Archive for the ‘Mac’ Category

Windows 7 & Mac: Move/Redirect “Documents” (eg to a non-system volume)

Tuesday, April 22nd, 2014

Windows 7’s “My Documents” library folder is by default mapped to the system drive, e.g. as [C:\Users\<username>\Documents].  However it is also possible to map it elsewhere, e.g. to another volume.  A broadly equivalent situation exists in Mac OS.  One might for example use this option to move the Documents library/folder to a thumb/flash drive when using several computers (one at a time) or to put it on a non-system drive, e.g. to free up space on the system drive, exclude it from system backups (thus freeing up both space and time) or to put it on something like a server, possibly on “The Cloud”.

I found the following explanation by accident, while attempting to find a way to prevent Adobe Media Encoder (AME) from storing its own “preview files” (sic), which are huge, in a sub-folder of “My Documents”, which itself on typical Windows systems is to be found on the System Drive.  It seems that AME has no Preferences setting to store these preview files elsewhere, so a workaround is needed, e.g. to move the “My Documents” library folder itself to another volume.

    • Windows 7:
    • To redirect a folder to a new location
      • Click the Start button Picture of the Start button, and then click your user name.
      • Right-click the folder that you want to redirect, and then click Properties.
      • Click the Location tab, and then click Move.
      • Browse to the location where you want to redirect this folder. You can select another location on this computer, another drive attached to this computer, or another computer on the network. To find a network location, type two backslashes (\\) into the address bar followed by the name of the location where you want to redirect the folder (for example, \\mylaptop), and then press Enter.
      • Click the folder where you want to store the files, click Select Folder, and then click OK.
      • In the dialog that appears, click Yes to move all the files to the new location.
    • Mac OS (Mavericks & previous):
    • To restore a folder to its original location
      • Click the Start button Picture of the Start button, and then click your user name.
      • Right-click the folder that you previously redirected and want to restore to its original location, and then click Properties.
      • Click the Location tab, click Restore Default, and then click OK.
      • Click Yes to recreate the original folder, and then click Yes again to move all the files back to the original folder.
    • (Ignore the initial links, which are merely about changing names, e.g. when migrating a laptop from one person to another)
    • John Galt, 25-Oct-2013
      • The procedure was unchanged in Mavericks from previous OS X versions.
      • What I did was create a new User in System Preferences, after which I logged out and logged in to that new User.
      • I performed basic configuration, created some documents, etc.
      • After that I logged out, logged in under my usual account, and dragged that User’s folder to another volume.
      • Then, I used Users & Groups “Advanced Options” to point to the new Home folder’s location.
      • After that, I restarted the Mac using OS X Recovery to reset that user’s Home Folder Permissions and ACLs since permissions problems with the copied Home folder would otherwise result.
      • After quitting OS X Recovery I was able to log in to the User account established on the USB flash drive, and was able to use it more or less the same way without any surprises. Safari, iTunes, iPhoto all worked, no problems.
      • The original User account (home folder) remained on the boot volume, so I dragged it to the Trash. I verified that I could still log in to the account on the flash drive, confirming the one created on the boot volume was no longer required.
      • Attempting to log in to the account with the flash drive disconnected resulted in an expected error (below) and obviously you wouldn’t want to do that while using the account.
      • Reconnecting the flash drive restored the ability to log in as expected.

iPad 2 and Macs/PCs as External Monitor (via AirDisplay for Mac & MaxiVista for Windows)

Tuesday, February 25th, 2014

I just wondered if this were possible, for a Mac at least, and the answer is (apparently) Yes!, for Windows as well as Mac, and via WiFi.  That’s really useful, as I’m thinking of getting a new MacBook but their screens are currently only 15 inch and not DreamColor (as is my Windows laptop).

Connection via WiFi will be slow, but that shouldn’t be a barrier for things like static text or color grading (the latter is often based in practice around a succession of individual frames).

I’ll pause my enthusiasm to try it out until I have made a full system backup on my primary computer…

WebSearch Results:

  • Google:[ipad2 external monitor]
      • simple answer – YES
      • in depth answer
        • the only way this can be done as far as i know is by using one of two apps. one is for windows, the other is for Mac. this is done through a common wifi connection. this means that there is a very bad lag when dragging windows and watching movies and probably all other tasks. so basically yes it can, but quite poorly.
        • the only way that it could be done really well and smoothly is by using the HDMI connection to the computer. but i don’t think that it can be done yet. so when the IOS allows it (I HOPE) the ipad can be properly used as a secondary monitor.
        • but if you cannot wait for that (thats only if it happens) then here are the two apps necessary for this process.
          • for Mac – “Air display”.
          • for windows – “MaxiVista” (note the letter “i”)
        • both of these apps have sister software for your computer. the apps are kinda expensive at $9.99 for airdisplay and $12.99 for maxivista. they include instructions for the whole process.
      • enjoy your second monitor 🙂

Shared Storage Options for Windows & Mac Video Editing Collaboration

Friday, October 18th, 2013

In summary:

There’s no magic option, each workstation needs a local storage volume with block-level data access (as opposed to simply file-level access) and formatted to a file system that is native (doesn’t require translation) to that workstation’s operating system.  Migration and collaboration imply file copying/synchronization, which implies read-access to the “foreign” file-system.  Mac OS can read NTFS, Winows can only read HFS+ via third-party add-on utilities.  Furthermore, for speed and responsiveness appropriate to video editing, the local storage should ideally be RAID or SSD.  In either case, it is possible to split the local storage (e.g. via partitioning) into more than one file-system.  At least, that worked on the mutiple occasions I have taken that approach, and have not been aware of any issues.

In greater detail:

Consider the challenge of setting up a shared data storage volume (e.g. RAID array or SSD) for video editing, such that either Windows or Mac computers can connect to it, and a video project started on (and saved to) on one of those operating systems (OS) can be continued on the other (and vice versa).

My current solution is to split the drive into separate volumes, one for each OS.  For example I have done this on RAIDs of various kinds and on an internal drive for Mac systems bootable to either Mac OS or (via Boot Camp) to Windows.  In the case of RAIDs I was advised against this by my system supplier, but got the impression they were just being defensive, not knowing of any definite issues, and to my knowledge I did not experience any issues.

It is is not practical to have just one volume (necessarily in that case, one file-system format), because:

  • Mac OS on its own is able to read NTFS but cannot write to it.
    • This is a show-stopper.  Some of the major video editing applications (e.g. NLEs), slightly disturbingly, may use (or for some functionality, even depend on) read/write access to source-files and the folders containing them.
      • I initially, naively, imagined that video editing systems etc. would only ever read source media files, not write to them, or to the folders containing them.  However that proved very naive indeed…
        • In Apple/Mac’s (erstwhile) Final Cut Pro 7 I regularly used their (moving) image stabilization effect, SmoothCam.  Its analysis phased was typically slow and heavy – not something one would wish to repeat.  The result was a “sidecar” file of similar forename to the analyzed source file, but a different extension, placed in the same folder as the source file.
        • I’m not certain, but got the feeling that maybe the source file (or folder) meta data, such as permissions or somekind of interpretation-change to media files in the quicktime ([.mov] mmedia format.
      • Certainly, Adobe (on Windows and Mac) could adulterate both files (by appending XMP data – being an Adobe media metadata dialect in XML) and the folders they occurred in (depending on uder-configuration) in terms of sidecar-files.
      • Sony Vegas also generates sidecar-files, e.g. for audio peaks.
  • File system translation add-ons can add Windows read/write access to HFS+ (ordinarily it could not even read it) and add Mac OS write access to NTFS (ordinarily it could only read it), but not sufficiently transparent/seamless for big real-time data access as required for demanding video editing endeavours.
    • File system translation add-ons (to operating systems) exist, such as MacDrive, to allow Windows to read/write Mac OS, or Tuxera NTFS, Paragon NTFS or Parallels for Mac to enable it to read/write NTFS, but these (reportedly, and in part of my experience) only really work well for standard “Office” type applications, not so well for heavy (big andd real-time) data applications such as video editing, where they can impede the data throughput.  Doh!
    • Some people have experienced obscure issues of application functionality, beyond data-movement speed issues.
    • {Also, I am concerned over the (unknown/imagined/potential) risk that the “alien” operating system and/or its translation utility might alter the file system in some way that upsets its appearance to the “home” operating system.}
  • FAT is universal but is a riskier option:
    • FAT is un-journaled, hence risks loss not only of individual files but of whole volume (integrity).
      • In video editing, corruption could be disastrous to a project, not only in terms of possible data-loss or time wasting and project delays on data recovery, but also in terms of “weird” effects during editing, such as poor responsiveness to commands, whose cause the user may not appreciate. or even an increased risk of unacceptable flaws in the final product.
    • FAT32 is essentially obsolete, because its maximum file size is (1 bit under) 4GB.
    • exFAT, a kind of “FAT64” is practical, and indeed a big successful corporate Mac-based production company once supplied me with many GB of footage on an exFAT-formatted external disk.
      • The largest file I have so far stored there is 40GB.  No problems.
  • NAS (Network-Attached Storage) sounds at first an easy option, but in my experience they impede big real-time data throughput (as stated earlier for “file system tyranslation” add-ons). Double-Doh!
    • Such devices only permit file-level access.  Consequently, the client systems can e.g. create or retrieve folders and files, but cannot e.g. format the device or address it in terms of lower-level data structures.
    • A likely explanation for the “impedement” of a NAS (to data responsiveness and throughput) is that such devices store in a local format (typically they run linux) that is invisible to the client, then translate to an appropriate protocol for each operating system accessing it.  They normally incorporate a bunch of such protocols.  As always, translation => overhead.
    • Other options, such as SAN and iSCSI, instead of providing file-level access to the client systems, instead offer the lower level of data block access.  Thus they appear to the client system as would any local storage device, and can be formatted as appropriate to the client system.
  • One suggestion I saw was to use a Seagate GoFlex drive, which can be used (read/write) with both Mac and Windows.  But the supplier’s FAQ (about that drive) indicates that it depends upon a translator utility for the Mac:
    •  If you would like to be able to “shuttle” data back and forth between a Mac and a PC, a special driver needs to be installed onto the Mac that allows it to access a Windows-formatted drive (i.e. NTFS). Time Machine will not work in this case, nor will Memeo Premium software for Mac. However, if you want your GoFlex solution to also work with TimeMachine, the drive will need to be reformatted to HFS+ journaled.

So I guess there is no “magic storage” option, my main work setup will have to remain based on separate volumes for each OS.

When transferring an editing project from one OS to another, the following actions will be necessary:

  • Copy any absent or updated files across.
    • e.g. via a file-synch utility such as Syncovery.
  • Allow time etc. for possible file re-linking, re-indexing, re-preview generation, re-“SmoothCam” (or equivalent).
    • This aspect is down to the editing application etc., as opposed to the operating or file systems themselves.
  • Ensure any effects used in the edit are present on both systems.
    • If so then these should presumably still work…


MD5 Tools on Mac OS and Windows 7

Friday, October 18th, 2013

The md5 checksum algorithm is very old and nowadays regarded as “breakable”, to such an extent that it is not recommended for use in data transmission (through interfering environments) protocols.  However it is handy, well-established. and hence warm/fuzzy…

On Mac OS, the ‘md5’ command is inbult to the OS:

  •  Compute an MD5 checksum:
    • $ md5 test.mp4
      • MD5 (test1.mp4) = f3ed1559874599d26fddc5802d65266e
    • $ md5 *
      • MD5 (test1.mp4) = f3ed1559874599d26fddc5802d65266e
      • MD5 (test2.mp4) = b9bfa87a6a126911f2246c7a615bff27
  • For help: [ man md5 ]
  • To check a file against an expected checksum value:
    • md5 -c CHECKSUM.MD5
    • Where CHECKSUM.MD5 has (only) multiple entries (lines) as returned by MD5 command, e.g.:
      • MD5 (test1.mp4) = f3ed1559874599d26fddc5802d65266e
      • MD5 (test2.mp4) = b9bfa87a6a126911f2246c7a615bff27
  • ???

On Windows 7:

  • There is nothing inbuilt to the OS…
  • Third-party applications are available:
    • Probably best to use a non-Microsoft one, e.g. a linux-like one…
    • There are also many user-friendly/convenience (GUI-based checksum applications, offering additional checksum varieties, beyond md5.
      • The FCIV utility runs on Microsoft Windows 2000, Windows XP, and Windows Server 2003
        • No mention of Windows 7 but that was after its time(2004) so maybe still worth a try?
      • Download link:
      • The Microsoft File Checksum Integrity Verifier (FCIV) utility is an unsupported command-line utility that computes MD5 or SHA1 cryptographic hashes for files. Microsoft does not provide support for this utility. Use this utility at your own risk. Microsoft Product Support Services (PSS) cannot answer questions about the File Checksum Integrity Verifier utility.
        • Weird!  Why would they maintain such a …discouraging… attitude?
      • For help: [ fciv.exe /? ]
      • Capabilities:
        • Supports MD5 or SHA1 hash algorithms (The default is MD5.)
        • Can output hash values to the console or store the hash value and file name in an XML file
        • Can recursively generate hash values for all files in a directory and in all subdirectories (for example, fciv.exe c:\ -r)
        • Supplies an exception list to specify files or directories to hash
        • Can store hash values for a file with or without the full path of the file
    • ?

Mac OS: Snow Leopard to Mountain Lion: How?

Saturday, August 17th, 2013


My trusty old 2009-vintage MacBook is still running the Snow Leopard edition of Mac OS, 10.6.8.  I wondered whether I could upgrade it to Mountain Lion, direct or via intermediate versions, and also how to go about purchasing it, and at what cost.


The answer appears simple:

  • Yes, probably.  Check this and make purchase directly from Mac OS itself, simply by going to Mac OS Menu:[AppleIcon > Software Update… ]
  • Cost at time of writing is ???


I wonder whether FCP7 will still run on this new version of Mac OS, given that it has been end-of-life’d by Apple and in any case I never really liked it that much, especially with all its technical niggles, especially with regard to gamma level changes and quicktime versions that had to be “just right” (only discoverable in ad hoc manner by hunting through specialist forums). (more…)

Mac: Parallels: Omit VM Apps from Spotlight

Friday, April 5th, 2013

It can be very annoying when I type say Gimp into Spotlight and it defaults to the Windows version. That causes Parallels to launch, then Windows within that then Windows-Gimp…when all I really wanted was Mac-Gimp. So easy to type without looking!

The solution, from the following weblink, is to open up Mac’s [SystemPreferences > Personal > Spotlight > Privacy] then drag the VM folders there (I assume this simply creates references to those folders). The VM folders are to be found, from your root directory, [Applications > Windows 7 Applications] (say).

Web-Scraping in Python

Friday, February 15th, 2013

Python is already on my MBP-MacOS system.

apt-get on Windows: win-get & Cygwin

Tuesday, January 29th, 2013

I want to run some python scripts, whose instructions state the need to run apt-get first.  The apt-get command is from unix-land, whereas I use mainly Windows.  How can this apparent obstacle be overcome?

