Category Archives: Apple

Apple’s newly redesigned Music app is a band aid on a much larger problem

My first article on Medium:

Apple announced yesterday at WWDC that they are redesigning the Apple Music app, “from the ground up.” While it is much needed it isn’t enough.

Apple’s Music app was a mess and was in need of a redesign. It looks like they had too many Cooks in the kitchen, pun intended. It feels to me like the creatives were handcuffed by what their executives wanted. They need to make a music app for the music lover and I think this will be a step closer but still many steps away.


Apple Music, this is the savior?

Today Apple released their new Apple Music application and streaming music service, which includes a redesigned Music app for iOS and iTunes for desktops. It also includes a new live radio called Beats 1.

Apple is supposed to be the epitome of design. Simultaneously making something simple and intuitive yet engaging at the same time. After playing with the new Apple Music app, I’m left doubting that I’ll make the switch to Apple Music from Spotify. Spotify isn’t all that special either but Apple hasn’t capitalized on their strengths to surpass Spotify’s weaknesses.

Continue reading Apple Music, this is the savior?


iPhone 6 camera lens flare

The iPhone 5 had issues with lens flare. Many photos that had a bright sun in it managed to almost always blow the sun out into a purple mess. Apple’s response? Move the camera.

Now that the iPhone 6 is out I was curious how it handled similar shooting situations. Tonight I went for a run at Crissy Field towards the Golden Gate Bridge and took some photos when I reached the Warming Hut pier.

Lens flare is better but it’s still there and prominent enough that you may have to alter your shooting angle or do some post processing to remove it. There was always a small green dot in the frame that moved around depending on where the sun was. (See the videos below)

I took a photo with 3 different photo apps to confirm that it was something inherent with the camera and not something that the software was doing.

I used Apple’s default camera app ‘Camera’, Camera+, and Manual (Custom exposure camera). Here are the results:

Apple ‘Camera’ app:
iPhone 6 - Camera app

Apple ‘Camera’ app (HDR):
iPhone 6 - Camera app HDR

Manual (Custom exposure camera) app:
iPhone 6 - Manual app

Camera+ app:
iPhone 6 - Camera+ app

I also shot a short video and you can follow the green dot as the sun moves across the frame.

I’m not surprised that the phone does this and I think it mostly handles bright light well for such a small camera but it’s something to keep in mind.


Display “Now Playing” info on your Desktop with GeekTool or Ubersicht

I listen to Seattle’s KEXP streaming radio fairly regularly and even when I’m not I like to know what they’re playing. I use GeekTool to display KEXP’s “Now Playing” song on my Mac Desktop.

Note that this doesn’t work anymore. If you have a way that works then please let me know.

curl -silent '' | perl -l -0777 -ne 'print $1 if /<title.*?>\s*(.*?)\s*<\/title/si' | perl -MHTML::Entities -le 'while(<>) {print decode_entities($_);}'

For Spotify, I have this script:

DATA=$(osascript -e 'tell application "System Events"
set myList to (name of every process)
end tell
if myList contains "Spotify" then
tell application "Spotify"
if player state is stopped then
set output to ""
set trackname to name of current track
set artistname to artist of current track
set albumname to album of current track
if player state is playing then
set output to trackname & " | " & artistname & " | " & albumname
else if player state is paused then
set output to ""
end if
end if
end tell
set output to ""
end if')
echo $DATA | awk -F new_line '{print $1}'
echo $DATA | awk -F new_line '{print $2}'

There are a few places within the code where you can customize what appears if Spotify is paused or stopped. I have those set to be empty. (“”)

Edit – 2019:

I am now using a different application called Ubersicht. For Spotify I use this code:

command: """
read -r running <<<"$(ps -ef | grep \"MacOS/Spotify\" | grep -v \"grep\" | wc -l)" &&
test $running != 0 &&
IFS='|' read -r theArtist theName <<<"$(osascript <<<'tell application "Spotify"
        set theTrack to current track
        set theArtist to artist of theTrack
        set theName to name of theTrack
        return theArtist & "|" & theName
    end tell')" &&
if [ -z "$theArtist" ]
    echo ""
    echo "$theArtist - $theName" || echo "Not Connected To Spotify"

refreshFrequency: 2000

style: """
  top: 1395px
  left: 2300px
  color: #fff

    font-family: Helvetica Neue
    font-size: 15px
    font-weight: 100
    text-shadow: 0 1px 5px #111;

render: (output) -> """
	<div class="output">#{output}</div>

I haven’t found a way, or taken the time to script it up myself, but if you have a way to use Ubersicht for KEXP then please let me know.


