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  |   Article, Articles and reviews, Image Editing, Mac, Printing, Software update   |   2 Comments

When do you finally need to update your computer

The jump from OS X 10.6 to 10.9

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OSX 10.9 Mavericks disk imageMoving my working Mac to OSX 10.9.2 (Mavericks)

Some notes about updates for Apple Macs needed for day to day work, printing, storage and keeping old but still perfectly useful software alive.

Making the jump from Snow Leopard to Mavericks

As you might notice from my reviews, my day to day computer for work, and writing the content for the Northlight Images web site is an Apple Mac.

It’s currently a dual quad core Mac Pro with 30GB of ram – more than enough for my big panoramic images in Photoshop.

I’ve kept this machine running 10.6.8 (Snow Leopard)  for a long while – stuff just works, and I still use GoLive 8 (PPC software from the CS2 package) to build and maintain our site.  I don’t use Lightroom, and Photoshop CS5 worked just fine for my needs.

I knew that eventually I’d have to move –  partly because I believe in adapting my photography workflow to new developments, but also I wanted to be able to review new software and hardware for the Northlight site (of which I have quite a lot for the next few months).

Signs of change

Adobe’s forced collectivisation move to the cloud convinced me that I needed to get a boxed (perpetual license) version of Photoshop CS6. If I add to that, the lack of Camera RAW support in CS5, for the Canon 100D I obtained at the start of the year,  then pressures mounted for a change.  The latest version of my Panoramic stitching software (AutoPano Giga 3.5) also needed “10.7 and above”.

However, printing with my Canon iPF8300 was rock solid under 10.6.8 and  GoLive CS2 works superbly well for what I want.

Yes, I know that there are ‘better’ ways… I’m using WordPress for this blog part of the site, but the site is rather large, and I don’t have the time available to learn an entirely new development environment and redesign/rebuild the site from scratch. Northlight Images is a working photography business after all.
2015/16 – it’s taking many months to finally make the move away from the old system

A dual boot system.

dual boot MacI installed a 900GB SSD (solid state disk) into my Mac and did a clean install of 10.9  onto it. Since 10.9 is not available as a disk (it wants to update your old system), this does need a bit of a circuitous approach.

I used a spare USB3 external disk, to create a bootable external drive with installer.

This is nowhere near as easy as it once was, but I found these instructions very helpful. You need a bit more care when starting from 10.6, but I created a 10.9 bootable system on my SSD, and then let all updates run (taking it to 10.9.2)

Once running, I used the migration tool to move my (untouched) 10.6.8 information over to the new 10.9 disk.  I know that this potentially causes issues, but I thought I’d give it a go for convenience sake – I could always go for a completely clean install if it causes problems.

CS6 runs fine, as do many other bits of software from before (CS5, Office 2008, SheepShaver [runs MacOS 9 stuff!]).

I’ve taken the opportunity to have a big tidy-up of what’s been copied from my old disk too, whilst keeping my 10.6.8 disk untouched (there are two other 3TB disks in the machine for images and work, whilst I have a Synology DS410 Disk station with 12TB (raided) as a server (with two 3TB USB external disks for ‘Time Machine’ backups from all our other Macs).

As an aside I’d note that I activated Trim for the SSD with ‘Trim enabler‘ (OSX only activates this SSD ‘housekeeping’ function for Apple supplied disks).

For my Canon iPF8300 44″ large format printer, I installed the OSX 10.8 driver, but didn’t set up the printer. I then installed the 10.9 update (both from Canon’s US site). Next, I added the printer using the Canon printer setup.

Then I installed the latest Photoshop print plugin (into CS6 – I don’t currently use Lightroom at all)

Canon MCT media tool icon

Canon MCT media tool

One problem with connecting to the 8300 from a different system, is that all my carefully created custom media settings are lost.

Using the Canon MCT (media config tool) is the way forward. I moved the contents (all except the MCT app.) from my old MCT folder (in the Canon Utilities folder in Applications on the 10.6.8 disk) into the one just created when installing the drivers.

Running the MCT, going to ‘add genuine paper’ and just clicking update, will attempt to synchronise settings.

MCT notices that the settings you’ve just opened already exist in the printer, and offers to just update the driver on your computer.

This is one of those things that while you are going through the steps, it’s easy to worry about it completely overwriting all your settings.

Fortunately I’ve done this before, when synchronising settings from my main machine to my laptop, and to a PC [see my 8300 notes for more].

A quick test that the printer is working, is to print some text from textedit (make sure that some ordinary paper is loaded, to save good paper). No problem – my ‘Hello World’ text comes out (I selected ‘plain paper’).

Now to the Photoshop Plugin (I use this a lot for printing) – whoops, I get a cryptic “In use by another user” message.

Then I looked at the printer name selected in the plugin – it had different name to what was in the printer setup.

Changing it to the same name, and the print plugin works just like before…  Well, actually a bit better, I’ve now got the updated adjustment capabilities I discussed in my iPF6450 printer review last year.

One other thing – you may find that some software won’t print with a ‘No Color Management’ setting – Canon’s driver uses a file to tell it which applications to offer this with. You may need to manually edit this. There is more info on this Canonipfwiki page.