I guess first I should try the “easy way”, i.e. get the script running on a unix machine e.g. a Mac}

Google:[apt-get windows 7]:

  • {No use to me}
    • {Naively, I thought it sounded like a Windows version of apt-get, but it is actually only inspired by apt-get, and is only for getting Windows applications such as FireFox.}
        • Win-get is a automatic software installer and package manager for Windows, inspired by Debian’s apt-get tool. With win-get, downloading and installing an application to your computer is as simple as: win-get install firefox
    • win-get is an automated install system and software repository for Microsoft Windows written in pascal (for the command line client) and php for the online repository. The ideas for its creation come from apt-get and other related tools for the *nix platforms.
    • The system works by connecting to a link repository. Finding an application and downloading it from the stored link using wget.exe . Then performing the installation routine (silent or standard). And finnally deleting the install file.
  • {Possible solution? e.g. run on a Mac then use the download on Windows?}
    • {Could this be an alternative?  Download on a separate computer and transfer to destination by memory stick etc.}
    • APT-ZIP is a package to update a non-networked computer using apt and a (removable) media (harddisk, USB key, ZIP drive…)
    • The apt-zip-list and apt-zip-inst commands simplify the upgrade process of a non-networked Debian host using apt , by using (preferably high-capacity) removable media, like a ZIP or USB drive.
    • You can use wget in Cygwin in the computer where you haven’t got installed Debian, to execute Apt-zip. Also you can run the script from a LiveCD.
  • {Better solution?  Needed in any case?}
    •  Cygwin is:
      • A collection of tools which provide a Linux look and feel environment for Windows.
      • A DLL (cygwin1.dll) which acts as a Linux API layer providing substantial Linux API functionality.
    • Cygwin is not:
      • A way to run native Linux apps on Windows. You must rebuild your application from source if you want it to run on Windows.
    • Latest Version & Windows Compatibility:
      • The Cygwin DLL currently works with all recent, commercially released x86 32 bit and 64 bit versions of Windows, with the exception of Windows CE and Windows NT4.
      • The most recent version of the Cygwin DLL is 1.7.17-1.
      • Version 1.7 added Windows 7 compatibility.

Adobe Files Recovered in Trash – Unwanted

Saturday, November 17th, 2012

Whenever I boot up Mac OS, there are recovered Adobe files in the Trash.  Even if I did not use Adobe in the previous session!  Of course I can [Empty Trash] but why do they keep cropping up there in the first place?  Is this symptomatic of some error or malware in my Mac OS system?  Last time it happened, these were the files concerned:

  • The file [com.adobe.dynamiclinkmanagerCS6]
  • A [.prmdc] file, with prefix as per one of my project names.
    • Maybe [pr] indicates association with Premiere?
  • A bunch of files named as [I-Frame Only MPEG~xxxx.epr], where [xxxx] represents a pseudorandom hex value (of more than 4 characters).
    • I guess these are preview-accelerating renders.  But I thought such renders were retained, not temporary.
    • From it seems that [.epr] generally means “exported preset”.  So maybe that’s what it means here also. In which case these are I guess temporary exported presets when sending to (encoder) Queue from Premiere?

The best advice I could find on the web was that this kind of thing, while not generally expected, is of no importance, so “just keep emptying the trash”.  Concerning and irritating though…

Presumably Adobe is not cleaning-up when I close it, but in that case why and what else is it not doing?  Could this be associated with the Kaspersky issue I recorded in my previous blog-post?  Like had the Kaspersky-augmented kernel shutdown been methodically waiting for some Adobe clean-up process that never terminated, whereas un-augmented kernel shutdown simply (and silently) forced-killed that process?   Just guessing with my overactive imagination, no supporting knowledge/information/evidence.

The fact (I have observed) that recovered Adobe files can appear in Trash even when Adobe has not been used in the current or the previous Mac session (between machine boot-ups) tends to suggest that some independent Adobe clean-up process is always happening in the background, as a result of normal system start-up, regardless of whether Adobe has explicitly been run by the user.  Gives me some “gut feeling” that my “imagination” might be on-track…


Mac Shutdown Hang: Kaspersky 2011 (for Mac)

Wednesday, November 14th, 2012

My MacBook Pro, running Snow Leopard i.e. Mac OS 10.6.8, often hangs during shutdown.  If I start it up, do almost nothing, then shut down it is ok. But otherwise, if I do something significant, like run Adobe Premiere, it hangs on shutdown.  The only way out is to “Button It” i.e. press and hold the Power Button to force a power-off.  This leaves the file system slightly damaged, as reported by [Boot Camp > Windows] (not sure if I have MacDrive running or not), if I happen to run that immediately afterwards.

On booting again to Mac OS, the OS appears to mend the file system and recover lost files, which appear in a [Recovered] folder of [Trash].  Typically these are files I (directly or indirectly via an application) most recently created prior to shutdown, for example Adobe project-saves and cache file saves.

This is a nuisance, and (naively at least) raises concerns of some more significant kind of damage occurring some day…

Web-search suggested maybe Kapersky Anti-Virus 2011 (for Mac) might be responsible.  My experience indeed confirmed that – once I removed Kaspersky (for Mac), the Mac OS shutdown behaved normally once again.

{BUT, as recorded in my next post, re Adobe, could the apparent Kaspersky-hang be the result of an Adobe failure-to-terminate process?}

Kaspersky removal:

  • Since my copy of Kaspersky (for Mac) was installed as part of Parallels Desktop 8, it did not come with its own installer/uninstaller package.  Instead I had to run Parallels Desktop (no need for any of the VMs to be running, just the “shell”), then use menu option: [Parallels Desktop >  File > Uninstall Antivirus for Mac…].
  • Tip: on doing that, nothing seemed to happen for quite a while, so maybe worth leaving it for say 15 minutes to see if a confirmation “Removal succeeded” message pops up.  Or if that doesn’t work, try updating Parallels Desktop and trying again (that is what I ended up having to do).


Using an XCDAM-EX Video Camera as a Webcam

Thursday, September 20th, 2012

If you put an XDCAM-EX camera in 1080-SP mode then it generates HDV, which is 1440×1080 but with brick-like pixels and data is at Constant Bit Rate (CBR), a requirement of HDV.  For an XDCAM-EX3, there is a small iLink/Firewire connector at the back, it can be enabled/disabled by the camera’s menu.If you then run Skype, it sees the image, scales it down to Skype-format, namely 640×480 with square pixels, hence 4:3 aspect ratio.   However it does not allow for the difference in pixel shape, with the result that the image looks squashed horizontally.  A nuisance!So I wonder, is there any  interposing software that can e.g. map the pixel shapes properly or even allow some kind of zoom/pan of a (e.g.) 640×480 frame within available (e.g.) 1920×1080 (equivalent, when pixel-shape converted) image from HD or HDV camera?

    • The EX in HDV mode (SP) and iLink has worked for me. I’ve done it with Telestream Wirecast (another COW forum you’ll find my floating head) for live streaming.
    • Someone having difficulties, others offering advice on XDCAM-EX settings, though I’m not convinced that all of them are necessary)
    • Debut Video Recording software (free)
    • Instructions:
      • Connect the video cable plug on the USB video-capture device to the video input on the camera cable. Video cable plugs and inputs are usually color-coded yellow.
      • Plug the camera cable into the camera.
      • Plug the USB video-capture device into an open USB port on your computer.
      • Download “Debut Video Recording Software 1.42” or a later version and install the application on your computer.
      • Launch the software.
      • Click “Device” from the toolbar menu and then go to Step 7. If the software doesn’t recognize your HDV camera, click “Options.” Click the “Video Capture Device” arrow and select your camera from the list. Confirm that the “Format” and “Device” settings are correct or make changes, if needed. Click “OK” to continue.
      • Click the “Skype” icon on your computer’s taskbar and select “Open Skype.”
      • Right-click the person you want to call under “Contacts.”
      • Navigate to “Share Your Screen” and select “Share Selection.”
      • Use your mouse and drag the black box down to the inside of the video-capture software’s display area.
      • Resize the black box to fit within the display area.
      • Click on the “Start Screen Sharing” box in the upper left corner of the video display area.
      • Click “OK” in the Screen Sharing dialogue box. A “Starting Video” message will appear.
      • Wait until the person you are calling picks up. The “Screen Sharing Active” message confirms the connection
      • Read more: How to Use an HDV Camera for Skype |

Mac OS Maintenance Tips for Speed

Saturday, August 11th, 2012

Mac OS: File Stocktaking: Equivalent of TREE (as in DOS)

Saturday, August 11th, 2012

How, on a Mac OS system, to do the equivalent of TREE in DOS:

  • find . -print | sed -e ‘s;[^/]*/;|____;g;s;____|; |;g’
    • And there is much more on ths in the article, including how to add this “command” to user profile.

My crude adaption of it, to list only the main directories in my [Media] area:

  • find . -type d \! -name “BPAV” \! -name “CLPR” \! -name “TAKR” \! -name “929*” -print | sed -e ‘s;[^/]*/;|____;g;s;____|; |;g’
    • Crude but delivered what I wanted.

Mac Pro Disk Failure & Recovery

Thursday, August 9th, 2012

Computer increasingly slow on start-up, eventually becomes sporadic in its ability to succeed, unexpected error messages…

Yes, it’s Disk Failure Time !  This time it was on my Mac Pro (desktop)

So I did these things:

  • Copied latest stuff to a portable (WD Passport) drive:
    • I copied documents, videos and downloads
    • I generated a list of installed applications, both 32-bit and 64-bit.
  • Opened up the machine to remove drives (and at the same time to hoover-out dust).
  • Procured a replacement hard drive
    • Google-search revealed my old drive to be obsolete, no longer (easily) available
    • Phoned a local computer tech wizardry shop, who fix Macs as well as PCs, and they had a suitable replacement drive (a WD SATA 1TB drive, twice the size of the old/failing one.
    • Bought that very disk.
  • Fitted the disk, as sole disk, and recovered both the Mac OS and Boot Camp > W7 partitions, according to the “DO” (not “DON’T”) branch of the instructions listed at
    • It took about an afternoon.  The longest stages were the actual restorings from backup.
  • For W7
    • The first thing I updated was the antivirus.  This was for the app as well as the database, and it wasn’t quick.  No reboot needed though.
    • Otherwise, two or three reboots were required, including first-use, windows updates critical, windows updates optional.

PC is better than Mac for Avid?

Friday, July 13th, 2012 (as of 2012-07-13, various people/posts)

  • A lot of people including myself are worried about Apple’s lack of support for pro gear. They haven’t updated since 2010 so there’s speculation on them pulling the plug on Mac Pro’s altogether. I know that when this Mac dies Im switching entirely to PC’s. All the post houses use PC’s in london and they rarely crash or lag…never seen a Mac Pro hooked up to a DX nitris…
  • If you want a qualified Avid PC, check out the 800.
    • {HP Z800}
  • You can also wait to see if/when Avid will approve the new HP Z820. That’s an actual modern system, with on-board USB3 etc.
  • As a house that runs Avid on both platforms, I can tell you from experience Avid is more stable/solid on PC.
  • no one for mac?   i’ve been working with avid exclusively on mac for 20+ years now – no problems at all.


Friday, June 22nd, 2012

Computer Kit-Change Time?

Thursday, June 21st, 2012

I currently use Mac equipment, but most of what I do is Windows-based.  Although Macs can run Windows under Boot Camp, but there are some shortcomings in practice, the main ones being poor Boot Camp support for FireWire and ExpressCard:

  • On a Mac Pro bought in 2008:
    • FW800 port works OK with an external FW800 hard disk unit, but is unable to drive specialist audio/video equipment.
  • On a MacBook bought at the beginning of 2010:
    • The FW port is unusable, even for an external hard disk unit.  If I try to use it, it works initially then (e.g. after a GB or two) the FW driver crashes and remains offline.
    • The ExpressCard port does not function.
      • Interestingly, placing a Sony SxS video-recording card in the ExpressCard slot causes the operating system (Windows) to search for a matching driver.  However the card never appears in Windows Explorer. Frustratingly “almost there but not quite”…

So Boot Camp is really limitated as regards Windows-based video editing!

As an alternative to Boot Camp, I tried running windows as a virtual machine under the Mac OS application Parallels.  Rendering is surprisingly efficient under this regime, almost 100% of Boot Camp speed, but I found that:

  • FireWire is not supported (at least not in the version I tried)
  • Crashes were not too frequent, but they were more frequent, than under Boot Camp.

So maybe I should try it the other way round!  It is possible to run Mac OS on a Windows PC via an “umbrella scheme” called Hackintosh, whereby various softwares (not called Hackintosh) make the PC look sufficiently like a Mac to allow Mac OS to be installed and booted.

So what kind of PC?

  • Ideally I’d like a “luggable”, say with 24 inch screen and 8 cores.
  • But it can be a fraught business choosing equipment that is compatible with the major NLEs etc.
  • So I took a look at a renowned expert-seller of such equipment, namely DVC.  They offer the HP EliteBook 17″ HP8760W with Quadro 3000 graphic card (suitable for Avid & Adobe Premiere Pro):

Examining the potential of that laptop:

  • CPU:  It is an i7 with 4 cores, 2.3GHz with turbo up to 3.4 GHz
  • GPU: The Quadro 3000, which has 240 pipelines, 2GB memory, and consumes 75W.
  • It can run Hackintosh > Mac OS
    •  Hackintosh: How-To:
    • Google: [HP 8760w hackintosh]
        • Hp Elitebook 8740w with Mac OSX Lion 10.7.1 installed
        • Very smooth performance, no display glitches
        • With Lion, unlike Snow Leopard, the USB ports work.
        • Also the FireWire, Webcam, BlueTooth work.
          • {Though from experience I’d want to test that FireWire}
        • However  the following do not work: Track-pad, Fingerprint-reader, Card reader, WiFi.
          • WiFi is partially fixable by using a USB adaptor, but its bandwidth would then be constrained (?)

So that laptop is a definite contender…

Googling further on that model, it becomes apparent that it is available in a variety of customizations:

If I do go for that model, I shall most likely purchase it from DVC, even if I can find it cheaper elsewhere.  I’d rather not take the risk of some subtle error and want to help keep them in business for the future!

GPU CUDA Driver Update for Mac BootCamp Windows 7

Wednesday, June 20th, 2012

I have various CUDA-enabled applications and my Mac BootCamp Windows 7 (64-bit) machines have CUDA-capable GPUs (Graphics Cards) but the drivers under Boot Camp make the CUDA features inacessible.

Ordinarily, for a standard windows desktop, it would simply be a case of going to NVIDIA’s site  and letting it automatically scan your system for the latest compatible driver.  However for the “shrink-wrapped” / “walled garden” world of Macs and MacBooks, the NVIDIA search result just says “contact the manufacturer”.  In other words only the driver supplied with Boot Camp is officially supported.

