Posts from February 2008.

Mac OS X, do not get sensitive

HP Photosmart D5160

HP Photosmart D5160

Talking with a friend of mine a while back I mentioned I was converting my old Digital8 tapes and burning them to DVD. He told me he had old Digital8 tapes but no longer had a Digital8 camcorder. So I offered to convert his tapes too.

I’ve been capturing them with a Hauppauge WinTV-HVR 950 and Eye-TV. It’s really nice, you press play on the camcorder, record in the Eye-TV program to start. Two hours later (or whenever the tape ends) you stop recording, wait a few minutes for Eye-TV to compress the stream, add chapter markers, and send the newly captured program to Toast with a simple right click. Out pops a DVD with your old movie on it.

So, I’ve been going through my stack of non-printable DVDs hand writing the tape titles directly onto the DVD with a felt tip sharpie until I ran out of non-printable DVDs. Not a big deal, I started using printable ones. But, when the first printable DVD was burned and ready I couldn’t bring myself to write on it with the sharpie, it just seemed… well, wrong. If you’re going to do it, do it right. I fired up my HP D5160 ink jet photo/DVD printer, clicked on the HP Create application and the “%$#@*&” program didn’t work properly.

I decided that reinstalling would be the fastest road to recovery. So that’s just what I did, I reinstalled the print driver and software after uninstalling the same to no avail. I then did my research, searching the web for some occurrence of this happening before with no luck. I scoured HP’s support site, nothing. So, I figured I’d have to resort to emailing HP’s technical support. But, before I did that, I wanted to provide as much information as possible. Mostly because I didn’t believe it was happening — it’s a freaky error. So I made a movie. Yes, that’s right, I made a movie of the odd behavior as proof I wasn’t a stark raving lunatic that just likes to email random, anonymous, tech-support, people to have email chats. I created a screen capture with Screenium, which is a fantastic program, and then compressed the quicktime movie file with MPEG StreamClip, another program no one should be without.

The movie is dull, boring and embarrassing. I start off with “Hi my name is Andrew, and I have an iMac.” Like I’m speaking at some AA meeting. Well, a picture is worth a thousand words, a two minute video should be worth ten thousand. Here’s the movie if you’re so inclined to watch it.

Get the Flash Player to see this video.

Dull, boring, embarrassing and completely bizarre isn’t it?

So I filled out the HP website with the details bellow:

problem area : installation and setup
operating system : Macintosh OS X 10.4
How is your product connected to your PC? : USB Cable
error message : No message
problem description :

When I open the Create Program to print/label a printable DVD, on the left the templates and layouts do not load. The screen is just gray. I have an old boot drive archived and tested it by mounting the image and it works when I run the program from the mounted image. But when I run it from my current boot drive, nothing, not even when the archived image is mounted.

troubleshooting :

I have a screen capture video (2.3MB DivX AVI) which illustrates this. I think once you see the problem I’m having and the comparison of the two programs on different partitions, you’ll be able to either tell me what files need to be fixed or copied over.

setting changes :

This has never worked since I reinstalled my OS from scratch last month. I reformatted by hard drive and installed OS X 10.4 from original media. I did not IMPORT the previous settings from the old OS. I then reinstalled the HP driver suite,downloaded fresh from your website, and Create has not functioned since.

I then got an automated ‘we got your email’ email and waited. To my delighted surprise I had a reply with fantastic, detailed instructions in email when I got home the same day.

Thank you for contacting HP Total Care.

Please follow the steps below to do a full manual uninstall/reinstall of the printer software in order to resolve this issue.

1. Remove the HP Print Drivers installed.

NOTE: If you have any other HP printers they may have to be reinstalled.

a. Open the hard drive volume (by default labeled Macintosh HD).
b. Select Library.
c. Select Printers.
d. Single-click on the HP folder and drag it to the Trash.

2. Clearing Preferences:

a. Click on File at the top of your screen.
b. Select and click on Find.
c. In the search box at the top of the window type in com.apple.print.
d. Highlight all the contents and drag them to the Trash.
e. Close the windows.

NOTE: The items appear to remain in this window, but have actually been moved to the Trash.

3. Once the HP folder has been removed it is important to repair the disk permissions. Please complete the following steps:

a. Open the hard drive volume (by default labeled Macintosh HD).
b. Double-click Applications.
c. Double-click Utilities.
d. Double-click Disk Utility.
e. Single-click on the name of your hard drive located on the left (usually says Macintosh HD).
f. Click the FIRST AID tab at the top.
g. Select Repair Disk Permissions.
h. The process takes about 10 minutes depending on your system.
i. Restart the Macintosh by selecting Restart from the Apple menu.

4. Download and install the driver from the following website.

http://h10025.www1.hp.com/ewfrf/wc/softwareDownloadIndex?softwareitem=mp-55651-3&lc=en&cc=us&lang=en&os=219&product=1155996&dlc=en

5. Adding the printer into the printer list:

a. Open the hard drive volume (by default labeled Macintosh HD).
b. Double-click Applications.
c. Double-click Utilities.
d. Double-click Printer Setup Utility:
1. If the printer is listed, highlight it and press the
Delete button at the top of the window.
2. Click the Add icon.
3. Click once on the name of the printer, then click Add.
e. Once the printer is on the printer list, close the Printer
Setup Utility.