‘Stereo’, an iTunes music player replacement app for album art fans

Stereo is a new music player from Appothecary.

stereo-app-iconStereo is currently at version 0.3.1 and is offered at “an introductory price” of $1.99, down from $3.99.

It’s designed to be a simple iTunes music player replacement designed to put importance on album covers. The interface is barebones and puts the album covers front and center. There are two modes, “detailed album art”, which shows larger album covers but fewer artist, and a “more artist” mode, which displays the albums much smaller in order to fit more artists on the screen.

It’s a fullscreen app that you navigate by either scrolling or by typing the artist name.

Detailed Album Art mode with The National selected

Stereo iTunes Music Player - detailed album art

More Artists mode, with Autolux selected

Stereo iTunes Music Player - more artist

Stereo iTunes music player app

Above is the album detail window where it shows you track info about the selected album.

It’s not at version 1.0 yet and has its share of bugs and quirks. It doesn’t always draw the album art, which requires either changing the view mode or scrolling. You can simply type an artist name and it’ll jump to that artist alphabetically. This is sometimes enough to force it to update album art. If an artist has more than six albums, it can be hard to tell without trying to scroll within the artist popup window.

It’s an interesting and simplistic approach. While it’s not designed to be a full-time replacement, at times I miss seeing song ratings and having access to other info like year released or song lyrics. With the current issues and with it not being at version 1.0 it seems over priced at $1.99. I don’t see it being worth a $3.99 unless there are some fantastic surprises to come, and I can’t imagine what those would be. $.99 or $1.99 seems fair compared to other apps.

You can check out Stereo here…


Thoughts on Apple’s acquisition of Beats

Beats Music is really no different than Pandora, Spotify, Rdio. Sure they all have their own recommendation methods but in the end they are quite similar.

None of them has done anything groundbreaking.

Pandora has a rather limited library and has been living off of its Genome Project since its inception.

Spotify’s apps are interesting but make it cluttered and the UI is a bit of a mess. (Just how many ‘apps’ do we need for individual artists? Here’s a clue – ZERO) Its recommendation service and UI is rather disappointing. Maybe the EchoNest acquisition will help but they still need to implement it successfully into the already goofy UI, and that alone isn’t grand enough.

Beats Music seems to be hanging its hat on curated playlists. I see this as a smokescreen, or at least I hope it is. I hope that Apple and Beats Music aren’t putting that many eggs in the curated playlists basket. It doesn’t seem very innovative. Tonight during the Code Conference interview session Apple’s Eddie Cue and Beats’ Jimmy Iovine stated,

“We think that streaming services need curation. The album is going away. We all know that. The sequencing of an album used to be important. You need an hour’s worth of music. Some of the other services are just based on algorithms. That doesn’t work. Kids listen to programmed radio, and it doesn’t work. We wanted to fix that.”

Just how is Beats Music’s version of curated playlists really that much different than Spotify’s? Because they are created by ‘industry experts’? Spotify’s version is close enough, if not the same. There are celebrity and industry expert playlist on Spotify too. Here is an interview with Beats Music’s CEO Ian Rogers.

Check out some of these curated playlist on Spotify. There are thousands of them:
@indiesongaday – 1 song per artist
@indiesongaday – indie rock – best of 2013
@indiesongaday – indie rock for running

They all fail to create a whole package that is automatic, intuitive, AND complete. (I won’t go into what I think that encompasses here but would be happy to discuss further) Let me just say that they aren’t as successful with recommendations, education, notifications, and user effort/input as they should be at this juncture.

I don’t think Iovine and Dre understand that aspect of it either and I can’t believe Apple is making this deal for the headphone tech. I’d be shocked if Beats Music has a v3.0 waiting in the wings that will be substantially different than the current version which is rather lackluster.