So in that case, what is not officially supported but does work?  Time for a web-search:

Google: [macbook pro geforce 9600m gt driver]

Obviously I will want to back everything up first…

…but it does sound worth a try.

Mac Pro: Better GPU (With Decent CUDA)

Tuesday, June 12th, 2012

I’m considering getting a decent CUDA  card for my existing Mac-based system.  Currently its GPU is a GeForce 8800 GT, having 112 CUDA cores and 512 MB RAM.  In contrast, for example, the Quadro 4000 has 256 cores, 2GB RAM, memory bandwidth just under 90GB/s.  Clock speeds are harder to compare in a meaningful way, there is processor clock speed and cores clock speeds, and of course we are dealing here with multicore.

From my research, it seems that:

  • The NVIDIA Quadro 4000 is compatible with a Mac (tower) both under Mac OS and Boot Camp Windows 7 64-bit (as well as some other versions I don’t care about).
  • It is possible to install more than one such card, doubling the number of cores, and benefitting dual-monitor-related performance if the two monitors are each connected to separate cards.


Cloning Mac OS to Another Volume (eg hard disk)

Friday, May 18th, 2012


Upgrade Mac Boot Camp XP to Windows 7 64-bit

Friday, May 18th, 2012


    • ID:
      • Updating Boot Camp and installing Windows 7 on your Mac
      • by Topher Kessler  January 20, 2010
    • Best to install drivers first:
      • Boot Camp Software Update 3.1 64-bit: The full Boot Camp driver package for 64-bit versions of Windows, including Windows 7.
      • Boot Camp Software Update 3.1 32-bit: The full Boot Camp driver package for 32-bit versions of Windows, including Windows 7.
      • Graphics Firmware Update 1.0: This provides graphics updates for iMacs and MacPros with Geforce 7300GT, 7600GT, and Quadro FX4500 graphics processors. It is only required if you are installing Windows 7.
      • {BUT are they not included as standard nowadays (2012) with latest version of Boot Camp ? }
      • ID:
        • upgrade to Windows 7 without going through bootcamp again?
        • Question by “brockga”, Feb. 2009
      • “should be” no need to destroy & re-create existing Boot Camp partition, just install W7 over the top of it.
      • Further advantage of this method: W7 “Custom Install” option able to save existing Documents
        • << The Windows 7 install process will then copy all of your data in “My Documents” over to a Windows.old folder within Windows 7 itself. All applications and documents stored in other locations will have to be reinstalled / transferred manually. >>
        • x
      • ID:
        • Successful setup: OS X Lion + Bootcamp Win7 + Data Partition
        • ernopena_nyc, 28 August 2011
      • The key to this working is creating your extra partitions AFTER you make the Bootcamp partition but BEFORE you install Windows. And once Windows is installed, you CAN NOT shrink, resize, delete, create, or modify any partition.
      • <<<
        • I have my internal 500GB hard drive partitioned the following way:
          • 120GB OS X Lion (system and apps)
          • 316GB workspace partition (user files, projects)
          • 64GB Bootcamp Windows 7 Ultimate
        • To make this work, I started with the standard procedure of installing OS X Lion on a single Mac OS Ext partition and using Bootcamp Assistant to build the Bootcamp partition for Windows.  Then I did 2 key things:
          • 1. Before installing Windows on the Bootcamp partition, I first went back to Disk Utility, shrunk the OS X Lion partition, and inserted a 3rd partition Workspace_HD for all my user files. Then I restarted and installed Windows 7.
          • 2. After Win 7 Ultimate, the Bootcamp drivers and Office 2010 were installed and activated, I DID NOT make any changes to any partitions. I can put whatever I want on any partition, but I CAN NOT shrink, resize, delete, create, or modify any partition. Any change to the partition tables after Windows is installed will BREAK the Bootcamp partition.
        • I went thru 3 broken installs of Bootcamp/Win7 to figure this out
      • >>>
      • Miscellaneous related tips and discussions…

iomega Home Media Network Hard Drive

Sunday, January 29th, 2012

My girlfriend has one of these, ethernet-connected to her router and thus available on her home network.  However, in order for any computer, Windows or Mac (what about linux?) to access it, it is necessary (aside from any hacky-workarounds that may possibly exist) to install the Iomega Home Storage Manager.   This makes volume(s) offered by the NAS appear, on the Mac in Finder under SHARED, or on a Windows machine as additional drive letter(s).

To acquire the Iomega Home Storage Manager, go to,1043 or else try and click on [Desktop Network Storage > Home Media Network Hard Drive].  May need to establish and login-to an iomega support account (free) first.

I wondered at first about enabling the NAS as a Mac OS Time Machine (backup) disk.  An iomega article I saw suggested that should be possible, for iomega firmware 2.0 and above.  But the disk as it stands is NTFS-formatted – because when it was set up we had only Windows machines.  Now that disk contains much material in that NTFS.  I guess it might be possible to partrition the disk e.g. to keep the existing NTFS and add alongside it a HFS+ partition for Time Machine to use.  But it’s guesswork that carries risks (of disruption/damage to existing contents).  We want an easy geeking-minimal life, so maybe better to repurpose that NAS and get a purpose-made Apple Time Capsule instead. Either way, the evening wears on, so I’ll shelve that idea/investigation for now…


NovamediaDiskSupressor & Vodafone Dongleware

Sunday, January 29th, 2012

My girlfriend’s MacBook laptop, at every system-startup, was giving the error popup: “To open NovamediaDiskSupressor, you need to install Rosetta. Would you like to install it now?”.  Caution dictated a negative user-response to this.  It was just plain annoying.

Web-search (on full error-message) revealed NovamediaDiskSupressor to be non-mal, but to be a support software needed by Vopdafone’s cell-wireless dongle of a couple or so years ago.  I don’t know if Vodafone have improved things since then, but I also had issues with it under Windows 7, where its firmware installed drivers incompatible with that OS.  So basically the whole dongle was a nuisance.

How to uninstall it (from Mac OS Snow Leopard):

  • I dragged the Vodafone app to Trash
  • …BUT :
    • that is not sufficient, further cleaning-up required, as below…
    • Also, when I tried to empty the trash, error popup said: `The operation can’t be completed because the item “Mac_SwapperDemon” is in use’.
      • Maybe it will work following reboot?

According to advice posted at, repeating that at

  • Remove the following from /Library/LaunchAgents/
    • de.novamedia.NovamediaDiskSupressor
    • {Those were the only entries in this folder}
  • Remove
    • mac_swapperdemon
      • from system preferences user > accounts > user login items
      • {BUT no items were listed there at all, let alone that one}
  • Remove
    • /Library/Application support/Vodafone
    • /Applications/Vodafone mobile connect
  • Update: also discovered some kernel extensions to remove
    • sudo rm: {OR just Trash them via Finder, I discovered}
      • /System/Library/Extensions/USBExpressCardCantWake_Huawei.kext
      • /System/Library/Extensions/ZTEUSBCDCACMControl.kext
      • /System/Library/Extensions/ZTEUSBCDCACMData.kext

EDL-Associated Apps on Mac OS

Sunday, January 15th, 2012

These are the applications  listed when, in my Windows VM on Mac, I did [RightClick>OpenWith] on a [.EDL] file:

  • Avid:
    • ALE
    • EDLManager
  • Apple:
    • Color

Mobile Video Editing Hardware: Thoughts, Ideas & Dreams (continued)

Friday, January 13th, 2012

Following-on from my earlier post, Mobile Video Editing Hardware: Thoughts, Ideas & Dreams, where I considered an eventual migration from my laptop to a luggable PC, my thoughts veered (possibly having spotted cash-icebergs among them) towards an alternative solution:

  • Use the laptop for lightweight editing & compositing.
  • Use the desktop as a number-crunching RADI-attached server.

The two could be linked by:

  • Remote access / remote sessions (some of which via smartphone)
  • DropBox, e.g. have an active folder where I can drop Adobe Premiere XML and have it processed remotely by Adobe apps installed there.

Some links:

    • (There’s no equivalent “_part_1” page.  I guess it’s just “Part 2” of that guy’s story).
    • DIY virtual machines: Rigging up at home, by Trevor Pott, 11th January 2012 14:33 GMT
    • Personal Virtual Machine (PVM) (in use) for about seven years with retail boxed version of Windows XP.
    • VM has been moved from virtualization platform to virtualization platform over the years … the most recent incarnation … inside Hyper-V.
    • …nothing beats Windows Server 2008 R2. It comes with a top-notch virtualisation platform (Hyper-V), and added RemoteFX support with Service Pack 1. You can still use the desktop operating system for all your HTPC needs, and a single Server 2008 R2 Standard license allows you to run both a host copy and a single virtual instance of Server 2008 R2.
    • In my case, the host instance does little more than play movies on the projector via VLC. The virtual instance of Server runs my Plex media server, and aggregates my many storage devices into a single share using DFS.
  • Shuttle Inc (Taiwan)

Apple Mac & FCP -> Windows & Adobe

Tuesday, January 10th, 2012

Winclone Obselescence

Sunday, December 25th, 2011

I’ve been using Winclone, a Mac OS app, to back-up my Boot Camp – Windows 7 partition onto a HFS+ (Mac OS compatible) external disk drive.  However tonight it failed, early in the attempt, repeatedly.  Also when I asked it to look for updates, it failed to connect to the internet, whereas I could access websites OK over Safari.  Searching round, I found a later version, downloaded it, deleted the existing one (2.2) and installed the new one (2.3).

The new one similarly failed to access the internet.  On the other hand it did not fail early on in the process.  I aborted it anyhow, for reasons that will become clear (below).


  • Google: [winclone alternative]
    • Several posts stated:
      • Mixed experiences when using Winclone under Snow Leopard and the impossibility of using it (straight) under Lion)
      • To minimise problems under Snow Leopard, [Compressed] should be disabled.  Also select [.dmg] format.
      • This product (Winclone) was no longer being developed
    • Best Example:

iPhone: MobileSync Backups: How to move & purge

Friday, December 23rd, 2011

I’m doing a tidy-up of the MacBook. The application [Disk Inventory] revealed that one of my largest disk-occupying items is MobileSync Backups, which I assume to be from synchronizing iPhone with MacBook.  It consists of several roughly equally-sized files.  Overall I wonder:

  • Is there a way to store the backups somewhere else than the system disk?
  • Do the  “several roughly equally-sized files” imply I have more than one backup on the disk (in which case I’d like to purge all but the most recent).

Google: [mobilesync backup files]

XDCAM-EX to ProRes: How

Saturday, December 10th, 2011

I have a Sony XDCAM-EX clip at 1280x720p25 to be transcoded to ProRes, so it can be used as source for iMovie (for another user on another machine).

In principle it should be very simple: go on Mac, use Compressor to transcode the XDCAM footage to ProRes.  But as usual, things are pernickety…


  • First tried dragging the XDCAM [.mp4] file into compressor.
    • Not recognised.
    • Likewise the BPAV folder.
  • Next, I transcoded the XDCAM footage to “MXF for NLEs” format, using the Mac version of Sony Clip Browser
    • Not recognised.
  •  Next, opened the XDCAM Transfer app.
    • In this app, open the XDCAM’s BPAV folder.
    • The footage displays OK but how do I export it to a QuickTime [MOV] file?
    • Looks like I can’t.  It only offers to export to an [MP4] file.
    • Instead, I guess I’ll have to open it from FCP.
  • FCP
    • I opened a random existing FCP project.
    • The footage is 720p but the project/sequence settings are arbitrary (unknown to me)
    • FCP: File > Import > Sony XDCAM…
    • It imported to somewhere … but where?
    • FCP Browser: file > RightClick > Reveal in Finder
    • It was at [/Volumes/GRm HFS+/_Media/_Projects/2010-05-30 (Esp) Alison Doggies/020 Source/Sony XDCAM Transfer/SxS_01]
  • File System:
    • In other words, at whatever destination was last used by some app – presumably XDCAM Transfer or possibly FCP
    • The destination path was in fact specified in XDCAM Transfer, under its Menu: [XDCAM Transfer > Preferences > Import]
    • Moved the file instead to [/Volumes/GRm HFS+/_Media/_Projects/2009-11-22 (JRM) Lady of the Silver Wheel]
  • Compressor:
    • Open it in Compressor
      • Drag it to the “job-strip” (my term) in Compresor.
    • Compressor displays data about that clip (e.g. 1280×720, 25 fps)
    • Select jobstrip settings:
      • Select Setting
        • Settings: Apple > Formats > QuickTime > Apple Pro
          • Name: Apple ProRes 422
          • Description: Apple ProRes 422 with audio pass-through. Settings based off the source resolution and frame rate
      • Apply (Drag) Setting to Jobstrip
    • Destination
      • Leave destination unspecified.  Then it will be the same folder as Source.
    • Processing (transcoding) of this footage (1280x720p25) took about 3 minutes (on MacBook Pro 2009).
    • Result was not that much bigger than the original:
      • Originally recorded [.MP4] file: 1.19 GB
      • Rewrapped [.MOV] from XDCAM Transfer: 1.14 GB
      • ProRes [.MOV] from Compressor: 1.97 GB

iMovie: Import/Ingest

Saturday, December 10th, 2011

I wanted to pass on some of my XDCAM-EX footage (from my Sony EX3 camera) to someone using only iMovie. But would/could iMovie recognize that format, or possibly the “MXF For NLEs” rewrapped-format offered by Sony Clip Browser?

The best route is to provide iMovie with a ProRes version of the footage, because it converts anything else to (the older inferior format) Apple Intermediate Codec (IAC).  I can convert to ProRes (and deinterlace) via Apple’s Compressor, which comes as part of Final Cut Studo.


  • Google: [xdcam ex imovie]
      •  iMovie converts all assets to Apple Intermediate Codec (AIC).
        • So does Final Cut Express. Only Final Cut Studio uses Apple ProRes as codec.
        • When going the Full HD and BluRay route you WILL see this. For instance when panning, you’ll see that Final Cut Studio is superior over AIC.
        • Yet I use the iMovie and Toast route because it is fast and good. Toast delivers better results than iDVD08. I havent tested iDVD09 yet but am about to do so. Remember that Toast can handle BluRay and iDVD not. Even for normal DVD you’ll see that Toast renders better than iDVD. The menus have improved in Toast10 but still cannot match iDVD. DVDstudioPro is very nice in results, but has a learning curve. Consider the Ripple Training DVDs to tackle the possibilities.
      • iMovie will edit many QT codecs directly including ProRes 422, H.264/AVC, DVCPRO HD. It converts to AIC only when you import from a camera.
        • So if XDCAM EX is converted to ProRes outside iM — then iM will edit the ProRes. Even HQ.
        • You do have export correctly — to ProRes — in order to get full 1920×1080 from iM for burning BD.

iWeb: Initial Experience / Confusions / Resolutions

Friday, November 18th, 2011

I had a go with iWeb (3.0.4) on the Apple Mac.  It is a mortal-friendly website-editor complete with templates and widgets etc.