This should resolve the issue. If you need further assistance, please reply to this message and we will be happy to assist you further.

You may receive an e-mail survey regarding your e-mail support experience. We would appreciate your feedback.

Sincerely,
HP Total Care

I originally used AppZapper; but, I’m sure it didn’t remove all the “com.apple.print” drivers as HP suggested. With high hopes, I followed the instructions above to the letter and still the same problem. Frustrated, I sent one more email and walked away from the computer.

Thank you for the detailed instructions.

I’m sorry to say that I’m still experiencing the error. The steps below did not solve my issue. Attached is a screen capture of what is happening.

I’m going to keep trying while I’m waiting on a reply. I know I’ve got to be missing something small and simple.

Thank you. I’m really looking forward to HP’s reply.

I did other busy-tasks and mindless-things, quieting my thoughts, reaching for that zen state where you’re not actively thinking yet all the while the whole of your brain works on the problem. In many way’s it’s like backgrounding a process, especially when it’s done; the answer just jumps right out at you. When my answer hit me, it hit me hard. I raced back to email.

Could how I have my drive formated be my issue? I’m a UNIX
administrator so when given the option I formated it “Mac OS Extended
(Case-sensitive, Journaled).” Could this be my issue? And, if so,
is there a workaround (file rename script, symbolic links) or will I
have to reinstall my OS because of this?

Thank You again!

I was hoping they had a lab and could test and reproduce the issue. Then it dawned on me, I had an external firewire drive that I could reformat and test with. I had the lab. I had the issue. I could test it. So I did without even waiting for the automated mail from HP to hit my mailbox.

This is what I did:

Open Disk Utility
Highlight the boot partition
File, New, Disk Image From disk0s2, (partition name)
Select a Name and a Location and Save
Wait for the image to write to disk
Highlight the Firewire partition
Select Erase, Volume Format: Mac OS Extended (Journaled), give it a name, and press Erase
Select Restore
Press Image… select the image created above
Drag the Firewire partition into the Destination box
Press Restore
Wait for the image to write to the new firewire partition
Open System Preferences
Select Startup Disk
Chose the Firewire disk as the new boot disk
Reboot the machine to the new image

I now had a perfect bit for bit copy of my boot drive on my firewire drive — that in and of itself is impressive, let alone that it’s only 16 simple steps to do it! Once I was in the new “insensitive install”, I went right to the HP Create application. I opened it up and it worked fine. Just like my old “Mac Boot” image that I had mounted in the video above. Proof that the Case sensitivity caused my issues.

So, I wanted to let HP know that I had identified the issue: sloppy code — some programmer who thinks that a=A, which every UNIX programmer knows is just wrong. I really wanted a code fix, or a script to rename the offended files, or a script to create aliases to the offended files with the case that HP was expecting. It was so frustrating not being able to find this issue online that, at the very least, I wanted them to put this into their documentation or on their website: “Do not use Case-sensitive file systems.” I sent another email.

I formated a fire-wire drive I had laying around without the Case-sensitivity option. Imaged my current boot partition, and restored it to the newly formated fire-wire drive. I then booted from it, and HP’s software is working fine now.

I now need two (2) things from you:

1) Is there a workaround? Possibly a script to rename the offending files to uppercase or create uppercase aliases to the lowercase files so it works? If not, I’m going to have to format my internal hard drive without case-sensitivity and restore the image I just made. Which I can do, but it will take several hours and I’d rather not do it.

2) At the very least, I would appreciate it if you could document the fact that this software REQUIRES this type of formated boot partition — although ideally, it would be really nice if you would submit this as a bug and have your developers fix it.

Thank you for your help. You provided the right information and empowered me with the knowledge to resolve my problem. I really appreciate it. I’m looking forward to your reply.

Take care

I thought about this a little and guessed that HP had no clue that their code was so bad — in my judgment of course. Their website had little or no on-line documentation at all. The time it would take for a code review and someone to create a script, if it were a top priority, would be a week or more and honestly I knew it wasn’t a top priority. I realized I wasn’t interested in waiting around that long.

With a twinge of fear and anticipation I reformatted my primary boot drive, installed the image I created just hours before, changed my boot drive back to my internal hard drive and resolved the issue.

But then I got these e-mail messages and I felt I needed to share this whole experience with the net because HP didn’t commit to changing anything or even documenting it for others to find.

Thank you for contacting HP Total Care.

I don’t think that it was the way that the hard drive was formatted, but it appears that you are going to need to reinstall the operating system at this point.

If you need further assistance, please reply to this message and we will be happy to assist you further.

You may receive an e-mail survey regarding your e-mail support experience. We would appreciate your feedback.

Sincerely,
HP Total Care

-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-

Thank you for contacting HP Total Care.

We do not have a workaround for the issue that you are experiencing and this is not a common issue as most customers do not have the experience to do most of the things that you are obviously capable of. Unfortunately your only option would be to format and then reinstall.

