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Switcher Hangout The place for switchers to discuss their new machines, and how to work with OS X. General support can be had here for newbie stuff, like "How do I restart my new iMac?" :)

got a Mac, some issues


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joker454

 
Member Since: Jan 17, 2010
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Hi everyone. I mostly use PC's for my business and personal use, but I just got a Mac laptop to play with iPhone development for my business. I'm having many issues with the machine so far, but I wanted to ask about my main two problems here.

1) I don't keep any data locally on the Mac, or any machine I have for that matter. Everything is kept on external raid drives which are also auto backed up to other drives on a regular basis. The biggest problem I'm having with the Mac is that any time I visit any of these raid drive from the Mac, either my business raids or the personal ones, the Mac will create and leave files all over the place. The always start with a '.', and they get littered all over the raid drive. This is causing all kinds of havoc with our network.

The first issue this causes is that now every machine that accesses the network, be it a Popcorn Hour, Xbox 360, PS3, PC, or whatever, will now have these new files pollute the directory listings which makes media browsing a hassle. The huge problem though is that some of them are ruining my backups. I caught this late last night totally by chance when I saw that my business has not been backed up in a few days because one of these files, I believe it was called ".temporaryitems", or something like that, it had odd permissions on it and it would cause the backup to abort because the backup claimed I did not have permission to access said file. I tried deleting it but I can't do that either because of permissions.

So my big issue is how do I stop the Mac from creating files all over our network drives, and how do I have it delete all the ones it's created so far? This issue has really caused some major havoc with my home business since I'm a backup nut, but it's also messed it up for personal use, so I've banned the Mac from any network access until I can resolve this major problem.


2) My business involves playing back high definition videos, all in wmv format using VC-1 codec and web friendly parameters, so 1280x720 and around 2mbps. How do I get the Mac to play these? I've tried all the recommendations so far, including using VLC to play them, but when I play them over the network they all skip and stutter, again making the Mac kinda useless for use in my business which is really frustrating. All my other media playback devices play them just fine, including the previously mentioned devices like the Popcorn Hour C-200, PS3, 360, PC's, laptops, etc, even over regular wireless g.


I'm having many other problems, but the above two are the ones really killing me right now. I tried getting help at the Mac store but they didn't have any suggestions, so I appreciate any help I can get here. Thank you!

EDIT: The raid drives in use are Dlink DNS-343's in case it matters. I believe they are in SMB mode.
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Nethfel

 
Member Since: Feb 25, 2009
Posts: 2,092
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Mac Specs: Late 2013 rMBP, i7, 750m gpu, OSX versions 10.9.3, 10.10

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The . files shouldn't "cause havok" on your network. They are hidden files that should be hidden if you don't have show hidden files turned on in Windows, I can't speak on popcornhour, but if it uses any form of a linux or unix OS, it should ignore files that start with a '.'

Now a permissions issue could cause a problem with backups, but as I don't know how your raid is setup, I can't really comment on the permissions on a given file or folder. The '.' files are there for various purposes for OSX (some for trash items, some for handling identifying where an icon should be positioned in finder, etc.). You can manually delete them in OSX (may require you to use a pw, you can also remove them through the terminal (be careful on using terminal commands if you don't know linux/unix/bsd).

You can download a tool that should prevent the file creation (or at least clean up when you navigate away from a folder) called BlueHarvest - it's not free though. You can learn more about it here:

BlueHarvest: DS_Store, ._Resource Forks, .Folders. Keep it clean.

I don't know if the current version will erase existing '.' files or only ones created while the software is running (which means you'd have to go in and erase the existing files manually)

I know I've erased the files in windows explorer before and have never had a problem with it saying I can't. If you're familiar with windows, just do a search on the network share for files that start with . (ie: ._ ) then, (make sure you don't have the drive open in finder on the Mac) delete the files it finds - BUT be sure to read what the files are before you delete them - I hold no responsibility if you hose your data, if you don't know what a file represents, search the internet before blindly deleting it.

There is a way to do it in OSX, but I figure you're more familiar with windows.


In regards to question 2 - wmv is a windows specific format, and you probably won't be able to play all wmv files (especially if they have any kind of DRM attached) but get flip4mac which should allow you to play most unprotected wmv files (I believe there are a few combinations on audio/video that won't work if I recall correctly) - check here: Flip4Mac and Windows Media Player 9 Free Download | Mactopia - you only need the free version unless you plan on converting the files to a different container/codec.