Some non-obvious things:

  • Opening & Closing the App (iWeb)
    • On opening the iWeb app, you are prompted to select a template. I couldn’t see any way to avoid selecting a template.
    • There is a [File Save] but no [File > SaveAs]
      • So how does it get named?  Where does it get saved?
        • In app’s left-hand pane, select the Site in question, it asks for a Site Name.
    • The [File > Close] action closes the whole app, not just the current project (or whatever).
      • So I guess (???) there is no concept of “empty default page” here (???).
        • Though under each theme is the option of a Blank page.
  • Web-Page Editing
    • For the ??? template, you get a page with an elegantly paned “window” of assorted default images.
      • If you drag a new image on top of of one of the default ones, that new image becomes the replacement, and it inherits the “mask/zoom” capability.
      • If you simply drag an image to the same part of the webpage, it has no “mask/zoom” behaviour.  However you can add it via [Format > Mask] etc.
        • Format > Mask Shape ???
    • Setting a hyperlink on text involves an easy and intuitive-guessable method, but setting a hyperlink on an image requires a different and less obvious method.
      • [View > Show Inspector]
      • ???
  • Publishing (to Web)
    • You need to establish a location to publish to.  This will typically be an ftp server with upload-access protected by username and password.
      • Before anything else, get your username and password (for that location) to hand.
      • Personally, I like to peek around first, using an ftp client.
        • Mac OS already has a read-only ftp client built-in.  From Desktop, do Control-K.  A “bare bones” instance of Finder appears.  Click the tiny oblong button at top-right if you want to see the usual explorer pane/sidebar.  HOWEVER: it is not really up to the job…
          • I discovered this at
          • However it is read-only, hence no ability to add or remove files or folders.
          • Also it appeared (for me at least) not to refresh properly.  Scope for time-wasting confusion!
        • For the Mac, favourite add-on clients (according to the same osxdaily article are Transmit and CyberDuck.
          • Which one is best?
            • CyberDuck runs on both Windows and Mac.
            • There is a review comparing them at
              • CyberDuck is free (but “begs”), Transmit is not.
              • One user (at least) claimed that CyberDuck used to be good once but as more features have been added, it’s getting more bugs.  Unverified.
              • Some users say that CyberDuck runs (more slowly?) than Transmit.
                • A user-comment says that this is because CyberDuck is Java-vased.
              • Both programs have Bookmarks/Favourites and both have a Dashboard widget that lets you drop files into to upload straight to a specified folder on an FTP server.
              • Their main difference is in how Bookmarks/Favourites works.  Transmit has dual panes, for Local and Remote, and when you make a Bookmark it includes both these locations.  CyberDuck in contrast only displays and bookmarks the remote location, requiring you to use a separate Finder for local, hence you drag files between these apps.
            • I see also, from is website, that Transmit has handy peripheral features like a Sync button.
            • I tried them both, concluding:
              • CyberDuck is pretty basic but it appears to work OK.  Setting up my ftp account was easy apart from the password, which only gets asked when you first attempt to log-on to that account.  It seems more for the beginner and explains about Amazon s3 storage etc.
              • Transmit feels “cleaner” to use and the dual-pane is definitely handy.  Also the Sync function is not a bad idea.
    • Before publishing, you need to define the location-to-publish.
      • If you just hit the “Publish” button, it will only prompt you for a MobileMe account.
      • To define the location, first in iWeb’s left-hand “explorer” pane, select the Site (as opposed to the Page).  This brings up a form where you can define the upload (ftp) data etc.
        • One entry in this form is for an email address.  But how securely is that email address presented on the page?  I am in the habit of not making life easy for email-harvesters, so I don’t want the email address to be in plain text in the HTML, I want it encrypted.  So I chose to just put a “dummy” address in here.
    • The webpage (root .html file etc.) gets placed in the specified location as follows:
      • An [index.html] file is created there.
      • Any existing files (other than by that name) are unaffected.
        • That is “safe” and also useful e.g. if you are in the habit of placing “robots.txt” files at webpage root.
      • A folder is created there, named after the Site.
      • The subdirectory is named after the page-name
        • The page-name appears in the app’s left-hand pane, it can be renamed.
    • What happens if you delete a webpage in the app then republish?
      • The existing subfolders for the now-deleted pages are not deleted.
        • I guess one would then delete them manually or else delete everything and republish the whole site.

Adobe CS5.5 Production Premium on Windows and Mac OS (Possibly)

Friday, November 11th, 2011

I bought a discount copy of Adobe CS5.5 Production Premium, because (after much discussion with others) its feature-set seems to match my typical and forseeable production requirements more than those of other NLEs, including my current mainstay, Sony Vegas 9 (which I am still trying to wean myself off, but when any proper job comes along, I tend to fall back on the familiar and trusted, for low risk including avoidance of learning-delay).

Being (so far) a one-man-band who is traditional Windows user, I purchased the Windows version.  But, confirming what I had heard, it does seem that most media people I have met use Macs.  So should I have purchased the Mac version?  Are the versions exactly the same or have they different functionalities?  Is there an option for the license to cover installing the same product on both Windows and Mac OS provided only one of them is run at a time? (e.g. when on the same physical machine).  Ideally at zero or negligible cost of course.  For example Avid Media Composer does have this flexibility.  While the uncertainty remains, I will not open the box (in case it turns out that I need to exchange it).

Here is what I have learnt so far (mainly from web-searching, unverified information):

Differences between the OS-Specific variants:

  • It appears that for CS5.5 Production Premium (at least), the Windows variant has slightly greater functionality.
  • However it remains to be seen what will be the case for CS6, when it becomes available.

Some options are:

  • Volume licensing.
    • Intended not only for businesses but also for individuals.  If the “volume”is for two licenses, they can be for each of the OS’s.
  • Crossgrade.
    • But as far as I can tell it’s intended only for one-off (or infrequent) crossgrades, requiring “destruction of the software” on the old machine each time.  Shame it isn’t simply happy with repeatable deactivation/reactivation on each machine / OS.


Upgrade: XP to W7: Virtual XP Copy

Saturday, October 8th, 2011

One thing that might help when in W7, re-building the set of apps previously installed under XP, would be to migrate the whole XP instance to a virtual machine elsewhere, in practice my MacBook Pro, which has Parallels 6 under Mac OS.

Then, while installing apps to the new W7 instance, can do a side-by-side comparison with the virtual XP instance.  The only unknown is the Microsoft activation/licensing issue – could it “clog the gears” of this proposed process?  Presumably I need to transfer the activation(s) to the XP virtual machine.  But could the W7 Upgrade process itself absorb the XP activation, crippling the XP virtual machine?

Only one way to find out, and that time is not now…

Upgrade: XP to W7

Friday, October 7th, 2011

I have a Mac Pro with Boot Camp running Windows XP (SP2), and want to upgrade it to Windows 7.  Not as simple as I had hoped.  It sounds like it will take maybe a week rather than an afternoon…

  • I had purchased an upgrade version of Windows 7, assuming (very naively…) that this would save me from having to reinstall all of my apps currently installed under XP.  In practice, the “Upgrade” only works as such from Windows Vista; in the case of XP it essentially does a fresh install, meaning one does have to reinstall any required applications.
  • Also, Windows 7 can’t use XP drivers.
  • In consequence, the upgrade is likely to take a few days…
    • I have many apps, some of which take half a day individually to install.
    • There are also obscure things like device drivers.
  • Steps
    1. My initial step was to backup and defrag
    2. Next I will run [Windows 7 Upgrade Advisor]
      1. This requires all interesting USB devices to be live-connected during the advisor’s scan.
    3. I ran it
      1. It made no major complaints about my system, which it says can also run XP mode (virtual machine).
      2. It does not return an inventory of applications automaticaly, so I’ll just have to make one manually.
    4. be continued…


    RAID Sharing Over Home Network: Works OK

    Thursday, October 6th, 2011

    Just for the record, currently this works:

    • On Mac Pro, in Windows (XP):
      • Choose any folder. For example:
        • On the RAID, this could be either of the two partitions:
          • NTFS_RAID (an NTFS partition)
          • RAID_ProAVIO (an HFS+) partition
      • Then [RtClk > Sharing and Security… > Sharing > Network sharing and security:
        • Share this folder on the network: YES
        • Allow network users to change my files: YES
          • Because some tools create “sidecar” files e.g. audio peaks or video indexes.
    • On Mac Book, in Windows 7:
      • From a file-browser, be it Windows Explorer or part of the File>Open feature of an application, go to [ Network > aComputer > aFolder ]
        • Tested by playing file in Windows Media Player and in Sony Vegas (video NLE).  Worked fine.  Latter added a [.sfk] sidecar-file to the RAID-folder.
        • Worked both for source on NTFS partition and for source on HFS+ partition, except the latter gave rise to prolonged “hourglass” delays before the file was accessed/linked, following which the video played smoothly.
    • What doesn’t work:
      • Unable to see Mac Book from Mac Pro.
      • Also, when MacPro is in Mac OS, MacBook W7 Windows Explorer > Network lists the MacPro as [MACPRO-2E4124] yet cannot connect to it, blaming a firewall (presumably the one on MacPro).
        • Network Error: Windows cannot access \\MACPRO-2E4124
        • Tried exiting Kapersky (on the MacPro>MacOS) but no change.
        • Tried stopping MacPro firewall (via Preferences > Security) but no change.

    Mac OS Upgrade: Snow Leopard: Apres-Install

    Thursday, October 6th, 2011

    Before checking for updates, install the bundles, iWork and iLife.  Reasoning: they were designed at the same point in time, at which they were most likely to be compatible; it is possible that later Mac OS updates could (in principle) detract from this – so I opt to “play safe”.

    • Install iWork
      • Occupies about 1 GB
      • Installed in about 10 mins
    • Install iLife
      • Occupies about 3 GB
      • Installed in about 30 mins
    • Apple Update
      • Estimated duration 6 hours – so do it overnight instead (set a reminder!).

    Mac OS Upgrade: Leopard to Snow Leopard

    Thursday, October 6th, 2011

    Upgrading a Mac Pro from Mac OS Leopard to Mac OS Snow Leopard.  Now that I’m no longer mid-project, and have some “spare” time, I’m ready to have a go.  Experiences:

    • Paranoia:
      • Will the installation offer an “Upgrade” (as opposed to “Fresh Install”) option?
        • It didn’t ask me
      • Will my Boot Camp partition be at risk?
        • Doesn’t seem so.  The installer recognises the partitions and asks which one you want to install to.
      • Any install instructions/advice/tips:
    •  Steps Taken:
      • Backup both partitions – Mac OS & Boot Camp.
      • Check installation disk appearance of quality
        • It was slightly marked.  Could not easily be cleaned.
      • Boot to install-disk
        • Prompted for default/custom install
          • Looked at Custom option, it installs everything except Rosetta.  That app is only needed when running old (PowerPC) apps.  It is being phased out (along with the apps…).  If an app needs it, you will be prompted to download it anyway, so no real disadvantage in omitting it, in fact an advantage – running any ancient apps will highlight them as such.
        • Installation started
          • From top-menu, selected option to display Logger.
            • Indicated that the process “migrated” my Preferences.  Sounds hopeful…
        • Run-time
          • Estimated 42 minute.  Still said that 10 minutes later.
          • The estimate was about right – maybe an over-estimate – it’s just that the progress was nonlinear.
        • Completion:
          • Prompted to Reboot.
      • Reboot
        • Started up with no apparent problems.
        • Prompted me for my contact details.
          • Some of them needed updating – I did so.
    • Success!
      • So far…
    • Backup
      • Prior to any Apple Updates (system, apps…)

    Mac: GarageBand: First Impressions

    Monday, September 26th, 2011

    I have never used Garage Band before, so had a play with it to see whether it could be useful as an audio editing/processing tool.  The answer is a resounding “yes” – despite its “domestic” looking interface.   Not only that, it can edit videos, leaving the video stream alone and affecting only the audio stream.  Just drag a file into it – I tried with a M4A audio file out of iPhone’s Voice Memo.  Some features I discovered were:

    • Basic cutting
    • Envelope shaping (on keyframes)
    • Effects such as:
      • Dynamic range compression
      • Reverb etc.
      • An “Autotune” pitch-stabiliser

    “Whatever gets the job done”…

    iPhone 4: Audio: Voice Memo: Audio File Extraction – on a Mac

    Monday, September 26th, 2011

    I audio-recorded some lectures by using the Voice Memo app in-built on my iPhone 4.  How does one get such recordings out of the phone and into an audio editing (or indeed audio/video editing) app on Mac or PC?  Here’s what I found, mainly by experiment:

    • For a Mac:
      • The iTunes app allows you to transfer/sync an iPhone’s Voice Memo audio recordings onto the computer.  In iTunes, under the device representing the phone, there is a Voice Memos folder. Inside this there is a list of recordings (objects) e.g. as follows:
        • 1  ✓ 21/09/2011 09:33
        • 2  ✓ 21/09/2011 10:43
        • 3  ✓ 21/09/2011 11:01
      • These entries correspond to M4A (FourCC=”MP4A”) files.
        • These files can be transferred (moved/copied) as follows:
          • Copy a file by dragging it out of Voice Memos folder in iTunes’ interface.
          • Move a file by dragging it out of iTunes’ user-specific Voice Memos folder in file system.  That folder is described below.
        • Additionally iTunes can export MP3 equivalent copies of the files:
          • iTunes (Voice Memos): Recording >RtClk> Create MP3 Version
      • The files are stored at (in my case) at:
        • /Users/davidesp/Music/iTunes/iTunes Media/Voice Memos
          • 21_09_2011 09_33.m4a
          • 21_09_2011 10_43.m4a
          • 21_09_2011 11_01.m4a
      • The nature of the files:
        • These files are stated by Mac’s Finder to be of type “MPEG-4 audio”, and are about 30 MB per hour.
        • VideoSpec is able to analyse them, it reports:
          • Container: M4A – QuickTime
          • Encoding: MP4A (FourCC), constant bitrate of 64 kbps, 16 bits, 44.1 kHz, stereo
            • However it makes no sense to encode stereo from a one-microphone device and indeed when imported to an audio editor (Audacity 1.3.13 beta) it only produces a single mono track.
      • Audio Editing/Processing (cuts/envelopes/effects e.g. dynamic range compression) was subsequently achievable by any of these:
        • Audacity (1.3.13 beta) can import the M4A file.  My (multi-platform) old-familiar.
        • Garage Band (e.g. as explained at
        • SoundTrack Pro (but can’t simply drag the file in – instead have to use File>Open).  OK but a little clunky (in my “newbie-to-this-app” opinion)

    Mac Pro: Install AirPort (WiFi)

    Friday, September 2nd, 2011

    Mac AntiVirus

    Saturday, July 16th, 2011


    MacBook Pro: Restore (Mac OS & Boot Camp) from Backup (Disk Utility & WinClone)

