Something weird is happening with my Mac!


Sometimes one finds oneself starting to believe in conspiracy theories. Just lately my Mac has been doing strange things and I find myself starting to wonder if there is something suspicious going on. I mean, these weird things started happening just after Mountain Lion was released. Now I am still using Lion as I always wait for others to discover the bugs as I can’t afford to have things go wrong in a major way.

The weird things include Preview screwing things up when I try to convert an image. For example, I have just bought a Samsung NX11 and as I prefer to shoot RAW and convert later to jpg after getting the max out of my images, I have been using Preview to convert my Samsung RAW images to Tiffs. This works but not every time. Also, when opening the image as a Tiff and then saving out as a JPEG, for example, it totally screws the image content up so its unusable. here are two examples of images screwed up by Preview:

Mono image screwed up by Preview

Another Preview disaster!

As you can see these images are totally screwed up! However, mn (ore than half of the images I worked on in this way were ok so I am not sure what is going on. I am tempted to start believing Apple is messing with me in an effort to get me to upgrade to Mountain Lion. I know this sounds crazy but other weird stuff ahs been happening and all of it only since Mountain Lion became available. Make of it what you will. For the time being I have given up on Preview for editing. Instead I am using Pixelmator or even my PC!

The other big issue I have is with Mail. Recently it started crashing badly and since Mountain Lion became available it has got unusable. Despite the usual troubleshooting (deleting preference files and using Applejack to do a deep clean of my system files) nothing seems to work. I have now given up and use Gmail in Chrome or Firefox to read me mail or use my iPhone, which is more convenient to be honest. Apple has neglected Mail so much in recent years I suspect they intend to kill it off soon once iCloud is finished taking over the world!

Mountain Lion Roars!


Mountain Lion (OS X 10.8)

Apple has announced details of Mountain Lion (OS X 10.8), with Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing saying that “The Mac is on a roll, growing faster than the PC for 23 straight quarters, and with Mountain Lion things get even better.”

The developer preview of Mountain Lion has just been released to developers and has over 100 new features, including many brought from the iPad and iOS mobile operating system, according to Apple.

These features include:

  1. iCloud – In OS X Mountain Lion, sign in once with your Apple ID and iCloud is automatically set up across your Mac.
  2. Messages – Messages does everything iChat does, and so much more. For starters, it comes with iMessage. And just like iMessage in iOS, it lets you send unlimited messages to anyone on a Mac or an iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch running iOS 5.
  3. Reminders – Make as many lists as you need and easily add to them. Set due dates and you’ll get alerts as deadlines approach. Check items off your lists as you go and keep track of what you’ve completed. And to be sure you don’t forget anything, iCloud keeps your reminders up to date on your Mac, iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch.
  4. Notes – Notes in OS X Mountain Lion is designed for whatever’s on your mind. Think it up. Jot it down. Make it even more noteworthy with photos, images, and attachments. You can add, delete, and flip through your notes or do a quick search. Use the Share button to send your notes to friends or colleagues with Mail or Messages. Pin important notes to your desktop so they’re easy to get to. And take them with you everywhere. Notes works with iCloud, so when you create or edit a note on your Mac, it automatically updates on your iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch.
  5. Notification Center  – Notification banners appear on your desktop and disappear quickly so they don’t interrupt what you’re doing. Swipe to the left, and you’ll see all your notifications in a simple, ordered list. So you’ll always know what’s up as soon as it comes up.
  6. Share Sheets – You’ll find the Share button in many OS X Mountain Lion apps. It’s the new, easy way to spread the word — links, photos, and videos, too. Send links from Safari. Send your notes via Mail and Messages. Post photos to Flickr. Send videos to Vimeo. And tweet just about anything.
  7. Twitter – Tweet links and photos directly from Safari, iPhoto, or Photo Booth with the new Tweet Sheet. Tweet comments and add locations. And when someone mentions you in a tweet or sends you a direct message, you’ll get a Twitter notification right then and there.
  8. Game Center – Friends will find you fast, and you’ll track them down easily. Get a multiplayer game started or go up against people you don’t know. Check out leader-boards and see how your high score ranks against opponents’ scores around the world. And discover new games based on the ones you and your friends already play.
  9. AirPlay Mirroring – With AirPlay Mirroring, you can stream what’s on your Mac to your HDTV via Apple TV. Show web pages and videos to friends on the couch. Share lessons with a classroom. Present to a conference room. It’s a big deal for your Mac. And for everyone around it.
  10. Gatekeeper – Gatekeeper in OS X Mountain Lion makes the Mac safer than ever. It helps prevent you from unknowingly downloading and installing malicious software. And it gives you control over which applications to download and run on your Mac.

There is a Beta of Messages available for download from the Apple site but when I tried there was a message stating that due to some issues with the application that downloads were suspended for the time being. No information was given as to the actual problem so I guess we will have to wait and see what happens.

