Adding Emojis to Gsuite on the Mac

How maddening is this, with traditional Mac Apps, it is pretty simple. Got to Edit/Emojis & Symbols. Find the arrow or whatever and then double click.

This however does not work with Gsuite at least on Safari:

  1. Google Docs. You cannot double click, you can however drag and drop the symbols
  2. Google Slides, does not double click and when you drag you get a separate text box

Instead, you have to use the Google’s own internal Insert Special Characters does work

Mac DVD VOB files to MKV

I haven’t ripped a DVD in a very long time, but sometimes I see these VOB files. I have used Handbrake in the past to get my old DVDs of the kids over to a modern format, but somehow the latest Handbrake fails me and stops after the first segment. Sigh.

So onto looking for a new tool that works so here’s the alternative path:

  1. MKVTooINixMKVTooINix. This takes the 1G .VOB files and stuffs them into a single MKV container. The Handbrake seems to fail along the VOB boundaries. As a refresher, the original DVD file format had a 1GB per file limit, so movies were split into .VOB files. You have to find the right file names, typically 01_0x.VOB and then open them in this tool. It then produces a single huge Matrovska file. With the MPEG-2 encoding used in DVDs, a 2 hour movie would be about 11GB. A typical DVD would be 720×480
  2. Handbrake to transcode to X.265. Once you have this MKV file, you can use Handbrake to encode it in X.265. This is about 2x better than X.264 which is in turn about 4x better than MPEG-2. Net, net your 11GB file should

Great soundtracks

Wow been binge watching quite a bit and some of these new series have just awesome soundtracks. Tunefind.com is wonderful as it is a place where these get aggregated and you can play with Apple Music from there, so some great soundtracks. I wish the thing would just make a playlist for Spotify or Apple Music, so you could play it, but in the mean time, here are some good songs off the top 40:

  1. Shooter. For a series about a sharpshooter on run, really some great alternative tracks.
  2. Lethal Weapon. Anything by McG is going to have style and they have captured the carefree 1970s really well and updated it. Love Riggs! And great use of house music and

Fixing an iMac 2009 with Apple Hardware Tests and Memtest

OK, so I think I’m on the right track. This sudden shutdown is likely due to bad memory. There is nearly 32GB of memory in the iMac 2009 and it is third party, so could be bad. But figuring out how to diagnose it more a riddle. The main problem is that hitting the D key during reboot does not bring up the Diagnostic nor does holding the Option-D key.

The history of this tool is that it sort of works but it doesn’t function properly on older hardware with newer MacOS.

So what’s a person to do, well someone has gone through the trouble of finding the links for all the old AHTs, then you just burn a USB key and it works. Basically what happens is that if you clean install your old computer, the old AHTs are not kept of course, so now you have to download them. Newer Macs will actually download the AHT over the Internet, but the 2009 iMac doesn’t do that.

Note that even if you get this installed, MacRumors says the memory tests are really not that good, so you need to download memtest86. The free version seems right for most uses. That thing isn’t big on documentation, but you get a .tar file that you untarnished and you will see a README and a IMG file, but basically they are to use diskutil list to figure out what the actual disk number of the USB is and then do

diskutil unmountDisk <dev>
sudo dd if=<memtest.img> of=<dev>

Also with Sierra MacOS, you can’t even install them into the operating system (as that’s a security issue), so the preferred way is to now burn a USB key with the proper AHTs. Duplicating the answers, you figure out your actual model with it’s suffix

sysctl hw.model | awk '{ print $2 }'
ioreg -l | awk -F\" '/board-id/ { print $4 }'

Naturally (as luck is going to have it), the precise model I need is iMac11,1-F2268DAE but this doesn’t appear on the list but is in a package called iMac10,1 that tries to install it into the system folder.

First get a USB Key and make sure it uses GUID Partition and OS X Extended file system. Then copy all of the files and sudo bless the USB so it will boot. Assuming your USB key is at /Volumes/USB Key then you would do:

cp -r /Volumes/AHT/System /Volumes/USBstick/
sudo bless --folder /Volumes/USBstick/ --file /Volumes/USBstick/System/Library/CoreServices/.diagnostics/diags.efi --label AHT

The best AI development setup

With prices and hardware changing there are so many different choices for a good developer setup. Here are some of the edges assuming a relatively modest $6k budget:

  1. A monster gaming laptop. Today for $6k Ok got it so that’s a $6k box that weighs 13 pounds. And it sure is powerful. And relatively cheap. Some ones to look at the 13 pound Msi GT83VR with dual gtx 1080s. 

