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#862: Cotton Candy, iPhoto Library Management, OS Installations Pt. II


Hello all,

BRRR! Ok, winter is back for a little while, at least. Once again, it is cold and we are expecting about a foot of snow over today and tomorrow. I had to go looking for my hat, gloves, and so on to prepare for this winter redux. I didn’t stow them away for the season, but I certainly decided I didn’t need to keep track of them!

This week, Kyle continues his small computer theme with another sweet-named offering. (I’m not sure why it seems to be a trend that these devices are named after sweet treats, but it’s a common theme.) David has an iPhoto tip for you, and Shawn adds a chapter to his OS install saga.

Thanks for reading,


  Cotton Candy  

Last week, I wrote an article about the awesome Raspberry Pi microcomputer. I had actually been working on this article when someone turned me on to the Raspberry Pi, so I took a detour to talk about it first.

With the Raspberry Pi out of the way, I’d like to tell you about the Cotton Candy. It is both similar to and different than the Raspberry Pi. You have less control over what you are capable of doing with this product versus the Raspberry Pi, but you don’t need to be a hacker/programmer/engineer to be able to use it either.

It is basically a ready-to-use workstation box. If you have been looking for a computer that fits in your pocket (so long as there is at least a screen, keyboard and mouse wherever you will be working), look no further than the Cotton Candy.

The Cotton Candy is a codenamed project created by a Norwegian Company that basically puts an Android Smart phone into a USB memory stick with onboard Bluetooth. Plug this little bugger into a television or monitor, hook it up to USB power and with Bluetooth as your ally, you can surf the web or run Android applications from a little device the size of a pack of gum.

Additionally, you can plug this device into the USB port of any computer, boot from it, and ultimately, use the hardware of the machine it’s plugged into (which affords you extra performance when you need it).

It has the same hardware as the Samsung Galaxy S III and can output to 1080P high definition video. Plug it into your living room television and check email, surf the web, and play games all from the comfort of your couch. You also have the ability to connect to it from your Bluetooth-enabled smartphone rather than use a bulky keyboard and mouse.

Technology is getting smaller and smaller these days, and as it progresses more and more, I begin to wonder what the next breakthrough will be. With the pocket computer being the center of attention what is the next version? What will be the next big thing?

  iPhoto Library Management  

The contents of your iPhoto library have been stored as a package file since iPhoto ’08. Previously, the iPhoto library was simply a folder you could browse like any other. Apple’s decision to make it a package was a good one in my opinion as it led to less user-initiated library corruption and lets the operating system treat the iPhoto library as a single file rather than a folder. That’s especially helpful when you consider that it could potentially hold over a hundred thousand items in it!

However, iPhoto still seems to corrupt its own library by itself occasionally. If you find question marks where you photos used to be, thumbnails that don’t correspond with the right image or don’t correspond with any images at all, you might be the victim of iPhoto library corruption. If this happens, you’re going to want to take the steps listed here to begin repairing and rebuilding the library. Note: This can be a time-intensive process — especially if the library is large.

After you’ve gone through each step, check the library to see if your corruption issues are resolved. If they remain, I recommend taking a look at iPhoto Library Manager, available for free here. This can be used to continue your corruption-resolving project, but also has features that you can pay for as well. Two of the most popular are duplicate removal and the ability to merge libraries. And, as Jason Hyerstay would tell you, iPhoto Library Manager has one of the cutest icons he’s ever seen. (Ed. Note: LOL. -KH)

  OS Installations Pt. II  

Last week, I explained how to reinstall Lion/Mountain Lion by using the recovery partition to resolve software issues or to wipe and install a clean version of the OS. Those solutions rely on a fast internet connection that allows a download of the OS.

A worthy thing to have in your tool box is a bootable USB installer just in case you cannot connect to the internet. It comes handy if you want to upgrade or install Mac OS on multiple personal machines or if you have done a hard drive replacement or upgrade. You would need a bootable installer because the recovery partition would not be available on the new drive.

To make a Bootable USB stick you need:

  • One USB drive with at least 6GB of free space

To create the Bootable USB stick follow these steps:
Acquiring the OS

  • Purchase & download Mountain Lion
  • Quit the installer with Command+Q when the download is finished

Finding the Installer

  • Navigate to the Applications folder
  • Locate the Mac OS Installer in the Applications folder
  • Control+click the file
  • Select Show Package Contents from the contextual menu
  • Navigate to Contents > Shared Support
  • Locate a file named installESD.dmg

Creating the Bootable USB Stick
Warning: All data on the flash drive will be erased in this process.

  • Launch Disk Utility (located in Applications > Utilities > Disk Utility
  • Drag the installESD.dmg file to the white space in the lefthand sidebar
  • Insert your USB stick into an available USB port on your Mac
  • Select the USB stick from the lefthand sidebar
  • Partition the USB stick with the following settings: Format: Mac OS Extended (journaled) & Options: GUID Partition Table
  • Select the Restore tab
  • From the lefthand menu drag the installESD.dmg to the Source field
  • From the lefthand menu drag the USB stick to the Destination field
  • Click Restore

This process can take 15-30 minutes. Once completed, you have a bootable USB installer.

To boot from USB, hold down the Option key when the machine is booting up before the first chime and select the USB installer.

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