That old PPC software

icon for Adobe GoLiveOK, I’ve got a working 10.9.2 system, and I can run 10.6.8 on the same machine. Unfortunately dual boot systems are never quite so useful as might seem. You need to shut everything down to make what might be a minor alteration/update on the other system.

First up, I tried creating a 10.6.8 server virtual machine using Parallels.

It runs GoLive 8 with no problems, but it just didn’t feel as convenient as I’d like. Even with most server functionality turned off, you’ve still go a lot of processing overhead just to get GoLive running (it’s emulating PowerPC code using Rosetta, the technology Apple ditched in 10.7)

In case anyone was wondering why I don’t just use Golive 9 (the last version before Adobe killed it, and Intel based), then it’s mainly because there were so many differences to the look and feel for V9 that I might as well start thinking about an all new web development solution (Dreamweaver does not really appeal, now it’s cloud only – Adobe’s recent login SNAFU has confirmed a lot of people’s skepticism – I tend to agree with this from The Register)

Next up, the solution I’m using now.  I’ve installed 10.6.8 and a 60GB SSD on an oldish Mac Mini [2007 version]. With shared folders, screen sharing and Gigabit Ethernet, I’m using GoLive for my updates to the web site. I’ve also got CS2 on the mini, so I can still use ImageReady for my rollovers.

Here’s the Mac Mini screen, where I’m editing the main Canon rumours index page, shared onto my 10.9.2 system. When I don’t need the Mini, I just ‘sleep’ it. It’s nearby in my office, so waking is no problem.

editing a web page on the Mac Mini

Editing a web page on the Mac Mini

One thing to note is that a display-less (‘Headless’) Mac mini doesn’t load the graphics drivers and loses screen size options, so I add a dummy VGA plug to an adapter on the back. Three 120 Ohm resistors stuck into six of the holes works just fine.

Here’s a version showing some construction details. This little plug makes screen sharing run a whole lot faster too.

Please note that in no way am I recommending my solution as the ‘best’ way to set things up, but more as an example of something that is working for me, and hopefully offer a few pointers for those facing problems.

Do feel free to comment or ask questions – If you want to harangue me for using GoLive8 then please do, but do at least suggest a realistic (Mac based) alternative for building and maintaining this site ;-) … and no this is not a request for web development quotes!

If I was to put my old IT management hat on, I’d always suggest starting anew and getting rid of all the old stuff, reinstalling what was needed.  This though is an example of what actually works and keeps my irritations to a minimum ;-)

I’ll add any news or problems here or to the comments below.

— Notes added —

X-rite has a check page for compatibility issues for its equipment and software at


i1Profiler, my main printer profiling software, just wouldn’t start and connect to any measurement device. I first noticed this when trying to update X-rite’s XRD software (handles communications with devices). Fortunately a simple re-install of the latest i1Profiler package cured this.

The user’s Library folder in Mavericks

I also note that by default 10.9 hides the user’s library folder. This is a pain, since i1Profiler can’t write to the global ColorSync profiles folder any more, and dumps your fresh profiles into ~/library, where you can’t get to them.  Fortunately in 10.9, if you open your main user folder and look at the finder view option for the folder (cmd J), there is a check box to make the library folder visible.

Updating a Mac Pro (2008 3.1) to Mavericks or Yosemite kills USB ports

After a successful transition to 10.9 I waited a while before updating Karen’s Mac Pro to 10.9.  It’s a slightly older Mac Pro (Early 2008) that I added some extra RAM to and also a 500GB SSD drive. The simple update is to duplicate (CC Cloner) the existing disk to the SSD and then run the update to 10.9. Unfortunately all the USB ports stopped working.

I then made a 10.9 USB install disk to do a clean 10.9 install on the SSD and then migrate the old system during installation. The USB ports stopping did not go well with a USB drive. Not to be outdone, I made a 10.9 (and 10.10) install disk on a firewire external HD. Still no USB.

The problem turned out to be the internal WiFi card fitted to the Mac Pro.  We’d got this machine used, and it seems that the supplier had fitted an old Atheros AirPort Extreme card (2005 vintage).  For some reason this kills USB ports with 10.9/10 but not 10.6.8.

Removing the card requires popping out the first disk, to access the thin 5×3 cm card. Carefully pull off the two cables (the connectors are right angle ones, so away from the board) and then undo the two small screws at the side of each connector. They are tiny screws, so take care not to lose them in the computer. The card will lift slightly – pull it out of the connector at the other end to the screws.

We didn’t need wireless on that machine, so I left it at that. Maverick now works just fine on Karen’s Mac, and she has the original 10.6.8 disk, ready to boot off if she needs it

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  • kacoooper | May 23, 2014 at 3:05 pm

    Duplicate Fonts

    I was reminded to run Font Book (in Applications) after updating systems, to look for enabled duplicate fonts. It found several dozen that it automatically turned off.
    Seemingly, this can cause all kinds of odd effects, which on the surface, seem to have nothing to do with fonts.

  • kacoooper | May 23, 2014 at 4:05 pm

    Duplicate Fonts

    I was reminded to run Font Book (in Applications) after updating systems, to look for enabled duplicate fonts. It found several dozen that it automatically turned off.
    Seemingly, this can cause all kinds of odd effects, which on the surface, seem to have nothing to do with fonts.

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