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#672: Sleep Issue, Revisited!, Out of Contact, Small Dog Services, MS Office Update


“Faster daddy, faster!” That is the call I hear from the child carrier on the back of my new bike. This past weekend, my wife and I took the plunge and picked up a used bike carrier and two new bikes for us. On Sunday morning, we hauled everything to a large secluded parking lot in Montpelier and spent the better part of two hours doing laps. 

The 3-year-old in the child carrier enjoyed the experience as much, if not more, than the rest of us. Calvin, sitting high in his perch, offered me constant encouragement throughout the morning as we whittled away the hours in that parking lot. Up one side, down the other, through the parking garage and back. His frequent outbursts were not all I needed to keep up the pace, but made the task all that much more fun.

I haven’t had a bicycle for probably 16 years and haven’t regularly ridden one for probably 20—ever since I got my license and first car. On occasion here at Small Dog I will borrow a co-workers to tool around the parking lot and quickly down Route 100 and back. Bike riding was done be a younger me not just for transport, but also for fun. Long summer evenings were spent avoiding work on the farm and biking up and down the local back roads with a group of friends.

“Go down that big hill! It’ll be really fast.” Calvin, the co-pilot, has an eye for adventure. His eyes may be a little bigger than what my rusty thighs and calves can handle at this point. We’ll be doing a lot of biking for the rest of this summer. I am sure that we will stay to quiet parking lots and empty back roads for quite some time to come but the experience will be well worth it. 

Just a little story here as Vermont experiences summer weather for seemingly the first time this season…

Enjoy this issue, and keep in touch.


  Sleep Issue, Revisited!  

After writing my article last week, I received several responses that shed some light on my customer’s sleep issues. While I had solved the issue with an Archive and Install without preserving network and user settings and assumed that I would never find out what was specifically causing the sleep issue, it turns out that several other users have experienced the same problem after upgrading to 10.5.7.

As I mentioned in last week’s article, the issue was that my customer’s machine froze instead of sleeping the second time it was put to sleep. I had initially resolved this with an Archive and Install, but as soon as I ran the system upgrades to 10.5.7 the issue came back. It turns out that the problem is connected to the ethernet port being disabled. If ethernet is not enabled then the system crashes the second time it’s put to sleep. Here is a fix for the problem taken from MacFixIt:

1. Open System Preferences > Network
2-1. If you see your Ethernet port in your list of network ports (on the left-side of the window) and it says “Inactive,” activate the port by clicking the gear wheel icon and selecting “Make Service Active.” Click “Apply.”
2-2. If you do not see your Ethernet port in your list of network ports (on the left-side of the window), click the “+” button in the bottom-left corner.
3. In the “Interface” drop-down menu, select “Ethernet.”
4. Enter a name and select “Create.” You should see your new Ethernet connection appear.
5. Click “Apply.”

Since the issue is a network related issue, my original troubleshooting steps were in line and the issue was resolved by the second Archive and Install that I performed without preserving the network settings. The downside to my method is that it is more time-consuming than the solution from MacFixIt and after an Archive and Install there’s always chance that some third-party software, drivers and plug-ins may need to be reinstalled. Basically, I hit a fly with a sledgehammer. While it worked, it may have been wiser for me to practice my Google-Fu before diving in.

I appreciate the responses to last week’s article and always enjoy finding simpler solutions to a problem. Hopefully this will also help some folks out there who may be experiencing the same issue!

  Out of Contact  

I made a hard decision last week. For a variety of reasons (some health-related), I sold my iPhone.

Of course I backed it up beforehand, but I forgot to sync my contacts. Having never actually bothered to merge my MacBook Pro and iPhone contacts, and having already passed on the phone, there was only one place to go to find my contacts and re-integrate them.

The backup files for the iPhones are a compilation of numerous databases named with codes, and require a special utility to be able to read them. (This is, of course, assuming you don’t have yours encrypted.) I found two utilities that helped me with this. One was a paid app ($19.95) and supported exporting contacts. However, I was wary about how they would come out, and didn’t want to pay 20 bucks for something I couldn’t rely on.

With more Googling, I discovered iPhone Backup Extractor, a free piece of software. After much browsing through my other software for “Address Book,” I realized that unlike the Mac, the contacts were stored in the “phone” software. (Otherwise known as “iPhone OS Files” in iPBE.) Unfortunately, it extracts the actual iPhone files. This means that I got the database for the contacts, not the actual vCards.

The databases are in SQL, so I downloaded “SQLite Database Browser 1.3.” I proceeded to sift through the databases and found the contact names and the phone numbers/email addresses split between two databases, linked with a reference number. This meant I had to go back and forth to gather the information I needed, and it was very time consuming. I ended up borrowing a friend’s first generation iPhone, restoring the backup to it, then syncing it with my computer.

