Category Archives: Mac

missing album artwork on iPhone

After spending hours figuring out a fix for 43 GB of mysterious “other” on my iPhone a few months ago, I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised that I ran into yet another problem syncing my iPhone and iTunes.

This time, the problem is with an iPhone 6 running iOS 8, and iTunes 111.  I’ve got over 60GB of music on my iPhone.  One afternoon earlier this week, I noticed that after syncing my iPhone, all of my album artwork was missing.  I’ve got album artwork for everything in iTunes, and it was quite annoying to have it go missing.  I tried the basic fix, which was re-syncing the iPhone.  That didn’t work: my iPhone still didn’t have any album artwork.

Next, I decided that I would try to delete the music from my iPhone, and then re-add it.  That didn’t work.  I connected my iPhone to my Mac, unchecked “sync Music”, and then clicked the “Sync” button.  I let it go for 3 hours, and it seemed stuck.  In the Music app on my iPhone, the list of songs was constantly updating, but nothing was actually getting deleted.  So I cancelled the operation, then tried to sync again.  When I did that, I discovered that I had 60GB of “other” on my iPhone.

At least I’ve been here before.  I tried rebooting the phone, and that didn’t make a difference.  I did the same thing as last time: erased the phone and let iTunes restore it.  This time, the mysterious “other” was missing.  Of course, the sync stalled again.  I let it go for about 20 minutes before pulling the plug and restarting the sync.  On the second sync, I had a functional iPhone, but no music.  I re-checked “Sync Music”, and started yet another sync.  A couple of hours later, my iPhone had its artwork back.

All told, I lost a whole evening to this.  Come on, iTunes.  Get it together.

  1. Yes, I haven’t updated to iTunes 12. It’s so unusable, and it’s not like I have a lot of confidence that the problems that I experience are any better.

43 GB of mysterious “other” on my iPhone

This afternoon, I ran into a problem with iTunes 8 and iOS 8 on my iPhone 5.  When I connected my iPhone, iTunes said that I had 43 GB of “other” data on my phone.  I had no idea what it was.

After much wrangling, I finally came up with a solution that did work.

On the iPhone, I erased it (Settings -> General -> Reset -> Erase All Content and Settings).  Then, after the iPhone finished erasing, I reconnected it to iTunes, and let it restore from backup.  At first, I thought it didn’t work because the iTunes screen still showed the big yellow bar of “other” data.  A couple of minutes later, it refreshed, and suddenly I had <1GB of “other”.  I did have to reboot my phone and my Mac a couple of times each during this process to get it to work, and I had to sync twice to get all onto the phone.


(Edited to add in some reboots.)

more community stories of VMware and Apple OS X in production

My colleague William Lam of Virtually Ghetto has been busily talking to more system administrators who have virtualized OS X in a production environment.  The most recent two are:

This has been an awesome series of blog posts.  I’ve learned a lot!  Want to share your story of using VMware and OS X in production?  Contact William.

“ESXi support for Apple Mac Pro 6,1”

Just a quick post to boost the signal for William Lam’s post “Quick Update – ESXi support for Apple Mac Pro 6,1”:

I know many of you have been asking about ESXi support for the latest Mac Pro 6,1 that was released from Apple late last year and I just wanted to give a quick update. VMware Engineering has been hard at work on getting this new platform certified and supported with ESXi, however, there were some unforeseen challenges that is currently preventing the current version of ESXi to run on the new Mac Pro.

VMware is working closely with Apple’s hardware team to resolve these issues and we expect to have a Mac Pro 6,1 supported with ESXi 5.5 in the future. In the meantime, if you wish to evaluate ESXi on the new Mac Pro (though not officially supported), you can sign up for the new vSphere Beta and run a Beta version of ESXi on the new Mac Pro.



I need a new password manager

I need a new password management application.  The one that I had previously been using (which won’t get named here) has been deleted due to anti-employee actions.  I’m looking for a password manager that works well on my Mac, allows for syncing passwords with multiple computers, and preferably has an iOS app too.

MacIT 2014 call for speakers

The MacIT 2014 Call for Speakers is now live.  MacIT will be held in San Francisco, California, on March 26-29, 2014.  In short, we’re looking for people who have experience as Mac system administrators who want to share their expertise and network with other Mac sysadmins.

Personally, here are some things for which I’d love to see MacIT proposals:

  • creating heterogeneous IT environments — How did you go from a homogeneous environment to a heterogeneous one?  What did you learn along the way?  What would you do differently?  What caused you to move to a heterogeneous environment?
  • integrating Macs and iOS into enterprise IT — How did you manage the transition?  How did you train your staff?  What changes did you have to make to your infrastructure?
  • Mac virtualization beyond the desktop — Don’t get me wrong, I love the Fusion team and use it myself, but there’s a lot more to virtualization than just running Fusion on your desktop.  What are you using to provide a virtual Mac infrastructure?  What kinds of applications are you using in your virtual Mac infrastructure?  What kinds of users use your virtual Mac infrastructure?

The Call for Speakers has additional topic ideas, too.  Don’t feel limited by what I’ve listed here!

If you’re interested in speaking at MacIT but aren’t sure if you’ve got a good topic, I’d be happy to chat with you and brainstorm an awesome topic for you.  Just ping me.

the user experience of red

Jeff Carlson wrote a post about the battery gauge of his spiffy new MacBook Air.  The newest generation of MacBooks have amazing battery life.  There’s a strange downside to this battery life, though.  Here’s a quote from Jeff:

Working on the new 2013 MacBook Air, I noticed that the battery gauge in the menu bar had slid into red. Typically that means a scramble to find the power adapter, but then I clicked the button […]  17% battery still left—with an estimated 3 hours 23 minutes of battery charge.

A red battery indicator on my Mac used to mean that I needed to get plugged in quickly.  Not drop-everything quickly, but sometime in the next half-hour or so.  The red battery indicator usually meant that I could finish out a meeting if I was careful, but that was about it.  Now, though, I’ve got a retina MacBook Pro.  A red battery indicator usually means that I still have three hours of battery life yet.

Users are trained that a red icon indicates that there is a problem that needs to be addressed soon, and that not addressing it soon means that there will be consequences.  Apple hasn’t considered this in expectation in the current battery indicator.  Red no longer means that I need to fix this soon.  Now that my expectation for what red means is broken, I have found that I stop paying attention to the battery indicator.  I’ve increasingly found myself getting the dialog telling me that my Mac needs to be plugged in very soon or it will have to power itself off.

Apple has made amazing strides in battery technology.  I can easily get more than 8 hours of battery life on my rMBP without paying any attention to conserving the battery.  As a result of this improvement, 20% of battery life remaining is no longer a cause for concern.  Apple needs to reconsider the point at which it warns me that my battery is low.  The warning needs to be early enough that I can complete whatever I’m currently working on, but not so early that I disregard it as something that needs action from me.