Notifications – enough already!

If are annoyed by web sites offering to send you Notifications, the last thing you need is more distractions. Notifications were a pain on iOS and now that pain is available on OSX.

To turn of the near constant offers, go to Safari Preferences and uncheck the option for web sites to ask


WWDC 2014 Keynote – what to expect

I posted a couple of images to the WWDC 2014 Glassboard page, for a couple of WWDC 2014 first timers. I’m reposting them here for those of you who haven’t heard about the board.

You can join the WWDC 2014 Glassboard discussion here:

Keynote line up and Badge pickup – I checked the timestamps on my photos from last year’s keynote. If you can pick up your Badge on Sunday. The line up starts early in the morning – I mean early! We went down at 6 am last year to join friends who lined up at 11pm Sunday. Apple let us into the building to line up on the second level at 7:15 am. There’s coffee, juices and pastries. We had to wait in the crowded halls until 9:30 am when they let us into the main room for the the keynote. Like others have said (I couldn’t find the old thread) you can line up after 9 am and you might also get into the main room. Lining up for the keynote is an experience like no other (except maybe the line up to Star Wars Episode VII). If you can travel down with some other devs, meet some in the line up. You can pick up your badge on Monday morning, but get it out of the way on Sunday if you can.


the keynote line is on the right side and wraps around the building. The line up on the left is the Monday morning badge pick up line.


 This is the front of the line inside at 7:20 am.


Going up the escalator at 9:30am (WWDC 12)


This is a close as you can get. Those seats in front are the VIP section. (those are friends who got moved up to VIP with their boss)


This was Steve at the keynote. Again from the second row, behind the VIPs. c WWDC 11?

All New Mac Pro Available Starting Tomorrow – Dec 19, 2013

MacPro_PFHI_PRINTCUPERTINO, California. December 18, 2013?Apple® today announced the all-new Mac Pro® will be available to order starting Thursday, December 19. Redesigned from the inside out, the all-new Mac Pro features the latest Intel Xeon processors, dual workstation-class GPUs, PCIe-based flash storage and ultra-fast ECC memory.

Designed around an innovative unified thermal core, the all-new Mac Pro packs unprecedented performance into an aluminum enclosure that is just 9.9-inches tall and one-eighth the volume of the previous generation. Mac Pro features 4-core, 6-core, 8-core or 12-core Intel Xeon processors running at Turbo Boost speeds up to 3.9 GHz and two workstation-class AMD FirePro GPUs that deliver up to eight times the graphics performance of the previous generation Mac Pro.* PCIe-based flash storage delivers sequential read speeds up to 10 times faster than conventional desktop hard drives, and ECC DDR3 gives the new Mac Pro up to 60GBps of memory bandwidth for seamlessly editing full-resolution 4K video while simultaneously rendering effects in the background. With an incredible six Thunderbolt 2 ports, each with up to 20Gbps of bandwidth per device, the new Mac Pro completely redefines desktop expandability with support for up to 36 high-performance peripherals, including the latest 4K displays.

Pricing & Availability
The Mac Pro is available with a 3.7 GHz quad-core Intel Xeon E5 processor with Turbo Boost speeds up to 3.9 GHz, dual AMD FirePro D300 GPUs with 2GB of VRAM each, 12GB of memory, and 256GB of PCIe-based flash storage starting at $2,999 (US); and with a 3.5 GHz 6-core Intel Xeon E5 processor with Turbo Boost speeds up to 3.9 GHz, dual AMD FirePro D500 GPUs with 3GB of VRAM each, 16GB of memory, and 256GB of PCIe-based flash storage starting at $3,999 (US). Configure-to-order options include faster 8-core or 12-core Intel Xeon E5 processors, AMD FirePro D700 GPUs with 6GB of VRAM, up to 64GB of memory, and up to 1TB of PCIe-based flash storage. Additional technical specifications, configure-to-order options and accessories are available online at

The all-new Mac Pro will be available to order starting Thursday, December 19 through theApple Online Store (, Apple’s retail stores and select Apple Authorized Resellers.

*Testing conducted by Apple in October 2013 using preproduction Mac Pro 12-core 2.7 GHz units with 1TB flash storage and AMD FirePro D700 graphics, and shipping Mac Pro 12-core 3.06 GHz units with 512GB SSD and ATI Radeon HD 5870 graphics.

Apple designs Macs, the best personal computers in the world, along with OS X, iLife, iWork and professional software. Apple leads the digital music revolution with its iPods and iTunes online store. Apple has reinvented the mobile phone with its revolutionary iPhone and App Store, and is defining the future of mobile media and computing devices with iPad.

Replacing End of Life Xserve Internal Drives

After much head scratching and buying 2 different 1TB SATA Hard drives, I solved the problem of a dead Xserve drive. My server reported that the drive in Bay 2 was unresponsive and my Apple hardware RAID was in degraded mode. The original configuration used 3 Western Digital drives.

So I had a 1TB Seagate SATA drive, and put it into the drive chassis and slid it in. No luck! Disk Utility couldn’t see the drive. Worried that the server would fail, I plugged the Seagate drive into a USB port and started to clone the system drive. I then order a new Western Digital Black drive with similar specs to the original drives. A couple of days later the drive arrived and still no luck. (I even used an older sled from another server.)

Then I found the answer, the speed of the SATA interface in the Xserve is designed for SATA-150. I grabbed a jumper from an old drive, after checking the WD site for the jumper configuration. I popped the drive into the server. Initially it the drive didn’t show up. So I gave up, rebooted the server and walked away.

