Saturday, December 15, 2012

iPhoto and Photo Book

It is Christmas holiday season and close to year end of 2012. It is time to share gifts with family members and best of friends. I have used my iOS devices in the past years to take many photos. Those photos bring wonderful memory of our past. I decided to use iPhoto app to create photo books as Christmas and New Year gifts. I think this is a great idea and it will be a big surprise for people who will receive my photo books.

It is very easy to create a photo book. Here are some of my experiences.

Context Driven Process

I only started to use iPhoto to create books three weeks ago. Therefore, my limited experience may not explore all the features of how to create photo books. I must miss something I don't know. However, it is very easy to create a photo book in iPhoto app. There is Create button on the bottom right side in most cases. From there Book is one of options.

Depending on where you are, the book will bring in photos depending on the context. For example, if you open an event from Events in Library, the photos in this even will be placed in pages in your new book. If you open a person from Faces, the book will initialize pages based on photos for this person.

iPhoto's book comes with many different templates, and those templates make book design much easy. You have to open a page to change page layout from a list of choices such one photo, two photos and so on; however, there is a limitation to change page layout design. For example, you cannot change photo page size, delete text box or change text box size.

Choose Photo from Events

Most likely, you will want to choose photos from different events. To do that, you have to select an event first, then go back to your book to select photos from that event. This is a very tedious process if you have a lots of photos, such as thousands of photos across hundreds of events. There is no way to create a collection of photos as a template place. Another enhancement would be nice if search photo by key words/tags assigned to photo is available.

Output Options

There are many options you can output the book into different formats, such as web pages, JEG photos, slide movie, PDF book and physical book from Apple print shop. I think the last three options are the most popular ones.

To create slideshow movie, it can be done by Export from File menu. To generate PDF, you can choose Print or press Command + P keys.

As Christmas gift, I choose Buy Book in iPhoto. I notice one problem when I buy a book. If you use iPhoto to edit your book for some period of time, you may get crash when you buy your book. It is quite annoying after you go through steps to type in mailing address and credit information. Fortunately, you would not get charged if you fail to submit your request.

To avoid this problem, quit iPhoto if you edit your book. Re-open it just for Buy Book. This will be very smooth process without any trouble.

Another critical tip to create book should be done always if your photos are not processed or optimized.   In the final step, go through all your photos and use the Enhance feature to get enhanced photo quality from Photo Edit.

The first book I submitted was on Sunday. The next day I got an email notification about my order. The third day I got a notification about shipment and on Thursday I received my order. The package is very nice packaged with Apple logo. The print quality is well done, almost as same as I see from my iMac screen.

After my first success try, I designed two more books for my best friends. The books are on the way to my friend's homes. They will be very surprised to receive my Christmas gifts. I think that those colorful and wonderful photos will be best gifts for them. They will remember this gift for long time.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Updates: Epson Printer Drive, Digital Camera RAW, and iTunes 11.0.1

The Epson Printer drive update was released two days ago. This printer driver is based on my purchased printer. Actually, I have not used this printer for more than one year. Most of time, I just print as PDF file and send out as attachments or saved on my google docs.

Today I got two updates: Digital Camera RAW Compatibility Update 4.03, which is for my iPhone 11. Another one is the first update since iTunes 11 released.

The following is the comparison of spaces used before and after of the updates:

Command: df -lakUsed(Kilobytes in 1024-blocks)
Before EP...2,016
After EP...3,812
Difference (A-B)1,796
Before DC...349,172
After DC...343,480
Difference (A_DC-B_DC)-5,692
After iTunes...140,296
Difference (A_iTunes - A_DC)-203,184

Friday, December 7, 2012

Update: iWork 9.3

This is iWork 9.3 update. According to its description, this update is for iSO 1.7 apps. I had purchased iWork (Pages, Numbers and Keynote) with OS package long time ago. I have not upgrade my iWork apps individually afterwards. Not sure this update is related to the purchase package.

