Friday, 29 July 2011

Deploy Studio RC20 MultiCasting on OS X 10.4.11 xserver

After finally finishing the Master image it came in at 72GB! Takes about 3 hours to image one machine and 6 hours for two. So I thought I'd give Multicasting another go (I tried it a couple of years ago with lots of lost packets!). Also just heard they refitted the server room so maybe this'll help.

It was set up a few months back when we had DHCP problems caused by upgrading DeployStudio to RC20. You get the option to set up Multicasting when you set up DeployStudio Server. Here's my post

So taking a new iMac 24" and an old white 21" iMac I thought I'd set up Multicasting. First in DeployStudio admin I clicked the image and clicked the Multicast button at the bottom (looks like the Airport icon)

Airport Icon at bottom denotes MultiCasting
This now shows it's multicasting in the Activity section.

I've set up a workflow to restore an image to a volume, and in this set up some Multicast options.

Setting up Multicast options in a workflow
So far I have tried:

  • Attempt 1
    • Stream Rate 6MB/s
    • Clients Disk Speed 120MB/s (I wasn't sure about the older 21" iMac so I slowed it from 200MB/s)
    • Start Trigger 2 client
    • Result:
      • Stream Rate 5MB/s
      • Disk Rate changes from 5MB/s to 15MB/s
I've been writing this as the process is going, and just noticed at 12:48 that some errors occurred. I noticed that this happened around the time that I loaded DeployStudio Admin on my machine, so I think this might have caused a slight interruption on the server (and it is 7 years old now). I do remember that I once remote'd into a machine whilst imaging which interrupted it. So the process is a little delicate. I shall wait to see if it has effected the process or whether it can cope with a few byte missing here and there?

After waiting until the 100% marker (which took 3 hours) it seemed to have stopped with no more errors, although it didn't quite finish. It said something about "starting" but just stopped there. I waited for another hour with no more progress so decided to reboot. Upon reboot the startup disk was not set, and the came up with the white screen with a question mark!

My initial conclusion was that the process had failed, but in hindsight I think that maybe the computers were waiting the data that was lost to be broadcast again, but this might be me clutching at straws. I shall look into it at the end of August. For now we'll just have the old method to use.

No preboot keyboard shortcuts working on White iMac 17" and 21"

We've had both 17" and 21" white iMacs for about 5 years and in that time I've re-imaged them at least 5 times (once a year) using NetBoot (hold down "N" on preboot). But recently I've noticed that these iMacs no longer register any pre-boot shortcuts including reset PRAM ("alt" + "cmd" + "p" + "r"). This means if I have a problem with them (i.e. if the hard disk fails) I won't be able to work any magic on them. Luckily I've not had any trouble yet but in time it'll need sorting out.

I originally assumed it was the last image i'd put on them, or the way in which I'd done it but noticed, but I didn't think that would effect anything pre-boot, like firmware.

I've done a few searches and found mostly mentions of Bluetooth/Wireless keyboards having this issue and one mention of 3rd party keyboards, but no real success finding anyone with this particular problem. I did a few more searches and found this which does sound more promising. The only difference being it does holding down "c" and "alt", but I didn't try these as I just assumed they would work after trying PRAM reset and "cmd" + "s" single user mode. (Never assume anything!)

A person down the bottom says the PRAM battery might have failed, which would make sense as they are over 5 years old and are unplugged for large periods of time (for security measures). The next question: How to replace battery in old white iMacs?

For the time being I shall just have to rely on them working and use the system prefs to alter startup disk.

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

OS X 10.6.6 Active Directory login Extension Manager doesn't load

Well, what do you know. I updated from Dreamweaver version 11.0.0 to using AdobeDreamweaver-11.0-All-Update.dmg. Seems to work nicely now, I see a splash screen and next it tells me Adobe Extension Manager needs to load to finish the update.
Of course now this "Extension Manager" has the same problem DreamWeaver had. It just pops up and sits there not doing anything. But it does let Dreamweaver finish loading and lets me use Dreamweaver. The only real downside is that I get this message every time I load dreamweaver. In console I get about 20 similar error messages:

27/07/2011 15:04:35 Adobe Extension Manager CS5[3434] *** __NSAutoreleaseNoPool(): Object 0x210a5f0 of class NSView autoreleased with no pool in place - just leaking

Pretty funny: "no pool" and "just leaking"

On a quick search I found this post. Someone mentions a problem with Adobe Air but might be refering to a Windows problem. I shall update just in case.... updated from 1.5 to 2.3, which doesn't solve the problem.

