The wonders of Apple Hardware Test and Console

November 19, 2006

It seems that Disk Warrior is not going forward to support Intel macs. It’s pretty disappointing because I was a big fan of this software for the PPC macs. Unlike the Windows world, there are few system diagnostic tools for the mac. Maybe that’s because there are fewer issues with incompatible third party hardware. However, sh*t happens and sometimes you need more than Apple’s disk utility program to figure it out.

As I mentioned previously, I had some serious issues with kernel panics on my Mac Pro. Coincidentally I had installed a third set of 512MB ram cards just a few days earlier, bringing me to a grand total of 3GB (Aperture is finally feeling a little more peppy). I was concerned that the new chip was the origin of my problems.

Luckily, Apple includes a Hardware Test application on my system install CD. I only had to restart my machine with the “D” key held down. The Mac Pro booted right into a diagnostics program. Ran the extended diagnostics which took about 12 minutes. It tests the RAM, CPU and motherboard. It also provides some info about the machine.

Since it is not possible to do a screen capture from the hardware test, I’ve added a link to a larger camera shot.


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November 18, 2006

This is a little gem from the last Digg videocast. I’ve totally ignored this option in Apple’s Mail application for the past couple of years. You can select a message that is spam and bounce it back to the sender as if your address no longer exists. This is a great way to get off of those spam email lists. If you do this enough times the spammers will conclude that your email address no longer exists.


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Worth a visit

November 12, 2006


The new Aperture web site from O’Reily is definitely worth your time. It now includes the great website Aperture tricks.

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Image sucking with Automator

November 12, 2006

Here’s a quick Automator script to pull all of the image links in the frontmost Safari window into iPhoto. I use this when I stumble across a web page with great photos I want to add to my gallery.

Notice that what this script does is download to the desktop and then import to iPhoto. After completion, it deletes the originals from the desktop. This way I am sure to get the full resolution images rather than the lower resolution web thumb nails


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Adding Youtube video to iTunes

November 12, 2006

Who doesn’t love Youtube (this month)? In fact some of the stuff I like so much that I want to keep it permanently on my computer. While there are applications out there like TubeSock, I think the way I do it provides more options.

I start by grabbing the flash file from Youtube with the free application PodTube. This little utility grabs the flash movie from the frontmost Safari window and loads it onto the desktop. While PodTube has settings to convert the file to an iPod playable format, I have not had any luck getting it to work. However, I am a registered user of Hawkeye. This is a great utility that converts files between a variety of formats. It can convert DVD files to play on iPods!


After Podtube places the flash file on the desktop, just import into Hawkeye and convert to MP4 (or any number of other formats). Hawkeye will even add the file to iTunes for you.

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Feeding the Aperture needs

November 12, 2006

My Mac Pro received another 1GB RAM upgrade tonight. That puts it at 3GB total. Apple’s Aperture just sucks up the RAM. Especially when dealing with the NEF (RAW) files from the Nikon D80.

The extra RAM has made a considerable difference. Aperture is snappier and I can listen to music while I play with my photos.

Doing a self-install of the RAM was a snap. Here’s the instructions:

1) Power down the Mac Pro

2) Open the side panel

3) Pull out the top RAM riser

4) install two 512K RAM chips (from Apple)

5) Put the memory riser back, close the side panel and power-up


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Beyond Onyx

November 11, 2006

I love the system utility Onyx. I’ve tried most of the others, including MacJanitor and Cocktail, but Onyx has always done a good job and has a great feel to it. Now I’m aware that most of them are simply running a series of unix maintenance commands to repair permissions, clear cache files and update catalogs. But I still find them easier to use than the Unix commands.

I am now an Applejack user. What is Applejack? Well, it’s the uber disk repair script. While it does require a restart into Single user mode, it repairs way more than just the permissions. Too much to list here, but check out the link I provided. One of the big features is repairing bad bits on a drive. If you feel like your mac has been crashing more often than it should, the disk could be corrupted. Applejack will take care of that. It also cleans up virtual memory catalog structures.


Be careful though, Single user mode is quite powerful. I would recommend reading up on it before you try it.

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