How-To: Work Around Snow Leopard Installation Issues

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Date: Wednesday, September 2nd, 2009, 04:09
Category: How-To, Mac, Software

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As nifty as Mac OS X 10.6 (“Snow Leopard”) may be, according to MacFixIt, a number of users are reporting a problem where the installer will not recognize the current boot drive as a valid destination for Snow Leopard. Instead, it will display the drive with a yellow triangle on it, indicating something is wrong with that drive. When the drive is selected, the installer claims the system cannot boot from the drive.

Over on the Apple Discussion Boards, poster “redpola” writes:

“I closed all my apps. I ran the installer. I agreed to the terms. I am asked where to install Snow Leopard. Only one disk is available – my boot disk. It has a yellow triangle on it.

Selecting the disk tells me ‘Mac OS X cannot be installed on Macintosh HD, because this disk cannot be used to start up your computer.’ Rebooting and attempting an install direct from CD yields the same results.”

The issue occurs when the Snow Leopard installer detects a small discrepancy in the partition table of the drive, and assumes booting off the drive may not be successful. The fixes involve rewriting the table without formatting the drive, but if that does not work then formatting should definitely work (provided you have a backup).

Fixes:
1. Run drive checks.

The first thing to do is run Disk Utility or, even better, run a third-party utility program to check out the drive to ensure it is functioning correctly. Fixing any errors may require booting off a volume other than the boot volume (i.e., the Snow Leopard DVD or a Drive Genius DVD), and performing the fixes from there.

2. Repartition the drive.

This problem might happen even if the drive checks out with various disk utility software. The way around this is to have Disk Utility repartition the drive, which, luckily, can be done without having to format the drive. To do this, boot from the Snow Leopard DVD and select your language. Then launch “Disk Utility” from the “Utilities” menu and perform the following steps:

Select your boot device (the device above the boot volume name), and select the “Partition” tab.

Resize the partition by selecting the volume name in the rectangular volume representation and drag the bottom-right corner of it to change its size.

Click “Apply” to change the partition’s size.

Revert the change by dragging the same resizing corner back to the bottom, and click “apply.”

After this is done, quit out of Disk Utility and try installing Snow Leopard again. Since you are booted from the Snow Leopard DVD you should be able to continue immediately without having to reboot your system.

Workarounds:
1. Format and install.

If you have a full system backup via Time Machine or a drive clone, you can format your boot drive and do a clean install of OS X. To do this, first be sure your backups are complete and accessible, and then boot off the Snow Leopard DVD (click the “Utilities” button instead of “Continue” in the Leopard installer, or reboot and hold the “C” key to boot off the CD/DVD drive). When the installer loads, select your language and then launch “Disk Utility” from the “Utilities” menu and perform the following steps:

Select your boot device (the device above the boot volume name), and select the “Partition” tab.

Select “1 partition” from the drop-down menu, and then give the partition a name and format it as “Mac OS Extended (Journaled).

Click the “options” button and select “GUID” for the partition table.

Close this window and click “Apply” to repartition the table.

Close “Disk Utility” and continue with the Snow Leopard installation.

When the installation completes, migrate your data from your backup to the new system.
In this procedure, you can migrate from either your Time Machine backup, or from a cloned drive. Keep in mind that when you do this you may need to reinstall some programs since a clean install may break some application dependency links to system files.

Missing Sync for Palm OS 6.0.4 Provides Snow Leopard’s Replacement for Palm Desktop

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Date: Monday, August 31st, 2009, 03:41
Category: Software

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Mac OS X 10.6 (“Snow Leopard”) hit last Friday and, unfortunately, the upgrade breaks communication and compatibility with Palm’s aged Palm Desktop software once and for all. Per Macworld UK, third-party developer Mark/Space has stepped forward to offer its Missing Sync for Palm OS, which now supports Snow Leopard, according to a statement released by the company.

The Missing Sync for Palm OS 6.0.4, a 40.1 megabyte download (via MacUpdate), syncs contact information, calendars and tasks with Address Book and iCal, and can also transfer photos, syncs contact photos, syncs music playlists and video, synchronizes notes with Microsoft Entourage, Bare Bones Yojimbo or Mark/Space Notebook, copy folders, documents and files to the Palm OS device, lets you save text messages and extract information, and copies your Treo and Centro call history to your Mac.

Missing Sync for Palm OS retails for US$40, is also available as a US$30 “crossgrade” for users of other Mark/Space products. The software requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later to install and run.