I'll try loading this up using a local account, maybe it updates files on the Hard Drive, or maybe it updates files on the Users Home Drive?

Loaded it up on a local login to find that extension manager is a manager which helps control updates! I wish it could be easier, why another program? It updated Dreamweaver just fine. I think all it had to do was to log down that an update had been carried out.

It appears this Extension Manager runs on a "per user" basis, and hence does keep coming up on Active Directory logins until the process is complete. So if I don't want to see the error message again I'd have to fix the Extension Manager problem.

As a work around, I could copy whatever files it creates in a local users library to the active directory users library which might work, but it might create special codes.

OS X 10.6.6 Active Directory login Dreamweaver doesn't load

On trying to load Dreamweaver up on an Active Directory account running OS X 10.6.6 Dreamweaver trys to load but stops almost straight away with no error! It still runs but doesn't even load a splash screen. When logging in on a local account Dreamweaver works a charm.

A quick search drew up a few posts, heres an example. Most point to permissions issues on the "Configuration" folder in /Library/Application\ Support/Adobe/Dreamweaver CS5. This was mainly caused by FileVault which is obviously more common then people using Active Directory logins. The only solution of which is to switch FileVault off! Of course we can't just switch off Active Directory logins though!

I do have NHR installed, and with the Caches folder being relocated to the local drive I know it is not this. I figured it might be another folder dreamweaver tries to use. Here are the other files:

  • /Library/Application\ Support/Adobe/Dreamweaver\ CS5
  • /Library/Preferences/Adobe\ Dreamweaver\ CS5\ Prefs
there's also a plist file in the Preferences folder but I deleted it and it has not been recreated. Something like


I've also been having a few issues with the Application Support folder, which occasionally doesn't let me write files or folders to it, which causes problems like these. I originally thought it was this which caused the problem, but since rebooting I can now access the App support folder and dreamweaver still doesn't work.

Just playing around with NHR. I've adapted the script so that it creates a symlink for /Application Support/Adobe rather then some of the folders inside. Should be simpler. Didn't solve the problem though.

An error does keep appearing which is related to the file used in /Library/Preferences. Called:

Adobe Dreamweaver CS5 Prefs

Whenever I load Dreamweaver up (or try to) this appears in Console

27/07/2011 14:04:59 Finder[2463] CFPropertyListCreateFromXMLData(): Old-style plist parser: missing semicolon in dictionary.

I've tried to create an alias of this file on the local hard drive which doesn't seem to make any difference. My only guess is this always comes up.

I shall endevour to locate any other files Dreamweaver may use. Upon loading dreamweaver on a local login I found a lot more files in the Configuration folder in Application Support. I also found that the "Adobe Dreamweaver CS5 Prefs" file had more text in, so I copied these over to the networked account to see if it would change anything. Nope.

If anyone has any other information I would be glad to here it. I'm going to have to revert to a local account to use Dreamweaver until then!!

Well, what do you know. I updated from Dreamweaver version 11.0.0 to using AdobeDreamweaver-11.0-All-Update.dmg. Seems to work nicely now, I see a splash screen and next it tells me Adobe Extension Manager needs to load to finish the update.
Of course now this "Extension Manager" has the same problem DreamWeaver had. It just pops up and sits there not doing anything. But it does let Dreamweaver finish loading and lets me use Dreamweaver. The only real downside is that I get this message every time I load dreamweaver.

I'll try loading this up using a local account, maybe it updates files on the Hard Drive, or maybe it updates files on the Users Home Drive?

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Installing Canon Multi Function Devices iR C4080/C4580 on OS X 10.6.6

We've got a print server set up which controls the print queues for the new(ish) Canon MFD devices around college with the potential for charging. I think it uses some Canon type software to keep a track of it all. So, on speaking to the guy managing all this he has tried and tested it. Pretty simple really, not sure why I'm writing this down. I guess just in case I have acute amnesia.


  1. Install the PPD's from the downloaded PKG file (not sure where it's from but I did find something similar here on the Canon Website under PPD drivers. Same name and size.) called - CanonPPD300.pkg.
  2. Load up System Preferences and go to Print & Fax
  3. Add printer (the little plus sign in the bottom left)
  4. Setup an IP printer
    1. Line Printer Daemon - LPD
    2. put the DNS address of the server (no "LPD://" at the beginning)
    3. put in the queue name - CanonCOLOUR - for our printer
    4. whatever name you want
    5. whereever
    6. Click "select printer software"
      1. do a quick search for "4080" and click on "Canon iR C4080/C4580"
Done. Tested and works a treat. 

