HyperCard to LiveCode

In 1987, Apple released its first version of HyperCard. Since I was already a Mac user, I jumped on the opportunity to use it. I used it to develop a version of the Bible named the HolyHyper for my GospelWare business.

HolyHyper 5

I also used HyperCard in my job at Honeywell to keep track of all kinds of data including my telephone calls, tasks, calendar, contacts, paper files, notes, mail and network resources.

Hypercard work mail

The “Work” HyperCard stack opened with a small icon bar showing all 8 sub-stacks that could be opened at the same time. There were links between the stacks. Mail was imported from the Unix mail system. Network logons and repeated operations were scripted. With the power of HyperCard, I had complete control of my data and did things that I still cannot do today with all of the Apple apps on the Mac or iOS.

I also used SuperCard, a competing product, for advanced projects including a specification generation system and a computer tools catalog. Unfortunately, a job change at Honeywell required me to use Windows at work and Apple stopped supporting HyperCard. I can still access HyperCard and SuperCard on a PowerMac G5 running Tiger OSX 10.4 and the Classic OS9 environment through ScreenSharing from my MacPro running the latest OSX system. The above screenshots were made from the MacPro screen.

In the past several years, I have started learning
LiveCode which is a derivative of HyperCard. LC has cross platform support for Mac, Windows, Linux, iOS, Android and server modes. There are both open source (Community) and commercial versions so anyone can learn it for free and then distribute packaged versions for sale.

Install SSD in Mac Pro

My 2008 Mac Pro has seemed to get slower over the years after three upgrades of Mac OSX from 10.5 Leopard to 10.8 Mountain Lion. Each of these was an upgrade without starting from a fresh reformatted hard drive. I decided that I was going to do a fresh system rebuild and also install an SSD (Solid State Drive) at the same time. I contemplated configuring the drive as a fusion drive which Apple supports in OSX 10.8 and ships in many of the new systems. With a fusion drive, an SSD is configured with a regular hard disk (HD) to form one logical volume. Then OSX would manage this volume to keep the most active files on the SSD portion and move unused files to the slower HD. I started out to do this but had problems with mounting the volumes during the process. I decided to clean up my files and reduce the active user and systems files to fit on the SSD instead.

My Mac Pro has 4 drive bays and had 3 - 1 TB HDs with OSX files and one 160GB drive with Bootcamp and Windows 7. I work off one of the main 1 TB drives and use the other 2 for backups. In updating the system, I swapped one of the 1 TB drives for a 240 GB SSD. My main issue was how to physically mount the SSD since it is a 2 1/2 inch form factor vs the drive bays which were for 3 1/2 inch drives. In addition the drive sleds on which the drives are mounted attached to the top of the drives and not the sides. The drive sleds allow the drives to quickly taken out and swapped without the use of any cables. Since I did not have a drive sled that would mount the 2 1/2 inch SSD, I contemplated putting the SSD in the extra DVD drive bay and running SATA cables to the mother board where there are two extra SATA ports. I may still do that to allow for mounting of all 4 3 1/2 inch drives.

Instead, a little research revealed a converter called the Icy Dock available at the local MicroCenter computer store. The Icy Dock SSD & SATA HDD Converter,
Model NB882SP-1S-1B, is shown in the following pictures. The converter is essentially an enclosure that has a connector for the SSD inside and presents a standard SATA HDD connector on the outside. The top cover flips up, the SSD is inserted and the spring loaded cover forces the SSD into position with the connector inside. There are no screws required and the converter box acts just like a larger HD. The converter is attached to the Mac Pro drive sled just like a regular drive. Note the other picture shows the SanDisk Extreme 240 GB SSD.

After cleaning up files and moving stuff out of the user, library and applications directories to other areas of the 1 TB main drive, I installed OSX 10.8.2 on the SSD. I then rebooted on the new SSD and used the OSX migration tools to move the user account over along with the applications and system library. The whole process took a couple of days of cleanup where I deleted 100 GB of unneeded files. It then took less than 2 hours to move about 200 GB to the SSD leaving about 30 GB empty for further growth. I didn’t get the exact time since I went to lunch with a friend and it was done when I came back.

The system is much faster now than it was before. I did some tests just for restarting the system. The old system would take about 3:24 minutes to restart with about 136 seconds of this time after the startup chime. Restarting off the SSD would take about 1:35 minutes with about 25 seconds after the chime. Restart time is more important than just a raw startup time since I rarely shut down the system completely. Actually, I rarely restart either. Note that the time from clicking the restart button to the chime was the same in either case, about 1:10 minutes, and doesn’t seem to depend much on the drive speed. So overall the SSD seems to be about 5 times faster than the HD in loading the system. 136/25 = 5.44.