The moral? I suggest syncing your contacts to your Mac’s Address Book before your phone gets lost, stolen, broken, or sold. It’s a real disappointment to lose all of your phone numbers!

  Small Dog Services: Consulting & Business Sales  

In June 2008, we introduced Consulting and Outside Sales to the list of services we provide. For those of you who are local, the Consulting side of this can include on-site, in-home and in-store consulting services for our clients. Unfortunately, many customers outside of VT are not able to take advantage of most of these; however, our remote Consulting services may be something you’re interested in.

So what do remote services entail? With your permission, we have the ability to have one of our consultants access your computer and assist is solving a wide array of issues. Not all problems can be solved remotely, but it is worth looking into and can save you time and money of having to bring your system somewhere for a diagnosis.

The Outside Sales options can also be great for our customers both near and far. If you’re in a business that utilizes computers, printers and other technology, we provide our knowledge and expertise to provide solutions—meaning we do the research so you don’t have to. We specialize in solutions in digital signage, networking, printing and high-end copiers, contact management, storage and back up solutions and of course, building OS X server systems all the way from a single server to an XSAN.

Here’s an example: I have recently been working with a company in Georgia that is expanding their network infrastructure. I have helped them to choose the right rack systems to accommodate the new servers, UPS battery back up systems to maximize their run time, shelving and storage units to make their server room more functional and even looked at some cooling and rack enclosure systems to keep their servers running at the optimal temperature and avoid overheating.

A local Vermont company needed a solution that allows them fast and easy access to all their data and that also includes a back up system so they can rest assured that their data is safe and secure. XSANs! We have experience with how an XSAN can fit perfectly into your business.

In both of these cases I was able to bring in engineers from Apple, Ingram Micro (one of our distributors) and APC (a well-respected power and back up company) to speak with me and my clients to ensure that the systems we selected were the right fit and would serve their needs now and into the future. Let us see what we can do for you!

Email me at the email above (click on my name) or call 800-511-MACS x620. Click a link below for more information!

  Microsoft Office 2008 Service Pack Update  

Microsoft has released a Service Pack update for Office 2008 for Mac, and it delivers substantial changes. Service Pack 2 not only includes stability fixes, but additional features for PowerPoint and speed increases for Word and Excel.

Among the featured general Office 2008 improvements (from Microsoft):

  • Stability is improved.
    This update fixes an issue that causes Office 2008 applications to exit unexpectedly when you open or use the applications.
  • New controls for changing the alignment of text on chart elements.
    This update includes new controls for setting the vertical position, orientation, and custom angle of text in chart elements. It also includes controls for data label positions.

Among the improvements in Word:

  • Notebook Layout View recovers audio notes after Word closes unexpectedly.
    This update fixes an issue that causes users to lose their audio notes when Word closes unexpectedly. When you restart Word, the AutoRecover file does not include the audio notes. This issue is fixed now.
  • Compatibility with Word 2007 is improved.
    This update fixes an issue that causes a Word 2007 document that has table borders not to be displayed correctly when the document is viewed in Word 2008 for Mac.

Among the improvements in Excel:

  • Reliability is improved when you open a protected workbook.
    This update fixes an issue that causes a protected workbook not to open.
  • Performance and Stability are improved.
    This update fixes an issue that causes slow performance and fixes an issue that causes Excel to close unexpectedly when you enter arguments in a specific order or when you right-click a Chart Sheet, and then you click Select Data.

Among the improvements in PowerPoint:

  • Double-clicking a slide to add a text box.
    This update lets you double-click a slide to add a text box.
  • Path animation enables an object to trace a custom path.
    This update now lets you add and edit path animations on a PowerPoint slide. Path animation (also known as motion path) for an object traces a custom path for the object to follow across a slide. Unlike the entrance or exit effect, you can use a path animation to move the object on the slide from one position to another in any direction you want. You can apply path animation to any object, such as shapes, text, tables, or pictures.

The update applies to all versions of the Office 2008 suite as well as the individual applications (Word, PowerPoint, Excel); it is just under 300MB(!).

Download here or use the Microsoft AutoUpdate within your application to install this update. (To use Microsoft AutoUpdate, click Check for Updates once you’ve launched any component of Office 2008 and follow the instructions.)

Be prepared: This update may take a little while to download. In my case, it took a couple hours, but seemed like foooorever…

For a complete list of the new features and improvements, visit Microsoft’s Support page for Office 2008.

BONUS: We’re offering an instant $20 rebate on Microsoft Office 2008 Home and Student Edition. Final cost: $129.99.
Buy it now!

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