Repairing Permissions with Disk Utility

Repairing Permissions with Disk Utility

This common issue comes straight to you from our Forum. Sometime you will see an error that states “Disc is in use” when working in an application such as iTunes. This is because applications such as iTunes use the disk directory actively for playback and importing.

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If you are unable to eject the CD or DVD from your Mac’s optical drive after trying all the usual methods try one of these alternate methods:

  • Quitting all open applications. Sometime applications keep an index of the disc ready for when you need to access it.
  • Open Disk Utility (Volume/Applications/Utilities), select the disc, and choose File > Eject.
  • Select Apple menu > Restart and hold down the mouse or trackpad button until the disc ejects.
  • If your drive has an emergency eject hole, put the computer to sleep and insert a large, straightened paper clip in the small emergency eject hole of the drive (the location varies, depending on the drive and Mac). Push firmly until the disc ejects.

If all other methods fail, you can try ejecting the disk using the firmware. (This may not work on all Macs – such as Intel-based Macs.) The steps listed below describe how to start up and briefly use the computer with only the firmware loaded – you will not be using your standard Mac OS X interface. If you are not comfortable with this don’t try it and seek expert help.

Using the Firmware

  • Restart the computer.
  • When you hear the startup sound, press and hold the Command-Option-O-F keys.
  • Release the keys when you see the welcome screen.
  • At the prompt, type: eject cd
  • Press Return, then wait a few seconds. The disc drive should eject the disc, and “ok” appears on the screen when the action is complete.
  • Next type: mac-boot
  • Press Return.

Well, we all know about the antenna problem that plagued the first batch of Apple’s iPhone 4. This has somewhat mysteriously resolved itself as users are not reporting this issue in the number that they where in the beginning. I was recently made aware of another issue that hit home the other day with my own iPhone 4. The problem deals with the iPhone iphone microphone not working when trying to make and receive calls. Essentially you can hear people who call you but they can’t hear you unless, in few case, you switch to speaker mode or Facetime. This has been drawing a few discussion threads on Apple’s site as well as some other places ( Thread 2476464 ).

I wound up taking my iPhone 4 back to the Apple store and described the problem. After a quick physical (external, not software) examination of my phone the Apple Genius without asking detailed information began prepping a new iPhone 4. As she was doing this I asked her if this is a typical problem, to which she responded that three with these exact symptoms came in during the past month. Not a cause for alarm but interesting. The situation was resolved by replacing my existing phone with a new one. All is well.

If you are experiencing these issues and you want to make try troubleshooting before hitting the Genius Bar here are some tips:

  1. Check if anything is plugged into the headset port that might be using the speaker like headsets, headphones, or adaptors.
  2. Make sure your mute is disabled when talking.
  3. If you are paired with a nearby Bluetooth headset that either you use the headset or that headset is turned off. Go to Settings > General > Bluethooth.
  4. Try restarting your phone by holding the Sleep/Wake button until the “slide to power off.
  5. If restarting the iPhone doesn’t resolve the issue, you might have to perform a restoring a device.

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Performing a iPhone Restore

Backing up your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch is done each time you connect it to iTunes. With iTunes you can:

  • Sync with iTunes – backing up every time you connect it to your Mac.
  • Update in iTunes – Updates for your iPhone or iPod occurs automatically without prompting.
  • Restore in iTunes – Refreshes you iPhone back to factory settings.

iTunes backs up most of your device’s settings; however downloaded applications, personal audio, video, and photo content are not included in the backup. When you restore from an iTunes backup your device settings and content will be re-sync to the device only if you check the “Sync” option under each tabs will be checked prompting iTunes to include that content from the backup. If you are syncing for the fist time your applications, audio, video, and photo content will not be synced until you select the “Sync” option in iTunes under each tab.

Repairing Permissions with Disk Utility

Repairing Permissions with Disk Utility

Sometimes it’s the simple things that we forget – maintenance. On the surface Mac OS X appears to be an operating system where you can just set it up and forget it. That is what most Mac OS X users do so don’t think you are the only one. I have worked with a lot of different people who call me an ask why their Mac isn’t running as fast as it used to. This is a simple maintenance routine is one that I generally start out with to get things going again.