Apple Strips Palm OS HotSync Conduit from Upcoming Mac OS X 10.6 Release

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Date: Wednesday, August 26th, 2009, 02:17
Category: News, Software

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Apple has discontinued support for legacy Palm OS devices in Mac OS X Snow Leopard’s iSync 3.1.0 according to AppleInsider. Per sources familiar with the latest Gold Master build, users of Palm OS devices will need to obtain third party support for syncing their Palm Desktop information with Mac OS X’s Sync Services.

Palm continues to provide a very old version of Palm Desktop 4.2.1D for Mac users, enabling syncing with legacy Palm Centro, Treo, Zire, Tungsten, LifeDrive, and Pilot models via its Mac OS X Universal Binary desktop software. That software is based upon what was originally Apple’s Claris Organizer, which Steve Jobs sold to Palm over a decade ago as Apple divested itself of its already long in the tooth Claris apps.

In addition with launching its Macs as the “digital hub” and selling the iPod, Apple developed iSync for Mac OS X, a set of software which enabled devices from any manufacturer to sync their data with a common store shared by desktop apps including iCal and Address Book. It eventually allowed users to also sync that information with Apple’s .Mac service, now called MobileMe.

Palm apparently never bothered to update its Palm Desktop for Mac software to make it compatible with Apple’s iSync. Instead, Apple, in an effort to keep Macs compatible with Palm’s device, created its own Palm Conduit software that linked Palm Desktop’s HotSync system into iSync. This software was then incorporated as part of iSync 2.0, released as part of Mac OS X Tiger nearly half a decade ago.

With Palm all but abandoning its “classic” devices developed prior to the release of the new Palm Pre, which does not use the same legacy Palm OS nor its HotSync or Palm Desktop software, the value of maintaining HotSync support in Mac OS X has dropped dramatically, leaving Apple to cut the support from the version that ships with Mac OS X Snow Leopard entirely.

It does not appear that the discontinuation of legacy Palm OS support in iSync is related to efforts by Palm to trick iTunes into syncing data with the new Palm Pre as if it were an iPod.

Third party software, including the Missing Sync from Mark/Space, enables Mac users to sync calendars, contacts, bookmarks, music, documents and other information between older Palm OS devices as well as other hardware including the new Palm Pre, BlackBerry, Symbian, and Windows Mobile phones and the Sony PlayStation Portable.

QuarkXPress 8.1 Out the Door

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Date: Wednesday, August 5th, 2009, 03:02
Category: Software

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Late Tuesday, software developer Quark released version 8.1 of its QuarkXPress design application. The 752 megabyte update, which can be downloaded here, adds the following fixes and changes:

* Improves PDF output capabilities.
* Introduces a ‘Native Transparency’ mode for creating PDFs which can offer designers faster and more flexible PDF output support and provide greater control over their PDF workflow process.
* Renovates spell checking, adding the ability to paste text without formatting, and improves productivity with Scale functionality.
* Improves Usability and Item Styles.
* Works to prevent errors by reporting faux font styles such as bold or italic.
* Readies QuarkXPress for Snow Leopard and Windows 7 compatibility, and the Windows version of this release adds a Welcome Screen.

QuarkXPress 8.1 requires Mac OS X 10.4 later to install and run and retails for US$799.00 for the full version.

Rumor: Netflix May Bring Streaming Service to iPhone, Other Handsets

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Date: Tuesday, August 4th, 2009, 05:16
Category: iPhone 3GS, Rumor

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Citing an unnamed source described as “an industry executive familiar with Netflix’s plans,” an article in Multichannel News is claiming that Netflix will soon offer its Watch Instantly streaming video service on the iPhone, iPod touch and the Nintendo Wii.

The brief reportdescribes the move as the next step for Netflix’ content, which currently streams to Windows PCs, Macs, the Xbox 360, TiVo DVRs, the Roku, and certain TV and Blu-Ray players built to support video downloads.

Unlike its DVDs-by-mail service, Netflix’ Watch Instantly library offers much less variety, with limited popular content such as recent movies and TV series. Older titles and oddball independent films are also available for immediate viewing and the Watch Instantly service is also included for viewing at no extra cost over the base Netflix subscription, in contrast to iTunes’ pay per view pricing.

