Written by: hexley on Wednesday February 20th 2008, 1:30 AM
Now that the site has been up for a few weeks I am better able to gauge the level of experience of the users we are targeting. Of the many emails that have been sent in, there is one reoccurring theme.
Everyone buys hardware to hook up to his or her computer; many times that hardware comes with software. This software, at times, can cause more trouble than it is worth.
If you are coming from Windows, it is near mandatory to install some software for any hardware you purchase. Whether it be a simple USB thumb-drive, a digital camera, or a printer, it is not going to work without software.
On OS X, this is sometimes the case, usually it is rare. In most cases, things just work. Installing software tends to make things work less well. There are always deviations from the norm, trying to keep your system clean is never going to cause you more trouble than haphazardly installing poorly written software.
Printers and their software
Let’s start with printers, as those are the biggest culprits. If you buy a plain printer, whether it is color, or a black and white laser, most of the time, the software it comes with is not needed. Even in the case of it being needed, it will already be out of date by the time you get it.
Will it work out of the box
Apple does a superb job of making sure your Macintosh comes with a boatload of printer drivers. Printer drivers are what explains to your computer, how a page should be printed for your specific printer.
In general, before you buy a printer, do some research, and see how others have reported it to work with the Macintosh. I find Amazon.com to be a great place to read reviews; there will always be a few Macintosh users in the reviews section that will post their experiences.
I just bought a Brother HL-2070N from Amazon. It is a simple, inexpensive, fast, black and white office printer. I plugged it in, clicked print, did a little printer setup built right into OS X, and have not had to think about it since.
This includes the printer being allowed to accept print jobs from anyone on my network, telling it to print manual feed or automatically, and even defining how long before it goes into power save mode. All this is configurable with no additional software from Brother installed.
Using the most current software possible
I would suggest, try it with no software installed, if it works, you are good. You know you will not have any strange problems caused by the introduction of new software. If it does not work, pull out the installer CD it came with, and note what version it is. Go to the manufacturers site, and make certain that it is the most current version.
By the time the manufacturer ships the printer, they usually have updated their software. In the case of printers, it is always a good idea to be current. Rather than using outdated software, go to the source, and download their most current offering.
All in one printers
I should offer where this scenario falls short. All in one printers. A printer that has a fax, scanner, and printer built into one device.
I am of the opinion, you could not pay me enough to install the software needed to make these printers work. If you absolutely need this all in one functionality, please, read reviews, and read as many as possible. You will absolutely need to install software to make an all in one printer work. Given the horror stories I have heard about how poorly the all in one printers work, at this time, I cannot personally recommend a single one.
Digital cameras and external hard drives
By now, you either are about to, or already have bought digital camera. The same holds true for these devices. I am yet to use a digital camera that I could not just plug right into my Macintosh and work.
Usually, iPhoto will automatically open, and ask me what to do. I can import all my images, or part of a group. In the case where you do not have iPhoto, Apple has a separate Image Capture application that will help you to copy the images to your computer.
Sure, the camera will come with photo album software, importing software, retouching software, and much more. To be honest, I am yet to see any software, whether it is Fuji, Nikon, Canon etc., which for a basic user, is not poorly made. Apple makes great creative tools. If you outgrow those tools, there are other options. In near all cases, the software that comes with digital cameras is going to cause you more of headache than just ignoring it.
External hard drives will almost all come with some driver installing tools, as well as back up software. Again, these tools are built right into Mac OS X. We will get into Time Machine in a future post, which does backups better than anything else I have used to date.
Formatting your drive is as simple as a quick trip to Disk Utility. Again, the point to take home here is that in many cases, less is indeed more. The only time more is better, is if you happen to like frustration.
Keyboards, mice and other misc peripherals
Speakers generally do not come with software, so you should be pretty safe to plug and play with those.
Keyboards amaze me. I have seen software install CD’s that come with Microsoft keyboards that put hundreds of megabytes of data on your computer.
What a few hundred megabytes of data can do to make a keyboard any better is beyond me. Plug it in, start typing, you should be just fine.
Mice are a small exception. As mice get more and more sophisticated, they get harder and harder for Apple to keep working without third party software.
If you get one with three or four buttons, the built in mouse preference pane in OS X should cover you just fine. If you have specific needs, you are going to need additional software.
Mouse software is the worst, as it installs what are called kernel extensions. These kernel extensions are one type of software that can cause your system harm.
There are numerous reports of brand name mouse manufacturers software causing severe issues with people’s computers.
Fear not, there are indeed great workarounds. SteerMouse and USB Overdrive are the two most popular third party drivers for mice out there. Read up on each; see which one supports the mouse you want to buy.