Repairing Permissions with Disk Utility

Repairing Permissions using Disk Utility checks for any inconsistencies or differences your operating system might have. This typically examines permission differences on files and folders against what Mac OS X expects them to be. If something is found it is changed to match the expected settings. Permissions tend to become fragmented after third-party installations since the installer needs to access and create certain files on your Mac.
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The Repair Disk Permissions function as part of Apple’s Disk Utility located on your hard drive in your /Applications/Utilities folder. Start by navigating to Disk Utility:

  1. Launch Disk Utility
  2. Select the desired disk, generally your startup disk found in the left column.
  3. Click the First Aid tab.
  4. At the bottom click the Repair Disk Permissions button.

Next to the Repair Disk Permissions button you will see the Verify Disk Permissions button. Selecting this option allows you to preview potential repairs before performing them. Personally there is little added benefit in doing this. Once the repair is complete I run the it a second time just to make sure that it has corrected all the errors. Once complete close Disk Utility.

Other Options

Check my article on Repairing Your Primary Startup Disk with Disk Utility. Other ways of optimizing your system is using a third-party application such as MacJanitor (Free), OnyX (Free), or TinkerTool System 1 & 2 (Paid). These applications offer a collection of system utility features assisting you in performing advanced administration tasks on Apple Macintosh computers by running system optimizing scripts to maximize your performance.

Mac OS X Quick Tips

Top 10 Tips From Mac User Guide

Mac Users Guide brings you a series of Mac OS X Qucik Tips via its feed on In the next phase of Mac Users Guide we are opening iLearn by Mac Users Guide, a training program designed to bring valuable information through hands-on instruction. The workshops are designed to expand on the concepts and how-to articles found on Mac Users Guide and offer you, the user, the opportunity to learn with a real Apple professional who can answer your questions about Apple’s Mac OS X and wide range of equipment and applications. We offer 1-hour private classes or weekly 2-hour group classes that focus on specific applications and help beginners get started or experts deepen their knowledge of Apple hardware and software concepts. Learn more at

The following are a series of Mac OS X Snow Leopard quick tips that we will be covering in our upcoming workshop.

Language and texts in Snow Leopard
Ever run into needing a symbol shortcut…like lets say the copyright symbol. I do almost on a daily basis. To solve this problem simply open System Preferences, choose Language & Text. In Leopard a new tab was added called Texts and it has a Symbol And Text Substitution feature. For instance type ( c ) and you get © among other commonly used symbols. You can also make your own custom shortcuts! Like type “awesome” to substitute it for Carl Berkeley! Also comes in handy for your name or address.
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Selecting Multiple Files
Most of us long time Mac users know that if you want to select something you just click on it to open or move it. What if you want to move or open more than on file? To select groups of items select the first item in a folder and while holding down shift select and click on the last one. If you want to be more specific hold down Command and Click on only select items in a folder. While selecting items in this manner you can also select groups of items next to one another. Simply hold the Command and Shift buttons down at the same time as you click. With a little practice you will be a power selector!

Set a poster frame in iTunes
What is a poster frame? It is a still based frame taken from your video. You can add them to new movies and TV shows in iTunes or iTunes automatically creates an image to display as that video’s icon. What if you want to customize this image? I have had a a studio logo come up or the auto select landing on something not very descriptive. A simple solution to this problem is to choose another frame of the movie to use as the poster frame. To do this, just start the video playing in iTunes, go to the frame you want to use and then pause it. Then just right-click on the video and choose “Set Poster Frame.”

Cisco VPN Support
If you work from the road, or from home, you know how important Cisco VPN is. Did you know that Snow Leopard has it built right into the OS. To set up your VPN start my getting your setting from your IT Department. Next navigate to System Preferences > Network. Click on the small plus sign (+) in the lower-left corner. Choose VPN in the Select Interface drop-down. This is much better than opening a third-party application to get on the office server from home.

Image Capture Device Control
Image Capture transfers images between your digital camera, iPhone or scanner and your Mac for use in iPhoto and other applications. You can download all or any portion of the contents of your digital camera, crop images to a variety of sizes, and delete unwanted pictures from your camera. You can also set iPhoto to open for one device, and Aperture for another… or nothing at all.

