Snow Leopard’s New Time Machine Behavior After Logic Board Replacement

My MacBook Pro had it’s logic board replaced and I dreaded what the resulting new MAC address would do to some of the installed software.  Time Machine is one of the applications that cares.  The machine’s MAC address is used, in part, to identify itself with Time Capsule.  I was so concerned that I made a Genius Bar appointment to pickup my repair and talk about this issue with a tech.  The tech printed out a tech note entitled “10.5: Repair Time Machine after logic board charges”.

But after I got home I was pleasantly surprised to discover Snow Leopard knows about this problem and has a solution.  My first backup with the new logic board resulted in the following dialog:  “Would you like to reuse the backup “/Volumes/Data/Nemo.sparsebundle” with this computer?  The backup was created on a different computer.  If you reuse this backup it can no longer be used by the original computer.”  The options were “Do Not Backup Now”, “Create New Backup”, and “Reuse Backup”.  Clicking on “Reuse Backup” does all the MAC address fix-up while clicking “Create New Backup” will result in a new Time Machine database being created.

Reuse Backup Dialog

“Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs” Unwatchable Due To Audio Problems

Tonight we tried to watch Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs on Blu-ray. It was unwatchable due to audio problems. The sound in the trailers and menu were fine. But when the movie played the “DTS-HD Master Audio Multi Ch” decoding was horrible. It was like a needle scratching a record. The Disc was played on an LG Network Blu-ray Disc Player (Model BD370V, Driver Version: H42301, SW Version: BD.8.16.693.A) which was connected via HDMI to a Sony STR-DA5400ES Multi Channel AV Receiver. I have access to the same Blu-ray Disc Player connected via HDMI to an Onkyo TX-SR806 AV Receiver I will try out in the coming days and update this post.

Update 11/5: It turns out the problem is with the LG Blu-ray Disc Player.  The audio scratching also happened with a different LG (same model and software revision level) in a different setup.  The disc played fine in a PS3.  I tested chapter 1 and chapter 19 to rule out the possibility of a localized disc defect.  I have contacted LG and they are escalating.

Time Machine Thinks All Iomega Drives Are The Same

A colleague purchased two Iomega 500GB eGo portable hard drives at the Apple Store to use with his new MacBook Pro 15″.  He set up one drive to be a Time Machine backup drive (Backup) and the other as external data storage (Datastore).  The problem was whenever he plugged in Datastore the MacBook Pro treated it like Backup and would proceed to backup to Datastore – the incorrect disk.  I tried some draconian methods – deleting the, .fseventsd, and the sparsebundle, but Time Machine kept using Datastore every time I plugged it in.  This is in addition to Time Machine using Backup every time it was plugged in.

I fixed the problem by deleting the partition with Disk Utility and recreating the disk partition.  I believe Iomega has made a mistake in the way they make this product the “Mac Edition”.  My theory is they are imaging the drive with the same blank image.  This image contains the token Time Machine uses to identify “what drive is this?” (Time Machine doesn’t use volume name).  This results in Time Machine seeing every drive in this product line as the same drive.  When you make a new partition, the drive’s identity token is deleted and a new one created – problem solved.


  • Iomega 500GB eGo FireWire/USB 2.0 Portable Hard Drive, Mac Edition
  • Apple’s web site says “Mfr. Part No.: 34629” but the underside of the unit says Model No: RPHD-TG.
  • Mac OS X 10.5.8
  • Iomega creates the partition with Apple Partition Map.  When I recreated the partition I used GUID Partition Table
  • The USB Serial Number as shown in Disk Utility was different for each drive when plugged in so this isn’t the token.
  • These units also can connect via Firewire 800 which we were doing.  Firewire devices have a Connect ID in Disk Utility.
  • Having one drive plugged in via Firewire and one plugged in via USB had no affect on this problem – it failed just the same.

Eclipse and Version Control (SVN)

My C++ project is now in Fedora Eclipse (Version: 3.4.1 Based on build id:  20080911-1700) and the perennial question comes up…

Q: What files am I required to checkin to version control (SVN)?
A: .cproject and .project

If you are testing the checkin on your machine there is one caveat. Delete the project from the Project Explorer. Then use the Import command from the File menu. This process will create some of the temporary files that were not checked-in but expected to be there when building the project.

Boa on Fedora 11 Fail

Tried for 3 days to get Boa working on a clean Fedora 11 install. Four VMs failed. The only machine it works on is a crusty Fedora 11 image installed on physical hardware. Failure mode is service boa start returns with [Failed]. Nothing in the logs. After editing the init.d/boa file to output more info we still don’t see anything. Going back to Fedora 10 VM.

