Throughout the web multiple users are reporting this console error message is related to slow downs and hangs within OS X Lion:

kernel: IOSurface: buffer allocation size is zero

Affected users are often seeing hundreds of these messages in the console logs and they seems to related to the time when hangs and slow downs occur. I’ve been it in console logs, but I’ve not been able to relate any performance issues to it. I suspect that everybody running flash will show this error. Here are some related links:

http://www.insanelymac.com/forum/index.php?showtopic=263859
http://www.nanofunk.net/mac-osx-lion-10-7-system-freezes-kernel-iosurface-buffer-allocation-size-is-zero-console-message/

Installing Java in OS X 10.7 Lion

February 27th, 2011

Several people have tweeted me to ask me how to install Java in OS X Lion. I would love to help them, but I haven’t had any problems with it.  As soon as OS X realized it needed Java, it downloaded and installed it automatically.  Sorry.

A couple of people did need to switch their preferred order of which version of Java to actually use.  You can do this through Java’s Preferences:

CamTwist is an OS X application that will add realtime video affects to a video stream. Most commonly CamTwist is used to provide video effects to a webcam or live video stream. CamTwist is free and requires a version of OS X that supports Quartz Extreme. This screencast demonstrates all the currently included video effects. Youtube version and higher resolution video podcast versions of this demo are available. CamTwist is free and is available now.

CamTwist demo

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New HandBrake is Much Faster

February 28th, 2008

I downloaded the new HandBrake for both XP and OS X today. I have been exceptionally impressed. I am currently ripping some of my DVD library on both systems and thought I would give my initial impressions.

This version of handbrake is dramatically faster. I have not seen benchmarks between the two version but the upgrade is not subtle. Within OS X on my MBP I am seeing my fps increase from the mid twenties to the mid thirties using my typical encoding settings. On my underpowered Vista box, I am seeing increases going from the low teens to mid twenties. There is no doubt in my mind that this version of handbrake is much faster.

Installation on OS X was a snap. Drop the app file into the applications folder and allow it to overwrite. HandBrake on the mac will gladly rip many DVDs even with copy protection.

Installation within Vista was a double click away. My first attempt at coding within vista failed however. As usual, running HandBrake in administrative mode fixed that. HandBrake for windows does not rip copy protected media.

The Vista version of the graphical interface still does not have the picture preview function. I find this essential in trying to pick deinterlacing settings for my old home videos and DVDs that are interlaced.

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The Ten Internet Trends of 2007

December 17th, 2007

When we look back on 2007 in a few years, these ten topics and companies will be the milestones that will be referenced and debated:

  • 1. Google Pushes Its Power
  • 2. Aggregators Polluted by the Mobs
  • 3. Mobile Web. Why?
  • 4. User-Submitted Profits
  • 5. Apple Leaps
  • 6. Microsoft Tumbles
  • 7. DRM. Die. Die. Die.
  • 8. Main Stream Media Invasion
  • 9. Politics’ Internet Fruitfulless
  • 10. Social Network Assimilation

1. Google

Google is currently the most powerful technology company in the world. With dominance in search and advertising, profits and stock prices have been impressive.

This year will be remembered as the point that google starting flexing its power to change people’s actions on the internet. Matt Cutts confirmed that google would punish people buying and selling links to influence search engine placement.

Google decreased the clickable adsense area which decreased some publishers’ income by well over 50%.

Google has openly started attacking social networks such as Facebook by joining the smaller networks through the OpenSocial API and by socializing Google services such as Google Reader. This dilutes the power that any one social networking system has. Google’s purchase of Jaiku is a direct competitor to IM candy Twitter. Google’s Android dilutes the potential power of a cellular network as well.

Wikipedia and squidoo will soon be feeling the google crunch next. Collaborative content is one of the most amazing products being created and delivered on the internet. Google’s Knol wants to compete here as well. Like many others, TechCrunch is worried about the conflict of interest:

Google says that Knol pages will be indexed into their search engine but will have no special ranking. That’s a little bit untrue, since they’ll be hosted by Google and will have the advantage of Google’s hefty PageRank to lift them in search results. And since no one will be auditing Google to ensure that Knol pages are treated just like everyone else, there are bound to be claims of conflict of interest.

