Product Review – Otter Box Symmetry case for iPhone 5/5s

My mates over at Mobile Zap have sent me a new case for my phone – the Otter Box Symmetry case for iPhone 5/5s.

I’m normally a nude-device type person, however have recently been using a case to go with my Logitech case+drive (that is the best car kit I’ve yet found) so have warmed up to the idea of a case on my phone.

The Otter Box is a tiny bit bigger all round, but instead of the squared off edges, it’s more rounded so fits in the pocket just as well and is more comfortable to hold.

So, what makes this case so good? Protection.

It’s not water or dust proof or anything like that, but it is a 2-layer construction with a high-density foam in the interior with a hard plastic case on top. It’s also got a small lip of the foam around the face of the phone, so if you put your phone down face-down, the glass doesn’t actually touch the table.

The foam inner for the case seems to be flexible enough to provide drop protection, although I’m not about to drop my phone just to test this…

The only addition I’ve had to make to this case is sticking one of the Logitech case+ metal squares on the back of the case, so I can still use my car kit. Luckily the Logitech +drive mount came with a black and a a brushed stainless self-adhesive metal square, so the black square ties in perfectly with the black plastic of the case.

All-in-all, this is a very nice case – unobtrusive, slim and offering a good amount of protection for your device.

Check out the huge range of iPhone 5s cases over at Mobile Zap – they have a great range, with good prices and fast, local shipping.


Move files by date range – particularly useful for filing large amounts of email

I wanted to clean up my Sent Items folder in my email – I don’t have time to go through and manually sort them, nor do I have time to delete some and keep others. My main aim was to break them up so that I didn’t end up with over 20k items in a single folder.

What I decided to do was move them into folders based on date – Kerio Connect stores emails as .eml files in the filesystem, so individual emails are easy to deal with as files, rather than being forced to talk imap to it when I’ve got local access.

I went into the Kerio Connect Client and made my destination folder structure – A top-level folder called Sent Archive and then folders underneath this by year – 2009, 2010 etc.

Then, to move them all to where they needed to be I stopped Kerio Connect and then ran the following shell commands:

cd /usr/local/kerio/mailserver/store/mail/\ Items/#msgs
find . -type f -newermt 20090101 -not -newermt 20100101 -exec mv {} ../../Sent\ Archive/2009/#msgs/ \;
find . -type f -newermt 20100101 -not -newermt 20110101 -exec mv {} ../../Sent\ Archive/2010/#msgs/ \;
find . -type f -newermt 20110101 -not -newermt 20120101 -exec mv {} ../../Sent\ Archive/2011/#msgs/ \;
find . -type f -newermt 20120101 -not -newermt 20130101 -exec mv {} ../../Sent\ Archive/2012/#msgs/ \;
find . -type f -newermt 20130101 -not -newermt 20140101 -exec mv {} ../../Sent\ Archive/2013/#msgs/ \;
find . -type f -newermt 20140101 -not -newermt 20150101 -exec mv {} ../../Sent\ Archive/2014/#msgs/ \;
cd /usr/local/kerio/mailserver/store/mail/
find Sent* -name index.fld -execdir mv {} index.bad \;

I then restarted Kerio Connect and had it reindex the folders and everything was looking good.

FileMaker Server 13 Conflicts with Web Services Ports

FileMaker Server 13 is a bit of a pain to install – it absolutely insists with no option to change it that it MUST listen to ports 80 and 443 on whatever it’s installed on.

This is a big problem if you’re installing it on a machine that needs to be used for anything else, other than FileMaker Server.

If you’re running it on a machine with OS X Server – then the Server web services bind to ports 80 and 443 on all IP addresses on the machine. There is no way to install FileMaker Server and tell it to not use 80 and 443. Similar issue with installing it on a machine that’s running Kerio Connect. I want my mail services running on 80 and 443 thanks, not FileMaker Server.

The workaround is to install it and tell it to shut down the conflicting web server. Then, either add another IP address to the machine and edit it’s httpd.conf files to have it listen on that IP only, or have the Server websites do a reverse proxy for it.

I found it easier to edit the Listen directive in the following conf files:

/Library/Filemaker server/HTTPServer/conf/httpd.conf

/Library/Filemaker server/HTTPServer/conf/extra/httpd-ssl.conf

If you want to have it more fully integrated with Server, then you can make some config files so it can be controlled by Server – why FileMaker didn’t go down this path by default is beyond me. More info at the link below:

How To Enable 2 Factor Authentication on your iCloud Account

Apple now have enabled 2 factor verification for iCloud – 2 factor means you need two things, such as a password and a code sent to your phone, to access your account.
Enabling 2 factor authentication also means that your account cannot be accessed via ironically insecure security questions (i.e., what’s your mother’s maiden name).
Log in and enable it here:

Just be aware that you need to keep the Recovery Key in a VERY safe place – if you lose it, and you forget your password, Apple have no way to reset your password. This is good as it means that no-one else can ever reset your password and hack into your account but it also places a burden on you to keep the recovery key (or at least your password) safe as there is no way to reset your iCloud account password without the recovery key.

Can’t sysprep a Windows machine more than 3 times

It seems my Windows-fu is lacking a bit in my sysprep knowledge. As it turns out, you can’t sysprep a Windows machine more than three times.

Unfortunately you get no warning about this until you’ve run sysprep for the 3rd time and then tried to reboot the machine… Only to find that your user accounts have been deleted and the machine has been unjoined from the domain – making logging back into it rather tricky.

There seems to be a way around it, but first you need to recreate a user account on the machine.

Boot to Safe Mode with Command Prompt by rebooting and holding the F8 key.

When in the Safe Mode command prompt, type in:

net user <username> <password> /add

replace username and password with the username for the account you want to create and their desired password.

Then, type in:

net localgroup administrators <username> /add

Replacing username with the user name you specified in the first step.

Reboot and log in to your new account.

Next, follow the instructions over at the Landesk forums to fix it up and enable you to run sysprep once more.

The essential steps are:

Open regedit and look for:


Set to value: 2


Set to value: 7

Then run:

msdtc -uninstall

(wait a few seconds)

msdtc -install

(wait a few seconds)

Reboot the system.

Finally, you should be able to run sysprep once again.

Troubleshooting iCal/Calendar app issues on OS X

Taken from and put here so I can find it later…

Additional debug logging is available by setting some preferenecs keys in the 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
notifyutil -p

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
notifyutil -p

To disable Calendar debug logging, run the commands:

defaults delete -g CalLogSimpleConfiguration
notifyutil -p

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”


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. To zap the PRAM, reboot your Mac and at the black screen hold down Command + Option + P + R. Keep holding these four keys down until you hear the startup chime another two times (so three times in total)
  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 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.