Archive for January, 2010

SxS Card Driver for Mac OS X “Snow Leopard” 10.6

Thursday, January 28th, 2010

In a post at Matt Davis links to Sony’s page offering the latest SxS driver which is compatible with Snow Leopard.  Also he points out is bugs/features, irritating rather than show-stopping.   There is also a driver for Windows, I’ll try it under Boot Camp.

The following has a FAQ about it:

WMV from FCP

Tuesday, January 26th, 2010

To export from Final Cut to WMV, this can’t be done natively, you need to install a third-party app such as flip4mac (“Studio” or greater).

“When you do install something like flip4mac you will be able to export from FCP using quicktime conversion and choose the options for WMV” or can export a QuickTime (self-contained) and use a separate app (incl. QT Pro) to convert it [;id=61821;n=0]

The Eye Diagram in digital broadcasting & communications test-gear

Friday, January 22nd, 2010

 What is an “Eye” in the sense of an “Eye Diagram” in the digital broadcast world?  I saw an advert mentioning one in TV-Bay magazine.

    • The eye diagram provides a powerful visualization tool to interpret the behavior of the received waveform regardless of the pulse shape.
    • The eye diagram reveals important performance metrics for a communication link, including noise margin, ISI, timing sensitivity, and zero-crossing jitter. In addition, the eye diagram shows the optimum sampling time for the receiver to regenerate a bitstream from the received signaling waveform.
  • From my interpretation of a figure in the article at the above link:
    • The vertical size of the eye’s “iris ” is noise margin (amplitude), the horizontal size of the “iris” is timing error sensitivity.

Excel, ODBC Query, PHP, XML

Wednesday, January 20th, 2010

Excel, ODBC Query, PHP, XML 


YouSendIt from Final Cut (file export plugin)

Tuesday, January 19th, 2010

  •  Convenient file sending right from Final Cut Pro!
  • 25% faster uploads than the Web application
  • Add additional files and folders of any kind to the same upload batch
  • Resumable upload- handles network interruptions
  • Includes all standard YSI features like password protection, certified delivery, and file expiration control
  • Convenient drag-and-drop and right-click sending options
  • You must be a registered user to download and use this plug-in.

(Discovered via forum at

FCP AddOns: Versioner & Maintenance Pack (fromDigital Rebellion)

Sunday, January 10th, 2010

 Utilities for FCP from DigitalRebellion, found them serendipitously while googlingfor other stuff, bear them in mind.   In any case wait for any new versions for FCP7 and Snow Leopard).

    • FCP Maintenance Pack
      • Detects bad things (projects, plugins or footage) that may crash or confuse FCP.
      • Interprets FCP crash logs to suggest the probable real-world cause/fix.
    • FCP Versioner
      • Automatically saves projects (in XML) as different versions (as opposed to just overwriting each save)
      • Each version has a change-log, listing exactly what changed.
        • (e.g. “New filter added: Time Remap”)

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

Saturday, January 9th, 2010


Avid tutorials etc – nice

Friday, January 8th, 2010

FCP – Great set of free (TipWare) tutorials

Friday, January 8th, 2010

This guy, AppleShakeguru, is knowledgable not only in the tools & features but also the practicalities.  His style is to first walk thru at pedestrian pace, sometimes fumbling (as any new user might), so the details can come out.  Then he runs thru afterwards, so it all clicks together.

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

FCP7 Dialog Audio Levels matching

Thursday, January 7th, 2010

“The feature that elicited the most “OMGs” in the room was a new dialogue level matching option. Allows you to quickly, automatically, intelligently match levels on separate snippets of dialogue, without increasing the levels of noise or non-dialogue sound sources. You can save levels and use them as standards in future projects. This saves a TON of time on a frequent issue that crops up for low-budget web productions that can’t afford to hire sound guys for every field shoot. This was a big deal for a lot of us.”


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

Post FCS3 install – Apple Software Update

Thursday, January 7th, 2010

After having installed FCS3 (feat.FCS7) and its XDCAM Transfer plugin, I did an Apple Software Update.  As expected, this detected an available update for “Pro Applications”.  Among those updates listed was one for Soundtrack Pro, described as “Fixes issue with installer”.  What does that mean?  I already installed it.  Should I uninstall and reinstall it ?  I’ll do nothing until I find out for sure.

After that update , there were no further updates.

Add the XDCAM Transfer plugin to Final Cut

Thursday, January 7th, 2010

The XDCAM Transfer plugin allows FCP to easily ingest footage in the format generated by XDCAM-EX cameras such as the EX3.   Unlike FCP6, where it was also advised to load a “FAM Driver” (as a separate plugin), this is not appropriate for FCP7 (explained below)

From the ReadMe phase of the ‘Install XDCAM Transfer’ installer dialog:

XDCAM FAM driver and tool.
Mount Professional Discs in XDCAM devices connected by FAM (i.LINK) in the Finder.
Note: The XDCAM FAM driver and tool are not compatible with Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard and are not installed.
•    XDCAM Transfer main application.
Preview clips from XDCAM and import your selected material as QuickTime movies. XDCAM Transfer supports the PDW-U1 XDCAM Drive unit and Professional Memory Cards recorded with the PMW-EX1 camcorder.
•    Sony XDCAM Import and Export plug-ins for Final Cut Pro.
Initiate transfers from XDCAM directly into a Final Cut Pro project and render your Final Cut Pro sequence directly onto a connected XDCAM disc.
•    Final Cut Pro XDCAM presets.
Configure your sequence and export settings to be compatible with XDCAM. The XDCAM HD422 presets replace those installed by Final Cut Pro 6.0.3.
•    XDCAM Transfer User Guide.
Found in the Documentation folder of this disk image and also available from the Help menu of the XDCAM Transfer application after installing the software.