Dock Exposé
One “ooooohhhh, aaaaaahhhhh” feature in the Snow Leopard is that you can simply click and hold an icon in the Dock to trigger Exposé to show all of the select application’s windows. This way you can avoid having to use a keyboard shortcut. This can be especially useful if you’re trying to quickly sort through all your Finder, Web browser, or word processing windows.

Battery Status
If you’ve secretly suspected that your MacBook’s battery isn’t working correctly, Snow Leopard can tell you what your geek senses have known all along. Now in the menu bar you can not only check the status of your battery but also see if it needs service. Just hold down Option and Click. Hopefully you not see the “Service Battery” warning :(

Screen Saver Photos
Here is a quick way to customize your Mac. As Apple users we have always had the option to shuffle through different Desktop pictures, but now you can set your screen saver to shuffle through different iPhoto, MobileMe, Flickr, Facebook, and Aperture Library. Simply organize your photos in either iPhoto or Aperture libraries and add your favorite social networking outlets or add them directly to Desktop and Screen Savers by click on the plus sign. Check Use Random Screen Saver then click on Shuffle. Then just check the boxes of the image libraries you want shuffled as screen savers.

Get Specific with Spotlight
If you use Spotlight a lot to find files, you know it’s slightly annoying when you type a file name into the Spotlight search field in your Finder window, only to have it search everywhere. In the Finder navigate in the menu bar to Finder > Preferences, click on the Advanced tab, and change the default search location from Search This Mac to Search the Current Folder.

Put it back!
Accidentally put an item in the trash? Simply select the item in the Trash. Right-click on the item and select Put Back from the contextual menu. The file will return to its original location before you throw it away.

Taking a closer look at the new Apple iPad
Now that the iPad has been out for a while do you want to get more out of it? I ave put together another list of six of my iPad quick tips to reveal more of the iPad’s features.

iPad Not Charging?
No problem. After purchasing my iPad I ran into the iPad “Not Charging” issue with my 2007 Mac Pro. Apparently the iPad has some problems charging from the low-powered USB ports found on older desktops and some USB hubs. Resultng in the “Not Charging” message on the iPad when it‚Äôs connected. In many cases, the iPad does actually charge from these connectors, but only when the display is off‚Äîwhich means you can‚Äôt see the icon that tells you the iPad is charging. If you‚Äôre getting the ‚ÄúNot Charging‚Äù message, try leaving your iPad plugged in anyway, and see if the charge is greater when you return.

Relearning the ‘Touch’ with iPad Photo
For those used to the iPhone, there is a new art to using the iPad. You can interact with your photos stored on your iPad in a whole new ways. Start by launching the Photos app. Try pressing and holding with two fingers in the all photos view. You should be able to spin the photo and slide then around.

Orientation Lock Button
Did you know that your iPad is equiped with an orientation lock button! The iPad’s accelerometer is powerful and very sensitive. The orientation Lock button is located on the right side of the iPad just above the volume controls. When you are working on something and don’t want your screen to keep switching this is a simple way to deal with it.

Email up to 15 Photos from your iPad
If you tried sending multiple photos from the Photo app on your iPad you have realized that you can only send 5 at a time. If you need to send more you can use copy and paste to move them into the Mail app, up to 15 pictures. Simply launch the Photo App and select the stack of images you want to send. Tap the upper right hand icon, the box with the arrow in it. Begin selecting the images you want to send and tap Copy. Hit the home button and launch the Mail App. Tap the compose icon in the far upper right. Tap into the body of the email and hold. Select Paste and your ready to send.

Shared Documents
If you’re wondering where Pages, Numbers and other Apps that save files keep your files wonder no longer. When you Sync your iPad take a look at the Apps tab in iTunes. If you scroll down and you’ll see the File Sharing. Here you can check out the apps that utilize fie sharing and the actual documents. When you’re ready to sync your files, use click Add.. button to add your files and work with them on the go.

iPad Wallpaper
There are a variety of was to customize your iPad and creating your own wallpaper is one of them. iPad wallpaper images should be 1024×768. To assign your image to your home screen background or lock screen, you need to import it to your Photo app. You can use Aperature, iPhoto, Image Capture or you Pictures folder.
Once imported launch the Photo app and find your background. Tap the arrow icon in the upper right corner and select ‘Use as Wallpaper’.

