HOWTO fix “scanner warmup” error on HP 3330 printer

No Comments

My trusty HP 3330 printer stopped working recently with a “scanner warmup” error displayed on the display. Prior to that, it literally worked flawlessly for years, so I was reluctant to simply go buy a replacement printer. Once I figured out these steps, repairing the printer took me under 10 minutes, end-to-end, using only very simple low tech tools: a needlenose pliers, a philips screwdriver and a cotton bud.

Here’s the steps I followed:

Unplug the printer. Yes, you do have to follow basic safety procedures, even if there will be no exposed electric wires to deal with. You don’t want to accidentally have the motor start moving parts around while you are trying to work on them. Plus you need to make sure the power is completely off at the bulb, so mirrors have cooled off completely before you get to them in later steps.

Open the lid. While the lid is as vertical as possible, grip and pull up the two black tabs (in red circles). They should each come up about ~1/2 inch. Once these are both up, you should be able to grab the lid, pull it up and remove. Set aside.

Use a Philips screwdriver to remove this one screw. Once the screw is removed, gently lift up at the side where the screw was. As you do, you’ll notice that the opposite side hinges up on the side nearest the main glass plate. After you lift up about an inch or so, you’ll notice you can gently lift/disconnect this small glass panel. Set aside.

Notice that you can now reach a narrow rubber belt that is used to move the mirror assembly back and forth under the main glass platter. Use the needlenose pliers to grip the nearside (circled) part of the belt and pull it towards the pulley wheel. Be very gentle here, as this rubber belt is fragile. You’ll only be able to pull it about an inch or so before you run out of space, need to release the pliers grip, reposition the pliers, grip and pull the rubber belt another inch. Each time you do this, you pull the mirror assembly a little bit closer to the opening. Do another pull. And another. And another. Keep repeating until the mirror assembly is fully accessible through the opening.

Use the cotton bud to gently clean the full length of each mirror surface. It doesn’t take much effort, and the mirrors are fragile, so be gentle. Simply place the cotton bud at one end of the mirror, and slide along the mirror to the other end. Think of it more like dusting fragile crystal glasses. There are three mirrors in all, and you should do all three while you are at this.

Now that you are done, you need to reassemble everything. There is no need to use the pliers on the belt to move the mirrors back to the original starting position, the mirror will automatically go to the right “home” position once the printer is turned back on. Simple replace the glass plate, screw it back down and re-attach the lid.

Power the printer back on, and hopefully now it works!

John.
ps: here’s a more detailed HP 3330 printer disassembly video for the brave: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lqG_nmi3vC4

HOWTO fix Skype hang during login on OSX 10.10.5

5 Comments

A few days ago, my Skype stopped working. Specifically, every time I started Skype, it would hang while logging into the Skype network. It took a while to debug this, so here are the details of how I fixed it, in case it helps others – or I have to do this again!

What am I running:

  • MacBookPro running OSX 10.10.5
  • Skype-for-Mac v7.18.342

Symptoms:
When starting Skype, I saw the usual blue Skype window with the white blob moving in a circular pattern to show progress… and after literally one second or maybe two seconds, that blue window would disappear, leaving the Skype icon grayed out on the Mac taskbar. If I tab-switched to the Skype application, the mouse cursor would instantly pinwheel and the Skype menus would not respond to any mouse clicks. If I pressed command-option-escape to view all running applications, the Skype application was listed as “Not responding”. At first, I dismissed it as some odd intermittent problem, then killed and restarted Skype. Only to have it hang again, exactly the same way. This hang happened 100% of the time.

It had been almost a week since I last used Skype, so I wasn’t *certain* what I had changed since my last Skype call. I knew there were no hardware changes, OS patch changes. If anything changed at all, it is possible that Skype auto-updated or that Adobe Flash prompted me to manually update since my last Skype call, but I am not 100% certain.