    Friday, July 15th, 2011

    Backup & Restore via Disk Utility (DU) – on Mac OS install-disk – to a fresh hard-drive:

    1. Routine:
    2. Complication: Backed-up not the whole disk but aMac OS partition alongside a Boot Camp partition.
    • DON’T: Naive use of Disk Utility (DU) to restore straight away the partition (as a sole partition) from backup doesn’t work – it won’t boot.
      • You may see a grey Mac OS screen with “No Entry/Parking” sign, or error messages about ACPI drivers not present.
      • Attempts to install (fresh or archive i.e. user file preserving mode) from install disk fail since disk is not bootable.
        • Error message: “Mac OS cannot start up from this disk”
    • DO: Try install fresh OS X from install-dvd, then use it to create Boot Camp partition (and presumably boot-selection menu) then restore (with erase) to the OS X partition (only).  To save time (hopefully), didn’t actually install Windows.
      • Both the fresh-install and the restoration of OS X took about an hour.
      • Yes it worked! Booted into Mac OS just fine.
      • Left it to “settle” a bit – e.g. until CPU level down around zero.
      • Restart in Shift-Boot mode (to refresh OS’s tables etc.) and log-in as “DefaultEverything” (dummy user created as per advice – I think from Larry Jordan).  Maybe should have done that the first time…
      • Restarted in normal user account, again left awhile.
      • Boot Camp Assistant:
        • Create a partition (e.g. divide disks space equally between the two partitions)
          • (takes a minute or two – progress bar is initially misleadingly stationary)
        • Select [Quit and install later]
          • All we wanted was the partition, to restore into.
      • Started WinClone (App, started from MacOS)
        • It appeared to first scan the backup then began to install it.  Not quick, maybe an hour for each of these (two) tasks.
        • Source partition was 232.57 GB – as compared to the destination partition of around 250 GB.
      • Alt-Booted into W7 just fine.
      • Being on the internet, it began downloading numerous system updates – furiously (like it was hard to web-browse even on another computer on the network.
      • Correspondingly, on ShutDown, W7 installed numerous (61) updates.  Took ages – so if ever repeating such a recovery, allow for this…
      • Also on subsequent start-up, updating & registering stuff – took a few minutes – wish I’d run it straight (boot camp) not within Parallels.  But it seemed “happy”.
      • (to be continued…)


    Avid: Mac & Windows Inter-Operability

    Wednesday, May 11th, 2011

    Mac & PC: Inter-Filesystem Read-Write

    Wednesday, May 11th, 2011

    •  Windows’ Paragon is better than Mac’s MacDrive ?

    Mac OS pre-update system-backup: OSX Feature

    Sunday, March 20th, 2011

    Rescuing a damaged file from a writeable DVD

    Tuesday, March 1st, 2011

    A physical DVD could be played but not copied, despite attempts on multiple computers (each with own drive).  The main VOB file was corrupted.  The disk appeared to the eye to be in good condition.  Wanted to copy a repaired version of that file, maybe with gaps or truncations, whatever could be salvaged.  Workaround was to do a ‘dd’.  That’s a unix command to “convert and copy a file”.  Mac OS X is based on a variant of unix, so chose to execute it from there.  The successful command was as follows:

    • dd if=/Volumes/’DVD VR’/VIDEO_TS/VTS_01_1.VOB of=tmp/vts_01_1.vob conv=noerror

    Prior to this, naively-and-unsuccessfully tried Windows 7 PowerShell (PS) ‘cp’ command with ‘-Force’ option, but that was “barking up the wrong tree”.  An alternative suggestion, not attempted, was to use a streaming video processor such as VirtualDub. (more…)

    Mac Additional Partitions to Boot Camp

    Friday, January 7th, 2011

    Special instructions, e.g. to have a data partition alongside Mac OS and Windows partitions:

    Mac OS 10.6.6 – Upgrade? (No)

    Friday, January 7th, 2011

    Some people have reported problems:

    • <<I upgraded to 10.6.6 from 10.6.4. I installed 10.6.5 a few weeks after it was released and cause under exposing in all Final Cut Studio programs so I downgraded back to 10.6.4. I was hoping that 10.6.6 would solve this issue but it has not!  >>
    • << while I edit, I got a “Out of Memory” Error and an “Invalid Operation”. Can’t reopen the sequence on my MacBook but it opens with no problem on a Mac Pro.>>
    • << Did a fresh install of 10.6.6 and no luck. Still the same error. Reverted back to a vault version of the project and worked slowly with it. No errors so far. Seems if I import in a particular PSD file, that out of error message comes back eventually. >>

    Canon 5250 Printer Software – Mac OS (10.6.5) Install & Initial Experiences

    Tuesday, December 28th, 2010

    Differences from the Windows (7) experiences:

    • As is typically the case for any device, the Mac installation dialogs etc. differed slightly from their Windows counterparts.
    • Once installed, its Print dialog seemed somewhat over-minimal, there being no obvious way to specify duplex printing for example.  The solution was found by experimentation, as follows:
      • In the dialog, under “Paper Size” and “Orientation” was a multi-choice selected as Preview
      • Clicking on this revealed that the other choices were the missing (expected) printer properties options (such as duplex):
        • Preview
        • Layout
        • Color Matching
        • Paper Handling
        • Cover Page
        • Scheduler
        • Quality & Media
        • Color Options
        • Borderless Printing
        • Duplex Printing & Margin
        • Supply Levels
        • Summary
          • This would have been the best default option, for first use, because it shows all(?) of the other options in a twirlable (expand/collapse) tree.

    Once installed, can get to the printer’s optons & job-queue as follows (no obvious options here to define duplex as default):

    • Apple > System Preferences > Print & Fax > Canon MG5200 Series
      • Open Print Queue
      • Options & Supplies
        • General
        • Driver
        • Supply Levels
        • Utility
          • Cleaning (regular cleaning, eliminate smudges and lines)
          • Deep Cleaning (un-clogs nozzles that cannot be cleared by regular cleaning)
          • Bottom Plate Cleaning (prevent paper smudges during printing)
          • Roller Cleaning (for smoother paper-feeding)

    Using it:

    •  From NeoOffice (3.1.2) Writer, with a three-page document:
      • File > Printer Settings
        • NeoOffice crashes…
      • File > Print
        • Print-dialog appears
        • Has a multi-choice (default selection = Layout)
        • Select Duplex Printing & Margin
        • Enable Automatic Duplex Printing
          • Staple-side = Long-side stapling (Left)
      • Result: It worked!
        • But these settings were not retained for a further printing even of the same document.
        • So you have to check duplex etc. every single Print operation…
        • Duh!

    Boot Camp 3.2 Update – Yes or No ?

    Tuesday, December 28th, 2010

    NO! …Not at the very least until such time as I have no pressures and fancy an experiment (everything backed-up of course). On my Jan 2010 MacBook Pro (unibody), most things “ain’t broke” at present, the only issues are that the FW800 port and ExpressCard ports work only in Mac OS, not Windows 7, but I’ve found no explicit mention of these issues having been fixed. Shame, quite a few Windows people are put off Macs for that kind of reason.  On the other hand while some people report no problems, others do report issues (sometimes due to old/unhandled existing nVidia drivers on their systems), as follows.

    • nVidia driver problems affecting install, display (and possibly keyboard).
      • Installation may hang or fail or appear to succeed but not completely in practice.
      • Screen may appear at low-resolution (e.g.VGA) or may black-out
      • Sleep (power management) may give a BSOD.


    QuickTime 10 – Warning

    Wednesday, December 22nd, 2010

    Based on other people’s experiences, I am always wary of new versions of QuickTime.  I haven’t tried this one, and don’t intend to.  Some evidence of potential problems:

    • [,260877,261037#msg-261037]
      • Problem:
        • … when I exported my sequence using the Prores Codec, … it changed the colour of my sequence, adding a reddish hue/ saturation to it.
        • On my search round the web there seems to be quite a few people with this issue, but is there any fix for it ?
      • Likely cause:
        • QT 10 (QT X) is the worse thing Apple has unleashed to the Apple audience. It is NOT ready for release…and why it is on these systems…really only for consumers, but still…not ready.
      • A proposed fix (if QT X has already been installed):
        • Look in your UTILITIES folder for QT 7. Move that into the APPLICATIONS folder. Right-click on QTX and COMPRESS it. Then trash the app. This way you still have it, but it won’t be available as an application, and any QT file will default open with QT7.
          • This “hack” was advised by Apple to Shane Ross.  Pretty credible then…
        • Alternatively, use the Get Info dialog to set all QuickTime movies to open with QuickTime 7 Player
          • (although for some reason if you set a WMV to open in QuickTime Player 7, Flip4Mac keeps changing it back to QT X).

    Mac Cinema Tools to “Conform” (alter fps playback rate)

    Wednesday, December 15th, 2010

    Suppose you have footage shot at one rate e.g. 25 fps and require it to be played at a different rate e.g. 24 fps.  Possible reasons: you shot at 25 fps and want to edit on a 24 fps timeline, or maybe want a crude but quick way to alter footage duration or to speed up or slow down the action that was shot.  The process below lets you alter the metadata  in video files so that they play back at a different fps to that at which they were shot.  That’s all it does, there’s no frame interpolation etc involved here.  This is a destructive process, the selected files have their metadata altered, to specify the required playback rate.

    I’ve only just discovered Cinema Tools here, thanks to Den Lennie’s Creating the Film Look course, and quite clearly have only just scratched the surface.  Looks like its main function is to serve as a database for translating digitaal edits into film edits.  Not something I’ve been involved in thus far.

    Checksum-based Backup Methodology – Thoughts

    Friday, December 10th, 2010

    Looks like I’ve evolved a hybrid system:

    1. Proper backup / synch tool: SuperFlexibleFileSynchronizer (abbrev to “SuperFlex”).
    2. Procedural with lower-level tools: File drag-copy combined with MD5Summer.

    The idea is that normally I would use SuperFlex, but for occasions where I already have manually-created (supposed) mirrors, I can retrospectively check consistency at content (not just datetime and size) level.  Have yet to experiment with SuperFlex to see if it can verify existing copies of files (as opposed to copies that it is making).

    File Backup / Sync / Verification

    Thursday, December 9th, 2010

    I was looking for an app to assist in synchronizing of copies of file systems, for example main and back-up copies.  I chose a good-looking application available for both Windows and Mac:


    MacBook BootCamp Issues (USB Slow? Apparently not…)

    Monday, October 11th, 2010

    Issue or Non-Issue?

    • USB2 port reportedly “throttled back” under Boot Camp:
    • My own measurements indicate there is no such issue:
      • 167Mbps when transferring a 75GB file from one USB drive to another, on a MacBook Pro.
      • About the same observed when repeated on a standard Windows laptop.
    • What should be expected in theory?
      • USB2 raw data throughput is 480 Mbps but throughput in practice is more like 300 Mbps.
      • When copying disk-to-disk, additional delays may exist.  Googling around, a rate of about 1GB/minute (as per my measurements) doesn’t seem that unusual.

    Mac recommended downloads

    Monday, October 11th, 2010

    I found this site with recommended downloads for Mac.  Looks good..


    FCP, Spreadsheets & XML: Some web-links

    Tuesday, August 17th, 2010

    Wondered whether there was a way to integrate spreadsheets with media logging and importing (transferring) etc. in FCP.

    Windows 7 Start-Up Repair

    Saturday, August 7th, 2010

    Here are the steps that worked for me:

    As it happened, this whole process was a distraction.  I was trying to get a BootCamp-W7 Virtual Machine (VM) in Parallels working – it would boot OK in BootCamp but not Parallels.  It was a matter of identifying the problem by excluding other possibilities, as much as hoping for this to be the fix.   However I record the process I went through, here, for posterity.

    DNxHD & Windows/Mac Issues

    Saturday, July 24th, 2010

    Gamma-shift issue:

      • “QuickTime movie, created with Avid on a PC, using the DNxHD codec. When I open it in QuickTime Player on a PC, the colours are fine, but when I import it into Final Cut on a Mac, the colours are a lot brighter- gamma shift”.
      • I have ProRes and DNxHD clips of the same thing on the timeline. When I switch from a frame in one clip to the same frame in the other clip, there is a very visible difference between the two. The DNxHD version is brighter and ‘milky’.  I’ve tried exporting DNxHD from Final Cut and it has the same problem as the DNxHD sourced from the Avid.”
      • “It’s the codec. DNxHD reports RGB values to FCP not Y’CbCr. Therefore FCP applies its internal RGB interpretation which causes the gamma shift you see.”
      • “Any non native codecs to final cut pro should be transcoded first through compressor; best way to check if the gamma has shifted is take an image with tonal ranges which vary over a gradient e.g. sky; look at the scopes in avid for the dnx file; look at the scopes in final cut pro for the dnx file; no guess work”
    • x

    Bonjour (et “Au Revoir”) for Windows

    Saturday, July 24th, 2010

    On Windows I installed Safari (web browser).  The installer also offered Bonjour for Windows.  That is a service discovery app from Apple.  Like Safari it comes bundled with Mac OS and now it seems, is also availabe for Windows.  So is it useful or nuisanceful?  Unsure, I decided to play safe and not install it.  Here’s a deeper article on what it does/doesn’t do:

    PC Windows <--> Mac OS X RoundTrip (Round-Trip)

    Monday, July 19th, 2010


    • In Windows I export from Sony Vegas to AVI (CineForm).  In OS X I read the file into FCP and apply the SmoothCam effect, then export to ProRes.  In Windows, Sony Vegas, I replace the original file with the smoothed one.  The levels/gamma are wrong.

    Solution (Search):

    • Sony Vegas forum
      • Use DNxHD
        •  Couple of tips re DNxHD:  709 color level assumes 16-235, and RGB assumes 0-255.
      • Force it back again:
        • But this presumably implies getting re-quantized twice (the roundtrip issue and the forcing), which for 8-bit footage I imagine could reduce the quality (banding).
    • Uncertainties
      • Where and how does this gamma get applied?  In FCP I didn’t (knowingly) alter the levels (eg until it looked right), I just applied the SmoothCam filter.  So I guess it would look wrong on the (pre-SnowLeopard) Mac but I wouldn’t care.  Wouldn’t FCP then export back whatever it got but smoothed?  This one is really confusing.    Experiments needed (when I get time…) I guess.

