Some macOS / OSX notes

Started 5Jan2013, updated 13dec2019 Mac Mini 2018: maxing out the SSD drive? This page is in group Technology.

Disclaimers

  1. This “Mac OS X”, “OSX”, “OS X” or soon to be “macOS” again blog note – will mention concrete products and manufacturers. There is no money involved with this, I just happen to have learned something about them that I think is ok to write about
  2. I do try to be accurate in my descriptions, but I cannot guarantee that it will work for you. I write after some time, and what I write may not be completely correct. Please comment if you find any inaccuracies or errors

OSX aborting session when stumbling on a single file

Published 5Jan2013

Some times I need to move large amounts of files or a single very large directory around. I think it often involves an external disk. It could be moving the iTunes library media files to an external disk (see my old blog 003 or new [1] at Ars Technica), or some other need.

After some years of sitting where they are, Mac OSX might find at least one of the files not possible to move. OSX then stops the copying or moving! In the middle of the work, with a cryptic error message in the form of some negative number! It doesn’t tell where it stopped, and there is no way to “continue” that I have discovered.

But there is an easy solution: instead of copy or move – synchronize!

Some years ago I found that I had a tool right on my mac to get this work done. I assume that any synch tool could do the work, but I use ChronoSync [2]. It’s just to set up a new “synchronizer” for moving in one direction. You can use Backup, Blind Backup or Mirror modes. Experiment.

The good thing is that you can try it first and see how it will go by doing a Trial Sync, and after real Synchronize you will find a log, also containing errors describing what was not successful. You can tell ChronoSync how it should handle errors: Report to user, Skip, Exclude or Abort. Except – you don’t want Abort, because that’s the default OSX semantics, the reason for using the synchronizer tool.

OSX Mavericks error: windows stuck in ackward positions

Published 29Jan2014, updated 15Feb2014

  • OS X Mavericks OS X 10.9.1 (13B42)
  • Error windows stuck in awkward positions
  • Screen clips from MacBook Pro, Retina, 13-inch, Late 2012
  • Intel HD Graphics 4000 1024 MB

Below is a slideshow with two pictures. The first picture shows the window for handling of AirPlay speaker positioned ok. In the second picture the main window was moved, but the dialogue window reappeared at the same place as. It should have stayed close to the mouse click.

Finder may also show a rename file text entry window that’s positioned at wrong places, even out of the screen! Also the top menu bar some times has the drop-down positioned wrongly; it’s difficult to realize that to navigate to the drop down menu one has to do it from the left of the natural start trace. And rescaling or moving a window may cause it to rescale and position at strange places. These are all matters I am experiencing.

This problem is described in at least this thread at Apple Support Community: “Windows Stuck In Akward Positions After Maverick [sic] Update” at https://discussions.apple.com/thread/5546095?start=0&tstart=0. The points below so far I believe give zero useful information (so instead skip the list and jump to the work-around):

  1. It is suggested in the thread, but in my case it does not help, to remove automatic entering of machine idle mode. But now I have also removed auto idle for the screen, so I’ll see if it helps. I go to idle manually anyhow, so I could do that until Apple fixes it. Actually I set the timeouts to so long that they won’t happen. If you have got the problem you need to restart after changing the configuration. I have never seen the machine start with this error.
  2. The thread also suggests to turn hiding on and then off in the dock.
  3. I worked in Pages’09 (4.3) when the problem appeared. I then tried (a shot in the dark?) to switch dock hiding on, off, on – but it did not seem to help. But after a while I saw it was ok again (on some of the windows only..), before I shut Pages. I had not been in sleep during this session.

I have reported this to Apple at https://bugreport.apple.com and it was registered as “Windows stuck in ackward positions”, number 15944471.

Work-around

A work-around is described by Kees de Wit here https://discussions.apple.com/message/24875114?ac_cid=tw123456#24875114. It worked when I tried it for Finder: the rename text field after this was positioned correctly!