Music technology has been treading water for almost a decade now, and that includes today’s release of Beats Music 2.1. All of these companies are leaving features on the table that I feel could really upset the industry.


Resolve the “login not recognized” iPhone Comcast app error

I downloaded the Comcast iPhone application excited to see what, if anything, it had to offer. I’ve become a bit jaded with Comcast over the years due to the lack of a real technology push.

I’ve always wanted set top box built-in picture-in-picture and the ability to set my DVR from the internet or my phone. My parents, who live 3500 miles away, have Comcast and built-in PIP but it’s borderline useless. The small picture is stuck in middle third of the screen in the same position if you had it in the corner of a standard definition TV. At least they have it.

I opened the Comcast app and it wouldn’t recognize my login, which is my yahoo email address. I verified that I was using the correct login and pass yet the iPhone app still wouldn’t accept it.

I called Comcast and was initially told, “we only support login problems online and internet connection problems”. I explained to the rep that this was a Comcast provided service and she didn’t seem to understand that I wasn’t asking for support with my cell phone itself. After speaking with a manager, they found a buried ‘support request’ page for “comcast mobile”. I filled out this form and went to bed.

Today I tackled the problem again realizing that the support request I filled out last night might’ve been a complete waste of time. I figured that the iPhone app is requiring a email which I had never configured or used. I called Comcast again and we reset my email password and I verified that I could access it online.

A few minutes later I tried to login to the iPhone app using my email and it finally worked.

Comcast, please fix this problem and train your support staff.


Steve Wozniak likes Nine Inch Nails… but he likes Tetris more… way more.

This weekend we went down to Mountain View to see Nine Inch Nails and Jane’s Addiction. We went into the venue through the VIP gate and went up to the bar to get our drinks. We noticed that sitting down near the bar with a few friends was Steve Wozniak, Apple cofounder. We got our drinks and went on our way.

We walked across the venue to the other VIP bar and went down the ramp backstage. It was nothing special. Just a bunch of unknown people standing around chatting. The lone exception was Kevin Rose, founder.

The tour manager told us that Trent Reznor was getting ready to go on stage so we’d have to come back after the show. We walked back up the ramp to find our seats.

Our seats were in one of the box seat sections in the middle of the two reserved sections. We noticed that Steve Wozniak was seated right in front of us. We also noticed that he and his buddies were playing Tetris on a Gameboy. Somehow I noticed that Kevin Rose was seated behind us. I feel like nerd for knowing this but whatever… I work in tech… and know someone who works at Digg.

steve wozniak nine inch nails

Nine Inch Nails came on within five to ten minutes. I kid you not, Wozniak and his friends played Tetris for the ENTIRE SET! It was hysterical. He didn’t look up once.

steve wozniak nine inch nails

steve wozniak nine inch nails

Kevin Rose is in the black sweatshirt. Click on the photo to enlarge.

steve wozniak nine inch nails

After the NIN set we left our seats for backstage. We waited around casually for quite a while. Jane’s Addiction had taken the stage and we could see their set from the backstage televisions.

Eventually we were told that Trent Reznor was available so we were led back to his trailer. I have to admit Shoreline doesn’t keep the nicest of rooms for their guest. Very ugly 1970s wood paneling everywhere. We talked with Trent for a few minutes, took some pictures, and made our way back to our seats to pay our tab so we could leave before Jane’s Addiction finished their set.

At Nine Inch Nails with Trent Reznor

Back at our box, I noticed “WOZ” in large letters indicating Wozniak’s box in front of us. We also noticed that Wozniak was STILL playing Tetris. Probably through the entire concert except to eat.