To print black and white, in the File > Print dialogue box:

  1. Printer Features option in the main drop-down just below "Orientation options"
  2. Change Feature Sets to "Color 1"
  3. Change Color Mode to "Black and White"

Friday, 22 July 2011

Animation thumbnails as Animated GIFs

I have an idea to thumbnail all my animations for my website. The problem is: In what format should they be?

Well, the only universally acceptable format is of course "Animated GIF". Supported on ALL browsers, across ALL devices! With JAVA being another more complex alternative.

Anyway, to start testing it I was using my "Letters in a Box" animation.

So, I started by opening it in "Quicktime Pro" and exporting as an image sequence, but the images had bad facets (MPEG encodings) issues. It looks like quicktime looks at individual frames but the movie was compressed in DIVX which probably requires DIVX pro to re-convert into nice looking images again. Doh!

So my next idea was to take it into Final Cut Pro, which did a fantastic job at converting to an image sequence! Even though it should be the same as Quicktime Pro (in a way).

So now I open the image sequence into Photoshop, and file > export for web and devices. Click on any of the GIF options. The file sizes were VERY big though. But I am quite adamant that I want the entire animation thumb-nailed as it's one of the principals of the website.

So I made it 100px width and tried all the different GIF variants. I also played with the frame rate. Here's some examples:

1 fps, 128b dithered, 104K

12 fps, 32b dithered, 548K

12 fps, 32b dithered, 100% lossy, 84K

5fps, 32b not dithered, 156K
Oh, and in Photoshop I forgot to loop it. It's in Export for Web and Devices > loop option bottom right.

I shall conclude this another day

Just found this Red Design website which has pretty much the same idea, well executed. I had a look at image sizes and all came in at around 1kb. I think this would be due to the amount of frames, which is about 10 - 15 frames long, whilst these are around 100 - 200 frames long.

Thursday, 21 July 2011

iPad setup and Deployment

So, I was shown this document on iPads in Business and it seems quite relevant to our situation. Looks like the setup is controlled by xml files which is nice, and there is potential for managing them wirelessly. The app we need is the "iPhone Configuration Utility" of which the latest version, 3.2, is only supported on OS X 10.6. Looking at back-dates I've found version 2.1 which apparently works on 10.5 and was the last to support it.

The information for iPhone Configuration Utility is found here. Nice simple interface which should make the job easier.

ARD - Apple Remote Desktop - Authentication Problem Adding computers to list

I've had a problem with ARD for a long time now and only within the last few weeks found out a work around.

When trying to add new machines to my lists in ARD from the "Scanner", the authentication window pops up for less then 1 second and then disappears! The machine doesn't get added to any list. The same occurs if you try to do anything on an unauthenticated computer (i.e. not in a list) including; view the screen, control the screen, send unix commands etc... I have OS X 10.6.6, but I've had this problem also on 10.5.8, ARD 3, but this problem might have been present in ARD 2 also (it's been a while). I also have a 10.4.11 server running as a Task Server.

Things I tried.

  • I thought it might be a problem with the ARD client so I reinstalled and updated, restarted the service.
  • It might be a problem at my end. So I've reinstalled ARD, although I've not been brave enough to delete all my plist files and preferences. I could have also tried logging in as another user and adding the machine, this would have ruled out my preferences.
I finally just tried adding a machine manually (in the bottom left corner + sign of a computer list), all you need is the IP address and authentication details (username and password) and it worked perfectly.

Note (26-07-2012): Well, I finally figured it out (a year later). Turns out it's a conflict with IP addresses. We use DHCP addressing here, and if an IP address hasn't been used in a while it'll get given to another computer. I've replaced a few old ones and a couple had taken the IP addresses of the older macs. When I tried adding them it would notice another one in its' list with that IP address and not know what to do.

To fix, simply find the computer with the same IP address in the master list, right click and get info. Delete the IP address (as it obviously isn't that anymore), and adding the new machine will work perfectly.

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

OS X Active Directory login issues - UnBind

I've seen this problem ever since we started putting Apple Macs on the Active Directory domain. Every now and then OS X will shake at login. I've rebooted and reset PRAM, fsck -yf, checked the time and date, and looked at the active directory settings in Directory Utility. The only real fix is to "Unbind" it and then "Bind" it again.

