How To: Get Around an “Error 109″ Message With Time Machine and an Airport Extreme Base Station

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Date: Tuesday, December 29th, 2009, 06:00
Category: News

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If you’re experiencing “Error 109″ when backing up Time Machine to an Airport Extreme Base Station, this might be for you. Per CNET, the problem itself can be repaired by repairing the sparsebundle image file. Although the root of this issue may ultimately be compatibilities with the connection to the AEBS, by repairing the sparsebundle you should be able to continue your backups.

Interestingly, Apple doesn’t officially support Airport Extreme Base Station as a Time Machine destination, which may have to do with how the device handles external drives versus a more robust handling of the internal drives in Time Capsule devices. Even so, regardless of the specifics, once the sparsebundle is corrupted, the computer then will have trouble accessing and mounting it, resulting in the errors.

Recently, a number of Airport Extreme Base Station users have been looking for a solution in a growing discussion thread on the Apple boards regarding the issue. A user identified as “rsva” posted a method for solving the issue, which has worked for a couple of others. The idea is to avoid directly mounting the sparsebundle (which has failed for a number of people who tried) and instead use terminal commands to only attach the sparsebundle disk image to and correct format problems. This assigns a device ID to the bundle so it can be treated as a disk, without the system trying to read and interact with the contents of the disk.

If you’re feeling brave, here are the instructions:

“Quit all applications and turn off Time Machine.

Securely connect the backup hard drive to your Mac.

Open the “Terminal” and go to the hard drive mount point with the following command:
cd /Volumes/”BACKUP DRIVE”

In this command, “BACKUP DRIVE” is the name of your backup volume. Put it in quotes if you have spaces in the name.

Use the “hdiutil” command (disk image management utility) to attach the backup bundle (this may take a while if the image is corrupted):

hdiutil attach -nomount -readwrite -noautofsck -noverify BACKUPNAME.sparsebundle

The previous command should output some information about the attached drive, such as the following:
/dev/disk4 Apple_partition_scheme
/dev/disk4s1 Apple_partition_map
/dev/disk4s2 Apple_HFSX

The device may be a different number than the one listed here (ie, disk3, or disk5), depending on how many other disks you have in your system. Find the device identifier next to “Apple_HFSX” (it should contain “s2″ in the name).

Run the filesystem checking command “fsck” on the attached drive with the following command:
fsck_hfs -rfy /dev/disk4s2

This command will run a repair routine on the filesystem, and should output a number of errors if found and correct them. This may take a while, so be patient, and it may mention the drive cannot be repaired, but ignore this for now.

Open Disk Utility, and drag the sparsebundle into the window under where other drives and devices are listed (should be separated by a horizontal line). Then select it and in the “First Aid” tab click “Repair Disk”.

In Disk Utility, select the backup hard drive itself (above the sparsebundle) and run the “Repair Disk” routine on this drive as well to ensure the filesystem is intact.”

Once these steps have been run, users can eject the drive and plug it back into the Airport Extreme Base Station. From here, reactivate Time Machine on your Mac and run a test backup. This routine won’t fix the problem occurring in the first place, but should get the drive back up and running once corruption has occurred.

If you’ve tried this on your end, let us know how it went and what to expect.

AT&T Resumes Online iPhone Sales in New York City

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Date: Tuesday, December 29th, 2009, 05:02
Category: iPhone, News

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As quickly as they stopped, wireless carrier AT&T has resumed selling iPhones through its Web site to New York City customers with no official explanation as to what prompted the halt.

Per Techmeme, New Yorkers who tried to order an iPhone through AT&T’s Web site over the holiday weekend found themselves unable to given errors in the web site. When customer representatives were asked as to why this was, explanations ranged from network congestion problems to online fraud to this the boilerplate explanation that “We periodically modify our promotions and distribution channels.”

Come Monday, sales were once again being processed for New York City ZIP codes through AT&T’s site.

AT&T has yet to offer an official explanation for what caused the disturbance.

New Air Travel Guidelines Put Into Effective After December 25th Bombing Attempt, Certain Electronic Devices Now Partially

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Date: Tuesday, December 29th, 2009, 05:42
Category: News

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In the wake of December 25th’s bombing attempt on a plane flying from Amsterdam to Detroit, the New York Times is reporting that the US Department of Homeland Security has directed the Transportation Security Administration to enact a series of heightened security measures.

Per the report, international travelers bound for the United States are now being told “they could not leave their seats for the last hour of a flight, during which time they also could not use a pillow or blanket, or have anything on their laps,” including a laptop.

The new directive, as mentioned on boardingarea.com, also requires a thorough pat-down of all passengers on international flights to the United States and a physical inspection of all their carry-on luggage prior to boarding.

