Troubleshooting iCal/Calendar app issues on OS X

Taken from https://github.com/trevor/calendarserver/blob/master/doc/Client-Server/calendar-client.rst and put here so I can find it later…

Additional debug logging is available by setting some preferenecs keys in the com.apple.CalendarAgent domain. The logs are sent to the standard system logging facility, ASL, and may be viewed with the Console utility, or the “syslog” command line tool. The “Sender” for these log messages is either CalendarAgent or Calendar.

To enable complete protocol logging, open Terminal and run the following two commands:

defaults write -g CalLogSimpleConfiguration -array com.apple.calendar.store.log.caldav.http
notifyutil -p com.apple.calendar.foundation.notification.logConfigUpdated

The second command (notifyutil) makes CalendarAgent re-read the preferences, because normally they are only read at startup (and CalendarAgenet is a persistent process that does not exit often).

The debug logging domains are specified using a reverse-dns style hierarchy, so to enable all Calendar logging (includes logging of account discovery), use the commands:

defaults write -g CalLogSimpleConfiguration -array com.apple.calendar
notifyutil -p com.apple.calendar.foundation.notification.logConfigUpdated

To disable Calendar debug logging, run the commands:

defaults delete -g CalLogSimpleConfiguration
notifyutil -p com.apple.calendar.foundation.notification.logConfigUpdated

To select all Calendar and CalendarAgent logs from ASL, use Console to select these two Senders from the utility box in the left of the Console window, or use the following syslog command:

syslog -k Sender CalendarAgent -o -k Sender Calendar

Issues installing Windows 8 on a new Retina MacBook Pro

I’ve spent too long this morning trying to install Windows 8 on a new Retina MacBook Pro.

The first error I received was that “Windows can’t be installed in drive 0 partition 4″ with more detail giving the error message “The selected disk is of the GPT partition style”.

Great. Not very helpful.

Then, after making a Windows 8 USB installer (Use Disk Utility to create a CD/DVD Master .cdr file from the Windows 8 DVD) and downloading the Boot Camp drivers via a slow internet connection all over again, then the installer would look like it was working until it came to reboot at which point it told me “Windows could not update the computer’s boot configuration. Installation cannot proceed”

Grrrr!

OK, so here’s what you need to do:

  1. Using Disk Utility, create an ISO of the Windows 8 install disk. Select the Windows 8 disk in the left-hand column, go to File > New Disk Image from <name> and change the image type from compressed to CD/DVD master. Save it somewhere handy.
  2. While in Disk Utility, verify your boot disk and, if you’re superstitious, Repair Permissions as well. On a brand-new machine this probably isn’t needed.
  3. With Boot Camp Assistant, and a >4 GB USB drive, create a bootable Windows install disk. Although the Windows installer was only 3.5 GB it wouldn’t do it on a 4 GB disk for me, I needed something bigger. This will completely erase the USB disk you’re using so make sure it doesn’t contain anything useful.
  4. Still in Boot Camp assistant, create your Windows installation partition and let it reboot.
  5. When it reboots, zap your PRAM. No, really, please do it. This fixed the error updating the boot configuration.
  6. Hold Option and boot of the EFI Boot partition on the USB disk. This will boot you into the Windows installer.
  7. In the Windows installer, when it asks you which partition to use, delete the BOOTCAMP partition (don’t just erase it, delete it) and make a new Windows partition. This will also create a 120 MB partition for Windows support stuff. Don’t worry about this, just leave it there.
  8. Now, install Windows on the newly created partition.
  9. When Windows has installed, it will also automatically launch the Boot Camp installer. Once this has completed, you’ll reboot one more time and you’re good to go. Now you get to have some fun installing Windows updates.

Product Review: Otterbox iPad Defender Case

I have something to confess. This is the first Otterbox I’ve owned. I’ve long known about their cases for mobile devices and have always meant to check them out, but never got around to it, until recently.

