MacBook Air reinstallation and hopefully Time Capsule transfer

OK, so I’ve completely wiped my MacBook Air, time to rebuild it. Here is a list of things that have to happen. Sure sounds Windows like doesn’t it 🙂

# Remote install Mac OS X. Sigh. This is going to take 4 hours over the air apparently
# Try the “Time Capsule recovery”:http://www.askdavetaylor.com/how_to_restore_imac_macbook_from_time_capsule_machine_backup.html which comes during the standard installation, it asks if you want to restore from Time Capsule
# Run Settings/Software Update to get me to 10.5.5.
# Install Microsoft Office 2004
# Install PDFPen
# Install Quickeys (or a good time to get F2 and F4 working with other stuff)
# Copy over my Music
# Make Mac Mail work with my email accounts
# Make Entourage work with our Exchange server
#

MacBook Air unexpectedly logs out

When I leave my MacBook Air overnight to say do a Time Capsule, I see that it will log itself out unexpectedly and automatically. Kind of wierd, my MacBook Pro doesn’t do that. Some users are having the same issue with the “Mac Mini”:http://discussions.apple.com/thread.jspa?messageID=7766844 and the only real diagnosis is:

Apple – Support – Discussions – Mac Mini unexpectedly logs out. …

One thing I think is worth doing is looking in the logs on the system for entries after this has happened. Logs entries are often hard to interpret and can be very misleading, but opening Console (in Applications>Utilities) after a software crash of this sort will often yield at least some clues in entries from the time of the event.

Apple – Support – Discussions – Mac Mini unexpectedly logs out. …

That said, I suspect there may be a relatively simple cause of the problem in the case you describe. There could be nothing much more than a permissions or prebinding issue on the system. I would use one of the simple ‘cache cleaning’ type utilities such as YASU (http://jimmitchell.org/projects/yasu/) set it to all tasks and then close everything else down until it’s finished. That would deal with any incorrect permissions, out of data prebinding, and a host of other minor ailments that can cause apparently quite serious system instabilities. After that, favorite would be a broken property list file or a damaged or conflicted font.

Next Generation Home Theater

If you were to build a Home Theater today, it would be much different from a few years ago. Here is what I’d get:

* Epson 1080p projector. We just got one for the office. Kind of a miracle of technology
* MacBook Blu Ray. Ok, this hasn’t shipped yet, but if you look at it a MacBook has digital optical output through a Toslink Mini, it has DVI output as well, so it is a really nice digital device. Also for control, you can have another Mac control it as the main controller, or control it through your iPhone or use the infrared thingy. Pretty cool and it saves you from getting a dedicated DVD player that you have to control. Plus you get Internet and gaming on the same box. The best thing will be if they ship it with a solid state drive, so you don’t have to worry about hard drive failures
* Time capsule galore. Digitize all your movies and stick them on a terabyte server in case you get tired of flipping. With Blu Ray, the disks at 30GB each, so you only get about 30 on a TB drive, but for DVD quality, ,you get more like 300.
* AVR. You still need something that has got big watts to drive the speakers. Last time I used Onkyo and then switched to an internet brand called Outlaw, so need to recheck this.
* Speakers. Of course you need 7.1 output as well.
* Home distribution. With wifi everywhere, you can use Airport Express to feed just about any existing stereo or more simply, stick an iPod Touch with Logitech Pure Fi everywhere. This has great speakers and is also an AM/FM clock radio.

Canon Pro9000 printing on an Time Capsule

Just a reminder on how to print to a Canon Pro9000 via an Airport Extreme or a Time Capsule. This is actually tricky. You have to download the generic Canon IJ Printer (http://www.usa.canon.com/consumer/controller?act=ModelInfoAct&fcategoryid=182&modelid=12892#DownloadDetailAct)

This has pretty tight requirements:

* Mac OS X v10.5.3
* Latest version of Airport firmware
* Pro9000osxcp10120ej7.dmg which is the 10.1.2.0 version driver.

What the heck is happening with my wifi network?

