Posts Tagged osx

Waiting for the new Mac Pro

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Waiting...

Waiting…

pple announced a new Mac Pro today; twice as fast as the current model, which itself is faster than the one I presently own. But that’s all they did. Announce it. It’s not ready, there’s no date, there’s no price, and other than “faster” and “supports three, 4k displays” and “much smaller footprint”, there isn’t much other information either.

Sigh.

On other fronts, they’ve finally fixed the multi-monitor shortcomings in OSX; menus, full screen apps, etc. Kudos. Even iOS got a little love with folders that can hold many files, instead of just a few.

The new OSX makes me willing to go for a new Mac Pro, or at least, it seems that way with the limited information I have now. I can put the old fella up in the ham shack where it will do a fine job with the SDR up there; and the new hotness will (of course) drive my desktop, save me time on compiles and just about anything else… and I admit, I run my SDR from my desk even more often than I do in my ham shack. Not just testing, I like the sound of a radio in the background.

The question is, newest model that can only run three displays and has only a small internal SSD? Or the current generation that can do more displays and has room for standard internal HDs?

Apple really does test my patience. It’s been several years since they really gave the Mac Pro much attention, and frankly, I was getting close to building a Hackintosh or buying the current generation. Will they get the Mac Pro out in time? Should I go for newness, the current generation, hacking, or something used off EBay? I feel information-deprived.

Tune in this fall for the next installment of “As the Apple Worms.”

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Cocoa/OSX console messages: Could not setup Mach task special port 9: (os/kern) no access

11949894331101577697bomb_01.svg.thumbEver run into this one? Under Leopard (OSX 10.5.8), the above message is posted to the system console every time cron launches a process. If you use cron for anything and the console for anything, this can be very, very annoying. Apple’s known about the problem for years, and has done nothing. Since I fall into that class of folks who use both the console and cron, I’ve been more or less quietly steaming about it. I finally decided to do something about it. Be warned; the following is technical and to-the-metal hackery. Don’t try this at home unless you’re very confident in your skill(z).

Now, as this hack is fairly specific to the problem, I don’t think it can hurt anything else (if performed correctly), and it serves my needs perfectly. Your mileage may differ for any number of reasons, and if you’re not a technical person, you should stop reading now and just forget your ever saw this post. Really. Stop now.
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Python, TkInter, OSX (OS X) and making it all behave

I use Python a lot. Python 2.5.1 to be specific. And inside Python is TkInter, which, with a little work, will give you a handy way to put a GUI together. But there are problems. To say that TkInter is poorly supported and poorly documented under OSX is to understate the case rather dramatically. So you’re left to Google for answers, and mostly, they aren’t to be found — or if they are, they aren’t obvious or easily found. So I’m going to provide some answers here that have taken me quite some time to collect, and hopefully keyword and title them so that a Google search will actually get you to the solution you need sooner rather than as much later as it did me!
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RFSPACE SDR-IQ and Mac OSX 10.5.8 Leopard

No Mac support as yet, but… install VMWARE and XP, and it works great. I’m listening to Radio Havana on 6050 KHz right now on a three foot piece of wire. Tomorrow, when I can buy a length of coax, I’ll hook it up to my shortwave antenna, which is out of reach of my computer desktop right now. I expect to have a lot of fun.

I tried it with Parallels 2, but Parallels screws up the USB connection and it just won’t fly. It was less expensive to “cross-grade” to VMWARE than it was to buy a Parallels “support incident”, so Parallels just lost a paying customer. Funny how that works. VMWARE imported my Parallels XP VM without comment, and the only catch was that XP bitched at me about having to be re-registered because “my hardware had changed significantly.” Oops. Turns out that wasn’t a problem… re-registration went smoothly, just a couple clicks and it was done. One of the benefits of having a legal copy, I presume.

Anyway, just thought it’d be worth noting for Mac users that you too can have an SDR instrument on your desktop. You do have to run it inside a Windows VM, but that doesn’t seem to be much of an inconvenience.

On the left, you see WinRadio; it has a lot fewer features than SpectraVue, but on the other hand, it acts a good deal more like a radio than a spectrum analysis tool. It doesn’t seem to have any system for managing memories, but that may just be new-user unfamiliarity. I confess to not (yet) having RTFM. I will update this post if I learn otherwise.

Some benefits WinRadio brings to the desktop are ECSS reception for standard SW and AM signals, and DRM (Digital Radio Mondial), a digital reception mode. ECSS works very well indeed; DRM is… well, it’s interesting. Haven’t got that figured out yet. I downloaded the DReaM decoder, and tuned in to some DRM broadcasts, but haven’t got anything to report other than no success.
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Using the Mac as a Guitar Workstation

I will start with a disclaimer: I am not in any way associated with the companies I’m going to mention here, other than being a paying customer for them.

Over my years as a professional musician, I’ve invested a phenomenal amount of money in musical gear. Amps, pedals, guitars, effects systems, you name it, I’ve probably bought it, beat it up, and traded it off in my search for “that sound.”

After about 40 years of playing, I’ve arrived at the combination of analog and digital gear that presently outfits my studio, and a few choice instruments. I was pretty happy with this too, except it isn’t very portable, and the setup is complex enough that there are times when I spend more time twiddling knobs than I do actually playing or recording.

Well, I’ve found something rather extraordinary. So much so I thought it was worth telling the world. As it turns out, there’s an easy, sensible, cool way to go that costs very little and gives you the world. Here’s the scoop.

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