Sunday, November 21, 2010

OS X Finder freezes when browsing folder with TIFF files

Problem been reported that finder stop responding when trying to list folder with big TIFF files. Requires relaunch finder to browse correctly till next folder. Very annoying especialy when you copying at the same time and restarting finder stop all finder operations (copying,moving etc).
Seen on Mac Pro (mid 2010) and some latest iMacs.

Symptoms: When you opening folder with .tiff files in Icon view (in other view modes seems works fine) finder shows few preview icons and only placeholders of other previews and stop responding. If you look on activity monitor you will see CPU at 100%! You can wait endlessly at it will not start responding until relaunch.

Reinstalling system doesn't solve the problem. If connect disk to another computer it browse same folder fine. Disk check also not show any problems in filesystem. Problem is in hardware to be more concrete - CPU. As I discovered its Hyper Threading related bug. Seem that Snow Leopard`s finder use algorithm that treats HT incorrectly to render tiff previews. So we need just to disable Hyper threading.

Solution: I searched for CPU control utility for Mac OS and found only X-code processor panel. You need to install X-code - from your installation DVD that comes with your Mac or you can download its free form Apple.com site. After installation on your system disk will be new folder - "Developer" there go to Extras->Preferences Panes->Processor Pane - start it to install to your preferences. After that you will be able to control your CPU features - look to your system preferences - you will see processor entry. Click on it and on the panel uncheck HT box. Now you may safely browse your folders without being afraid that finder hangs. Even more - some programes e.g. Photoshop will work faster!

Monday, November 01, 2010

How iLife 11 turns to iFailed

Recently Аpple released one of most awaited software suite - iLife 2011. There was no 2010 release last year so people was waiting for serious improvements after for two year development. Rumors was it will be 64 bit. But unfortunately it was just speculations . In this release Apple show losing of potential as a software developer. No 64 support - strange enough for 64 bit OS core. Under unknown reasons iDVD was dropped and finally the worse thing - iPhoto has been released unfinished.
Needless to say that iPhoto is the most important part of suite since photography is one of the last professional sphere of use Macintosh computers. Many serious photographers, freelancers and even professional studios use iPhoto as main tool for their photo database because it very simple gives ability of fast navigation through huge numbers of photos -simply find the chosen one and export or edit it.
I saw iPhoto since version 3 how it pass through numerous updates and in most cases it was smooth easy update. Because Apple change database structure about every time when new generation of iPhoto program, database rebuilding is used to be a normal procedure during upgrade and even when errors in database appears there were always simple way to repair it with internal iPhoto commands or few simple file manipulations and never, I repeat, NEVER it leads to losing original photos. Lets see whats happened.

If you are Macbook or Macbook Pro user - in most cases you will not get into troubles and new iPhoto will work pretty nice. If you are Mac Pro user or iMac - prepare to serious troubles. You MUST backup your iPhoto library(-s) before this update! In best case you got endless waiting of iPhoto loading its library. Errors during database upgrade is another but not worst case. Both situations solved if you briefly search the Internet. Worst is situation when you find out that all originals (or Masters as it now has a new name) disappeared!! Its a real nightmare (not even close to Halloween) if you not backup your library first. And even if you do and your library as huge as mine it will take our to restore everything back. Strange enough having in mind that now databases upgrading procedures use journaling as a simple and reliable way if something goes wrong during update!
But the reason is simple - now since Apple decided to rename folder "Originals" into "Master" (I wonder why?) it requires to move files from one folder to another and with insufficient permissions it stuck! Just not understand why originals becomes deleted BEFORE moving operation finished....Very lame!
After we pass all the obstacles what we get ? Well, this is the most interesting part. Yes, new features- most of them are doubtful - simple e-mail sending, facebook share etc. Some full screen abilities... Its all good but not for that price! iPhoto now seriously slow even on my 12 core 32 Gig ram Mac pro! It took seconds to move 2000 photos to trash in Iphoto 9 - now I have to wait about a minute for the same operation. No smooth scrolling... Waiting for event list to open... huge delay while loading iPhoto itself etc and so on !! You got the point - after spending so many hours upgrading to new version we got slowdown it freezes our work , so I roll back to iPhoto 9 and happy again watching how fast it is compares to the new one. It cost me money, time and nerves!!
Conclusion- I do NOT recommend you upgrading this time! Apple show us its true attitude to customers one more time. Personally I never saw when so many people was so angry and disappointed and cursing Apple after new release! Even release of Vista didn't get such reaction so fast! I see day by day how Apple going down !