What the heck is going on with networks. It is complicated as heck. Try Airgrab and iStumbler to try to figure out what it out there. Still haven’t figured a simple way to find out what is the channel and actual speed of the network a Mac client is running. I can see how to monitor this from an Apple Airport or Time Capsule with the Airport Utility.

Time Capsule is “preparing” forever, diagnostics and also hangs

I have two different problems now. First, the Time Capsule at work is “preparing”:http://discussions.apple.com/thread.jspa?threadID=1606417&tstart=0 forever. No one really has a resolution to this. I’ve run it for 24 hours and it never stops preparing. I really don’t want to lose my backups, but not sure what to do. Maybe take it home over the weekend forever.

Some folks recommend limiting the files you backup (the point is a whole disk recovery!) or turning off Spotlight. I don’t know…

You can check the “system log”:http://discussions.apple.com/thread.jspa?messageID=7554509 by going to:

# /Applications/Utilities/Console which is a confusing application.
# On the left side, there are many Log files and many different entries. Click on _All Messages_
# You want to search for the backup process called _backupd_ by going to the search box at the upper right and typing _backupd_ and pressing enter

Here is an example of a good backup log:

un 6 18:31:01 livy fseventsd41: log dir: /Volumes/Backup of livy/.fseventsd getting new uuid: 3F939294-8F0D-493B-956B-FFB2CC5B5334

Jun 6 18:31:01 livy /System/Library/CoreServices/backupd125: Disk image /Volumes/Time Capsule Disk/livy_001b632ffd76.sparsebundle mounted at: /Volumes/Backup of livy

Jun 6 18:31:01 livy /System/Library/CoreServices/backupd125: Backing up to: /Volumes/Backup of livy/Backups.backupdb

Jun 6 18:31:01 livy /System/Library/CoreServices/backupd125: Ownership is disabled on the backup destination volume. Enabling.

Jun 6 18:31:01 livy /System/Library/CoreServices/backupd125: Event store UUIDs don’t match for volume: Macintosh HD

Jun 6 18:31:03 livy /System/Library/CoreServices/backupd125: Backup content size: 88.8 GB excluded items size: 48.0 GB for volume Macintosh HD

Jun 6 18:31:03 livy /System/Library/CoreServices/backupd125: No pre-backup thinning needed: 48.97 GB requested (including padding), 879.05 GB available

Jun 6 18:31:03 livy /System/Library/CoreServices/backupd125: Waiting for index to be ready (906 > 0)

Jun 6 18:31:18 livy /System/Library/CoreServices/backupd125: Waiting for index to be ready (909 > 0)

Jun 6 20:55:47 livy /System/Library/CoreServices/backupd125: Copied 226484 files (34.7 GB) from volume Macintosh HD.

Jun 6 20:55:53 livy /System/Library/CoreServices/backupd125: No pre-backup thinning needed: 543.2 MB requested (including padding), 841.58 GB available

Jun 6 20:56:27 livy /System/Library/CoreServices/backupd125: Copied 366 files (4.0 MB) from volume Macintosh HD.

Jun 6 20:56:30 livy /System/Library/CoreServices/backupd125: Starting post-backup thinning

Jun 6 20:56:30 livy /System/Library/CoreServices/backupd125: No post-back up thinning needed: no expired backups exist

Jun 6 20:56:30 livy /System/Library/CoreServices/backupd125: Backup completed successfully.

Jun 6 20:56:36 livy /System/Library/CoreServices/backupd125: Ejected Time Machine disk image.

Jun 6 20:56:41 livy kernel[0]: AFP_VFS afpfs_unmount: /Volumes/Time Capsule Disk, flags 0, pid 511

Jun 6 20:56:41 livy /System/Library/CoreServices/backupd125: Ejected Time Machine network volume.

The other issue which just happened is that my Time Capsule seems to hang. The light stays green but it goes offline line like it is crashed. No internet and it disappears as a hard disk. Seems like a hard crash. Hard diagnose but I was doing a big spotlight search of it, so it looks like some bug in the filesystem is hard crashing it.