These are not steadfast rules, but small ounces of prevention. Certainly, not installing software is going to be safer than installing software, as you have not changed anything. There will be cases where you need to install software to make something work.
Please do not leave this article afraid to install software; that, by all means, is not the point. Software at times, can be highly valuable, well written, and beneficial to your experience. Doing a small bit of research and trial before popping that CD into your perfectly running machine is always great advice.
Thanks for this great site! Even as a more experienced user I keep learning something every day.
I was wondering about hardware with the apple-logo. (as far as I can see there are two, one for the powerpc and one universal). What does it mean? That no additional software is required? Or that 3rd party software is needed but it has been thoroughly tested and actually works? Or is it just that if you plug a mouse in the computer it recognizes it as a mouse, but not all the other extra functions?
And, but maybe they don’t count as a real peripheral, how about wireless networks? At home, all the windows-computers of my roommates are working fine, but the two Apples in the flat both have problems.
Keep up the good work!
RobbertComment by Robbert 02.20.08 @ 2:02 AM
Love to hear more about web cams and Mac OS X. In particular, installing and using with Skype.
ThanksComment by Jeff 02.20.08 @ 5:11 AM
@Robert, PowerPC is a type of chip (CPU) in your computer, some Macs run PowerPC and newer machines all run Intel chips. The architecture behind each chip is quite literally 180 degrees different from each other.
Some applications, before there was an Intel platform, were made to work on PowerPC machines. Now that there are two architectures, there are what are called Universal Applications.
Universal applications contain code in them to make them work in both Intel and PowerPC machines. PowerPC apps can generally run on Intel machines, although they run in “emulation”, which is somewhat slower.Comment by Scott Haneda 02.20.08 @ 1:21 PM
@Jeff, In general, webcams on OS X are best served with a Apple machine that has a camera built in. If you do not have one of those, you can find the iSight camera on eBay. These will work well, and work all the time.
3rd party cameras will be difficult to get to work, as there are less resources for solid drivers to make the webcam work. We will try to cover this issue in some detail in a later post.Comment by Scott Haneda 02.20.08 @ 1:23 PM
I have a mac mini (intel) and none of my periphs are apple. And I’ve not had a bit of trouble with the keyboard (MS), printer (HP), mouse (Logitech) or monitor (Samsung)…Comment by JimB 02.20.08 @ 5:04 PM
@JimB, I am glad you have not had any troubles, trouble free computers are how they should be.
Keyboards are pretty sane these days, then again, a lot do come with software, which just makes me wonder. Monitors, again, pretty safe as well.
That mouse you are running is a great example of what I was talking about. I did not want to name names in the article, but now that it has been brought up, I might as well.
There is a third party app called APE, when used correct, it can be useful, it can also cause nightmares for developers to trace bugs in software. APE is NOT made by Logitech, but they piggybacked on it to make their mouse software work.
Not only did they violate the TOS of APE by shipping their software with someone else’s software built into Logitech Control Center, they also caused the 10.5 Leopard release to have problems.
This is one of the better articles on the issue, and a perfect example of why I feel it is best to try your peripherals naked, see if Apple has included clean software that just works, and if not, then go for the manufacturer install disc.Comment by Scott Haneda 02.20.08 @ 5:50 PM
I have a Cannon MP460 multifunction printer connected to a MBP. It goes like a dream. I have to agree, though, don’t use all the rubbish software they give you. The Mac equivalent will get you by just fine, if not better.
Just a quick one. I’m looking at buying point and click camera. I’m down to two brands, Canon and Olympus. From a plugging into Mac POV is either one better?Comment by MikeP 02.20.08 @ 6:54 PM
@Mike P, thanks, great to know the Canon MFP is working. Now I know if I need one, I can just get that
I am a hobby photographer for the past 15 years or so, maybe a little longer, and while a Nikon guy for pro gear, I love the Canon stuff on the point and shoot end. The finally have strong battery life and good displays.
While I can not comment on the Olympus from experience, I can say the Canon series are strong cameras.Comment by Scott Haneda 02.21.08 @ 2:21 PM
I didn’t use any of the software that came with my peripherals~just plug n play…
“Plug it in, start typing, you should be just fine.”
