Tag: Apple MacOS X Snow Leopard

Setting up Apple iChat for Facebook Chat and Messaging

Windows users have been able to use the Facebook Messenger as a desktop option for gaining access to Facebook’s chat and messaging features. Similarly, users of the iOS and Android mobile platforms have benefited from having access to the Facebook Messenger app as a dedicated path to this same service.

But how can you gain full-time access to the Facebook chat and messaging functionality on your Apple Macintosh without the need to open your Web browser? You can when you use the iChat software that is integrated with the Mac OS X operating system.

Here, the Mac has to be equipped with iChat AV 3 or later which is part of the operating system from 10.4 Tiger to 10.7 Lion. It will provide an “always-live” messaging and “green-dot” presence feature that you would expect with the Web-driven Facebook messaging interface.

  1. To set this up, you click on the “Preferences” item in the iChat menu.
  2. Click on the “Accounts” option in this window, then click the + icon at the bottom of this window as if you are adding a new iChat account.
  3. Select “Jabber” as the account type.
  4. Supply the credentials as:
    Screen Name: <Your_Facebook_User_Name>@chat.facebook.com
  5. For the Server Options, make sure that “Automatically find server name and port” option is checked. If this doesn’t work, you may have to fill in “chat.facebook.com” in the Name and 5222 in the Port for the Server details
  6. Then click Done to add the account.

For this acoount to work automatically, you have to select the “Enable this account” and “Log in Automatically” options for it to log in and show you as online when you use your Mac. Here, you will see the list of all the Facebook Friends who are currently online with that green dot.

Apple has now released a software fix for the Flashback trojan


A look at Apple’s Flashback removal tool | MacFixIt – CNET Reviews

Apple releases fix for Flashback malware | Engadget

Downloads – Apple’s support Website

Java Update for MacOS 10.6

Java for MacOS Lion

My Comments

Apple has reacted to the groundswell of concern about the recent Flashback malware and have issued updates to its Java runtime environment for both MacOS Snow Leopard and Lion.

Here, they have implemented a check-and-remove routine for this Trojan as part of the installation routine for the new Java runtime environment. For most Macintosh users, this will simplify the process of removing any existence of this malware as well as keeping this runtime environment up-to-date.

The CNET article also gave a detailed review of what goes on as well as how to fix situations if the installation takes too long and the procedure hangs. As I have posted previously, Apple could improve on the issue of providing system maintenance and desktop security software so that Mac users can keep these systems in good order.

Apple’s update to the MacOS X platform–a more visible update

When Apple launched the “Snow Leopard” version of the MacOS X platform, there were initial doubts expressed in the computing press about Apple Macintosh users upgrading their existing equipment to this newer platform. The doubts that were expressed were primarily directed at the operating system not exposing new functionality at the user interface. This was because a lot of the work was done “under the hood” through a code rebuild for the Intel processors.

Over the past two years that I have seen MacOS X “Snow Leopard” in the field; I have talked with various Macintosh users about how their computer has fared under it. There have been some users who have bought it pre-installed on a new Macintosh-platform computer or have upgraded their existing Mac to this platform. Remarks I have heard included relative performance improvement as well as a reduction in the disk space required for the operating system compared to prior versions of the MacOS X platform.

This year sees the imminent release of the “Lion” version of this same platform, where there has been a lot of key changes and improvements made to the operating system. Examples of these functionality improvements included: enabling the Macintosh platform for touchscreen use, the implementation of “full-screen” operation for Macintosh applications without the need to have the Apple Menu Bar in view all the time; a multi-window view of all the currently-running programs; an iOS-style icon screen for all the programs installed on the Mac as well as the previously-mentioned iTunes App Store for the Macintosh.

What it seems like for me is that Apple have decided to take the job of improving the Macintosh platform in to two stages; the first one being primarily an “under-the-hood” effort which culminated with “Snow Leopard” and the second one with all the user-visible improvements culminating with “Lion”.

If you intend to upgrade your Macintosh to the “Lion” version, you will need to make sure it is based on an Intel Core-based or Xeon-based processor which means most relatively-recent Macs; and runs the latest version of “Snow Leopard”. The upgrade will be available as an electronic download available at the App Store for US$29.99 and downloads straight to your Mac.

Using your AppleTalk or LocalTalk printer with Snow Leopard

The problem

When Apple launched the “Snow Leopard” version of MacOS X, they dropped software support for the legacy AppleTalk direct-connect printing protocol and its LocalTalk network printing protocol. This is part of Apple moving towards the use of common application protocols in the Macintosh operating system,

Some Macintosh users use classic printers that they consider as being “worth their salt” and also notice that there is plenty of mileage left in these machines. They are usually less likely to upgrade any of these machines for newer equipment and want to keep them going. A lot of these printers have often been set up to work with the AppleTalk or LocalTalk protocols and most of their users will be wondering how to get them going again.

Use of alternative connections

You may have to use alternative connections for connecting your printer to your Snow Leopard Macintosh or home network.