The “folklore”:http://discussions.apple.com/message.jspa?messageID=6886156 is you need to fix permissions and repair the disk before you do the backup and use a wired Ethernet connection as that seems faster.

Slideshows on the Mac

Slideshows on the Mac are confusing because iPhoto, iDVD and iMovie can all make them, so what should use when. Here’s a guide:

h3. iPhoto ’08 for quick and dirty on the screen slideshows

First this is confusingly actually iPhoto ’08 , version 7.0 (why couldn’t they just bump the version to match the date?). This is the best tool to do a quick and dirty slide show on your computer screen. It literally takes four clicks to get a great looking video. It isn’t the right tool to push it onto a DVD or make it into a movie you can watch on your iPhone or on another computer, but use it first because it is fast. Here are the steps:

# Load your photos. While iPhoto will do direct importing, I personally like to keep the files separate from iPhoto because I archive all my photos onto a Time Capsule and use many tools on it. So you can either import by connecting your camera and iPhoto will appear and allow an import. Or import with your camera tool (amazingly Canon EOS Utility actually works on Canons, Fujis and Nikons). Then delete the photos you don’t want
# Import your photos into iPhoto. Start iPhoto and choose File/Import. iPhoto ’08 is smart. It actually puts each day of shooting into a separate _Event_. So please make sure that your camera date is correct. Its a nice way to break things up.
# Select all your photos. Hold th eoption key down and click on all the events and then click on the Slideshow button at the bottom, this creates a slide show automatically. Select Ken Burns at the bottom.
# Now click on the music icon and iTunes appears. The only trickly part is that you can only select playlists or a single song which repeats over and over, so you click on a playlist *and don’t click on the songs below* otherwise, you’ll only get the first song you have highlighted below. That is the tricky part.

You are done. Now just hit the play button and you can watch the slideshow with glorious sound and the Ken Burns zoom in/out effect.

h3. iPhoto export to iDVD for a DVD

This is a little tricky, because if you just choose File/Export when you select a Slideshow in iPhoto, you only get a 4:3 low resolution 640×480 version of your photos that look pretty blurry. So instead, to make a nice DVD, you have a terrible choice, either lower resolution movie made by iPhoto or no Ken Burns effect if you make the slideshow directly in iDVD but you do get all the photos in full resolution copied to the DVD.

Net, net, I’m probably a fan of getting everything out there, so recommend you loose Ken Burns but you get a widescreen DVD and if you put that DVD into a computer, whoever you give the DVD to can get the full resolution JPG shots. Here is how:

# In iPhoto, take the select all the Events and then choose File/New Album from Selected. This creates an albun in iPhoto. Delete and change the order so you have the slide show in the right order and close iPhoto.
# Start iDVD and pick a theme (Vintage Vinyl is pretty cool!) and click on Media and the Pictures you will see the iPhoto albums and drag the album of choice onto the the screen on the left. This inserts the slide show. Now click on the button at the center that is a dashed box with an arrow into it. This is the _Drop Zone_ button, pick your favorite photos from within the album and drag them there. These will now appear automatically in your menus.
# Add audio soundtrack by click on the Music and then drag a playlist onto the screen and this adds the music.
# Add the title, by click on the title placeholder and typing the name of your slideshow and I also like to change the name of the button created to “Play…” instead of the album name. Now double click on the Play… and you should see the Slideshow come up. Drag a playlist from iTunes onto the MP3 button at the bottom and change Slide Duration to 3 seconds and click on Return.
# Now click on Play and make sure it looks and sounds right and choose Exit on the controller. You are now ready to burn your DVD.
# Burn it onto your hard drive which is way easier by choosing File/Save as TS_VIDEO folder and then when you want to burn a DVD, you can use Disk Utility to do that.

h3. iMovie for high resolution Movies sized on HD or for iPhone

Now the most work that you have to do is to create a standalone H.264 .MOV files that you can use on your HD screen at higher resolution that a DVD (DVDs are 720×480 while most computer screens are much more and can display 1920×1080 easily). You have to use a fancier tool like iMovie to generate these. So here are the steps