My Macs: Late 2013 rMBP w/ 750m; Mac mini G4, 1.25 GHz, 512m ram (server); Late 2011 11" MBA, 1.8GHz i7, 4Gig Ram, 256Gig SSD, HD3000; Powerbook 12" G4 1.33GHz running Debian as a server; Apple TV (1080p version)
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joker454

 
Member Since: Jan 17, 2010
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Thanks for the info, I'll look into BlueHarvest. I do have 'show hidden files' on so that I can see everything. Normally I just do a search as you suggest and delete the offending '.' files, but this particular one won't allow itself to be deleted. The raid unit runs Linux so I might be able to log into it and delete the file that way, but I'll try through Osx first. I used NextStep what seems like decades ago, so if the Osx command line is similar then I can probably figure it out. Is there no way in Osx itself to have it not make these files, or is BlueHarvest the only way to go? I'll buy it if I have to, but if there's a free way I'll go with that first. I really have to fix this problem since it's truly causing havoc. For example, even if none of my files change at all, when I compare backups the software will mistakenly tell me there are differences because of the '.' files, some of which get created even when I just play a video from the Mac (more on that below). So it's causing some mass confusion on my end here because I'll mistakenly think there are differences between some local backups, archives, off site backups, etc, where in reality there aren't. It's also causing my backup setup to tell me there are changes that need archiving when in reality there aren't. Not a good situation!

I have Flip4Mac as well, but it has the same problem. My videos have no drm, and I can't convert them to other formats, for my particular business they really need to be in wmv. One thing I noticed is that when I try to play them over the network via the Mac it will create a hidden '.' file for the movie in question. So if it's called 'Foo.wmv' it will make something called '.Foo.wmv', or something like that. Is it possible that it's trying to convert it to some other format on the fly and maybe that's why it's stuttering? What I also noticed is that if I copy the movie file over locally to the Mac and play it from there, then it plays ok. That doesn't really help me though since I need to keep my gigabytes of movies on raid and work with them from there. But it's curious that locally they play ok.
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Nethfel

 
Member Since: Feb 25, 2009
Posts: 2,092
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Mac Specs: Late 2013 rMBP, i7, 750m gpu, OSX versions 10.9.3, 10.10

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There are some commands to disable some of those files from being created (like the ds_store files) but I don't know if there are entries for all of them - you'd probably have to do an internet search on each '.' file you're finding that needs to be deleted - since I leave hidden files off many times, I never really pay much attention to them any more.

There are a set of files that are created (think temp files in windows temp directory) when various operations are done, if I recall correctly, they are something like ._<filename> or something similar.

I had looked at NeXT a long time ago when it first came out (when I was in college), but I never actually owned one. But, as OSX kind of grew out of NeXT STEP OS and BSD, if you know the command line, you should be able to move around in OSX through the terminal.

one thing you might want to look into is if there is a way to tell your backup software to ignore files that start with ._, if you can do that you may remove a lot of your problems, and since those files are only OSX related, no real need to back them up...

That is weird, unless it's some sort of caching thing going on - like if it's trying to play but isn't reading enough of the file in advance to keep playing it without hiccups due to buffer. Is this over wifi or ethernet or both?

btw - forgot to add, welcome to the forums

My Macs: Late 2013 rMBP w/ 750m; Mac mini G4, 1.25 GHz, 512m ram (server); Late 2011 11" MBA, 1.8GHz i7, 4Gig Ram, 256Gig SSD, HD3000; Powerbook 12" G4 1.33GHz running Debian as a server; Apple TV (1080p version)
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joker454

 
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Thanks

Made some more progress. I installed BlueHarvest and it works well, it deleted extraneous files from the raid unit. You can just right click a network drive and have it remove all AppleDouble files from it. It still didn't delete that .temporaryitems folder in the root though, but for now I just added that folder to the exclude list on my backups and they seem to work. From what I've googled, it seems like it Osx will create only one .temporaryitems folder per drive. If that's the case then no biggie, I won't worry about it, but I'll keep an eye on things to make sure that is indeed the case. I'm leaving BlueHarvest running to see how it handles the AppleDouble files in day to day use.

I found this article as well:

Mac OS X v10.4 and later: How to prevent .DS_Store file creation over network connections

...which shows how to prevent DS_Store files from being written to network drives so I have done that also. Hopefully the 'Apple Dust' as it seems to be called is now over.