  2. A workstation class laptop If u want 16GB because many machine learning apps need that then u need a p6000 (fwiw Nvidia at least has it families in alphabetical order so it’s Kepler -> maxwell -> pascal). Also the p6000 uses hbm so it has 4x more memory bandwidth between gpu and vram. Does your work load need that and also supports fast fp 16.).

  3. If ur just going from home to work a pair of desktops plus a laptop that’s thin and light are actually cheaper and have more performance. U then have a mini data center at work. Main advantage is u can add up to four cards on either side. When disconnected u use a laptop with Nvidia so u can debug but big workloads are on desktops. And the laptop weighs 3lbs. The razor is a good one.

  4. Youcan run loads in the cloud with the new amazon Tesla p100s. These can be pricey 

Here are some more great MacBook Pro 2016 tips

  1. MacBook Pro 2016 prices are falling. They are now 10% off at B&H so remember prices keep falling.
  2. If you want to get decent battery doc on your MacBook Pro turn on the battery checker but you should Safari instead as it is much more efficient than Chrome and Firefox. Also when u see the power is higher you need to reboot.
  3. The MacBook Pro can charge up to 15 watts on USB C so do yourself a favor and get a USB c to lightening adapter and you can ditch your USB c charger. Also if you get a USB c low power charger then you can use it to trickle charge got mbp. Nice to have one charging standard.

https://9to5mac.com/2017/02/13/macbook-pro-diary-charging-hub/

Strange hardware problems

Ok when u use computers enough the usual problems get fixed. Such as bad drivers or lack of uodates or hard disk corruptions. Here’s my current list of mysterious problems and what I think is going on

  1. Spontaneous reboots of an iMac 2008. This has been bugging me for a while. I will get visual freezes where cursors and junk appears on the screen. Lately I’ve been getting spontaneous reboots. Causes have varied from new gpu improvements put into later OS X releases. The interesting thing is that the spontaneous reboots happen without any kernel panic messages or anything in the console. Current ideas range from hard disk corruption but I don’t see any. Lately the reading has been about bad ram. That makes some sense. I put 32GB of third party ram into the thing and the macinrbis 9 years old as well. So on to using Apple hardware diagnostics and loading memtest86 onto a USB. 

  2. PC boots to black screen. All the lights flash but nothing appears on the monitor.  Calvintong.com actually fixed this. It seems to have something to do with gtx1080 and starting in overclock mode. But he won’t tell me!

  3. PC boots occasionally but when you hit the power. The last time this was a blown motherboard where an m.2 ssd had slid under. This one I’m not sure but looks like a short. 

Notes on cool apps and random buying guides

Ok the monthly notes about cool widgets I’ve found:

  1. My favorite status monitor is now broken on Sierra, so swapping to a new one called called Menu Meters with hat tip to Lifehacker, so that is still open. One confusing things is that there is a dead site that has menu meter but to use for macOS Sierra, you need to go to a GitHub fork that has fixed it.
  2. Flashlights. These are really commodities these days but getting the brightest and longest lasting is still a thing at candlepower
  3. Sun hats. Same thing here. I finally lost my Australia Cancer Society sun hat so time for another. Outdoor Gear Labs

MacBook Pro video issues and Monoprice cables

OK, I’ve been trying to use the Satechi ($59) USB C hub. I actually brought the wrong one, there is another version with a 1Gbps Ethernet connection as well ($79), but I’ve been having trouble getting it to work reliably on a Benq 32″ monitor. Here’s the main lesson, I think it is the active Redmere cable from Monoprice.

I’ve never had this before, but when you plug in the dongle, it does not reliably turn on the monitor. This works fine with eh Cablematters USB C to DisplayPort, but the HDMI of the Satechi.

I’ve never had trouble like this before, but come to think of it, the Monoprice Redmere is an active cable (which is why it is so thin and nice), so I think this is because the active electronics are getting fooled. On the Mac side, it thinks it is projected to another screen, but the display remains black.

Just switching to a true (thick and ugly!) passive cable seems to fix the problem. Now this is not perfect in that the Satechi is 4Kp30 (that need 10Gbps alone!), so we will have to wait a bit more to get the dream cable. That is something that is Thunderbolt 3 to the MacBook so that it can carry, 4Kp60 (which is 18Gbps by itself), has gigabit ethernet, HDMI 2.x with 4Kp60 and a bunch of USB A legacy ports for old stuff plus an SD care reader.

The other thing that is a problem is that with the laptop closed, you can’t use the TouchId at all! I had not realized that until it asked if I want to use it. I like to leave the laptop closed and out of the way, but I need to rethink that strategy now.