Mac OS X Safari Tips

Get The Most Out of Safari

Every week I bring you a series of Mac OS X Tips via my feed on With the launch of Safari 5.1 update on Wednesday I was reminded why I love Safari so much. The new version enables third-party extension support in the web browser. Compared to Chrome it will give it a run for the money, but Firefox – well that’s another story. At any rate I wanted to leave you with a selection of tips I have come up with to help you get the most out of surfing Safari!

Drag & Drop File Uploads
This is one of Safari’s hidden features. Tired of having a file to upload, a YouTube video or a Flickr image, for example, normally you would click the “Browse” button to open a dialog box and navigate to the location of your file. Wouldn’t it be great if you could drag and drop the file from your already – open Finder window directly to the upload form’s ‘Browse’ button in Safari? Well you can! Next time just drag and drop your files to the ‘Browse’ Button and your done!

Tab through Safari Tabs
Cycle through your Tabs like a pro by holding down CNTRL-Tab. Hit Tab to move forward.

Putting Safari Address Bar to work!
Ever run into the problem of starting to type a URL in the Address Bar and then realizing that I intended to view it in a new tab. Instead of cutting and pasting the URL into a manually-created tab, Safari lets you stay in the current tab and press Command+Enter to open it in another.

Re-sizable text fields in Safari
When filling out an online form that includes multi-line text fields, you might feel a little cramped by the pre-determined number of lines coded into the page. In Safari you can resize multi-line text fields on forms and make them larger by merely dragging the bottom-right edge.

Snap Back feature in Safari
Typically when you are surfing in Safari and move through a website you might find yourself wanting to go back to where you started. Sure, you could hit the Back button – a few hundred times – to get back to the original page, or you can use SnapBack. SnapBack works by silently marking a web page everytime you type in a new URL, click a bookmark, or open a new window. Simply go History > Search Results SnapBack or Type Comand+Option+S and SnapBack will bring you back to the beginning immediately. A huge time saver!

Speed up Safari
Surfing the web is great in Safari but after a while your Mac might start slowing down. Have you emptied your Cache lately? What is Cache you ask? As you surf the web your browser makes copies of the pages you visit, in case you need them again. This can cause things to slow down though. Here’s how to do a clean up. Select Safari > Emtpy trash from the main menu. A dialog will appear. Click Emtpy.

Setting Download Location in Safari
Did you know that Safari provides several options for managing downloads? To set the location for saving downloaded files on your hard drive, from Safari’s Menu Click on Safari and select preferences and Click on the General tab. Next Click on the “Save downloaded files to…” drop-down menu and select either “Last download location” or “Other…” to specify a specific location.

Managing Active Safari Downloads
The Downloads option under the Window menu in Safari provides you with more control over your downloads. When you select Downloads from the Window menu, the Downloads Pane will open, listing all active downloads and also perhaps some past downloads, depending on your settings in the General preferences pane. You can start and stop a download by clicking the Stop or Resume button next to the file name. You can also view the progress of your download in the Finder by clicking on the ‘Magnifying Glass’ button. There is also a Clear button in the lower left hand corner to clear your history of downloaded Files.

Using unix terminal to capture a packet trace.

How to capture a packet trace

Recently I have been doing a lot more network troubleshooting rather than working on my Macs! Not a total loss in the sense that it has brought me back to the basics of using UNIX commands in Terminal and how to capture a packet trace. This post might be more advanced for some but I feel that it holds good information when trouble shooting a connection issue on your network, home or company. The case that I ran into needing to use this was on a network primarily using Apple products ranging from Mac Pro, PowerMac, MacBooks, PowerBooks and mobile devices. The issue I was having was a MacBook Pro network issue seeming to originate from a timeout error from the switch resulting in it not picking up IP, Subnet, Router and DNS info. We started running PING tests to capture packet traces to see how fast the lines were working to eliminate a timeout issue from the switch. The steps I am about to outline uses the Terminal and the the tcpdump command; if you are not familiar with using the Terminal, you may want to use for third-party software that can perform a packet trace instead. Check out CPA – Cocoa Packet Analyzer

Running Mac OS X 10.6 do the following:

  1. 1. Open System Profiler either by locating it in the Utilities folder (choose Go > Utilities while in the Finder), or by Option-Clicking the Apple Menu > System Profiler.
  2. 2. Once launched select the Network interface; here you will determine which connection (AirPort/Ethernet) you will need to capture the packet trace.
  3. 3. Make note of the Berkeley Unix Device Name of the interface. For example the BSD Device Name for the AirPort interface could be “en1”, the BSD Device Name for Ethernet is “en0”, and so forth.

