyApple anyway. Apple support was available. That's a good news. It took about 10+ minutes to get a support person on line. I spent 20 to talk with him.  He verified my iTunes and Mac OS versions.  He also told me to enable iTunes preference: Device section with Prevent iPods, iPhones, and iPads form syncing automatically enabled.  Still there was no luck to show my iPhone.

He transferred me to a senior special list on this issue. It took about another 10 minutes to get available person. Then we went through several times reboot with safe mode, hold on shift key while rebooting. He also instructed me to repair disk permissions from rescue HD after reboot with option key. Still no luck.  During the initial time, he also asked me if I connected my iPhones through USB hub or if there are any other USB devices. I cleared all those issues.

Then I asked my what are in my Macintosh HD's Library\StartupItems. That's something I did not know before. I found two items:

  • Privoxy
  • VistualBox
He recommended me to move those to Desktop or remote them if I don't need them.  I removed them. Still the problem existed.  He then sent me a file of "Capture", which is an app to capture some disk log files for Apple engineers to analyze what may cause conflict or block iPhone display.  When I started the app, there were several options to select.  He was not sure what to select.

Finally, during the time I repairing my disk permissions, He told me take a break and he would call me back in minutes.  It had been over 1.5 hours passed. During this break, I grasped some food and drinks.  Soon he called me back.  Instead of capturing system log files, he suggested me to reinstalled iTunes from Apple web page.

I downloaded iTunes from the web. During the installation, I asked him if I should uninstall it first. He told me that iTunes is part of Mac OS application and it cannot be uninstalled.  Therefore, there is no need to uninstall iTunes.

I run the iTunes.dmg after downloading. I followed the instruction to install the app. After the installation, he told me to quit iTunes first and unplug my iPhone. Then start iTunes.  This time my iPhone is displayed in Devices on the left panel.  You got it finally! he said. What a relief from him, I can tell from his voice.

After the installation, I saw this nice end-thank-you screen:

It has been over 2 hours for my support case. It is actually not my iPhone's issue. It was my computer. However, my Mac just past 90 days telephone support warranty.  He did recommend me to get extended 3 year warranty.  

From this case, I realize that this warranty is actually great deal.  You have to pay for your get.  With extended 3 year telephone support, I think it'll save me a lot in terms of time and trouble to get my computer to local Apple store. Just image this case, how much Apple has to pay for support staff over hours on my one case.  The fee is basically break even for Apple to this type of service.

After my vacation back from China, I am sure to get the telephone support case.

Monday, December 12, 2011

iTunes 10.5.2 Update

From I got the news about the update. This update does not require reboot, but I need to reboot before and after the update in order to get the disk space difference.

Here are two snapshots of the update:

Command: df -lakUsed(Kilobytes in 1024-blocks)
Difference (A-B)-238,268

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Updates: Safari 5.1.2 and Keynote 5.1.1

I got two updates today: Safari 5.1.2 and Knote 5.1.1

Here are two snapshots of the update:

Command: df -lakUsed(Kilobytes in 1024-blocks)
Difference (A-B)-73,372

Saturday, November 19, 2011

iTunes 10.5.1 Update

This is an update I got today while I was writing a Chinese blog. I did have time to reboot before and after the updating. I let it go during my writing process.

Here is a snapshot of the updates:

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

Command: df -lakUsed(Kilobytes in 1024-blocks)
Difference (A-B)-149,1524

Friday, November 11, 2011

Mac Digital Camera, iOS 5.0.1 and iPhoto Updates

Last night I got several updates: Mac digital camera update, iOS 5.0.1 update for my iPhone 4 and iPad 2, and iPhoto 9.2.1 update from Apple Store.

Here are some snapshots of the updates:

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

Command: df -lakUsed(Kilobytes in 1024-blocks)
Difference (A-B)3,616

Friday, October 28, 2011

iMac Thunderbolt Update 1.1

Today I found two updates: one for iMac EFI and another for Epson Printer Update.

The following are normal Apple updates:

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

Command: df -lakUsed(Kilobytes in 1024-blocks)
Difference (A-B)-199,836

Thursday, October 27, 2011

iMac EFI Update

Today I found two updates: one for iMac EFI and another for Epson Printer Update.

The following are normal Apple updates:

During the update, the following windows was displayed to explain what would happen during the iMac EFI update. I heart a bright sound after reboot.