ROFL! So true. I have to use a pc at work and I HATE IT! But, at least I know how to use it. ;D
Anyway, I have sent your site to my sister (just bought an iMac last month – very first home computer, even though she works on pcs at work – I was shocked she listened to me to buy a mac *G*), a somewhat beginner who has had an iMac for 3.5 years and was a technotard at the beginning but has LOVED her mac since day 1 – her old pc drove her nuts!), a computer wiz friend who had never used a mac but finally bought one and LOVES it for movies (her little girls are making movies and burning their own movie DVDs) and can still run her Windows programs, so she is really happy, and another sister who’s a technotard but has an eMac. And I’ll keep sending your site along – it’s great for beginners and intermediates and oldsters who can still learn stuff. I find new stuff because I just don’t have TIME to PLAY with my computer and learn new stuff. So this is fabulous!
JudieComment by Judie 02.22.08 @ 7:51 PM
I plugged in my Canon PIXMA MP780 and it worked great for printing but the scanner wouldn’t work. So I downloaded the MP Navigator software for it from the Canon website. It scans perfectly now. Prints and copies good. I never got the fax to work under Windows and haven’t tried it with my iMac yet. Whenever I get some free time I’ll see if I can get that to work.Comment by Donna 02.22.08 @ 9:37 PM
@Donna, thanks for the follow up. It is great to know that Canon is working to make useful software drivers for their all in one hardware. As a tech, I find that more often than not, Mac’s that are working poorly, have had too much junk installed. I usually can track this down to printers, scanners, and the like.
I am seeing this change, I assume as CUPS, the underlying printing and faxing engine in OS X is something that is simple for developers to hook into.
I do want to clarify, not all printers, scanners, etc are bad, just proceed with caution. OS X comes with a good amount of drivers, and most of the time, a basic printer will work just fine out of the box. This is not to say you are going to break anything by installing 3rd party software, but it is always safest to make sure you use current software, and proceed with caution.Comment by Scott Haneda 02.25.08 @ 4:37 PM
Great advice but I have an old Acer Prsima usb scanner. When I plug it in, my MBP does not see it. Any ideas?
Running latest Leopard
@Mike, I cannot find more than 3 links to anything about an Acer Prisma scanner in google. I would look to find the manufacturer website, and see if they still support it. If not, for around $100.00 these days, you can get quite a capable scanner, if you want a specific recommendation,just let me know.Comment by Scott Haneda 02.26.08 @ 6:54 PM
It is a great scanner and after the rebates it was only $25.00 I do like it and would prefer not to but a new scanner. Acer does not even list scanners on their web site so I am kind of lost.Comment by Mike Watkins 02.27.08 @ 12:07 PM
@Mike, if the scanner is TWAIN compliant, and you have photoshop, you may be able to use that as your interface. As it stands now, if Acer is not even listing the product, I would be very hesitant to install any software that would claim to work for it. If someone can specifically tell you it works, I would give it a try, aside from that, with rebates and the like, you can get a comparable one for about the same price and know it will not cause you computing issues.Comment by Scott Haneda 02.27.08 @ 4:38 PM
I want to buy a 61-key electronic keyboard (music keyboard) with full-sized, semi-weighted keys. I want to be able to play it by itself, but I also want to connect it to my intel iMac running Leopard so I can use Garage Band.
I have researched several brands, but cannot find much on mac-compatibility. Any information and/or advice would be appreciated.
DeborahComment by Deborah 03.02.08 @ 10:13 AM
@Deborah, Any USB keyboard should plug right into your Mac, and GarageBand should be able to see it, and use it. I have never personally tested this, but have several friends who are musicians, and have watched them do so.
No software was needed, they just plugged it in, and fiddled some of the GarageBand preferences and were set. Keyboards are going to use midi to talk to GarageBand, which is a very old and safe instruction set.
As you get more advanced, you may want to look into specialty midi boxes that will give you flexibility with more instruments. A keyboard is perhaps one of the simplest musical devices to hook to a mac.
Every Apple store I have been in has a demo set up with just this going on. The trouble is the keyboards are probably not what you want, certainly not with weighted keys.
As a side note, we have a set of tutorials on GarageBand in the works. My friend is a recording artist and has been using it for simple projects and just to have fun. These will not post until sometime much later down the road, but they are indeed in the works.Comment by Scott Haneda 03.03.08 @ 3:08 AM
@Scott, Thanks for the info. I look forward to the GarageBand tutorials whenever they post.