Here’s some things I tried first, unsuccessfully:

  • Force-quit Skype. Double-click on Skype to restart it. Hang.
  • Force-quite Skype. Reboot mac. Double-click on Skype to restart it. Hang.
  • To verify that my Skype account was ok, the Skype servers were up-and-running, and my wifi router was not misbehaving, I started Skype on my phone and also on my tablet. Both logged in fine, using wifi and both worked first time.
  • Download the latest version of Skype (which was the same 7.18.342 version) from Skype.com download page. Installed new download of Skype 7.18.342 over existing installation of Skype 7.18.342. Reboot mac. Double-click on Skype to restart it. Hang.
  • All to no success.

Frustrated, I spent some time googling the internet, tried lots of variations on the above steps – all without success. Finding old unanswered pleas for help in customer forums from others with the same problem is never encouraging. Now it was serious. I finally stumbled across this post about Skype crashing a computer which helped – even though my skype was not crashing, and certainly not crashing my computer!

Here’s the steps that fixed it:

  • Kill Skype. Out of paranoia, I rebooted my mac.
  • Using Chooser, rename the directory “/Users/[your-user-name]/Library/Application Support/Skype” to “/Users/[your-user-name]/Library/Application Support/Skype.broken_yyyy_mm_dd” (I find this helps me later figure out when I last had to fix this problem!)
  • Change skype on Dock to not auto-start on login.
  • Download new installation Skype dmg from Skype.com download page. At time of writing, the latest version was v7.18.342 v7.19.407. v7.21.350
  • Install new Skype 7.19.407 over existing installation of Skype.
  • Reboot mac.
  • Double-click on Skype icon on Mac Dock or in Application folder. (Do *not* double-click on skype.app located in the “Application Support” folder – that will not work.)
  • Success!
  • On first login, my contacts and previous messages were all missing. However, over the next minute or so, all my previous contacts as well as all previous messages showed up again. When all settled down, the only thing that was missing all was my “starred contacts” list, which was easy to manually re-create.

Hope that helps.
John.
(Updated to include new version of Skype, and to note that after several weeks of Skype running just fine, Skype hung again this morning. If this happens again with Skype v7.19.407, I’ll update this post. joduinn 27jan2016)

(Updated to include new version of Skype, and to note that after several weeks of Skype running just fine, Skype hung again just now after reboot. Unclear if caused by reboot or by upgrade to xcode, which caused me to reboot. Lets see if this new version v7.21.350 works better. joduinn 27feb2016)

HOWTO use an unlocked Android phone in Portugal

1 Comment

Here what I used in my trip to Portugal in Jun2013, in case others find this helpful:


Disclaimer:

  • In the US, buying a cellphone “out-of-contract” is not the same as buying a cellphone “unlocked”. All of the following only works for an unlocked phone. Make sure your phone is unlocked before you get on the plane.
  • Different cellphone companies have different policies on this. AT&T declared that, despite my being a multi-year customer, with no contract, they would not unlock my phone per policy. T-Mobile said upfront that they would need ~40days from date-of-purchase of “out-of-contact” phone before I could ask to have it unlocked. On the 40th day, when I asked T-Mobile to unlock my phone, they sent me the phone unlock codes within 48hours.
  • Make sure your phone supports GSM. Sounds obvious, but still needs to be said, as most countries use GSM.

  • Buy a “LycaMobile” pay-as-you-go SIM card. I bought mine at the train station in Lisbon, but they are also for sale on most small street corner stores. While there are several mobile companies selling pay-as-you-go, I went with Lycamobile because they had the best price for all-you-can-use data at 4G speeds, great high speed coverage everywhere I went, and no hassle about using your cellphone as a hotspot. Oh, and comparable prices for voice calls and text messaging.
  • Disassemble your phone to swap out sim card, insert new LycaMobile sim card and power up the phone.
  • On the phone, enter “*#123#″ and press dial (typically, the green handset button). This connects you to an automated service that tells you your balance.
  • To find out what your lycamobile phone number is, dial “*#122#”
  • Assuming that all works, you should now attempt to call any local number. By habit, I call the mobile phone of the person at the store selling me the SIM card.
  • Cultural tip: I never setup voicemail – as discovered in my other recent trips, most people dont both leaving voice messages on cellphones anymore – if they cant reach you when they phone, they hangup and send you a text message instead.
  • Now that you can make/receive calls, to make my Android 2.2 phone transmit/receive data, I had to add the following APN settings:
    * on home screen, go into “settings”
    * go into “wireless & network settings”
    * go into “mobile networks”
    * go into “access point names”
    * if there is not already a “data.lycamobile.pt” APN, then create one as follows:
    ** Name = data.lycamobile.pt
    ** APN == data.lycamobile.pt
    ** Proxy == Not set
    ** Port == Not set
    ** Username == impt
    ** Password == impt
    ** Server == Not set
    ** MMSC == Not set
    ** MMS proxy == Not set
    ** MMS port == Not set
    ** MCC == 268
    ** MNC == 04
    ** Authentication Type == Not set
    ** APN Type == Not set
    …hit save, and go back to “Access Point Names”.

  • verify that this new “data.lycamobile.pt” APK is present, and is selected.
  • verify that “Use only 2G networks” is not selected.
  • Reboot the phone to see if that helps.
  • At this point you should be able to make/receive calls, send/receive text messages, surf the web, use your cellphone as GPS, and use your cellphone as a wifi hotspot.
  • To check your account balance dial “*122#”.
  • When you need additional credits, buy a one-time use scratch-refill “top up” card at almost any corner store, and follow the instructions on the back. You’ll receive a text message with the new balance when the credits are added to your account.

HOWTO use an unlocked Android phone in Malaysia

2 Comments

Here what I used in my trip to Malaysia in Nov2012, in case others find this helpful:


Disclaimer:

  • In the US, buying a cellphone “out-of-contract” is not the same as buying a cellphone “unlocked”. All of the following only works for an unlocked phone. Make sure your phone is unlocked before you get on the plane.
  • Different cellphone companies have different policies on this. AT&T declared that, despite my being a multi-year customer, with no contract, they would not unlock my phone per policy. T-Mobile said upfront that they would need ~40days from date-of-purchase of “out-of-contact” phone before I could ask to have it unlocked. On the 40th day, when I asked T-Mobile to unlock my phone, they sent me the phone unlock codes within 48hours.
  • Make sure your phone supports GSM. Sounds obvious, but still needs to be said, as most countries use GSM.

  • NOTE: You need to show your passport, or national ID card, when buying a pay-as-you-go SIM, or a phone, in Malaysia.
  • Buy a “HotLink” pay-as-you-go SIM card. I bought mine at the airport in Kuala Lumpur, but they are also for sale on most small street corner stores. While there are several mobile companies selling pay-as-you-go, I went with HotLink because they had the best price for data at 4G-LTE speeds, great high speed coverage everywhere I went, and no hassle about using your cellphone as a hotspot. Oh, and comparable prices for voice calls and text messaging.
  • Disassemble your phone to swap out sim card, insert new HotLink sim card and power up the phone.
  • On the phone, enter “*122#″ and press dial (typically, the green handset button). This will connect you to an automated voice service which will tell you your balance.
  • Assuming that works, you should now attempt to call any local number. By habit, I now call the mobile phone of the person at the store selling me the SIM card.
  • Cultural tip: I never setup voicemail – as discovered in my other recent trips to SEasia, most people dont both leaving voice messages – if they cant reach you when they phone, they hangup and send you a text message instead.
  • At this point you should be able to make/receive calls.
  • To make my Android 2.2 phone transmit/receive data, I had to add the following APN settings:
    * on home screen, go into “settings”
    * go into “wireless & network settings”
    * go into “mobile networks”
    * go into “access point names”
    * if there is not already a “maxis” APN, then create one as follows:
    ** Name = maxis
    ** APN == bbnet
    ** Proxy == 202.75.133.49
    ** Port == 80
    ** Username == Not set
    ** Password == Not set
    ** Server == Not set
    ** MMSC == Not set
    ** MMS proxy == Not set
    ** MMS port == Not set
    ** MCC == 502
    ** MNC == 12
    ** Authentication Type == Not set
    ** APN Type == Not set
    …hit save, and go back to “Access Point Names”.

  • verify that this new “maxis” APK is present, and is selected.
  • verify that “Use only 2G networks” is not selected.
  • Reboot the phone to see if that helps.
  • Now that the phone is configured correctly, I selected the 500mb-per-day data plan, as follows:
    enter “*100*9*1#” and press dialer
    read menu, enter “2” and click “ok”
    read menu, enter “1” and click “ok”
    …thats it.

  • At this point you should be able to make/receive calls, send/receive text messages, surf the web, and use your cellphone as a wifi hotspot.
  • To check your account balance call *122#.
  • When you need additional credits, buy a one-time use scratch-refill “top up” card at almost any corner store, and follow the instructions on the back. Alternatively, their website says you can topup using PayPal as well as credit cards, but I never personally tried that. Either way, you’ll receive a text message with the new balance when the credits are added to your account.

HOWTO use an unlocked Android phone in Ireland

No Comments

Here what I used in my trip back to Ireland in Oct2011, in case others find this helpful:


Disclaimer:

  • In the US, buying a cellphone “out-of-contract” is not the same as buying a cellphone “unlocked”. All of the following only works for an unlocked phone. Make sure your phone is unlocked before you get on the plane.
  • Different cellphone companies have different policies on this. AT&T declared that, despite my being a multi-year customer, with no contract, they would not unlock my phone per policy. T-Mobile said upfront that they would need ~40days from date-of-purchase of “out-of-contact” phone before I could ask to have it unlocked. On the 40th day, when I asked T-Mobile to unlock my phone, they sent me the phone unlock codes within 48hours.
  • Make sure your phone supports GSM. Sounds obvious, but still needs to be said, as most countries use GSM.

  • Buy a “Three.ie” pay-as-you-go SIM card. I bought mine at a stall in a shopping center in Dublin, but they were also for sale in any of the countless newsagent stores across the country. While there are several mobile companies selling pay-as-you-go, I decided to go with Three.ie because they have unlimited(yes, really!) data at 3G speeds, no hassle about using your cellphone as a hotspot and unlimited text messaging. Oh, and comparable prices for voice calls.
  • Disassemble your phone to swap out sim card, insert new Three.ie sim card and power up the phone.
  • On the phone, enter “1744” and press dial (typically, the green handset button). This will connect you to an automated voice service which will tell you your balance.
  • Assuming that works, you should now attempt to call any local number. A good example is the mobile phone of the person at the three.ie stand who sold you the card. Specifically, you should do this because the first call made on the new three.ie account will not be connected until you are verbally prompted through the remaining setup steps. This includes setting up an access PIN (for later topup/account activity calls) and also setting up voicemail, all of which I did.

    (Cultural note: While some people would leave voicemail, most people would instead send text messages. However, I found it interesting that even people who didnt leave a voicemail would still want to hear my voice on my voicemail greeting, to confirm they had reached the correct number, before they would hangup and send me a text message.)

  • At this point you should be able to make/receive calls.
  • To make my Android 2.2 phone transmit/receive data, I had to add the following APN settings:
    * on home screen, go into “settings”
    * go into “wireless & network settings”
    * go into “mobile networks”
    * go into “access point names”
    * if there is not already a “smart” APN, then create one as follows:
    ** Name = 3 services
    ** APN == 3ireland.ie
    ** Proxy == Not set
    ** Port == Not set
    ** Username == Not set
    ** Password == Not set
    ** Server == Not set
    ** MMSC == Not set
    ** MMS proxy == Not set
    ** MMS port == Not set
    ** MCC == 272
    ** MNC == 05
    ** Authentication Type == Not set
    ** APN Type == Not set
    …hit save, and go back to “Access Point Names”.

  • verify that this new “3 services” APK is present, and is selected.
  • Reboot the phone to see if that helps.
  • At this point you should be able to make/receive calls, send/receive text messages, surf the web, and use your cellphone as a wifi hotspot.
  • To check your account balance call 1744.
  • When you need additional credits, buy a one-time use scratch-refill “top up” card at almost any newsagent, and follow the instructions on the back. Alternatively, you can buy additional credits by calling 1744 from your phone, enter your PIN and recharge using a credit card. Either way, you’ll receive a text message with the new balance when the credits are added to your account.

HOWTO use an unlocked Android phone in Cambodia

9 Comments

There are now 9!!?! different mobile phone companies in Cambodia and a great summary of them all is on khmerbird.com. They all offer different pay-as-you-go SIM cards, and of course, there are lots of different Android phones, but here what I used in my recent trip back to Cambodia, in case others find this helpful:


Disclaimer:

  • In the US, buying a cellphone “out-of-contract” is not the same as buying a cellphone “unlocked”. All of the following only works for an unlocked phone. Make sure your phone is unlocked before you get on the plane.
  • Different cellphone companies have different policies on this. AT&T declared that, despite my being a multi-year customer, with no contract, they would not unlock my phone per policy. T-Mobile said upfront that they would need ~40days from date-of-purchase of “out-of-contact” phone before I could ask to have it unlocked. On the 40th day, when I asked T-Mobile to unlock my phone, they sent me the phone unlock codes within 48hours.
  • Make sure your phone supports GSM. Sounds obvious, but still needs to be said, as most countries use GSM.

  • Buy a “Smart Mobile” pay-as-you-go SIM card, with the “Fresh Internet+” plan. I bought mine at the airport in Phnom Penh, but they were also for sale in any of the countless green “Smart Mobile” stores across the country. While each of the 9 cell phone companies in Cambodia have different voice prices, this company seemed to have the best data plan, which is what I cared about most. Oh, and the staff at their booth were great fun and their ad for “Fresh Internet+” data-plan looked fun!

  • Disassemble your phone to swap out sim card, insert new SmartMobile sim card and power up the phone.
  • On the phone, enter “*888#” and press dial (typically, the green handset button). This should send you a text message within a few seconds containing:
    * your mobile number
    * remaining balance on your SIM card
    * expiry date of the credits on your SIM card
    * whether or not you have a data plan set up (the default is “not”).

  • At this point you should be able to make/receive calls, and check your account balance.
  • Dont bother setting up the voicemail. Like in Hong Kong, no-one seems to use voicemail; if you dont answer the phone, callers simply try again later or send you a txt msg.
  • To enable your phone for pre-paid data, you need to setup “Fresh Internet+” plan, as follows:
    * To verify data plan status, enter “*093*0#” and press dial. It should tell you that you have no data plan.
    * On the phone, enter “*093*3#” and press dial (typically, the green handset button). This cost me USD$5, and gave me 2GB data limit for 30days. (Click here for list of codes for different prices and different data limits.). All the SmartMobile plans are 30day duration, the only difference is how much money you want to prepay, and what data limit that gives you.
    * You should receive an SMS confirming the amount paid, and the data plan.
    * To verify data plan status, enter “*093*0#” and press dial. It should tell you that you have a data plan, days to expiry, and how much of your data plan allowance remains.

  • The following APN settings were enabled automatically on my Android 2.2 phone, so I did not set these manually. However, I’m listing them below in case it helps others debug problems transmitting/receiving on their data plan:
    * on home screen, go into “settings”
    * go into “wireless & network settings”
    * go into “mobile networks”
    * go into “access point names”
    * if there is not already a “smart” APN, then create one as follows:
    ** Name = smart
    ** APN == smart
    ** Proxy == Not set
    ** Port == Not set
    ** Username == Not set
    ** Password == Not set
    ** Server == Not set
    ** MMSC == Not set
    ** MMS proxy == Not set
    ** MMS port == Not set
    ** MCC == Not set
    ** MNC == Not set
    ** Authentication Type == None
    ** APN Type == default
    …hit save, and go back to “access point names”.

  • verify that this new “smart” APK is present, and is selected.
  • Reboot the phone to see if that helps.
  • When you need additional credits, buy a one-time use scratch-refill card at almost any roadside stand (they are literally everywhere, and all have the distinctive green “Smart Mobile” logo or beach umbrella!).

HOWTO use an unlocked Android phone in Hong Kong

7 Comments

While there are different pay-as-you-go SIM cards available in Hong Kong, and a multitude of different Android phones, here what I used in my recent trip to Hong Kong, in case others find this helpful:


Disclaimer:

  • In the US, buying a cellphone “out-of-contract” is not the same as buying a cellphone “unlocked”. All of the following only works for an unlocked phone. Make sure your phone is unlocked before you get on the plane.
  • Different cellphone companies have different policies on this. AT&T declared that, despite my being a multi-year customer, with no contract, they would not unlock my phone per policy. T-Mobile said upfront that they would need ~40days from date-of-purchase of “out-of-contact” phone before I could ask to have it unlocked. On the 40th day, when I asked T-Mobile to unlock my phone, they sent me the phone unlock codes within 48hours.
  • Make sure your phone supports GSM. Sounds obvious, but still needs to be said. Also, while in Hong Kong, I could only find pay-as-you-go SIM cards that supported 2G or 3G. The only 4G or faster that I could find were as part of monthly contracted plans; if you know of any that I missed, please let me know.

  • At any 7-11 store in Hong Kong, buy a China Mobile pay-as-you-go SIM card. In my case, I bought the “IDD Talk Card“. It looks like the “Super Talk Card” has better rates but they were sold out.
  • Disassemble your phone to swap out sim card, insert new ChinaMobile sim card and power up the phone.
  • On the phone, enter “*#130#” and press dial (typically, the green handset button). This should send you a text message within a few seconds containing:
    * your mobile number
    * remaining balance on your SIM card
    * expiry date of the credits on your SIM card
    * whether or not you have a data plan set up (the default is “not”).

  • At this point you should be able to make/receive calls, and check your account balance. If you dont get this text message, go back and check your work.
  • Dont bother setting up the voicemail. No-one seems to use them; if you dont answer the phone, callers simply try again later or send you a txt msg.
  • Once you have verified that basic calling works, the next step is to setup “Mobile Data & WiFi Package”, as follows:
    * On the phone, enter “*#130#” and press dial (typically, the green handset button). This should send you a text confirmation prompt asking what duration you want the data plan.
    ** for 1 day, press “1” and hit ok
    ** for 7 days, press “2” and hit ok
    ** for 30 days, press “3” and hit ok
    * to verify data plan status, enter “*#103#” and press dial.
    * to cancel data plan, enter “*103*02#” and press dial.
    * Note: be careful of letting data plan expire, yet continuing to use data, because the usages fees jump significantly.
    * (I found these, along with a full set of commands, on www.hk.chinamobile.com).

  • Next, to make sure that your android phone is correctly configured for 3G data, I had to do the following manually on my Android2.2 phone:
    * on home screen, go into “settings”
    * go into “wireless & network settings”
    * go into “mobile networks”
    * go into “access point names”
    * if there is not already an “cmhk” (peoples.net), then create one as follows:
    ** Name = cmhk
    ** APN == peoples.net
    ** Proxy == Not set
    ** Port == Not set
    ** Username == Not set
    ** Password == Not set
    ** Server == Not set
    ** MMSC == Not set
    ** MMS proxy == Not set
    ** MMS port == Not set
    ** MCC == 454
    ** MNC == 12
    ** Authentication Type == None
    ** APN Type == default

    …hit save, and go back to “access point names”.

  • verify that this new “cmhk” APK is present, and is selected.
  • In my case, I had to reboot my phone one more time, but that was it.
  • When you need additional credits, buy a card at 7-11 (they are everywhere!) or online at http://www.hk.chinamobile.com.

How to fix “Things freezes at start of Sync”

No Comments

A few days ago, my Things-on-Mac stopped synchronizing with my Things-on-iPhone. I tried everything on the CulturedCode forums and from the CulturedCode support emails without success. It took a while to debug this, so here are details, in case it helps others (or I have to do this again!)