As some readers may know, I have two young kids. They are girls, but don’t let that trick you into thinking they take it easy on my high-tech toys. No way!. With the advent of quality content, such as Reading Eggs, guaranteed hits on ABC ivies and fun games like Peppa Pig’s Holiday, my iPad has become a magnet for kids. Yay.

Having witnessed the damage my kids can do armed with nothing more than sticky fingers and some determination, I decided it was time for some protection… I promptly got in touch with my mate Chris over at MobileZap and had him send me over something with military grade protection for my iPad. Let me tell you, this is the business. It’s got a heavy-duty three-piece case made of polycarbonate with a foam liner and then wrapped around this is a silicone rubber sleeve. There’s then another piece that serves double duty as either a screen cover (to protect the iPad in transit for example) or as a desktop stand.

The polycarbonate case has a clear screen protector built-in, that’s sealed along the edges making it dust and spill proof (although the case is not by any stretch waterproof as there are openings for the speaker, the dock connector and headphones) and there’s also a clear circular window on the read showing the apple logo.

Be aware though that this case does add a significant amount of weight and bulk to the iPad – it’s particularly bulky with the screen protector on, but this does give you confidence if you were, say, throwing the iPad into a bag with other items.

The stand built into the screen cover is good – it has a rugged hinged mechanism that clicks up into place and can hold the iPad in landscape orientation at two different angles – one that’s lying down at an angle and one that’s standing up more vertically.

Other than the issues of weight and bulk (which there is no way to avoid with this level of protection) this case is perfect. Even with those downsides, it’s still an outstanding case. The parts fit together perfectly, the screen cover offers real protection when installed and is a genuinely useful stand when you take it off and the materials and construction are all of a high quality.

I’m a lot less worried having the kids playing on my iPad now with this case – all I need to worry out now are in-app purchases. I’m still wondering how my 2yo managed to buy those extra coloured sprinkles in Cake Maker…

Fix issues with downloading apps from the App Store

You’ll occasionally get errors downloading apps or updates from the App Store that are rather vague and difficult to fix.

Errors like Xcode failed to download. Use the Purchases page to try again or even less helpful An Error Has Occurred.

Fortunately there’s a simple fix for most of these errors, despite what originally caused them – reset the App Store app.

Quit the App Store and then in Terminal type in:

defaults write com.apple.appstore ShowDebugMenu -bool true

Then, launch the App Store and go to the newly visible Debug menu and select Reset Application

Quit and relaunch the App Store just to be sure and try downloading again.

 

Delete hiberfil.sys on Windows 7

Quick tip to allow you to delete hiberfil.sys on a Windows system.

Run CMD as Administrator and enter

power cfg /hibernate off

If this doesn’t automatically delete C:\hiberfil.sys then you can go in and delete it manually.

Why do you want to delete it? Take a workstation for example with 48GB RAM and a 240GB SSD as the boot drive. 20% of the SSD is taken up with the hibernation file.

Product Review – Qi Wireless Charger

OK, let me say this up front – people we are living in the future. This is it, wireless power.

What I have here in front of me is simply magic. It’s an iPhone 5S Case that lets you charge your phone WITHOUT PLUGGING IT IN TO ANYTHING!

Let me repeat that, you can charge your phone now without needing to plug it in.

The case itself is a pretty slim-line unit. It’s an unremarkable (and that’s a good thing) black plastic case that snugly fits on your iPhone and plugs into the Lightning port on the bottom of the phone. Unlike the magnetic case I reviewed earlier, this one doesn’t come up with any messages about it not being certified, so that’s a good start.

It has cutouts for the camera lens and the LED flash as well as the volume buttons and mute switch on the side of the phone. It’s got a nice soft-touch finish on the exterior so it feels good in your hand.

It makes the phone a few mm thicker and taller, but you don’t really notice it and it doesn’t add much weight to what is a lightweight device anyway.

Where it comes into it’s own however is when you put it down on a Qi charging pad. As if by magic, power is beamed into your phone and it starts to charge – it is quite literally as easy as that.

If you have your charging pad in a convenient place (say, where you usually dump your keys and phone when you get home) then all you need to do is make sure that the light on the pad is on when you put down your phone and it’ll always be charged and ready to go.