P.S. This is a great website. You are doing a super job with it.Comment by Deborah 03.03.08 @ 3:24 AM
I’m loving your column, and staying up way too late each night catching up. Thanks for the link to the article about BLUE SCREEN OF DEATH…I know it well. I was one of the early upgraders who didn’t plan ahead by backing up my iMac before loading Leopard, and I lost everything. Shame on me…but now I know better. A quick note on compatible printers: I needed a replacement All-In-One, and went through three before finding one where all four features work on with Mac. I started out with a Canon MF4150 (I’d had two Canons before with my PCs and they worked long and hard) but scan wouldn’t work with Mac (I’d missed this little caveat on the box). Returned it to Staples and got a Samsung SCX4725FN monochrome laser all-in-one, and THAT wouldn’t scan. After endless Amazon research, it was back to Staples again (God love ‘em!) I bought a Brother MFC7420 and that was the magic ticket. Seems Brother takes great pride in their Mac compatibility. I LOVE this printer, and if you need a multi-function, put this one on your list to check out.Comment by Matt Nikos 03.13.08 @ 10:04 AM
@Matt, Yeah the brother stuff is really Mac friendly. I have a great black and white laster, Brother HL-2070N and I did not even have to install a since driver to get it to work, just plugged it in. For 130.00 or so, it is a deal that can not be beat. If others are interested in the multi function you mentioned, here is a link as well: Brother MFC-7420 Flatbed Laser Multi-Function CenterComment by Scott Haneda 03.13.08 @ 1:04 PM
I have a Canon multifunction MP160. Great printer, but the scanner software that came with it is a bullshit, the slowest think I ever runned on my PPC MacMini, on 10.3.9.
Great site!Comment by Iporã 04.02.08 @ 10:05 AM
I have just purchased my first iMac and find this site extremely helpful. Keep up the good work.
I installed my graphics tablet, which worked fine on XP, and it would be OK until I switched off the computer. After reading your article I went to the manufacturer’s website and downloaded drivers from there. All working as it should do now. Thanks for the advice in this article.
I don’t see anything else here about external drives, so send me elsewhere if more appropriate. My ProDrive gets hung up; it used to be every few months, but it’s just happened for the third time in a week. I’m deducing that there’s some interaction with Word (or, today, Excel). The first clue is that Microsoft applications open and close after a delay; then, the ProDrive arrows spin forever, and I have to power the computer off with the backing up still under way (tho’ the backup log doesn’t say “in process”); and if I keep forcing it to use applications, eventually everything hangs up. I’ve learned to unplug the drive and the computer’s power, use Safe start, clear caches, repair disk permissions, and restart. Can I slide the bar to off while Time Machine is NOT backing up (I know I shouldn’t when the arrows are spinning)? Then I’d do my Word/Excel/whatever work, and then slide it back on again. Help?Comment by Jean Doble 11.09.09 @ 6:56 PM
@Doble While you could do that, I think you are making a workaround that you should not have to do.
The ProDrive looks to be a normal external drive. You should not have to power it on and off at any time. I would make sure that whatever interface you use, be it USB, or FireWire, you plug direectly to the computer, and not to a keyboard, or other hub.
They tend to need direct connections, ad a generality. Yes, there are exceptions, but in order to keep this simple, plug in direct. Use firewire if you can.
I am not sure what the ProDrive Arrow is, I assume a light or something on the drive showing activity?
A few things to try. Run the auto update tool in Office, run it as many times as you need until it reports there are no more updates. They have a really bad update tool, but you need to be up to date.
There is a chance your ProDrive is failing. Look in Disc Utility to see the S.MA.R.T. status, make sure that is ok. Since there are just backups, you may want to just reformat it, and start it clean. This can remap bad spots on a drive to not be used. Do make sure there is nothing important on the drive.
Are you using Entourage for your email? If you are, that is part of the issue, it is not compatible with Time Machine. The solution is to exclude the Mail user Identity from Time Machine, but that also means you are not backing up your email. If you are using IMAP, then it is ok, if you are using POP, then it is not the best idea to leave mail without backups.Comment by Scott Haneda 11.09.09 @ 7:31 PM
ProDrive is connected via FireWire directly to computer.
ProDrive arrows: 2 in finder, under Devices; one on right end of top menu bar. They rotate when the system is backing up.
Apple updates are checked automatically. I had not been installing ProKit, iDVD, AirPort, or Aluminum Keyboard because I thought they weren’t relevant. I have now installed them, along with the recent Security Update 2009-006.
Office updates are set to be checked automatically on a weekly basis. When I checked manually, I found (and then installed) Office 2008 12.2.3, but that was just posted today.
I haven’t yet checked the ProDrive status — it’s still unplugged.
For e-mail, I use sbcglobal.net (which is a POP server, though incoming mail is routed through stanfordalumni.org, also a POP server, I think) and Apple’s Mail program.
No ‘aha’s here. That is, I don’t see anything that “ought” to solve my problem.
