Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Trello teams explained: it's worse than you can imagine (in free version)

I went through all of Trello’s (weak) online documentation trying to figure out how to manage my (free) Trello teams. Where in the UI is the a list of teams? I could see how to create a team. I could see how to add someone to a team. But where’s the team list?!?!

Turns out in free Trello “Teams” are not teams (of people). That’s why I couldn’t find them anywhere:

NewImage

A “Team” is a collection of boards and people are part of boards and teams and people are related by … I think a Team is basically part of the natural key for a join table between boards and people and “teams”. (But a board can belong to only one Team (or NULL team) … so maybe Team is a foreign key in Board)

You see teams in the Boards screen; in this (hidden) UI they group boards. To add a board to a team you work from the board menu. But Trello has (inadvertently?) made it hard to find the full Boards screen. I don’t think there’s any link to it in the UI, you have to click on “Trello” or just go to URL trello.com.

So you’ve found the list of Boards. They are grouped by Starred Boards, My Boards and by “Team Names”. The Team Names have Boards, Members, Settings. All 3 of these buttons go to the same tabbed screen.

(Tip: The Team-Member collection shows in the URL. So if you know team name, just do http://trello.com/myteamname]

Click on any and you see the the UI equivalent of a join table made up of members, boards, and the “Grouping” (team). BoardGrouping:settings:settings lets you delete a team.

From this tabbed screen you edit the Members:Board relationships. You can delete a Team (remove all rows with same Team name). You can add Members (add rows to join table) by clicking on “Add by Email” which doesn’t actually add by Email, it just lets you search the global Trello user domain by email or Trello ID (should be called “Add Members”).  HOWEVER, to add a board to a team you go to the Board’s settings and use Change Team (this doesn’t remove members, just divides them into Team and Non-Team members). My head hurts. You figure out the rest.

Let me repeat that. In (free) Trello, the “Team” page is the SETTINGS for the grouped boards and it can only be found by going to the semi-hidden “trello.com” home page or the secret URL shortcut.

Teams may make more sense in the paid version but they’re a hot mess in the free version.

I think Trello is one of those great ideas that’s been broken. It’s rare for software to recover from a state like this.

The sensible way to subscribe to a calendar feed in Apple's screwed up calendar ecosystem.

I think I know how Apple screwed this up. It’s one of those evolutionary path-dependency things. Their iCloud calendar is the child of their old OS X Server calendar (via MobileMe). They bolted a web service atop a server side model. In the old model the client was where different calendar sources were assembled, not the server. iCloud/web is stuck with that model.

So when it comes to Calendar feed subscription assembly happens on the Mac, or it happens on the iPhone. It doesn’t happen in iCloud/web. There’s no UI for adding a feed to iCloud/web because there’s no application model for that.

Which explains Apple’s bizarre instructions for getting a feed to iCloud to iPhone via the Mac. Whoever wrote that up was probably sobbing with despair. I suspect the resulting iCloud/web calendar only gets updated when the Mac updates itself. Let me know if I’m wrong.

I think there are really only two ways to do calendar feeds in the Apple world. One is to add the feed to the iOS device(s) (calendar.app) and the Mac (calendar.app) separately. Forget about seeing it in iCloud/web - that really doesn’t work.

The other is to do the subscription in a Google Calendar and subscribe to that on Mac or iPhone (and give up on iCloud/web). But then you’re going to have to deal with iOS failure to support Google’s CalDAV sync select. So this is a geek-only solution (It’s what my family does).

Here’s how to do it the simple way (iPhone and Mac only, not iCloud/web):

  • iPhone: Calendars:Add Account:Other:Add Subscribed.
  • Mac: I think you should ignore the iCloud option, but let me know if it updates without the Mac driving the update.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

FileVault 2's Undying Guest User bug - the El Capitan edition.