The following is the comparison of spaces used before and after of the updates:

Command: df -lakUsed(Kilobytes in 1024-blocks)
Difference (A-B)-476,268

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Update: iTunes 11

iTunes 11 was finally released last Friday (Nov 30, 2012). I did not update right away, because I was not sure if podcasts are still available as integrated part of iTunes. Soon I got confirmed that podcasts are still there. I did update immediately. At first glance, the iTunes UI looks much simpler. However, since I am used to the previous UI, I really miss some views, such as icon views. Maybe it will take time to get used to.

Along with this update, there is update for Digital Camera RAW Compatibility. Here is the information for this update:

And here is the long list of iTunes 11 update:

The following is the comparison of spaces used before and after of the updates:

Command: df -lakUsed(Kilobytes in 1024-blocks)
After Digital......2,989,392
Difference (A-B)-12,936
After iTunes...2,976,144
Difference (Ad-Ai)-13,248
Used after updates412,976,144

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Remove Stuck Installed Apps

Recently I was struggling with stuck installed app in my App Store update area. The app is DropCopy, a free app I downloaded long time ago. When I saw obviously App Store has a badge with number 1, I tough I had update. I click on App Store and in Update tab, I saw a stuck installed app DropCopy.

There seems there is no way to get rid of it. Nothing I could find a way to uninstall it. In the Purchased tab, I found this app as Installed. Right click on it, I could hide it. But still the red 1 badge was still hanging there.

It is quick annoying.

Today I finally find a way to vanish the badge 1. It is quite simple. I started with with the uninstallation. In Mac, to remove an app is very simple: find it and trash it.

I bring my SpotLight by pressing command + space key. Type "DropCopy". Then hold command key and click on it. The find is opened. To my surprise, the DropCopy is in the folder of "MyApplication" under Applications!

I moved "MyApplication" from root to "Applications". I had a reason to keep all the apps I found from web or none-Apple places within "MyApplication". That was good idea until I realized that I could not restore it back from TimeMachine back if I want only one account and applications restored. That's why I moved "MyApplication" to Applications. I think that I might have a sticky mouse to moved DropCopy to "MyApplication" without my notice. As a result, I think, it caused this stuck app in App Store.

Back to my solution to fix the issue, I removed the app DropCopy. Whala! The badge gone right away. Then I went to Purchased area, I can download it from there again.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Update: Safari 6.0.2, iPhoto 9.4.2 and Xcode 4.5 Tip: Unhidden not updated apps

I think that now I understand how Mac Software update works. Mac OS, Mountain Lion, introduces a new feature of software auto-upate. I thought that it would do updates most cases in evenings automatically. Since I got my OS updates, I find out that I still have to do update manually. The big difference is that before ML, I got notification about updates. Then I click on update. The update will start to download packages, then continue to proceed the update; and after ML, all the updates are through App Store. I still get prompt for updates. It does not do updates automatically.

This the new settings for Software Update in System Preference:

The download process can be set automatically. Within the auto-check-update, there is one option for install system data files and security updates. I though all the updates would be done automatically with this option.

I keep watching for the updates. There still may updates not done automatically. Today I pay attention to how updates done in App Store. When I click on update, for example, Safari 6.0.2, there is no download in progress bar. It just starts to proceed updates. The download was done long time ago, maybe last night. This matches to my settings. However, I still have to accept updates, and let them go.

One thing I noticed in updates and purchase area in App Store is that if you right click on one item, there is option to hide it. When an item is in hidden, you will not see it any more. The reference has a link to Apple web site about how to enable or disable this feature.

The following is the snapshot of today's update:

The change of update makes my space calculation difficult. I cannot do more close calculation of space before and after, since the download is done way before I get notice. This does have impact on my space calculation. So far I don't know how I can do a better calculation. I think the used space before download already takes account of download packages, while after space may not include packages removed after updates. For the time being, I just keep the same way I did before. I'll add two more rows at the end: the total used space after updates, and capacity.

The following is the comparison of spaces used before and after of the updates:

Command: df -lakUsed(Kilobytes in 1024-blocks)
After Safari...267,504
Difference (A-B)-37,308
After iPhoto...185,496
Difference (A-As)-82,008
After Xcode...79,796
Difference (A-Ai)-105,700
Used after updates407,079,796


Friday, November 2, 2012

Force-deleting stubborn or problematic files

Sometimes I encounter a problem to delete files. A warning message dialog is displayed about the file is in use. If I knew which app uses the file, that's easy. Quit the app would release the file. However, in case I could not figure out which one occupies the file. I have to reboot my Mac to delete file. It is very annoying.

