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Monday, May 09, 2005

iTunes 4.8

Get your new iTunes:
From MacDaily News-
Apple today released iTunes 4.8 which includes new Music Store features and support for transferring contacts and calendars from your computer to your iPod (requires Mac OS X version 10.4 on your computer). Apple's iTunes web page also notes that "more than 1.3 million tracks and 600 independent labels with 30-second previews" are now available via the iTunes Music Store.

AppleInsider notes, "One feature Apple curiously failed to mention is video support. The new version is capable of not only storing, but also displaying QuickTime video content. New options built into the iTunes "Advanced" preference pane lets users choose whether they want video content to in 'the main window,' 'a separate window,' or 'full screen.'"

With iTunes 4.8, if you have Mac OS X version 10.4 or later installed, you can transfer the contact and calendar information on your computer to your iPod or iPod mini to take with you on the go.

For calendar and contact synchronization to work, you need to store your contacts and calendar information in an application that works with Mac OS X synchronization, such as Address Book or iCal. You should sync your iPod with only one computer.

Note: You may have previously used iSync to transfer contact and calendar information from your computer to your iPod. With Mac OS X version 10.4 or later, however, you now use iTunes instead of iSync.

1. Connect your iPod or iPod mini to your computer.
2. Choose iTunes > Preferences and click the iPod button.
3. To set up iTunes to transfer contacts, click the Contacts button, select the Synchronize Address Book Contacts checkbox, and then choose which contact information you want to transfer. You can choose to transfer all your contact information or only selected contacts.
4. To set up iTunes to transfer calendars, click the Calendars button, select the Synchronize iCal Calendars checkbox, and then choose which calendar information you want to transfer. You can choose to transfer all your calendars or only selected calendars.
5. When you're ready to transfer the information to your iPod, click the OK button in the Preferences window.

It may take a few moments to see the contact or calendar information on your iPod. Press the menu button on your iPod until you return to the main iPod menu, then choose Extras, and then choose Contacts or Calendar.

Your contact and calendar information will be updated on your iPod each time you sync your music (when you connect your iPod or iPod mini to your computer or choose File > Update iPod). If you've set up iTunes so that you transfer music manually, your contacts and calendars will be updated only when you choose File > Update iPod.

Macintosh Requirements:
• Mac OS X v10.2.8 or later; Mac OS X v10.3 required for AirPort Express
• 400MHz G3 processor or better
• QuickTime 6.2 required to encode AAC
• QuickTime 6.5.2 and latest iLife updates required to use purchased music in iLife '04
• 256 RAM recommended
• DSL, cable modem, or LAN-based high-speed Internet connection recommended for buying and streaming music

Windows Requirements:
• Windows XP or 2000
• 500 MHz Pentium class processor or better
• QuickTime 6.5.2 (included)
• 128 MB RAM minimum/256 RAM recommended
• Latest Windows service packs recommended
• Supported CD-RW drive to burn CDs, video display card, soundcard
• DSL, cable modem, or LAN-based high-speed Internet connection recommended for buying and streaming music

Friday, May 06, 2005

Tiger Unleashed

As you know Tiger has been unleashed and it's awesome. There are a few bugs, but if you need any help Apple's website or MacFixit are the places to go. Also remember to back here's a few tips i found from MacFixit:

Preparing your startup disk Before installing Tiger, check your startup drive for damage, and repair it if necessary. The easiest way to do this is to boot from the OS X Install DVD (if you need to obtain Tiger on a set of CDs, click here) and run Disk Utility (from the Installer menu). Click the First Aid tab, select your hard drive in the drive/volume list, and click "Repair Disk."

Before installing Tiger, boot from your hard drive (running Mac OS X 10.3.x or a prior version) again and repair permissions on your boot volume. To do this, launch Disk Utility (located in /Applications/Utilities), click the First Aid tab, select your hard drive in the drive/volume list, and then click "Repair Disk Permissions." (It's important that you do this while booted from your hard drive, rather than from the OS X install DVD or another volume, in order to perform the "correct" repairs.)

