Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Wacom Bamboo pen not working

I've just tried to use a Bamboo tablet in Windows XP and only the 'Rubber' end of the pen seems to work. This suggests either something is wrong with the 'nib' end of the pen, or something wrong with the installation of the software (drivers).

The easiest thing to do was to have a look at the installation, and the preferences for the device. So, under Start > Programs > Bamboo > there were two preference shortcuts. I loaded up the basic one, fiddled with it but no solutions. The other preference shortcut let you have two choices:

  1. Delete preferences for the user
  2. Delete preferences for all users
Having seen this option my initial conclusion was that a lot of users have some problems with the preferences, and hence the need for these options. It was quite convincing that this might be related to my problems and so I went for option 2! Alas, pointless. These options also point to poorly made software. Users should not have to deal with these sort of problems!

My next thing to do would be to rule out the drivers by trying it on a machine that it used to work on (mac OS X) but the staff member was too busy so I thought I could look up anyone else who might have the same problem.

I found one particular person with a very nicely written blog post! He refers inspiration from this post. He had the exact symptoms as described above and found the problem lay with a broken electromagnet inside the nib end of the pen. He then goes into the particulars of fixing it. There are also a lot of comments below of thankful users.

I shall try the tablet on a machine which it definitely worked on before, and if the symptoms persist, I shall refer back to this article.

Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Re-image Mac Pro's with 10.6.6 Ethernet 2 not in list

After re-imaging a computer suite of Mac Pro's with 10.6.6 image taken from a new 27" iMac I noticed 3 of them were not showing up in ARD (Apple Remote Desktop).

I had a quick look at them, open System Preferences > Network and they showed as not having an IP address in their Ethernet 1 port. Of course Mac Pro's have two Ethernet ports, the second of which was not showing up in the list. Just clicked on the 'Plus' sign in the bottom right, selected Ethernet 2 and clicked OK.

This is obviously due to the fact that the original image was taken from an iMac which of course does not have two ethernet ports. What I assumed was that this would automatically get updated when the machine boots up. What I am now thinking is that it doesn't, but perhaps deleting the /Library/Preferences/SystemConfiguration/ folder would cause it to update what network hardware it had? I used this option before when having a problem with OS X 802.1X and Wifi.

Friday, 26 August 2011

External Display blue screen on old 17" iMac with OS X 10.6.6

Well, after re-imaging one a computer suite of old 17" iMacs (2005/6 model I think), the one set up with the Interactive Whiteboard, when set to mirror displays, went blue on both screens! When I remoted into it, it appeared fine, but still showed the blue screens on both monitor and projector. I tried many different combinations. It appeared when I rebooted the screen would come back to normal and then when I logged in under users which I'd played around with under their settings it went back to showing the blue screen.

One of the problems might have been because the minimum requirement for 10.6 is 1GB RAM and these had 512MB. I thought also that the graphics cards might not be supported in the latest OS.

So I played around a little more, seeing if there was a certain display setting which worked and it appeared there was. I left it for a day and came back, woke it from sleep to find had reverted. I thought it might be the graphics card setting it to sleep which might be the cause of the problem.

I did a few searches and came up with this post which I found in this forum,which proved to work, although as it was an iMac, the energy saving pane looked like this:

I put this to "Never" for both of these. Seemed to fix the problem so far. I shall update this on Tuesday to say if it's still working.

I also had these macs energy saver pane controlled by the Xserver (from workgroup manager). I set workgroup manager preference to "best performance" but it appears this only puts the Display sleep time to "3 hours" (looks like a safety feature). So I had to turn off this preference control and set it manually on this computer.

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Mac Pro RAID setup on 2 x 1TB drives (for HD editing)

So, I've several nice Mac Pro's which have 2 x 1TB drives. They will be used for HD video editing and storage. I always have the OS on a separate volume (160GB) so if it needs re-imaging no storage will be lost. What are my options?