Today I found a way to delete the problematic file. First move the file to trash. Then hold on Command key and click on Trash. Select Secure Empty Trash (SET). This resolved my problem today at least. The option of SET takes long time to clean files if there are a lots of files. Therefore, my recommendation is to empty trash first to get rid of all the none-problematic files first.


Thursday, November 1, 2012

Numeric Keys Not Working

I like to use Mac long keyboard with numeric keys on the right. Recently, I realize that my keyboard's numeric keys not working. I was puzzled. I thought it may be that I had kept my Mac running for too long time (weeks or months). After I reboot my iMac, the numeric keys are back to live. However, this issue comes back again for several times.

It is quite annoying. I like to use numeric to input numbers. Today I spent some time to investigate the issue. I noticed that other keys on the numeric area are working, such as +, - *, and /. Just numeric keys were not responding. Maybe my keyboard numeric keys are dead? All of them?

I thought that there may not be many people using keyboard with numeric keys, hence there may not be solutions from Web. Anyway, I tried to google for solution. To my surprise, this is a common issue and I quickly found a solution. The solution is actually from an article at Apple web site.

According to the article, it is the setting in System Preference. As in the snapshot, the checkbox for Enable Mouse Keys has to be cleared.

Not sure what this feature is. It may be for Apple magic mouse as numeric input? I don't have mouse. I don't like mouse. What I use is a touch based Magic Trackpad.

The article explains that this feature may be enabled by some applications. Now I know how to get my numeric keys back.


Wednesday, October 24, 2012

iMac 21 HD Repaire Recall

Today I received one letter from from Apple by email. It is about iMac 21 sold between Oct 2009 to July 2011. The letter indicates that my iMac's HD may fail anytime and Apple is going to provide free replacement. I checked my iMac 21, and found that I have a blog about this model. Actually, the date is on Aug 16, 2011, about one month after the time range.

I think that I saw similar news on web before, something about iMac HD recall. Unexpectedly, my iMac is on the list. I have registered all my iMacs when I got them. Apple has my past purchase record.

The following is the letter.

Dear iMac owner,

Apple has determined that certain 1TB Seagate hard drives used in 21.5-inchand 27-inch iMac systems may fail. These systems were sold between October 2009 and July 2011.

Our records show that you have an iMac with an affected 1TB Seagate hard drive. Apple will replace your hard drive with a new one, free of charge, under the iMac 1TB Seagate Hard Drive Replacement Program.

Please choose one of the following options to get a replacement hard drive.

  • Apple Retail Store - Set up an appointment with a Genius.
  • Apple Authorized Service Provider - Find one here.
  • Apple Technical Support - Contact us for local service options.

Apple recommends replacing your affected hard drive as soon as possible. Before you go in for service, please back up your data. Learn more about backup options.

Additional Information

You will need to have the original Mac OS installation discs that were shipped with your iMac in order to reinstall your operating system, other applications, and any backed up data after your hard drive is replaced.

This worldwide Apple program does not extend the standard warranty coverage of the iMac.

Apple will replace affected 1TB Seagate hard drives, free of charge, for three years from your iMac’s original date of purchase or until April 12, 2013, whichever provides longer coverage for you. Apple will continue to evaluate service data and provide extensions to this program as needed.

We apologize for any inconvenience.


Apple Inc.

I am going to make an appointment and get my iMac HD replaced. Stay tuned.

UPDATE: Last Sunday I went to Market Mall Apple Store. I was told that my iMac is not in the re-call list. It is the iMac 21" 1T HD. My is 500GB. I was told that my iMac is fine.


Sunday, October 21, 2012

Update: Java for OS 2012-006 1.0

This update is for Java security update. The update is from App Store.

The following is the comparison of spaces used before and after of the updates:

Command: df -lakUsed(Kilobytes in 1024-blocks)
Difference (A-B)-70,288

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Update: iPhoto 9.4 and Xcode 4.5

I just finished two more updates: iPhoto 9.4 and Xcode 4.5. Those updates are all related to the new iOS 6. I installed iPhoto first. After that, I restarted my Mac and then installed Xcode. The Xcode took a long time do finish. I saw first download is 1.32GB and next one is 1.61GB. Not sure why there were two downloads.