Speculation

Disclaimer, speculative paragraph: As a programmer I would not be surprised if this were an error that’s caused by some OO problem, as described in this reference: https://www.teigfam.net/oyvind/home/technology/079-wysiwyg-semantics/#Ref03. Typically the x.y-pos of the window is not set to new values, but the old value is being used. This may be an aliasing or some OO-circular problem as described in Peter H. Welch’s referenced paper.

Sharing from OS X Preview with Messages

OS X Yosemite 10.10.4 (5July2015). See my “Not so blocking after all” blog note chapter with the same name as above, here.

Windows 10 with Boot Camp by Parallels Desktop on iMac 4K retina

(17July 2016 ver.1.0.3) I bought a version of Microsoft Windows 10 and installed it with Boot Camp. I then booted up in Windows and was able to find out how to boot again in OSX (OS X El Capitan 10.11.5 – next version will be macOS). I then installed Parallels Desktop for Mac to serve as a virtual machine for Windows 10. It’s “Windows on Mac without Rebooting”.

I did all this to run winf and learn about Windows 10. I had already tried wine.app, XQuarts and X11 (see 057) on MacBook Pro and didn’t want to repeat that for the new 4K retina 21.5″ iMac.

Getting Windows up was well described by Apple (here) and by Parallels (here). READ THEM. I thought I did. But still struggled a lot. Here are some extra tips. But do read them first, then do nothing, then read this, then start off with their texts and then press their buttons.

Below are camera pictures, since I don’t know how to do screen grabs/cuts in these intermediate modes:

Boot Camp-install in Windows 10

Boot Camp-install in Windows 10 (press for more pixels)