This first started by competing with Microsoft through online services. Is Google’s strategy to dilute any potential collection of power?

2. Web 2.0 Aggregators

Digg and Reddit have moved away from tech. Sad.

Mob Rule. Tyranny of the Majority. Ochlocracy. Whatever you call it, these sites are the weak, fluffy versions of what they used to be. As the less-geek have moved in, the content of these aggregators have followed. Even the creators cannot control the sites anymore.

Unless you have a large social connection within these sites, you have no chance of getting an article viewed… (unless you pay for it.) Socializing is more important than quality.

Although I view both of these sites on a daily basis, they are frequently gamed, overcome with political manipulation, often filled with spamish links, and are utterly unrealiable as news sources.

What’s the alternative? You can always read what the A-List boys’s club is echoing about on techmeme. Or you can watch the main stream news… which is frequently gamed, overcome with manipulation… You get the idea.

3. Mobile Web

The mobile web is growing and growing. However, unless you are selling ringtones, nobody has figured how to make money from it. Even mobile web experts are puzzled on the exact nature of making money through mobile devices.

Plus, does there have to be a special “mobile web” anymore? The iPhone displays regular web content through a cell interface. Instead of manipulating content to look pretty on tiny browsers, manipulate the cell web browser to view existing content well on the cellular interface. When was the last time you remember visiting a mobi site?

4. User-Submitted Profits

Everybody is making money on the back on the users.

NewsVine, Squidoo, Wikipedia, Digg, Reddit, YouTube, Facebook. If you really think about it, none of these companies would work without the public building content for them. You are building content for them. Congratulations! When do you expect your check?

Even blogs and forums get boost from comments and discussions created within their communities. (Please comment, please, please, please…)

How long will people continue to sow content in the sites of others for free?

5. Apple

I personally believe that this was an amazing year for Apple. Apple stocks are certainly booming.

The iPhone has changed the cellular landscape that parallels how the iPod changed the portable musical player market. Apple’s commericals are painfully clever in their attacks against Microsoft. Leopard’s problems have been far less damaging than Vista’s which has helped as well. Overall, more and more people are considering moving to Apple’s platform.

Apple has shown areas of weakness, however. The AppleTV push has really died for the general public. With an anorexic iTunes movie selection, the AppleTV has little appeal to the nongeek. iTunes itself is having growing pains with content providers. NBC/Universal have decided to play hardball with TV shows and music. It’s difficult to know how it is going to play out. Apple is understandingly becoming weaker and weaker for DRM as well.

Being less ambitious than Vista has played well for Leopard. However, the new OS X is still causing growing pains for a lot of people. Feeling the vapor, we are still wondering where the much promised ZFS is?

6. Microsoft

As a one time Microsoft zealot, I am pained to see what has happened to Microsoft this year. Vista is failing because it has taken users too many steps as once. We all had to throw away most of our old hardware when XP rolled out. Most of us accepted this because the pre-XP experience was so unstable. XP was the successful promise of easy usage and stability. I wanted to install XP for my parents because I knew it would make things easier for them.

Today the market is different. Things worked pretty well before Vista. People do not want to sacrifice most of their hardware to get things working correctly. Plus, now we have 32-bit versus 64-bit discussion and “ultimate” products that add little except confusion.

Away from the OS, Microsoft’s search engines and ad networks are stagnant, and Microsoft certainly seems to be trying to kill html email usability. From my experience at FOWD, Sean Siebel is not an impressive “User Experience Evangelist.” At least Scoble tried.

Microsoft has made a few positive steps this year. The Microsoft Home Server is a new idea for a new market. If done well, it could be an essential box in every household. IE7 is a large improvement over IE6. Microsoft is investing in Facebook. Even the second Zune release (and the free software upgrade to the first version) is finally generating a little positive Microsoft buzz. Silverlight and Surface are sexy and innovative.

7. DRM

Could 2007 be the year that DRM finally starts to die?