The following is the comparison of spaces used before and after of the updates:

Command: df -lakUsed(Kilobytes in 1024-blocks)
Difference (iPhoto-B)-234,520
Difference (Xcode-iPhoto)-1,528,948

OS 10.8.2 Update

I got this update last week. This is the major update since Mountain Lion released. Now all the updates are through Mac Apple Store. All those updates have not be automatically done. I still have to run update in the store.

The following is the comparison of spaces used before and after of the updates:

Command: df -lakUsed(Kilobytes in 1024-blocks)
Difference (A-B)575,584

Monday, September 10, 2012

Mac Network Issue

Recently, one of my friends asked me to help her to resolve her MacBook Pro issue. She brought in a MBP from oversea. It was working fine when she was oversea. Then it stopped connecting to internet or any network devices through either Ethernet or Wifi when she was back to Canada. She was using local mobile network router when she was oversea. In Canada, she uses Airport Extreme Base Station.

I tried to use System Preference to reset network and tried to reset Airport by Airport Utility. The Wifi was detected, but the MBP could not connect to Internet.  The Ethernet cable was connected but it could not make any network connections. I also tried to reboot the system. It was dead locked.

The Solution

Then I went to web to google solutions. I was lucky to find a solution in short time. Here I repeat it again for future reference.

Delete SystemConfiguration folder in root preferences
  1. Open Finder.
  2. Press Command+Shift+G shortcut key.
  3. It will open a dialog of "Go to the folder". Type in: "/Library/Preferences/SystemConfiguration" (without quotes).
  4. The Folder will open the folder of SystemConfiguration.
  5. Drag this folder to your desktop.
This actually copies the folder to Desktop as the original backup. If the following steps are successful, this folder on Desktop can be moved to trash.

Remove Airport entries in Keychain
  1. Press Command+space to open Spotlight. 
  2. Type in: "Keychain Access" (you may see it while typing. No quotes).
  3. Select Keychain Access and hit Enter key.
  4. Keychain Access app is opened.
  5. Select your default keychain. ("login" is the default if you have not changed).
  6. In the spotlight search area, type in: "airport" (no quotes)
  7. A list of entries of Airport... is displayed.
  8. Select one and press ‘delete’ on your keyboard.
  9. Repeat above step to delete all of them.
  10. Select "System" from the list of Keychains.
  11. Repeat steps 6 to 9 above.
Restart Your Mac

Restart your Mac or MBP. Now you should be able to verify your network connection from System Preference. If the Ethernet is in green, that explains your local network is OK. Try Safari to test your Internet connections.


Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Mountain Lion: Kernel Panic?

I think I got Kernel Panic since I updated my Mac OS to 10.8. It happened twice. When it happens, the screen suddenly changed into a grey screen with a message in 6 languages. Within seconds, the Mac reboots atomically.

I did not catch the message first time. The second time it was happened in the morning. I logged on to my Mac. Suddenly, the KP happened. I took my iPhone to take a phone.

The screen looks very different from the one I had before. I think this may be the Mountain Lion KP.


Monday, August 27, 2012

Update: Mountain Lion 10.8.1

Mountain Lion update 10.8.1 was released on Aug 23, 2012. I did not rush to update my ML. Two days ago I noticed my App Store had several updates, 10.8.1 was one of them. I did not click on update right away. I double clicked on the update item, then I saw a pop up option with "Hide". I clicked on Hide. Suddenly all the update were gone.

I could not find a way to bring hidden updates back. I tried to quit App Store, then reboot my Mac. Still I could not see updates. I thought it may be back later. Today, I still did not see it. I found a way to unhide items from my accounts in App Store. I only got the other two items back, not the 10.8.1. I checked my Mac. It was 10.8.

Then I decided to search for the web if some one else could have similar issue. Soon I found the update on Apple's web page. Here you go, I can get the update from Apple web page. I am so fortunate that this update is available from Apple. Not sure if other updates would be hosted on Apple download page. I doubt if there were.