  1. For some strange reason I wasn’t able to install Windows 10, run Boot Camp Assistant and Parallels install tool piece by piece. I ended up, when I found out what really to do, to start all over and run all in a sequence. There should not be “state” in this, requiring this sequence, but this is how I ended up doing it when I finally succeeded:
  2. I bought (a long process in itself, leaving me with a feeling that Microsoft had been nice with me and allowed me to pay a lot for a product the world is so lucky to be blessed with) a Windows 10 licence and pasted the key into a Notes document. That was luck, because when the install screen later came, I had to type the key in. No paste. I found it in the note that had appeared on my iPhone through iCloud. Even simpler: write the key down on a piece of paper. I needed it many times..
  3. Microsoft said on the download page that “the link” was valid for 24 hours. That means I had 24 hours to do that download. It gave me a time 24 hours ahead in UTC and AM/PM, silly. We have 24 hours clock here and why they use UTC for non-astronomers I fail to understand. Central European Time is just as formally defined as UTC
  4. I downloaded the ISO image file. Microsoft gave me a list of several possible downloads, but didn’t tell me which I should use, or what they were. Just some nomenclature. There seemed to be a special “N” variant for Europe (Google helped), also an “NK” variant for Korea I found out (?) (hey, I live in Norway!) I tried the “N” but failed (probably it’s some finger trouble of mine), but I ended up downloading the standard variant. In addition I had to select basic language. Fair enough. When I failed I had a feeling that I needed to download again, so I ended up with several downloads. With deletes in between
  5. I then started Apple’s Disk Tool (“Diskverktøy”) just to follow what I had read about. There was no partition there called BOOTCAMP. I let it sit open. I have an SSD-only machine
  6. I then started the Apple Boot Camp Assistant. (“Boot Camp-assistent”). It discovered the Microsoft Windows ISO image file. It also suggested the minimum size of a new BOOTCAMP partition it was going to make for me (instead of having Disk Tool do it). That was 32 GB. I pushed the line between the main partition and the BOOTCAMP partition, and it seemed to move somewhat to the smaller. Maybe this was the cause of the warning from the Windows installer later on that the partition it had got was too small (it wanted 33838 MB). I don’t know. It seemed just to be a warning, I was so happy then that I had gotten so far, so I let it go; it seemed – with Microsoft’s blessing). Since I am not going to use Windows much, I am simply not going to let it completely pass by when I next year exit work, then mininum is what I gave it. (Aside: When I failed this several times then Boot Camp Assistant also removed the partition. It either makes one or removes it)
  7. Watching Disk Tool while Boot Camp Assistant was working I could see how the BOOTCAMP partition came into being. Boot Camp Assistant was supposed to restart the machine. It surely did, all of a sudden. After several rounds with this I observed that it was only after the Apple rotating wheel spun for some seconds that it restarted with the Windows set-up tool. If there was no spinning wheel then it restarted with OS X again, and I started from square one, since there was nothing telling me what was (not) going on
  8. When the Microsoft Windows set-up screen arrived it was so tiny on my 4K retina screen that I had to find a magnifying glass to read the text. By analysing the picture below that window should cover 640 pixels (15,6% of 4096) which makes sense since the basic Windows screen at least was 640 pixels. This tiny patch in the middle of my screen certainly isn’t much up to date. The mouse worked ok, but the rest of the screens reminded me of Windows 3.1 in the early nineties.  
    Windows 10 setup on iMac retina 4k
  9. I found out that I should select the manual set-up mode (not “upgrade” but instead “advanced” (“egendefinert” in Norwegian)). If not it would complain that it couldn’t find a partition. In manual I went down to the BOOTCAMP partition and (after I read one of the install notes in detail – after having gotten a complaint that the partition wasn’t NTFS file system (Boot Camp Assistant had made FAT32)), then I pushed the “Format” word button. The tiny Windows set-up tool in the middle of the screen indicated some activity and went on
  10. Finally Windows came up. I had to fill in several details about myself several times, this is rather paranoid. I assume each of them has a good reason..
  11. I found my winf32 file and downloaded it with the new Edge browser (here, pw is “W..”). This is the nineties, but still, no other code editor does folding as fluently.. But the font’s rendering and the nineties look didn’t give me an optimistic start. The start window in Windows, with animated tiles gave me the impression that someone had tried to sell me a Mercedes but thrown in a tabloid newspaper to run it by. Why did Microsoft think I wanted fresh info about games or their selection of news as the first impression? Hmm..
  12. I found a Boot Camp icon in the Windows right, bottom corner and told it to restart in OS X again. That menu is not seen in the picture. Boot Camp in Windows 10
  13. Back in an OS X boot, now came the time for Parallels Desktop for Mac – since I didn’t want dual boot with. I wouldn’t have bought an iMac for Windows only. I wouldn’t have any Windows without OS X right there. When I started it, it saw the Window’s BOOTCAMP partition and I asked it to install from there. (I had tried starting with letting it do the Windows install, too (with 20 GB it said it would let it go with?) – but I didn’t succeed. But this time it did)
  14. Windows now seems to be running fine under OS X. Parallels now has its virtual machine (VM) run “Windows on Mac without Rebooting”
  15. I had tried to install two VMs, but Parallels helped me in Twitter (here) to get one removed. I did try to start a thread on Parallel’s discussion forum, but it didn’t think I wrote in “English”, so I was stopped. There was no sic there and no Norwegian. I had to do it through the Twitter straw instead
  16. I may try it with Google’s Chrome OS one day, too. Instead of buying a chromebook machine. My grandchildren will soon come with these, as the schools in Trondheim already have replaced more than 3000 WIndows machines with chromebooks (7.2016)
  17. Comments welcomed! On Twitter, here, or mail me. I will of course fix!
  18. Observe that Time Machine (TimeMachine) will not backup the (BOOTCAMP) Windows partition! (By the way, naturally it doesn’t backup the OS X trash, either.) So, either find a way to do it (Windows? Parallels? Third party? By hand?) or have files as much as possible on the OS X partition
  19. Now I have to “activate” Windows 10, to avoid it timing out in a month. This is something else than registering. Windows keeps telling me this, which I presume is fine. I tried the other night by copy-pasting the 25-character product key. It didn’t accept that, so I need to try to type it it. Which didn’t help. I’m sure Microsoft has some reason to impose this on me. This article descibes more. It’s got to do with anti-piracy, which I presume is especially annoying if you live by charging 1199 NOK (USD 119,99 – which is cheaper) for every copy – and you’re big and targeted. And I did this very voluntary, also paying almost that amount for Parallels. I’m simply not going to let Windows 10 (an then Chrome OS) go by when I retire from my daily dose of Windows. OS X has ruled at home and it still will. But not completely.
    1. I got error code 0xC004C008, it’s described on Microsoft suport here. One Windows 10 says I need to activate, and another says I’ve done it? But I have only one machine!
    2. Parallels has a thread about it here. Ok, so this is about it being activated already when I started it in dual boot. And now I’m in Parallel’s virtual desktop
    3. Problem solved: I pressed the Microsoft Help in the Activation window containing the error report and called the telephone number that was there. A machine lady’s voice answered:
      • I had to type in nine different 7-digit numbers that was shown in the window. This was the Installation-ID (“installasjons-ID” in Norwegian). The voice at the other end helped me
      • I then went to the next screen and was asked to type in eight 6-digit numbers (A-H) that the voice spelt out to me. This was the Acknowledge-ID (“bekreftelses-ID”). The next key to press on the screen was Activate (“Aktiver Windows”). It worked! My machine now is activated both under Dual Boot and with Parallels
  20. Apr2016: About the nagging Windows Upgrade Assistant’s nagging error code 0xc190020e at My PicoScope notes

Command-tab application switcher

(Update 16Nov2016) My cmd-TAB horisontal application bar of icons didn’t switch to the application I had selected (OS X 10.11.6). I closed Parallels Desktop (force quit, actually). Voila! The application switcher switches again! And I didn’t lose it when I restarted Parallels Desktop and logged into Windows. Parallels Desktop had been running for a long time unattended.

Never-ending mails from Parallels?

(Update 2Jan2017) After some months now (with no need for Windows yet) I still have not managed to get Parallel ad mails off my back. It doesn’t seem to help to unsubscribe. The impression I get of Parallels from this is easy to guess..

Bad old Windows font smoothing on 4K screen

The left part here is XMOS xTIMEcomposer (Eclipse based) running on a 4K iMac. The right is my very old winf32 folding editor that I don’t seem to get rid of. The latter is an exe file running in Windows on Parallels. Press to get one-to-one pixels from the screen clip.

Winf32 (Windows exe on Parallels, right) and Eclipse (MacOS, left) on iMac 4096 pixel screen
Press for pixel-to-pixel screen grab

Now, is there a way to have Windows or Parallels do a better job? I know it’s hard since the basic DPI is so different, if it’s bitmap based. But it’s not winf32 that does the font rendereing, it’s a call to the Windows version at the time (some twenty years ago). Is there a change to get as crisp fonts as I do in xTIMEcomposer? Observe that Eclipse is even Java based, which seems to be very good on macOS.

Downgrading Java on High Sierra

xTIMEcomposer and not(?) macOS High Sierra

If you have strayed off to this remote corner of the web and are a Mac user and an XMOS xTIMEcomposer user and even think about updating to macOS High Sierra my advice is was: perhaps wait with installing High Sierra (Update 7Dec2018: this goes all the way up to Mojave, so I guess the FLASHing in Terminal issue (below) we’ll have to live with until there is a newer xTIMEcomposer than 14.3.3. Now dare to upgrade macOS anyhow!)

Update 7Dec2018, see a short description about how to do the FLASHing in Terminal issue here. Then you may as well drop the below text.

I did and had to downgrade, see xTIMEcomposer and not(?) macOS High Sierra

This started here: xTIMEcomposer,Java Runtime JRE and macOS on the XMOS XCore Exchange forum.

Then, my initial post on Downgrading Java on High Sierra (Oct2017):

I now run High Sierra and the XMOS xTIMEcomposer Studio [1]. This is a Java-based tool that, when I started it, got the message that “You must install an older version of Java SE 6 Runtime to open “xtimecomposer.app”. I downloaded the old Java from Download Java for OS X 2017-001 as suggested.
However, that downgrade doesn’t seem to work on High Sierra (I never tested it on Sierra, because I skipped that version). There is a discussion at XCore Exchange that I started [2], but this is quite new.
Is there a way to completely remove Java and then install that obsoleted version directly as it is, without going through the downgrade process?

[1] xTIMEcomposer Studio Download | XMOS
[2] http://www.xcore.com/viewtopic.php?f=26&t=6138&p=30877#p30877

Portrait mode movies from iMovie

(Sep2019) This did not seem to be straight out of the box. I ended up with a movie, fair, enough – but without dynamic titles. Titles are all static pictures exported from a Pages document. I even had to make the movie with all the material tilted to laying, and use Preview and HandBrake. See:

  • My aquarium holiday automatic fish feeder (for granules) (chapter Feeder feeding twice)
  • WordPress (chapter Portrait mode movies)
  • I also posted a question about this at Apple support communityMaking portrait movies with iMovie (15Sep2019). Rich there confirmed that iMovie has the limitations that I also had reasons to believe. But he suggested an alternative: “Another way would be to export the vertical video and crop out the black bars by using the New Screen Recording feature of QuickTime Player.” Nice!

Mac Mini 2018: maxing out the SSD drive?

New 11Oct2019, updated 12Oct2019. This is about the 4th generation (USB-C, 2018).

(Beware, this chapter is full of (extra (rather fragmented) (just nice to know, perhaps) info)).

I have an old Mac Mini from 2008  that sits (or sat) as a multimedia machine. It has been little used the last years since it slowly has become outdated. (No exception for it.) Only iTunes is rather ok. It still sees new music I buy on other units and downloads it. But I cannot log into iCloud any more. And YouTube does not run on the old Safari, for one. Besides, the Mac Mini has been cannibalised by the Apple TV.

Aside: It’s a Mac Mini model middle of 2007 (Macmini2,1, model number A1176) with Intel processor, 80 GB disk (too small for music) and a CD/DVD Combo drive. It runs Mac OS X Lion 10.7.5 (2011), iTunes 12.2.2.25 (2015) and Safari 6.1.6 (2014). The only older machine I have that also works is an “iLamp” iMac G4 (2002) (with Mac OS X Tiger 10.4.11 (2007)). I have liked both of these machines.

On the Mac Mini my iTunes media files (130 GB of new downloads (that I always may download again from Apple) and imported CDs (that I must not lose)) are on a external NAS (Network-Attached Storage), ie. an AirPort Time Capsule, (standing, fifth generation, 2013) replaced by Apple in 2018 (five year guarantee in Norway). 2 TB, enough for iTunes media files and Time Machine sparse bundles from three machines. (This has been described earlier here, also see [1].)

So, how large Mac Mini 2018 do I need to replace the old? I have never really liked that I needed to do a backup of the media files “by hand”. I have used ChronoSynch for this, to make a copy on a flat AirPort Time Capsule and an external USB-connected 2 TB disk that I swap with a similar in another house.

Assuming that I moved the iTunes media files into a Mac Mini, to avoid this lack of automated backup mess* – how big an SSD drive (no rotating disk**) do I need to buy on a new Mac Mini? (*ChronSynch does have a scheduler that could have it make backups regularly.) I could go for a 256 GB machine, but with 130 GB music plus other things – too small. 512 GB is so expensive! (**But there still is a rotating fan, the only thing I replaced after some years in my old Mac Mini.)

I was kind of lost, so I went two times to the local Apple retailer, one time on each location. I said that I probably needed to buy the biggest machine since I needed to move all iTunes media into the machine, to have Time Machine do the backup for me – since Time Machine could not include an external disk in its backup scheme. Another employee heard me and said as he passed by: no, no! So he showed me this, which was new to me. Here:

Time Machine backs up USB-drives, even individual directories

Yes I know: Time Machine is not meant for backups, which would store files forever. It takes a snapshot with older edits for as long as space allows. It then starts to remove older copies (but it asks first). So even deleted files may be left for some time. But it always backs up the all present files. Here’s the page that the employee placed on a screen on his way back to the customer he was with:

It works – provided it is formatted as HFS+ (Mac OS Extended, Case-sensitive). I think this is strange since it’s a source to be backed up and not the destination backup disk (which we all know must be be HFS+). But it was grayed out intil I started Disk Utility and reformatted it.

Time Machine backing up removable USB-disk’s one directory, not not the other. (Press for more pixels)

The example in the figure shows my USB memory stick (TEIG_10_19) with the “Ikke” directory (=”not”) that is excluded and the “TimeMachine” directory that in not excluded = included with Time Machine. You can see that the right stack of cards only has empty cards while the left one has several timed backups.

Why upgrade to a new Mac Mini?

What might be the reasons to buy a new Mac Mini (or which losses are acceptable) when we have an Apple TV? The Apple TV, the Mac Mini and the internal TV share the TV’s screen in our living room.

  • We have a DVD/Blu-ray drive in another room, so it’s ok to discontinue the living room DVD. One reason to accept the new creature that has no DVD slot. And an USB Apple SuperDrive is still in the shops for that sake (mine is borrowed away for good)
  • I just found out that there is a YouTube TV app for Apple TV. So this is no reason
  • To have a non-movable machine to administer my old, imported CDs? This is a reason
  • Also, to have a non-movable machine have iTunes run continously again, so that this service may be shared out to the Apple TV. This is a reason
  • To have a proper Safari browser on the TV. If sharing out the iPad’s screen to the Apple TV is not good enough. This is 1/3 of a reason only
  • Sooner or later the old Mac Mini has to go. If no replacement for it then I would have to transport ownership of the iTunes library on the Time Capsule to a portable MacBook or a desktop iMac on a different floor. I don’t think that this is optimal
  • ???
  • It’s fun with a new Mac Mini. Life is too short. I turn 70 next year

By the way, I have used JollyFastVNC to control the old Mac Mini from a MacBook when I don’t want to sit by the TV’s Mac Mini. It’s not very practical to sit by the TV screen with a mouse and keyboard. This would still work with a new Mac Mini. Update 1Nov2019: But the new macOS screen sharing option is so much better! It can even do a log-in from sleep, the connection is kept. And for a macOS upgrade with restart, the client rotates waiting for a new connection, and a new connection is taken, even at the “12 minutes left” screen. I now use macOS Mojave 10.146x on both machines. Of course, a high-pixel screen on the client side is quite nice.

If you have reached this far and still have even more time for this theme, there are some points at Apple TV vs. Mac Mini (2017) at MacRumors.

Conclusion

No need to max out on the SSD! I buy an external disk (SSD drive?) of some sort and plug it into the smallest Mac Mini 2018 there is (in 2019), reformat the external disk to HFS+ and move the iTunes media files to the disk (up to now that was done inside Tunes with the Advanced choices menu, but I have to find out how to do this on macOS 10.15 Catalina’s sharpened iTunes) , include that directory for Time Machine (=remove an exclusion that I first have to set up) so that Time Machine can place backups on my several other backup-storing disks. And then I can just forget about the new disk, it would always be plugged into the Mac Mini and I would always have Time Machine backups.

Running code in a Terminal window and $PATH

Have a look at My FPGA notes for an example. If you need to run an application that resides in the directory you are at, to avoid command not found, remember to start with ./ like this:

./myapp

Then, to make it runnable from any Terminal window, either move the code to user/local/bin (assuming it is in the global PATH) or put the local path in PATH. Se the example. Do this with an export statement (see How to Add a New Path to PATH at Command Line the Right Way @ OXDaily).

To learn even more, see Where to Set Environment Variables in Mac OS X @ OXDaily.

References

  1. How to offload your iTunes library to a NAS. Free up your local disks by shoving that iTunes library onto external storage. Lee Hutchinson – Dec 26 2012″. At Ars Technica, there
  2. ChronoSync from Econ Technologies

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