Today’s post-El Capitan update bug is a ghostly Guest User account that appears only on restarting a El Capitan Mac with FileVault 2 enabled and Guest User disabled in System Preferences:Users and Find My Mac enabled. The configuration for this pre-decryption login is running out of the UEFI EFI system partition. The one thing this Guest User can do is run Safari; the primary partition remains encrypted. There are no Parental Control options (that’s a problem).

I’ve read claims that this a feature. Some misguided Apple engineer thought it would be a good idea — a kind of Honey Pot that would tempt a thief to go online and thus trigger Find My Mac.[1] It becomes a problem with kids who have issues with internet abuse; they get an open browser.

My own suspicion is that this is a partly-implemented undocumented “feature” that is buggy because it was never tested. Maybe it was partly pulled from the release. Not only does it appear unpredictably it has other associated problems. If you enable the Guest account in System Preferences there’s sometimes an option to  enable Parental Controls and sometimes not. Even when there is an option to enable Parental Controls it doesn’t actually work. I’m also unable to get a true Guest account to work — even when I don’t see the “safari only” warning in system preferences the Guest Account never decrypts the primary partition.

There may be more than one bug involved — perhaps something related to failure of new computer / upgrade to notify EFI infrastructure of a preference change. I suspect it’s the worst kind of bug — an undocumented feature that was partly pulled from a release and lurks in code.

It’s not new to El Capitan, it’s been happening intermittently since Lion. It may be more frequent in El Capitan.  I updated two FileVault 2 machines from Yosemite to El Capitan and only one has the ghost account. 

I reviewed 3 options on apple.stackexchange.com [2] dating as far back as Lion with updates for 10.11.

The fix that worked for me was edited as recently as 6/2016. Basically you turn off Guest Account and Find My Mac in System Preferences. Then you disable System Integrity Protection so you can “touch” a System EFI resource, that forces and EFI update, then reenable SIP. When I did that System Preferences had Guest Account enabled again, even though it wasn’t showing up. I disabled Guest Account and enabled Find My Mac and the ghost seems to have been exorcised.
 
I think reinstalling El Capitan from Combo Update would have worked too — it also forces an EFI refresh [3]. I wonder if one could even have used the reinstall operating system feature in the Recovery mode.
 
- fn -

[1] This has been seen as far back as Lion and there’s a good description in this Yosemite article in FileVault 2.

Ten Things You Might Not Know About FileVault 2 | Der Flounder - Dec 2014 ( - Yosemite)

One unusual feature of FileVault 2 is that sometimes a Guest User icon will appear at the pre-boot login screen.

Figure_4-Guest_account_appearing_at_the_FileVault_2_pre-boot_login_screen

When you log in as that guest user, you don’t get access to your hard drive. The only thing you get access to is Safari and a network connection. Quitting out of Safari will return you to the FileVault 2 pre-boot login screen.

Figure_5-Guest_account_restarting_to_Safari-only_mode

Figure_6-Guest_accounts_Safari-only_access

To my knowledge, Apple has never commented specifically about this guest user but it appears the guest user is an anti-theft measure. The guest user’s appearance at the pre-boot login screen is a feature tied to signing into iCloud and enabling the Find My Mac option.

Figure_7-Enabling_the_Find_My_Mac_option_in_System_Preferences_iCloud_preference_pane

One consequence of logging into the guest user is that, as soon as the Mac gets a network connection, it will immediately connect back to Apple and report its location information.

Figure_8-Computers_location_displayed_on_iClouds_Find_My_iPhone_website

If you don’t sign in with iCloud and then enable Find My Mac from that machine, the Guest User icon will not appear on the FileVault pre-boot login screen. That said, mobile device management solutions that track a machine’s location may also trigger the Guest User icon to appear.

[2] Apple has killed Apple Discussions with their latest update.