Active Services

System Profiler

If you are running Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard follow these steps – they will be different for Mac OS X 10.5.

  1. 1. Make sure your Mac is connected using a network interface. You can check this under the Apple Menu > System Preferences > Network preferences), such as AirPort or Ethernet.
  2. 2. Launch Terminal (/Applications/Utilities/
  3. 3. Copy or type the following Terminal command. Adjust the command based on your network interface; press Return to execute the command.
  4. 4. You will be prompted for your admin password.
  5. 5. Terminal should display “tcpdump: listening on…”. Access the network function you want to capture for, and let it run.
  6. 6. Once the network function is completed, go back to Terminal and press Control-C to complete the packet trace capture.

AirPort Network Example:
sudo tcpdump -i en1 -s 0 -B 524288 -w ~/Desktop/AirportDump1.pcap

Ethernet Network Example:
sudo tcpdump -i en0 -s 0 -B 524288 -w ~/Desktop/EthernetDump1.pcap

VPN Interface Example:
sudo tcpdump -i ppp0 -s 0 -B 524288 -w ~/Desktop/VPNDump1.pcap

Diagram of the tcpdump command options:
[-i] Sets a the interface from which you want to capture packets from. For example -i en0 = first Ethernet interface.
[-s] The number of data bytes to be sent; default is 56 or 64 ICMP data bytes. (This can be increased.)
[-B 524288] Increases the packet capture buffer size to 512 KB.
[-w] write a file
[.pcap] Packet Capture library

A file named “DumpFile01.dmp” containing your captured packet trace will appear on the desktop. If you want to display its contents, use this command in Terminal:

tcpdump -s 0 -n -e -x -vvv -r ~/Desktop/[Type]Dump1.pcap

iPhone 3.0 Photo Management

iPhone 3.0 Photo Management: Syncing Video and Photos with your iPhone

Syncing Video and Photos with your iPhone
Expanding on my second to last post iPhone Troubleshooting: Troubles Syncing iPhone Photos I wanted to look more closely at how to import video for your iPhone. I recently had a friend get in touch with me regarding her new iPhone 3GS. She is new to the iPhone 3GS and had been shooting video and taking pictures. She contact me asking how to syncing her iPhone with her Mac. Most of us familiar with Apple’s logic take for granted that we intuitively go to certain apps to help us manage our iPhones. However for a relatively new user this can be confusing. Even though syncing between your iPhone happens in iTunes, there’s no preference for video syncing in the iPhone management screen. If you have shot video with your iPhone and you have iLife installed you can use iPhoto to help you with this.

Sync with iPhoto
If you have iPhoto selected as your photo management program in iTunes it will automatically launch once you connect your iPhone. Once open you can select which photos and videos you want to import, you can also opt not to import duplicates.
iPhoto - Device Manager

iPhoto - Select your iPhone under DEVICES

  1. Start by launching iPhoto (if not already open)
  2. Under DEVICES select your iPhone
  3. Check “Hide photos already imported”
  4. Check the photos and videos you want to import
  5. Click “Import Selected”

Sync with Image Capture
If you don’t own the iLife suite you are not out of luck. Image Capture is your default photo manager an comes with Mac OS X. Similar to iPhoto you can select which photos and videos you want to import, you can also opt not to import duplicates. One major difference between Image Capture and iPhoto is that you can “Delete after Import”.