Unlike media purchased or rented from iTunes, Netflix’ streaming content plays back directly with no download. This requires no local storage on the playback device, but results in playback quality that is dependent upon the available network bandwidth. With iTunes and the Apple TV, content is progressively downloaded, enabling users to obtain HD content even with a slower connection, albeit with a longer wait.

The advantage of Netflix’ instantly streaming video is that little or no storage is required. If the iPhone and Wii are powerful enough to decode the live stream, this could add a new customer segment for Netflix, the users not having to worry about their devices storing the downloaded content.

Whether the iPhone or Wii could decode quality video only using software may be an issue, as Netflix playback on the more powerful Apple TV has been cited by some as not practical due to its lack of any Windows Media codec hardware acceleration.

Video playback over AT&T’s mobile network would likely also be prohibited by any Netflix streaming player app, making any iPhone version Wi-Fi only, in line with other video streaming apps such as SlingPlayer Mobile.

As a workaround to the iPhone’s intentionally missing support for Windows DRM, Netflix could also take a page from Google and utilize the native support in iPhone OS 3.0 for HTTP Live Streaming, which plays streaming video to the iPhone and iPod Touch using standard MPEG AAC/H.264 codecs over familiar web-based protocols.

At the launch of the iPhone, Google shifted its Flash-based YouTube service to also support H.264 at Apple’s behest, allowing the iPhone to work around the need for Flash playback while also delivering hardware accelerated video playback using open protocols.

Support for HTTP Live Streaming will also be built into QuickTime X playback for Snow Leopard, and appears to be slated for adoption in the next revision of Apple TV. Third parties will also be able to implement HTTP Live Streaming on their own devices.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

SpamSieve Updated to 2.7.5

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Date: Thursday, July 30th, 2009, 05:40
Category: News, Software

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Michael Tsai’s must-have shareware program, SpamSieve, has just been updated to version 2.7.5. The new version, a 5.9 megabyte download, makes the following fixes and improvements:

* Made various accuracy improvements.
* Fixed a problem where Apple Mail (running on pre-release versions of Mac OS X 10.6) could freeze at launch if you had a rule involving address book groups.
* Rewrote the Setting up a Spam Filtering Drone instructions.
* Added Why does the Spam mailbox appear empty when there’s a number beside it? to the frequently asked questions.
* Updated the Automatically Deleting Old Spam Messages instructions to include Entourage.
* The search fields are now scrollable.
* The Apple Mail plug-in is better at detecting when SpamSieve’s Dock icon is hidden.
* Worked around a problem where Mail could crash if you had installed two copies of the SpamSieve plug-in at the same time.
* Fixed a bug that could cause SpamSieve to freeze when applying a whitelist/blocklist rule involving certain regular expressions.
* The crash reporter works better with pre-release versions of Mac OS X 10.6 (Snow Leopard).
* Fixed a bug that could prevent SpamSieve from launching.
* Updated the Dutch, Japanese, and Korean localizations.

SpamSieve is available for a US$30 registration fee and requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later to run. The new version can either be downloaded directly from the web site or brought up to the current version via the program’s built-in update feature.

Drive Genius 2.2 Out the Door

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Date: Wednesday, July 29th, 2009, 10:54
Category: Software

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Prosoft Engineering has released Drive Genius 2.1.1, an updated version of its drive repair and recovery program for Mac OS X.

The new version, a 33.3 megabyte download, offers the following fixes and features:
* Now supports Snow Leopard.
* Improved defragmentation functionality.
* Improved repartition performance and other improvements.

Drive Genius retails for US$99 and requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later installed to work. The application is a Universal Binary and functions natively under both PowerPC and Intel-based hardware.

Apple Releases New Mac OS X 10.5.8, Mac OS X 10.6 Seeds to Developer Community

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Date: Wednesday, July 1st, 2009, 04:50
Category: Mac, Software

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Apple has reportedly issued new seeds of Mac OS X 10.6 (Snow Leopard) and Mac OS X 10.5.8 to developers that, at least in the former case, add functionality that was previously only shown at WWDC.

Per AppleInsider and sources close to the story, the new Snow Leopard seed, 10A394, officially provides just compatibility, reliability and security fixes but appears to give developers access to Expose’s integration with the Dock.

As demonstrated by Apple executive Phil Schiller earlier this month, the feature lets users click and hold on an app’s Dock icon to show the windows relating to that app in equal-sized, organized tiles. The simple change makes it much easier to find a particular window for a project, for example, without having to invoke a specific Expose shortcut. They can also choose to view a selected window at full size to determine if the content inside is what they want.