[3] Despite waiting a long time to do my El Capitan upgrade I ran into an unexpected behavior with an updated installer that wasn’t actually updated. So my main machine went to 10.11.2. I wonder if I’d actually gone to 10.11.5 if this problem would have shown up. It seems to be related to a bug with EFI partition updates.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Aperture in El Capitan: Not showing the workspace? (and other known issues)

Here’s a partial list of known issues for Aperture in El Capitan from this an old discussion forum link [1]

  • The thumbnails in list view are upside down. (Apple has been intermittently screwing up EXIF orientation tags since iPhoto 5.)
  • If you add a Curves adjustment the straighten adjustment will not be visible in the exported images. The exported images won’t show straightening. (This is unpredictable behavior.)
  • When brushing adjustments, the position can be slightly off, one pixel or so.
  • The link to the plug-in page no longer works in the Aperture menu (this is Yosemite too)
  • You can no longer order print products from Aperture (Yosemite too)
  • Soft proofing is broken
  • When exiting app the progress window that’s displayed has no content

The levels/straighten export bug is the worst I’ve read about.

Except for what happened today. Aperture opened, but the workspace was somewhere else in space. It acted like it was off-monitor somewhere. Aperture worked normally in a different user account, so I figured it was something about my account. Removing preferences didn’t help.

I changed Mission Control so that Dashboard was no longer a space — and Aperture’s workspace returned. But reenabling Dashboard space didn’t affect Aperture.

Someone noticed in El Capitan beta that the workspace might vanish. In which case clicking on the Aperture icon in the Dock would restore it. If it happens again I’ll try that, and also the Aperture context menu Windows item.

[1] Apple’s new Discussion Forum software is amazingly broken. They really can’t do anything right any more. Fortunately I’d Pinboarded that link.

PS. Aperture has more trouble with El Capitan than most older software. Perhaps it’s more dependent on undocumented features than other software, or perhaps the code base is unusually problematic.

Update 7/24/2016: I’ve just seen iTunes lose its workspace. El Capitan really doesn’t want Dashboard to be a space. At least not the way I have Mission Control setup. I made it an overlay.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Life with Satan's Own Backup: Synology Time Machine Backup goes bad

A few days after my carefully delayed update from Yosemite to El Capitan, Emily’s MacBook Air complained it couldn’t run its Time Machine backups to our Synology DS215j NAS. I can’t say if this was related to El Capitan or not, but I do wonder about El Cap’s relative deprecation of APF (which Synology/Time Capsule needs).

The usual approach to this problem is to use the Synology web interface to run “File Station” and delete the .sparsebundle from there (don’t even think of trying to do this through the Mac Finder) then start over.

Instead I ran through a checkup of the NAS. I didn’t find anything — but did update my notes on the confusing configuration (every machine has a dedicated Synology username and quota). I tried various things to mount the old sparse bundle including disabling SMB, etc. Nothing worked, I couldn’t make use of the existing backup.

So then I installed a (long!) physical ethernet cable and tried Finder (AF) copying the .sparsebundle to a local drive so I could browse it efficiently. Every time I tried it quit at about 54GB with a message like “The operation can’t be completed because you don’t have permission to access some of the items.” A different 60GB file copied normally.

I figured that was a bogus error message from a corrupt file, so I used Synology to copy the 200GB directory internally. It copied well, no sign of a file system problem. I deleted the original and I was able to Finder copy the Synology copy to my local machine. BackupLoupe could even browse it, because, you know. you can’t use Time Machine to access a backup unless you’re on the original machine (which is why it’s Satan’s own backup).

All very occult.  It’s probably something to do with extended attributes, AFP, and some kind of El Capitan bug.

Oh. And I started over. Of course.

See also:

Thursday, June 30, 2016

iCloud MailDrop for distributing archival quality photos (sports teams, etc)

Inspired by an AWT post I did some testing to see how iCloud MailDrop handles a set of image attachments. I’ve blogged previously that archival/group distribution of large photo images is an unsolved problem.

It turns out MailDrop is a pretty interesting solution. You can use it to send 5GB of images at a time for a maximum quota of 1TB. Images are available for download for 1 month. That’s weirdly generous by Apple standards. Since iCloud accounts are now available to anyone this option is universally available. (Correction: AppleIDs are universally available, and they include access to Apple’s web based productivity apps, but non-Apple customers don’t get the rest.)