    SpeedTools – disk speed test for Mac & Windows

    Friday, July 16th, 2010


    Mac Boot Camp > Windows 7: Heat Issue (again)

    Friday, June 25th, 2010

    The following describes exactly what I observe.  So it is definitely not just my machine then…

      • An illustrative story:
        • “The laptop will just get hotter and hotter without heavy load, until I can’t take it and turn it off. If I restart it into Mac, it will turn the fans on full blast for a little while and cool it off and then slow the fans back down. So the Mac side knows that it is way too hot. But the Windows side refuses to cool it off. “
      • But no need to worry (?):
        •  “I have called Apple tech support a few times and get it escalated, but engineering say this is not an issue that I only have to worry if the thing shuts itself off. It’s not being investigated, its not an issue.”
      • Fans operate but do not ramp-up as soon as expected, in terms of temperature.
      • Some people use a fan-base.
      • The higher-powered (more power and heat-producing) of the two graphics cards is used, and there is no way to swap between them.
      • Lubbo’s Fan Control is said (by some) to be better than  Input Remapper and  smcFanControl:
        •  The primary purpose of Input Remapper is to provide a variety of useful keyboard shortcuts while in Boot Camp (which can be disabled if desired).  However it also provides controls to set the minimum fan speed.
        • smcFanControl allows you to set the minimum fan speed on the Mac side. Whatever they’re running at will still apply if the computer is restarted into Boot Camp.  However the fans go off again if machine shuts down or hibernates.
        • However for the version I tried, one of the two cores did a 50% duty cycle of load.  So the downside of this utility is it eats 25% CPU power (and wastes energy).  Apparently due to the way it’s implemented, a necessary compromise in the absence of source code for Boot Camp.

    MacBook BootCamp Re-Install

    Friday, June 25th, 2010

    WHen using Windows under BootCamp, I had been getting some serious problems when using an external drive via FW800.

    • …like the device disappearing (from the visibility of the OS, Windows 7).

    As advised by suppliers, removed and reinstalled BootCamp, as follows:

    • Windows 7: [Control Panel >> Remove Programs: BootCamp Services]
    • Rebooted
    • Inserted Mac OS Disk that came with the MacBook
      • It is MacBook-specific. Must use that one, not any other.
    • From root folder, as seen by W7, ran [setup.exe].
      • Kapersky complained a few times.
    • Rebooted.  Mostly OK but no keyboard lights or control thereof.
    • Rebooted again.  Now the keyboard lights are on and controllable.
    • Check the BootCamp version: It is 3.0.
    • Need update to 3.1.
    • Go to Apple support page for BootCamp:
      • []
    • ..and click [Downloads]
      • Taken to []
      • There are several items.
    • There are several Boot Camp 3.1 downloads (these are upgrades not installs).  Which one (if any) is appropriate?  Examples:
    • Searched web for any clues:
    • Finally: Downloaded the one at
    • Broadly applicable installation instructions are at
      • …even though they’re for the 13-incher.

    Not necessarily related, but interesting to note:

    MyBook on a multi-OS network (eg Mac & Win)

    Sunday, May 16th, 2010

    Can use Wester Digital’s MyBook drive on a network featuring multiple OSs, such as Mac OS as well as Windows, provided one does not install MioNet (bundled with the drive).  My instincts were right then (I did not install it).

    In my case, the drive is formatted as NTFS, on a Mac it simply appears automatically in Finder then Mac OS is able to read it (Mac OS is able to read NTFS).  In retrospect, maybe would have been better to format it as HFS+ since then Windows could use MacDrive to not only read but write to it.  Meanwhile on Windows I found it necessary to run the “Discover” application bundled with MyBook, which configures the network drive mapping (to a drive letter).

    FCP Project Folder Structures: Advice

    Saturday, May 15th, 2010

    What’s a good folder structure for FCP?  I read and heard lots of tips from great sources, but some of them (e.g. keep [.fcp] files on local drive not Media drive) sounded questionable, at least from my context, and anyway I always want to know the underlying reason for anything.  So it’s research-time again…

    • .

    There are several aspects:

    • .


    • Participants
      • Individual, small team or large team
      • Standards-based, methodical or haphazard
    • Application(s)
      • Apple (FCS etc.) -centric?
      • Combination of several apps e.g. several makes of NLE
    • Media
      • File size and value.
    • Storage system(s)?
      • Local
        • Normal or (relatively) slow drive
        • Fast drive e.g. RAID
      • Remote (probably shared).
        • Exceedingly Slow (e.g. web via standard broadband)
        • Slow (e.g. NAS such as WD MyBook)
        • Fast but with possible latency (e.g. “Fibre Channel” / SAN)
      • Integrated
        • Final Cut Server giving seamless access to all storage including near-line (easily-retrievable archive)?


    • Tidy organization
      • Easy to find stuff, including serendipitously.
      • Easy to manage stuff, e.g. archiving / shelving and reinstating.
    • Performance
      • User-level.
        • Keep
      • System-level
    • Security

    My Conclusions (so far):

    • The typical professional situation involves multiple users on a SAN.   In this case:
      • Each user should configure their apps (e.g. FCP) to save small and transient files to local disk.
        • Local disk has less latency and minimization of small-file traffic on SAN improves its performance to all users.
      • An individual (or item) -specific project file, which counts as a “small and transient file”, should not be saved routinely or automatically to shared media server but only saved there on an occasional basis (e.g. at end of day or project).
        • Restricting this operation to end-of-project might “discourage” users from corrupting each other’s files, though really that’s what Permissions are for (in Mac OS X / unix).
    • Much advice relates to the “typical professional situation”, not all of it is appropriate to other situations.
    • .


    Mac Aliases are like Windows Shortcuts but Better

    Saturday, May 15th, 2010

    From [] as of 2010-05-15]:

    • Aliases in Mac OS are like Shortcuts in Windows but better.   Aliases usually don’t break when you move or rename the original file; shortcuts do.
    • Alias feature has been on the Mac since at least OS 7 circa 1992. Shortcuts first appeared with Windows 95 in 1995.

    sha1 Checksums

    Saturday, May 15th, 2010

    Based on [] as of 2010-05-15:

    • Apple recommends the use of the so-called SHA1 standard (Secure Hash Algorithm Version 1). Apple is using this method for their own security updates as well. For more information please also refer to Apple Support Article HT1652.
    • Perform the following steps:
      • Make sure you have the downloaded file displayed somewhere in the Finder.
      • Open the Terminal application.
      • Enter the command: [/usr/bin/openssl sha1 ] with a space at the end (not a Return).
        • Note the last character of ‘openssl’ is a small ‘L’ not a ‘1’
      • Drag the target file from the Finder window into the Terminal window. A path specification will appear in the Terminal window.
      • Now press the Return key (Enter).
      • You will see output similar to the following example:
        • SHA1(path specification)= 2eb722f340d4e57aa79bb5422b94d556888cbf38.

    FCP Project Folder Structures: The (Non?) Fragmentation Issue

    Saturday, May 15th, 2010

    Reading book “Final Cut Pro Workflows” by Osder & Carman, 2008.  On page 284 it relays advice that it is best to put Project Files [.fcp] on a separate drive to the Media Drive (e.g. Media Drive= XSAN), due to:

    • Safety – not all on one drive
    • Avoid fragmenting the media drive (project files, cache and to a lesser extent render files) are written often (transient files?)

    I’m not immediately convinced by these arguments:

    How to view degree of fragmentation on an HFS volume:

    • []
      • Command-line app to report a variety of storage-volume statistics, including fragmentation.
      • After download, can check the sha1 checksum, but this is of the executable, not the download itself ([.dmg] file).  The ‘sha1’ command is inbuilt to Mac OS, as: [/usr/bin/openssl sha1].  Note the last character of ‘openssl’ is a small ‘L’ niot a ‘1’.

    Capture to HFS+, Use from Windows 7: Experiences

    Monday, May 3rd, 2010

    On MacBook Pro, used Sony Clip Browser (ClipBrowser) to import footage from a Sony XDCAM-EX to Mac OS HFS+.  This machine had MacDrive installed, enabling Windows apps to directly access files on the HFS+ file system.  On same machine, under Boot Camp (BootCamp) and Windows 7, ran Sony Vegas NLE.   Successfully imported and used footage by both of the following methods:

    • Sony Vegas’s Device Explorer [View > Device Explorer].
      • This took several minutes to import.
      • Importing resulted in copying the [.mp4] file (and other files) to the NTFS partition.
    • Direct use of [.mp4] on the HFS+ partition.
      • No need to import as such, just constructed waveforms etc.
      • This completed in seconds.
      • Only downside is that it ewas unable to save the waveform files etc., due to my config of MacDrive (read-only), so it would have to do this every time I opened the project.
        • Have yet to try the same thing when MacDrive has config for full read/write access.

    GRAID Mini – NTFS & HFS+ Partitions: Initial NTFS Problem

    Monday, May 3rd, 2010

    GRAID mini was initially a single partition formatted HFS+ under GPT partitioning-scheme.

    Repartitioned it as MBR partitioning-scheme where the HFS+partition (existing but reduced) was followed by an NTFS partition.  The repartitioning of the disk and the formatting of the NTFS partition was accomplished from Mac OS, using the iPartition application.

    When I first connected the resulting disk to a MacBook Pro, the HFS+ partition was seen OK under Mac OS.  However the NTFS partition seen from Boot Camp / Windows 7 caused Windows Explorer to crash, whenever it was selected or right-clicked in that applications left-hand pane.  On the other hand if the thing selected in the left-hand pane was the computer itself then the NTFS partition (among other volumes) was listed in the right-hand pane, and it was possible to right-click that without the application crashing.  Also, no problems were experienced when accessing it from commandline, or when using Windows Explorer to look inside its folders (as opposed to teh top-level).

    By right-clicking the NTFS partition in the right-hand pane, selected options to:

    • Define it as a mainly-videos drive.  Presumably alters the block size or something.
    • Change that volume’s name, from “GRD mini NTFS” to “GRm HTFS.  Not sure if relevant.

    Subsequently was accessed OK in both left and right hand panes.

    iMovie Preferences & Directory Structure

    Sunday, May 2nd, 2010
    • General
      • Show advanced tools [No] -> Yes
    • Video
      • Import HD video as: [Large 960×540] -> Full – Original Size

    No way I can see to define the iMovie work-area folder, where media gets imported to for example.  Maybe there’s no choice over this, which would be a shame (don’t want movies filling up my system drive).  In my case the iMovie work-area was:

    • /Users/davidesp/Movies
      • iMovie Events.localized/
        • New Event/
          • iMovie Data
          • iMovie Cache/
          • iMovie Thumbnails/
          • <a source media file>
      • iMovie Projects/
        • My First Project.rcproject

    Mac:BootCamp:W7: FireWire Issues?

    Sunday, May 2nd, 2010

    Some hard drives attached with FireWire may perform slowly with Windows 7 on a MacBook Pro (15-inch, Mid 2010).  Not aware of any such problem on my system, but found this in passing, worth keeping a note of…[]

    • MacBook Pro (15-inch, Mid 2010): FireWire drives perform slowly with Windows 7
      • Last Modified: April 14, 2010
      • Article: TS3188
    • Issue:
      • Some hard drives attached with FireWire may perform slowly with Windows 7 on a MacBook Pro (15-inch, Mid 2010).
    • Products Affected
      • Boot Camp, MacBook Pro (15-inch, Mid 2010), Windows 7
    • Resolution
      • This situation may occur because of an issue in the 1394ohci.sys driver in Windows 7.
      • Microsoft has posted a “hot fix” for this issue.  See the Microsoft website for more information.

    FAT32 Size Limits (Partition and File)

    Saturday, May 1st, 2010

    • FAT32 file-size limit is (2^32)-1 bytes, or one byte less than a full 4GB.
    • FAT32 has a 2TB limit on partition size.
      • Whereas FAT16 has a 4GB limit on partition size.
    • The file system is not the only source of constraint:
      • Windows XP and Windows 2000 limit partition creation to no larger than 32GB on FAT32. This limitation is by design: Microsoft wants you to use NTFS for large drives.
      • Applications could potentially impose their own limits

    • The Microsoft OS imposed limit of 32GB can be side-stepped by formatting instead from the Apple Mac OS (OS X).

    Partition a disk to [HFS+] & [NTFS]

    Friday, April 30th, 2010


    1. Use iPartition, reduce existing HFS+ partition to half-size.
    2. Don’t create the other partition yet.
    3. Change Partition-Scheme (from GPT) to MBR
      • Otherwise the partition won’t be visible to windows.
    4. Now create the other partition, e.g. NTFS.
      • That option only became available once the partition scheme had been changed.
      • Result: [ MBR | HFS+ | NTFS ]

    MacBook Pro temperature when running native OS X (Snow Leopard)

    Wednesday, April 21st, 2010


    • After half an hour or so, the MacBook Pro base (top and bottom) tends to feel hotter than I’d expect, and I worried whether the innards were getting broiled or fried.  Having no previous experience to go by, some investigation was needed.  Various forums have some people claiming this is normal while others worry about the temperatures.


    • Downloaded iStat, a free widget for the Mac dashboard, that displays temperatures and fan speeds.  There are several temperature sensors and two fans.
    • Download site:
    • It looks and works (as far as I can tell) really good.  Also reports things like network traffic, which I also like to know about.


    • Despite the case feel, the internal temperatures were not too bad, typically around 65C though sometimes the CPU & GPU rose to 81C, which I think is the upper sensible limit.  At this speed, one of the fans speeds up a bit e.g. 2300 rpm as compared to 2000 typically.
    • A colleague (Matt Roberts) said chips are designed OK up to say 90C and higher, though connections can break down at around 120C.
    • Seems all within tolerance then, no need to worry.

    Disk Space Usage / Inventory

    Wednesday, April 21st, 2010

    For Mac OS:

    • Disk Inventory X

    For Windows:

    • WinDirStat
    • FolderSize

    They are both pretty similar, in each case displaying filespace usage via a tree map looking like a patchwork of multicoloured PVC, each colour representing a different type of file (audio, video, application, document etc.).  Their advantage over traditional browser trees is you can see all the largest files and folders simultaneously (as a plan-view).  Tree maps (treemaps) are explained at – they are formed by subdividing in alternate dimensions (horizontal/vertical), each time in proportion to relative size of item, be it folder or file.  A variation on this, employed by the above tools, is a cushion treemap [], where shading reveals the directory structure.  A further variation is the squarified treemap [], where subdivision and grouping attempt (no guarantee of success) to make the rectangles as square as possible. (more…)

    QuickTime 7.6.6 – skip/wait ?

    Saturday, April 17th, 2010

    Others have found issues with it.  Maybe worth skipping or waiting for a compatibility fix for pro apps in that case.

    Mac Screen-Lock

    Wednesday, April 14th, 2010

    How to get screen-lock on demand, e.g. when walking away from a machine still executing something:

    <<<OS X has native screen-locking built-in; though you wouldn’t know unless you dug around. To enable it, open your Keychain Access utility in the Applications / Utility folder. Under the “View” menu at the top, select “Show Status in Menu Bar.” A black padlock will appear in your taskbar in the upper right-hand corner. Close Keychain Access. Now when you click on the padlock, you have a “Lock Screen” option in the drop-down. Selecting it will cause your screen to fade to black and engage your screen saver. Click any key to open a login / password dialog box, and you’re back in.>>>

    MacBook Pro gets hot under BootCamp Windows

    Saturday, March 27th, 2010


    • MacBook Pro, when in Boot Camp Windows 7, gets uncomfortably hot (in its heatsink areas, the bar above keyboard and also the chassis underside).  In comparison, it runs pretty cool (temperature) under Mac OS.