After installing Tiger and then booting from your hard drive, again repair permissions via Disk Utility. This will ensure that any system-level permissions that may have been corrupted or changed incorrectly -- installers are notorious for this -- are reset to the correct values.

Other pre-update precautions

Make sure all devices are synchronized prior to updating If you use mobile devices that synchronize with iSync or another application, make sure that the data is updated on the Mac before upgrading to Mac OS X 10.4. Some applications, iSync 2.0 (the Tiger release) included, will not seamlessly adopt data synchronization for existing devices.

In other words, iSync in particular, will either re-initialize the device from the data on the computer (losing any changes made on the device since the last synchronization) or merge the two data sets, creating duplicates.

Making sure that the latest data is on the computer side will allow you to re-initialize your device without losing anything.

Disconnect all external devices, update firmware This may seem like overkill, but disconnecting all external USB and FireWire devices before applying Mac OS X 10.4 can save you from some serious but rare problems including drive corruption/failure and system startup issues caused by problematic devices.

Disconnecting all FireWire devices before updating is especially important, and is a procedure we've recommended several times in the past. Apple even recommended this procedure for one of the incremental Mac OS X 10.3.x updates, stating:

"If you have a third-party FireWire hard drive connected, turn it off and disconnect it before installing this update. Reconnect it and turn it back on after installation is complete and you've restarted."

This includes iPods, as the iPod is indeed a FireWire hard drive.

After successfully installing Mac OS X 10.4, attach each device individually and check for issues.

Also, particularly with regard to FireWire drives, make sure that you are using the latest firmware, usually available from the manufacturer's Web site. Updating the firmware can resolve a host of mounting and access issues that can occur under Mac OS X 10.4.

Archive and Install: A Hassle eliminator Mac OS X 10.4 (Tiger) offers several install options: basic Upgrade, Archive and Install, and Clean Install.

For most users, a basic upgrade will suffice. This option will examine your existing file structure, and replace the necessary system components and Apple applications with updated Mac OS X 10.4 versions, leaving you with a system set-up that is ostensibly similar (in terms of file location, user configuration, and various other settings) to the one you had prior to the update process. It's a relatively quick, and usually successful process.

Given the dramatic changes (including modifications to file structure and key system components) apparent in Mac OS X 10.4, however, the time saved up front by using the basic upgrade option may result in time spent troubleshooting later. Using the Archive and Install option will require some extra set-up time after the update has taken place, but will eliminate vulnerability to a number of issues that unexpectedly appear on some systems.

The Archive and Install option will perform a clean install of Mac OS X 10.4, while transferring most of your Applications and user account information to the new system installation (provided you check the "Preserve Users and Network Settings" option).

After you have performed the Archive and Install process, you will be left with a set-up that is surprisingly similar to your old configuration. A folder named "Previous System" will reside at the root level of your hard drive -- it contains several user added system components (third party add-ons, etc.), some old versions of Apple applications, and other user settings.

Some users comb through the "Previous System" folder, moving old components to their appropriate locations on the new installation. However, in the case of a major system upgrade like Tiger, it often proves more prudent to manually re-add any third-party add-ons by downloading fresh copies from developers' Web sites. Doing so allows you to check documentation for each add-on, ensuring it is Mac OS X 10.4-compatible, and also allows you to check for any new problems that manifest after the installation of each individual add-on.

Likewise, it's not a good idea to move old .plist (preference) files from a "Previous System" folder to the new installation unless you have spent significant time configuring them or they store important data. These files tend to become corrupt when introduced to new system installations, and can cause problems with application launching as well as other issues.

Performing an Erase and Install is time consuming (in terms of after-upgrade set-up) and not necessary for most users. First, attempt and Archive and Install, and if you are still having issues, you can perform an Erase and Install process later.

Make sure you've upgraded all of your applications to Tiger-ready versions, if they are available Dozens of applications have already been updated for Mac OS X 10.4 compatibility, and many wide-usage applications require minimal, or no code changes for acceptable operation under Tiger.

