Mavericks issue solved

A while back I posted I was having issues with Mavericks. I am happy to say that these are now resolved. The solution that finally resolved the remaining issues left unresolved by updates to Mavericks was to remove two hard drives from my Mac Pro. I had hoped that the two hard drives in question, which were somewhat long in the tooth would be suitable for using with Parallels for the Windows side of things. Alas, it was not to be. For whatever reason they were causing problems with the Mac side of things and had to go. Since I took them out things have vastly improved. Maybe it was because they were formatted as NTFS as I wanted to use them as backup for data on the Windows side of things. Maybe it was an issue with Paragon’s NTFS for Mac. Who really knows? Certainly, as the actual need for them was minimal I decided it was simpler to remove them. Now my Mac boots up in 10 seconds and all apps run without trouble (most of the time)!

So I guess the moral of this story is, if you are going to add extra drives to the bays of your Mac Pro (pre-2013 version that is) it’s probably best to install brand-new ones. In the meantime, I wish all my readers a very Happy New Year!

Parallels Desktop for Mac

Parallels Desktop for Mac (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Life without a Mac

Apple iMacLife without a Mac – not something I anticipated any time in the past. However, when my daughter started sixth form I decided to donate my lovely MacBook Pro to her as my previous donation was now on its last legs. So, I got a new one for myself to replace it – well actually, no. I decided that as my iPhone 4S works really well as a substitute for carrying around a somewhat bulky laptop that instead this time I would get another iMac.

Dilemma – new iMacs were in the wings so I didn’t want to buy one and then find myself frustrated that Apple had just brought out a new line. So, here I am having spend the last couple of months using a PC laptop for my day job and my iPhone as a replacement for my Mac laptop.

So, how has it been? Well, surprisingly (to me certainly) I have not really missed my MacBook Pro as much as I thought I would. I am writing this post on a PC laptop, which though its nowhere as pleasant to use it does suffice for most tasks and certainly copes with writing documents for work, emails and blog posts etc. Of course, browsing the web these days is pretty much the same what OS you use.

I am using Windows 7 and its an improvement on XP but only just. I doubt I will upgrade the PC to Windows 8 anytime soon though. iOS 6 works great on my iPhone and I can do much of what I need to do day to day on it when out and about.The rest of the time I use the PC laptop. In fact, the only time I use my (daughter’s) MacBook Pro is to open documents that I haven’t copied to my Dropbox folder or the odd program that does something none of my PC ones can do.

I guess all this goes to prove how close the two operating environments are these days and that’s a good thing. Both can provide what is needed for most tasks you would need to do in everyday situations. However, I am hooked on the Apple way fo doing things and I love the reliability and sheer design perfection of Macs so I can’t wait to get a shiny new 27-inch iMac. All I need to do is find a way of financing it!


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!

Wi-Fi Issues with Lion


If you happen to use the hField Wi-Fire Long Range Wi-Fi Adapter and use Leopard on your Mac, whatever you do, don’t upgrade to Lion, just yet. The problem is that once you upgrade to Lion your Wi-Fire will no longer work.

This is a real pain and according to hField, Apple have yet to help them fix the problem. Seems its something to do with the 64 bit kernel in Lion. Apparently the instructions Apple have issued to developers for updating their apps for Lion don’t seem to work, at least as far as the Wi-Fire is concerned.

Now, as some of you know, I am the Official UK Reseller of the Wi-Fire, and so this is something of a blow, both in terms of its impact on would-be customers who sue Lion and those thinking of upgrading. It also affect existing customers who have upgraded to Lion only to find they can no longer use their Wi-Fire. Now, you may be asking, why don’t they just use Airport? Well, usually customers purchase the Wi-Fire because they can’t get a decent and reliable signal using Airport or other external adapters. So, reverting to using their built-in card or another brand of external adapter isn’t an option in most cases.

Of course, wishing to everything possible to help my customers I have searched high and low for a solution. As yet, I haven’t found one and Apple certainly don’t seem interested. hField are waiting on Apple, whilst Apple seem to be taking their time to respond.

In the meantime, the only viable solution is to either downgrade to Leopard or Snow Leopard. Rather than uninstalling Lion my advice is to use VirtualBox to run Snow Leopard alongside Lion in a virtualisation set-up.

Download VirtualBox for free here:

Follow walk-through here:

Steve Jobs & Apple – personal reflections

The Macintosh Classic, Apple's early 1990s bud...

Image via Wikipedia

I have been a Mac user since 1992 (though I didn’t own one until 1995 – I was an Amiga owner, an A500). It was whilst working at Oasis Trust that I first fell in love with them, We had several Macs as they allowed us to do our own DTP. That was the real ‘killer app’ that helped the Mac become established in the creative industry. With a basic Mac equipped with Aldus Pagemaker and a LaserWriter it was possible to produce our own publicity in-house. The colour separations would be sent off to the printers for the final printing. We used the Apple Macintosh Plus and eventually acquired some Classic, LC, II, Quadra, Performa, and Centris models as money allowed.

