Archive for the ‘Tech Tips’ Category

OS X 10.5.3 Update breaks Time Machine backup with “cannot mount volume” error

May 30, 2008 Leave a comment

I am using Leopard Server and was happily backing up to a Leopard Client. (Yes, my server is backing up to a Firewire mounted external volume on an OS X client machine, shared over ethernet with AFP!!)

After months of trouble free operation, I upgraded both to 10.5.3 and got the “cannot mount volume” error.

I tried several times, but it would time out with an exclamation mark icon after a few minutes, each time.

  • I switched off Time Machine
  • Disabled file sharing on the client
  • Reset the Client
  • Switched AFP sharing back on
  • Manually mounted the .sparsebundle once on the server – It mounted fine.
  • I then reenabled Time Machine, ran the “backup now” option.

In my case, the above steps fixed the problem. I now have hourly backups working again.

Categories: Mac, Tech Tips Tags: ,

Automatic Update of Death

May 29, 2008 Leave a comment

I get to work this morning to find all the documents I was working on and websites I’d visited to research them closed and gone.

It seems my computer had crashed during the night.

So I log in only to get a cute little error message in the corner of the screen.


I don’t care if you were trying to be helpful, Microsoft. This is MY computer!

I really hate it when a corporation thinks it’s smarter than you are and pulls your control from under your feet like an old rug!

Basically, they might as well have said this:



Windows seems to do that a lot, taking fate into its own inept hands and misinforming the poor suckers who have to make do with it. Misinforming you say? Surely not. That error message is clearly written in language suitable for the primary audience, Americans.

Well, let’s just see what we have:

Your computer was recently updated!

Ok, I have no complaints so far… A surprisingly lucid comment.

Windows recently downloaded and installed an important security 
update to help protect your computer.

That’s very kind, thank you. So far so good.

The update required an automatic restart of your computer.

I beg your pardon?

The update required an automatic restart of your computer.

Required an automatic restart? Are you absolutely sure about that? Are you quite perfectly sure that had I restarted the computer myself, it would not have installed?


In haiku then, what the message is really saying is this:

I have decided
to reset myself without
the slightest warning.

There is a fix available for XP Professional Users:

  • Run “gpedit.msc” from the Start Menu (execute file)
  • In the Group Policy editor navigate to:
  • Computer Configuration / Administrative Template / Windows Components / Windows Update
  • Double click on
  • No auto-restart for scheduled Automatic Updates installations
  • Choose “Enabled” in the settings window
  • Click OK
  • Close the Group Policy Editor
Never used it myself, but if You’re an XP Home user, apparently you’re up the long brown one with out the long wooden one.
Categories: Tech Tips Tags: ,

Installing old ATI Rage Pro 128 video drivers from Tiger into Leopard on G4 Cube

May 14, 2008 4 comments

Seeing the graphics benchmark results for Leopard being so slow, I got to wondering if it was the drivers which were affecting the performance. Perhaps the old ATI was unrecognised by Leopard.

First I checked the system profile on the Apple menu, but that showed that the graphics card was correctly recognised as ATI Rage Pro 128

Just in case, I checked the /System/Library/Extensions folder. There were no ATI Rage drivers there at all!

I hopped on over to OSX86 at Insanely Mac and read their forums, remembering my Hackintosh days of dragging drivers over and found that it was a trivial task.

Since I used Archive and Install so I had my whole Previous System folder available, I mosied on over to:

/Previous Systems/<somedate>/System/Library/Extensions

and grabbed all the ATIRage kexts bundles and plugins I could find.  I spotted the ATIcellerator, too so I brought that over to/System/Library/Extensions folder, also.

ATI Rage Pro 129 .kext files from Tiger.

I had to change the permissions of the files, delete the old extensions cache and reboot.

This needs to be done as root (using sudo) so be careful, a mistyped command will be executed without complaint by your computer, potentially hosing your entire system.

In terminal, type:

sudo -s

type your password at the prompt and you are now root. You can seriously shag your system up if you’re not careful. So be careful 🙂

chown -R root:wheel /System/Library/Extensions/ATIRage*.*
rm -rf /System/Library/Extensions.mkext

After the reboot I found that my system was much, and I mean that honestly, more responsive! The slow screen updates, windows resizes, dragging, Safari page scrolling, everything was much faster.

I imediately ran X Bench to see if the results reflected the performance differences I felt and here are the results:

 Leopard with generic v tiger driver

A convincing win for Leopard with the Tiger driver installed! It is a shame that OpenGL performance is not affected, however.