    • No fan control when in Boot Camp Windows mode.

    Popular Solution (does not imply any recommendation):

    Some good links (as of 2010-03-27):


    • Just copied the contents of the zip file to  [C:\Program Files (x86)\Lubbo’s Fan Control] and ran it from there.  It has files [inpout32.dll] and [inpoutx64.dll].
    • Ran it but it gave error messages:
      • (The) Following process(es) is/are using SMC:
        • kbdmgr
      • It’s not an error, but Lubbo’s Fan Control cannot share apple SMC access.
      • Do you want to kill it/them?
      • NO = the system may freeze.  Try only if you are running BootCamp 3.1
      • YES = the incompatible process(es) will bekilled and the program will start.
        • But I have read elsewhere that this means function keys won’t then work (for that session).
        • Didn’t work – it said “It was not possible to load IO driver.  Retry?” and “(May be better to press CANCEL and reopen the program)”
      • CANCEL = this program will exit
    • Someone else had the same problem but found a solution that appeared to work for them:
    • So it seems that to get Lubbo’s utility working I have to:
      • Kill a system process
      • Install a version of .NET that is not yet officially supported.
        • I’ll write a separate blog post about .NET
    • Life on the edge, huh?

    Mac – OS X 10.6 (Snow Leopard) – New Features

    Saturday, January 9th, 2010


    Mac Workflows – YouTube Tutorials

    Friday, January 8th, 2010
    1. iMovie rough-cut to XML to FCP to QT (reference) to Compressor
    • ScreenFlow for screen captures
      • e.g. 5 minutes exported as ProRes 422 gives 10GB
    • iMovie:
      • Rough edit in iMovie
        • Trims, cuts and AutoAdjust (for levels)
      • Share > Export Final Cut XML
    • Final Cut:
      • Refined cuts, transitions etc. and add soundtrack
        • e.g. Soundtrack Pro (STP), find music etc from library, reveal in Finder and just drag to FCP project, no obligation to make an “official” STP project.
      • Export to QuickTime – uncheck the “Make self-contained” option if only to be used on same system (e.g. to send to compressor for render-on to some other format).
    • Compressor:
    1. x

    Mac – hash (#) key

    Friday, January 8th, 2010

    The Apple Mac has no hash (#) key on its keyboard, either US or UK.  Mad or what?  Workarounds [–hash-key-on-a-british-mac-keyboard]:

    • UK: Alt-3
    • US: Shift-3
      • (In the UK, Shift-3 instead makes a £ symbol)

    To see all such “special symbols” (my term):

    Home Network

    Thursday, January 7th, 2010

    Need to establish a better home network, e.g. so Parallels on my Mac can see my Windows laptop, so it can suck the XP out of it.  Also want shared printer etc. (I have a node for that).   Just a question of setting it all up…

    Parallels – Transport a Windows PC to a VM

    Thursday, January 7th, 2010

    I want to transport everything off an existing PC into a Parallels VM (on a Mac).  I want to confirm it is possible and find out how to do it.  So, after a bit of googling:

    • Yes it is possible.
    • The source machine (the Windows PC in this case) needs to be running the Parallels Transporter Agent
    •  The Transporter Agent may be obtained from
    • Here’s a problem someone experienced when installing it to Windows 7 (though my main source PC is running XP):
    • Here’s someone who is attempting to do the same thing I wish to do, but stumbled:
      • (no answer to his question so far)
    • x

    Collaboration tools (beyond iChat)

    Thursday, January 7th, 2010



    FCP iTheatre: play an FCP timeline straight into a chat

    Thursday, January 7th, 2010

    Geographically separated team members of a Final Cut project can collaborate via iTheatre.   Suppose an editor is discussing with a client via Apple’s iChat.  Then the editor can play out of FCP straight into the iChat session.   It’s in FCP: View > iChat Theatre Preview.


    There are some reputable video people covering this topic:


    But iChat is only available for Macs.  What if the client doesn’t have a Mac?  I did some googling:

    • iChat is an Instant Messenger.
    • It is only available for Macs but it is compatible with AIM (AOL Instant Messenger), which is available for Windows.
      • ” iChat is only available on OS X” []
    • .mac accounts are just AIM accounts. Enter your .mac username with at the end while configuring an AIM account. []
    • Whatever is playing in your Viewer or Canvas window is sent via iChat to your remote viewer. []
    • But can the iChat Theatre option be used with Windows users?
      • This person believes it is not possible to interact with Windows users (I wonder if they know of the AIM option or whether it handles iTheatre) []
      • “If your collaborators are on Windows and don’t have access to a Mac, you’re out of luck.” []
    • “for iChat Theater Preview to work, both the host and remote computers much be running Mac OS X version 10.5 Leopard or later. Both computers must have iChat accounts and the remote user’s account must be added to the host computer’s buddy list (more detail from Apple here). ” []
    • []
      • “… is it possible to make videoconference between a PC using google video and a MAC using ichat ?”,
        • “No, it is not possible.  Video chat is only between Gmail chat users.” and furthermore “You need … the Newer Version interface of Gmail”
    • It has screen sharing, so both parties can observe and control a single desktop

    Some links about iChat itself:

    • iChat itself:
        • Overview and context wrt other Instant Messengers (IMs).
        • Has great list of add-on tools e.g. encryption.
    • How to converse with Windows users
      • []
        • “I wish MSN Messenger was supported natively as hardly anyone I know in the UK uses AIM. I’ve only got 10 AIM buddies. I have to go through a Jabber server with an MSN transport to use it”
        • “I am same as the others. I use Adium as I have MSN and Google Talk friends mostly and very few on AIM.   Sure I can use iChat fo Google Talk”
        • “It seems most of us are using Adium because iChat doesn’t connect to MSN and/or Yahoo Messenger.”
        • “Skype doesn’t intereact with any other software as far as I know but for internet-based phone video calls, it is the best because so many people use it and it is on Windows as well as Mac.”
      • []
        • Adium is what Pidgin should be.
        • Adium is based on Pidgin’s libpurple (libgaim), which is already used in Pidgin on all three platforms.
        • Adium is the Cocoa client of libpurple. Pidgin is the GTK client, finch is the CLI client, etc… Same IM backend, multiple GUIs.
        • “AIM [] is about as close to iChat as you’re gonna get on Windows. That said, a better option would be to go with something more flexible like Pidgin. []”
    • AIM
      • []
        • If you’re using the AIM service, make sure you have port 5190 open on your router, NAT, firewall, cable modem, or DSL modem. You’ll need it open for incoming connections to send and outgoing connections to receive (yes, that is the right way round: the recipient connects to the sender).
    • Pidgin
      • Is open-source, has sometimes debatable deadlines and capabilities.  Many consider Adium better, and it has been stated that they are both front-ends onto the same core.
      • (formerly GAIM) []
      • [] “Pidgin is a chat program which lets you log in to accounts on multiple chat networks simultaneously. This means that you can be chatting with friends on MSN, talking to a friend on Google Talk, and sitting in a Yahoo chat room all at the same time.  Pidgin runs on Windows, Linux, and other UNIX operating systems”
      • There are third-party plugins for other protocols such as Skype and Twitter.
    • x

    Installed Final Cut Studio 7 (FCS7) Upgrade (on new machine)

    Thursday, January 7th, 2010

     As a first experiment (with how well or not FCS3 would run), I installed the upgrade to a new machine.

    Groundless concerns:

    • There is no hassle over installing it on a second machine.  The license allows it and there is no Deactivation etc required.  Only if both machines are on the same network will it complain.
    • It was not necessary for the target machine to have the previous version of FCS installed.

    The update physical form was a cardboard box measuring about (by eye) 5x5x1.5 inches.  Its main contents were 7 data-DVDs, a nice concise booklet and some formal documentation, one of which had the serial number printed (twice).   Installing the system took a few hours.

    The main installation disk additionallycontained electronic documentation.  I copied it to :

    • Boris Calligraphy User guide
      • Makes fancy text.
    • Exploring Final Cut Pro 7
      • Same as the booklet that came in the box.

    It also contained “Extras”, as follows:

    • AppleQmasterNode.mpkg
      • Allows a computer to act as a node in a render-farm, in support of Compressor.  If you are unsure which role each computer will play in your network, just install the Apple Qmaster software on each computer in your network. You can sort out the details later. []
      • I started its installer but it asked whether I wanted to let this computer be used as a rendering node.  I had already been asked that question when loading the main FCS3.  So maybe it was loaded already.  Decided that FCS was probably best left alone in this respect, so I aborted the install.
        • CORRECT: While following QMaster tutorial [] I checked existing System Preferences for QMaster and they were already there, it was already enabled for sharing.
          • In contrast, when I checked the same for my older machine running FCP6, its QMaster was not enabled for sharing.  Of course I fixed that immediately.
        • BUT in both cases (both machines) the options were greyed-out.
        • For the newly-installed FCP7 machine,  Options for selected service (Compressor) said “Selected Service On (2 instances).  Sounds like it’s using both cores OK.
        • For the older FCP6 machine, it said “Selected service On (1 instance)”.  But its an 8-core machine.  So maybe something is not quite right…
        • Then again it might be a “feature”  of no significance, just run a render and check Activity Monitor to see if all cores are being used [].  The discussion (like some others) also suggests not using all the cores available.
    • DVX-100 Audio Sync Tool
      • DVX-100 is a camcorder by Panasonic. Broadly EX3-like and film-ish e.g. 24P)
      • I don’t need this, so I won’t install it.
    • Head Leaders for Cinema Tools
      • Countdown etc.
        • A number of prebuilt QuickTime clips have been included to use as head leader in your edited sequences. Using these head leader clips is preferable to selecting the “Start with 8 seconds of leader” checkbox in the Export Film Lists dialog because these clips also contain Picture Start, countdown, and an audio pop at the 2-second mark. [‘Head Leaders Read Me’ file]
      • I guess they’re intended to be copied somewhere (?).  I put them at […/Documents/Final Cut/FCS 07]
    • Spotlight Importer
      • Spotlight importers should be provided by all applications that support custom document formats. A Spotlight importer parses your document format for relevant information and assigning that information to the appropriate metadata keys. []
      • In other words, it allows Spotlight to search withinapplication-specific files.
      • But when I tried installing it, it said “The domain/default pair of (, loc) does not exist”.  Don’t know what it means but it sounds broken…   Either way, I can’t install it, so must abandon it.
    • Template Intro Movies for DVD Studio Pro
      • Blocks, corporate, mosaic, stripes, smoke…
      • I guess they’re intended to be copied somewhere (?).  I put them at […/Documents/Final Cut/FCS 07]

    Mac – Finder Alternatives that I am evaluating

    Tuesday, January 5th, 2010

    I downloaded these ones, for trial:

    • PathFinder []
      • “Path Finder’s goal is to fill the gap between Apple’s Finder and the command line environment by integrating many different features usually found in external applications into a single, powerful interface.”.
      • Not sure I need it.  And for sending files to applications, QuickSilver may be better.
    • Leap []
      • Intriguing, because (like I have imagined for myself) it allows the user to cut/slice files from a multitude of perspectives.  You can go down the folder hierarchy or have a flattened view of all files, filtered by tags (that you define).  Many variations on these ideas.
    • Rage Macintosh Explorer []
      • Is very like Windows Explorer, comfortable to use and clear.  And the path is always displayed, in editable form (so it can be copied).  I like it.

    Mac – Time Management / Recording App

    Tuesday, January 5th, 2010

    Mac – copying a file’s path (string) to ClipBoard

    Tuesday, January 5th, 2010

    How to copy a file’s path as a string:  

    1. Open a Terminal window.
    2. Drag the file or folder to the Terminal window. (The full path appears in the window.)
    3. Select the path in the Terminal window, copy it, and paste it into your email or script.
    4. Close the Terminal window.

    • The only slight snag is that, if your file or folder path contains spaces, the spaces get escaped with ‘\’s in the Terminal window.
    • If the escaped spaces bug you, or you often want to copy the path to a file, check out the catchily-titled FilePathToClipCMPlugin. Download and open the .dmg, drag the FilePathToClipCMPlugin.plugin file to ~/Library/Contextual Menu Items, and restart the Finder (Apple menu > Force Quit, then choose Finder in the list and click Relaunch). You can now right-click any file or folder and choose FilePathToClip! to copy it to the Clipboard. Works a treat. 

    •  “You can copy the path right out of the Get Info window in Snow Leopard.”
    • (haven’t yet tried this)

    Mac (Snow Leopard) setup – continued

    Monday, January 4th, 2010


    1. Backed-up via Time Machine to a low-cost (£60) USB-powered 0.5TB hard drive that will be carried around with the laptop (can that drive be backed-up itself?)
      • Turned off Time Machine (auto-backups) afterwards.
    2. Updated everything
      • Several system restarts required, and re-ran the Update function until no more updates available.
    3. Backed-up again viaTime Machine.


