Dienstag, 28. Februar 2012


I wrote a little Mac App for locking/unlocking the Dock against changes of any kind. It asks for admin-rights when run, so it can't be tampered with easily. It should work from OS X 10.4 on, I have only tested it with 10.7 Lion.

Download: LockDock 

It works by using calling the following shell commands (via applescript)

defaults write com.apple.Dock contents-immutable -bool yes            
defaults write com.apple.Dock size-immutable -bool yes            
defaults write com.apple.Dock position-immutable -bool yes
killall Dock

(or replace yes by false for unlocking)

Send me a message if you want the XCode project...

Sonntag, 25. Dezember 2011

Airport Extreme USB Hard drive and Windows 7 Home Premium

I was trying to use a USB hard drive plugged into an Apple Airport Extreme with Windows 7 Home Premium. Under Windows the Airport Disk Utility (Airport-Basisstrationsagent) offered me to connect, but it failed with an error, something like "Unknown User ..." ("Unbekannter Benutzer, falsches Kennwort, oder die Anmeldung ist deaktiviert. Bitte geben Sie die Anmeldeinformationen erneut ein oder wenden Sie sich an den Administrator des Laufwerks"), Error code 1231 or 2202

Heres the best sources I found:

Then, as windows 7 home premium doesnt have the policy manager secol.msc:

Details to the LmCompatibilityLevel registry-Flag

I also tried:
- Formatting the Drive to Fat32 (did not make a difference, except then it stopped working with the mac)
- all three possible ways of access settings in the airport-utility (Account, only passwort, airport password)
- using WORKGROUP\USER as username in the airport disk agent (leads to a different error code)
- connecting directly to it as a networkdrive \\IP-Adress\Drivename ("Der eingegebene Ordner ist ungültig")

BUT IN THE END IT WAS NO USE, so I gave up for now.

At least it works on the mac in nearly all configurations (except fat32)

Samstag, 4. Juni 2011

Using an USB Bluetooth Adapter with Apple Wireless Keyboard and Magic Trackpad, OS X Snow Leopard

Background: I am using a macbook pro 15" (2011) with an external Display, which is about three meters away from my macbook. Sadly, the "Apple Magic Trackpad" becomes unreliable when using it with the internal bluetooth adapter of the macbook pro (awkward jumps and jitter) at about 2-3meters already. It changes to the better, when I move the macbook to a different corner of the room, but this does not work for me, as all my other peripherals are sitting in the nasty corner. However, when using an usb bluetooth dongle I get perfect reception all across the room. But, sadly there are a few issues.

The Issue
When rebooting the computer or unplugging and replugging the usb bluetooth device, the Apple Wireless Bluetooth Keyboard does not reconnect. Usually it does not work, then in some cases it works for a few seconds, and then it claims to be connected (in system preferences) but nothing happens when typing. It can also get stuck while typing, then the last key is repeated in an infinite loop until you press the same key on the macbooks own keyboard.

The only workaround I found is: After reconnecting the usb-dongle (or rebooting):
1. Go to System Preferences /  Keyboard
2. Press the keyboards power-button until it turns off (the light goes on when pressing, then press until it turns off)
3. Click on "configure bluetooth keyboard", and instantly afterwards turn the keyboard back on by pressing the button until the light is on
4. Now the menu finds the keyboard. Confirm it and wait until the system stops indicating that it is doing something. Now it should be reconnected and working.

The Magic Trackpad seems to work a little better. Sometimes it reconnects automatically, but I usually click on the trackpad entry's connect-button in the bluetooth tray menu, which works in (almost) all cases.

If you want to pair a bluetooth device, that has already been paired with your internal bluetooth, with a usb bluetooth dongle, you have to unpair it, when the internal bluetooth is active (i.e., when the usb bluetooth dongle is NOT connected). Conversely, when you want to unpair a bluetooth device from the usb bluetooth dongle, the latter has to be plugged in.

I get the same experience with both usb bluetooth dongles I tested. If anybody can recommend a different, where the behaviour is better, please tell me!

Sonntag, 20. März 2011

Macfuse, Truecrypt, NTFS-3G

I had some trouble with truecrypt (encryption tool) and ntfs-3g (NTFS read/write support), each telling me, that there were some problems with macfuse. Finally I found a version of macfuse that would work at http://www.offthehill.org/articles/2010/12/31/macfuse-for-64-bit-snow-leopard/ ...

Mittwoch, 16. März 2011

Macbook Pro 15" 2011 for audio - Review

Here is a little review of my Macbook Pro 15" 2011. Configuration:

  • 15" baseline model (2.0Ghz quad core sandy bridge with 4GB RAM, Intel HD 3000 + 256MB AMD Graphics)
  • The 256 SSD option
  • Hires matte (antiglare) display (1680x1050)

Why did I choose this one:

  • I wanted something fast, quiet and with a nice screen, which works well for audio.
  • Why no RAM upgrade? I thought that with an SSD I don't need the RAM upgrade immediately, because I can shut and reopen programs quickly. I'll get it as soon as I run into some performance issue.
  • 13" seemed more easily to get heat and fan-noise problems since it has only one fan and less cooling alluminium surface. That is just a guess though, as I could not test any of the 13" yet. I did read some posts at macrumors forums where people are complaining, but you cannot be sure if they didn't just get a malfunctioning product.
  • Also 13" has 'only' the dual-core processor and a smaller screen
  • The topline 15" configuration with the stronger graphics made not much sense for me as I don't do gaming. Also the additional speed of the 2.2Ghz version seemed marginal not to be worth the additional cost for my usage. Finally,  I also suspected the faster processor and the faster graphics to be more energy consuming and thus heat and fan-noise-inducing, which I could not find any results before hand, so it is pure speculation again.
  • 17" is too heavy and expensive in my opinion

I am very happy to report that:

  • It runs very fast. Boot time and program launches are insanely quick. A complete reboot is around 35-45s, this includes shutting down and booting until the end. The plain boot time from where the apple appears on the grey screen was 18s today. However, I never reboot a lot, but it seems people are interested in boot times. This is especially the first computer where Adobe Lightroom (v3) runs really smoothly (and launches in 3s).
  • It runs very silent! I have it in clambshell-mode (closed lid) with an external 22" 1680x1050 display attached and a firewire audio interface (Focusrite Saffire Pro 40) connected (room temperature 20°C). I am running a project on Logic Express 9 (with 16 audio tracks and 12 busses with some compressors eqs reverbs delays) in a loop since an hour. The same project which made the fans of my black 2.4Ghz c2d Macbook 2008 (with coolbook installed) went to their crying limits 6000rpm quickly with cpu usage around 20-30%. On this computer cpu usage is reported as 3% at around 60°C and the fans have settled around 2500rpm, which has only a very distant soft airflow sound. Also, unlike my previous model, it doesnt really care at all about websites with flash or flash videos. Also I noticed, that when load is reduced it cools down pretty quickly and fans go back to there minimum around 2000rpm. 
  • The screen is nice. The resolution is great for 15". I tested it a little outside, and the antiglare seems to work well. I was a bit sad that the screens colors do not have the same saturation as the glossy version, but it is still pretty and much better than my last model. For inside use I am having it attached to a nice  external display anyways, and in summer I will be using it outside a lot. Also I like the aluminium bevel around the screen more than the black one in the glossy models.

Things I noticed:

  • The bluetooth module seems a bit stronger than that of my old macbook, but still it doesn't reach more than 3m reliably.
  • The wifi signal is displayed two bars less than that of my macbook, but works equally well.
  • When pluging in an audio cable to my hifi system into the headphones jack the switching of the sound to the new output destination takes a second or so.
  • Photo Booth does not make use of the new isight Cameras higher resolution.

And a few points considering the migration from time machine (which was still great and saved me huge amounts of time)

  • Connecting the external display after the first initial boot after installation from time maching did not work
  • The available screen color calibrations were restored but not automatically assigned to the external display
  • Custom keyboard layouts, which were stored in /Library not in myuser/Library were not recovered from time machine installation
  • Logic Express had to be reinstalled following the instructions at http://support.apple.com/kb/TS3519
  • The application-specific settings of Little Snitch got lost.