Just to remind us, let’s have a look at Leopard running with Tiger’s ATI driver versus Tiger itself.

Leopard with Tiger driver v Tiger itself

This is extremely interesting. It shows us surprisingly that far from having an overhead, Quartz graphics actually show a very slight increase in performance compared to Tiger (averaged over three runs)! Of course, X bench is fickle, so take this with a pinch of salt.

Unfortuantely, the OpenGL (spinning squares) test shows us that it not receiving any benefit from the new driver. That’s too bad.

Well, I can now reverse my original post with the following shout:


Categories: Mac, Tech Tips Tags: , , , , ,

Improve Leopard’s Screen Sharing with an Apple Remote Desktop style Toolbar

May 13, 2008 2 comments

Enable the full functionality of Leopard screen sharing with this simple hack.

Just open a terminal window and paste it in:

defaults write \
'NSToolbar Configuration ControlToolbar' -dict-add 'TB Item Identifiers' \
'(Scale,Control,Share,Curtain,Capture,FullScreen, \

Categories: Mac, Tech Tips

Enable bonjour screen sharing browser

May 13, 2008 Leave a comment

Did you know that you can run the Screen Sharing application directly from


If you make an Alias for it in the Dock, Applications or Utilities Folder, it’s even more useful.

This nifty little hack enables the Bonjour browser for available VNC (Screen Sharing) clients.

Type the following command in at the command prompt

defaults write ShowBonjourBrowser_Debug 1

Now start the Screen Sharing app and see what pops up.

Categories: Mac, Tech Tips

128Gb+ Large HDD (LBA48) support on the G4 Cube with Leopard, for free.

April 27, 2008 8 comments

It’s possible to access the entire space of any large hard disk without drivers, that means without the need for the $25 Speed Tools ATA Hi-Capacity Support Driver. This also means that Leopard will work, too.

With the magic of the Open Firmware, as with the Open Firmware fake CPU speed hack, it’s possible to hack the Open Firmware to enable large disk support, otherwise known as LBA48.

I have only tested this with Leopard and Tiger, so I can’t vouch for earlier OS-X builds. however, note that this DOES NOT WORK FOR OS9. For OS9, you will still need the speedtools driver available here:

This time, however, we need to write this to the non-volatile RAM so that the changes aren’t lost on reboot.

  • Reboot or Power up your Cube
  • Hold down Command + Option + O + F simultaneously as soon as the reboot starts.

You should now be at the Open Firmware prompt. Note that this is NOT the BASH prompt, so don’t try anything here.

  • Type in the following, exactly. Please note that the Underscore “_” is used to indicate a space.
  • Press Ctrl+C to exit from nvedit.

That’s it. Now boot up and go to “About My Mac” to confirm the disk size.

If your disk was already formatted, it will have its original 128Gb partition and a region of inaccessible space at the end. It’s probably easiest to reformat the disk with a new partition scheme, unless you have some terminal disk utility or related tricks up your sleeve.

  • This hack will last until you reset the NV RAM (P RAM).
  • Similarly, if you hose your open firmware settings, use this fact to your advantage, perform a PRAM reset and start again.

If you do repartition the disk, it’s probably wise not to cross the 128Gb boundary with a partition, in case you ever have to reset the NV RAM, in which case you’ll only be able to access the first 128Gb of the the hard-disk. By splitting the disk at 128Gb, you’ll ensure that only whole partitions are visible and any partition after the 128Gb will be entirely invisible.

In my case, I made a front partition of 128Gb, and the remaining 30 something Gigs into an extra partition for temprorary files.

Thanks to the Cube Kaizou (Cube Mods) page on Studio Milehigh (!!!) homepage. Apparently his own Cube died at the end of April last year but he has left his legacy of Cube update experience online.

Categories: Mac, mods, Tech Tips, Technology Tags: , , ,

Directly Install a shop copy of Leopard on an iMac 700MHz (or even a stock, unmodified G4 Cube!)

March 21, 2008 4 comments


Yes, despite Leopard being limited to 867MHz G4 processors and faster, you can pretty much install Leopard on any G4 Mac with an AGP graphics card. (OK, so the picture above is a phtoshopped image of a 1GHz model, but you get the idea.)

So, I decided to try it out and reinstall Leopard from scratch on my shiny “new” iMac with its rip-roaring 700MHz processor, 40GB hard disk and 640MB RAM.

To cut a long story short, it can be done and ridiculously easily!

