Many of the web applications I develop use MySQL databases.  To access these I can build webforms and try to add in security, but I find it often easier to use FileMaker Pro to access the MySQL database via OBDC.  When using Filemaker Pro on a Mac running OS X, I have found it best to purchase an ODBC driver and have successfully used the one offered by Actual Technologies using the Actual ODBC Driver for Open Source Databases.  For Windows, I use the free ODBC driver offered by Oracle.

Unfortunately Windows version of FileMaker Pro 12 is a 32 bit application so although you can install 64 bit OBDC drivers, Filemaker can not access them.  There is a work around however.  This has been tested using both Windows 7 as well as Windows 8 (including 8.1).

This remainder of this post is with regards to Windows Operating System.

If you install a 64 bit ODBC driver it will be listed and configurable in the “ODBC Data Source Administrator” (Start\Control Panel\All Control Panel Items\Administrative Tools\DataSource (ODBC).  But that will NOT work with Filemaker Pro, as of version 12.  On the other hand if you install the 32 bit version, you can not use this method to configure the ODBC driver.

Installing the 32 bit ODBC Driver

  • Download the 32 bit OBDC driver that provided by Oracle: mysql-connector-odbc-win32.msi.  You can obtain at this link.  Be sure to download the 32 bit version regardless if you have the 64 bit version of Windows installed.
  • Right click on the MSI file and select to Install the driver.  The driver will be installed in the following place: C:\Program Files (x86)\MySQL\Connector ODBC 5.1
  • Instead of following the usual path via the Control Panel, where the 32 bit driver will not be recognized, instead go where the 32 bit driver configuration is:
    C:\Windows\SysWOW64\obdcad32.exe
  • After launching, click on the driver tab and you can see the drivers installed.  You will be using the MySQL ODBC Driver.

OBCD Conf

Configuring the ODBC Driver to work with Filemaker Pro

  • Click on the System DNS Tab, then click the Add Button
  • Select the MySQL Driver
  • For the Data Source Name, use what you will be addressing this in your Filemaker Application
  • Give it any description you wish.
  • For the Server you will need the parameter that points to your MySQL database.  Typically this is int he form of mysql.mydomain.com
  • Enter the Username and password for your MySQL Database
  • If you have entered the correct Username and Password, the database drop down will allow you to select which database you wish to connect to.
  • Add any additional connections you need, then click OK to close the admin application.

Day One Journal

No comments
Day One Journal

[update on 12/14/2012: Apple has named the Mac version of Day One their App of the year]

There was a time when I was keep a lengthy journal using a word processor.  Over the years that I found it took much effort and the entries became few and far between and that kind of journal gave way to blogging.  But blogging required some dedicated time and I would end up missing a lot of things I want to record so blogging mostly gave way to Facebook, or what some term as micro blogging.  What I now realize is that Facebook is not a good way to keep track of what has happened in your life and not all things that are important should be posted for others to see.  I was looking for a journal application that I could use on my mobile devices, iPad and iPhone and also on my computer.  After looking at some reviews I decided to use Day One Journal.  There is a universal version for the iPhone/iPad  and a separate version for the Mac.  Both are paid applications and currently about $5 for the mobile application and $10 for the Mac version.

Entries can be made on any of these devices and will sync, using either iCloud or Dropbox, to all the other devices.  I find this very handy.  You can attach a single photo to each entry.  When using the mobile versions it will look up your location based on where you are, use the GPS data from the photo, or allow you to search for a place.  It will then look-up the weather for that time for that location, and include that in your entry.  If your photo has location data, you can start with an older photo, and from it not only get the date/time, but also the location, and have those used for your journal entry.

On the iPhone

Using the iPhone is very convenient since I have it with me all the time.  Take a photo with your phone, use Day One to make a quick journal entry and attached the photo.  It will use the data/time from the photo for the entire and look up your location and weather and also enter that into your journal entry.

On the iPad

The iPad version has several different views, this is being the Timeline view

You can use the Photo View quickly find a prior entry using the photo view, or use the Calendar View.