I could go on about the technology behind all of this, but it doesn’t really matter – what does matter is that you can now charge your devices (not just your iPhone, some devices have Qi built in and others have cases or dongles available) quickly and easily. Put the device down on the pad and it starts charging. Pick it up and off you go. Done!

 

Product Review – Beamer 2.0

Beamer 2.0 is the long-awaited follow-up to an excellent video streaming app that I’ve been using for years.

The first version of Beamer was a pretty simple affair. Launch the app. Select an Apple TV and then drag and drop media files onto the app window to stream them to the Apple TV.

The beauty of Beamer is that it allows video in formats that iTunes/Apple TV doesn’t natively recognise to be streamed easily and with no fuss. Want to stream the latest episode of Game of Thrones to your Apple TV? No probs, simply launch Beamer, find the media file and dump it in the Beamer window. Walk over to the Apple TV and start watching. The viewing controls are pretty simple, you can play and pause and in 2.0 you also get fast forward and rewind, using the remote on your Apple TV as well as being able to skip forwards and backwards through your playlist.

Playlist? I hear you ask… Yes, one of the new headline features in 2.0 is support for playlists. The original version could only deal with one file at a time, so if you were having a bit of a binge on a TV series, or wanted to keep the kids amused with a heap of content, you’d have to walk back to your computer and queue up each episode in turn after the previous one finished. Now in 2.0 you can drag a bunch of media files into the Beamer window and retire to your couch for the rest of the afternoon knowing they’ll all be played one after the other. Beamer 2.0 also supports subtitles which is a great addition.

The codec support is pretty comprehensive with AVI, MKV, MOV, MP4, WMV, FLV videos all supported for AirPlay-like streaming. The version your download from the website is a time-limited trial with an in-app purchase to upgrade to the full licence, which is only $15.

Due to some of the high-tech goodness in Beamer, Beamer 2 only supports OS X 10.9 (Mavericks). Beamer 1 is still supported on older operating systems and will continue to receive updates to support new Apple TVs for the foreseeable future.

Set up an NFS mount and connect to it on CentOS/RHEL Linux

NFS mounts have two parts. The first part is the server that hosts the share point. The second part is the client that access the share point. You can have one or more clients accessing the same share point on an NFS server, similar to an SMB or AFP share

For the following tutorial we will assume the following IP addresses:

Server: 10.0.0.10

Client: 10.0.0.101

Set Up the NFS Server

First we need to use yum to install the required software on the server

sudo yum install nfs-utils nfs-utils-lib

Next, start up the NFS daemon

sudo chkconfig nfs on
sudo service rpcbind start
sudo service nfs start

Export the Shared Directory

You now need a directory that you want to share to the network client(s). By editing the file /etc/exports we can specify one or more directories to share as well as options and permissions for them

As an example, we’ll share the directory /home

First edit the exports file in /etc

sudo vi /etc/exports

Specify that this directory is to be shared by adding the following lines to the bottom of the file

/home 10.0.0.101(rw,sync,no_root_squash,no_subtree_check)

These settings accomplish several tasks:

rw: Allows both read and write requests on this NFS volume. The default if this is not specified is to make the share read-only for network clients.

sync: Replies to requests only after the changes have been committed to stable storage. This means that the NFS server will only tell the client that it’s done when it’s written all changes to disk, not just when it’s received the data and it’s still in the cache before it’s been written.

no_subtree_check: Tells the NFS server to not check the entire subtree for permissions. When checking to see if you have permissions to access a particular file or folder, it doesn’t check all the way back up the directory tree to the root directory, it just checks up as far as the directory that is the top-level of the NFS share. This is a bit less secure but generally makes things work more reliably.

no_root_squash: This setting lets the root user connect, as root, to an NFS share. By default NFS will connect the root user on one machine to a share as a non-root user for security.