@Jean, there is not a lot of data on the ProDrive. If I had to point my finger at anything, I would say that is the source of your issues. If it has software installed, especially that monitors the raid status, and is doing backups, then those are usually going to be driver related software.
I would see if there are updates. If you are on 10.6, then it very well may not be supported at this time.
My inclination, if I were in your shoes, would be to rid the machine of all the ProDrive software, and use it as a external backup drive, using Time Machine, which I can pretty much assure you, is going to do a better job than whatever software ProDrive made.
Sounds to me like the ProDrive is putting some type of a lock on files as it backs them up, and apps do not like that.Comment by Scott Haneda 11.11.09 @ 2:25 AM
Scott, I agree that ProDrive is likely the source of my problem, but it is set up through Time Machine. I plugged it in and, as I recall, used Disk Utility to set the format, e.g., and to get it started. I’m pretty sure that I didn’t install ProDrive software. Finder brings up only one entry, “ProDrive,” a “volume.”
Still seems safest to use the workaround of sliding the Time Machine bar to off while I’m working in Microsoft applications.
Thanks for your thoughts and efforts.
@Jean, but you stated that there were ProDrive arrows spinning. Are you just talking about the time machine icon?
The Finder would not locate the things that could possibly be a problem, were it the ProDrive, you would have to dig deeper.
What happens if you keep it on, and watch the console log, located in /Applications/Utilities/Console.app and see what it says right around the time things start to go bad?Comment by Scott Haneda 11.13.09 @ 1:28 AM
Yes, the spinning arrows are the Time Machine icons.
On not finding imbedded ProDrive software: beyond my knowledge at this point.
Following the console log is a good idea. I won’t be able to translate the messages, but maybe you will. I’ll be back in a few days.
@Jean Yes, please post them logs to http://pastie.org/ and supply the url here.Comment by Scott Haneda 11.13.09 @ 9:25 AM
Word was NOT running (nor was Excel) when ProDrive got hung up tonight.
Everything routine through back-up at 9:56 (therefore, next scheduled back-up for 10:56). Backing up started at 10:15, won’t stop until I power down the computer.
I copied the console log from the last session of the day. Hope that’s enough.
Shutting off now.
Modification: Word wasn’t running, but the application was still open. When ProDrive is hung up, I can’t force Word to quit.Comment by Jean Doble 11.18.09 @ 12:02 AM
@Doble Keep in mind, that Office may not be running, but there are background processes that run. It is sort of a rig job what they have done to Office to make it work on the Mac, alas, it is a needed evil for many.
I do not believe your issues to be related to Office at this time. There may be something, hard to say for sure, but so far, it is not appearing to be related to Office.
What I can tell
1) You have plenty of room on the backup drive.
2) Backups appear to be happening fine, in full, and getting completed, but something is making it look as though i is still running.
This line from the logs is interesting:
Copied 34344 files (3.5 MB) from volume Macintosh HD.
That is a whole lot of files to copy, that only amount to a very small amount of size, and it was able to do so in an amount of time that seems unlikely.
Copied 460 files (19 KB) from volume Macintosh HD.
Same here, 460 files that only amount to 19KB. Keep in mind, our logo on this site is 24KB, and only one file. So larger, yet 1/160th the number of files.
Are you running a nightly or beta version of Safari/Webkit, or just the usual version that comes with OS X and no modifications aside from Flash perhaps?
At this point, my first course of action to solve this is going to be to start clean on your backups. This means, turn of Time Machine, reformat the ProDrive, turn back on TimeMacine, and start a new backup. You are going to lose all your other backups, so be sure that there are no older files you need to locate first.
Go ahead and exclude /Applications/Microsoft Office 2008 from the advanced area in Time Machine, no sense in backing up a possible source of problem, when even if you need to restore, you can easily reinstall office from the DVD you bought.
Make sure you format as HFS+ Journaled case insensitive as a GUID partition table. It almost sounds as though this drive is DOS formatted, or Windows formatted, which could explain the high count of files, for such a small amount of data being moved across.
If that does not stop the endless spinning of backups, try a different interface. I am sure the drive offers USB, but you are using FireWire. If it works with USB, we just discovered that the drive is having issues with FireWire.
Have you applied any terminal based commands to alter the backup schedule timing? Does “defaults.write.something.application-name value bool true” or similar ring bell?
This is not super common, but I myself have ran into these very issues with the Seagte Free Agent Extreme on the FireWire, where it is just not Mac compatible for some reason. It is like they tried to make it break on the Mac.
This is only a test, I would not want you to have to suffer the slow backup speeds over USB beyond this test.
With a reformat, and the test of USB over FireWire, we should get the answers we need. It may require a call or email to support for the ProDrive.