steve wozniak at nine inch nails

steve wozniak nine inch nails


iTunes On OS X Finally Has Competition

The following is from, Slashdot: Apple

iTunes On OS X Finally Has Competition mallumax writes “The truth is, iTunes is an average music player. Though the UI is simple and good like most Apple products, it has lagged in features compared to music players available on Linux and Windows. A feature as basic as monitoring a folder and adding the latest music files to the library is unavailable in iTunes. There are no plugins or themes. Despite the many faults, many of us continued to use iTunes because of the lack of options available. But today the wait is finally over. Not one, but two music players have become credible contenders. Songbird: An open source music player which has been in the works for more than 2 years has finally released its 1.0 Release Candidate builds. The team behind Songbird has members who previously developed for both Winamp and the Yahoo Music Engine. It has support for extensions and themes (‘feathers’ in Songbird parlance). Amarok: The undisputed champion among Linux music players is finally coming to OS X, thanks to KDE 4 being ported there. Amarok developer Leo Franchi has been able to run a Amarok on OS X natively. So we can expect a reasonably stable Amarok to hit OS X in a few months’ time. Hopefully these players will gain traction among OS X users, which will finally force Apple to either step up in terms of features or open up iTunes for extensions.”

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

This was from Slashdot: Apple.


iTunes 8, using the Genius playlist option to do what you want

iTunes 8 features a new playlist creation tool called Genius. To create a playlist with it, you find a song you like and select it in your iTunes library, then you click on the ‘Genius’ button at the bottom right of your iTunes window. iTunes then gives you a few, albeit overly simplified, options. One, select how many songs you want in the playlist. Two, ‘Refresh’ the playlist with different songs. Three, “Save Playlist”. In theory I like the idea but in practice, it’s half useless.

What if I don’t want songs rated 1 or 2 stars in this playlist? What if I only want unrated songs in this playlist? You may be thinking, “who rates songs? what’s the point?”. The answer to that is rather long and I will go into that in a later post when I explain how to create customized and dynamic playlist to vastly improve the “shuffle” ability of iTunes and your iPod.

To achieve a Genius based playlist that consist of only unrated songs, this is what I did.

1. Create a Genius playlist for a song. Select a song you like, click on the ‘atom’ looking icon at the lower right of your iTunes window. Select “Limit to 50 songs”. and click on “Save Playlist”. You may repeat this step and create an unlimited number of Genius playlist. I call each playlist “g: song title”.

I try to rate all of my music, so when iTunes creates a Genius playlist, probably about 50% are rated. This only gives me about 25 songs per playlist that aren’t rated. Depending on how many songs you have rated, and how many unrated songs you want to achieve for the final playlist, you can adjust the parameters to match your needs.

2. Create a Smart Playlist that contains “any” and for the options, select “Playlist” > “is” > (the genius playlist you created in step 2). You may continue adding any and all Genius playlist you’ve created in step 1. I called this playlist “g: all”.

3. Create another Smart Playlist that contains “all” and for the first option select “playlist” > “is” > (select the playlist you’ve created in step 2). For the second option in this playlist, select “rating” > “is” > “0 stars”. I called this playlist “g: unrated”.

Here is a screenshot of the playlists I’ve created. I named them all with “g: ” to make it easier to find them and to know what they are for just by the playlist name.

genius playlist

So now if you want to play unrated songs based on the iTunes Genius feature, just select the final playlist you’ve created in step 3. Which for me is “g: unrated” in the screenshot above.

This is also a good way to find songs that you knew you liked but for whatever reason haven’t gotten around to rating yet. As each song plays, you can easily and quickly rate it. Or you can eyeball the list and batch rate songs with a few mouse clicks.

This is how I currently rate my music:

5 stars: My absolute favorite songs that I very rarely skip
4 stars: Songs I like
3 stars: Song I’m indifferent to. They may grow on me.
2 stars: Songs I don’t like
1 star: Special case songs, “live music”, “spoken word”, self-help tracks (instructional, tutorial, etc)


Stream your music collection to your iPhone

Simplify Media software connects you directly to your music with your iPhone.

Enjoy songs that are on your home computer while at work or from any WiFi location. Explore friends’ music while they are online.

Hoping to spur a strong early reaction, Simplify Media is offering the iPhone edition of its utility for free to the first 100,000 to download it but will charge $3.99 per copy afterward. The computer-based software is and remains free, regardless of platform.


PandoraJam, a must have app for fans


PandoraJam enables fans of the fantastic music service to easily listen, record and stream tunes to an Airport Express. With support for scrobbling tracks to and Twitter, PandoraJam is essential software for net music lovers everywhere.”