For video playback, I'm running the videos over wifi, haven't tried wired since it's a laptop. I ran the console though and noticed these errors output when I would get stutters during wmv playback from the raid drive:

1/18/10 12:05:44 AM [0x0-0x47f47f].org.videolan.vlc[19355] [0x2bff38] main input error: ES_OUT_SET_(GROUP_)PCR is called too late, increasing pts_delay to 1000 ms
1/18/10 12:05:44 AM [0x0-0x47f47f].org.videolan.vlc[19355] [0x2bff38] main input error: ES_OUT_RESET_PCR called
1/18/10 12:05:49 AM [0x0-0x47f47f].org.videolan.vlc[19355] [0x2bff38] main input error: ES_OUT_SET_(GROUP_)PCR is called too late, increasing pts_delay to 1586 ms
1/18/10 12:05:49 AM [0x0-0x47f47f].org.videolan.vlc[19355] [0x2bff38] main input error: ES_OUT_RESET_PCR called
1/18/10 12:05:58 AM [0x0-0x47f47f].org.videolan.vlc[19355] [0x2bff38] main input error: ES_OUT_SET_(GROUP_)PCR is called too late, increasing pts_delay to 1642 ms
1/18/10 12:05:58 AM [0x0-0x47f47f].org.videolan.vlc[19355] [0x2bff38] main input error: ES_OUT_RESET_PCR called
1/18/10 12:06:03 AM [0x0-0x47f47f].org.videolan.vlc[19355] [0x2bff38] main input error: ES_OUT_SET_(GROUP_)PCR is called too late, increasing pts_delay to 1719 ms
1/18/10 12:06:03 AM [0x0-0x47f47f].org.videolan.vlc[19355] [0x2bff38] main input error: ES_OUT_RESET_PCR called
1/18/10 12:06:09 AM [0x0-0x47f47f].org.videolan.vlc[19355] [0x2bff38] main input error: ES_OUT_SET_(GROUP_)PCR is called too late, increasing pts_delay to 2668 ms

...etc. Not sure what they mean though, but their output to console seemed to correspond directly with stutters in playback.

Maybe I can squeeze in another question, this is another issue I haven't found a solution for yet on the Mac but it's also causing me much grief. I often need to scroll through images on the raid drive and check their dimensions. When I do this on Windows via explorer, I just scroll through them and it shows each images dimensions in the status bar. This lets me quickly evaluate dozens of images for what I need to do. However when I do this on the Mac via finder it doesn't show the dimensions, and instead just shows "--" for the dimensions. Right now I switch over to a Windows machine when I need to access multiple images in this way, but is there a way to get the dimensions field in finder to work when accessing images (jpg, png, etc...) over network? When I access local images the dimensions fields are displayed correctly, but again I never keep anything locally, it's all on raid.

Thanks again for any help!
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Nethfel

 
Member Since: Feb 25, 2009
Posts: 2,092
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Mac Specs: Late 2013 rMBP, i7, 750m gpu, OSX versions 10.9.3, 10.10

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For humors sake, try hooking the laptop in via wired and see if the problems go away, if they do it's something in the wireless settings that is causing a headache.

If it is the wifi, try changing the settings on the wifi router/ap to different security settings - I am assuming right now that you have it set to WPA2/AES/TKIP? If it is, try AES only, WPA/AES, WEP (although I'm hoping the issue clears up at setting AES) - I know I hook in my mini via wifi / AES to my main network where I have my mass media storage, and I frequently play videos that are 720p (4-6mbps) without a problem (I use Plex tho as this system is acting as a HTMac) but I do have some wifi dropouts that happen on occasion.

In terms of making that work that you're asking on Finder, honestly I don't know. I usually store my photos on my local drive rather then on my nas. You may be able to find a tool similar ThumbsPlus that might work? Other than that, you might need to ask this one down in the photography section - someone that's down there might have more ideas - although I do take a lot of pictures, I don't have a need to store them elsewhere, so I don't run into that issue you're seeing...

My Macs: Late 2013 rMBP w/ 750m; Mac mini G4, 1.25 GHz, 512m ram (server); Late 2011 11" MBA, 1.8GHz i7, 4Gig Ram, 256Gig SSD, HD3000; Powerbook 12" G4 1.33GHz running Debian as a server; Apple TV (1080p version)
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joker454

 
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Sorry for the long delay in replying, got swamped with work! Ok, so I tried the Mac wired to the network and the stuttering went away. So it does look like it's something the Mac doesn't like with our Wifi. I don't really want to downgrade the encryption though, as I understand it WPA2 is the strongest wireless encryption our gigabit wireless N router offers so I'd like to stick with that. I guess I'll just wait for the Mac to supply a firmware that fixes the wireless issues. In the meantime the pc laptops I use all work fine so I'll just use those when I need to evaluate my videos.

For the photos issue I guess I'll have to look around for a 3rd party app for that. Still not sure why it can't just tell me the dimensions of images over network, seems kinda odd

Anyways, thanks for all the help!
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chas_m

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joker454 View Post
For the photos issue I guess I'll have to look around for a 3rd party app for that. Still not sure why it can't just tell me the dimensions of images over network, seems kinda odd

Anyways, thanks for all the help!
When I "get info" on any image, even over the network, the dimensions of the file are shown.

As for doing this with a large number of images quickly and easily, I'll refer you to my signature -- or this thread.
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