I do not see anything in the logs that indicates that this is a deeper tooted issue, your logs look pretty clean.Comment by Scott Haneda 11.18.09 @ 4:46 PM
Modification: Word wasn’t running, but the application was still open. When ProDrive is hung up, I can’t force Word to quit.
Can you elaborate on what you mean by “is not running” but “still open”. An open app is running, unless you mean it is stuck in some way, but I would still say, if it required a force quit, then it was in fact running.
Maybe the first thing you should try, is exclusion of the entire Office Applications folder from Time Machine. That, and confirm the format type you used, which you can find out in Disk Utility.Comment by Scott Haneda 11.18.09 @ 5:04 PM
Scott. I’m somewhat embarrassed asking because I still haven’t fiddled with Office, but you have reservations about that’s being the source of my hang-up problems. My system’s running the Safari that came w/ OS X; no modifications that I know of except routine updates. Format of the ProDrive external drive is Mac OS Extended (Journaled), w/ GUID Partition Table (don’t know what HFS is; disk description is OEM). Back-up timing is Time Machine’s hourly. By application “open,” I meant that the dot is next to the icon in the dock; by “not running,” I meant that no files were open. I’ve been leaving my console log open and am not finding any references to Office applications but am finding persistent, repeated browser lines (for both Safari and Firefox): “Debugger() was called”; I hope to have time tomorrow to sit on the phone w/ my ISP (AT&T aka sbcglobal) to see if it’s right that my DNS server is registered more than once and to hear what they say about Ethernet debugged. I also see problems w/ applet 9 (sequence of Java Applet Plug-Ins, in Java Preferences, J2SE 5.0, Java SE 6, J2SE 5.0, J2SE 1.4.2). Also a string of MagicCam problems, though not in the part of the log on/at the current pastie. Also Iomega (http://www.pastie.org/712392 — I can just delete the IOmega application … and install it at some future date if I add an IOmega device, right?)
This is getting a bit beyond the scope of what will be beneficial to users reading this, though since we are in it this far, I would like to continue a round or two more and see where we get…
Scott. I’m somewhat embarrassed asking because I still haven’t fiddled with Office, but you have reservations about that’s being the source of my hang-up problems.
I would not say I have any reservations, it was just something brought up, and there are known issues with spotlight and Office, specifically with Entourage, and how it stores emails in a monolithic database. One new email, or moving an email, or sending an email, means that ALL your emails will need backing up again by Time Machine. I do believe you previously stated that you are not using Entourage, so it should not be related.
My system’s running the Safari that came w/ OS X; no modifications that I know of except routine updates. Format of the ProDrive external drive is Mac OS Extended (Journaled), w/ GUID Partition Table (don’t know what HFS is; disk description is OEM).
Ok, that is good, don’t worry about the HFS+ parts, you have journaled, and GUID, the two aspects that were of the only concern to me in formatting of the drive.
Back-up timing is Time Machine’s hourly.
This should be fine.
By application “open,” I meant that the dot is next to the icon in the dock; by “not running,” I meant that no files were open.
I’ve been leaving my console log open and am not finding any references to Office applications but am finding persistent, repeated browser lines (for both Safari and Firefox): “Debugger() was called”;
Do you happen to be running an application called 1Password?
I hope to have time tomorrow to sit on the phone w/ my ISP (AT&T aka sbcglobal) to see if it’s right that my DNS server is registered more than once and to hear what they say about Ethernet debugged.
This is fine, you need not waste your time on the phone with your ISP. The IP’s you see are DNS resolvers, they are what do the work of converting what you type into your browser, to a number, so when you type in osxhelp.com, it will one of the IP’s listed will take the work of converting that to an IP address. It is not limited to just a browser, any “hostname” will use those resolvers, so email, every app you open that phones home to check the serial number, pretty much anything you do, is going to use one of the two resolvers you have listed.
The reason there are two, is in a very simple explanation, that in case one does not work, there is a fallback. The problem is that Comcast, ATT, and all the rest are in the business of supplying Internet access. It just so happens, that the Internet access they supply would not be very useful to the end customer if they did not also maintain DNS resolvers as well.
So they do maintain them, but they are generally not a high priority, and they can do other nefarious things, such as when you type in a domain that you spell wrong, or that does not exist, they may hijack that result, and show you some ads, or try to help you along to the correct domain. Regardless, it is not a good tactic. A DNS resolver should return what is called a NXDMOMAIN response when something can not be found.
