Macintosh blog postings

Macintosh Postings

Earliest: June 26, 2003Latest: June 23, 2017Total: 194

October 22, 2013
Maverick Apache

Maverick Install

Apple does something every major release that annoys me and I am pretty sure that I am not the only developer that encounters this. Apple makes some changes to some of the root UNIX configuration files without telling the user why they did that. As a results, I'll see weird behavior and I have to figure out why.

Let me back it up a bit. I know I am getting a little technical, but bare with me here. Since Mac OS X Beta, I have been playing around with the core UNIX that is a part of Mac OS X. One of those files is Apache, which is the primary Webserver that comes with Mac OS X.

Apache is a very powerful Webserver that allows you to do all sorts of cool things. If your interested you should check out "Cool things you can do with Apache."

I changed the Apache configuration file to enable PHP and point the root folder to a different directory. I do this so that it's easier for me to do changes, and I enjoy writting code in PHP.

Back to the issue, in every release of Macintosh OS X, and in some minor updates, they backup the configuration file that I have and enable their own Apache configuration file. Why? Is there some cool feature that I need to know about? Security bug fix?

All I ask is for Apple to tell us why they changed the default apache configuration file. Developers can then assess the risk of using the updated conf file or reverting to the previous configuration file.

Tech notes:

Apache configuration file locations:
/etc/apache2/httpd.conf~previous - this is what apple renames your old config file.

When you change the configuration file, you need to restart apache, Simply type in:
apachectl restart

September 10, 2013

G4 Tower PCI Screw

If you have an old PowerMac G3/G4 and looking for replacement screws to secure your PCI cards. You need to look for Apple Part 922-5974.

These screws are still very expensive to get. I found a place that was selling 5 screws for almost $100! Over price for computer part in a computer that is more than 10 years old.

The specs for the screws is M3.5x 7.5mm. There are several stores on eBay that are selling the screws for about $10 for 100 pieces. Still a lot for a small screw. You may have better luck searching for similar parts at some hardware stores. I have heard that some people had luck at True Value hardware stores.

April 10, 2013


As a long time Macintosh user, one of the applications that I really enjoyed using is BBEdit from Bare Bones software. I have been using this software off and on again since 1997. It's been a critical tool for any text issues that I deal with on the Macintosh. There's a lot of really cool things that you can do with BBEdit. Here's two cool features:

Replacing Text in multiple files is one of the reasons people use BBEdit.  We all have some need to replace text, and more often than not it's with multiple files. Over the past 10+ years, I have found that BBEdit is the easiest way to find and replace text in multiple applications. What's cool is that BBEdit also saves your search/replace so that you can reuse the search pair again. Extremely helpful when I needed to replace Window line breaks with Macintosh line breaks or vice verse.

One of the strong points to BBEdit's simple search and replace is the use of Text Factories. This functionality allows you to perform multiple search and replace at the same time. So if I had 200 files that wanted to replace all the line breaks to UNIX format and change the copyright year to 2013, I can do it in one simple action. BBEdit then shows you a report of the changes that it would perform and allow you to decide to accept all changes. Very cool and very powerful.

In short, BBEdit is a great application and worth the $49.99 price. Your getting an application that can be used for any text functionality that you do on your Macintosh. If you tried the application in the past, I encourage you to try it again.

December 10, 2012

Installing Leopard on Parallel

I have been working on getting Mac OS X 10.5 (Leopard) installed on to my iMac via Parallel. The reason I wanted to do this is because I have some software that only run's in 10.5, and it will be very expensive to upgrade to work with (10.8.2)

There were 2 big issues that I had to deal with:

1. I wasn't creating the correct disk image for Parallel to use

Part of the core problem was that the Parallels log file wasn't telling me what was going on. I would see lots of PET_VM_EVT_VM_CONFIG_CHANGED, PET_DSP_EVT_VM_DEV_STATE_CHANGED and PRL_WNG_NO_OPERATION_SYSTEM_INSTALLED. But no clue what is going on. Basically if you get the 'Click Start' to launch after a few seconds after starting the process it means that your Disk Image is bad.

Thanks to some information over on MacFixIt, I was able to correct identify how to properly burn a disk image of an OS disk. ( I wasn't selecting the core device.)

2. I was unable to modify a disk image.

This is a problem with Mountain Lion and not something that you did. Apple updated the DiskCopy tool so that DVD master disks are read only. To get around this, I had to boot up my old computer and then created the disk image on that machine. That created the opportunity for me to edit the disk image.

Looks like I am in business and looking forward to installing my applications!

November 8, 2012

Hiragana Keyboard Layout

Last night I decided to connect an external monitor to my Powerbook G4 so that I could work with a larger screen and not use the smaller laptop screen. Apple calls this clam shell mode. To do this you need to connect a USB keyboard, USB mouse and an external monitor then close the laptop.

While I was installing some old drivers and in the process the keyboard language type got converted to Hiragana. I am not sure exactly which driver made the change, as I installed USB Overdrive, MacAlly IceKey Driver and SteerMouse.

I am thinking it was SteerMouse as it was the first driver I installed. The Logitech MX 518 mouse wasn't responding when I click and it appeared to move too fast. Later I notice that the USB wasn't working, as I was typing strange characters on my Macally IceKey keyboard.

SteerMouse was created in Japan, so that might be another clue that it was the application that changed my keyboard type to Hiragana.

I am going to uninstall all the drivers and third party utilities to see if I can identify the root cause and get everything working. Part of the problem I am running into is that I am using 10.5.8 on my laptop and some of drivers don't support that any more.