The only thing which comes to mind is perhaps the length of time it is not logged into is too long and the computer gets removed from Active Directory. Re-binding it puts it back in the list's.

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

printing on the HP Designjet 500

Printing on the designjet 500 has proved a little problematic as we are constantly coming up with "printer out of memory" errors. It has been mentioned that the "maximum detail" tick box fixes the issue but doesn't seem to fix ours. The print driver we're using is the "HP DesignJet 500PS42+HPGL2 Card"

After a few trials and errors I found there to be a limit on the physical size of the document you want to print. I have a 42" roll installed, for which there are no preset sizes so "Custom" size has to be made. When trying to print 42" by 58" it comes up with the error. But when printing the exact same document at 42" by 31" it works fine. I think the biggest successful print so far is 42" by 45". Here's a screenshot of the settings.

I've first tried changing the "print quality" settings but none seemed to fix the error. I did notice a slight difference in file size sent to the printer though.

After a few days, I set up the printer on another computer, still going through the print server, but this printer preferences looked different. It had an "avoid out of Memory" tick box, which upon clicking notified that processing would be done on the computer and may take a little longer. But, it worked! Here's a screenshot:

The only drawback was that when we tried sending a queue, they seem to all disappear! This could have been down to the Print Management system - PaperCut as I set up a release station for this printer (so no-one can print on our nice paper)

-Note 05/11/2012

Just a quick note. I noticed if I set it to Maximum Detail and unticked "autorotate" it seemed to print without problems.

Monday, 18 July 2011

Imaging OS X 10.6.6 on OS X server 10.4.11

I have over 100 Macs which need reimaging this summer. To make it nice and simple they will all have 10.6.6 installed. Unfortunately I only have a 10.4.11 server (PPC) which I don't think will be upgraded before summer ends! At the moment I have 9 brand new 27" iMacs which don't like the current version of Deploy Studio RC20.

The reason I only have RC20 installed it that this was the last version to support OS X 10.4.11. Now, I also have 9 24" new'ish iMacs which do work with Deploy Studio RC20, and some relatively new Mac Pro's which definitely work with Deploy Studio RC20. So it is still worth perhaps using it for the 90 or so Macs and resort to other techniques to reimage the 9 which don't work. Of course over time I will need a new system but to have a really good new system we'll need time.

So the plan is to carry on using deploy studio for 90% of the Macs, and resort to something else for the last 10%. Alternatives are:

  • Carbon Copy Cloner
  • SuperDuper
  • The install disk
  • the install disk on a removable hard drive
  • A bootable 10.6.6 on a removable hard drive
Well, I've looked up CCC and can't find any reference to it having some bootable interface. It simply copies a hard drive to another, which to be fair could be bootable, so I might do this.

I'm currently trying the easiest of these which is to use the install disk. I've managed to find the command line for mounting an AFP share. So I've open terminal from the booted up install disk and typed:

mkdir /Volumes/tmp
mount -t afp afp:// /Volumes/tmp/

The image that was taken from the 10.6.6 27" iMac was either done in DeployStudio helper or Disk Utility. When trying to restore this image to a drive in Disk Utility it has come up with an error message:
Restore Failure Could not find any scan information. The source image needs to be imagescanned/scanned for restore
I did a quick search and came up with this. I do now remember that to restore off a network share using disk utility it does need to be scanned for restore. Put the image in Disk Utility and go to: Image > Scan for Restore. This takes a long time on the old Apple Server G4, but not so long on the new 27" iMacs!

It should be ready for restore now...

Restored 70GB compressed in 1 hour 45 over the old network, which isn't too bad. I don't think it'll be able to do multiple machines very efficiently though.

The next process is to try and create or use an old netboot image to netboot the slightly older machines. So it only gets easier from this moment onwards.

Friday, 8 July 2011

Microsoft Office 2008 console errors

I've recently been trying to image a new iMac 27". So I've had to install a great many Applications and tested them out. I had a few problems with Adobe InDesign so on looking in the console log I found a lot of reference to Microsoft!

Microsoft Word[35252]: CGBitmapContextGetData: invalid context

Anyway, I did a search and found this which basically says that Microsoft has not done a good job in porting office over to mac, and hence has a lot of misc console messages.

Staff Photos - Use Access to change file names

I've got a nice little Access Database which holds a table of staff members, and another linking the staff to a photo file location. I then use a query to find members of a specific department with a photo and make a tiled report i.e. a staff board with names and job titles.