On the Mac

There are times I still want to use my Mac, which is much easier to type on.  The Mac version, even though priced higher, does not seem to be as developed as the iPhone/iPad version.  It might better to start with the iPhone/iMac version and see if you are really going to use the application, then buy the Mac version (available on the Mac App Store) later if you find you need it.  Here is what the timeline looks like on the Mac version.

The entries are stored in an XML format so even if this application should cease to exist, it would be easy enough for another application to import your data and photos.

Journal One also supports Markdown, allowing it to store rich text using plain text format.  The mobile version supports tags but that has not yet been incorporated into the Mac version.  You can currently export to Twitter, but not yet to Facebook. Based on the reviews, the developer is doing a good job of continually improving the application.

Split a Clip in iMovie 11
I finally got around to importing some old family video from some VHS tapes before my equipment no longer works.  On much of this footage I had the date recorded on the image, which was helpful.  I imported from the compact SVHS tapes first to a MiniDV camera, which supported SVHS input, then once on DV tape, I easily imported directly into iMovie.  The problem was that the video might span more than a year and include many different events but it would often come in as one single clip.  I wanted to separate this into several clips so I could adjust the dates.

Since iMovie does not have this feature built in, I ended up doing this in a free app called MPEG Streamclip by Squared 5.

  1. To find the right clip, in the Event window in iMovie, right-clicked on the clip you want, then selected Show In Finder.
  2. Next  drag the DV file into MPEG Streamclip.
  3. For each segment, set the playhead at the start and pressed I to set the In Point, then moved the playhead to the Out Point and press O.
  4. Then select from the menu File/Export and choose DV.  Save to a temporary location, such as your desktop.   For the file name, I used the format clip-yyyy-mm-dd hh;mm;ss.dv so that iMovie would import the clip with the right metadata.
  5. Repeat for each segment you wish to create a clip for.
  6. Returning to iMovie, first reject to trash the overall clip so you don’t have a duplicate.
  7. Import imported the individual DV files you created.

Note: It is possible to split a long clip in iMovie but found this to take a long time and not very reliable. To do this, you would first delete some frames of video at the point you want to split, using the Reject Tool. Then move rejected clips to trash. This should change the one long clip into two clips but it creates MOV files.

You can use Safari to download YouTube videos.

  1. Open the page with the movie and press Command-Option-A, which shows the Activity window.
  2. Scroll until you find the YouTube page and click on the arrow to show details about what is being loaded.
  3. Look for an element whose size is over 1MB (most of the time, over 5MB).
  4. Double-click on it (even if it is still loading), and Safari will download it.
  5. When the download is over, navigate to the file in the Finder.  If necessary, add the extension .flv to its name. Now you can play it with VLC.

 

When the Apple iPad first came out, I was doubtful that it would be a success.  Certainly it could not replace a “real computer”.  Over time I have been proven wrong and iOS and the Apps continue to improve, it is become far more capable and can do many of the tasks previously only possible with a computer.

One example is blogging.  Doing this on the go, away for you computer was never that useful.  I have previously created blogs using on my iPhone using the WordPress App (free).  However there was no way to add photos and typing on an iPhone is not so easy.

The WordPress App, now with version 2.82 for the iPad and the iPhone allows you to add photos already on the device.  To get your photos onto the iPad is easy with the Apple iPad Camera Connection Kit.

20110615-124647.jpg

This kit comes with two similar devices, one to connect a USB cable and the other with a SD card slot. The USB adapter can be used to import photos from a camera connected via a USB cable, including an iPhone.  The other is to read directly a SD card from a camera.  Either you connect the camera via USB or insert the SD card then plug that device the iPad.  The iPad photo app automatically launches and allows you to import the photos from the SD card. Switching now to the WordPress App for the iPad, you can write your blog entry and  select the photo to insert into the text of the blog entry. Real simple.

The updated WordPress App for the iPhone also allows you to also insert images or video into the blog entry but only those taken with the iPhone.  The only other way to get a photo on your iPhone is syncing with a computer, but if you have a computer with you, you would just use it directly.

