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#766: VT eWaste This Sat., RotW: Lost iSight Function, Password Storage: Best Practices, Move Your iTunes Library Location

 
     
 

Happy Tuesday,

This winter’s heavy snow and this spring’s heavy rain continue to cause some pretty serious damage in Vermont. It was one of the worst mud seasons in memory, but spring of 2011 will probably be remembered around here for Lake Champlain’s record flood that’s inundating so many communities close to its shore.

The lake’s level has trended upward for years, and I can’t help but wonder if the tens of thousands of acres of paved parking lots and other development isn’t at least partially to blame. Sure, we’ve had a lot of precipitation, but with so much of our formerly open space now paved over, there’s simply much more runoff than ever before. Thankfully, the water is retreating, but the real costs of the flooding remain to be seen.

Of course, the floods here are nothing in comparison to those along the Mississippi River. Our hearts go out to the victims there and here in Vermont.

Last weekend’s warm weather was certainly refreshing, and the sound of lawnmowers and smell of chlorophyll combined with budding trees and flowering azaleas put a big smile on my face. It’s about time.

As always, thanks for reading.

Matt
matt@smalldog.com

 
   
     
  Repair of the Week: Lost iSight Function  
   
 

Just how important is your iSight? Do you use it regularly? Is it used by your children for hours of entertainment? Is it used for teleconferencing and online meetings? Does a special needs child need it to attend classes at school? No matter what it may be used for, it is as important to some users as any other input device on the machine.

The iSight was first introduced in June 2003 as a FireWire peripheral. The original Sight resolution was 640×480, and the built-in cameras that followed support HD standard 720p, with 1280×720 resolution. Apple has since dropped the “iSight” moniker in favor of FaceTime camera.

This week, a customer dropped off a mid-2007 MacBook where the camera was not being recognized by the OS. There are two possible points of failure when this happens because the iSight camera is mounted within the bezel brace of the display and it has a single cable that connects it to the logic board. This cable is paired with the low voltage display cable and runs through the right hinge of the display.

On the MacBook, the camera cable shares a plug with the display cable. This plug connects to the hard drive and optical drive. Part of the camera/bezel piece is the microphone which plugs into the logic board on the far left, next to the battery connector/sleep sensor board. Reseating this cable did not have an effect on the performance of the device.

Since that didn’t work, I then started to strip down the display module. After removing the plastic bezel from the display housing, it is necessary to remove twelve phillips head screws to tilt out the entire display with braces and camera attached.

With the display tipped out of the housing, I was able to access the low voltage display cable on the back of the LCD and the small flat four pin connector of the USB based camera. I reseated the cable for the camera and restarted the system, but seemingly made no progress in finding a solution.

As noted in the service manual, the next step was to replace the entire camera and its bezel. (While mounted within the bezel, the camera does plug into a small card that the cable running through the hinge plugs into as well.) On a lark, I disassembled these pieces by removing the four screws—two in the camera on the front and two in the daughter board on the rear.

After pulling this connection apart and reseating the connections, the camera, after a restart of the machine, was available and functional.

This repair is atypical. When a component becomes unavailable, more often than not, it has failed and needs replacement. In the case of this MacBook’s iSight, it required the complete break down of the display module and the replacement of the camera, as well as the system microphone and associated frame components. Luckily, reseating a few connectors (which the service manual doesn’t specify) did the trick!

 
   
     
  Password Storage: Best Practices  
   
 

I absolutely love the Stickies widget—it’s probably the one widget I use most. I quickly hop into dashboard and check a phone number, address, or even a password that I need to access often but can never seem to remember.

Up until about a month ago, I used this widget for all those reasons and more, yet I’ve discovered a few flaws to my use of the application. First of all, it’s not secure. It’s actually a really bad place to put your passwords as anyone who can hop on your computer can pull up your dashboard quickly and leave no trace. Shame on me for actually using this to store a few passwords!

There is a much more secure place to store things on your computer: Keychain Access! It’s is an application built into your Mac that saves passwords and secure notes for you, all of which require an administrator password to access. It’s actually how your computer keeps track of router, website, and other passwords.

To access the your keychain, go to Finder > Applications > Utilities > Keychain Access. Or hop into spotlight and simply type in “Keychain Access.” Once you’re in, you can review your passwords and/or create a secure note by selecting “Secure Notes” then clicking the “+” in the bottom section of the open window. This will allow you to name your note, add secure contents, and save it for later use.

Now that you have created a secure note, it will not be viewable unless the user types in the administrator password. This is a great place to store and retrieve your passwords or other notes you would like to keep private.

For added security of applications or programs that require passwords, you might want to consider an application that is designed to create and store strong, unique passwords for you. 1Password can do just that for you. It’s designed to create, remember and restore your passwords directly in your web browser or on your iOS device.

This is a great idea if you’re someone who is constantly struggling with remembering your passwords while still having them remain secure with strong and unique variations!

 
   
     
  Move Your iTunes Library Location in 6 Easy Steps  
   
 

We often have customers come into our store who have such large music or photo libraries that they are running out of space on their Mac’s internal hard drive. Luckily, with just a few quick steps, you can move your iTunes or iPhoto library to an external drive, with all the necessary files it needs to retain its neat and organized structure.

You will need three things to complete this task: an external hard drive with a good amount of free space, your Mac, and some time to let the files copy over. For this example, we will move an iTunes library from a Mac to the external drive; the same basic procedure can be used to move an iPhoto Library as well.

  1. Connect your external hard drive to your computer.
  2. Use Finder to locate your Music folder on your Mac, and open it to find your iTunes folder.
  3. Drag your entire iTunes folder onto your external hard drive, which should be visible on the left-hand sidebar in your finder window. This process can take anywhere from a few minutes to a few hours depending how much data you have to move. Moving the iTunes folder copies over ALL of your iTunes content, including music, apps, playlists, and videos.
  4. Once you’ve moved your iTunes folder, you need to tell your computer to look for the iTunes library in its new location on the external drive. To do this, make sure iTunes is not running, and then open iTunes while holding down the Option key on your keyboard.
  5. A window will appear prompting you to either create a new library or choose an existing one. Because we’ve moved the library file, we are going to choose an existing one. The iTunes library file is located inside of the iTunes folder that you just moved onto the external drive. The file path should look like External HD > iTunes > iTunes Library. Once you choose the library file on your external drive, iTunes will continue to look for its library here, until you tell it otherwise. This means that whenever you add new content to your iTunes library, it automatically will be stored on the external drive as opposed to your Mac’s internal hard drive.
  6. You can now move the iTunes folder on your Mac to the trash to free up lots of extra room (Please be careful and make sure you actually have moved your music before deleting it!).
 
   
     
  VT eWaste Event: This Saturday, May 14th  
   
 

Live near Vermont or New Hampshire? Have some tech stuff to recycle? We’re holding FREE eWaste Events in both Vermont and New Hampshire this year, so come on down!

Our Vermont event is scheduled for THIS Saturday, May 14th at National Life Group Headquarters in Montpelier, VT.
View website here.

Our 2nd annual New Hampshire event will be held on Saturday, May 21st at the Mall of New Hampshire in Manchester, NH.
View website here.

Both events are completely free and are “all-you-can-ewaste!” Each event will take place between 9:00AM and 2:00PM. (While the vast majority of electronics are recyclable and will be accepted, there are a few exceptions—namely kitchen appliances and air conditioners.)

Make sure we can take it—see our list of accepted materials on either page. Read more about our ewaste collection programs here!

 
   
     
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