I suspect that some of my speed improvement was from cleaning up files and splitting the files over two volumes, but glad to have the increase either way. I plan to do some more testing of applications as well, but there is a definite speed up of 2 to 3 times.

Icy Dock 1

Icy Dock 2Sandisk SSD

Obsolete Already

wednesday, 25 october 2006 18:00
Well, I have just had this MacBook Pro (MBP) for a couple of months and now Apple has come out with a new version that is 39% faster. The new model uses the new Intel Core 2 Duo processor and more memory, but costs the same as the old one. Actually, my "old" MBP runs at the 50% idle even when recording video off my TV cable and playing two other videos at the same time. At the same time, I am using only 2/3 of of my 1 GB memory. I am not sure what I would do with the extra power though I am sure to find some benefit. I am still appreciating the other technical features of my new system. For example, the MagSafe power connector has already been tested. Instead of using a conventional plug and socket, the power cord connects magnetically and comes off with any sidewards pull. When I accidentally jerked the power cable, it popped off rather than stressing the connection or pulling the MBP off on to the floor. Now if the MBP does fall, it detects the movement with its Sudden Motion Sensor and parks the hard disk heads before it can hit the floor. Someone has hacked into this sensor to produce a program that can display the acceleration of the MBP in all three directions. Another programmer has written a program which can sound an alarm, take a picture of the thief and email it if it senses motion of the MBP. There is much more unique technology in this computer, but that's all for now.

MacBook Pro LazyBoy

MacBook Pro LazyBoy
tuesday, 10 october 2006 18:00


I didn't realize that it has been 6 months since I last posted here. Anyone who was checking has probably given up. I have no real excuses though I have been updating my other 
blog on a weekly basis. If you go back to my second entry on Feb 12, you will see an iMac G5 with VESA mount and my LazyBoy recliner. With demise of my wife's eMac, the iMac G5 was passed down to my son and I picked up a new computer from my daughter.

Shown here in my new 15.4" 
MacBook Pro coupled to a 20" Samsung Syncmaster LCD display with 1600 x 1200 resolution. On the big screen, you can also see that I have replaced my homemade support arm with an articulated arm, Model VM3 from Sanus Systems. Both displays are active effectively extending the image area. The video connection to the display is digital DVI, but I also have a composite video adapter to send the image to a TV.

This computer is fast with a 2.16 Ghz Intel Dual Core processor, effectively 2 computers in one. I also have the 
Parallels virtual desktop software that allows me to run Windows XP at the same time as Mac OSX. Windows XP is essentially running directly on the Intel processor at close to native speed.


iPhoto Problem Solved

I have used iPhoto for years, since it was introduced by Apple for the Macintosh in 2002. At this time, I have 9914 items in the iPhoto library. A few of these are actually Quicktime movies from my new iPhone 3GS. Many have been imported directly from my Canon A85 digital camera. Others have been scanned in, saved directly into iPhoto from email messages or dragged in from any other window on the Mac, even from Windows XP.

Anyway, I have had a small problem with syncing iPhoto with my
AppleTV for a couple of years. I just exported any photos that I wanted to use elsewhere. I forgot about the problem until a few days ago when I purchased the new Bento 3 database program which has integration with iPhoto. When I first fired up Bento, it could not see the iPhoto library. I checked the Bento User Forum and found a similar problem discussion that got me started on a path to finally solving my problem. The problem revolved around the operation of the iLife Media Browser which shows up only as a menu item in iLife applications on the Mac.

After researching this further, I remembered that I had actually saved a link to an 
Apple User Forum which points to possible corruption in the iPhoto Library. A little more testing with techniques from the Apple Forum to see if I could fix the corruption, I finally decided to create a new library. The new library worked fine with Bento and I started exporting from the old and importing into the new. Since this proved to be a lot of work I decided to dig deeper to solve the corruption problem. 

I discovered an application named iPhoto Library Manager that identified the corruption in the AlbumData.xml file that is part of the iPhoto Library. That gave me the line number and text that was causing the problem. I then used TextWrangler to view the XML file and edit it, but iPhoto kept recreating the error. I examined the lines around the error and noted that it was part of an album definition. With the album identified, I went back into iPhoto. I selected all the photos in the problem album and created a new album from the selection. I deleted the old album and quit iPhoto. After checking the library with iPhoto Library Manager which gave no error, I went back into Bento which loaded the iPhoto library with no problems.

Now I can see my iPhoto Library within Bento, my AppleTV, my iPhone, the Mac desktop/screensaver, GarageBand and possibly a few other Mac applications.
Thursday, 01 October 2009 18:00