What am I running:

  • MacBookPro running OSX 10.6.4
  • Things-for-Mac v1.4.2 (1420)
  • iPhone 3G running v4.1 (8B117)
  • Things-for-iPhone v1.6.1

Symptoms:

Individually, I could use Things on Mac, and on iPhone, just fine. However, any attempt to synchronize between the two would cause a progress dialog box on Mac saying “Preparing…” which would just hang, until I force-quit it. In case I was being too impatient, I left it running overnight once but it was still just as hung in the morning.

This hang happened 100% of the time. This hang happened regardless of whether I started synchronization on Mac with File->”Sync with … now”, or on iPhone, by starting Things-on-iPhone while on same wifi network as mac. This hang happened on my home wifi network and also on the office wifi network, and even when I had no other applications running on my mac.

This setup has been working without problems for months, and I hadnt installed any new software or updated any existing software, so I’m still baffled what caused this problem.

Here’s some things I tried first, unsuccessfully:

  • rebooting mac, rebooting phone, clicking sync. Hang.
  • rebooting mac, rebooting phone, removing phone from list of devices, adding phone into list of devices, re-pairing iPhone to mac, clicking sync. Hang.
  • removing things from iphone and reinstalling through itunes, rebooting mac, rebooting phone, removing phone from list of devices, adding phone into list of devices, re-pairing iPhone to mac, clicking sync. Hang.
  • Repeat all of the above on home wifi, and then again on work wifi.
  • At home I also tried all of this after rebooting my home wifi access point.
  • All to no success.

At that point, I remembered the idea of taking backups, so backed up the entire Things data directory, which in my case, was in /Users/john/Things:
$ cd /Users/john
$ rsync -av Things Things-2010-10-01

Note: using “rsync” preserved the timestamps, in case that was part of the synchronization logic.

Here’s the steps that fixed it:

  • remove Things from iPhone
  • exit Things on Mac
  • inside the Things directory on Mac, there is a “Backups” directory. This contains daily backups of your Things data. I copied the oldest backup over the current “latest” Things data file, as follows:
    $ cd /Users/john/Things/Backups
    $ cp DatabaseBackup\ 2010-09-29\ \(653\).xml ../Database.xml

  • reinstall Things on iPhone
  • start Things on iPhone
  • start Things on Mac
  • remove phone from list of devices, add phone into list of devices, re-pair iPhone to Mac
  • exit Things on Mac, Things on iPhone
  • start Things on Mac, Things on iPhone, and click sync.
  • It took several minutes of “Pending…”, but this time the progress bar was moving which gave me hope. After a few minutes of this, success! I could now see all the items on my ToDo on both devices!! OK, it was all from almost a week old backup – but still, encouraging progress.

At this point, my theory was that something happened during the week that corrupted the Things data xml file. The files were all still valid xml files, so something more subtle was wrong. To find when the corruption happened, I repeated these steps for each different backup, each time copying up the next newest backup. In theory, once I found the corrupted xml file, sync should not work again. However, following the process above, each restore attempt worked, all the way to the latest backup! I ended up with the latest contents of my Things-on-Mac finally visible again on my Things-on-iPhone.

Final step was to do a quick test update on Mac, along with another test update on iPhone, then syncing to verify that both changes were handled correctly. This worked fine too – so everything is good!

take care
John.

Changing timezones across Zimbra / OSX 10.5 / iCal / iPhone

No Comments

One of the drawbacks of working when newly arrived in a new, different timezone is how it complicates coordinating meetings with people in other timezones. Being here in Tokyo, this is my first time working while on the other side of the International Date Line and it took me a while to get used to that.