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]

Install / transfer Microsoft Office to another machine

Wednesday, January 6th, 2010

I have Microsoft Office 2007 installed on one of my computers (“the old laptop”) and want to put it on another one (“the new laptop”).  But is there any restriction involving Activation etc.?

  • At the link below, someone else with the same uncertainty verbalises my uncertainties clearly “Will “uninstalling” Office 2007 in that machine, send a signal via the internet that I’m uninstalling it? Or should I take note of any particular machine ID of the one I’m replacing it so I can “tell” the system which one to de-activate?”

There are great clear anwers to this at

  • “Microsoft Office Home and Student 2007 can be installed on 3 computer at a single point of time. Other office suite 2007 can be installed on 2 computer. Information can be found in the jewel case.”
  • “There is no process of de-activating an office product. Uninstalling does not de-activate the product. Install the product on the computer and activate.”
  • “REASSIGN TO ANOTHER DEVICE.  You may reassign the license to a different device any number of times, but not more than one time every 90 days.  If you reassign, that other device becomes the “licensed device.”  If you retire the licensed device due to hardware failure, you may reassign the license sooner.”
  • “…there’s a lot of slack in the activation logic, so you’re unlikely to have a problem, but in case you do, you can do a phone activation, which Microsoft says is painless and will only take 5 minutes.”

So all I have to do is go ahead and install it on the new machine then!

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).

Avid (MC4) Mix & Match (of formats on timeline, no need to render)

Saturday, January 2nd, 2010
  • The mix&match feature of the Avid (e.g. MC4) assumes bringing in footage in corresponding projects. After that, you can instantly access that footage from any other project (or project type), and playback in real-time
    • Your sequence setting is what you tell it.  1080i, 720p, 525i…whathaveyou.  And whatever clip you add to that that ISN’T that format, gets scaled to that format…using a filter called a MOTION ADAPTER.  This add interpolation to match the sequence settings, and this is added automatically when you add new footage that doesn’t match.  And there are all sorts of interpolation modes…these are all user selectable.  AND you can change your sequence settings to match something else later.
    • If you want the interpolation to better then you can “promote” the motion adapter to a full blown TIME WARP (that has been there for many years) and the footage will benefit more.
    • Works in software-only (no Mojo required) and takes advantage of multi-core (e.g. 8 core)
    • Avid’s ‘open timeline’ implementation is much better than FCP’s.  Avid MC automatically adds a plugin that is designed to do this upscale in very smart ways. It isn’t just scaling it and then repeating a frame.
    • The editor does need to have certain “switches “ turned on to see the highest quality output, such as: -Full Quality 10bit output, -HQ RT Scaling Decoder, -Advanced Polyphase image interpolation.
  • For example: “you will have to import NTSC clips in an NTSC project and 720p60 clips in a 720p60 project. If you try to import 720p60 files into a 30i project, you will be downconverting upon import, which is not as nice, and will not be able to handle certain metadata correctly”

Cloud Computing and Amazon’s EC2 Service

Saturday, January 2nd, 2010

Amazon lets a system admin type person rent time/space/bandwidth on Amazon’s Cloud Computing network, “Elastic Compute Cloud”, EC2 (which also sounds like “Easy-To”).  It costs e.g. about 10 cents per hour (depending on selected level of service).

  • Maybe useful for CGI generation?

Setup is fiddly, but this tutorial explains how to do it from command-line, including some pragmatic tips:

Here’s an easier way, via web-based GUI:

Generic intro to Cloud Computing:

Ringed Planet in Boris RED

Saturday, January 2nd, 2010

Problems when I first tried it (ultimately I just adapted a pre-built project by a much more experienced user):

  • Wrap % only goes to 100%, can’t use that to stretch a strip to repeat itself twice – is there another way to do that?
  • Tried specifying a bitmap to go round the sphere.   File “world.topo.200407.3x21600x10800.jpg”.  Image size is 21600×10800.  Fails: image too large.
  • Using separate graphical editor (Gimp 2), scale the image to width 4096 (height locked by aspect ratio is 2048)
  • Boris now accepts it but scales-up the sphere to accomodate the image rather than scale-down the image to match the existing sphere size.  So it now fills the screen…
  • Enter X-scale 40 (Y and Z are linked to this).  Sphere now looks good match in size to the belt.

Free tutorials for FCP and for Boris

Saturday, January 2nd, 2010

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: