Category Archives: Mac

More on Connecting to a Network Drive Using Mac OS 10.5 Leopard

Update 18 December 2007:

I’ve discovered a better way to force Finder to browse the contents of a network drive. You can read more here.

I wrote recently about the problems that I was having connecting to a network drive from my MacBook.

I still haven’t solved the problem, but I have come across something else: If I share a drive on my Windows XP computer, the computer will be displayed in the Finder Window, along with my network drive. I can browse the Windows machine, but for some reason, I still can’t browse the network drive.

Finder Window

Problem Connecting to a Network Drive using SMB on Mac OS 10.5 Leopard

Update 18 December 2007:

I’ve discovered a better way to force Finder to browse the contents of a network drive. You can read more here.

Today I bought a new network hard drive. I bought it because I was getting tired of dragging my old USB external drive from room to room when I needed it. Having a network accessible hard drive makes it so much easier to share data between multiple computers using multiple operating systems.

Initially I set it up from my Windows machine, as I was working on that at the time. Setup was easy enough, and within a minute I was backing up my data over the network.

My problems started when I tried to access the hard drive from my Intel MacBook running Mac OS 10.5. I could connect to the drive and the shares with no problem, but when I tried to browse the contents of the share, it appeared to be empty. Now, I know it’s not empty because I just copied data onto the drive from my Windows machine. First of all I though that it may be the Mac OS firewall that was causing the problem, but even after disabling it, I still couldn’t get Finder to see any of the files on the drive.

I tried creating a folder on the drive using Finder. It seemed to create the folder OK, but no sooner had it done so than the folder disappeared. I checked the drive using Windows XP and the folder was there. It just wasn’t visible to Leopard.

The drive that I bought has a built in FTP server, so I tried to browse the drive using my FTP program and it worked. Using Finder to connect via FTP also worked. In both instances I was able to browse OK, but I could only add new files and folders with my FTP program.

I also tried mount the drive from the command line using:

mount_smbfs //user:password@drive_name/share_name /Volumes/NAS

(BTW, I had to manually create the /Volumes/NAS directory first)

No error messages were returned by the command and the hard drive showed as being connected in Finder, but once again, the share contents were “missing”. I also tried connecting using the CIFS protocol, but the same problem occurred. In desperation, I even tried using the Apple AFP protocol, even though I had an inkling that the drive wouldn’t support it. Unfortunately I was right.

I’ve been browsing the web for a bit looking for a solution, and it looks like I’m far from being the only person with this problem. There’s a thread on the Apple forums with some possible solutions, but none have worked for me.

So for the time being it looks like I’m stuck with browsing my new hard drive via FTP from my MacBook, while my Windows machines will have no problem connecting.

Leopard: Data Loss Bug

With any new OS there’s bound to be a few problems. Now that hype is dying down a bit, and as Leopard users get down to using the new OS, the bugs are beginning to surface. The biggest one reported to date involves data loss when moving files between different file systems.

So until Apple release a fix, if you have to move files, then stick to copy and delete.

Installing Mac OS 10.5 – Leopard

It’s been a while since I did a proper technical post, but lately I’ve had little time to devote to the techie side of my life. So to help me get back into the swing of things, I ordered Leopard from the Apple website last week. At €129, it’s a lot cheaper than Windows Vista.

I usually don’t go for installing new operating versions until they’ve had time to settle down and the developers have had a chance to release updates for the bugs that invariably crop up. This time I decided I would bite the bullet and go for Leopard straight away.

I’ve never installed Mac OS before, so I wasn’t really sure what to expect. Coming from a Windows background, I’ve had plenty of opportunity to reinstall Windows – and what a tortuous experience that can be. (After working tech support for so long, I have the Windows mantra down pat: “Backup, format, reinstall.”)

As it turned out, installing Mac OS was a lot easier than installing Windows: pop the disk in the drive, double click the installer icon, and click the restart button. The machine automatically boots from the DVD drive, and the install process begins.

There are three options to choose from when installing a new version of Mac OS:

  • Upgrade,
  • Archive and Install, and
  • Erase and Install.

The first option installs Leopard over your existing OS, keeping your data and applications intact. The second makes a backup of your previous installation and installs Leopard, and the third wipes your current installation and then proceeds to installation.

I went with the Upgrade option as I didn’t want the hassle of reinstalling my applications and starting again from scratch. Once you click the “Continue” button, that’s it, no further user interaction is required. In all, the process took about an hour to complete, and when my MacBook rebooted at the end I was straight into Leopard.

Some users have reported problems with their installs hanging after the reboot, but apparently the problem is due to an unsupported extension for Logitech mouse drives. More seriously, there have also been issues with the built in firewall, so if you’re using your Mac on an unprotected network, you might want to invest in a full firewall product. The only problem I had was that I had to re-enter the encryption key for my wireless network connection, even though it was already stored in my keychain. Apart from that, I had no installation problems. Now it’s time to play with the new OS.

