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#658: eWaste Recycling Event, Tip of the Week: Smart Mailboxes, Time Machine, Printer Reset


Happy Tuesday,

The holiday weekend saw flurries in the Mad River Valley, and nighttime temperatures continue to dip below freezing. Triggered by the warm sunny afternoons, the dogs are starting to shed in full force.

I picked up Tony’s dog, Waylon, to scratch his belly and I was left with a solid pad of short cattle dog fur stuck to my sweater. Jim brought in a shedding rake for his dog Ziggy, and I used it on Owen. Thankfully we did it outside, because there was a huge pile of fur on the lawn when all was said and done.

I’m hoping Owen will dry off faster with so much less fur, but I don’t think it’s going to make a difference. I just let him out of the warehouse and he’s bounding towards the river with Waylon. Time will tell.

Enjoy this issue, and keep in touch.


  3rd Annual eWaste Recycling Event | This Saturday!  

The 3rd Annual FREE eWaste Recycling Event will be held on Saturday, April 18 from 9am – 1pm at S. Burlington High School in S. Burlington, VT.

We want you to recycle your old electronics responsibly. We’ll be taking your old TVs, computers, monitors, printers, scanners, digital phones, other peripherals and pretty much any other electronics with a cord!

See our website for more details.


For more information on our ewaste initiatives, our event, ewaste statistics as well as national ewaste recycling resources, click here.

  Tip of the Week: Smart Mailboxes  

My mailbox swelled to the point that the “comparing notes with server” function seen in Mail’s Activity viewer (found in the Window menu) would take almost a minute to complete. I looked into it a bit, and found that I had saved over 40,000 messages in the past few years. This included communication with customers, vendors, co-workers, friends, and family‚Äďand a healthy dose of spam.

I came to grips with the situation, and convinced myself that saving three-year-old email is obsessive, unhealthy, and certainly unnecessary. While I could probably get away with saving email for only six months, I find myself looking for emails sent or received in the past year quite often. So, I told myself I’d keep email for only 12 months, and set out to do just that with Smart Mailboxes.

Smart Mailboxes are dynamically updated mailboxes just like Smart Playlists in iTunes and Smart Folders in the Finder. You can specify any number of criteria, or just one. In my case, I wanted a folder to hold mail more than one year old. I clicked on the plus symbol on the bottom left of the Mail application’s window and selected New Smart Mailbox. Alternatively, you can select New Smart Mailbox from the File menu, or control-click on the mailbox you want your Smart Mailbox to draw from.

There’s limitless potential here to keep yourself organized. Unlike the old days of manually sorting your mail, or having only rigid Rules to automatically sort your stuff, Smart Mailboxes are infinitely more nimble and extensible. Give them a shot.

By the way, reducing my inbox by 25,000 messages really sped up checking for new mail, particularly at home when I’m off the Small Dog network. Ignore your pack-rat urges and clean up shop!

  Time Machine Goes Back in Time  

About a week ago I received a call from a close friend of mine who was experiencing some sluggish computer behavior coupled with beautiful ticking and grinding sounds from her iBook G4; classic hard drive failure. After weighing her options she decided to take me up on the offer to replace her hard drive and she headed up to visit me for the weekend. Being the intelligent woman she is, she also brought her Time Capsule with her latest successful backup on it.

Sure enough, by the time I took out her drive and attached it to an external sled, it gurgled and gasped in an attempt to mount and finally showed as an uninitialized volume. No worries, she brought her Time Capsule so I could seemingly just migrate the data back on to the new drive, right? Well, I was missing a vital tool to allow me to do that; I was lacking a Leopard disc. It figures that my Leopard disc had finally become too scratched to continue using just a few days before.

Time Capsule is designed to restore all data in three ways. One can use the Apple Migration Assistant from the Utilities folder of a machine that’s already set up, it can migrate data directly to a blank internal drive from the Leopard media or it can migrate to a drive with a fresh OS on it using the Setup Assistant. In front of me I had my Macbook Pro, her iBook with a blank internal drive and her Time Capsule; this did not fit any of the ideal restore options. I quickly double-checked that it was impossible for me to use the Migration Assistant on my MacBook Pro to restore the data to her iBook and sure enough I was correct about that. The Migration Assistant will only transfer the data to my own internal hard drive, bummer!

Exercising my well-honed Google-Fu, I found an application called Back In Time by Tri-Edre. Back In Time is one of the many new third-party Time Machine “helper-apps” that have sprung up in an attempt to fill in some features that many of us wish were included in Time Machine. Some of its features include the ability to view Time Machine data from another user’s machine, quick looks of files (including letting you know how many versions of that file are available), drag and drop capabilities and, most importantly for me, full restores of the Time Machine to any attached volume. Eureka! This sounds like the answer to my problem!

After attaching my friend’s Time Capsule to my machine via ethernet I was able to mount her Time Machine sparseimage. (As a sidenote, for anyone with security concerns about Time Machine it’s important to note that the data is an encrypted sparseimage so for me to mount my friend’s Time Machine backup I did need her username and password.) I was able to then set Back In Time to restore her latest Time Machine backup to her iBook hard drive which I had mounted on my machine via Target Disk Mode. I let that run all night and in the morning Back in Time reported that all of the data transfered with no errors. Great!

Upon rebooting her iBook, I found that the machine would not load the kernel. Crap. I reboot her machine in Target Disk Mode again and this time I ran Disk Warrior on the drive to repair any software corruption that might be present and then I ran a permissions repair in Apple’s Disk Utility (located within the Utilities folder). The permissions repair was epic and I ran it twice to ensure it would run clean. This time upon rebooting the iBook I was greeted with success! The iBook boot beautifully to the internal hard drive, I was able to run all software updates and after a week of use my friend is thrilled and says it’s zippier than ever!

The good news is I found a way to restore my friend’s Time Machine backup to her new hard drive without using a Leopard disk. The bad news is, Back In Time couldn’t do it all by itself. I spent some time in the shop playing with a healthy iMac G5, a Time Machine backup and Back In Time and received the same results. Yes, it works, but in every instance I had to run both Disk Warrior and a permissions repair. I have not played around with restoring an Intel Time Machine backup yet to see if the issue is any different on Intel vs. PowerPC. In the meantime, I wanted to share this interesting new app in hopes that someone else in a pinch out there can get something out of it. I’m also curious to know if any of our readers have used Back In Time and how has it worked for you?

  Reset the Printing System  

If your printer suddenly stops behaving, it’s always a good idea to check the manufacturer’s website to ensure you have the latest drivers. Sometimes, though, it’s necessary to reset the printing system on your computer. It’s done in the Print and Fax pane of System Preferences.

Control-click anywhere in the list on the left that contains your printer or printers, and select Reset Printing System from the contextual menu. This will delete all printer queues and jobs, reset all printer settings to factory defaults by removing configuration files, and will perform permissions check and repair on an invisible folder on your hard drive called “.tmp”.

Resetting the printing system under Mac OS X Tiger is a little different. Under Tiger, open Printer Setup Utility from the Utilities folder. From there, select Reset Printing System from the Printer Setup Utility Menu. While the procedure is different, the end result is the same.

This is a powerful troubleshooting tool when you have trouble with any aspect of printing. It’s not an effective maintenance tool, though, so doing this routinely is a waste of time.

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