Features include:

  • Stream music wirelessly to a sound system (requires Airport Express)
  • Record music for iPod or iPhone playback
  • Apple Remote support
  • Tag recordings with album artwork
  • Submit songs to (known as Audioscrobbling)
  • Native, Cocoa application.
  • Growl notifications
  • Keyboard shortcuts
  • Instant Messaging status updates (Adium, iChat, Skype)
  • Twitter support

I’ve been using this off and on for about a year now… and I’m a bit late posting about this. I’ve never been a dedicated Pandora user because there are so many options and many of them have their limitations. However, using PandoraJam to listen to Pandora provides the huge majority of features and flexibility that tech savy music lovers desire. A custom designed station (add your artists), smart new artists recommendations, audioscrobbling, Instant Messenger status updates…

listen to my custom Pandora station here


BeaTunes’ powerful inspection feature let’s you clean up your iTunes track data in a way unrivaled by any other software on the market today. Easily find typos or different spellings of artists’ names, automatically fill in the album artist names, and much more. No more R.E.M. and REM in your iPod’s artist list!

beaTunes can even help you to find the titles of tracks that have no artist or title associated with them.

And once you have a clean collection, the built-in playlist generator works even better.

Here are some more examples of what you can do with beaTunes:

  • Automatically determine BPM (beats per minute) and store the result in iTunes
  • Manually determine BPM and store the result in iTunes
  • Inspect and fix your music library (typos, wrong genre etc.)
  • Sort existing playlists so that matching songs succeed each other
  • Create matchlists, i.e. playlists based on one or more sample songs
  • Browse songs from your music collection that match the currently selected song
  • Discover albums that aren’t in your music collection, but would complement it
  • Keep up to date through Amazon™ album charts
  • Automatically set start and end times of songs based on their volume
  • Categorize songs by their sound color
  • Build playlists per drag and drop
  • Create blog entries on with your favorite playlist or songs
  • Add like tags to your songs
  • Look up track metadata using acoustic fingerprints
  • Detect the language of lyrics already stored in iTunes


iPhone found in airplane toilet

On my flight home to San Francisco last night, the flight attendant came on the intercom and announced this to the airplane:

“May I have your attention. Someone found an iPhone in the toilet in the back of the plane. If you’re missing your iPhone, please come and get it.”

There was a fair amount of chuckling that went on for a few minutes afterward.


Leopard Screen Sharing Image Quality

ScreenSharing within Leopard doesn’t give you the fine grained control over the remote screen’s image quality like Apple’s professional remote control application ‘Remote Desktop’. If you’re controlling the remote computer over a slower network, such as wifi, you’d want to change this setting to a lower image quality for faster screen refresh. Leopard’s built-in ScreenSharing only gives you two options: Adaptive or Full Quality. I haven’t tested Screen Sharing enough to understand what ‘Adaptive’ really does. I’m guessing it measures the network speed and adjust it on the fly. Whatever it means, this is good enough for me. I want to be able to control this myself.

To change this setting manually, open up the Terminal and type in the following command:

defaults write controlObserveQuality 2

This changes the controlObserveQuality setting within this plist file:
“~/Library/Preferences/” file to 2, which is grey scale. To change it to a different resolution, substitute the number 2 with one of the following numbers.

1 = black and white
2 = grey scale
3 = 8 bit color
4 = 16 bit color
5 = full color


To answer Largo’s response below, ‘Screen Sharing’ is a system CoreService that resides here:

“/System/Library/CoreServices/Screen Sharing”

It’s basically just another hidden Utility application so you can drag it to your Dock to create a shortcut. But to specifically create a shortcut to a specific computer on your subnet, do the following:

1. Open up a Safari window
2. type in: vnc://

This is the IP address of the computer you want to create a shortcut to.
An example is: vnc://

3. Before loading that url, click on the small blue globe icon immediately to the left of the url and drag it to your Dock or any other place you want to save the shortcut.
4. To use the shortcut, just click on the icon in the Dock or double-click on the link you put somewhere.