Update: Submitted bug 527582 to RedHat.

Confusing Yum Error

Yum in Fedora 11 could use some work on error reporting.  While I have no doubt the following message was technically true – it wasn’t very helpful in diagnosing the problem.  This failure was caused by the loss of Internet connectivity.

Errors were encountered while downloading packages.
boa-0.94.14-0.12.rc21.fc11.i586: Caching enabled but no local cache of
from fedora

Why Can’t Paste be “Paste as Plain Text”?

I no longer use the Paste command (Cmd+V). Paste has become utterly useless to me in the last decade. If I use Paste in an email then the rest of my email has a different font and a different formatting. If I use paste in a word processor it invariably messes the document up in some way – non-matching format and/or different font. When I use the Paste command I want just the text – not the formatting.

That brings me to the Paste Special command. Unfortunately it’s so cumbersome to use it’s infuriating. I have to do a four finger salute. Four! Shift+Option+Cmd+V. And I have to grok another dialog which asks which of 2+ formats I want. Why can’t Paste be “Paste as Plain Text” and Paste Special be “Paste with Formatting”? Cmd+V – that simple key sequence you learned the first week you used the computer. Paste has been overtaken by feature creep and I want it back!

A Windows “Feature” I Wish Apple Hadn’t Copied For Snow Leopard

In Microsoft Windows (all versions), I always found it annoying and disconcerting to see generic icons in Windows Explorer one moment replaced by official/pretty icons the next when starting up or first opening an Explorer window.  It just enforced the “lipstick on a pig” feeling you sometimes got in Windows.

Well, Snow Leopard 10.6.0 is doing it now.  And does it a lot.  At first I thought it was a caching issue but it’s not. And in the screenshot accompanying this post two of the icons never switched over (Address and until I went to a different directory and came back to /Applications.  This must be a side affect of rewriting the Finder.  It’s sloppy and doesn’t give me a “rock solid” feel like 10.5.x (and before) where you never saw this happen.

Icon Redraw in Snow Leaopard

Snow Leopard Changes Preview’s “Combine PDF” Behavior

One of the great features of Preview Version 4.2 (469.5) in Mac OS X 10.5.x was the ability to create one PDF out of many.  Here’s how the feature worked (using single page PDFs – this is important as I’ll discuss in a minute).

  1. Open a PDF.
  2. Expose the Sidebar.
  3. Drag the PDFs you want to include in the Sidebar area.
    Note A: Each of the PDFs become page 2, page 3, and so on.
  4. Save or Save As the PDF.  Voilà – one PDF.

For Snow Leopard 10.6.0, Apple changed the way this feature works in Preview Version 5.0 (501) and made it more cumbersome.  Here’s how it’s done in Snow Leopard:

  1. Open a PDF.
  2. Expose the Sidebar.
  3. Drag the PDFs you want to include in the Sidebar area.
    Note B: The PDFs all retain their name in the Sidebar (contrast with Note A)
  4. Select all but one of the PDFs in the Sidebar.
  5. Drag and drop the selection into the unselected PDF recipient.
    Note C: You only get one chance at this or you’ll need to start over.  You can only drop one set of PDFs onto the recipient.
    Note D: After doing so, the recipient icon changes to include a Binding Comb on the left edge.  Moving the arrow cursor over the combined PDF exposes a circle-left-turn arrow on the right edge.
  6. Save or Save As the PDF.  Voilà – one PDF.

Digging Deeper

Examining the problem further I’ve realized Apple has changed the Sidebar behavior even more.  If you open a multi-page PDF, the first page has the Binding Comb with a clear cover page opened and a circle-right-turn arrow with all the subsequent pages on display below.  Clicking the circle-right-turn arrow rolls up all the pages and closes the clear cover in a nice animation.  It appears they’re trying out a bookshelf metaphor and I’m not sure why.

Other observations:

  • My Note C is a little disingenuous.  When a mutli-page PDF is open you can drag and drop more pages into it.  But why didn’t they automatically expand it when I did it earlier?  That might have given me a clue as to what was going on.  Especially since I was used to the old behavior.
  • When a book is open, there is nothing visually tying the pages together.  There is no indentation.  There is no gray rectangle around all the pages.  You only get that sense if you more pages around or add a PDF not in the document.
  • You can change the order in the Sidebar of books/pages (files) but I don’t understand why – you can’t save this view of the Sidebar.

Update 12/9 This procedure will not work if the creator of the PDF has password protected the document.

    Musings of a software engineer in Silicon Valley