Take for example, you send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org but you spell yahoo.com wrong. If they have a DNS hijacking service in place, instead of the email bouncing, or being rejected it will end up at your ISP’s email server. What they do with that email, is anyones guess. But it also stops the rejection email you should have received, so you believe your email worked, when it did not.
The ISP must provide this DNS resolver service, but they have little motivation to make it work well. Just well enough. They run systems that have DNS resolvers that could probably handle about 20% of the load they are putting on them. This means your loading of web pages, takes longer. Consider that an average FaceBook, or myspace page, any relatively complex web page may make around 40 DNS lookups. If each takes 10 milliseconds, that is almost half a second you are waiting. Generally, we are talking much more than 10 milliseconds in the bad cases.
A good DNS server will take less than 5 milliseconds, on bad day. Once that DNS server has had a chance to learn of the lookups it has done in the past, those times should get even shorter, as it no longer needs to look them up in full, but pull them from a cache.
My best suggestion to you, is to use openDNS.com as your DNS servers. You do not even need an account with them, you just enter in 188.8.131.52 and 184.108.40.206 in your settings, in addition to the settings you see that ATT is putting in there now. Yours will be listed first.
If you want to fully remove the ATT servers, which is what I generally do, it gets a little trickier, depends on the ISP sometimes. But if you have a router, you will need to define the DNS IP addresses in there, and they will be sent out to your other computers automatically.
openDNS will do the same DNS auto correction and some of the other tactics I mentioned above, though they make it clear what they are doing. In addition, if you create an account with them, at http://opendns.com, you are then in full control, and can enable and disable numerous features.
Your one log error of: Note: DNS Server 192.168.0.1 for domain . registered more than once”
This may be something ATT can help with, though I would just look to their docs to find the correct settings to enter into the “Network Preference Pane” in the DNS section. It also could just be a transient error. Or it could be that temporarily, ATT really was registering two domains to the same IP. This is not really your problem, or one you can fix, nor is a first, second, or third tier support tech going to even know what it means. If you can get to a DNS engineer, they will help, I give you the best of luck with that.
I also see problems w/ applet 9 (sequence of Java Applet Plug-Ins, in Java Preferences, J2SE 5.0, Java SE 6, J2SE 5.0, J2SE 1.4.2).
This issue I am not personally aware of, though I suspect it is going to be related to your next issue.
Also a string of MagicCam problems, though not in the part of the log on/at the current pastie. Also Iomega (http://www.pastie.org/712392 — I can just delete the IOmega application … and install it at some future date if I add an IOmega device, right?) http://www.pastie.org/712390
The MagicCam log lines are from installing google’s tools. You probably were asked to at some point in order to use video chat within google chat, or to add some other functionality to google’s apps. This is a known issue, many experience it. Some have solved it by reinstalling Google Voice, others just delete the files at:
/Library/QuicktTime/Google Camera Adapter 1.component
/Users/your-username/Library/QuicktTime/Google Camera Adapter 0.component
One thing I see, is mention to Iomega. I have had my rounds with that company, and to be honest, I would never buy or recommend any of their products to anyone, any longer. Customer service is just not where it needs to be.
You will find what are called Contextual Menu Modules, which are the items that can show up when you control/right click on something on your computer. Iomega installs them at:
/Library/Contextual Menu Items/IomegaCM.plugin
/Users/your-username/Library/Contextual Menu Items/IomegaCM.plugin
/System/Library/Contextual Menu Items/IomegaCM.plugin
If they are not there, then they have been removed, but some other Iomega part is looking for them.
Iomega even seems to have gone as far as to install a bundle for Apple Mail, which I am hoping you find in your home Library folder, and within the Mail folder, there should be a Bundles folder, and something pointing to Iomega.
Perhaps they have an uninstaller, I tend to find they never remove everything, so you may need to dig around a little to get all the bits removed. A reboot will be needed once you get rid of the Iomega stuff. I can not see any good reason you would need it, an external drive should not need any software at all to work, unless we are talking Enterprise class stuff here.
I would start with getting rid of the Iomega stuff. If that does not solve it, I can not remember if you have reformatted the backup drive, but it could be general Time Machine file corruption of it’s indexes and other preferences, which would be simplest to just reformat, than to try to restore to an old backup set, which is somewhat more challenging.Comment by Scott Haneda 11.24.09 @ 9:10 PM
Scott, Thanks a lot for your willingness to continue another round or two, and sorry for the delay.
No, not running 1Password.
I’m leery of changing DNS servers, will think some.
The MagicCam issue is queried at http://processing.org/discourse/yabb2/YaBB.pl?num=1257947829, but there’s no reply.