Friday, October 08, 2010

Blackberry Torch 9800 sync issue

Simple thing - transfer contacts from Mac (PC) to new phone turns into problem.
Using latest Blackberry Desktop Manager I connect Torch and when it comes to transfer contacts from computer to phone error message appears - contacts synchronizing problem - everything else syncs fine! Having in mind phone is empty so there are no possible conflicts. Error message refers to some kind of KB article, but there was no executive solution.

Solution is simple, but it was hard to find. You have to connect your Torch to the Internet and point browser (on the phone) to blackberry.com/messenger
There is an update for messenger (it responsible for address book on device) and after downloading and update problem with syncing contacts is gone!

Resuming this problem occurs with new desktop manager and Blackberry old version messenger.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Russian Milestone update


This is the first successful firmware over the air (FOTA) update for Milestone in Russia. There are not much serious updates and improvements, but it first step to prepare for the serious 2.2 update which will arrive lately this year.
The most noticeable features - music not suddenly started when you unplug headphones!!!
yeah! So many people reported about this bug and was waited for the fix. Next one, IMHO, useful improvement is ability to set time before autolock turns on. I personally turns screen off using power button to avoid accidental screen touches. Sometimes just after I turn it off I need to turn it back to make something. Before this update, it was required to unlock phone again -a bit annoying. Now if you turn screen off there is a period (10 mins by default) before phone will be locked. So you can turn screen off but not lock phone immediately! Among this there are few more fixes. Improved memory accessing so phone become more stable now. At least random self rebooting caused by thirds party applications gone. Enjoy and lets wait for November Android 2.2 firmware release!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Modern digital compact cameras

This post does not contain any real technical solution - just info for you (as a consumer).

So, after giants of industry such as Canon, Nikon, Sony and so on start their race for megapixels, most people who no familiar with photography goes crazy about what camera to buy ? There are a lot of guides on how to choose and what are main specification you going to look for etc. I`m going to say few words about compact cameras particularly.
I presume that you know how good picture achieves. Physical sensor dimensions plus good optics making as much as possible of light information comes to sensor`s surface. Thats how it works.
In DSLR cameras there are few high end models with full 35mm sensor size and you can choose lenses from cheap (about 200$) up to expansive about 30,000 $ to make your picture looks perfect (technically of course). In compact cameras world it is much more complicated.
Since there is no possibility to change lenses what for do we need big sensor ? This may sounds stupid , but looks like manufactures thinks this way! Even in models where "lenses" are good (in this particular therms) sensors usually are not so good at all therms! And situation goes worse year by year as companies trying to put more megapixels on the same physical size.
This makes image looks horrible , especially in small details on the backgrounds. Yes, its impossible to get high resolution values with small (usually plastic) lenses and sensors that have size less then your nail! Additionally, some aberations and unnecessary noises appears - it all comes from optical physics and electronic component themselves. As a result - image looks fine on small backside LCD and ugly when you look at it on your monitor - JPEG artifacts are not the worst part! Looking on evolution from my first compact Canon PowerShot A70 (3,2 mega) then PowerShot SX100 (8 Mega) and now PowerShot SX120 (10 mega) I conclude that A70 was the best of this three cameras even it had Digic II processor, it used more power to work, it was slow but it gives good picture - now size of an image in pixels is huge but quality...
I look other models from different companies and was very disappointed - Kodak, Fujifilm, Sony, Nikon, Konica - even those that looks like DSLR whith big lenses gives pictures that not much better then simple SX120 . The only compact camera that shows a good quality picture is Leica X1 - but is comes with full size 35 mm sensor! And it costs like semi-pro DSLR ...
All other compacts are cheaper but they do images about the same as my Motorola mobile - and its not because my moto have such a perfect camera, no, not at all! It make worthless to buy compact camera now. I just want to ask companies - what for are you making this models if they are useless ? Just to show that you can make 20 megapixels for 10$ doesn't make sense if I will see huge blocky pictures where I will hardly see any specific detail ! I suppose it will be better to make bigger sensors but , probably less megapixels to give customers smaller (maybe 15x20) pictures but with better quality ?
Compacts are good when it comes to make macro, when objects are close , but definitely not for picturing landscapes!

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Snow Leopard on eMachines E250



Few words before.

When it comes with idea to make cheapest netbook with OSX , I start looking for different hackintosh distros to make it possible
.
It looks simple at first, but after trying with Leo and tiger I found out few problems with incompotability - because this netbook made of latest chips so tiger and leo have problems with SATA driver (no hard disk access), video - GMA950/945. The best try was iDened and Empire EFI (with original Snow DVD)- at least I was able to install it, while iAtkos, Kaleway have more problems with installation itself. Finaly, I found one more Snow Leopard installation - Hazards DVD. So ....
Specifications of this device are:

CPU - Intel Atom N270 1,6 GHz

RAM - 1 Gb DDRII 667

HD - 160 Gb SATA

Chipset - Intel GMA 945GSE (buil it graphics) (native screen mode 1024x600 32 bit)

LAN - Atheros (Attansic) L1e v2

WiFi - Broadcom BCM4312 chip (with firmware not compotabile with original Airport kext)

Its possible! Yeah!