Since I did not get the update directly from App Store, I don't know how it works. Should that be automatically in a silent mode? Should the download be deleted after update?

The download version is a normal package installation. The package was saved to my Download folder. I had to click on the package of OSXUpd10.8.1.dmg, with 24.2MB in size. The package in exploded to pkg. Click on the pkg, the installation wizard is displayed.

I thought ML's update feature would be done in evenings automatically. So far, all the updates I found from App Store require my interaction to complete. Not sure if there is any thing I miss in the system config. Anyway, I still have chance to compare the disk space difference between before and after.

The following is the comparison of spaces used before and after of the updates:

Command: df -lakUsed(Kilobytes in 1024-blocks)
Difference (A-B)161,976


Saturday, August 18, 2012

RSS Reader

Safari 6.0 removed support for RSS reader. This is a bad news for me, since I have been depending on Safari to read my RSS feeds. What I did was to a folder to my Safari bookmark as named as RSS. Depending on Safari's RSS detection, I saved all the interested RSS feeds to my RSS folder. In Safari 6.0, all those feeds become unreadable.

Based on web search, I found that the alternative way is to use RSS reader apps. RSS reader application is an specialized app handling RSS feeds. A RSS feed is an XML content, based on Web standard. It has been widely used to describe and to update web contents, such as blog entries, news,   data, or anything you want. Since RSS feeds are based on standard format, there have been many RSS based application available to parse and to present information from the standard format.

I found some, and tried them. From my experience, so far I like NetNewsWire the most. It is a free version (you can pay for it if you like). The app is not available at Apple App store. I had to download it from the application's web site.

The app must be signed with developer ID because my Mountain Loin's Gatekeeper only allows Apps from App Store and Identified Developers.

Google Reader as RSS Feed Source

NetNewsWire uses RSS Feeds from Google Reader when you run it first time. For people who don't have Google account, the app will display a list of default RSS feeds. I have Google account and I used Google Reader long time ago. Therefore, it is very convenient for me to get my previous RSS feeds back to alive. In addition to that, I can use NetNewsWire as UI to manage my Google Reader (I don't like Google Reader web site) contents.

UI Layout

The user interface of NetNewsWire is very much like email view: a layout of four panel views. On the left, it is the view of RSS feeds or folders. In the middle, the top panel is a list of entries for a RSS feed, and the bottom panel is a quick view of an entry's content. The right side is a panel with history thumbnails, which provides a quick way to go to previous views.

In the middle section, click on the title of an entry on the bottom panel, the middl section is changed to a browser view. The HTML format of the web content is displayed nicely, as same as I see it in Safari. This view is also added to the history view thumbnails.

RSS Feed Management

Another issue I am interested in is the management of RSS feeds. I need to update or add new RSS feeds. NetNewsWire does not provide a way to edit RSS feed's URL. However, I can do it by deleting one first, and then adding a new one. Deleting a RSS feed in NetNewsWire is called as "unsubscribe". By confirming unsubscribe, I can delete a RSS feed.

I like the way NetNewsWire to add a new RSS feed. I don't need to figure out what RSS feed's URL is. What I need is just to copy a web site URL to Subscribe's dialog. It will be smart enough to figure out if there is any supported RSS feed or not. Since the title information for a RSS feed is normally available from RSS feed, the title information is optional. You can use whatever title you want.

If you copy a URL for subscribe, the Subscribe dialog is smart enough to paste the URL there automatically, very handy!

I tried to delete and to add RSS feeds through NetNewsWire. The changes I made in the app are synced to my Google Reader. The counts for read RSS feeds are also synced as well. That's nice feature. It is almost like a kind of iCloud service.


Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Mountain Lion Crashed First Time

Today my Mac suddenly crashed. This is the first time I saw a crash after I updated my Mac to ML. My Mac has been running for several days. This afternoon, I logged in to my Mac when I got home after work. Within seconds, My screen suddenly became a while screen, just like a new start. Soon there was a message in the center of the screen about the crash. I tried to read the message, but I was not able to read them. The restart cleared the screen.

After the restart, I got a message about the reboot.

I clicked on Report button, a detail information was displayed. I am not sure if there was commend available before Mountain Lion. I clicked on Comments and I could write something there to tell what was happened.