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

Command: df -lakUsed(Kilobytes in 1024-blocks)
Difference (A-B)5,236

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Mac OS, iTunes and Lion Updates

Tomorrow will be the iPhone4S release date. I found several updates today:Lion Recovery Update, iTunes 10.5, Mac OS Update 10.7.2. In addition to that, iOS5 for iPad and iPhone are available as well. iPhoto and Xcode are also updated.

The following are normal Apple updates:

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

Command: df -lakUsed(Kilobytes in 1024-blocks)
Difference (A-B)735,764

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

We'll Never Hear Steve Jobs Live Voice

Today is a sad day. Steve Jobs passes away, at his age 56.  I wrote a blog in my Chinese blog to remember him.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

New Updates After I Got New iMac27

After I got my new iMac 27, I found a long list of updates, including OS and Thunderbolt updates. On the second day, I got another two updates. I have not had time to experience my iMac yet.

One thing I noticed immediately is that the process of checking new updates is much faster than before, less than 1 minute. The same process used to be taking long time. Not sure if this is one of enhancements or not. I think this should be belonging to Lion.

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

Command: df -lakUsed(Kilobytes in 1024-blocks)
Difference (A-B)384,896

The following are updates on the next day:

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

Command: df -lakUsed(Kilobytes in 1024-blocks)
Difference (A-B)-140,700

Monday, September 19, 2011

My iMac27 Arrived!

Today my iMac 27 arrived, much earlier than expected. When I brought it home, I set it up in just minutes. Now It is in the progress to transfer all my data and apps from my TimeMachine, about 1 hour and 8 minutes left.

Today is the last day for back-to-school special. This year, the special is $100 iTunes gift card. I am still thinking if I should get MacBook Air 13"or not. I have plan to bring one back to China and give it to my sister as a gift.

I have sent out 4 Apple laptops (1 MB, 2 MBP and 1 MBA) to my relatives. They were all very suppressed by my generosity. For me, I think Apple laptops are the best gift, better than anything else.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Mac PowerPoint 2001 Presenter Mode Issue

Today I went to an event for continuing education instructors by Chinook Learning Services. An motivation speaker, Marco Iafrate, was invited to give a speech about integrating mind and body for better communication decisions and ideas. It was a great talk. I recognized the speaker's computer right away: a nice MacBookPro.

However, there was one very disappointed issue: the presentation view on project screen was not in full screen mode. During the break, several people from audience want to the front to offer help. I was there. I thought I could help, but I have never used PPT for Mac before. My initial thought was the settings in the projector. But it was find when I changed to desktop and there was no problem to present a pdf file in full screen mode. However, I could not figure it out. Since the time was short, Marco told us to give it up and restore it back the its original status. I told Marco that he should get his PPT file in PDF instead of PPT for Mac app.

After I got back home, the issue is still in my mind. I googled this issue and found some information about it (I don't have PPT so I cannot test it out).

One thing I did not gave it a try is to use Mac's zoom feature for the screen. In many of WWDC shows, Apple presenters uses the zoom feature (control+scroll up) to enlarge a portion of screen. The interface of PPT is too crowded.  The ribbon area take too much spaces, which makes the slide show too small. May be there is a way to disable ribbon show and to make the window cleaner.


The following are some information I found from web:

  • This forum discussion looks like the same issue as we had today. There two toolbar buttons in ribbon: Presenter View and Mirror Show.  It looks like PPT uses 2 screens for presentation.
  • Apple support communities forum has one topic about similar issue. A solution is about to configure screen from Apple system preferences: Displays.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Another Experience Using TimeMachine

I sold me iMac 27 last weekend. Now I am using my daughter's MBP. I have the same account on this MBP as in my previous iMac 27. However, since I have not used this MBP for very long time (3 years?), all the local settings such as apps, Safari bookmarks and other system settings are very old. I miss my iMac 27 environment very much. I know this one is just a temporary one just for about 2 weeks(my new iMac 27 is on its way to my house as I received a notice from Apple), but I feel that I am a kind of lost: missing all the settings, bookmarks and my podcasts.

Restoration of User Account from TM

Today I had a thought during the day. Can I use my TM to restore my iMac 27 account to my MBP? I gave it a try about half hour ago. It works great!