I tested using the iCloud web interface for Mail - Mail.cloud. I turned on MailDrop in preferences:

Screen Shot 2016 06 30 at 10 07 11 AM

With this enabled I selected about 60MB of images from a folder of Mac background images using the Mail.icloud attachment interface. After selection there was a note that they’d be sent by MailDrop. It’s hard to predict when MailDrop is used, Apple says it happens when the “ISP limit is exceeded”. I’m guessing 20MB or so [1]; but it would be preferable to have a manual way to activate AirDrop. (I’m pretty sure it’s 15 to 20 MB — and Apple doesn’t know what the cap is for corporate email accounts.)

I received the images in Gmail. The result was surprisingly attractive …

Screen Shot 2016 06 30 at 10 06 32 AM

The email was composed of thumbnails, if you click on an image you get …

Screen Shot 2016 06 30 at 10 06 13 AM

Since there’s no authentication one can send the message to oneself and forwards. I don’t normally use iCloud mail, but I could use it for distributing sports team images by sending the email to my gmail account then redirecting it.

If you want to provide a package of images that can be downloaded all at one time you need to compress them first and upload the archive. When I use this feature to share sports team photos I’ll probably do both — attach the images separately and include an archive. I may also share the archive URL in a team web page.

Apple has been curiously quiet about this feature. It may be the best way to distribute archival images available anywhere.

Here’s an edited example of an image URL, emphases mine:

https://www.icloud.com/attachment/?u=https%3A%2F%2Fcvws.icloud-content.com%2FB%2FAZOlwq83HR6i_J8Iqv1ETh96sCvWAQH591dTXxiV9rUgQPlOMjcbZQpT%...b2db-9ff6a7f032be-1%26ckc%3Dcom.apple.largeattachment%26ckz%3DApple-Webmail%26y%3D1%26p%3D42%26s%3DmfAJoJBJFepF6jaBPKqUJmnFHhI&uk=Oz_h26l5GHgaU53IUocfzg&f=NaturePatterns06.jpg&sz=5581904

- fn -

[1] It’s 20MB and there doesn’t seem to be a stable technique for lowering the threshold. This would be much nicer if it were manually adjustable. I’ll create a 15MB “filler file” to attach to emails I send to my gmail account, then I’ll resend from there stripping the filler file.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Photos 1.0.1 bug: Export Unmodified Original includes deleted images

Pretty simple bug: “Export Unmodified Original” includes deleted images. You have to empty trash to avoid this one. Happens when I select all images in “All Photos”.

Apple’s software quality continues to explore new lows. I’m still on Yosemite, it’s possible this doesn’t happen in El Capitan.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Microsoft OneDrive does archival photo sharing better than I thought (with one bug)

Yes, I’m being cautious.

In testing, however, I can do this:

  • Create a folder that I can upload full resolution images to and ALSO make it shareable so other OneDrive registered users can upload to it.
  • Create an album that is based on that folder.
  • Share the folder-based album to people who do NOT have a OneDrive account.
  • Update that folder-album using the web UI. (Switch to Files, choose Create Album from Folder. If folder actually exists then it updates - including deletes.

Unfortunately there’s a bug with the undocumented update feature. In addition to updating the album it creates duplicate albums with an iterating integer suffix. The duplicates are easy to delete. I can’t see how to submit a bug report for One Drive unfortunately.

The current behavior is very close to what I want for sharing images in our sports team. There are also album share to Facebook options.

I haven’t tested whether any ICMP metadata will be used by the albums. There don’t appear to be any Photos.app uploader plugins but I’m still using Aperture so I’d be exporting.

I have 1TB of OneDrive data thanks to my Office 365 subscription. That subscription, which supports installs of Mac apps as well as Access on my Win10 VM, has been a great purchase.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

You cannot reclaim a personal email address used by a stranger's Facebook account.

I think Facebook knows this very well. They closed a discussion thread on this that’s over a year old, and you can’t start a new thread — Facebook will say the answer already exists. 

