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ReconInstruments MOD weekend or how to fix Adobe Air

You might ask me, why am I putting posting about my skiing on the Articles section? Answer is quite simple: I ran into problem, spent an hour try to troubleshoot and as I find a solution, I’d like to share it with you.

So last weekend might not have been best for skiing at the Grouse Mountain due to the cold rainy day, but I couldn’t wait to try my full charged ReconInstruments MOD powered Zeal GPS equipped goggles. For those who don’t know what I am talking about: it is little computer with tiny micro-optics display equipped with GPS inside your goggles which shows your stats in real time right in front of your eyes as you go down the slope. It tracks your distance, speed, vertical and jumps. As you come back home, you can plug in your goggles to the computer and relive the experience in beautifully designed ReconHQ software. It links with Google maps and you can see all your runs overplayed on maps, satellite or terrain views. You can also share your results with others and playback your runs right on your computer.

And that’s exactly what I wanted to do as I came back home all soaking wet but happy and excited to finally view my achievements on the second skiing trip in my life. I was quite disappointed when I tried to launch ReconHQ to no success as it crashed every time. I thought it might be because I updated my OS and now just needed to update ReconHQ software. I headed to Recon Instruments website’s download section only to find out that Flash plugin crashed every time I clicked on Download link. So next logical thing to do is to update Flash Player, right? So I did… Next, after finally managing to download Adobe AIR package, it failed to launch as it “needed newer” version. I put needed newer in quotes because, as I found out after downloading later AIR version from Adobe’s website it needed latest version of AIR as well. Yes, you read it right: Adobe AIR Installer needs newer version of Adobe AIR – ridiculous, right? After another 30 minutes of web search, I finally found logical explanation to ALL my problems. Adobe AIR cannot operate properly when OS X automatic graphics card switch is enabled.

So those of you who made this far in my story and for those who skipped:

If Adobe AIR apps or installer crash and fail to launch, open System Preferences :: Energy Saver and disable “Automatic graphics switching”.

Another server upgrade – Part 3

After 3 hours of sleep, around 6am on Saturday, I came back to the office to fiddle around with server one more time. No matter what I did, ODR still thought that ODM is on the network, and I’ve decided to move to the Plan B.

Plan B was to export our current OD structure via Archiving, install new OS X server on MacMini and restore from there. Little I knew how corrupted LDAP was on the original server, after all ‘hard reboots’ throughout it’s lifetime.

By around 10am, I clearly understood that Plan C is my only solution – which was exporting users from original OD and re-importing them into brand new installation of OS X. The only positive from this approach was that our users would have to change their passwords upon initial login anyway, to comply with recent implementation of IT Sec Policy, so loosing user’s passwords was not a big deal.

By around 11:30, I had all my users imported and passwords reset, but one more hiccup was waiting for me…

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Another server upgrade – Part 2

And here comes magical day – Friday, May 20th. All planning is done, hopefully, and we are ready for servers’ upgrade, update and reconfiguration.

So first let’s see what we have, then we’ll see what we want, and then we will see what we get…

Our current setup is:

3 XServes and one VMWare OS X Server all working very hard and therefore one XServe, which acts as Open Directory Master (ODM), AFP, SMB, DNS, DHCP and Netboot server, works very hard every day and hangs ocasionally. During those ‘hangs’ “hard reset” is required, which does the number on the server. Single sign-on process is not working anymore and every time server ‘hangs’, since it’s running DHCP and DNS services, none of the users can access Internet. So back to set-up:

  • XServe 1 – Mac OS X 10.5 Server, AFP, DNS, DHCP, SMB, ODM
  • XServe 2 – Mac OS X 10.4 Server, AFP, FTP, Mail, Web and FileMaker Server
  • XServe 3 – Mac OS X 10.5 Server, AFP, ODR (Open Directory Replica)
  • VMWare Server – Mac OS X 10.5 Server,AFP, FileMaker Server

Now in order to free up XServe 1 and ensure it’s stability and no-impact on Internet, I’m bringing MacMini into the picture, running 10.6 OS X Server which will be DNS, DHCP and ODM. XServe 1 would then be AFP, SMB server – file server.

Plus, all servers, except VMWare server, will be running 10.6 Server software to increase performance of existing hardware and utilize latest Mac technologies.

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Another server upgrade – Part 1

There comes time, when Apple releases new OS X Server version and existing server is acting up. And that time is perfect for spring cleaning, updates and upgrades.

So this time came. Apple has OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard Server for quite some time now, with bunch of possible bugs and kinks worked out, with skinnier footprint and increased performance on existing hardware. Our existing server, which hosts DNS, DHCP acts as Open Directory Master and on top of that serves files via AFP and SMB, after multiple “hard resets” is not performing how it once did. It also, for some reasons, lost it’s “single sign-on” capabilities via AFP (while it’s OD Replica works just fine). And, on top of that all, time showed that having DHCP and DNS on the server that every now and then “freezes” and requires “hard reset” is not a practical idea – once server is “hung”, users cannot access network at all.

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Sync your iPhone/iPod with two computers

For a very long time I’ve had my iPhone synched to my home computer. All my Apps, Music, Ringtones, Videos and Books were on my home computer. Than, I started managing new additions to my iTunes library on my work computer. I’ve added songs, playlists, albums and artists that represent my state of mind, mood and life better than before. And I realized that my iTunes library at work has more organized playlists, folders than one at home. What would be the easiest way to merge them together?

Well at first, I looked at home library, and copied all albums (I manager my iTunes folder myself as I file songs differently) to portable harddrive, brought it to work and add it in. Now, my work library had all my home playlists/albums and more. With 22GB of music, I’ve copied my whole folder /Users/username/Music/iTunes onto it and replaced the one I had on my home computer. Perfect, I thought, now all I do is add music on my work computer and then make sure I either bring that music to home computer later or copy the iTunes folder all over again, if changes are drastic.

Well, what I haven’t realized, and to my benefit it is a plus, by doing this, my iPhone now thinks that both libraries – one at home and another one at work – is the same thing. Great! I don’t have to worry when plugging iPhone to my work computer that all my music would be gone, I can update my iPhone either at work or at home and I can also keep managing my music in one library, copy it to another and don’t have to remember which computer I’ve synched my iPhone to.

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