As to when we can expect to get our hands on Mountain Lion, we are looking at late summer this year. Price TBC.

Lion bug in Mail


Lately, since upgrading to Lion, I have been experiencing a weird bug affecting Mail. I had hoped that the latest update from Apple would eradicate it but no such luck.

Basically, one of my Smart Mailboxes has started behaving oddly. It’s name keeps getting changed (see image below) to say that the Mailbox does not exist. After opening and closing Mail the name get even longer with another iteration of the message that the Mailbox doesn’t exist… except it clearly does and it functions normally, apart from the renaming bug!

Mail bug under LionAs you can see, Mail has added the text “Mailbox “CableToGo” does not exist” to the folder name and then repeated this each time the application has been opened. Although the mailbox functions normally its an irritating bug, especially as the name get longer each time I open Mail!

New build of Lion Developer released by Apple


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Image by Gory ^ via Flickr

Apple’s latest build release of Mac OS X Lion doesn’t increment the 10.7.2 version number but does bump the build number from 11C26 to 11C37. In Apple’s build system, the first number relates to the reference release of Mac OS X (11 means Lion) and the letter refers to the minor release (C = x.2), with the final number referring to the build within that release.

For those who eagled eye amongst you, you may be asking why the jump from 26 to 37 in its developer releases? well. Apple creates some builds that it never releases publicly, (in this case builds 27 to 36).

This latest build includes developments of iCloud, as Apple moves closer to the full release of iCloud and also iOS 5.

Weird problems in iPhoto under Lion


The latest issue I am having with Lion is that iPhoto now seems to be screwed up. It loads ok and you can do some editing but some functions don’t work anymore. So far I have found problems with cropping and also with the neutral balance eyedropper tool.

Here, in the first screenshot, you can see I am trying to crop an image:

Cropping bug in iPhoto under Lion

As you can see in the bottom left hand corner, the mouse pointer is a hand. However, it doesn’t do anything so I can’t adjust the size of the crop. Even if I choose the ‘custom’ setting in the size dialogue (to right of the ‘Constrain:’ label) it doesn’t work. In essence, you are stuck with the size options given and can’t selectively crop as previously under Snow Leopard.

The second issue is that the eyedropper tool in the ‘Adjust’ toolbox doesn’t work either. You get a hand cursor and you can’t do anything with it. However you try to click on a part of the image, nothing happens.

Eyedropper tool issue in iPhoto under Lion

I have started a thread on Apple Communities here: iPhoto has issues since upgrade to Lion if you want to contribute to the discussion or suggest solutions.

UPDATE:

Thanks to Terence Devlin, the answer was soon apparent:

Try trash the com.apple.iPhoto.plist file from the HD/Users/ Your Name / library / preferences folder.

(On 10.7: Hold the option (or alt) key while clicking on the Go menu in Finder to access the User Library)

(Remember you’ll need to reset your User options afterwards. These include minor settings like the window colour and so on. Note: If you’ve moved your library you’ll need to point iPhoto at it again.)

What’s the plist file?

For new users: Every application on your Mac has an accompanying plist file. It records certain User choices. For instance, in your favourite Word Processor it remembers your choice of Default Font, on your Web Browser is remembers things like your choice of Home Page. It even recalls what windows you had open last if your app allows you to pick up from where you left off last. The iPhoto plist file remembers things like the location of the Library, your choice of background colour, whether you are running a Referenced or Managed Library, what preferences you have for autosplitting events and so on. Trashing the plist file forces the app to generate a new one on the next launch, and this restores things to the Factory Defaults. Hence, if you’ve changed any of these things you’ll need to reset them. If you haven’t, then no bother. Trashing the plist file is Mac troubleshooting 101.

Thanks mate!

Weird network connection problem


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Image by Gory ^ via Flickr

After a great start to life with Lion, I hit a problem. After booting up today I found I couldn’t connect to the internet. What was weird, I couldn’t connect to my router either. Now at first I thought it was an issue with my ISP but no. I could connect with my daughter’s MacBook Pro but not mine. Hers was running Tiger, mine Lion.

Also, neither Wi-Fi or Ethernet worked. However, using a PC on the same connection I had no problems. After trying the usual stuff (resetting network settings, fixing permissions and disk using various utilities) I still drew a blank, so using my PC I checked on Google and came up with some solutions, most of which didn’t work (starting and stopping Wi-Fi, switching router on and off etc). One that looked promising (it had worked for some) was to delete Avast for Mac. Didn’t work for me.

In the end this tip did work:
I had the same problem. Only Google Chrome worked. I’ve restored the default settings by renaming the /Library/Preferences/SystemConfiguration/preferences.plist to

/Library/Preferences/SystemConfiguration/preferences.plist.old That solved the problem.

After re-entering DNS settings etc and then rebooting everything was fine. Weird experience and still not sure what went wrong. Hopefully Apple is on to it and has a fix to stop it reoccurring.

The full thread can be found here: https://discussions.apple.com/message/15670104#15670104