Endy's Blogomat


Uwatec Smart Computers and OSX Snow Leopard

Last weekend we had urgent demand to get the dive profile data out of an Uwatec Smart Pro computer. The Smart Series uses IRDA to transfer files. It wasn’t as easy as I initially thought…

First Problem: The Software

That was an easy one – JTrak is running on Linux, Windows and OSX.

Second Problem: IRDA

Apart from the new macbook all new mobile macs have a recieve only Infrared interface for the Apple remote but no full IRDA interface.
I was not able not find any reliable information which USB irda device works on OSX Snow Leopard (Intel).
While reading the changelog of Jtrak I discovered a note that the MOS7780 chip is support under Snow Leopard.
After some more googling I dicovered that this chip is used in the Longshine LCS-8141-A USB Infrared Dongle.

This dongle is available at KM Elektronik here in Germany and works flawless on OSX without the need to install any drivers. JTrak immediately discovered the Smart Pro and I was finally able to import the data.


Google Earth 5.0 Updater Agent annoyance [Update3]

I just found the new version 5.0 of Google Earth – since I’m a diver I’m special interested in the new underwater content and undersea maps. When I started the newest Google Earth version after moving it into my application folder I was asked wether to install the Google Update Agent or Quit.

picture-2

I do not like to have the update agent running in background on my PC. The only app I use is Google Earth – I do not use any plugins and do not let google read my emails through gmail. In order to get rid of the Update Agent you need to confirm to install the Updater and block the communication with little snitch ūüėČ

[Update3:] you do not need little snitch – if you want to ensure that the Update Agent does not install additional packages or frameworks you can also cut your internet connection. Although I cannot confirm that such things might happen – I just wanted to get sure. (My inital post might have been a little missleading according to this thread on heise.de)

picture-3

The updater is located here afterwards: Library/Google/GoogleSoftwareUpdate/GoogleSoftwareUpdate.bundle

picture-4

Now execute two commands from your home directory – the first will remove the current Update agent, the second will prevent that it gets reinstalled next time you launch google earth:


sudo Library/Google/GoogleSoftwareUpdate/GoogleSoftwareUpdate.bundle/Contents/Resources/GoogleSoftwareUpdateAgent.app/Contents/Resources/install.py --nuke

sudo rm /Applications/Google Earth.app/Contents/Frameworks/KeystoneRegistration.framework/Resources/Keystone.tbz 

As you can see the directory is gone:

picture-5

[Update1:] direct link to Google Earth Client:http://dl.google.com/earth/client/current/GoogleEarthMac.dmg

[Update2:] Had to temporary delete this post as the Updater was reinstalled after relaunch of google earth. I finally managed to find a way to prevent this by deleting the bzip file that is unpacked on restart if Updater is not installed  (second command above).


How to use Time Machine with a network share

There are quite a lot of useful information out there how to use a network share as destination for time machine. However I would like to add my own howto which also includes encryption oft the image.

I use this setup for a while now at home and at work. At work we use a x86 solaris box with samba and ZFS (at home i use linux and samba on ext3). If a user connects to a share a snapshot is automatically taken – if something goes wrong with a backup we can rollback. This works absolute flawless. So we have a network based backup for time machine with encryption.

Enter the following on the command-line (start Terminal):

defaults write com.apple.systempreferences TMShowUnsupportedNetworkVolumes 1
  • Now mount the image share via finder
  • Next open a terminal and enter the directory you mounted the share (e.g. /Volumes/image
  • Now open Time Machine Preferences and select the network share
  • issue a ls -la until you see a file with the endening sparsebundle and copy the name.
  • open time machine Preferences and under change disk select none.
  • ensure that in the mount directory no sparebundel exists any more and delete the file .<your mac address> – you need to execute a chmod +w in order to delete that file
  • now open disk utility from the Utility folder under Applications
  • select New image now paste the sparsebundle filename – remove .tmp inside the filename
  • set the properties to this values:

diskutil

  • Encryption: select encryption – you need to provide a password and¬†check¬†the Store password in keychain box!
  • Create the image on your desktop – don’t worry it won’t be that big since it is growable ūüôā
  • unmount the new create sparsebundle
  • Encryption: open Keychain Access under Login locate the key for the sparsebundle and copy it into the System Key chain
  • Now copy this file to your image share
  • open Time Machine Preferences and klick change disk
  • again select the image share
  • enjoy

Samsung CLX-2160N Network Scan on OSX

Since my HP Lasejet 4MP is a little bit outdated and Toner is almost empty I considered buying a new Laser printer.  I came up with the follwing wish list:

  • Laser Printer
  • Color
  • Scanner
  • Standalone Copier
  • Network Interface (printing and scanning)
  • OSX support
Comparing prices I decided to buy a Samsung CLX-2160N.
The device works well as standalone Color-Copier and network printer on OSX after I installed the driver from Samsungs website. I can’t compare the drivers with the windows version but I read that there are some differences and the windows drivers are more flexible in terms of print setting.

 

Nevertheless I still think that the level of print support under OSX is sufficient for my use case. One thing that is not provided by Samsung is support for Scan to Network. This feature is only available on windows. You can however scan to USB Stick Рwhich works well. Searching various Mac forums I was not able to find a way to get network scan to work with OSX Рuntil yesterday.

 

I found this interesting website. They provide a small perl script for scan to network supporting various MFP printers and they support the CLX-2160N. You just run the perl script including some parameters form a terminal window. Afterwards you can select your workstation in the printer menu and select the resolution. I only managed to get JPGs out, the TIFF and PDF settings have no effect. Although you don’t have the full resolution and flexibility the TWAIN driver using the USB port offers, for me it is¬†sufficient¬†for most use cases.

/Users/nd/downloads/dell1600n-net-scan.pl --clx2160n --format jpeg --listen 192.168.2.11
You simply start the script using the above command where 192.168.2.11 is the IP of my printer.

280North brings Keynote to the web

280 sildes is an amazing webapp which enables you to create keynote like presentations in your browser. Looks like it is even more slick under the hood as those guys introduced a new “language” Objective J. Read more here.


Figthing with Time Machine on OS X (Update 2)

As mentioned earlier, time machine is not working out of the box on network shares as promised initially by Apple. After reading some Forums and blogs it looks like Apple stripped down Time Machine Configuration options in the final release. Never the less i managed with the help of the information provided in these forums and blogs to workaround this issue and enable Time Machine to backup to my netatalk AFP share on my Buffalo Linkstation. All you need is a spare USB disk. Here are the steps: 

  1.  connect the USB (or FW) drive to your mac
  2.  if time machine recognizes the drive just ignore it
  3. Rename the Drive to the name you would like to use for your backup share e.g. Backup
  4. Open Time Machine Configuration Dialog in System Preferences
  5. Now select your attached USB drive
  6. You will see the next backup Timer countdown, just cancel it by pressing the X button
  7. now connect your AFP share (Finder Cmd+K) 
  8. next open a terminal and copy two files from the USB Disk Volumen e.g.  
    cp /Volumes/Backup/.com.apple.timemachine.supported /Volumes/Backup-1/ 

    and 

    cp /Volumes/Backup/.00* /Volumes/Backup-1/
  9. now disconnect your USB Disk and unmount your AFP share
  10. Reconnect to your AFP share and select Backup Now by right klick (or Ctrl-Klick) on the TimeMachine Dock icon.
  11. Voila !  now your Backup should start.

you should see something like this: 
network-tm.png
Time Machine creates not a simple Directory like on the attached Disk but a sparse Image which is then automatically mounted and used as the target.

Update 1:

After hours of waiting and finally a¬†successful¬†backup, I found out that time machine itself does not use the created backup on the network share – so you can make an automatic backup but not use the fancy interface – which is from my point of view only about 50% of what I would like to have or in other word useless ūüôĀ¬†

Update 2:

hopefully¬†this¬†guy is right ūüėȬ†


Mac OS X Leopard has arrived

Today I received my copy of¬†Mac OS X Leopard.¬†Just as promised it took about an hour to install it on my MacBook Pro. My first impression is that it feels more responsive than Tiger – maybe because of better support for multi Core CPU’s. The reworked interface looks nice, especially the new cover flow like feature in the Finder is fun to use.

Here a screenshot of my new desktop:

leopard.png

I was impressed that my Cisco VPN CLient was still operational like most of the other Apps. Also most important for me: Finally in Leopard  you can use Cisco VPN Client over a PPP connection! This is the greatest improvement or lets say bug fix for me. I often need to access networks using the VPN client and Рto be honest Рwhile being on the road my mac was not capable of doing this easy task without the help of vmware and windows.

For the other apps – I ran into the following issues:

  • Quicksilver¬†– Icon was shown in the dock even if hide from dock was selected after updating to the latest version everything was fine.
  • growl¬†– growl mail plugin is incompatible with leopards mail app. Hopefully this will be fixed soon – I already miss this.
  • Spaces:¬†What I really like is spaces since I missed this feature most since I moved from Linux to OS X. All previous implementation where not that¬†useful,¬†but spaces is! You can easily move between spaces by¬†hot-keys,¬†move windows around and – what I like most – predefine space per Application.
  • Ichat:The new Ichat is fun, too. I played around with the¬†effects¬†and the screen sharing, also the presentation mode is quite nice. Ichat now handles multiple accounts and I got it working with our Jabber server at work. I still have some strange problem with an other Jabber account on a different server ¬†but i will investigate later.
  • Timemachine:¬†First thing i did was of cause¬†plugging¬†a new 500GB drive in in order to let time machine make a full backup. The initial backup took about an hour (about 65GB) which is still fast compared to the backup I made on Thursday using Carbon Copy Cloner which was about 5 hours for the same amount of data. The Interfaces is really nice and making backups or restoring things is pure fun. I think this is really a nice approach to provide such a¬†convenient¬†interface that people start using it. All other backup solutions i know are uncomfortable and unsexy compared to time machine – only drawback is the lack of network backups – or is there a way?
  • Preview:One thing I noticed is that preview has improved much – you now have more image processing tools at hand for example one to resize images easily.
  • Dashboard tool:As promised creating “widgets” from Dashboard is now really easy. In safari just select an area of a website and your done. I have not yet found a useful use case for this but it is at least a nice idea. ūüėČ

These are only a few things which i already tested, hopefully I will find a lot more improvements.

For now I can summarize  that Leopard is not re-inventing an OS but a solid update with a few very nice new features and many useful improvements.


Fix for Parallels coherence mode in german 3168

Today i installed the new Version of parallels desktop for mac. Unfortunately the coherence mode does not work in the German version (3168 de). I finaly was able to get everything running including resolution changes on fullscreen using the vmtools.iso of the US version Parallels Desktop 3186 Mac en.dmg.You need to mount the dmg in finder, then follow this steps:

cd /var/tmpcp /Volumes/Parallels Desktop/Install Parallels Desktop.pkg/Contents/Archive.pax.gz .gunzip Archive.pax.gzcpio -i -d -IArchive.pax ./Library/Parallels/Tools/vmtools.isosudo cp Library/Parallels/Tools/vmtools.iso /Library/Parallels/Tools/vmtools.iso 

Afterwards mount the image in parallels using Device->CD/DVD->Image and select /Library/Parallels/Tools/vmtools.iso.Now inside your vm go to the cd-rom drive and run PrlTools.exe. Once everything is installed restart and your done ūüėČ