We had an in-house graphic designer but the nature of the charity world is that everyone wears several hats. Although I was responsible for setting up a health project for individuals affected by homelessness, I was responsible for a lot of the design work as Erol, our graphics designer was kept busy on lots of other stuff.

My very own first Mac was actually a clone, at least initially. It was made by Power Computing. However, it failed to work properly, and after much correspondence it was replaced with a genuine Mac, a  PowerMC 7600/120. It still works too, amazing after nearly 16 years! Here a list of its features:


High performance
  • 120-MHz PowerPC 604 processor, user-upgradable to faster processor when available (up to 200 MHz)
  • Built-in floating-point processor and 32K cache
  • 256K level 2 cache
  • Built in graphic acceleration
Communications and multimedia
  • 64-bit VRAM graphics subsystem
  • Two high-speed serial ports compatible with GeoPort and LocalTalk cables
  • Quadruple-speed CD-ROM drive
  • 16-bit stereo audio input and output
  • 24-bit composite and S-video input
  • Support for speech-recognition and text-to-speech capabilities
  • Optimized for QuickTime Conferencing software
  • Three industry-standard PCI expansion slots
  • SCSI connector for hard disks, CD-ROM drives, and other SCSI devices
  • Internal expansion bay for additional hard disk drive
  • Includes 10BASE-T and AAUI Ethernet connectors
  • Supports Open Transport networking software (TCP/IP and AppleTalk)
  • Runs most 680×0 Macintosh applications as well as applications accelerated for Power Macintosh computers
  • Reads Mac OS, Windows, MS-DOS, OS/2, and ProDOS floppy disk formats
  • Runs MS-DOS and Windows applications via optional PC Compatibility Cards
  • Comes with all of the software required for Internet access
System 7.5 software
  • Makes working with different applications consistent, so they’re easier to learn and use
  • Allows easy customization of your Macintosh to reflect the way you work
  • Provides active assistance in learning new features with Apple Guide

Technical Specifications

Upgradable microprocessor
  • PowerPC 604 microprocessor running at 120 MHz, upgradable to a higher-speed processor when available (up to 200 MHz)
  • Integrated floating-point unit and 32K cache
  • High-speed system bus (up to 50 MHz)
  • 16MB of RAM, expandable to 512MB via 8 DIMM sockets
  • 4MB of ROM
  • 256K level 2 cache
Disk drives
  • Internal 1.2GB SCSI hard disk
  • Internal Apple SuperDrivefloppy disk drive
    • Accepts high-density 1.4MB disks and 800K disks
    • Reads, writes, and formats Macintosh, Windows, MS-DOS, OS/2, and ProDOS disks
  • Internal AppleCD 600i quadruple-speed CD-ROM drive
  • Expansion bay for additional 3.5-inch hard disk
  • Three PCI expansion slots compatible with PCI 2.0-compliant cards
  • Two high-speed DMA serial (RS-232/RS-422) ports compatible with LocalTalk and GeoPort cables
  • 10BASE-T and AAUI-15 Ethernet connectors; optional PC Compatibility Cards provide multinode support for simultaneous network connections
  • Internal Fast SCSI bus (up to 10MB/s)
  • External SCSI bus (up to 5MB/s)
  • Apple Desktop Bus (ADB) expansion port
  • RCA phono jacks for line-level stereo audio input and output
  • Mini jacks for stereo audio input and output
  • All sound ports support 16-bit audio and up to 44.1-kHz sampling rate
  • DB-15 connector for monitor
  • Composite connectors (RCA phono jacks) for composite video input
  • S-video input connector
  • Internal digital audio/video (DAV) connector for video compression/decompression cards 24-bit video input
  • Real-time video playthrough of up to 640 by 480 pixels with NTSC; 768 by 576 pixels with PAL and SECAM
  • Up to 320- by 240-pixel capture up to 15 frames per second with NTSC
  • Maximum capture size of 640 by 480 pixels with NTSC
Graphics support
  • 2MB of VRAM, expandable to 4MB
  • Fast 64-bit data path to VRAM
  • Support for display resolutions of up to 1,280 by 1,024 pixels
  • 24-bit color up to 1,152- by 870-pixel resolution
  • Refresh rate of up to 75 Hz
GeoPort telephony *
  • 14.4-Kbit/s modem support
  • V.17 fax support
  • GeoPort Fax and GeoPort Telephony software included
  • Speakerphone and answering-machine capability
  • Custom integrated circuit with long-life battery
Keyboard and mouse
  • Supports ADB keyboards with numeric keypads
  • Comes with an ADB Mouse II
Electrical requirements and compliance
  • Line voltage: 100 to 240 V AC, RMS single phase
  • Frequency: 50 to 60 Hz, single phase
  • Power: 150 W maximum, not including display
ADB power requirements
  • Maximum current draw for all devices: 500 mA (a maximum of three ADB devices is recommended)
  • Mouse draws 10 mA
  • Keyboard draws 25 to 80 mA (varies with keyboard used)
Size and weight
  • Height: 6.15 in. (15.6 cm)
  • Width: 14.37 in. (36.5 cm)
  • Depth: 16.93 in. (43.0 cm)
  • Weight: 22 lb. (9.97 kg)
Environmental requirements
  • Operating temperature: 50° to 104° F (10° to 40° C)
  • Storage temperature: -40° to 116° F (-40° to 47° C)
  • Relative humidity: 5% to 95% noncondensing
  • Maximum altitude: 10,000 ft. (3,048 m)