A new Xcode 3.2 build has been released in tandem with the Snow Leopard build.

The new Mac OS X 10.5.8 seed has apparently advanced four builds from its previous state, to 9L20. Apple appears to be quickly winding up development, as it supposedly hasn’t mentioned any remaining known bugs and has fixed just a few prior issues, such as problems with using auto-complete on CalDAV servers in iCal, Image Capture’s support for large files, and syncing Address Book with MobileMe.

Apple has also asked developers to focus their testing on low-level components like graphics drivers, power management and storage.

How-To: Add Multi-Touch Functionality to Your Pre-2008 Apple Notebook Trackpad

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Date: Monday, June 15th, 2009, 18:13
Category: How-To, MacBook

Amidst heated controversy as to whether Apple’s upcoming Mac OS X 10.6 (“Snow Leopard”) operating system will add multi-touch gestures to older MacBook and MacBook pro notebooks, the guys at The Unofficial Apple Weblog have taken it upon themselves to ask what makes a multi-touch trackpad unique and how to simulate this on an Apple notebook sans such an interface. The answer lies in an embedded controller chip, identical to the one in the iPhone and iPod Touch, which allows advanced input from more than two fingers at once.

Later, Apple’s unibody MacBooks and MacBook Pros debuted with multi-touch trackpads, but also introduced new four-finger gestures, which will not be officially supported in the older MacBook Airs and MacBook Pros until Snow Leopard’s release.

The original MacBook Air and early 2008 MacBook Pro are the only machines which will gain additional gestures via Snow Leopard. The only reason these notebook models are able to gain these gestures via software updates, while earlier MacBook Pros and all plastic MacBooks are not, is because they possess the multi-touch controller chip in their trackpads.

The following is the list of Apple notebooks that will support multi-touch gestures, either now or after Snow Leopard:

  • MacBook Air (all models)
  • Early 2008 MacBook Pro
  • Late 2008 17″ MacBook Pro
  • Unibody MacBook (all models)
  • Unibody MacBook Pro (all models)

Still, for pre-2008 and plastic MacBook owners, the following steps (courtesy of the MacRumors forums) can help bring multi-touch functionality to your notebook:

First, download a modified AppleUSBMultitouch.kext file. Navigate to System/Library/Extensions, and remove the old AppleUSBMultitouch.kext (you will need to type in your admin password).

Move the modified AppleUSBMultitouch.kext into System/Library/Extensions. You’ll most likely have to type in your password again.

This next step is critical: repair disk permissions using Disk Utility. If you don’t, after you restart your trackpad will not function.

Once permissions are repaired, restart. Success!

This procedure isn’t for the faint of heart and will probably have to be repeated with every major Mac OS X 10.5.x update, but it should provide multi-touch goodness if you want it.

Mac OS X 10.6 (Snow Leopard) to Retail for $29 Upgrade Price

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Date: Thursday, June 11th, 2009, 09:26
Category: News

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Recently, Apple announced a final ship date and upgrade price its upcoming Mac OS X 10.6 (Snow Leopard) operating system. The new OS will hit this September as an upgrade for Mac OS X 10.5 (Leopard) users and be available for US$29.
According to The Unofficial Apple Weblog, Snow Leopard features include built-in Microsoft Exchange 2007 support along with a slicker install process, faster applications, and 64-bit versions of standard applications that boost overall performance. Apple brags that “[u]sers will notice a more responsive Finder; Mail that loads messages 85 percent faster and conducts searches up to 90 percent faster; Time Machine with up to 50 percent faster initial backup; a Dock with Expose integration; a 64-bit version of Safari 4 that boosts the performance of the Nitro JavaScript engine by up to 50 percent and is resistant to crashes caused by plug-ins.”
In addition to the US$29 single user upgrade, a family pack upgrade will cost US$49. Mac OS X 10.4 (Tiger) users will pay US$169 for a 10.6/iLife box set or US$229 for a family pack.
All users who purchased or will purchase a new qualifying Mac between June8th and December 26th will receive a free upgrade package and pay US$9.95 for shipping and handling. You must request your up-to-date upgrade within 90 days of your original purchase.
Snow Leopard requires a minimum of 1GB RAM and runs on Intel-based Macintoshes. Full system requirements are hosted at Apple’s tech specs page.