If I delete the two Camera Adapter components you show, will I still be able to use the camera with Google chat and Skype? That is, does Google Voice include the video?
Re Iomega, I appreciate your feedback; I’d already written a note on their Web site saying that I’d never buy a product of theirs.
I found its Contextual Menu Items only in Library; it seems to have disappeared from the list appropriately.
I’ve also been working with Apple Care. After all the entries in my console log in the last week, their advice was to zero out my data, reinstall the OS, and restore the data from Time Machine selectively. The theory is that I brought over some incompatible preference or something from one or two machines ago. Here are highlights of
12/2 console.log, pastie.org/727731
12/3 console.log, pastie.org/727761
So I’m pleading for a second opinion about the likelihood of identifying the culprit. Wouldn’t it be nice if it were as simple as getting rid of MagicCam (if I can still use Google & Skype video). But if you, too, say that I have to go the long route, I’ll bite the bullet.
Again, many thanks,
1) you should not be leery of changing DNS settings, it is a good thing, use googles, they are probably better than openDNS for a straight up non filtered DNS resolver.
Who knows, maybe so much stuff is failing as a result of your ISP’s slow DNS servers.
Removing the MagicCam stuff will stop the errors, but you will not be able to use google video and such. I do not think it is related, though give it a shot, they are easy enough to install again.
Do these problems follow you into a new account?
Looking at your console log, there are a good deal of things going wrong. More than I myself would be able to explain to you how to solve easily. At this point, I would just reinstall clean, it is always a good idea to do so, I never update an OS, I just clean install.
Even Snow Leopard, I will not put that on top of 10.5, but I will clean install. It is more work, but there is no way Apple can know all the variables I have introduced into my system, and cleanly update on top of that.
Once you do that, never put another IOMEGA software into your computer, and be careful about what other third party software you install. Printers are notorious for installing a ton of junk you do not need, when in most cases, OS X has all the print drivers built right in and you need never put in the disk that came with your printer.
The short of it is, there is so much wrong going on in your logs, unless you were very advanced in troubleshooting, I do not see an easier way to sole this than a clean install.Comment by Scott Haneda 12.07.09 @ 4:57 PM
Scott. I deleted the Iomega entry I could find, as I said 12/4. My log is looking significantly cleaner, so much so that I’m waiting to do more. I still get DNS confusions and will try to embolden myself to make those changes.
In the meantime, I’d like to get rid of destroyed applet 9 — is that doable?
Here’s a new one — is there something I should do about it?
Dec 7 08:12:52 adsl-76-201-169-253 Microsoft PowerPoint: The function `CGPDFDocumentGetMediaBox’ is obsolete and will be removed in an upcoming update. Unfortunately, this application, or a library it uses, is using this obsolete function, and is thereby contributing to an overall degradation of system performance. Please use `CGPDFPageGetBoxRect’ instead.
Thank you, JeanComment by Jean 12.07.09 @ 9:56 PM
@Jean, I am not able to find anything about the first error. Probably related to a website you went to at the time, and is not something that will repeat often.
The second error, is normal, in so much as, it is not going to go away unless you delete Office. Microsoft is using out dated calls to libraries, and OS X is warning them to knock it off.
If you are running the latest version of Office, there is nothing you can do to solve that one.
The logs you are looking at are always going to have some errors in them. Developers can chose to log whatever they desire, as much, or as little. Sometimes things seem very bad, but they are normal. The goal is not to have an empty log, that will never happen.
I just ran a search on my own system.log, and from only today, just one day, I have 195 total lines that contain the word “error”. I also consider my machine to be pretty clean and solid.Comment by Scott Haneda 12.08.09 @ 10:53 PM
Scott. Thanks for comments on system.log notices.
The rest is an update. Since deleting the Iomega entry, Safari hung up once (12/27) when I was searching for hotels and switching between so many sites that I think I confused the system.
On 1/1, I lost my Internet connection; turned off the modem and unplugged it; plugged it back in, turned it on, and restarted the computer.
Bottom line, the computer is working so much more smoothly that I am still deferring the procedure of zeroing out my data. I can’t help but think that /Library/Contextual Menu Items/IomegaCM.plugin was the main culprit.
Many thanks. Happy New Year.
Glad things are working out for you. A bad CMM can be the culprit of many an ailment on Mac OS X. I generally try to simply never run them at all. If an app installs one, I just remove it. In most cases, it offers very little other than instability.
Have OSX6 on laptop and just attached my Epson Perfection 1260 Scanner and images are blurred, was ok on our PC. Cannot find the answer, can you advise?
Have tried Apple and Epson sites, plus different settings but all no different.