One method would be to connect the printer to your Mac using a USB cable or, in the case of older printers that use a parallel port, a USB-parallel adaptor cable. These can be obtained from most computer stores or computer markets for a very low price.

Another method would be to connect the printer to the network if it has an Ethernet port and have it print using LPR/LPD or IPP network-printing protocols. This also applies to those printers that use LocalTalk as a network printing protocol. Usually this involves using the printer’s user interface to set the printer to use a fixed IP address on your network and enabling support for LPR/LPD, SMB/CIFS (Windows) or IPP protocols.

Use of a print server device

You may be able to share the printer through a print server, whether as a dedicated device or an older not-so-powerful computer running an older version of the Macintosh operating system or another operating system like Windows or Linux, as an LPR/LPD, SMB/CIFS or IPP printer. Infact, some routers and network-attached storage devices made by various third-party manufacturers have a USB connection and are capable of working as LPR/LPD or IPP print servers.

If you use a computer to share a printer, the printer-sharing software will have to be set up to share the printer on the LPR/LPD, SMB/CIFS (Windows) or IPP protocols.

When you set up your Snow Leopard client machine, you will have to set the “Print Using” option to point to the driver that matches your printer. In some cases, you may have to track down a newer driver that can work on either Tiger, Leopard or Snow Leopard.

Other Resources

How To Resurrect Your AppleTalk Printer In Snow Leopard – The Apple Blog

AppleTalk & Snow Leopard – Apple Support Discussions

Determining the IP Address in your HP LaserJet – Hewlett Packard Support

Apple Snow Leopard – Is it worth it for your existing Mac

There is all the recent talk about Apple releasing the Snow Leopard variant of the MacOS X operating system this Friday (August 28 2009) and you may be interested in upgrading your Macintosh computer to it. If you do upgrade your Mac to this operating system, especially if the computer is relatively recent – made after early 2006, you may notice that most of the improvements will be invisible on the user interface.

Intel-only deployment

The main issue with this operating system update is that it is engineered for Macintosh systems that have Intel-based internal architecture. This typical will apply to Macs that have been bought over the last few years, such as the MacBook laptops and the new iMacs. It won’t work with Macintosh computers that were based on the PowerPC architecture, which may apply to older computers.

What do you get for most Mac users

Under-the-hood improvements

The improvements are mainly that the operating system has been rewritten and profiled for the new Intel architectures such as the 64-bit processors and multi-core processor architectures. This also includes the applications that are part of the operating system like the Safari Web browser or QuickTime. There has been logic installed so that all of the cores in the Intel multi-core processors can he used.

Another feature that is worth its salt is that the eject procedure for removeable media is improved. If the eject process is stopped because an application has the removeable medium, you are offered the ability to quit the application that has the removeable medium so it releases possession of the files on that medium.

Accessibility improvements

The accessibility improvements mainly benefit those who have vision difficulties. It mainly is in the form of the VoiceOver Integraded screen-reader that works tightly with the operating system and applications. It allows for MacBook computers with multi-touch trackpads to have the trackpad seen as an alternate screen map and allows for use of the trackpad as a “rotary control”. There is also support for more of the Braille user-interface devices for those who cannot see at all.

WiFi networking improvements

The home network hasn’t been forgotten about with Snow Leopard. The Apple AirPort menu, which is the control point for Apple’s AirPort WiFi implementations, can provide detailed information about the wireless networks that the WiFi-equipped Macintosh computer can receive. This is achieved by the user holding down the [Option] key while clicking on the Apple Airport icon at the top right of the screen. Then you see detailed information like the channel and band in use by the access point, the network’s operating mode and security mode; and the access point’s BSSID under the network’s SSID.

There is an automatic time-zone setup feature for WiFi-equipped Macs; which is linked to a Skyhook Wireless database of access points and localities. This can allow the MacBook to show local time when it is taken overseas or interstate without user intervention. This is due to Apple using this data as part of their iPhone software.

An “all-Apple” network which use Bonjour discovery will have “Wake On WiFi” behaviour with newer Apple Macs and provide improved native file sharing due to this Apple-developed protocol. I am not sure whether the “Wake On WiFi” behaviour and improved file sharing behaviour will be made to work with networks that use other brands of network peripherals.

Is it worth it for the existing Mac user

For most Macintosh users with recently-built equipment running OS X Leopard, the cost is typically around $A39 / $US30 per computer, but people who just bought a Macintosh but didnt have it delivered with Snow Leopard can upgrade the operating system through Apple for $A14.95. It would then be worth it to have the computer running quickly and smoothly.

As far as whether it is worth going ahead, some Mac users may pass this upgrade up because there is no visible improvement in the user interface or no brand-new keynote functionality. But for most, if not all, Mac users who are running relatively-new setups, the performance boost that this operating system upgrade provides would make it worth it to take the plunge. This is more so because of the fact that most Mac users are typically working “hands-on” with graphics-based applications like CAD or image editing.

Invitation to comment

If any Mac user who is reading this article about Snow Leopard, they can leave a comment about how their computer has performed under the upgrade compared to before.