Only few things to remember - still (on 25.07.2010) no kext for internal Wi Fi card - its modification of Broadcom 4315. And no kext for LAN - Attansic L2. Solutions - replace internal wi fi with another or use USB dongle - works perfect!
So what do we need ?

eMachines e250 Win XP netbook , external DVD drive (connected via USB),
Hazard`s Snow Leopard DVD disk, external monitor - just for installation.

Result:
Ultra cheap netbook with latest Snow Leopard OSX (currently 10.6.4)

First, start booting form Hazard`s DVD.
When it comes to target disk selection - goto menu - Tools - Disk Utility
Choose internal hard drive, selection 1 partition (or if you plan to install second OS any other number of partitions) and click Apply.

After we prepare disk for installing OSX , you can close Disk Utility and return back to target disk selection. Select prepared disk and (IMPORTANT) click Customize to chose what options do we need for successful installation.



1. Kernel - You need to choose 10.2 for Atom proccesors. If you plan to proceed steps to upgrade your system to 10.6.4 - you will replace it by 10.3 kernel afterwards.

2. Audio- I prefer to use AppleHDA since its works fine and preserve compotability

3. It was the most tricky thing - CMOS_reset_Fix ! Its not only fix problem with CMOS reset (not important - only for 64 bit mode and not work for e250 ), it also change how kernel read DMI and though detect components such as trackpad for example. After I checked all combinations, I found that in our case AppleRTC gives best results. Since trackpad is detects fine we select VoodooPS2 Trackpad for our machine. Not sure if SATA_AHCI_Fix really necessary but I checked it to avoid future problems.

4. And at last few final selections - SMBIOSResolver and UUID for networking, Rosetta for compatibility with PowerPC applications and QT - you know why ).

Now everything is set and you can proceed installing Mac OS - it will be done automatically until rebooting.

After that I suggest you to connect external monitor to VGA out and continue setting up account on it.

Now, the next thing you need to do is install GMA945 video kext - you always can get latest version form kexts.com . Its necessary to make hardware graphics acceleration work. You always can check if it works - first of all in Screen Preferences - there will be large selection of possible screen resolutions - compare to few when there is generic video driver. Second way - when switch to dashboard , adding new widget will make screen waving like water - nice 3D effect !

Its fine to stop here , because 10.6 update doesn't make any sense for this configuration. But if you want to - try !

So, here is how to update:

You may update kernel first or install the update and replace kernel file BEFORE rebooting.

Updating can be downloaded from Apple

You need Combo since it have all files from between updates, not only updated files from last update.

Solution from NetKas - respect mate !

Use any disabler for AppleIntelCPUPowerManagement.kext, for example – NullCPUPM.kext, install it to Extra mkext and reboot, of course if you made AppleIntelCPUPM to speedstep your cpu, you can skip this step.

Make backup of your kexts, you might need some.

Remove SleepEnabler.kext if you use it, this is very important step, old sleepenabler + new kernel = panic.

Hit the update button, if you need to edit some kexts AFTER update and BEFORE reboot

Download and apply replacing match_kernel with new 10.3 kernel - after fixing permissions cross fingers and reboot.

Now you can plug in USB wifi card to access network ! We`ve done!


Since there is no network (yet) you have two ways to solve WiFi problem :

a) replace Acer`s WiFi module (Broadcom 4312 chip) with compatible module or if with the same re-branded to make it work with original Apple kext.
I was try to re-brand this module on the same e250 but its not possible on this device so you can take it to another notebook for this procedure.
b) use external USB WiFi whistle (e.g Asus WL-167g) - it comes with own driver and works fine.
I tryed different ways to make internal network ports to work but wth no success. Even patching Apple 801IO kext doesnt help - best attempt - system "see" network card pluged in but can`t identify ..so sad.. but maybe soon there will be kext solution. Lets hope!

After successful installation you can visit kexts.com to get additional kexts for your equipment.

Also I succefully updated to 10.6.4 (with preprared kernels PC_EFI from NetKas web site) and with the help of his updating guide. Only thing you need to be carefull with is AppleIntelCPUPowerManagment.kext. Since it usually make troubles due incomtability with wrong kernel versions. It made to me some difficulties when I updating kernel.



Goog luck!
p.s. this was done for education purposes only ! Respect copyrights.