Image Capure and iPhoto Photos

Using Image Capure to Manage your photos and video

  1. Start by launching Image Capture (if not already open)
  2. Under DEVICES select your iPhone
  3. You can select and highlight which images you want to import
  4. Check box “Delete after import” if you want to remove images or video already imported.
  5. Select and destination folder under “Import To:” drop-down
  6. Click Import when ready

Taking a closer look at the new Apple iPad
Having gotten the new iPad on its release date I have been playing around with all the features and comparing the differences against my iPhone and iPod Touch. Basically the bigger screen makes a huge difference when working in the Apps. I have downloaded the new iWork Suite and found that integrates well with my current work flow. In getting to know the iPad I have compiled a series of my top tips to help you improve your productivity.

Put 6 Apps In the Bottom Tray
As we all know the iPhone hold up to 4 apps in the bottom tray by default. Did you know that the iPad can store more! Start by Tap/Holding on any app icon just like you would do to rearrange apps. Once your Apps are unlocked just drag any two additional apps into the bottom tray. Super handy!

Virtual Keyboard vs. Real Keyboard
If you still needs some practice using the virtual keyboard or just like the feel of a real one try pairing a Bluetooth keyboard with your iPad. Once connected the virtual keyboard will cease to appear. However, what if, for some random reason, you needed that virtual keyboard? Don’t unpair via Bluetooth in your General Settings. Just hit the eject key on Apple’s physical keyboard. It’ll bring up the virtual one.

Get Your Own (Free) Books
Similar to the way iTunes and the iPod can import and play downloaded music, iTunes and the iPad can import and display downloaded books. Supported formats are limited and the iPad only supports ePub (with or without DRM). Your local library may be a great source for free ePub checkouts. Also, Project Gutenberg has 30,000 free ePub books you can download since they have fallen out of copyright. If you want to convert your own PDFs and other DRM-free formats to ePub check out

Extending your iPad Battery Life
Concerned about your iPad’s battery limit? There are three main factors that can affect how long a charge lasts: The brightness of the screen, volume and Push services. The higher the volume and brightness are, the more battery life is consumed. In addition you might want to update your Push services from “Push” to “Manual” by going to Settings -> “Mail, Contacts and Calendars”.

Instant Muting
Lets say you are in back row of a wedding just minding your own business when, oops, you forgot to mute your Audioboo Tips from Mac Users Guide! No worries. There’s a quick way to cut the speaker. Holding down the volume down button for about two seconds will mute your iPad.

Access Special Characters
Simply bring up the keyboard and hold down any vowel. You’ll see a menu pop-up with additional variations of that character. When in Safari or Mail holding down the .com key to get a set of additional domains such as .edu, .org and .net.

Set your iPad Mail to more than two lines
When working with Mail on your iPad you qucikly realize you have space! This feature exists also for the iPhone and iTouch but their smaller screen makes it less practical. On the iPad, however, I find the feature is pretty handy for skimming several emails without opening them. Go to Settings -> Mail, Contacts and Calendars and select “5 lines” under Preview.

Using Image Capture with iPhone

Using Image Capture with iPhone solves syncing issue with iPhone photos: Try Image Capture

Using iPhoto or Aperature Image Management Tools
When you sync your iPhone with iTunes you have the option of selecting a image management software like Aperture or iPhoto. You can also select a destination folder like Pictures or a custom folder of your choosing to sync with.
Selecting Image Manage Software

how to sync, image management, photo management, iphone photos

Easy to setup using iTunes.

  1. Select the Photo Tab
  2. Check the Sync Photos
  3. Select the folder or application from the drop down menu

Troubles Syncing iPhone Photos

Typically when you sync your iPhone with Mac Aperture or iPhoto launch to help you import and manage your photos. However with the recent upgrades to Aperture I have notice one key feature missing. Deleting already imported images from your iPhone. You can select not to import duplicate images during import but what do you do after they have been imported? The best method I have found requires one more step using Apple’s Image Capture.

  1. Launch Image Capture. ( Applications > Image Capture )
  2. Select your iPhone under DEVICES.
  3. In the bottom left corner you should see a control panel displaying “Connecting this iPhone opens…”. You should see a check box just below this “Delete after Import”.
  4. Check “Delete after Import”.

Once you have downloaded all the pics to the folder of your choice or to an image management software your photos will automatically be deleted off the iPhone. No synching wit iTunes necessary! This works great if you are off-loading images at a friends house.

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