All international flights are now being required to enforce new rules during the final hour of the flight which includes insisting that all passengers remain in their seats and prohibiting passengers from accessing any carry-on baggage or from having any blankets, pillows or other personal belongings on their lap during the final hour of the flight.

The new “final hour of flight” rules appear to have surfaced from the fact that the would-be terrorist attempted to ignite a chemical explosive he had smuggled onto the plane. During the final hour of flight, the flight crew is most likely to be preoccupied with making preparations for landing, and least likely to be available to observe attempts to ignite such an explosive, particularly if obscured under a blanket or pillow.

Canadian officials have responded to the new directive by essentially banning all carry-on luggage for passengers headed to the United States, the Times reported.

Additionally, airlines’ international flights are now required to “disable aircraft-integrated passenger communications systems and services (phone, internet access services, live television programming, global positioning systems) prior to boarding and during all phases of flight.”

The directive also insists that, while over U.S. airspace, the “flight crew may not make any announcement to passengers concerning flight path or position over cities or landmarks.”

Stay tuned for additional information as it becomes available and please let us know what’s on your mind per these new directives.

AT&T Cuts Off NYC-Area Online iPhone Sales, Has Yet to Explain Why

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Date: Monday, December 28th, 2009, 05:03
Category: iPhone, News

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As of last night, something odd happened.

It apparently became impossible to purchase an iPhone from AT&T’s online store if you live in New York City, and as of right now, the carrier isn’t saying why. In addition, some online customer representatives have offered comments that New York wasn’t “ready for the iPhone,” while, per Engadget, others were fed a line about credit card fraud causing a ban on online sales.

Hop out of your home and apartment and both New York City-area Apple and AT&T store locations are happily selling the iPhone, which is still in stock.

So far, the closest thing to an official explanation is the following “We periodically modify our promotions and distribution channels.”

If you’ve experienced this or have any ideas of your own, please let us know.

Apple Files Patent for Touch-Surface Keyboard with Tactile Feedback

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Date: Thursday, December 24th, 2009, 10:55
Category: News

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Ok, this could be really interesting.

Recently, Apple filed for a patent on a touch-surface keyboard with tactile feedback. Per AppleInsider, a problem with typing on touchscreens is that users must typically look at the keys to know what is being pressed; by contrast, most physical keyboards allow people to gauge where their fingers are through bumps and ridges. Apple’s solution would pop up an “articulating frame” whenever typing is engaged, and move it out of the way when it is not.

Such a frame could be based around ridges or concave depressions, much as on a normal keyboard, or alternately on dedicated feedback mechanisms. Another proposed option is a non-articulating frame, which would provide more resistance the further a finger moves away from a key center. Activation of the frame could be triggered by placing fingers in the right place, or simply engaging in typing-like activity. A frame could be lowered when taps or slides are detected.

The technology could conceivably be used in Apple’s long-awaited tablet and a former Apple employee has suggested will surprise people in how they can interact with it. The patent filing is also not the first of its kind from the company, as a similar one was submitted as far back as 2007.

Epic Games Demonstrates Working Version of Unreal 3D Game Engine on iPhone

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Date: Wednesday, December 23rd, 2009, 03:02
Category: iPhone, News

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If you wondered where the iPhone might be going as far as a gaming platform, you might be surprised.

Per AnandTech, Mark Rein, vice president of Epic Games, creators of the Unreal Engine, demonstrated a working proof of concept to the web site with a playable demo of Unreal Tournament. The game ran a modified level from the popular first-person shooter and employs dual-touch controls.

The game has a virtual thumbstick on the left side of the touch screen to control character movement. Using their right thumb, users can aim and shoot at enemies on screen.

The demo employs Open GL ES 2.0, which is only available on the iPhone 3GS and new iPod touch. The PowerVR SGX GPU has been found to make the hardware, in some cases, to be twice as fast as its predecessors.

The report noted that the game ran with a smooth framerate and the controls worked well. It added, however, that the demo clearly needs polishing, but that it is “just a starting point.”

“Epic isn’t announcing any sort of iPhone engine licenses nor are they entering the iPhone game market,” the report said. “Porting UE3 to the iPhone is simply one of many projects being worked on inside a newer, more svelte and innovative Epic Games (wait till you see what’s next…).”

As Epic Games does on the PC side, the company apparently intends to license its Unreal Engine to third-party companies for use on the iPhone and iPod touch. This will allow an advanced framework for companies to build original games around. Epic, at the moment, has no plans to release any games for the platform.