A while later, I checked again and the RAID Utility could see the drive running at the slower speed. So I marked it as a “Spare” and the RAID started to rebuild.

if you miss WWDC 2013 tickets – try ALTWWDC dot com

In 2012, Appsterdam hosted a week long alternative WWDC conference. We had some awesome speakers, lunch, coffee and wifi. It was such a success last year that we are doing it again, but bigger and better! Plans aren’t finalised yet, but here are some of the things you can expect to see:

  • Location – We loved being at Stackmob last year, but we’ve moved to SF State within a block of Moscone
  • Speakers – Check them out!
  • Keynote breakfast – Food, chat and live blogs
  • Free Lunch!
  • Co-working – Wifi, coffee and peace

Mountain Lion Server MySQL Install Weirdness

I’ve been using mySQL on Macs since I was running debian linux on a Quadra 700 in the late nineties. So you can say that I’ve had to deal with every curve that Apple throws at us with respect to web services. After debian, I ran darwin until Apple released Mac OX Beta in 1999.

The latest challenge was while upgrading my Intel Nahalan Xserve to Mountain Lion Server, 10.8.2. Lo and behold there is no mysql installed. So gleefully I went over the to get the latest installer dmg ( Once I tried to run “mysql” on the command line to test, I kept getting the age old “Cannot connect to /var/mysql/mysql.sock” error. No biggie, just check that the file is there or create a symbolic link to /tmp/mysql.sock…

However no matter what I tried, I kept getting the error… so I needed to dig deeper. Some sage user suggested checking the error log inside /var/mysql/data – by looking for a file matching your hostname and ending with .err . So I set up a tail and ran the mysql startUpItem script by hand and watched the log. (/Library/StartupItems.MySQLCOM/MySQLCOM start). Sure enough it would start and then immediately abort and shutdown.

Turns out the mySQL configuration file was wrong (/etc/my.cnf). I’m not sure where mine came from, possibly an older installer. You may not run into this problem, since Lion and Mountain Lion don’t come with mySQL installed. So the error I saw first was “unknown option skip-locking”. I commented that out (backing up the my.cnf before starting) and ran the start command again. I also had to comment out “table_cache=512” and “skip-thread-priority”. Afterwards mysql started up like it should. So I’m putting this out there, in case it helps the next poor sap.


Great Update to a Great Book – Cocoa Programming for Mac OS X by Aaron Hillegass, Adam Preble

Cocoa Programming on OSXCocoa Programming for Mac OS X by Aaron Hillegass, Adam Preble

I have read several books by the author, Aaron Hillegass, and seen him speak live. He’s a great resource to the iOS development community. I am also an intermediate Objective-C developer, team leader, have published several apps to the App Store and also instruct beginners on iOS development. Whether you are looking to get into Mac OS X or IOS development this book is a great addition to your library.

To begin with it focuses on the latest version of Xcode and iOS 5 which includes ARC (Automatic Reference Counting) which is a huge time saver for development. Without ARC you had to manage the memory allocations for your own objects – take my word for it, a PITA if you are new to Objective-C. The book has been updated to work with more code automation in Xcode, using drag and drop to make connections to outlets and actions – another huge timesaver. This is one of the first books on the market to include those. For a beginner or intermediate coder using older books on earlier editions can be very frustrating.

The style in Aaron’s books is that he dispenses with the hand holding approach of most of the books I’ve read. Other books give you a step by step instruction as you go through the things you may want to learn. That approach actually impairs your ability to actually learn. The Big Nerd Ranch approach is to show you how to do something, by dealing with just one or two key concepts at a time. Then they immediately challenge you to put together what you’ve learned so far. This is completely optional, but a great concept for learning. If you find the challenge too difficult then you may want to review what you’ve learned previously.

I’ll admit when I read the Third Edition I was more of a junior dev in Objective-C and found the going rough sometimes. That was the challenge of the Objective-C learning curve – not the book. Now that I am more familiar with Objective-C, I find that the fog is gone and both editions make sense. This Fourth Edition is a great tool to get up to speed on the new concepts in iOS5 and Xcode 4. If you are just getting started or need to polish your skills, I highly recommend this book.

Office 2011 for Mac shipping in October

Microsoft Office for Mac 2011, will be available at the end of October. Microsoft Office for Mac 2011 will come in two editions; Office for Mac Home and Student 2011 and Office for Mac Home and Business 2011. For better alignment across platforms, the Office 2011 pricing and edition options map closer with Office for the Windows operating system.

Office for Mac Home and Student 2011 will cost around $129 and can be installed on one Mac. A Family Pack, which includes 3 licenses will sell for approx. $159. Office for Mac Home and Business 2011 will cost around $250 and will include a single Mac license. A Multi-Pack will also be available for $349 if you want to install the license on two Macs (for the same user.) Also available is Microsoft Office for Mac Academic 2011 for $99 USD but it will only be available at academic stores or from Microsoft directly. [prices in Canadian dollars]

All versions will include Word for Mac, PowerPoint for Mac, Excel for Mac and Messenger for Mac.

If you bought Office For Mac 2008 after Aug 1, 2010 you can claim an upgrade to Office For Mac 2011 at no additional cost here.

Qualifying purchase details. Office 2008 for Mac must be purchased between Aug. 1, 2010, and Nov. 30, 2010, at Microsoft or an authorized reseller.
Program registration. Customers can register for the program online at Qualifying registrants must fill out the form and submit their product key(s) and dated sales receipt for Office 2008 for Mac by Dec. 31, 2010.

Offsite Backup – Free 14 day trial

We have set up an installer for a free trial of Background Backup. You can access the installer here and try it out risk free for 14-days. If you’ve wondered what it does, give it a try it’s painless. If you like it you can keep it running for $15/month. More detail is here.

Free 14-day trial. Download the installer(s) and try Background Backup for fourteen days.


Contact Us to find out more.