If you need further assistance, please reply to this message and we will be happy to assist you further.

You may receive an e-mail survey regarding your e-mail support experience. We would appreciate your feedback.

Sincerely,
HP Total Care

So what is the moral to this story? For the Mac consumer reading this, is it “don’t buy HP”? For those with enterprise or corporate interests, is it “always code with case sensitivity in mind”? Or for those who like to tinker and make things the best they possibly can be, is it “don’t do things differently?”

You tell me.

I’ve been critical of Apple in past Journal entries. I feel I need to give credit where credit is due. All of Apple’s code works perfectly with a case-sensitive formated drive. And, in the spirit of full disclosure, this isn’t just an issue with HP. My Cannon LIDE 30 Scanner wouldn’t scan when installed on the boot partition formated with case-sensitivity.

All of this transpired because I wanted to print to a DVD. After everything above, I opened up the HP Create application that came with my printer and put the title of the Digital8 tape on the DVD perfectly centered with a drop shadow and it looks much better than my hand writing.

These are the lengths I’ll go through to do things my way!

If this article helps you, please comment below and let me know.

Total Lunar Eclipse

Taken with a fixed lens point and shoot digital camera.

Taken with a fixed lens point and shoot digital camera.

Last Wednesday, February 20th, there was a full lunar eclipse that was visible from my back yard. There was speculation in the local media that we might miss it because of cloud cover; but, luckily the weather-persons had it wrong. It was a beautiful evening for sky watching.

I took my new JVC HDD camera outside on a tripod and started filming just after the eclipse started. The beauty of this camera is that I didn’t have to replace tapes twice during the event. All I had to do was reposition the moon in the video frame to compensate for the rotation of the earth and during the total eclipse where the moon was completely in the umbra I switched my camera to a 1/2 shutter speed to capture the orange-red glow I saw with my unaided eye.

I took three hours of video, transfered it (faster than real time!) onto my hard drive, edited out the parts where I was moving the tripod, time lapsed it (5136.63%) to make the video two minutes and twenty two seconds (well, it had to match the music length), and published it here on the web for your viewing pleasure.

I could have had all that done the next day, if I didn’t have a job or a life.

While looking for information on this lunar eclipse, I stumbled across… OK, I didn’t stumble across anything; I was systematically searching through each and every solar eclipse that was going to happen in my lifetime. I really want to see (and capture on video) a full solar eclipse. Lo and behold, on August 21st, 2017 (a mere nine years from now) there will be a full and complete solar eclipse (of the sun even) close to my home. I was thinking we would have to cruise or fly some where to see one. But I only have to wait nine years for it to happen here where I live.

Below is the 4.8MB FLV video made for web streaming. If you’d like to download the 29.4MB quicktime mov file, feel free. I’m not offering the 49GB of DV footage I have for download, but if you really want it, I’ll burn it to disk and ship it to you for a reasonable licensing fee plus my time and materials (or perhaps a trade: an external Firewire Blue Ray burner and discs would be practical — I could then ship you one disk with all the footage on it).

Oh, come on… maybe someone other than my friends or family will read this page — it is in google after all. If you’re not a friend or family member please drop me email at my yahoo account, my username is on my About Me page, I’m sure I’m going to need it as proof to stop the laughter over that last side note in the parenthesis above.

Enjoy.

Get the Flash Player to see this video.

Basketball Girls

Get the Flash Player to see this video.

‘Great Uncle’ Dennis gave me some great inspiration for new video content. Speed Freak and Basketball Girls are inspired from our email correspondence. If he weren’t so manly I’d probably call him a muse; but, the flannel, bearded image of him in my mind’s eye won’t allow that. Sorry, G.U.D. you’re no Sharon Stone.

In this video clip, first Tweedle-A gets equal time to show off her other-worldly skills in her bid for the WNBA. Then while Tweedle-A works on her mad dribbling skills, Tweedle-L shows off her ability to make baskets on a regulation height goal.

Maybe they’ll be the “Williams Sisters” of Basketball? Or maybe it’ll just be a fun thing they like to do to stay in shape.

Speed Freak

Get the Flash Player to see this video.

Tweedle-L has just finished her latest round of genetic enhancement treatments at the Yakamoto Laboratories in Japan. There they recently spliced in genes from the chetah. This video was taken just days after her treatment. You can see the noticeable improvements in her speed in this video.

Captured from my JVC HDD Everio Camera to iMovie 8.0. Edited and exported with Quicktime in DV format. Imported into Final Cut where the speed was increased 200%, rendered and exported using Quicktime again as a quicktime movie. Uploaded to my hosting service and modified from the 7.6MB .mov file to a 1MB .flv file.

What iMovie 8.0 is good for

Get the Flash Player to see this video.

This was done just for fun. I wanted to put together something fast and easy and share it in low-res on my blog, and it was Mac-easy!

After doing this exercise I’m personally convinced iMovie 8.0 should have been branded iVideo; Apple would have avoided a lot of irate customers and bad press. It definitely is designed for web publishing.

Anyway, let me know what you think of my little athlete.