# Start iMovie and choose File/Project Properties and make sure Aspect Ratio is set to Widescreen, Transitions are set to Add Automatically and Initial Photo Placement is set ot Ken Burns and select OK.
# click on the Photo icon at the center right of the screen and you will see your iPhoto albums. Select all the photos and drag them to the top center of the screen.
# Click on the music icon at the center right and you will see iTunes playlists and drag these to the toop center of the screen. You are looking to hit the background and not the individual photos and should see the background lightup when you get it right.
# If you are feeling ambitious, select the T icon at the center right and then drag a title to the beginning of the slide show. Click on the Title and type in the name. Now you are ready to render.
# If you want to get it to an iPhone choose Share/Export Movie and you can select Mobile to get it to an iPhone or any other device you have.
# If you want something that is really high definition and bigger than choose Share/Export using Quicktime and select Options. You can change the Size to 1920×1080 HD to get something that is amazing quality and very big too. Also look at the box on the right of the dialog and make sure it says it says H.264 which is the highest level compression and best quality. Choose OK and Save.

And voila, from a set of photos, you now have something that works on screen, you have a DVD and you have an Quicktime movie which is small to upload and send to an iPhone. As well as a huge HD sized slideshow for the day when you get a Blu Ray player 🙂

Time Capsule running hot

I’ve noticed that Time Capsules can really run hot. I haven’t figured it out, but it looks like something keeps accessing them. “Speculation”:http://discussions.apple.com/thread.jspa?threadID=1428330 is that if you have the Time Capsule drives mounted on a Mac, then the hard disk stays spinning.

I’ve had mine stacked and that seems to be bad too. You want them to be separate and some folks put them on little legs to get ventilation underneath. I unstacked them and they are much cooler now.

“Macrumors”:http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=481793 found that they are 114F or 45C when they are just sitting there standalone and when stacked they are warmer still. The main issue is that the Time Capsule fan blows downward and it isn’t effective and small, so it needs to be a little higher to work. A couple of pairs of nickles seem to help to give it a little height.

Airport Firmware 7.3.2 Problems

Apple just release “7.3.2”:http://www.apple.com/support/downloads/timecapsuleandairportbasestation80211nfirmware732.html which is an update for the firmware and the airport utility running on Macs and Windows. Not clear what it has besides bug fixes.

As with most Airport Extreme and Time Capsule fixes, it isn’t seemless. “Pokrface”:http://episteme.arstechnica.com/eve/forums/a/tpc/f/8300945231/m/726007513931 has problems with it hanging the access points. Going back to 7.3.1 fixed that problem, but the issue appears to be with locking the Ethernet WAN port to 1000/full. The default is autodetect which should work most of the time. This causes the Airport Utility to hang while reading configuration.

“Yves Nadon and others”:http://discussions.apple.com/thread.jspa?threadID=1580385&tstart=0 also reports that his Airport Utility refuses to recognize his Airport Extreme. It also hangs with a “Reading Configuration” message and you get an flashing amber light. So a reset and return to 7.3.1 if you have this issue. Also many times, you have to manual power cycle (that is pull the plug and have it start again after you upgrade the firmware). As with the note agove me7486 has figured out this has to do with the WAN or uplink connection. RJW365 reports that he manually uninstalled the utility on his Mac and this seemed to work. Some had to factory rest their Airport Extreme. You do this by disconneciton power and pushing in the tiny reset button on the back when you connect the power cord and keep holdin it until the light flashes fast.

Here is how you reset at Apple – Support – Discussions – Problems with 7.3.2 …

Start Airport Utility, select your airport (do not double click) and press the button labeled in the main window. After “Reading airport configuration” the summary page should show. Go to the menubar and select the menu item named “Base Station”, select “Upload Firmware” from the menu list. A window showing Current version (7.3.2) and Upload Version (7.3.2) should appear. If you have the 7.3.1 firmware stored on your airport you can just select it from the pop-up list and press “ok”. If not you’ll have to select “Check for updates” from the “Airport Utility” menu while pressing the key (on windows, the key). This will allow you to download an earlier firmware version. I’d recommend that you use a wired connection to the airport when performing this.