If you experience problems with an individual application after upgrading, check the manufacturer's Web site or VersionTracker for Tiger-compliant releases. Several developers have also posted notices indicating that Mac OS X 10.4-compatible releases of their applications are on the way.

So you're not in for a nasty surprise when one of your favorite applications exhibits problems under Mac OS X 10.4, check our already-published Tiger coverage for mentions of specific third-party applications. If the problems are serious and affect an application critical to your workflow, you may want to delay upgrading until patched releases are made available by developers.

Disable plug-ins and other application add-ons (or upgrade them) Several new versions of Apple applications (included as part of Mac OS X 10.4) will react adversely to the presence of third-party add-ons carried over from a previous Mac OS X installation.

For example, Mail.app bundles (plug-ins) like "Mail Priority" have caused the the new version of the application (2.0) included with Tiger to unexpectedly quit.

If you experience problems with an Apple application after the update, uninstall any third-party add-ons you may have added. In some cases this can be accomplished with the aid of a developer-provided uninstall application, or uninstall instructions (check the developer's Web site). In other cases, you will need to manually uninstall the add-on from the ~/Library folder or another location. Mail.app bundles, for instance, are located in ~/Library/Mail/Bundles.

Fortunately, many developers have already released new versions of their Apple-app add-ons that are compliant with their Tiger versions. Again, check manufacturers' Web sites or VersionTracker.

Check for, and delete, corrupt .plist files As noted above, .plist files tend to become corrupt when introduced to new system installations and can cause problems -- particularly with application launching.

Mac OS X uses .plist (preference) files to store various information about applications. Applications routinely interact with their respective .plist files, and when these small dockets become corrupt, individual programs may be more prone to the spinning pinwheel.

If you are having these slow-down issues with a specific application, try deleting its .plist file. It will generally be located in the ~/Library/Preferences folder, and labeled as follows:
• com.(name of developer).(name of product).plist [For instance, com.adobe.Reader7.0.plist for Adobe Reader 7.0].

Simply drag the potentially offending .plist file to the trash, re-launch the hampered application, and check for continuation of problems. In some cases, applications will have several .plist files, so make sure you check for any that contain the product name. Also, note that you may lose some settings or other personal data used by specific applications when these files are deleted.

Alternatively, if you're not sure which application is slowing down your Mac or you'd like to check for any existing, but unnoticeable issues, there is a freeware utility called "Preferential Treatment" that will check for some elements of .plist file corruption.

Hold off on running DiskWarrior and other directory utilities after updating You may want to hold off on running any of the popular disk directory repair/optimization utilities under Mac OS X 10.4 until further word is released by their developers.

Mac OS X 10.4 (Tiger), and in particular the Spotlight component, makes some changes to the HFS+ file system that can cause these utilities to incorrectly report errors, and cause damage while attempting to fix non-existent problems.

While Alsoft's technical support department has told MacFixIt that DiskWarrior will not do harm to Mac OS X 10.4 volumes, several readers have discovered an inability to run DiskWarrior directory repair routines on Mac OS X 10.4 volumes that have been indexed with Spotlight, receiving the error message:

"The directory of the disk (name of disk) cannot be rebuilt. The original directory is too severely damaged. The disk was not modified."

Further word from Alsoft regarding Mac OS X 10.4 compatibility is forthcoming.

UPDATE: Alsoft has announced DiskWarrior 3.0.3 which supports Mac OS X 10.4 (Tiger). The new release also supports Tiger's new Access Control Lists (ACL) and extended file attributes. It has improved journaling support and enhanced RAID support, including the new concatenated RAID volumes.

The new release will be available in the first week of May, and will be a free update for current owners. Once released, customers should download the update from and use it to create and burn a new DiskWarrior CD containing the updated application. In order to create a new DiskWarrior CD, a user must have an administrator name and password, the original DiskWarrior 3.0.x CD, 650 MB of free disk space, and a blank CD-R disc.