Die. Die. Die.

Shawn Fanning’s original idea of drm-free Napster could exist in several different forms over the next few years. iTunes Plus and Amazon’s DRM free shows that the big guys are creeping into this direction. Steve Jobs thinks this way, too.

Radiohead’s In Rainbows “pay us what you want” experiment is exciting. Saul Williams and Trent Reznor are doing something similar.

Give them the music for free and sell them on the other stuff. It’s coming.

8. Main Stream Media

How about give them the content for free, too?

The New York Times is finally free. Online circulation is having to make up for the dying dead trees distribution:

Nationwide, average daily paid newspaper circulation declined 2.6 percent in the six months that ended Sept. 30, compared with the previous year, according to the Audit Bureau of Circulations, an independent organization that monitors the industry. Sunday circulation dropped 3.5 percent nationwide during the same period.

As the main stream media looks to supplement eyeball views with online content, their articles are appearing more and more in news aggregators. How long until we figure out that some of digg’s top users are on the payrolls of popular newspapers or public relations companies?

As advertising dollars move from TV and newspaper to the internet, the main stream media is following. How much this will drown out the current boom on citizen journalism is unclear.

9. Internet and Politics

Howad Dean’s success and subsequent failure seemed to grow from within communities within the internet. Was online activism a good idea too early? Will the traditionally nonvoting, young, internet crowd actually play any role in the upcoming elections? These are the questions that campaigns are asking .

Campaigns are on MySpace, FaceBook, and YouTube. You can not read digg or reddit without reading about Ron Paul or Kucinich. Of course, strike911 received active buzz throughout the internet without getting support from the general public or receiving any real main stream press.

This campaign cycle should be a great test to see if online voting and protesting will cause any offline results.

10. Social Networks

Online social networks have continued to grow throughout 2007. The large players like MySpace and Facebook are ubiquitous. How they are changing our interactions with our personal worlds are staggering. The influence and entertainment role of TV is being largely supplanted by these social networks. For many, offline social interactions are first initiated and planned online. Small niches of personalities and beliefs can find like-minded partners.

The success of YouTube and Flickr is obviously dependent on their social interactions. Digg and reddit are driven by social interactions. Dating networks are thriving.

As more of our social lives are played out online, more of our personal information is accessible online as well. More of our personal actions and characteristics are targeted by advertisers. More of our actions can be collected and used against us. Will an insurance company be able to find out that you are a member of a tobacco social group or a Huntington’s disease facebook group? The ultimate balance between profit and privacy will be difficult.

11. Memes?

Oh wait.. I left out lolcats. I am not sure if that’s a trend or a plague, but 2007 is certainly the a year of it. Or maybe it’s not a trend, maybe it is a meme. Who knows anymore…

Conclusion:
As I reread my article, my overall feeling is that our experience on the internet is becoming more complex. The name “google” no longer gives most people warm and fuzzy feelings. Digg and reddit are often manipulated more than main stream media. Facebook is looking to trade privacy for profits.

The idea of a “do no evil” company is more likely an untruth than an oxymoron. Previously, we thought it was possible on the internet. No more.

Of course, I would not want to do without Facebook, Digg, Reddit, or Google. We all benefit from the battles between Apple and Microsoft. Companies need to make money to survive. The balance is tough.

The real world continues to invades our idealist internet utopia. “Toto, I’ve got a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore,” but I would rather be here than anywhere else.

Let’s get ready to rumble in this upgrade battle. XP to Vista versus Tiger to Leopard.

The weekend that Leopard was released I decided to upgrade both my systems at once. I upgraded my MBP from Tiger to Leopard at the same time that I upgraded my windows desktop from XP to Vista.

Purpose–

My wife wants to upgrade to Leopard. My father wants to upgrade to Vista. The purpose of this experiment was to see if I should recommend these upgrades to my family and the tech-recipes audience.

