Monday, 6 June 2016

Mavericks Screensaver fix

Recently updated a 2008 MacBook Pro from Snow Leopard to Mavericks.

So far everything's seems to work well without any performance lag. However I noticed the screen saver didn't work as expected. 

Under Snow Leopard I set the Screensaver to play photos from a selected folder in iPhoto and this led to a nice slide show when the Mac was idle.

This setting didn't carry over to Mavericks, in fact no iPhoto folders were seen in the Source drop-down menu! Checking the forums, there were recommendations from upgrading to iLife'11 to running a Terminal command.

However not wishing to spend more money on this upgrade, I experimented with linking Screensaver with an alias of an iPhoto folder. It wasn't elegant but it worked!

Here's how: 
  • Goto Home > Pictures
  • iPhoto Library
  • Ctrl-click > Show package contents 
  • Choose a folder within Modified > File > Make alias 
  • Drag alias to Pictures Folder
  • System Folder > Screensaver > Select type of slide show > Source
  • Choose Folder... > navigate to Pictures Folder and select the alias.
  • Thumbnail of the slideshow will be displayed and closing the System Folder will activate the slideshow when the Mac is idle.

Monday, 8 October 2012

Hard Disk Death: Thought it would never happen to me!

After many years of sorting out clients' hard disk crashes and corruptions, the inevitable happened to me.

The internal drive in my faithful MacBook Pro 2007 (MBP) died without warning. The usual Apple Disk Utility - Disk Repair failed and recommended re-formatting, similarly DiskWarrior recomended a backup of important files and then reformat. Running Drive Genius, found many bad blocks.

Time for Hard Drive retirement, methinks.

Fortunately I had run my monthly cloning session using Carbon Copy Cloner just a few days earlier. So being unable to boot-up on the internal drive, I had to use the clone instead. Work in progress is usually backed up from the internal drive to the server, daily.

So work continued using the cloned drive and an order placed on Amazon for the new Seagate Momentus Hybrid Drive (Part Solid State and part spinning disk).

Hybrid Drive arrived a few days later and following drive replacement guide, it replaced the old dead drive.

Still working off the Cloned Drive Backup, I formatted the new Hybrid, and cloned back the whole system to the new drive. Unplugged the Clone Drive and re-started the MBP using the Hybrid and hurray everything was back to normal... but not quite.

I still had to transfer my Boot Camp partition and the Windows operating system. This one was tricky as Carbon Copy Cloner doesn't touch the Boot Camp partition. Here I had to use Winclone as a backup.

So from the re-constituted Utilities folder, I set up a new Boot camp partition and stopped when it asked to install the Windows operating system.

Fired up Winclone, searched for the Boot Camp clone and reinstalled the contents to the new Boot Camp partition.

Booted up into Boot Camp and good news, "The Dark Side" worked in all it's Windows glory!

However only one drawback emerged. VMware Fusion, the Windows-on-the-Mac emulator didn't work. I couldn't find the new Boot Camp Partition. Googling for answers came up with complex solutions so I tried the last resort - un-install then re-install VMware Fusion.

Hurray, this worked! In the process of re-installing, VMware Fusion found the location of the new Boot camp. Testing the app led to success.

All in all, the whole excercise was a success and the Hybrid Drive flie. Only a day was lost in getting back to normal.

Moral of the story? Clone, Clone, Clone, Backup, Backup, Backup! It makes a cheaper recovery in the long run both in time and money. External Drives are cheap and so are the Apps mentioned above.

Sadly when everything gets old they die and Hard Disks are no exception. IT WILL HAPPEN TO YOU!

Wednesday, 9 September 2009


Dear Macdoc,

Alongside my re-built Apple G4, and Apple laptop, I have an old AppleMac 4400 in very good working order. I want to keep it running so I can use all my old programmes, early photoshop so on and so forth. And I'm sure I can find spares on Ebay

However, I would like to connect it to a reasonable modern printer, the problem is that the 4400 is SCSI. Is it possible to find an adapter to fit SCSI, with a usb printer.?

Many thanks
Tony Shelley

Hi Tony

To be honest you'll be flogging a dead horse. For a start SCSI is not a printer output. Its mainly used for connecting hard drives and scanners. It's the serial printer port that is used. There is no adapter to convert this port to USB.

Modern USB printers will be more compatible with the modern Macs. You might get away with using an Apple generic printer driver, or an open source CUPS driver (search Google) or at best making a PDF using Adobe Distiller then printing this.

Colour printing is possible over an Ethernet network to a Colour Laser Printer using the Postscript Laser writer driver in System 9, but these printers are more expensive than Inkjet ones.

The cheapest solution for you to find a non USB printer. Sadly we recently chucked a perfectly good Epson Stylus Pro XL Plus A3 printer as we couldn't find a good home for it... non even the charity shops wanted to sell it!

Should have put it on Ebay...

Monday, 31 August 2009

URL disappeared


Could you help me? I somehow dragged the address field or URL space in safari off. Is it possible to regain this so that I can cut and paste urls?


Hi Frances

Try this:

1. Safari > Menu bar > View > Customize toolbar
2. Drag the URL field or default set back onto the toolbar