Their help documentation is incorrect:

Screen Shot 2016 06 16 at 10 16 21 AM

If you try to do this you’ll be told the email is claimed, there’s no way to reclaim. You can use a password reset to lock the other person’s out of their account (assuming you don’t know the attacker’s password) but you will still be unable to reclaim your email address. (In my wife’s case Facebook messages were being set to her spam folder, so she probably missed the notification that the email address was being used.

We ran into the same problem with Skype, but there it is possible to take the account back.

Update: this is a very old problem - 2012. The abuse page links simply redirects to the email notifications that doesn’t belong to me page where the advice doesn’t work. I’ve tried Facebook’s “report a problem” page but I’m not optimistic:

Fb report

Update 6/17/2016:

I found another Facebook page for this issue that has a different workflow:

https://www.facebook.com/help/contact/255904741169641

It at least does not fail immediately.

Or, you can pretend you don’t already have a Facebook account. Use an incognito window and try this one:

https://www.facebook.com/help/contact/537325953055459

Looks like every Facebook engineer has their own independent process…

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Skype identity theft feature: anyone can use your email to create an account.

Skype doesn’t validate email addresses. Anyone can use any email address with a new Skype account as long as there’s no Skype account already associated with it.

This is not a new problem. It’s astounding that Microsoft has not fixed this.

Today Emily received notice of a new Skype account using her email address. I verified that the account existed.

To fix this I had to attempt to create a new Skype account with her stolen email address. That gave me a password reset option that went to her email. I reset the password and now she has a Skype account under her control. She doesn’t want that account, but we’ll need to keep it for now.

Obviously scammers are doing this for some kind of criminal activity — and that activity will be associated with your email address.

This is the most astounding example of rank incompetence I’ve seen in years. Microsoft has truly hit bottom. 

Update: Same thing with a Facebook account. Which is curious. Report that one here.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Using US National Grid System (USNG) GPS Coordinates on an iPhone - good luck with that

The boys and I are going mountain biking at the Cuyuna Trails near Ironton Minnesota. The map uses USNG - United States National Grid GPS coordinates.

For example: 2339-4834 is one coordinate. If we need emergency services we’re supposed to know where we are on the map and give them these coordinates. Way points on the map reference the coordinates.

I wondered — can I use these in my iPhone?

Unfortunately neither Apple nor Google Maps support USNG coordinate date entry. After some searching I found some suggested apps:

  • Mobile App: a web app with an odd behavior — might be embedded javascript. They’re looking for someone to make it a real app. It seems to work — shows my current USNG coordinates. Might be a way to find where I am on the trail map.
  • Apps | U.S. National Grid Information Center: 3rd party apps including Theodolite (iPad) and Pro Compass — that don’t actually seems to handle UNSG!

I also found “Map Tools”, but it is abandonware and has a nasty pricing scheme. (Incidentally, Apple App Store search is just atrocious.)

In the end the only app I could find that seemed to cover USNG and be well maintained was MilGPS. I bought it, though I’ll also test out “usngapp.org” — it does seem to work.

I wonder if USNG is either a dead end or a false start. (See also: 1-Introducing the United States National Grid.)

Update 7/1/2016

A comment mentioned the Gmap4 project. It is a pretty cool project, and the documentation has the best explanation of USNG I’ve found.

Gmap4 can dispay the USNG grid on Topo maps. Here is the Cuyuna area.

https://mappingsupport.com/p/gmap4.php?usng=15T_VM_2310_4883&tilt=off&z=14&t=t4

I am the developer of this enhanced Google map viewer. This is a public service and part of my way to 'pay it forward'.

This link and the USNG support works fine on cell phones and other mobile devices. For geolocation tap Menu ==> My location.

Gmap4 homepage: https://mappingsupport.com/p/gmap4.html

USNG support in Gmap4: https://mappingsupport.com/p/help_files/gmap4_usng_and_mgrs_coordinates.pdf

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Clean install of windows 10 on VMWare Mac - getting a license ($130)

I needed to use Microsoft Access.