Background–

In the OS X corner, I have my Apple laptop that is used for most of my day to day work–browsing, photo editing, blogging, programming, and such. It already has Vista installed on it in Parallels. It was running tight without obvious problems prior to the upgrade. In the XP corner, I have my trusty desktop system that is used mainly for audio/video editing, gaming, and Office. It too was running well prior to the upgrade. The XP box did contain an elderly ds2416 audio mixing card that can be flakey. I removed it completely prior to the upgrade because I have not researched drivers for it yet.

Both systems received adequate back-up before the upgrade. Despite my personal preference for wipes and fresh installs, I purposefully decided to do straight upgrades on both systems for this battle.

I enjoy using both windows and OS X systems and frequently write tutorials regarding both. (I got no agenda/prejudice.)

Leopard Install–

I started the installation disk, answered a few questions, and let it fly. Like in Tiger, .Mac is thrown in your face. I did not time the process but it seemed to be about an hour. The system requested an update of the OS over the internet soon after the install completed. The update process took just a few minutes. No error messages or difficulties during the install.

The transparent menu bar, 3-D dock, and the new folder styles are immediately noticeable. However, clicking around yields no real surprises. For the most part, the basic functionality is consistent from Tiger.

Vista Install–

I started the installation disk and was asked to pick the flavor of Vista that I had purchased. I used the traditional x86 version (as everybody probably should be doing.) The deferral of the serial number and activation process was a nice change from XP’s installation. The install process updates itself over the internet prior to the actual act of installation which is really smart. Unfortunately it did not prevent a IRQL_NOT_LESS_OR_EQUAL Stop BSOD error. I tried to do a repair install as suggested by the installation wizard without success. Eventually, google helped me find the issue, and the installation proceeded successfully after I pulled out a couple of sticks of memory to get below the 3 gig limit.

After installation, the new windows eye-candy interface Aero was not enabled for some reason. Aero was manually enabled without difficulty. Trying to go to the control panel caused explorer to die probably from an incompatible .cpl file. I updated Vista through Windows update. The downloading and installing of those updates actually look longer than the entire Leopard install did. Some of the updates did not install correctly. My Microsoft bluetooth mouse and keyboard would not work.

Most programs worked as expected; however, explorer and other windows processes would die unexpectedly. Here is my favorite error message out of several: Microsoft Windows Operating System has stopped working. Nice.

Windows Operating System has stopped working

Many core aspects of navigation within Vista has changed from XP. Aero is certainly a beautiful and striking change from XP. The Start Menu changes are powerful but will be confusing to the average upgrading user. Navigation through Explorer with breadcrumbs is more radical than Leopard’s Breadcrumb navigation option.

Post-Installation Problems–

My Leopard install does not browse my network. I cannot see shares. iTunes does not see my AppleTV. My wife’s Tiger box browses it without difficulty, and I can directly connect without problems. Firefox, Cyberduck, and Adium are less stable or have annoying superficial changes after the upgrade. The fact that the Documents and Download folder icons are indistinguishable is annoying to me; however, that’s a OS X style issue more than a problem.

leopard documents and download folder icons

I feel no speed difference between Tiger and Leopard. I am currently using the Leopard upgraded box as my main laptop and see no reason to do a clean or archive type of upgrade at this time.

My Vista box continued to be very unstable with random crashes. I made a rough estimation that it would take me longer to debug the crashes than to restore my data from a clean installation. My clean installation of Vista worked much better. Even after the clean installation, the new Aero interface caused a slight, but detectable, drag on my system. A moderate upgrade of the video card helped make the system more brisk but not quite to XP levels. Copying and moving files is obviously slower. Running some programs required ‘Run as Administrator’ type of work-arounds.

Conclusion–

My Leopard installation went smoothly. Having never done an OS X upgrade before, I was expecting absolute perfection. Q always tells me that “OS X just works.” Things were not perfect, but the issues were minor.

My Vista upgrade was a disaster. Even if you ignore the show-stopping BSOD during installation, the upgraded product was ultimately unusable. The complete fresh install of Vista is not perfect either, but most of the eye candy and advancements are impressive. The Vista to XP jump is a much more ambitious step for Microsoft than the safer Tiger to Leopard jump for Apple.