Rein also told AnandTech that Unreal Engine 3 will be demoed on another mobile platform at CES 2010 in early January. The company reportedly intends to take its plans beyond the iPhone and iPod touch.

“This isn’t a platform specific thing,” the report said, “it’s about bringing Unreal Engine 3 to the entire portable market.”

Recently, Apple exhibited signs that the company may be looking to get more directly involved in game development, the company posting a job opening for a game and media software engineer for its iPhone and iPod touch team. Apple has traditionally backed off from first-hand game development, so some degree of change may be in the air.

CBS, Disney Show Interest in Apple’s iTunes-Based Subscription Proposal

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Date: Tuesday, December 22nd, 2009, 08:15
Category: News

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Following up on Apple’s intention to create a subscription-based service, both CBS and Walt Disney hae expressed interest in the idea, which is slated to roll out sometime in 2010.

Per the Wall Street Journal, Walt Disney Co. and CBS Corp. are considering participating in Apple’s future plan to offer subscriptions for television shows through iTunes. CBS would offer programs from its parent network as well as CW, while Disney would offer programs from its ABC, Disney Channel, and ABC Family networks.

Apple would pay the content providers US$2 to US$4 a month per subscriber for a broadcast network like CBS or ABC, and about US$1 to US$2 a month per subscriber for a basic-cable network.

The report also stated that Apple has briefed companies on its long-anticipated tablet device, which it calls a “multimedia gadget.” The touchscreen device, which is stated to be larger than an iPhone but smaller than a laptop, is reportedly expected to arrive by the end of March 2010.

Back in November Apple reportedly pitched a US$30-a-month iTunes TV subscription plan to major networks in hope of gaining support for an “all-you-can-eat” subscription plan. At that point it was suggested that Disney would be the first to opt in. Disney was the first company to provide its programs over iTunes in 2005, and the company has close ties with Apple – CEO Steve Jobs is the company’s largest single shareholder.

It is possible that Apple has altered its strategy due to push-back from some of the larger media companies. Many of the companies in question also have cable TV interests, meaning a potential deal with Apple could result in a decrease in traditional cable revenues. With Comcast’s purchase of NBC Universal earlier this month, it would be unlikely that the company would be willing to participate in a deal, and would therefore weaken a potential “all-you-can-eat” subscription plan.

Apple Releases Firmware Update for 27″ iMac Graphics Bug

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Date: Tuesday, December 22nd, 2009, 06:11
Category: News

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Following up on reports of graphical errors with its best-selling 27″ iMac model, Apple recently released a firmware update to help resolve the issue. The update, a 683 kilobyte download, updates the graphics firmware on ATI Radeon HD 4670 and 4850 graphics cards to address issues that may cause image corruption or display flickering.

The update requires Mac OS X 10.5 or later to install and run.

If you’ve tried the firmware update and noticed any changes, please let us know.

Google Chrome 4.0.249.43 Released for Mac

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Date: Friday, December 18th, 2009, 05:50
Category: News

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Google Chrome, Google’s new web browser, just reached version 4.0.249.43 for the Mac. The new version, a 17.7 megabyte download, offers the following fixes and changes in the beta:

- Fixed several common crashes.
- Added a notification says “xxx is synched.” if you are already synced and click that button.
- Known issue: You’ll get an error when checking for updates using the About Google Chrome dialog. ‘Update server not available’ (error : 12). Regardless of the error message, the update is successful.

Google Chrome requires Mac OS X 10.5 or later and an Intel-based Mac to install and run.

If you’ve played with it and have an opinion, let us know what you think in the comments.

Apple Approves iVideoCamera App, Allows Video Capture on 2G, 3G iPhone Models

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Date: Wednesday, December 16th, 2009, 06:56
Category: iPhone, News

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It may not be the video capabilities of the snazzy iPhone 3GS, but it’s a step in the right direction.

The Apple Blog is reporting that Apple has admitted the iVideoCamera app to the iTunes Store. With this app, iPhone 2G and 3G users can now legitimately record, share and save videos without having to jailbreak their handsets.

There are currently some significant limits to the app, and it is not helped by the camera installed in 2G and 3G iPhones. The app itself can only capture video at a maximum of three frames per second… far behind the 30 frames per second capacity of the 3GS. Quality is, therefore, limited as is the resolution which comes in at 160 x 213, compared to 640 x 480 on the 3GS.

On the upside, whilst there is no opportunity to share on Twitter yet, videos can be quickly uploaded to YouTube, Facebook and Vimeo from within the app itself.

Development team Laan Labs, creators of the iVideoCamera app, promise improved frame rates and quality in forthcoming releases.

iVideoCamera retails for 99 cents and requires iPhone OS 3.1 or later to install and run.