Adding to the confusion, I’ve had trouble keeping all my various electronic calendars in sync with each other; some calendars were in one timezone, some in another timezone, while some ignored timezone and displayed meetings at mixed times. Having finally figured it out, I’m posting here in case others find this useful, and also so I can remember what exactly to undo when I get back to MountainView. 🙂

  1. In Zimbra: click on the “Preferences” tab, and select new timezone from the “Default Timezone” popdown list. Click “save”. Logout. Login. Notice the calendar map existing events to the new local time.
  2. In OSX 10.5 10.6 on my MacBookPro: click on clock/timer on menu bar,  and select “Open Date & Time…”. Select the “TimeZone” tab, pick your new home timezone and then close that dialog box.
  3. In iCal, go to Preferences->Advanced, make sure that “Turn on timezone support” is enabled and close the dialog box. Now, back to the iCal main display of calendar events, in the top right corner, click on whatever timezone is written in gray font above the search box. This will show a popup list which includes all time zones already enabled in iCal, and has “Other…” at the bottom of the list. If your new timezone is not listed, select “Other…”,  add it to the list, and click “ok”. Now back at the iCal main display, make sure your new timezone is selected in the popup list. Notice the calendar now display existing events in the new local time.
  4. In iPhone: go to “Settings->Mail,Contacts,Calendars”. At the bottom of the list, select “Time Zone Support”. Make sure “Time Zone Support” is “on”, and set “TimeZone” to your new local city. Notice the calendar now display existing events in the new local time. UPDATE: With iOS4.1, I noticed that the new timezone did not change as expected. I went into “General->Date&Time”, turned off “Set Automatically”, then turned it back on,a and presto the timezone changed as expected. joduinn 13nov2010
  5. Add one test calendar entry into the iPhone and another into Zimbra. Force a sync, and confirm you can see both test entries in iPhone, iCal, and Zimbra – and all are at the right time.

Finally: Get the FoxClocks addon. Its accurate. It takes up very little screen space. Its a real gem. And it handled all the Daylight Savings changes this week just perfectly in “real world testing” (ie when I watched the US-times change Sunday and then re-asked someone in each timezone what their new time was!). Because of my calendar woes, I missed a few meetings this week, but things would have been much worse without FoxClocks!

How to search Thunderbird emails with Spotlight on a MacBookPro (OSX 10.5)

2 Comments

After upgrading from OSX10.4 -> OSX10.5, I was surprised to discover that Spotlight was no longer indexing Thunderbird emails.

I went back and rechecked all the steps in my earlier blog post, thinking maybe some files were lost in the upgrade, but all appeared ok. Using “/usr/bin/mdimport -L" I verified that the importer was present and still running. I even tried "/usr/bin/mdimportmdutil -E" to do a complete new re-index, in case it was somehow corrupted. Still no success.

Re-reading my earlier instructions, this step caught my eye:

  • Move Thunderbird.mdimporter to either “~/Library/Spotlight/” (which I did) or “/Library/Spotlight/” (as suggested in some other posts)

…so as an experiment, I moved the Thunderbird.mdimporter directory from “~/Library/Spotlight/” to “/Library/Spotlight/”, used "/usr/bin/mdimport -L" to verify that it was running in the new location. Immediately, Spotlight was finding matches within my Thunderbird emails.

The only change I did was to move the Thunderbird.mdimporter – could the location of this really be o.s. version specific? Maybe that explains why some people used one location, and some the other?

(If anyone reading this has done these same steps, I’d be very curious what location are you using for Thunderbird.mdimporter, and what version of OSX you are using!)

UPDATE: At first, Spotlight worked fine, but problems arose soon after the original blog post. Spotlight started giving garbage results pointing to unrelated files, showing confusing icons and filenames for matches, and eventually a system crash. I suspect that Spotlight from 10.5 got confused by the existing indexed data of Spotlight from 10.4, but have no data to back that theory.

To get Spotlight working with Thunderbird properly, I did the following:

  • move the Thunderbird.mdimporter directory from “~/Library/Spotlight/” to “/Library/Spotlight/”
  • use "/usr/bin/mdutil -E" to clean out the existing indices.
  • reboot the computer
  • use "/usr/bin/mdutil -E" to clean out the existing indices again. (maybe unneeded but by now I was being paranoid!)
  • used "/usr/bin/mdimport -L" to verify that it was running in the new “/Library/Spotlight” location.
  • wait a few mins, then try searching your email.
  • smile and celebrate with a cup of coffee.

Hope that helps – John. 04dec2008

Older Entries