My goal for this project was not to recommend one OS over the other. I use them both regularly, and the zealot fanboy arguments between the camps are silly. I wanted to contrast the upgrade experience between Leopard and Vista. This little experiment certainly answers many questions for me.

Once a patch is released to fix Leopard’s network issues, I will recommend that my wife upgrades her MBP. I will plead that my father not upgrade to Vista. The installation issues and the change in the user interface would challenge his (and thus my) sanity. As a lifelong windows user, I was appalled at the disaster that was the Vista upgrade process. For people purchasing top class windows hardware, I would be willing to recommend a Vista clean install. I do not believe that a clean install on older hardware is probably worth it.

My Personal Leopard Grades:

- Installation Process: A. Perfect.
- New Features: B. Time Machine, Stacks. (Techrx Tutorials)
- New Bugs: C. Network browsing.
- Consistent/Familiar User Interface: B.
- Eye-Candy Improvements: C. Changes can not be easily enabled/disabled.

My Personal Vista Grades:

- Installation Process: F. BSOD. Unusable upgraded product.
- New Features: B. Sidebar. DirectX10. Better security. (Techrx Tutorials)
- New Bugs: C. Slower copying.
- Consistent/Familiar User Interface: C.
- Eye-Candy Improvements: B. Up to OS X quality but customizable. Slows system.

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The add-recipe function at tech-recipes does not work perfectly when using the FF browser under Leopard.  According to the release notes of Firefox 2.0.0.9, some drop down boxes may continue not to work correctly. Other problems are noted as well…

On OS X 10.5 (Leopard), drop-down selection widgets on some websites may not function.
On OS X 10.5 (Leopard), there are known problems with some media plugins as well as Add-ons that contain binary components.

Because of the bug, I have been forced to use Safari.  I have been pretty surprised how snappy Safari is in Leopard.

With the release of OS X 10.5, Apple has filled their operating system with exciting new features and tools. Here at tech-recipes, we have already released 20 screenshot-filled tutorials highlighting some of these features.

Leopard Mail now has stationery but you will probably want to know how to hide the new Notes features from appearing in your inbox. Leopard’s Finder has been enhanced with breadcrumb and cover flow navigation styles. Tabs are everywhere in OS X 10.5. iChat and Terminal both gain tabs as a very welcomed feature.

Other than the beautiful new design, the Dock now has the ability to handle folders as Stacks. Borrowing a handy feature from the world of windows, the Dock is now spring loaded for drag-and-drop ease. Probably the most important new feature is the Time Machine. However, everybody will need to know how to remove files and folders from the Time Machine’s eternal clutches.

With all these features, it will be important to know how to limit your kids’ computer usage with Parental Controls.

Please stay tuned to our Leopard OS X 10.5 Section for our latest additions to the Leopard tech-recipes cookbook…

IE6 in Parallels

October 5th, 2007

I have been trying to convert the IE6 Virtual PC image to a parallels image. Very unsuccessfully.

The conversation wants to require an official XP disk to make it bootable… which kinda destroys the point.

Even if you do give it the files it wants, it still dies with an ntldr error.
:(

iTunes Windows Pain

March 16th, 2007

Apple won over a new generation of mac users through their easy iPod interface.  People figured if the iPod is that easy, then OS X must be too.

Conversely, Apple is shooting itself in the face over iTunes.  iTunes for windows is one of the most worthless pieces of software ever created.  It’s pain equals the crap that is the AOL-redo version of winamp.

I perfectly believe that Apple does this on purpose.  People try to do iTunes-on-Windows-thing when they purchase an uberpopular iPod.  When it does not work well, Apple hopes that people will consider buying an Apple box instead.

Microsoft isn’t a saint here either.  Microsoft actively neglects Office for Mac which is undoubtably more bugging on OS X than on a windows box.

So most OS X users that try office think that the buggy office suite on windows is what the typical windows user experiences.  Most windows users trying iTunes assuming that the shiny apple software sucks on OS X too.

Apple should learn from the iPod.  If you give users slick, pretty things that work well… then users will assume that everything you do works well.