Syncing a Windows Mobile Smartphone with Mac OS X

When choosing a smartphone you have two OS options: Symbian and Windows Mobile. Nokia and Sony Ericsson use the Symbian OS, while HP, Toshiba, HTC and Samsung use Windows Mobile on their phones. No matter which OS your phone uses, chances are that the synchronisation software provided with the phone will be Windows only. So, if like me you’re a Mac user, how do you sync your phone with your Mac?

If you’re lucky, Apples iSync will recognise your device, in which case you’re pretty much good to go straight out of the box. However, if you have a smartphone that isn’t recognised by iSync, who’ll have to splash out on a 3rd party solution.

I recently purchased the HTC S710, which unfortunately, it isn’t recognised by iSync. After a quick Google search, I came across “The Missing Sync for Windows Mobile“. Missing Sync allows you to sync via your Network, Bluetooth or USB. Providing plugins for your Contacts, iCal, and all your multimedia content, Missing Sync has all the bases covered. If you have Microsoft Entourage installed, it will also provide a conduit to sync your data directly with Microsofts attempt at a PIM for the Mac OS.

Setting up your device is straightforward and I was up and running within minutes of downloading the program.

Costing $39.95 for download, or $49.95 for the CD version, it’s certainly worth it if you have to sync your smartphone with your Mac.

Setting Up Apache, PHP, MySQL – The Easy Way

I’ve been experimenting with Content Management Systems recently, and after some research, I’ve decided to use Joomla for my next couple of projects. The idea is that I don’t need to spend as much time writing code, and I can get a website up and running quickly. In order to get more experience with of Joomla I decided to install it on my MacBook.

In order to use Joomla, you need three things: Apache, PHP and MySQL. Individually, these are easy enough to install, but getting them to work together can be a bit of a headache. Config files need to be edited, file permissions need to be changed, servers need to be started and restarted, and it can be a bit daunting, not to say time consuming.

That’s where MAMP comes in. An acronym for Mac, Apache, MySQL, PHP, it’s a collection of all these programs in one handy installer that does all the work for you. It took a couple of minutes to download and about 30 seconds to install. Once installed you have a full Apache server, MySQL server and PHP 4 and PHP 5 installation. Better still, it doesn’t interfere with any other Apache, MySQL, or PHP installations you may have running, and it’s controllable from a handy Dashboard Widget.

Once MAMP is installed and running, it’s just a matter of downloading the package and installing Joomla. A simple browser-based installer guides you through the setup, and within minutes I was up and running. The only issue I came across was that the permissions of the Joomla folder had to be updated to allow the installation. It was just a matter of selecting the folder, holding Option-I and changing the permissions for “Others”. Done and dusted.

For those of you not on the Mac platform there are also versions for Windows, Linux, and Solaris available, along with a Joomla Standalone Server (Windows based).


I’ve been spending a lot of time getting to know my Mac. Coming from a Windows background, I’m more au fait with Windows utilities, settings, and setup.

Because I’m so new to Mac OS X, I spend a lot of time looking up ways to do things with my Mac that to longtime users seem simple. Until now this research involved a lot of time on Google and a lot of time just playing with different programs and utilities, just looking at what they do. One of the programs that I discovered recently is Sherlock.

Sherlock is basically a search interface connected to several different internet sites. Within Sherlock, these connections are called channels. So there is an Internet Channel, an Ebay Channel and an AppleCare Channel among others.

From my point of view, the most useful has to be the AppleCare Channel. This allows you to search the Apple database for articles on all aspects of your Mac. Think of it as the Apple version of the Microsoft Knowledge Base. So far it’s proven invaluable in finding out about my Mac, what I can do, and how I can do it.

As Sherlock aggregates various online resources, you do need an Internet connection. But once you are online, it’s definitely worth using. There’s a wealth of information available out there, it’s just a matter of getting to it.

Autohide the Dock and Menu Bar on a Per App Basis

I’m one of those people who like to keep their software updated, particularly when the updates are free! I regularly update Firefox. I’ve never had a problem with an update. But I do have a gripe. (Of course I do, otherwise would I be writing this post!). I have Firefox configured so that the Mac OS X menu bar and dock automatically hide. It’s quite easy to do, but it does involve manually editing some configuration files.

First off, locate the on your system. This is normally in the Applications folder, but can be installed elsewhere. Control-Click the file and select the “Show Package Contents” option on the pop-up menu. When the package contents folder opens, double click the “Contents” folder and locate a file called info.plist

. Open this file in your favourite text editor.The next step is to insert the following lines into the text file. The following lines must be inserted in alphabetical order:


Here’s a hint: it goes before the NSAppleScriptEnabled key.

Start Firefox and you’ll notice that the both the menu bar and the dock are no longer visible. To access either of these items, just move the mouse cursor to the normal location of the dock or the menu bar.

This will work with any application, so if you’ve ever wished that you could use the full screen area for an application, that’s how you can do it.

I originally found this hint at Mac OS X Hints.