10.5 Leopard, Time Machine woes and how I got around them

I bought Apple’s new operating system, 10.5 Leopard, on Saturday. One of the main selling points for me was its new automated backup software called Time Machine. I have gigs and gigs of personal data that screams at me every night to take proper care of it. Movies, Photos, Music. I had one near catastrophe a couple months ago and took measures then to avoid a total loss.

At the time I had one external 250 gig drive attached to my Mac Mini. This stored all of my data that I catagorize as ‘media’ files. Music and Movies. I don’t take enough photos, yet, to feel like I need to lump those in as well so they remain on my internal drive in the default location.

One night a couple months ago my external drive just flat out locked up. I rebooted my computer because everything else I tried failed to free up the drive. Upon reboot, the drive was unreadable. Fudge! Fortunately I had the large majority of my media on my previous external hard drive, which I replaced because it was too small for my media (125 gigs), and on my iPod.

mybook hard driveI went out that weekend and bought two new 1.5 TB hard drives for $129 each. Buy them from Amazon here for $129 each! This gives me a larger external media drive and a matching external drive for backup. I also picked up a small USB 2.0 hub for about $20 to connect all of my USB devices to.

I installed both external drives on my Mac Mini. I restored most of my lost data to the first external drive. I then manually copied everything from this drive and my user folder to the second drive. Now I had a proper backup! The only problem with this plan is that it is not automated. I have to copy the data myself. Apple’s new operating system, 10.5, Leopard was coming out in about a month so I continued to do my backups by hand every week until Leopard was released.

This past weekend I installed Leopard on my Mac Mini. After completion, the first thing I wanted to configure was Time Machine to automate my data backup. I selected the backup drive and waited for it to start by itself.

Time Machine started processing a couple minutes later. Eventually it gave an error that there wasn’t enough room on the backup drive to complete the backup. I looked at the contents of the backup drive and sure enough, I forgot to erase all of the data that I manually copied. I reformatted my designated backup drive, using Disk Utility and formatted the external drive with Mac OS Extended (Journaled), and waited for Time Machine to start up again. In retrospect, this was probably stupid because now I’m running a new OS and just killed my backup. This isn’t the smartest way to go about this but I was willing to take the chance. I did copy the data from my new 500 gig drive back to my old 250 gig drive so in reality it wasn’t all that stupid but it wasn’t my most recent backup.

A couple minutes later, Time Machine started up again. Another failure. The error message was completely useless and gave no hints as to why it failed. I found two system logs that gave a little more information but they were too vague to really be of help. I opened up the application from the Utilities folder and found Time Machine (backupd) references in these two logs:


Console Log


I resorted to my old Mac skills from the old OS 9 days and did some “Extension Conflict”-like troubleshooting. Within the Time Machine preferences, in System Preferences, I told Time Machine to ignore everything on my internal drive, selecting the root of the internal drive. (/Macintosh HD) I told it to ignore everything on my external drive 1 except for one folder. I waited for Time Machine to start.

Success! It successfully backed up the one folder on my external media drive. So I removed all of the exclusions that referred to my external drive. Again it worked! So something is causing this on my internal Macintosh HD drive.

I removed the exclusion of my internal drive (Macintosh HD) and then added exclusions for all of the next level folders except for my personal User folder.


Again it worked! So something on my internal hard drive is causing Time Machine to fail that does not reside in my User folder.

While waiting for various backup test to finish or fail, I researched Time Machine on It is recommended that during Time Machine’s initial backup that you do not let your computer go to sleep or let the screensaver come on. The initial backup is probably the most intensive because Time Machine needs to construct the required databases and other initialization files. Some people are also recommending that you exclude large files like those created by Entourage and Parallels.

/Users/[user folder]/Library/Parallels/
/Users/[user folder]/Documents/Microsoft User Data/

The Entourage database file is an absolute beast! It encapsulates all data into one file which can realistically be over 2 gigabytes! If you make one small change to your email data within Entourage then this database changes modification dates and Time Machine will have to backup the entire database again. So your options are to use another mail application instead of Entourage or backup this database file hourly, which is Time Machine’s default setting. So if you do use Entourage for email, you’ll want to back this data up but I’m just mentioning it here as another possible cause for Time Machine failing. You can also create a smart folder with the Finder to show files of a certain size to help you find files that may be larger than your preferred tolerance for what you want to backup.