    1. Ran Boot Camp Assistant
      • It prompted me to print its instructions.  I decided to accept this.
        • I connected my printer.  System prompted for printer-driver download – I accepted.
        • I selected the print option to format the instructions specifically for my (make of) printer.
        • From Preview, the instructions occupy 14 pages.  Thinking green (and clutter-avoidance) I elected instead to save it as PDF to a memory stick that I can view elsewhere.
    2. Read thru the Boot Camp instructions
      • It seems I have done it right so far (update everything & backup)
    3. Boot Camp Assistant: Actions
      • Click Continue (onwards from the printing stage).
      • Partitioning:
        • Select Divide Equally
          • (Don’t know what sizes I need, presumably can alter proportions later if needed using e.g. via iPartition).
        • Click Partition
          • (Is very fast)
      • Windows Installation
        • Insert Windows disk.
          • There are two options (disks): 32-bit and 64-bit.  Let’s go for 64-bit.  In case of any residual doubt:
        • Click Start Installation
          • (Even though Boot Camp Assistant (BCA) does not mention Windows 7 as an option, onlyXP & Vista.)
        • Locale info:
          • Language: English; Units: UK; Keyboard: UK
            • (What is “UK Extended” ?)
          • Next
        • Install Now
          • (Accept License)
        • Installation option: Upgrade or Custom(BCA instructions don’t mention this choice)
          • Default is Upgrade but this is a fresh installso choose Custom
            • Warning (from instructions): “It’s important to select the correct partition when installing Windows so that you don’toverwrite Mac OS X on your computer.”
          •  Selected the Boot Camp partition (Disk 0 Partition 3), but…
            • “Windows caannot be installed to Disk 0 Partition 3”
            • …because it has not yet been formatted as NTFS (did I miss that stage?)
          • Clicked Drive Options, and, with Partition 3 selected, clicked Format.
            • There were no format options e.g. NTFS or other, it just did it, taking only a few seconds.
          • Clicked Install, now it worked.
          • Looking thru the BCA instructions, that formatting step is indeed mentioned, all is well.
            • “The Windows partition is formatted using the NTFS file system”
          • (installation automated processes took half an hour or so)
          • Enter names for user (account) and computer (to distinguish it on a network)
          • Enter a password
          • Enter Product Key and accept default option to automatically activate when on-line.
          • Select Use Recommended Settings (e.g. for updates policy)
          • Accept TimeZone as UTC
          • JoinWireless Network
            • Enter key, accept Automatically Connect policy
            • Selectit as Home Network (trusted)
          • (Windows now began its update processes)
            • First it downloaded a manifest- list of available updates
            • After this it prompted to “click here for available updates”.  Did so.
            • It offered “11 important updates” and “2 optional updates”.  I accepted them all.
              • An update clash (my term) occurred – it said “Some updates were not installed” and “…try again in a few minutes”
              • Waited several minutes and tried again – it worked: 10 updates successfullyinstalled, then required restart (did it).
      • First proper login to Windows.
        • Note there had been no prompts for drivers etc.
      • Mac Hardware Drivers for Windows
        • Insert the Mac OS install-disk … after ejecting the Windows install-disk.
          • But the”Eject Disk” button has no effect (presumably due to no driver yet)
          • Workaround: Windows Explorer > DVD Drive > Eject
        • Autoplay (yes/no): Windows Support > setup.exe.  YES.
        • Security: Allow it (Boot Camp) to make changes to computer.  YES.
        • Boot Camp: Accept license, allow “Apple software update for windows”
          • (It took some significant time)
        • Restart
          • Doh – I left the Mac OS install-disk inserted; as a result I feared the machine would boot from that disk.  However in practice it was Windows that came up.
            • The default OS can be changed via the Boot Camp icon in system tray.
          • Unable to log in – keyboard doesn’t work.
            • (Yes, this is familiar Windows behaviour…)
        • Restart again.
          • Now it works fully.  Keyboard and disk-eject too.
      • Settling-in to Windows
        • Config the system tray to always show all icons.
        • Got warned that there is no antivirus as yet.
        • Purchase Parallels 5, which Kapersky AntiVirus comes bundled with, and I want Parallels anyway.  Cost around £60.
      • x
    4. Install Parallels
      • Purchase & download Parallels 5 desktop for mac.  Is a “.dmg” file of size 222 MB.
      • Restart machine in Mac mode.
      • Backup (Time Machine)
      • Run installer.  It says the installation will occupy around 450MB of disk.
      • Backup (Time Machine)
      • Run Parallels.  Prompts for activation (license key/code).  Did so.
        • (Parallels then did a “prepare for first start”)
      • x
      • Create new Virtual Machine onto the Boot Camp Windows 7 system.
        • New Windows Installation
        • Boot Camp Partition
        • Windows 7, “Let other Mac users access this virtual machine”, sharing “Home folder only”.  Create.
        • Done.
      • Now I have two new desktop items, for Parallels Virtual Machines (VMs): “My Boot Camp” and “Windows 7”.
        • How come I’ve got two items, not just one?  What are each of them for?
        • Others are similarly confused, e.g.
        • Looks like the answer is at,”If you install Parallels Desktop on a Mac computer with a Boot Camp Windows partition, and Parallels Desktop detects that there are no virtual machines on the computer, it automatically creates a new virtual machine for this Boot Camp partition and places it to the following location: <Username>/Documents/Parallels/My Boot Camp
        • So I need not have created one explicitly.  I guess “Windows 7” is the one I (explicitly) created, “My BootCamp” is the one that Parallels (implicitly) created.  In that case all I need to do is delete the “Windows 7” one.   Did so.
      • Ran the “My Boot Camp” virtual machine for the first time.  It said “Setting up forthe first time – may take some time”.  In that case I regard this as part of the installation process.
        • Got to the login prompt (for Windows 7) and, reasonably enough, required me to log in before it could act further.  Dod do.
          • (It said “Please wait while the virtual machine is being upgraded”, then after several minutes “…was successfully upgraded”)
        • Now I had a Windows login prompt again.  Logged in.
          • The VM runs in Coherence mode by default.
          • (It said “The Windows application folder is being added to the dock” and “To remove the folder, edit the Shared Applications settings in the virtual machine config)
        • Installed Parallels Internet Security (Kapersky AntiVirus etc.)  – it is not installed by default – you have to take action, did so as follows.
          • Select the Parallels VM Launcher (window).  In the Mac (top-screen) menu (when that window is selected), click:
            • Virtual Machine > Install Parallels Internet Security
          • (Took maybe 30 minutes to download)
          • Began installing itself.  As part of this, Windows Firewall was disabled (as indicated by a Windows security message), so I unplugged my router, just in case.
          • At the end of installation, the VM restarted itself (successfully).
          • Following restart, I plugged my router back in and told Kapersky to update.
          • Following Kapersky update, a VM restart was required.  Did so.
          • Did another Kapersky update.  Status: Up-to-date.
        • Ran a full system scan.  Takes quite some time (started 18:08, finished ????).  No issues detected.
        • Windows security messages about “No firewall” and “Parallels Internet Security is on but reporting its status to Windows Security Centre in a format that is no longer supported”.
          • The “no longer supported” message: someone said “I had to uninstall Kaspersky as well as Parallels Tools, and then reinstall Parallels Tools, to fix this problem. That seems to have worked.”
          • I tried simply the VM Launcher option “Reinstall Parallels Tools”, because being simple, it was worth a try.  It restarted the VM.
            • No effect – didn’t fix it.
          • Try following another person’s advice “If Tools are already isntall, you can remove them from (Control Panel > Add/Remove Programs>) Programs & Features list, restart Windows and load them from Virtual Machine menu. “.  Did so.  VM Restart.
        • Configure: Do not backup with Time Machine.  This is very important!
      • x
    5. x

    Desktop access to your remote Mac

    Monday, January 4th, 2010

    1.  Screen Sharing: Drag “Screen Sharing” from /System/Library/CoreServices to the dock.
    2. A few people prefer, shareware but can be evaluated free.
    3. To cope with dynamic IP addresses, use services like DynDNS.  Also, for routers, port-forwarding. []

    But “VNC by default is not all that secure of a protocol and can open you up to attack by someone who is determined to gain access to your system. For this reason you should disable VNC by reversing the above steps when it is not needed” []

    Mac Config – further

    Monday, January 4th, 2010

    Further config items:

    1. Safe-Boot (hold shift-key down when booting)
    2. Create a “Default Everything” account.
    3. Disable bluetooth (is enabled by default) and also disable its Discoverable property.
      • RightClick on the bluetooth icon at Mac’s top-right “system tray”
    4. Which graphic card (GPU) is in use?  According to “About This Mac”, it is the lower-powered  9400M instead of the higher-powered 9600GT (both are NVIDIA GeForce). How do I change it to the higher-powered one?

    Exclude Virtual Machines from Time Machine Backups

    Monday, January 4th, 2010

    Regarding Time Machine and Virtual Machines of Parallels, ensure these VMs are excluded from Time Machine’s source volumes.   That can be done in the Config dialogs of the VMs themselves.

    Parallels 5 hiccups with Kapersky (or v/v?)

    Sunday, January 3rd, 2010

    I was getting a problem where Boot Camp Windows 7,  accessed as a virtual machine under Parallels, failed to recognize that Parallels Internet Security (Kapersky 2009) was fully running.  It was unable to see that the Kapersky Firewall was running and only had limited visibility of the Kapersky AntiVirus.Some advice from a Parallels official was found in the article at the following link: that article it was advised to follow the steps below:

    1. In Virtual Machine uninstall Parallels Internet Security
      • from Add/Remove Program.
    2. Select Uninstall, Complete Uninstall.
    3. Reboot guest OS.
    4. In Virtual Machine uninstall Parallels Tools
      • from Add/Remove Program.
    5. Select Uninstall, Complete Uninstall.
    6. Reboot guest OS.
    7. Install Parallels Tools
      • from Parallels Desktop Menu – Virtual Machine -> Install Parallels Tools.
    8. Install Parallels Internet Security
      • from Parallels Desktop Menu – Virtual Machine -> Install Parallels Internet Security.
    9. Reboot guest OS.

    However when I followed this exactly it resulted in no difference.

    Mac – Time Machine backup volumes (eg straight disks vs. Time Capsule)

    Sunday, January 3rd, 2010

    What’s the best backup strategy when using Time Machine?  Want ease of life and low cost.  Sometimes I have more than one instance of Mac OS on my Mac, e.g. on different hard drives, and these require to be backed-up onto their own unique volumes.   The following represents my best understanding of the matter so far, based on web-trawling and received expert advice, but I am a beginner, still trying to orient myself in the world of Macs.

    1. Time Capsule
      • Acts as network hub with WiFi and own backup volume plus the ability to connect (via USB) to shared printer/USB drive etc.
        • You can for example plug it into your broadband modem or router
      • Can support Time Machine from multiple Macs, provided they are named differently; it automatically creates similarly-named folders for each Mac.
      • It costs about £235 for a 1TB unit.
    2.  Generic network (NAS) drive
      • Where there is already a network in place, this can simply be connected (via Ethernet) to one of its hubs (e.g. a router).
      • To allow for multiple Macs, one would presumably have to manually divide the disk into separate partitions, each of which would serve as a unique backup volume for a single given Mac.  Care needed not to accidentally mix them up / overwrite.
      • Cost is about £100 for a 0.5 to 1TB units(depending on make & supplier)
    3. USBdrive
      • Could be connected directly to USB port on the Mac in question.  Or, could be connected to a network hub with USB ports (making it like a network drive).
      • Regarding multiple Macs, same argument as for network drives?
      • Cost can be as low as £47 for a 0.5TB device.

    Not sure about the multiple Macs sharing a common backup device.   If one had already started using a storage device for a particular set of Macs (maybe only one Mac), then at a later stage required to add support for a further Mac, would this be straightforward?

    1. For a Time Capsule, would one simply point the new machine at it and it would get added automatically?
    2. For a plain (non Time Capsule) disk, would it be possible to add a new partition?   Would that be straightforward or would some special measures be needed e.g. to adapt to the repositioning of blocks that can occur during partitioning?  Presumably it would make no difference if it was a network drive or USB drive (?)

    Some things (I imagine) in favour of a straight USB drive over a Time Capsule:

    1. It can be small (even pocket-sized) and light, hence easily carried to various locations, whereas the Time Capsule appears more intended for being left in a base location, where it can serve as a WiFi router.
    2. Although a Time Capsule will automatically create folders for each uniquely-named Mac, what happens if it encounters two Macs of the same name, i.e. could one of them corrupt the other one’s existing backup data?


    1. Can a Time Machine backup volume itself be backed up (or cloned) ?
    2. When a Time Machine backup volume gets full, the oldest backups are deleted.  Is there a way to keep certain “milestone” backups as permanent?  For example the machine’s initial clean installation or, just after this, when updated and user-configured.

    Mac (Snow Leopard) setup – in practice

    Sunday, January 3rd, 2010

    This is what I have actually done so far:

    1. Backed-up via Time Machine to a low-cost (£60) USB-powered 0.5TB hard drive that will be carried around with the laptop (can that drive be backed-up itself?)
      • Turned off Time Machine (auto-backups) afterwards.
    2. Updated everything
      • Several system restarts required, and re-ran the Update function until no more updates available.
    3. Backed-up again viaTime Machine.

    Next I intend to set it up for BootCamp-Windows7, because I guess this is best done while my Mac OS system footprint is still small (so it won’t spend ages repositioning blocks of my (to-be) installed Mac apps when the disk gets repartitioned for BootCamp).

    Mac (Snow Leopard) setup thoughts

    Saturday, January 2nd, 2010

    Want to establish an organized plan and checklist for setup from scratch, whenever it’s required.  Here’s an initial stab at a Checklist:

    1. First-use basic config (enable internet access but don’t browse or update or download anything)
    2. Back-up (Time Machine, requires exclusive use of a volume unless using TimeCapsule (or does that create multiple (machine-specific) volumes as partitions?)
      • Ideally would like to backup this and other stages permamently, but TimeMachine backups can get overwritten and need to install other apps to backup from OSX.  Maybe a linux LiveCD block-copy (to a linux rather than Mac formatted disk, but that doesn’t matter)?  )
      • Time Machine backup failures can occur but sometimes just a retry works
      • Time Capsule
        • Time Capsule includes a wireless 1TB or 2TB hard drive1 designed to work with Time Machine in Mac OS X Leopard and Snow Leopard.
        • It can back up and store files for each Leopard– and Snow Leopard-based Mac on your wireless network.
          • Does that mean it can act as common (shared) backup medium for more than one Time Machine (on more than one Mac or Mac instance)
        • It can act as a Wifi and USB-connected resource (e.g. printer or hard disk) sharing node, where it prefers to be the main node (not a client), e.g. connected (Ethernet) to an ADSL model.
      • For more information about Time Machine, choose Help > Mac Help from the Finder
        menu on a computer using Mac OS X Leopard, and then type Time Machine in the
        search field.
    3. Set up a “Default Everything” account (admin) – useful if get into trouble later
    4. Drivers (No need for printer driver – see below – but what about graphic card drivers?)
    5. Update (check what’s compatible with FCP etc. at this time?)
    6. Further configs of user account (e.g. side-oriented dock).
    7. Utils (some from :
      • QuickSilver
      • iPartition
      • CarbonCopyCloner / SuperDuper (for cloning or backing-up (as stanalone image) the Mac OS system disk)
      • WinClone (for backing-up images of BootCamp-Windows partitions)
      • VideoSpec
      • A cross-platform file-sync & backup util
      • A remote-access & mgt util.
      • Parallels
      • AppDelete ?
      • GoogleNotifier (indicates when new GMail received)
      • Handbrake (DVD ripper ?)
      • BitTorrent (eg Transmission (tips at or some people consider uTorrent easier)
    8. Generic Apps
      • FireFox etc.
      • An “Explorer-like” alternative to Finder
      • An Office Suite (probably NeoOffice – is a Mac-specific fork of OpenOffice, though how compatible is it eg interchanging “.odt” files with it?)
      • Skype
      • Twitter (
      • ScreenFlow? KeyNote?
    9. Specific Apps
    10. FCP enhancements
      • FCP Versioner
        • Automatically creates a backup every time you save your Final Cut Pro project
        • Each backup has a changelog listing exactly what changed between revisions
        • Backups are in XML format which has durability and compatibility advantages over FCP project files
        • Flexible backup management options to fully customize how older backups are purged
        • Autosaves your project file at specified intervals.
        • x
    11. x

    Mac Ease-of-Use Util: QuickSilver

    Saturday, January 2nd, 2010

    Some people rave about this free util.  It replicates some Spotlight functionality but is more advanced.

    Setup/config tweaks are non-obvious, so it is worth checking out the following tutorial:

    To obtain it: