How do I sync my macs?

How do I sync my macs?

If you have multiple macs (and an iPhone), is a must have, of course, but it only syncs so much… basically:

  • Address book
  • Calendar
  • Mail (but I’m using IMAP anyways)
  • Safari bookmarks
  • System preferences does not auto-sync:

  • All kinds of documents
  • Application settings & preferences
  • iPhoto library
  • iTunes library
  • VMware virtual machines
  • Firefox bookmarks

For merging all kinds of bookmarks I use Foxmarks. However for the rest, I’m pretty much down to manual sync every time I leave for a trip where I have to move all mods over to the laptop and then back to the desktop when I get back. When synchronizing the entire home folder there are actually a lot of files that need to be left out or you’ll just break apps on the other computer (erase serial numbers, etc.). So it requires a lot of manual supervision.

It feels like an entire wasted day every time. (At least I’m doing some packing/unpacking during large file copies, but still…)

Most sync tools are too stupid to handle exceptions nicely. The only way synching home folders could actually work over time in my opinion would be for the sync toll to start by asking you for each subfolder what should be done: Ignore, Sync, Sync with curent contents, Sync with future contents. Then at each subsequent sync, any new found folder should trigger the question again, unless it was already included in a “Sync with future subfolders” parent.

Some folder would also require a “Sync as a whole” function, where contents from both sides should never end up mixed as a result of a merge (I am thinking about iPhoto here).

Still looking for something smart enough…

Beyond the software issue I think I need to buy a Firewire 800 cable in order to transfer files faster direcly from one mac to another. Believe it or not but file transfers over Gigabit Ethernet remain pathetically slow… like 14 MB/s which is roughly only 0.14 Gigabits/second.

Rented movies on iTunes come with 5.1 surrond sound

Rented movies on iTunes come with 5.1 surrond sound

Tonight, for the first time, I rented a movie on iTunes…

And I gotta say I was pleasantly surprised by the fact the movie came with 2 soundtracks: Stereo & “Surrond".

Well, “surround” turns out to be AC3 Dobly Digital 5.1  and it does work on the Mac Mini too! It goes straight to your optical out.

Awesome! I’m gonna be doing some more of that renting :p

PS: Does your average downloaded AVI have surround sound? (I doubt it… ;>)

How to open a Mac OS X sparsebundle when it shows up as a regular folder

What do you do if you have, say, an encrypted sparsebundle and some day you try to open it and you discover it shows up as a plain folder in the Finder instead as a bundle icon?

Double clicking will just open the folder and show you the bands that make up the bundle.

So I don’t know how you fix the issue in the Finder but I know how you mount the sparsebundle and access the files: just open a Terminal window and type this:


hdid "/path/to/bundle/name_of_bundle.sparsebundle/"

Then you’ll have your virtual drive mounted on teh desktop, and if need be you can just copy them to a new sparsebundle.

Just ordered my Mac Pro 2009

Just ordered my Mac Pro 2009
Just ordered my Mac Pro 2009

I finally ordered the Mac Pro that will kick the last “standing” PC out of this place :D

I feel lighter already :))

Switching & Software

This is going to be my main/development machine. The PC I had for this since 2006 is actually still good from a hardware standpoint… the problem is with the software.

Windows to begin with. Everything has been said about Vista already. XP feels limited by now and I don’t believe in Windows 7.  Also, it’s about software that isn’t available for Windows at all, like Things.

Of course there’s also Windows software that doesn’t work on Mac OS X. Nusphere PhpED for example. But for these cases there’s VMware Fusion! Plus, there’s so much more you can do with virtual machines once you start to get the feel of it…

My specs… and why :)

Now, even though it’s about my main work machine and a business expense (which basically cuts the price in half due to zero taxation), I tried to stay reasonable… Yet I feel like it’s Christmas already ;)

  • Quad Core 2.66 GHz – Actually, I’m a bit concerned about fan noise levels with higher speeds or with 8 cores :p
  • 8 GB of RAM in order to run several VMware virtual machines at once. Also, I know from experience that as soon as you’re out of RAM, performance goes down the tubes (RAM is much more important than processor speed).
  • 1 TB 7200 rpm drive – Staying away from RAID for now because let’s face it… I don’t crunch that much data and the occasional video editing I do is not HD (errr… yet :p)
  • 2x NVIDIA GeForce GT 120 512MB graphic cards to run my 3 displays. Being able to connect 3 displays was my main reason for going Mac Pro instead of high-end iMac. There’s three reasons why I keep my existing 2006 Sony monitors:
    • They work just fine and there is no software update issue
    • They have incomparable color rendering compared to 95% of other displays on the market
    • Apple may have tempted me to buy bigger and nicely designed screens but I just hate the glossy glass with a passion. Sure they look better when they’re off. But when you try to work on them you always have window (real world windows) or lamp (real world lamps, not linux-apache-yada-yada) reflections somewhere.

  • and of course: Upgrade to Snow Leopard included for just 10€ S&H :p

Ideally I would have moved my ATI graphics cards from the PC to the Mac, but I was just easier to order new ones:

  • First you cannot order a Mac with zero graphics cards and bring your own. I’m not very happy about that but I understand why Apple would only ship machines that can work right out of the box.
  • Once you have one, it’s pretty cheap to buy the second matching one.
  • I’m not sure the old ATIs have drivers for the mac…
  • … and finally those ATI cards were the noisiest components of the PC. I hope Moore’s law will contribute to giving me quieter cards for the same thoughput ;)

OK now in between assembling, shipping and getting the delivery guy not to show up at 8 a.m. (like they always do) it’s probably going to take almost 2 weeks… during which I expect to wear the current PC down to it’s bones… and release b2evolution 3.x stable too!

Back to work!

How to display Network Shares as Icons on Mac OS X desktop

We had them before, but suddenly in Mac OS X 10.5 they disappeared! However, whenever I want to grab something on the network, my intuitive reflex is to look for the network drive icon on the desktop! :'(

I had to dig around quite a while to find teh setting to bring them back. No it's not in the System Preferences... No it's not in the UI tweaks... it is in... the Finder Preferences!

  1. Click on the desktop
  2. In the Finder menu, click Preferences...
  3. Select the General tab
  4. Under "Show these items on the Desktop:", check "Connected servers"

Now you're back to normal.

Btw, you may also take the opportunity to reduce the clutter under "SHARED" in your Finder window sidebars:

  1. Same as above but select the Sidebar tab
  2. Uncheck "Bonjour Computers"