 

Knowing that I was going to purchase an iPad2 when it was released, I needed to decide if I would buy the WiFi only model or the one with 3G.  Going the 3G route meant deciding between AT&T and Verizon but it also meant being locked into 3G technology when 4G is around the corner.  I tried a Verizon mobile hotspot, but was disappointed with it.  It took too long to start up, and who wants to carry yet another device.  Before the 14 day limit on return was reached, Apple released iOS 4.3, which supported the personal hotspot feature on the iPhone 4.

The Personal Hotspot update inlcuded in the March iOS 4.3 update turns the GSM based iPhone 4 into a portable router and unlike the MiFi type hotspots, this is something you are going to be carrying with you anyway so no need to remember to carry a 3rd device.  This feature supports up to 3 devices via standard WiFi, plus one via USB tethering and a one via BlueTooth.

Setup and use is very easy.  You first need to signup for the tethering option for the iPhone 4.  Assuming you already have the $25 a month data plan, this will increase to $45, but with the extra $20 you get an additional 4 Gb of data.  This data is something that can be used for all access from that iPhone 4, whether directly or as a hotspot.  You can use the hotspot with any device.  This compares with the AT&T plan for the iPad which costs $25 and gives you 2 Gb of data that can only be accessed from the iPad.  The tethering plan was not only $5 cheaper but provides a lot more flexiblitly.

When I called up AT&T to activate, they confirmed you can change your plan as you wish, without penalty.  So if you wish to have the hotspot only during certain months, you can revert back.   If you have an limited data plan on your iPhone, something AT&T no longer offers, you will lose that when you switch to the Data Pro plan, something you need to be on before you can switch to the tethering plan.

Once you have your account setup to allow tethering, launch Settings and then tap General/Network/Personal Hotspot.  After the first time you use this, this option will appear on the top level of the Settings dialog box, making it very easy to turn it on and off.  Note that if you are using an iPhone 3Gs you are limited and can connect only using tethering or bluetooth and not via WiFi, as you can with the iPhone 4.

Once enabled, the screen will show a passcode.  From the iPad, or other device, just choose to connect to the network, which has the name you gave your iPhone 4, and enter the passcode.  The hotspot relies on WPA2 security, making this much more secure than using an open WiFi connection some local eating establishment. Most all devices now support WPA2, but if you have an very old device, such as an old iBook, you will not be able to connect via WiFi.

A blue bar appears at the top of the screen when a device is connected to the hotspot.  Tap on the bar to open the Personal Hotspot setting screen.  The bar displays the count of connected devices.  If no devices are connected by any method (WiFi, tethering or Bluetooth) then the hotspot will power down in 90 seconds.

I did a test running speed test from a connected Early 2011 Mac Book Pro computer.  I found when using the iPhone 4 from my home I had very good connection speed, considering that I do not live where there is a very strong signal from AT&T.  Before I returned the Verizon 5Spot portable hotspot, I did the same test using it and had poorer results.

Using the iPhone 4 as Hotspot

Using Verizon 5Spot

If a phone call comes in while you are using the hotspot feature, because AT&T uses GSM, the iPhone 4 continues to keep the data connection while you accept the phone call, unlike the CDMA system used by Verizon.

If the iPhone 4 is itself within range of a previously connected WiFi network, with the Personal Hotspot feature turned on and with one device connected to it, the iPhone will force a connection to the 3G network and maintain the hotspot connection.

I found using the Personal Hotspot feature did run down the battery on the iPhone 4 much quicker, so you may want to turn it off when you are not actively using it.  If your iPad is on and you are just reading previously downloaded material, it will maintain the WiFi connection so the iPhone will not automatically turn off the hotspot, even though now data is being transmitted.

One concern is burning through your data limits, especially if you connect a personal computer to the device, which will not have the limits that are imposed on the iPhone itself, such as limiting the size of a file download.  If you connect a computer and your email is setup to download all attachments, that will use a lot more data than checking your mail on your iPhone 4.  So you will want to keep tabs on your data usage.