I've recently been asked to make the staff photos available for everyone, but the problem is they would not want to use the database in its present state (it doesn't look too pretty) and all the photos are still sorted in the folders corresponding to the photo-shoot date and still have their original file name. The question has come up - Can I get Access to rename the photos to say the staff name?

Well, I've done a bit of research (a google search) and it looks like to use access I'd have to do a bit of programming!! But there is this ingenious solution. Basically:

  1. Export a excel file of staff name and picture file location
  2. open excel and format it so that you get each row to say "ren \Photoshoot1\DSC00342.jpg \ArtAndDesign\StephenBleach.jpg"
  3. Then you can make a *.BAT file with a whole list of these commands and "bobs your uncle" you have renamed all the files and it'll only have taken about 30 mins. 
You can even adapt it to put them in directories according to Department! Genius!

But, rather then doing all this, I'd rather the college had a better system (i.e. not me) of gathering and sorting staff photos using some centralised system which everyone can take advantage of.

Thursday, 7 July 2011

Setting up the new 27" iMacs

Setup started with the simple "hold down the n button" to netboot/netinstall. The first problem was that the current netinstall image would not work on the new iMacs, doh! So I set about making a new one. The old deploy studio RC20 seems to crash whilst making an image, so I needed to use a newer one. This newer one imaged without crashing, but when netbooting came up with a message saying the server needed updating to cope with the new netboot image.

The next thing I tried was to put an iMac in target disk mode and just reimage it using a 24" imac with I know works. I put the Mac Pro 10.6.6 image on it but would not boot up. This was probably due to new drivers not being on the image!

My last attempt is to start from scratch (or nearly from scratch) and install everything. I updated the operating system to the latest 10.6.8. I took a shortcut though and used "Migration Assistant" to pull across applications from the 10.6.6 image. This worked and only required me to install the newest of things. Heres a list of things which is now on the new iMac:

  • Adobe CS5
  • Final Cut Studio
  • Firefox 4
  • Acrobat 9 Pro
  • Papercut client
  • Celtx
  • Office 2008 (required rosetta)
  • Handbrake
And drivers
  • Scanwizard
  • Dell 3110 driver
  • Pixma Driver
  • Konica Driver
  • HP Scanner 4370
  • Wacom tablet
  • Flip4Mac
After all this I tried a students account. It required 2 login attempts to get me in though. I then tried all the apps. The problems I encountered were:
  • Photoshop crash on launch
  • Illustrator crash on launch
  • Indesign crash on launch
  • Acrobat crash on launch
These were probably due to NHR (network home relocation) script not installed. I installed it and Photoshop and Acrobat started working. Unfortunately Illustrator nor InDesign would work! They worked perfectly fine on a local login. I ran the CS5 install again, and also updated Illustrator to 15.0.2 and InDesign to 7.0.4. Illustrator would crash on load up, and indesign would crash on the "new document" screen which comes up first. My only clue was a message which popped up in console which I can't quite remember now. Something to do with transport2app error 255.

Just relogged in and tried it again. The error's I'm getting from the console are:

07/07/2011 14:01:43 kernel smbfs_vnop_link: warning: pid 665(Adobe Illustrato) hardlink(~v3vZO_cBdNvr4jqB)
07/07/2011 14:01:49 mdworker32[673] kCGErrorFailure: Set a breakpoint @ CGErrorBreakpoint() to catch errors as they are logged.
07/07/2011 14:01:51 mdworker[658] CFPropertyListCreateFromXMLData(): Old-style plist parser: missing semicolon in dictionary.

The first refers to the smbfs (samba file system) which must be the home drive of the student which is hosted on a windows share.

The only real difference is that the operating system in 10.6.8 instead of 10.6.6. I think I will have to redo this on a 10.6.6 machine....

So, redone a 10.6.6 version and migrated everything from 10.6.8 iMac. Everything worked! (apart from Adobe Acrobat and Dreamweaver. Acrobat crashes and dreamweaver gets stuck even loading up. I installed NHR and still the same. Interestingly Illustrator worked without NHR!

Looking into the issue a little more, I found that NHR is not entirely working. I've noticed that the caches folder is not being relocated, although the fonts folder is? I will have to look into this further. At the time I thought this was due to the test account having the links set up already from another machine, but thinking about it now these links should be deleted on logout! So now I'm thinking about it, it was originally working and now somehow it is not working any longer.