  • Reboot the iMac
  • Hold down the Cmd-Opt-O-F keys. Instead of the usual white screen and grey Apple logo, you’ll get a black screen with a white Open Firmware prompt.
  • This is NOT a regular BASH prompt, so don’t be tempted to try anything!
  • Insert the shop copy of the Leopard DVD. (If it’s already in the drive, that’s fine, too).
  • Type the following lines in exactly as shown below. After pressing Return, you should see “ok” to signify that the command was understood. If at any time you have any doubt, just reset the Mac and start again since these settings are cleared after a reboot.

For your iMac, G4 Cube etc, type this:

dev /cpus/PowerPC,G4@0
d# 867000000 encode-int " clock-frequency" property
boot cd:,\\:tbxi
  • The install will continue.

I haven’t tried this below, but…
If you have a dual CPU computer, use the following:

dev /cpus/PowerPC,G4@0
d# 867000000 encode-int " clock-frequency" property
dev /cpus/PowerPC,G4@1
d# 867000000 encode-int " clock-frequency" property
boot cd:,\\:tbxi
  • The install will continue.

Remember this hint does not confer any magical speed increase, it just lies to the Installer! Also, a reboot clears this tweak, But Leopard will continue to run, once installed.

Obvious point but… If you install a new OS, you’ll in all likelihood LOSE SOME OR ALL OF THE CONTENTS OF THE DRIVE. BACKUP FIRST!

Categories: Mac, Tech Tips, Technology Tags: , , , ,

Installing Leopard on iMac 700MHz with Target Disk Mode

February 13, 2008 Leave a comment

I’ve seen a lot of talk about Leopard requiring the latest system just to get it running. So I’m writing to put that myth to sleep.

So, I decided to upgrade the RAM and the OS to either Tiger or Leopard and test the machine with original 40GB hard disk and just an additional 512MB upgrade (for a total of 640MB). If it ran Leopoard tolerably fast and stable enough then I’d make Leopard permanent and upgrade to the the full 1GB RAM, a Bigger Hard disk and a DVD-R, which should provide even better performance. If not then I’d fall back to Tiger rather than Leopard.

Preparing the iMac for the Leopard install.

This was trivial and involved adding a 512MB, 133MHz SODIMM RAM module.

    See the Upgrading the iMac’s RAM to 640 MB post.

  • Next, I rebooted the iMac and tested the memory. All was well.
  • Restart the iMac in Firewire Target Disk mode by holding down T until a few seconds after the chime.
  • I used Firewire target disk mode and CCC to clone the HDD off Tomoko’s 12″ PowerBook Leopard install. This took about an hour for the 10GB or so transfer.

Booted up fine, first time.


After removing various settings for Bluetooth, Airmac and changing the network settings so as not to double up with the PowerBook, I got to work testing.

I was surprised at the performance, expecting it to be slower than it was and the 1024 x 768 screen to be more cramped. But it runs quite well. I tried Safari, Word, Excel and Mail at the same time (a typical day’s work) and found the machine to be pleasant and entirely usable if not amazingly fast. There were none of the annoyances that I have with Tiger on my stock G4 Cube, for example.

I found that the 10.5.2 system install was waiting so I installed that plus graphics update 1.0 and a few other queued updates.

Probably subjective, but I found the whole thing to be even smoother and more responsive. For example, clicking on the finder icon in the dock brings up any open finder windows almost instantaneously over whatever you’re doing at the time.

A lot better than my stock cube with 1.5GB RAM and Tiger.

I’d like to test it out with Tiger for a speed comparison, but quite frankly, besides the lack of awaking from sleep, it’s running so smooth that I don’t see the point.

In conclusion

  • Install from cloned PowerBook HDD using CCC was effortless and took an hour or so for a 10GB install. 
  • Leopard runs trouble free, with so far no crashes or random stuff happening (apart from wake from sleep).
  • 10.5.2 upgrade and Graphics Update 1.0 work wonderfully.
  • 640MB RAM and 40GB HDD gives more than adequate performance for Surfing, iTunes, Office 2004 multitasking.

    Remaining Niggles:

    1. Awakes from sleep with screen artifacts (but at least it can be gracefully reset since the OSX10.5.2 / GU1.0 updates).
    2. Boot up is slow. Haven’t timed it, but it’s slow.
    3. Logging in is slow.

      Of the above complaints, only the first is a real one, since, once logged in, everything is hunky dory.

      I think I’ll keep the machine like this for a week or to so that I can appreciate the upgrade when I perform it.

      I wonder how much faster the Seagate 500GB HDD and extra 386MB of RAM will make it…

      Categories: Mac, Tech Tips, Technology Tags: , , , , ,

      Installing Japanese Sony SonicStage on English Windows

      January 19, 2008 50 comments

      Jan 2, 2009 -> Updated links to official Sony Web Site.