Top iPad Apps

In a prior entry, I wrote about the high demand for the new Apple iPad2 and what it took to finally get my hands on one. Having tried a lot of Apps over the past few days, this is the list of what I find the most useful, in no particular order. Click on any of the links to read more about each item in the iTunes App store.  Sorry no games listed here.

App Start

The first app to download on your new iPad or iPad2. Gets you started with all the essential apps and learn how to best use your iPad. Why did Apple not install this on the iPad by default?

Cost: Free during promotional period

Weather Channel

I had used the free Weather Channel on my iPhone and found it very useful. On the iPad it is even more useful.

Cost: Free

DropBox

The best way to share files, not only between computers but also between your Window or Mac Computer and your iPhone and iPad.

Cost: Free for up to 2 Gb of storage space

Flipboard

This fantastic application will take news feeds from various sources and create what looks like a very slick online publication, often using a better layout than the webpage of the original source. It makes your Facebook news feeds look great.

Cost: Free

PageOnce

This App will give you a view of all your financial accounts, as well as other accounts such as frequent flyer membershipos.

Cost: Free or a paid version for $12.99

Bloomberg

A great app for tracking the financial markets and your personal investments.

Cost: Free

Kindle

Want to read books you have purchased from Amazon and don’t have a Kindle. No problem, since this app will work great on your iPad.

Cost: Free

iBooks

A great book reader and easy access to Apple’s ebook store.  After you install, get the free book “iPad Users Guide” updated for the latest iOS and iPad.

Cost: Free

NetFlix

If you are a Netflix subscriber, you will certainly want to install this App and watch your movies on your iPad.

Cost: App is Free, paid subscription to Netflix is required.

Kayak

One of the best travel related sites. Search for the best ticket prices or hotel rooms. Select your ticket and be taken to the airline’s website to make your purchase.

Cost: Free

Garage Band

Impress your friends with your musical talent. This apps shows of the power of the iPad like no other.

Cost: $4.99

CNN

Get the latest news with a great App.

Cost: Free

iWorks Suite: Pages , Numbers, Keynote

Get the iPad versions of the three apps that come with the iWorks suite for your Mac. They really showcase the power of the iPad.

Cost: $9.99 each

Apple's iPad2 in High Demand

When Apple released the iPad last year I thought it would enjoy little success. I was completely wrong. Soon the iPad was selling widely and every person I talked to about their iPad had very positive feedback.

My wife really wanted to get an iPad but I decided we should wait for the second generation model, and I am glad I did. I went to the Apple store on launch day, March 11th, thinking a 2 hour wait in line would be sufficient. That was wrong because there must have been 500 people already in line, so I just left.   The next day I ordered it online and was given a 4 week delivery time.  I guess that was okay since I had never used one and was not sure how useful it would be anyway.  I decided to get the black model (it now comes in white and black) and with 64 Gb of memory, the most they offer.  I also opted for the WiFi only model since the plan is to use Anne’s iPhone4 as a hot spot when needed, avoiding yet another data plan that could only be used for the iPad.  I ordered the smart cover at the same time, which shipped right away.

I later decided to try to get one at the Apple store twelve days latter I tried again arriving 1 hour early, going to the back of a line of about 60 people.  I thought there would be no lines by now but again I was wrong.  Soon after I arrived, they were passing out tickets, starting at the front of the line. Only about one third got them.  I tried again two days latter.  Since it is a 25 mile drive from my home to the nearest Apple store,  I decided to arrive early enough this time.   Even though I arrived at 5:50 am, I was 10th in line.  Some had been there all night, in the cold and rain.  At least they had opened the doors to the mall so I was inside for my wait.  The line slowly grew over the next few hours and reached about 50 people by 8:20 when they started to pass out those “golden tickets” again.  I got a ticket this time as did about 20 people in line, which was less than half of those who had lined up.  This is TWO WEEKS after the product launch.

