Mac Miscellaney

April 22, 2012 by  

It’s now Monday morning, 1:15AM, and after four grueling hours with my second job getting a bunch of files prepared and uploaded, I remembered that I hadn’t done my column yet! I’m not even exactly sure what it’s going to be about, so please humor me. It’s late, and I’m not just a little grouchy.

It all started yesterday afternoon. I purchased a large flash memory drive and wanted to format it for Mac use. Since it was preformatted for Windows NTFS (Windows NT File System), my Mac absolutely refused to cooperate. So, I called out the reserves, with Prosoft Engineering’s Drive Genius. I selected the drive I wanted to format and hit the start button. To my immediate horror, I noted it wasn’t my flash drive that was being formatted, but my external 500GB USB drive (same icon in Drive Genius)! I immediately pulled the USB and the power connections from the drive, rebooted my computer, and hauled out Prosoft Engineering’s other great program, Data Rescue. I put it on Thorough Scan and went out for the day. The next morning (it took about 20 hours to do a deep scan of the drive), it showed that it was possible to recover nearly everything I had lost, as the drive had only been formatting for about 10-15 seconds before I pulled the plugs. That process is still going on as I am writing this column (on a different computer as I don’t want to do anything to jeopardize the recovery efforts), and will take a total of about 22 hours. You see? Even big-time celebrity computer jocks like myself can do reeeeeally stupid things.

Of course, the drive had never been backed up. Why, he asked, would I do a silly thing like that? Guess who’s feeling silly now. This is an object lesson for each and every one of you. Back up your stuff! I don’t care how you do it (previous columns have discussed this issue), but do it. There are terrific free tools out there, and disk drives are so incredibly cheap. I just saw an external 1.5TB drive advertised somewhere for a little over $100.00. You can’t afford NOT to do this. There are as many ways to back up, as there are computers to back up. It really doesn’t matter how you do it. Just DO IT!

I got my iPhone late last week. What a wonderful device. I spent the first two days just getting my Contacts list (address book to you) straightened out between my old, unlamented cellphone, and contacts lists on two computers. It’s all perfectly synchronized now. Next, I wanted to get a few new sounds installed. It wasn’t exactly intuitive, but I figured it out. What I couldn’t figure out was how to create ringtones for my iPhone. I let my fingers do the walking on Google, and found a solution.

It wasn’t exactly pretty, or elegant for that matter, but it worked.  I started out with a bunch of MP3 files that I had used as ringtones on my old phone. Then, I imported them into iTunes, and then selected them all and converted to AAC format. This gives the files an M4A file extension. To make them ringtones, all you have to do is change the M4A to M4R and it magically is recognized as a ringtone. The best way to get them out of iTunes and back in again as ringtones is to go to your iTunes Music folder (under Users>[your account name]>Music>iTunes>iTunes Media>Music), locate the files, copy them to your desktop, rename them with the M4R extension, and them import them into iTunes again. This time, they should go to the Ringtones listing in the main iTunes window. Next time you plug your iPhone in to sync it, the ringtones automatically download to your phone, and you can play back what may be the worst ringtone of all times, the Ring-a-Ding song from the Geico.com website. Or, on second thought, save yourself the embarrassment and use something a little more acceptable. I probably would think less of you if you had a real annoying ringtone on a cellphone you brought to work, especially if you use it as your business phone.

Well, that’s it for this week. Hopefully, I’ll be a little more coherent next week.

This article originally appeared in October, 2010 on the Palm Beach Business website.