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Monday, 25 July 2011

XBMC SMB (Samba) and OS X Lion

(Phew that's a lot of acronyms)

Anyway XBMC (and probably a bunch of other programs) can't connect to SMB shares on OS X Lion. Why? Well apple wrote their own SMB client/server which supports a different authentication protocol that XBMC doesn't support.

Now I've read a bunch of solutions i.e. try UPnP, use NFS, install SMB from mac ports, but I've found a much simpler solution.

1. On Lion set up SMB/AFP sharing as normal
2. On your computer that runs XBMC create a shortcut to the share, in the case of OSX connect to the share and then drag a copy to say your ~/Movies folder this will create an alias, for Linux consider editing /etc/fstab with the following
//server/share /mount/point cfis nounix,sec=ntlmssp,guest,user=guest 0 0 
3. Navigate to the shortcut/alias on your local machine in XBMC instead of trying to connect to the share. This will let XBMC use your operating systems SMB client to connect to the share instead of it's own internal client (or in the case of OS X it will use AFP).


Thanks to for the nounix and sec options for linux

Note check your cfis version, Fedora has 4.5, ubuntu 10.04 has 3.5 which doesn't support the ntlmssp sec option

Friday, 22 July 2011


I decided to open source my Redis PHP library, it's now on git hub and is fully documented with doxygen (documentation in git source). 

If you like it please flattr me

OS X Lion first impressions

Well on release day (about 15 minutes after release...yes I'm sad) I purchased OS X Lion. The download took around 2 hours on my 10mb connection.

After download and having taken a backup of my mac mini which is the first (and currently only) mac I have it installed on I proceeded to create a installer DVD following this guide

Next I chose a clean install of Lion by erasing the old Snow Leopard partition and installing. This sadly didn't work the first time, probably something I pushed! So I did a clean install again and it worked.

A couple of notes on the installation process.

  1. It takes a looooong time to boot from the dvd around 5-10 minutes in my case, using a USB stick should be faster
  2. If you have an internet connection enabled the installer will attempt to download Lion from Apple's servers which will take hours, so disable your internet connection first.

Once installed everything works fine, all the new features seem great.

A few notes on the initial experience

  1. I reverted the mouse scrolling style to the Snow Leopard way i.e. scrolling down scrolls Lion it's backwards you can do this by unticking the top checkbox in the mouse system preferences
  2. File vault and time machine have had a major overhaul, file vault now encrypts the whole drive, and time machine can back this up, time machine can also encrypt backups which is a major boon for me since I have problems with those two interacting (something to do with how sparse bundles are backed up I believe)
  3. Encrypted volumes can't be read on older versions of OS X so if you plan on using target disk mode keep this in mind.
  4. iTunes 10.4 isn't included it comes with software update
  5. Java isn't installed and going to a web page with Java just crashes the page instead of warning you, you can download java here
  6. Flash isn't installed by default but you can download it from
  7. Mac mail has been redesigned if you want the old version go into preferences > viewing an enable classic look
  8. Safari is wayyyyy faster
  9. Full screen apps are cool
  10. Lion remembers the state of your applications when you close them so when you open them again they have the same files open
After playing for a while I decided to try an upgrade install, so I restored my time machine backup of Snow Leopard using the Lion disk, it went off without a hitch.

I then booted Snow Leopard, ran the Lion installer from the DVD and it rebooted and upgraded in around half an hour.

The performance afterwards is as good as a clean install, no problems with my apps, the mouse inverted scrolling came back which was annoying but easily rectified.

All in all for £20 Lion is a decent investment, for me the file vault and time machine updates are worth that.

Thursday, 21 July 2011

Unable to save automator service

When creating a Service using automator if you get the error message

The document "Untitled" could not be saved as "<your service name>". You don't have permission.
To view or change permissions, select the item in the Finder and choose File > Get Info

Friday, 1 July 2011

Xcode and the App Store

I bit the bullet and paid the £2.99 for Xcode 4 from the app store (damn you apple making us pay for what was free!) Anyway it's a bizarre installation process, the app store downloads and installer that installs xcode....then it leaves the 4.5GB installer in your /Applications folder. What a waste of space. Luckily there is a way to get most o that space back, right click the Install package and click show package contents, in the Contents/Resources folder you will see a Packages folder, this is where the real Xcode installer files are, delete that and you'll be left with a 4.6MB Install file. You sadly need to keep this around for the App Store to know it's installed and to inform about updates, however you don't need to keep it in /Applications it can be anywhere on your hard drive, I put mine in /Applications/Utilities out of the way. I've no idea how this will effect updates, I imagine it will have to download the whole installer again, but updates should be few and far between since Xcode 4 has been around a while.