November 1, 2012

Crossover and Notepad++

There seems to be a problem with Notepad++ and CrossOver. In particular the use of Dockable Windows with Plugins such as NppFTP and Snippets.

The problem that I keep running into is the inability to move a dockable window from the right side of the screen to the left side. The problem is that I am unable to drag and drop to the left and the window becomes undock. When the window is undock, there is no way to connect is back to the main window. To get back the previous state, I have to reinstall Notepad++.

Maybe someone else have better luck at moving the Dockable NppFTP window, but it just doesn't work correctly in Crossover.

Here's the complete description of Dockable Windows:

Notepad++ supports so called Dockable Windows. These are part of the GUI, but you can move them around and choose whether you want them aligned to any side of the main windows (docked), or floating like a separate window.

To change the location of a dockable window, click and drag the titlebar of the window around. When you drag near any edge of the main window, a rectangle will be drawn indicating that the window will be docked there if you release it. Moving it anywhere else will draw the rectangle in the same way the window would be positioned if it were floating.

You can resize floating windows like any other window by dragging its edges, but to resize a dockable window you have to drag the edge that is adjacent to the main window.

There can be multiple dockable windows grouped together. If this is the case, only one of the windows is shown, and the others are reachable by a tab bar that is shown below the visible window. Selecting an item from the tab bar will hide the visible window, and show the corresponding window from the tab bar.

October 26, 2012

Swann Firewire hub

I have an old Swann Firewire hub and was going to connect it to my computer. I wanted to use to connect multiple devices. I purchased this hub a few years ago and its been sitting in the basement for a while. When I put it in storage, I didn't keep the power brick with it. Which causes a dilemma, what power jack will I need? When I looked on the bottom of the hub it didn't have any specs. So I decided to search the Internet.

After searching several sites, I found the required power specs. It looks like the 12vV/1A is what will properly power up the device. I figure I post it here in case I needed this information in the future.

Here's the full details of the Firewire hub:

The Swann FireWire 6 Port Hub not only overcomes the 4.5M length limit in the 1394 standard for the user?s devices, but it offers 6 independent 1394 bus connections, each with a 400Mbps transfer rate. Swann FireWire 6 Port Hub is the best choice for corporate and professional users who want a solid solution to IEEE 1394 / FireWire connectivity.

  • True plug & play hot-swappable device
  • Self or Bus Powered
  • Fully supports IEEE 1394 standard
  • FireWire protocol allows for connection of up to 63 devices
  • Data transfer at 100/200/400 Mb/s
  • 6 bi-directional ports with over-current protection per port
  • PC & Mac compatible.
  • Allows connection of up to 63 FireWire devices
  • DV cameras, DV camcorders, DV recorders, still digital cameras
  • HDD, CD-ROM, DVD-ROM, DVD-RAM Digital TV, Set top box, scanners, printers, disk drives
Technical Specifications
  • 1394 standards compliant; IEEE 1394-1995, P1394a (rev1.1)
  • Asynchronous & isosynchronous data transfer
  • 100/200/400 Mb/s transmission rate
  • 6 x 6-pin 1394 bus connectors
  • 1 x DC 12V/1A input jacket
Minimum Requirements (Mac)
  • G3 300 or higher
  • Mac with 1 FireWire port
  • System 9.04 or higher
  • 64MB RAM minimum

October 23, 2012

New iMacs

New iMacs were announced today and when looking at the specs I noticed that there is no DVD drive and no SD slot for Flash cards. While having a nice thinner machine would be nice, I am happy of the machine that I got.

The lack of a DVD drive isn't that big of a deal since I have an external drive, but its nice to have dual drives for various reasons. The SD slot has come in handy with downloading photos, as I find it goes much faster than external card readers.

Since I work down the street from an Apple Store, I'll go down sometime during lunch, to check out all the new hardware announced today. I find playing around with the computer for a while you get some understanding of why Apple did what they did. I really want to see how much non-glare they reduced as I don't like glare on my computer monitor.

Going from a Power Macintosh Dual-G4 Tower to an iMac is a big step, there's no need to have the latest and greatest. ( Basically I jump 5 years in technology in one migration.) I am happy with the computer and no-regrets with getting the latest and greatest machine.

Correction: Turns out that the SDXC slot is now in the back of the computer. This is not a good location, since inserting the SD card is something that I would do a lot of, and having to reach the back of the computer and put in the card is not very ideal.

October 2, 2012

Copy Dialog

One of the things that I don't like with the Macintosh OS X. Is the inability to close some dialog boxes. For example, every once in a while I'll insert a data CD or DVD and copy some files to the computer. However, because the disk I insert may have scratches or be slightly damaged the file doesn't get copied.

What ends up happening is that the copy dialog never closes and I am unable to eject the disk. I have to restart Finder, or many times restart the computer to get rid of the dialog and be able to eject the disk.

I thought this would be fixed with Mountain Lion, but I am still encountering this issue. Hopefully some day they will be able to fix this annoying bug.

September 27, 2012
Missing iDVD

Missing iDVD on iMac

Last night I was surprise to find out that my new iMac didn't come with iDVD. This caused an issue because I was trying to burn a video DVD. It turns out that Apple end of life iDVD with the release of iLife 2011.

Why did Apple think that people wouldn't be burning video DVDs anymore. I know there's some third party applications that have DVD capabilities, but iDVD was a good enough solution for most basic users.

Lucky for me that I had a copy of iLife 09 on a disk, which includes iDVD. I was able to successfully install the application by inserting the disk and running through the install process. I was worried that it would overide the iLife '11 items, such as iPhoto and iMovie, but that was not the case. The installation only installed iWeb and iDVD. After the installation, I then went to the App Store and checked for an update and updated both applications.