  • Have first drive partitioned into two, to have OS and storage. The second is just more storage.
  • RAID 0 - stripped, for good performance and then partition this into two
I tried to do the later but when I RAIDed it in disk utility it created a volume which couldn't then be partitioned! Just read this post explaining that OS X does not support partitioned software RAID (doh) and this is what I was trying. You need RAID hardware to do it natively. There is software which does do it - Soft RAID.

As the first option isn't too bad I'll just go with that.

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Guest Account on Mac OS X 10.6 and Guest1 problem

So after re-imaging half of the Apple Macs I look after I've found a problem logging into them as Guest. In the image I forgot to turn the Guest facility on and so using Workgroup Manager (found in this post) I used the preference MCX editor to enforce the Guest policy (only works on Workgroup Manager 10.5 and upwards).

After turning this on in the server, I found I could not log in using the Guest account by typing in Guest in the Username/password dialogue box. I later found this was due to the fact that the account was now called "guest1". After reading a few posts I found that there is probably some residual 'guest' account somewhere and hence the operating system calls the new account "guest1".

So my next question was "how do I revert it back to "Guest", as the login screen requires you to 'type' your username and password. Well, this post describes a process where you delete all mention of the old Guest account (switch off Guest account first) using the command:

sudo dscl . delete /Users/Guest

But it would be wise to also delete the newer Guest1 account:

sudo dscl . delete /Users/Guest1

I re-interpreted this post to try and find a quicker fix. I first turned off guest account on the server, deleted the guest account using the command above, rebooted and turned guest back on on the server but it still reverted to "guest1".

The only thing that has worked so far is using the dscl command above and then manually turning guest on, on that machine. It appears if I try and turn the Guest facility on, on the server the problems appear. It might be due to the fact that on Active Directory there is already an account called Guest which can't be deleted. This might conflict the local machines ability to make a new Guest account? But this seems unlikely as the local machine should be able to prioritise its' local accounts over any networked accounts!

So, for the time being, I'm going to:

  1. turn off login window control on the server.
  2. Delete the guest user account using sudo dscl . delete /Users/Guest
  3. Manually turn on the Guest facility on each machine.
Now I have noticed that there is a plist file which controls the login window and also controls whether or not the guest facility is enabled. This is:

NOPE, this is actually

I can send a unix command to machines to turn this on. Something like:

defaults write /Library/Preferences/       blar blar blar

Just need to figure out the end bit. I'll update this post when I have the answer.

So, the next day and it appears this problem only happens when setting Workgroup manager to control or "switch on" the guest user. If I do it manually, everything's fine!

I shall next attempt to send the above unix command to see if this works. I'll also re-test the theory that the Guest1 error only occurs when controlling it from the Xserver (OS X Server 10.4.11)

Installing Maya 2008 on Mac OS X 10.6 or later

On my first day back and at 9:00 I had to put 20 iMacs on Active Directory and install Maya 2008, all because I had no idea their would be anyone using the computer suite. Active Directory was the easy thing, but I had problems when it came to installing Maya 2008.

I had two mpkg files on the server (taken from the install dvd's) one for Maya 2008 and one for SP1 (which turns out to be the full maya with sp1). Upon trying to install either it would say it was done and prompt for installation of Rosetta (although it turns out this is only if you need to run the serial authorisation program and do vector renders later). I looked in the Application/Autodesk/Maya 2008 folder only to find FCheck and a folder!

I did a few searches on the internet and found this very helpful blog post. It turns out the main Maya install pkg file only installs on 10.4 or 10.5 operating systems and no others! Not sure if this is standard procedure as it does say that it works on 10.4 or later. So just change the InstallationCheck file located in:


To get there using the finder you need to right click on the pkg file and select "Show Package Contents"

So, basically change the section which says;


and add

For some reason he's also added an * which is probably a 'wildcard' which I don't think is needed, but I haven't tested my hypothesis.

This worked just fine (although not with the original installer without SP1). I sent this to the task server to be installed which worked until the server crashed!