Once you have edited the exports file, save it (esc, :, w, q if using vi) and then run exportfs to update the mounts

exportfs -a

Set up the NFS client

As before, install the NFS software using yum:

sudo yum install nfs-utils nfs-utils-lib

Mount the MFS Share

Make a directory on the client machine that you want to mount the NFS server on, e.g.:

sudo mkdir -p /mnt/nfs/home

Start the RPC portmapper

sudo service rpcbind start

And then, mount the NFS server onto the directory you have just created

sudo mount 10.0.0.10:/home /mnt/nfs/home

You can then use the mount command to check that it’s mounted and then df -h to see that there’s another filesystem there with it’s own free space. Testing the NFS Mount.

To make sure that the NFS share is remounted when the server is restarted, add it to the fstab

sudo vi /etc/fstab
10.0.0.10:/home /mnt/nfs/home nfs auto,noatime,nolock,bg,nfsvers=3,intr,tcp,actimeo=1800 0 0

Product Review – Logitech case+drive

Could this be it? The perfect car kit for the iPhone, or any device for that matter?

The basic premise of the Logitech case+ range is simple. There’s a case for your phone, and there are other bits that attach to it. The basic case+ is a slim soft-touch plastic case in a few different colours that fits the iPhone 5 and 5s. (Read on, even if you don’t have an iPhone 5/5s) There is then a nice brushed metal back on the case, with case+ neatly engraved near one corner. This back panel is made from steel, so as well as the functionality it provides for the case+ system, it also offers good protection to the phone. Inside the case+ is a soft fabric backing piece to protect the rear of your device.

The + bit in the name is because there are then a number of accessories that magnetically attach to the rear of the case.

Case+tilt is a smart-cover style pad with three sections that firmly attaches to the rear of the case and can be used as a stand and as cable management for headphone cables. Neat, but not what I’m reviewing today.

Case+energy is a high-capacity battery pack, similar in concept to the Magnetic Battery Case I reviewed previously, which is also cool, but not the subject of this review.

Case+drive is what I purchased today and the +drive module is a slim and very minimal looking suction cup windscreen mount. Visually it’s a soft-looking grey cone with the pointy end chopped off. The wide end attaches to the windscreen and then the front end hinges upwards to reveal a big yellow handle that you turn once the suction cup is on a smooth surface – once you’ve done this, it’s not coming off again unless you want it to!

The end of the +drive is a smooth, flat surface with a big magnet in it. The process of attaching the case+ to the mount is then to wave your phone somewhere in the general direction of the +drive whereupon it snaps into place and is held very securely. It’s also easy enough to get your phone back off the mount, at no stage does it feel like your phone is being held too tightly and you can’t get it off.

Now, even if you don’t have an iPhone 5 or 5s, don’t despair. If you buy the +drive as a standalone module (I’m not sure if this is the case if you get it in the case+drive bundle), although it says on the rear of the box that it requires the Logitech case+ iPhone case, it actually comes with two self-adhesive metal plates that will attach to just about anything you want to. One of the metal plates is the same brushed silver as the case+ backing plate, the other one is a smooth black finish. Had I known this before buying the case+ and the +drive separately, I may have just gone for the +drive mount on it’s own and stuck the plate to my iPhone.

About the only downside to this system is that the windscreen mount is pretty short. In my car, this isn’t a problem but if you’re in a vehicle where you are further back from the windscreen than I am, it may be harder to reach your phone. There is a circular flat disc with 3M VHB (Very High Bond) adhesive on it that can be stuck to the dashboard if this is the case (and if your dashboard is actually flat, as mine isn’t).

In use, the soft finish of the +drive mount and the strength of the magnets means that the phone doesn’t really move around at all while you’re driving, or while you’re tapping on the screen, which is unlike the Steely car mount I was previously using. I don’t know what the rated weight is for this, but you’d probably be able to hold even a small tablet using one of the included self-adhesive metal plates.

This kit combo isn’t the cheapest on the market, but ultimately you’re paying for quality and it performs very well. If price is an issue, go with the +drive mount on it’s own and stick the metal plate on the back of whatever device or case you’re currently using.