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#680: Time Machine after Logic Board Failure, iTunes Authorizations, Snow Leopard vs. AirPort Admin Utility, 8GB of RAM In Your iMac, Snow Leopard Tips


Happy Tuesday,

Eating locally is a something I strive to do year-round, and the Mad River Valley Localvore Project challenges Valley residents to eat exclusively local food for a week each year in September. Up and down Route 100 are signs urging passers by to enjoy local squash, kale, tomatoes, and other vegetables. There’s even some corn left to be eaten this late in the year. The highly respected Red Hen Bakery was able to source wheat grown in Charlotte and is offering a 100% local bread for the week – and hopes to offer it year round moving forward. That bread was available today at Waitsfield’s excellent Green Cup Restaurant, and I’ve been munching on it this afternoon with cave-aged cheese from Orb Weaver farm in New Haven.

While the growing season is winding down here in Vermont, it’s never too early to think about joining into a CSA (community supported agriculture). Many farms will offer a discount for joining early, and you can find one near you (not to mention a ton of information) at

Thanks for reading. As always, keep in touch.


  Reconnecting To Time Machine After A Logic Board Replacement  

One of the great things about Time Machine is that it can store backups from multiple computers all on one hard drive. To do this, it needs a way to individuate each backup. One might notice that the backup name is the same as the computer name, aka “MyComputerName.sparsebundle”. However, it’s very easy for a user to change their computer’s name, and if two machines are on the same network with the same name the newest one is automatically reassigned a new computer name. For example, if I have a machine named “Rockstar”, and another machine joins my network it will automatically be renamed “Rockstar (2)” to avoid confusion.

The truth is, while Time Machine backups display the computer name as the prepend to .sparseimage, that is not actually how Time Machine differentiates computers; it uses the ethernet ID (aka MAC Address) of the machine that it’s backing up to tell the machines apart. This is very smart, but the catch is that if one’s computer has the logic board replaced the ethernet ID is different and Time Machine is unable to re-link the computer to its previous backups. While it’s easy enough to reconnect to the Time Machine drive and create a new backup, for someone like me who has over 150GBs on her machine, this can be an unnecessary time-suck. It is important to note here for clarity’s sake that if you had been backing up your data using Time Machine and you lost your data during repair it is still certainly possible to restore from that backup, it just won’t continue to make backups on the same time-line if the ethernet ID is different.

Naturally, there is a solution! Mac OSX Hints has a great article on how to solve this issue. I’ve included the instructions below, just be sure not to dive into it if you are not comfortable using Terminal. This is also a “your mileage may vary” situation, as I’ve heard conflicting responses to its success, though any time Terminal is involved there’s always a good margin for user-error.

Directly from Mac OS X Hints , with the addition of some proper edits from the comments:

I will assume that your backup disk is named Time Machine and your computer is named MyMac. In addition, my “old” MAC address for demonstration purposes is 00:f9:e8:d7:c6:b5 and the new one is 00:1a:2b:3c:4f:56. Change occurrences of those values below wherever they occur to match your system.

The last bit of information needed is the old MAC address. Open Terminal and change directory to the root of the Time Machine backup database, then get the old MAC address:
cd /Volumes/Time\ Machine/Backups.backupdb
xattr -p MyMac

Write this number down (or copy it) as well. Change directory to the root of the Time Machine disk to verify that the MAC is correct:
$ cd ..
$ ls -al

Near the top of the listing, you should see a file that begins with a period that matches the old MAC address, without the colons between digit pairs —.00f9e8d7c6b56 using my example MAC address.

Now to get to work. Insert your system’s data for the following commands to disable ACLs temporarily so changes can be made, rename the hidden system ID file, reset the extended attribute on the backup store, and re-enable ACLs:

$ sudo fsaclctl -p /Volumes/Time\ Machine -d
$ sudo mv .00f9e8d7c6b5 .001a2b3c4f56
$ sudo xattr -w 00:1a:2b:3c:4f:56 Backups.backupdb/MyMac
$ sudo fsaclctl -p /Volumes/Time\ Machine -e

For those of us using a Time Capsule for backups, there is a solution for us as well! Again, this is taken directly from Mac OS X Hints :

In the proceeding code, let’s assume that “Time Capsule” is the internal disk of your Time Capsule, and “Backup of MyMac” is the name of the sparsebundle disk image volume that mounts when you normally back up to your Time Capsule. First off, double-click your old (correct) sparsebundle disk (MyMac_00f9e8d7c6b56.sparsebundle) image and mount that volume on your Desktop. Also, to reiterate, old MAC = 00:f9:e8:d7:c6:b5, new MAC = 00:1a:2b:3c:4f:56, as they are above.

$ sudo fsaclctl -p /Volumes/Backup\ of\ MyMac -d
$ sudo xattr -w 00:1a:2b:3c:4f:56 /Volumes/Backup\ of\ MyMac/Backups.backupdb/MyMac
$ sudo fsaclctl -p /Volumes/Backup\ of\ MyMac -e
$ cd /Volumes/Time\ Capsule
$ sudo mv .00f9e8d7c6b56 .001a2b3c4f56
$ sudo mv MyMac_00f9e8d7c6b56.sparsebundle MyMac_ .001a2b3c4f56.sparsebundle

I hope this helps some of you out there! Keep backing up!!