      Sony Ericsson\'s excellent SO903i

      Background: You can skip this and get straight to the installation bit (which is a lot shorter).

      I was unfortunate (or stupid) enough to lose the media software that came with my SO903i phone, which left me without a means of getting my music onto it after a sudden OS reinstall. According to the Sony Ericsson site, Sony SonicStage CP 4.3 now has the drivers built in to handle transferring music to the built in memory or to an external CF card. I hastily went to download the Japanese version of the software, only to get an error:

      Cannot install with this Windows Language. (20993)

      20993? Cool! So, I went to the US site and navigated through to the download page. Clicked on the ‘I accept’ button and got the beautiful:

      This Download is only available within the US

      US only. Sweet.”Ah-ha!” I thought… I can just proxy the download via a US server. So I did. The required download was only about 300Kb. So proxying didn’t slow anything down.I double clicked on the and after a lengthy 20Mb download…

      Please wait while your software installs.

      …message at last appeared! It installed perfectly and worked first time at importing the music I’d downloaded from into my library. “At last, I could use my phone again,” I thought…

      Or could I?I plugged my gorgeous phone in, set it to memory mode and waited while the three drive letters appeared (one for the Internal memory, one for SD and one for overpriced Memory Stick).

      “Right. Now for the music!” I searched for the transcode for mobile device button, but there was no rename/transcode the required format Nor was there any DB management for the CD jackets or other info.

      Blast again, tripped at the last hurdle. And so my phone lay, mostly inert for the next three months or so.

      Finally, I decided to do something.


      How to install Japanese SonicStage on an English version of Windows

      NB. This does not magically translate the program into English.

      Download the SonicStage installer from Sony. Here’s a link for SonicStage 4.4

      Scroll right down to the bottom and click the bright blue button that says 同意する.

      Here’s a direct link for those who need it.

      Save this file, don’t run it.
      Now, you’ll need to install a good Zip program. I like WinRAR. With WinRAR, you can right click on SonicStageInstaller.exe and click “Extract Here”.
      Among the files extracted should be a file called “SetupSS.ini”
      Open SetupSS.ini in your favourite editor.
      Here’s what you should see. (My file  is from SonicStage 4.3)
      fontname         =FONT_NAME
      applicationname  =APPLICATION_NAME
      applicationver   =4.3
      supportos        =0xf8
      language         =Japanese
      supportoslang    =Japanese
      nonsupportoslang =
      schineseopt      =1
      mainsection      =SdWelcome
      dlmanager        =1
      dlserver         =
      noaskopt         =0
      instssver        =4.3.04
      uninstomgver     =2.2
      pacsupport       =
      The key is the part which says “supportoslang”
      Change that to read
      supportoslang    =English

      Save the file

      Double Cick the extracted “SetupSS.exe” to Install.

      During the installer, you may see some blank dialogue boxes. Just click 次へ (next) until you reach the end of the installer.

      As I mentioned, this will not translate the program into English, but it will run with full functionality, unlike the English language version of the program which lacks support for Japanese mobile phones like my Sony SO903i.

      Aperture 1.5.4 on PPC Mac Mini G4

      August 25, 2007 Leave a comment

      I have Aperture 1.5 running nicely on a Macbook but wanted to get it working on my Mini for times when the laptop is being used. I had it working before, but recently updated to 1.5.4 which broke it. After fishing around and with a bit of trial and error I found out how to get Aperture 1.5.4 working on a Mac Mini G4 with 64MB Radeon 9200 graphics and 1Gb of RAM.

      1. Install Aperture and Upgrade/Update to 1.5.4.
      2. Download 0xED HEX Editor from Apple (0xED page) and install
      3. Run 0xED and use File | Open menu to Navigate to /Applications/Aperture/Contents/MacOS andd open Aperture
      4. Make sure 0xED is in Overwrite mode by pressing Shift+Command+O
      5. Use the “Go to Offset” field to jump to BFC8
      6. Change the next four bytes from 40 9E 00 88 -> 48 00 00 80
      7. Do the same for C064 and you’re done

      This works for my setup. If you are using an older machine or one with less RAM, you may want to edit the Info.plist from /Applications/Aperture/Contents to change AELMinimumRAMSize, RKG4LaptopMinimumCPUSpeedMHz or RKG5DesktopMinimumCPUSpeedMHz parameters.

      Thanks tothe site for setting me off in the right direction!

      Categories: Mac, Tech Tips, Technology Tags: , ,