Cutting edge for its day!  It helped me with getting familiar with the internet (very basic then indeed!) and I used it to help me with all sorts of things, from learning about databases (FileMaker) to writing fundraising proposals.

For me, the Mac was so much easier to get along with than the PC and Windows was a veritable dog’s dinner by comparison. Windows 3.11  and Windows 95 were inferior to System 7 (IMHO) and the Mac was also much more stable, with hardly any crashes or system freezes, compared to the almost daily (often several times a day) BSOD crashes.

Steve Jobs and the team at Apple certainly did a great job of providing a greats et of tools and the combination of hardware and software was unbeatable. Even when Apple was in the doldrums and Steve Jobs had been forced out, the actual hardware and software was great. yes, it had its problems but so did Windows and Microsoft just didn’t seem to ‘get it’ when it came to usability and providing elegant solutions to the end-users needs. That’s why it never made great inroads into the creative and education sectors.

I have never regretted my decision to stick with Apple all these years. Even though I have bought PCs (even built a few) I have never been without a Mac. As well as the Power Computing clone, my PowerPC 7600/120 I have also owned a G3, a G4, an iMac (with he swivel screen – beautiful), the original 15-inch MacBook Pro and now a MacBook Pro unibody model (2.26 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo). I have Win XP installed on my Mac (under Parallels) but hardly ever use it as I can do 99.9% of everything I need to do on my Mac.

So, finally, I just want to finish by saying that I am very grateful to Steve Jobs and everyone at Apple for all my Mac, the software and for making it possible to do so many things with them that would have otherwise been all but impossible.

Steve Jobs has died – sad news indeed

It has been confirmed that Steve Jobs has passed away. he will be sadly missed and my heartfelt thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends, as well as everyone at Apple. A sad day indeed.

My thoughts and emotions are too raw at this moment. I will post something in more detail later.

Today’s the day!

Image representing Tim Cook as depicted in Cru...

Image via CrunchBase

Today is the day that most, if not all, of Apple fans have been waiting for. What will it bring and what impact will announcements have on the mobile industry? One certainty today is that everyone’s eyes will be on Tim Cook, as he takes centre stage in place of Steve Jobs. It seems somewhat weird to be thinking of an event like this not being led centre-stage by Steve Jobs. As Apple’s new CEO, the role now falls to Tim Cook to amaze the audience and wow us with the new iPhone and its features. Is he up to the job (no pun intended there)? Well, its safe to say that if Steve didn’t think he was then he wouldn’t be doing it.

We often focus on the performance of executives like Steve Jobs and Tim Cook in terms of their stage performance, delivering new product to the public but in fact what has made Apple so successful has been Steve Jobs performance behind the scenes, in making Apple successful at not just design but marketing, logistics and economies of scale. What’s important for Tim Cook and ultimately Apple is not so much what happens today on stage but what has been happening in the months leading up to today’s event and what will happen in the months to come. Apple has made mistakes in the past in meeting demand for its products and what it needs to do in the run-up to the all-important Christmas season is to make sure that it gets iPhones into the hands of eager consumers.

It would be good too to avoid any repeat of the so-called ‘Antennagate‘ issue over the iPhone’s poor reception when held in a certain way, the so-called ‘grip of death’. If the new iPhone(s) perform well and Apple can ship sufficient quantities then however well (or not) Tim Cook does on stage won’t matter so much. Apple will continue to buck the market and continue to dominate the mobile device market. Yes, we will miss Steve (and no, I don’t expect hm to appear in person on stage) but Apple has out-grown personalities (well, the personality of one man) and we are all grateful to him for him rescuing our beloved Apple.

Whatever we know at the end of today in terms of how many iPhones there are to be, what their specifications are and what we will have to pay to get our hands on one, one thing is sure, there is a new kid in town and he is his own man.