  De-authorize your iTunes Account Before Hardware Repair  

Pretty much everyone has downloaded from the iTunes store, but not too many of us know just how iTunes keeps track of computer authorization. Every device on the internet has at least two unique identifiers: a MAC address and an IP address.

MAC is an acronym for Media Access Control. Many believe that Mac, the abbreviation for Macintosh, should be written with capital letters – this is incorrect. Likewise, iPod – not iPOD or IPOD; iMac – not iMAC or IMAC; etc. Network interfaces have MAC addresses; Macintoshes can be called Macs.

Since your MAC address is completely unique, it’s the ideal way for iTunes to know that you’re authorized to play purchased content on any given machines. Trouble is, your ethernet port is part of the main logic board, which requires replacement in some repairs. With a new main logic board comes a new MAC address, which confuses iTunes and some other, generally high-end, software.

You’re allowed to authorize up to five computers at any one time to play your purchased content, but replacing your logic board changes the MAC address. If you didn’t de-authorize before repair, you’ve lost 20% of your available authorizations. I made this mistake a few years ago when I had to replace the logic board in a Mac Mini hooked up to my television, and when I sold my iBook. I also lost an authorization when my two-week-old PowerBook G4 flew off the roof of my car at highway speed. Thankfully, iTunes allows you to de-authorize all computers on your account once annually.

I only have one Machine these days, a 17-inch MacBook Pro, so this hasn’t been a problem of late for me. It’s a common question asked our technical support team, and a good fix to file in your troubleshooting arsenal.

The full details from Apple can be found here:

  Reader Question: Graphite/Snow AirPort Extreme Base Stations  

Morgan wrote in following last week’s issue:

“Thanks for your Tech Tails contributions. I appreciate and enjoy them very much. I have a question and I hope you might know the answer. I would like to upgrade to Snow Leopard, but I think I read that the upgrade does not work with the Airport Utility that is related to my Airport Extreme Base Station. Is this true, and is it a concern? Seems to me that Apple would be smarter than this. As you can imagine, I don’t want to upgrade my computers and in the process lose my wireless connectivity.”

Morgan, the older “Graphite” (802.11b) and “Snow” (802.11 a/b/g) AirPort Extreme Base Stations commonly described as flying saucers or UFOs remain completely functional under Snow Leopard. Unfortunately, though, the AirPort Admin Utility specifically designed to administer these older devices does not work under Snow Leopard. There remain some applications that do not work under Snow Leopard, and this is the lone Apple application that’s incompatible.

Apple maintains a list of the few programs and devices that do not work under Snow Leopard. The list is shrinking daily, but I suspect the older AirPort Admin Utility will not be fully updated. It is Apple’s policy to support its hardware and software products for five years following discontinuation. The first-generation graphite base station was discontinued in November 2001, but the white “snow” models were only discontinued in 2007. Odds are any update to the Admin Utility will address compatibility with the newer models.

The full list can be found here:

  Follow Up: 8GB of RAM in Your iMac?  

Last week’s article on installing 6GB of RAM in MacBooks brought quite a few responses and questions, most of which came from readers hoping their older PowerBook might hold more than 2GB of RAM. Unfortunately, that article applied only to the machines specified.

I did realize, though, that I didn’t include the other machines that support more RAM than Apple acknowledges. Many aluminum iMacs will support 6GB or even 8GB of RAM despite Apple’s claims. We now carry 4GB PC6400 SO-DIMMs for use in many iMacs. With one 2GB and one 4GB chip installed, these iMacs will support 6GB total; the newest iMacs will actually support 8GB as two 4GB PC8500 SO-DIMMs, adding to their appeal as high-value professional workstations.

Our sales staff are prepared to answer any questions about RAM capacity in your computer. Give us a ring to see if we can squeeze some more performance out of your machine!

  Three More Snow Leopard Tips  

This week I have a few more Snow Leopard enhancements to share with you.

The Date and Time Preference Pane now has an option to automatically set the time zone based on your location. It’s a thoughtful enhancement that will appeal to anyone who travels often. To enable this feature, open Date and Time from System Preferences, click on the Time Zone button, and then click the box next to “Set time zone automatically using current location.”

OpenCL is a technology that essentially allows graphics cards to function as additional processors. For applications written with OpenCL support, adding a graphics card to your Mac Pro is like upgrading its processor: that program will show an immediate speed bump. In fact, if you fill your Mac Pro with graphics cards in each of the expansion slots, you can make a massive difference in computing power! This enhancement is completely transparent and requires no configuration – just programs that are written to take advantage of it.

Many multifunction printers and standalone scanners come with inelegant software previously needed to use the device. Preview in Snow Leopard has a new item in the File menu: Import from Scanner. You can even scan over the network, with a scanner or multifunction printer plugged into your AirPort Extreme, Time Capsule, or AirPort Express! With the device plugged into your network or directly in to your computer, simply open Preview and select Import from Scanner from the File menu. No configuration needed!

  Garage Sale: This Friday at 8AM!  

As we mentioned last week, the Garage Sale is coming this Friday, September 18! We have over 150 products listed so far, with many more to go before Friday.

WHEN: Tuesday, 9/18, beginning at 8AM ET.


This is an online-only event, and we will not be taking phone orders. Happy shopping!

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