Tag Archives: OSX

iPod Adventure

What not to do with your iPod …. the adventure begins.

You may have followed my earlier posts about setting up my MacBook Pro to run multiple operating systems. I finally landed on using VMWare to allow my computer to run Windows Vista, Windows XP and Linux and have been merrily computing along since setting this environment up. 

Two days ago, I was taking advantage of my multi OS setup. On the OSX side, I was charging my iPod Touch and downloading updates from iTunes. On the multitasking side, I was running Windows XP, setting up Band in a Box and Powertracks for some work at CATC By the Water (see yesterday’s post)

Things were zipping along on all fronts when an unexpected adventure started. When the iTunes download completed, my iTouch ‘woke up’ from its peaceful charging state and iTunes initiated the software installation process. At the same time, Windows XP initiated its ‘found new hardware’ process since I had not used my iTouch with XP before. In effect both operating systems, OSX and XP, started reading and writing information to the iPod at the same time. I was presented with new screen on my iPod that I had not seen before (not good) and iTunes was prompting me to reset the iPod’s state to factory defaults. 

The bottom line: this simultaneous dual access corrupted the data on my iTouch. Now I had an opportunity to learn about the reset and restore processes. Fortunately for me, this three step process worked flawlessly: 

1. Restore iPod to factory default settings (like a new out ‘of the box’ iPod) to reset the iPod operating system

2. Choose the restore from iTunes library option (recovers music, videos, podcasts etc.)

3. Resync updates and prior purchases against the iTunes store records.

After about an hour, I had my iTouch fully operational and in the state before I started my adventure. The only manually steps I needed to complete were resetting my security password and reentering my WIFI network settings (access keys). Hats off to the Apple developers for having a clean and reliable process for for restoring iPods. 

Back in business, and multitasking with a little more knowledge 🙂

~ Mark

Virtualizing with OSX

I started down the path of virtualizing operating systems on my MacBook Pro with two interests in mind. First, how can I more effectively test out software, configurations etc. with a more streamlined approach, less gear (did I really say that?) and more mobility. Secondly, figuring out the best way to set up a laptop for my daughter (see earlier post).

My initial work was with Parallels 4.0. Based on my experience, it is certainly fair to say that I only achieved a moderate level of success (see earlier post). I had good success with Ubuntu Linux desktop and netbook versions, but to date, I have not achieved the results I needs in the Windows environment. Keeping my original goals in tact, it was time to change directions. I purchased a copy of VMWare Fusion to work with.

Based on the information posted on each vendor’s website, it was really difficult to make an initial selection. Each vendor predictably promotes the virtues of their own package and states their benefits relative to competing products. I was initially drawn towards Parallels based on performance stats. My decision to purchase VMWare Fusion turned out to be a good move.

An online purchase, download and install had me up and running quickly. In one days work, I had two major successes. First, I purchased a new copy of Windows Vista Ultimate, followed the VMWare new install process without any hitches. Vista loaded and ran fine, downloaded and installed the necessary patches and updates and I was operational – perfect!

I was interested in the product’s ability to import other virtualized systems and decided to give this a try. I was able able to import my ‘disabled’ XP OS from Parallels in fairly quick order. Best of all, VMWare Fusion picked up where Parallels got stuck and allowed me to download and install all of the necessary service packs and security patches. At this point, my XP OS is operational. I have a little more work to do with USB drivers – almost there.

Based on my personal experience, I would certainly recommend VMWare Fusion as an excellent product that delivers as advertised. I do plan to learn more about some of the advanced features as well.

Off to spend time in my newly virtualized space:-)

~ Mark

Parallels 4.0 – initial impressions

I recently purchased a copy of Parallels 4.0 Mac Virtual Machine software with the intent of facilitating some software testing processes I am involved in. As expected, the vendor boasts about the many features, performance and why their product is better than the competition.

The online puchase, download, install and registration processes went as smoothly as one would expect them to – absolutely no hitches. Not much for starting with the reference materials I dug into the process of setting up some different virtual machines. 

On the Windows front, I started creating a new virtual machine to set up a clean new win XP installation. The initial installation routine all worked fine on the pre SP2 CDs I had on hand. I also loaded a virus protection package and CUTE pdf, an open source pdf writer which I have used successfully on a number of computers. This concludes the straight foward, as expected portion of the setup. 

To date, I have not been successful in updating SP2, SP3 and other security patches either by the automated Microsoft web based process or via manual downloads and installations. Either way the updating process just hangs, so I am no further ahead. I have a couple more things to try to move this forward, but soon will be in start over mode. 

Parallels has a built in function called the transporter to capture the set up of a remote machine on the same network, so I decided to try out this feature on a fully patched XP system. The process begins by  installing transporter drivers on the remote (to be captured) computer. Next, you run the transporter option on the Mac and identify the remote computer from a pop up list or by IP address. I found in all attempts, the software did not detect machines running the client software and pop up list remained empty. Identifying the remote computer by IP address did not work either. 

Needless to say, this experience fell well short of the initial goals to have a virtualized setup for win XP to operate in. 

By way of comparison, I tried setting up virtual machines for Ubuntu desktop and Ubuntu Netbook. The OS is downloaded as an image file which is read and imported into the virtual machine. After the initial installation, you are prompted to complete one round of OS updates (in each case). I added the Firefox flash plugin and was ready to compute with OS, internet browser and open office (included). 

Both of these setups worked flawlessly, I in testing to date have run with out issue. 

Overall, Parallels seems like a promising application but it has some areas for improvement. There is no indication of updates to the 4.0 version. At this point, I will pursue sorting out the XP issues and look for support forums etc.  I will keep you updated in a future blog post. 

~ Mark