Some of those who did not became very angry, as if they were passing out food during a famine. One guy in particular was yelling at the Apple store employees.  I guess the iPad2 must be great to get angry over such a thing.  The ticket was only a guarantee that you would be able to buy one, but no guarantee of which model.  They opened the store at 9 am, an hour earlier than the regular schedule.  I waited another 10 minutes in line for the next sales person to help me.  “Do you have a 64 Gb, WiFi only, Black model in stock,” I asked.  They checked and found they could meet my request except only with a white model.  “That would be great”, I replied.  The fellow behind me in line had told me he wanted the 64 Gb, 3G model for AT&T.  He was being helped right after me and I heard them say they only had the 16 Gb, ATT version in stock or 32 Gb Verizion.  He wanted to buy two (the limit) and was disappointed and said he had to think about it.  So his 3 hour wait was in vain.

So what is my first impression of the iPad?  Having owned the original iPhone and later the 3Gs phone, as well as a iPhone4 for my wife, I already knew how to operate the iPad.  It was much easier to use than the iPhone and I soon discovered that iPad specific apps can be much better to use.  I am writing this entry on my iPad2, using the WordPress app.  I have done that also on the iPhone but usually only one or two sentences, never something this long.  Both my wife and myself are now using the iPad considerably, for things we used our MacBook Pros for in the past.  Maybe I should have bought two of them, like many people in line did.  I will write another blog post with more information about using the iPad2.

This is an update to a previous post on enabling PHP on Leopard.  These instructions will get you ready with Apache setup, PHP enabled and MySQL installed

Mac OS X 10.6 (Leopard) comes with both Apache 2.2.6 and PHP 5.2.4 pre-installed, but they’re not enabled by default.

These instructions involve editing some hidden files.  You could the free text editor TextWrangler (a free, cut-down version of BBEdit available from www.barebones.com), which can now install directly from the Mac App Store.   Whichever editor you use, you need to make sure it is setup to edit hidden files.  If you don’t want to worry about file permissions, then you can just make all the changes using the terminal, which the following instructions are based on.

Apache

It should already be installed with Snow Leopard but not turned on.  Open the terminal and start Apache

sudo apachectl start

Check that it is working by using your browser and enter:

http://localhost/

You should see:

It works!

PHP

Start the terminal an open the file:

/etc/apache2/httpd.conf

Find the line:

#LoadModule php5_module libexec/apache2/libphp5.so

Uncomment it (remove the # in front of the line). If you find you can not save the file due to file permissions, then fire up the terminal and enter:

sudo pico /etc/apache2/httpd.conf

Make the change and save the file. Restart Apache

sudo apachectrl restart

Next open System Preferences/Sharing and enable Web sharing. Note there the address for your site, which is a folder “Site” under your user folder. You will then be able to see it that works by entering a URL into your webrowser, using the name you gave your computer original:

http://macbook-pro/~UserName/

Create a single file with the name phpinfo.php with this content:

<?php
phpinfo(INFO_ALL);
?>

Save the file to your local Sites folder (/Users/UserName/Sites). Then test using the URL (substitute your computer name and user name)

http://localhost/~UserName/phpinfo.php

You will get a page showing all the settings for PHP with a heading something like, followed by all the PHP settings.

So where is the php.ini file?  There is not any, but you can add one to /etc by copying

/etc/php.ini.default to /etc/php.ini

Use the terminal and enter

sudo cp /etc/php.ini.default /etc/php.ini

Make it writable

sudo chmod 666 php.ini

In the php.ini file find the line

;date.timezone =

Uncomment it and insert your time zone (http://php.net/manual/en/timezones.php):
Restart Apache

sudo apachectl restart

MySQL

Download and install the latest MySQL version from mysql.com. With my new Mac Book Pro (early 2011) I installed the x86_64 version for Intel. Since Oracle has taken over MySQL it is a bit harder to find since you are presented with commercial offerings. Look for the MySQL Community Edition.