I know what you’re thinking. You’re wrong. Yes, Access is a horrible old patchwork beast, but for some kind of data manipulation it’s still unequaled. It’s particularly good at mixing local data store with ODBC stores. It helps that I know where the bugs are buried — though Access 365 on Windows 10 is particularly buggy.

So about two weeks ago I fired up my old copy of VMWare Fusion 7, downloaded Windows Pro 64bit OEM and used my multi-platform multi-machine Office 365 license to install Microsoft Access. It was all relatively painless. I did find Fusion 7 isn’t happy with Yosemite virtual desktop, so I only use full screen Win 10 in just one display. That works until I do my El Capitan/Fusion 8 update.

The entire package takes up about 23GB on an external SSD. 

I did wonder how I was going to pay for Win 10. It was working without complaint. I figured I’d get some kind of notice. About two weeks after installation it began showing a watermark on the screen requesting activation and personalization features were turned off. That was a polite reminder.

I went hunting for a Win 7 or 8 license  to get the free upgrade — but no-one I knew had one to spare. My own Windows licenses was for XP, that didn’t help. I couldn’t find any good educational deals either. Amazon had lots of Win 7/8/10 licenses at suspiciously low prices, all of which seemed a mixture of counterfeit and genuine product. (Amazon — the crooked pawn shop of the Net.)

In the end I remembered PC Connection and found that while MSFT charges $200 for a Win 10 Pro 64bit license PC Connection had an OEM version for about $145. Once I knew the right price range I found an OEM version on Amazon that shipped from Amazon for about $135. I can’t link to it because Amazon’s fraud-friendly habit of consolidating product listings that ship from multiple sources mixed in their source with $105 versions that seem to include counterfeits.

It came in a legitimate looking Microsoft white envelope holding some kind of disk thing envelope (what’s a DVD?) with a sticker and license number on the front of the inner envelope. The license number was all I needed, it worked.

Sunday, June 05, 2016

Living within iCloud Photo Library's storage budget

If someone walked into my home and torched my old-school photo albums they could go to prison.

The way Apple chose to sunset Aperture had roughly the same effect, albeit in slow motion. Even Apple’s keen supporters remain puzzled by how badly Cook managed this [2]. In a better world Apple would at least be liable to a class action lawsuit. [1]

Despite Apple’s blunders there are some things they did well with Photos.app [4]. I use Photos.app as a staging area for iPhone images I’ll move to Aperture [8]. I like being able to cull images on my iPhone. I think Brian Chen got it wrong; Photos.app’s iCloud Photo Library is the right balance between local image ownership and backup and Cloud services [3].

The problem is that iCloud Photo Library is currently expensive. My Aperture library is about 400 GB and I don’t do much video. People who do video, or who delete fewer images, can easily have 1-2 TB Libraries [5]. I don’t mind paying $60 a year for 50GB for each family member, but $600 is too much.

I’m fine with 50GB because I use iCloud Photo Library as a staging area. I periodically migrate to Aperture and empty out my Photos.app System Photo Library. My daughter has Photos.app as her primary repository though, and she is better at acquisition than deletion. She ran out of storage recently.

My plan for her is to archive her current Photos.app Library and create a new empty System Photo Library. She deleted almost 6GB of images today [6] so I haven’t had to do it, but the plan looks something like this:

  1. Confirm all images in her current full-resolution System Photo Library on my Mac. (Call this SPL1.)
  2. Disable iCloud services for SPL1 and move SPL1 from the current external 1TB SSD to a slow external hard drive (which is backed up by both Synology Time Capsule and Carbon Copy Cloner).
  3. On another Mac (could do via iCloud, but easier on a Mac) open up her System Photo Library there and delete every image and then empty the hard-to-find Photos.app trash. Confirm iCloud Photo Library is empty using web interface. [7]
  4. Create a new System Photo Library (which will be empty).