Step 1. Plug in my TM USB cable to my MBP
Step 2. Start Migration Assistance
Step 3. Go through its wizard with selection from TM. I only select my account and Applications since I don't have enough space in MBP.

In less than 10 minutes, I got my iMac 27 account back to my current MBP. Now I am using my account will almost all the settings. For example, I get my Safari bookmark back. Now I can see my RSS feeds.

New Findings of Restoration

One thing about TM restoration is that I don't have enough space on the current MBP so I have to deselect some big size items such as Movies, Documents, and Public.  This makes the size of restoration much smaller, to fit my MBP. After the restoration, my account is back.

Almost everything I need are back! In my iTunes, I find that all my podcasts are there. Some items actually are not available. I think those are videos, which were not migrated. My keychain is also back. Now I can use it for my Safari visiting all my personal web services.

Another very interesting thing is that I did select Applications in TM migration because I want to use some tools. All the tools I want are back. However, ones already in my MBP are not updated. TM seems smart enough to avoid overwriting apps. For example, Skype on MBP is an old vernon, while Skype on my TM is a new vernon.  Skype was not updated or not migrated over. I think that TM does not overwrite any apps even apps on TM is newer.  This explains that why iLife on my iMac 21 are all 2011 ones. I did complete migration when I got iMac 21. Another reason may be for not sealing apps, but not sure. For example, you can delete existing old ones to get new one from TM. Not sure it is possible for Apple apps.

Encryption of TM

I notice that I did not enable encryption for my TM. This may not safe. Anyone may take TM to get account restored. It will require password to log in to account, but theft may have enough time to try out after migration. I think it is recommend to encrypt TM.


I really like this smart and convenient migration feature of Apple computer. It saves tones of time.  I am able to get back to my normal life in just minutes.

Since this restoration is just for temporary usage, I'll delete this restored account when I get my iMac 27. I have no important files saved here during the transition time.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

My Late 2009 iMac was Sold

Yesterday I sold my iMac 27 (late 2009 model) at price $1300.00. I put it at local kijiji web site with no OBO. The reason I want to sell this one is that I want take advantage of the back to school sale opportunity. I can get about $200.00 back, with one year warranty, new iLife 2011, Lion OS, plus new hardware (CPU and Magic track pad). I think it is a great deal after 3 years usage.

I sold me iMac 24 last month at very low price. That was my first Mac computer. Now I think if I hold my iMac 27 longer, I would not be able to sale it at good price. There always some one want to save money.  In terms of usage, I think for ordinary people, there should be no different between my previous iMac 27 and new iMac 27 entry level from Apple. This is my strategy right now.

I am going to order another new iMac 27 entry level soon. With TM, I'll be back to my big screen and normal life in at most 2 weeks?  Now I am using my daughter's MacBook Pro 15, the old model. It is a good machine, but the battery needs to be replaced.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Apple Care Support and 2 Finger Swipe in Safari not Working Issue

Today I called Apple Care support to resolve my iMac issue.  The issue is that two finger swipe did not work in the past weeks. When I received this iMac,  I transferred all user accounts from TM to this computer. It was working fine.

BB uses this computer most of time. One day she told me that two-finger-swipe stopped working. I tried to check system settings and could not find anything wrong. I found that other users are OK. Only BB's account has this issue.

I googled web, and found one solution from Apple discussion forum. One person phoned Apple care and got a solution: delete from user account's Library/preferences folder. I tried but it did not working.

Then I decided to give Apple a call.  I tried twos ago.  The working hours is 8:00am-9:00pm Extern Time.  I missed twice when I remembered to call after work.  I could ask BB to call but I would rather to get experience from Apple Care Support.  Today I made a call once I got home.

A lady answered my call.  It sounds like that she has not much experience with this issue. She told me that  she is going to check with senior manager. I waited 5 minutes. When she was back, she told me that she had a solution. This one is actually as same as the one I found. It did not work. I even tried to reboot iMac after removing the plist file. She went back to her line again asking her manager.

Then the manager was on the phone.  We tried various ways. Including reboot by holding option key, unplugged power cord for 1 minutes, restarted by holding option+command+p+r.  None of those was working.

He admitted it is a really rare issue. I gave all my story about the issue. He said that it must be something screwed up in this account. Finally, after he thought it for a while, he asked me to pull the plist file of Safari out of Library/Preferences.  When it is out, two-fingure -swipe is back to normal after Safari is restarted. It is Safari plist file that is corrupted!