Before ML, I had several times of blue screen. The blue screen happened like a curtain rolling down from top, and the whole screen became disabled. I had no time to respond or control my UI, and no time to save anything. The blue screen displayed a message about unexpected system panic. I was forced to turn off power. Not sure my sudden crash is the same case of blue screen.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

My experience with Mountain lion dictation feature

I'm going to write this blog by using Mountain lion dictation. I'm not going to modify all tied all make any corrections. I understand about my English is not perfect I have strong Chinese accent. So I cannot complain about Moncton live dictation. It would be very interesting to see how can I write this blog by using my penlight dictation.

Often I updated my Mac OS last weekend, I started to try dictation feature yesterday. In the beginning I couldn't table dictation feature. It was very frustrating. Before giving a try, I didn't google search about how to enable dictation. Actually I think Google search for bald dictation. Okay, I have difficulty to use dictation right now. What I was trying to say I did a Google search football dictation.

Anyway let me continue. I didn't follow instructions to Naple dictation long system preference. However, I couldn't stop dictation by pressing function key works. Yeah I mean stop dictation. Here I mean spa dictation. Maybe I cannot say stop correctly in English. Not stop, I mean stock. Okay let's continue!

Then, I did Google research to find a solution. Arthur spending some time, I found a solution for Apple forever. The solution is at two special DNS IP in my night walk. Here is the picture.

Author I did this change, my dictation walks. I tried dictation into text. I mean text at the app. He dictation lost me, all I lost dictation. Today I gave dictation to try again. As you can see, it is really ross.

Not that thing I noticed is that you stinky keys are in Nabel, the dictation will not walk. Sticky keys can be enabled from accessibility through system preference.  My speaking keys was Knable. When speaking keys on table, pressing function keys twice will not walk.

My first experience all Moncton Dictation feature is mixture. For me it is frustrating experience. But I cannot complain, because it may be my English problem.

For all the experience, I have to speak very slow and clear. When I get back, in the house unlocked. It doesn't make sense at all. Many repeat again. When I did that, it's how long.

I try not correct any mistakes, thought I had to correct saw. Otherwise Psalm just that doesn't make sense at all! For me, I may use dictation to improve my English.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Upate: Mac OX Mountain Lion

This weekend is a long weekend. I scheduled to update my Mac OX to Mountain Lion this weekend, today. Mountain Lion was released on July 25, 2012. Based on the information on web, I did my planning for this update: 1) keep my OX update, 2) clean my HD, and 3) run time-machine backup.

The first thing what I did this morning after getting up was to download Mountain Lion. I knew it would take some time to get the package, 4.3GB. That was smart decision. During the download, I cleaned up myself.  Soon I saw the first update screen.

According to information shared by other people on web, it is the time to make a copy of the installation package. Otherwise, the package would be removed automatically after the update. I don't want to download it again for another Mac. I found the installation from Finder, and I made a copy of the installation package.

Before proceeding the installation, I used Finder's AirDrop feature to copy the installation package to my another iMac 21". First, I went to my iMac 21 box, open Finder, and made sure the AirDrop is open. Then I could see my iMac 21" from my installation Mac. I drag and drop the installation package to iMac 21", and click on Send button.

At the other end of iMac 21", I click on Save button to accept the drop through air. Since the package is 4.3GB, it took a while to get the package copied over.

It was time ready to install Mountain Lion. The installation was very straightforward. During the update wizard process, I had to provide admin credentials.

The following is the screen photo after the restart. This the most lengthy part of the update, 34 minutes.

After reboot, I was back to normal login screen. Everything was so familiar after login. I saw the iCloud window prompt out. However, I had difficulty to sign in to my iCloud. The spinning rainbow wheel was running forever. I was not sure if the iCloud was down or something else was stuck. My iMac 21 was working fine without any issue when I did OS update. Finally I had to kill the window and restart my Mac. After that, the iCloud sign in was quick and OK.

The following is the comparison of spaces used before and after of the updates:

Command: df -lakUsed(Kilobytes in 1024-blocks)
After Downloaded...6,860,896
After Installed...2,340,932
Difference (AD-B)4,339,165
Difference (AI-B)-180,796