Time Machine tip:

To change Time Machine’s default backup interval you’ll need to edit /System/Library/LaunchDaemons/ Open it in your favorite text editor and look for this key:


Change the number 3600 to some other time interval in seconds. You’ll have to do this using ‘sudo’ or root. I won’t go into that here because that’s beyond the scope of this article.


I have a hunch that different files will cause success or failure for different users at different times but I haven’t proven this yet.

I will continue my testing with Time Machine exclusions allowing different folders within my internal hard drive to be backed up by Time Machine until I narrow it down to the folder(s) and file(s) that are causing it to fail. I will report back and update this post with my findings. I just thought that it would be better to give some people some direction to get themselves started with at least some sort of successful backup.

other Time Machine tips:

Apple info on Time Machine
Apple info article
Macfixit article


update: 10/31/07 1:30 PM PST

Further testing has revealed that something within my iPhoto Library package is causing fits with both the Finder AND Time Machine.

If I tell Time Machine to only backup my User folder but not backup my /Users/[shortusername]/Pictures directory, Time Machine succeeds.

If I tell Time Machine to back up my entire User folder including the Pictures directory, it fails to backup about 3 gigs of data.

Using the Finder, if I try to manually copy the ‘iPhoto Library’ package from my Pictures directory to an external drive, it hangs about about the same point and eventually fails with error -36.

ioErr (-36): I/O error (bummers)

If I open this package and manually copy each folder it works. (huh?)

I discovered that some files within my iPhoto Library are JPGs but showing up in the Terminal as files with ‘extended attributes’, note the @ after the read/write/execute permissions:

-rwxrwxr-x@ 1 usershortname usershortname 3869764 May 20 19:59 CIMG0886.JPG

xattr -l CIMG0886.JPG
0000 4A 50 45 47 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 JPEG
0010 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00

I think this is the cause of my Time Machine troubles with this particular directory. I am using the latest version of iPhoto, version 7.1.

I don’t think the ‘iPhoto Library’ is the cause of everyone’s problems but probably whatever traits my troubled files have may be the same traits others have with other files.

I tried removing the one picture folder from within ‘iPhoto Library’ that contained 4 jpgs and both Time Machine and the Finder both still failed to copy the data. iPhoto does something internally to the way it stores data to cause this.

An interesting note is that after successfully backing up everything except this Pictures folder with Time Machine, removing the exclusion for this folder and trying again produces odd results. Time Machine shows correctly that about 3 gigs of data needs to be backed up. Time Machine hangs a bit early on in the process and quickly ends with no errors/failures. It also doesn’t jump past the hang point nor does it change the “Latest Backup” date. It just flat out ends like everything was fine when obviously it isn’t.

Notice that in my original post, I reported that I had success backing up my User folder the first time I tried without backing up anything else on my internal drive. Either I made a mistake in remembering what my test was or Time Machine is spotty and succeeds or fails with different backups. I wouldn’t be surprised if it were both. :)


update: 11/16/07 9:30 AM PST

I installed the 10.5.1 OS update last night. I removed the Time Machine exclusion rule for a couple of items that were failing before. “iPhoto Library” and /Library/Application Support/. I ran Time Machine and it worked successfully on all items. I wonder if this bug fix is what resolved my problem even though my external drive is less than 512 GB:

“* Addresses formatting issues with certain drives used with Time Machine (specifically, single-partition MBR drives greater than 512 GB in size as well as NTFS drives of any size and partition scheme).”


Remote Buddy adds iPhone support

;remoteControl your Mac from your iPhone with Remote Buddy.

Watch the video demo here.

Control iTunes, EyeTV, presentations and many more applications remotely with your iPhone.

“Remote Buddy turns the remote control in your hands into a key to your entire system. No matter, whether you want to control applications and presentations, browse and playback your music- and video collection, watch TV with EyeTV, browse the web or your filesystem, make the globe turn in Google™ Earth, enter a text, move the mouse, play games or maybe just change the brightness of your screen – you can do this all with Remote Buddy! And so much more!”