The support call took about 1 hour. I am happy with the result.

After that, I further approve it is the Safari plist issue.  I put the systempreferneces plist back. It is fine. When I put the trouble Safari plist back, two-finger-swip stops working.

Here is the corrupted plist file.  Does any one know what is wrong in the file?

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

EPSON Printer Update 2.8

Yesterday I found this update but I did not have time to do it. Today after work, I completed this update. As far As I known this update is for EPSON printer, not Mac OS update from Apple directly, but all the updates have to be through Mac updates.

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

Command: df -lakUsed(Kilobytes in 1024-blocks)
Before ..99,184
Difference (A-B)-35,672

Monday, August 22, 2011

iTunes 10.4.1 Update

Today I got one update about iTunes 10.4.1. I have not experienced any issues with iTunes since I got Lion. However, according to AppleInsideer article this updates fixed some instability issues, so I did the update anyway.

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

Command: df -lakUsed(Kilobytes in 1024-blocks)
Difference (A-B)1,468

After my updates, I watched a nice podcast: 309 - Lion - Finder & Safari [Free Sampler Show], by ScreenCastOnLine. It shows so much and nice features of Lion. I love those features.

By the way, one thing I notice is that there is no more podcast URL links. The URL copy is for podcast only, not for an item. I remember the previous iTunes (may be fore Lion) has Copy URL for a podcast item, which is a long name of URL for iTunes only.


Tuesday, August 16, 2011

New iMac 21 Arrived!

My first iMac 24 was sold through Kijiji two weeks ago at the price of $575.00. After that, I ordered iMac 21 with education price: $1149 + $10 recycle fee - $100 off and $100 iTunes credit card. It took almost one week to have my new iMac.

One thing I realized that there is no welcome message when I turn on the iMac. I did TM transfer, which took about 2 hours. There is no installation disk. Not sure how I can get my iLife to the machine. Several days ago I found chat support at Apple's support web site. I just went to the support and could not find chat. I think I have to make a call this week to ask about iLife installation.

Mac OS 10.7.1 Update

This is the first update after I installed Lion. It does not include any fix to add file size to Preview, as I want. I don't think my voice will heard. Anyway, I just take two more steps to compare file size: to save file as JPEG and to use command+I to get file information. I am getting used to it.

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

Command: df -lakUsed(Kilobytes in 1024-blocks)
Before ..1,304
Difference (A-B)1,776

Sunday, August 14, 2011


I have not used DVD disk for very long time. Yesterday I got two DVD movie disk(Melaleuca Convention). I need to make a copy of them. Here are two ways I did.


The first method is to use Finder to make a copy of DVD and burn it to DVD:
  • Insert the original DVD. Open Finder
  • Select the DVD
  • Right click or Control+click on the DVD, select Dupliacte. This will copy the whole DVD back to my Desktop. The copy may take a while.
  • When the duplicate is done, insert a blank DVD. Select the folder and click on Burn on toolbar if it is available. Or control+click on the folder and select "Burn ... to Disc..."

Using Disk Utility Tool

I did search on Web to find out if my above method is correct of not. What I found is that there is alternative way to make a copy of DVD.

Launch Disk Utility Tool first (from Spotlight, type in Disk...). Put the original DVD into DVD driver.

  • From the left panel, select the whole DVD (not the sub-node item).
  • From menu select File|New|Disk Image From...

  • In the following dialog, for Image Format, select DVD/CD master. Leave the encryption as none. 

This will start creating DVD image cdr. The copy process may take a while to complete.

After the car file is created, insert a blank DVD into DVD driver. Stay in the Disk Utility Tool, the cdr file should be displayed on the left panel.

Select the cdr file, click on Burn tool bar item. This will prompt another window. My experience is to selected 2x speed.

This will create a DVD playable on most DVD devices, even though it takes longer time to burn.


I did my DVD copy in Lion. Both methods seem working fine. My DVD does not contain chapters or other menu options. I am not sure if the first simple method will work for chapter DVD or not. According to some people suggestion, the second method seems better.

I would copy the cdr file to an external HD for backup. If I need to make another copy, I then can us it to save my half time of the DVD copy.


The following is a Youtube DIY on this topic.

Copy a DVD using Disk Utility