Then, when she gets up to 45 GB again, repeat the process. She will end up with many Photo Libraries, which is not ideal. Particularly since the only way to merge Photo Libraries is to make each one SPL in turn and gradually build up the aggregate in iCloud. 

Of course Apple could fix this. They could provide us with a way to move images (video and still) out of Photos.app into system storage as Referenced Images — while preserving metadata and relationships. Referenced Images don’t go to iCloud, so this would allow a single Library to support both iCloud and Referenced images. While they are at it they could also provide a way to merge Libraries (3rd party solutions lose a terrible amount of data).

I don’t have much hope though. As best I can tell Apple considers customers to be smelly and unpleasantly demanding.

- fn - 

[1] The modern era has convinced me we need a legal liability framework for consumer software. 

[2] If you rely on Final Cut Pro you should expect great unhappiness in your future.

[3] Assuming, of course, Apple figures out how to run a Cloud service. They’ve been earning a C grade at best. I waited about 6 months before I started using iCloud Photo Library; I know Apple’s “1.0” is Google’s “pre-beta”. Apple has major software development issues.

[4] The image editing tools are quite good but they are tedious to use. Photos.app real issue is image management, including metadata support. It’s abysmal.

[5] Ideally on SSD. Aperture sucks on a hard drive.

[6] Didn’t think she could. I underestimated her ruthlessness. My daughter is dangerous.

[7] If you omit the Delete step this is, reportedly, on the path to merging two Photos.app Libraries.

[8] I’ve revised my Aperture migration plan a bit. If WWDC has substantial Photos.app image management news then I’ll stay on Yosemite/Aperture until August 2017 then switch to Photos.app. and MacOS 12. That may give Apple time to fix bugs — especially the image corruption problems with Aperture import (brushed corrections mishandled). If WWDC disappoints then I’ll switch to El Capitan in August 2016 and stay on Aperture through 2018. Then see what my options are.

Wednesday, June 01, 2016

Aperture crashing on "Write IPTC metadata to Originals" - the change everything fix.

I scanned an old wedding album. When I was done I had over 200 images, some from an Epson scanner but most from running prints through a Fujitsu ScanSnap document scanner. The ScanSnap produces high contrast over-saturated scans, but with some post-processing they’re really not bad — and it’s fast.

All seemed well. I processed them in an Aperture Library, exported version JPEGs and imported those into my main Library.

Then I tried “Write IPTC metadata to Originals” and Aperture crashed hard. Again and again and again — with various timing and screwy error messages. It’s all documented in a long Apple Discussions where “lĂ©onie” (level 10!) and I worked through this.

Something in the IPTC metadata process was causing Aperture to write to random memory and eventually crash itself.  Database repair would find lost _temp files (duplicates created during IPTC process) that seemed to cause their own problems. In particular they triggered spurious error messages about “is locked or you do not have permission to modify it” (Aperture gives this message when a file is kind of half-there). At one point I discovered that processing a shared iCloud photo stream that contained these images would crash Aperture!

There was a fix, but it’s unsatisfying. I had to change every possible metadata setting. Advance time on all images 1 second. Remove all Location data. Use "add metadata from: EXIF and iPhoto" (not sure what that does!) and fill out all the possible fields.

After doing all of this, basically rewriting every metadata field Aperture deals with, I could “Write IPTC metadata to Originals” repeatedly without a problem.

Sunday, May 29, 2016

MacOS: If Chrome is default email handler system share menus will not show email (Preview.app, other)

I’d noticed my Preview.app (Yosemite) share menu had Air Drop and Message, but not email.

I tried Apple’s recommended fix for missing share options: If Share options or Markup is missing after upgrading to OS X Yosemite or El Capitan but it didn’t help. I got my clue looking at System Preference:Extensions:Share Menu; it showed a Chrome icon for Mail.

In Mail.app I changed default mail handler back to Mail.app. That returned the Preview Share Extension for Mail.

PS. It’s a good idea to review Extensions periodically. I did some cleanup there.