Test it is working in the terminal

/usr/local/mysql/bin/mysql

Edit the phi.ini file

vimo /etc/php.ini

Replace the three occurences of /var/mysql/mysql.sock by using /tmp/mysql.sock

pdo_mysql.default_socket=/tmp/mysql.sock
mysql.default_socket = /tmp/mysql.sock
mysqli.default_socket = /tmp/mysql.sock

Finally restart Apache

sudo apachectl restart

Open System Preferences and click on the MySQL preferance pane (which was installed above).  From here you can not start and stop MySQL, and enable it to start automatically when your system starts.

That’s it!

It was easier in the days of the big tower cases to just add in more hard drives, or replace an existing drive with a larger capacity on. But today with the ever increasing use of notebook computers, that is not so easy.  I have therefore become dependent on using external hard drives.  Being a Mac user currently, that means either a USB2 or a Firewire 800 interface.  Apple, once the leader in using Firewire, seems to have abandon it and no longer offers it on all their computers.  That leaves many to use the slow poke USB2 drives.  The new USB3 interface will be much faster, but few computers use it and no Apple products.  There is no telling when, or if, that will happen.

So I have been faced with the decision of either buying a USB2 drive, which are often heavily discounted in price, or buy a Firewire 800 drive at a premium price.  In both cases the internal hard drive is the same, the difference is just the interface.  To address this situation, Seagate has introduced their GoFlex drive series, in both portable 2.5 in and desk bound 3.5 in drives.  Each drive has a removable and interchangeable base that offers different interfaces.

Segate sells several different interfaces, including USB2, USB3, FireWire 800 and even Network Attached Storage (NAS).  I purchase a 2 Tb drive that came with a USB3 interface.  With the Black Friday sale, it cost me $89 at Best Buy.  I then added a Firewire 800/USB2 module for another $20.  Total price is $110, far cheaper than any 2 Tb Firewire drive I could buy.

In less than a minute I swapped the USB3 base for the FireWire 800/USB2 base, keeping the USB3 base in case Apple releases a computer with that interface.

The FireWire 800 base has two FW800 ports, which is important so I can daisy-chain this new drive with my other FireWire drives.  The only problem is that all the connectors are on the thin base unit, making cable management harder.  One FireWire connector is on the side and one on the back.  It just means you can not have the drive placed on your desk right next to something to it’s one side where the cable plugs in.

In only minutes I had inserted the drive into my Firewire chain and it showed up on my computer.  The drive comes formated as NTFS, but on it I could see a Mac program, which I ran.  It gave me the option to leave the drive as NTFS and install a driver to allow my Mac to not only read the NTFS partition, but also write to it, or, format as a Mac drive.  I chose the later.

The program then installed some additional Mac software, a nice touch for a world of drives that mostly have ignored the Mac.

Benchmarking

Without even the need to launch Disk Utlity, the drive was formated as a Mac format and showed up in the finder.  I then did some tests to see how fast it was.  The internel drive is only 5900 rpm, so I knew it would have some limits.

First I tested the drive using the USB2 interface and then repeated using the FireWire 800 interface.  This chart shows the results for a random write test.  The Green bars for USB2 were slower than the blue bars representing the FireWire interface.  The difference was not as much as I have seen with other drives.

I then did a comparison with this new GoFlex drive and a Western Digital 1 Tb drive that I bought with a FireWire 800 interface.  You can see from the chart below that the Western Digital drive (green columns) was significantly faster than the new Seagate GoFlex drive (blue columns).  Since both drives are using a FireWire 800 interface, it was surprising.  The difference must be a function of different drive rotation speeds and maybe the efficiency of the FireWire interface.

Conclusion

The Seagate GoFlex system is a great idea that could provide the option to update the interface of the drive as USB3 or other formats come along.  Even with the cost of buying the FireWire 800 module, it can be much cheaper than buying a dedicated FireWire 800 drive.  My experience is that FireWire drives are priced as niche products and not heavily discounted.

That said, the Seagate GoFlex drive was not as fast using the FireWire 800 interface as it should be.  When there is a need for the best speed you can get, such as video editing using an external drive, you might want to look elsewhere.