Friday, December 25, 2009

New Airport Extreme Crashes Wireless Tiger Clients

I've spent most of Christmas Day trying to figure a way out of this mess. I even downgraded my old Powerbook G4 to Panther, only to discover that it--initially--had no support for WPA security (doing the normal upgrades to it now via Ethernet). Not sure why it seems that every time I buy a new piece of Apple gear, it doesn't cooperate very well with older Apple gear. I understand that time moves on (and Apple wants us to as well), but one expects things like basic wireless in a working Mac to continue working with newer Apple wireless routers. But no.

I initially thought the problem might be my new WDS setup, but that's not the case. The kernel panics persisted, whether I disengaged WDS or not.

The Airport Extreme Base Station in its current firmware incarnation (7.5) causes kernel panics on ALL wireless clients running Tiger 10.4.11. This is confirmed by multiple users on the Apple Support Boards:

My Apple Tech confirmed (early November) that there is a known problem with the new Airport Extreme Dual Band Base Station causing kernel panics on computers running Tiger (only when connecting wirelessly via an Airport card -- not when connected via Ethernet cable). Apple Engineering has been notified and has not -- as yet -- released a software update to Tiger. Based on some customers' reports, we tried disabling the Guest Network on the base station, but that didn't work for me. Has anyone figured out a work-around besides 1) the ethernet cable and 2) upgrading to Leopard?

[From Apple - Support - Discussions - Kernel Panic when Running Tiger ...]
One user managed to get Apple to send him a Leopard install to address the issue:

Here's my experience. Ran two iMacs with Tiger 10.4.11 and a new iMac Intel Core Duo with an Airport 801.g Extreme. Alls well. I upgraded to an Airport 801.n and all **** broke loose with Unresolved Kernel Traps (UKT) on both Tiger machines. I managed to obtain Leopard from Apple and will upgrade each Tiger machine a couple of days apart to be sure I don't have any more UKTs. Then I will reinstall the Airport 801.n and see what happens. If I can believe what Apple Support has told me my problems should be solved. I should know by end of this coming weekend.

[From Apple - Support - Discussions - Kernel Panic when Running Tiger ...]

So I put in a service call to Apple and spoke with a rep today; the rep didn't offer a Leopard install like they did for the other user, and they didn't even admit that there was a known problem:

No dice. Just got off the phone with Apple and their solution for me was to go into the Apple Store. He said it was a computer issue...not the AEBS. I even brought up this thread (i.e., Tiger incompatible with new AEBS) and that other users said that Apple had acknowledged this problem. He said he had not heard that and that it was my computer?

Keep in mind that I told him that both my G4 machines are running Tiger (Powerbook and Mac Mini) and both are kernel panicking with the new AEBS.

So, I obviously didn't get the good support that you received...

[From Apple - Support - Discussions - Kernel Panic when Running Tiger ...]

I've basically tried everything (including doing Leopard installs using Target Disk mode), and nothing is really working (the G4 versus Intel architecture creates problems--i.e., the GUID versus APM). I either must get a Leopard Retail disc from Apple or wait for them to officially acknowledge the problem and issue a firmware update. Arggggghhh! My Powerbook is now running 10.3.9 (Panther) after the updates and is doing fine on the new AEBS, so this PROVES it's Tiger that is not compatible with the new Airport Extreme Base Station (802.11n). The Mac Mini is dead in the water at the moment in terms of wireless connectivity (I have the Airport turned off...and no more panics). I have ordered some cheap Cat-5 cable, which should be here soon and keep the Mini running until the firmware update shows up. Apple, your users really shouldn't have to go through such nonsense.

FOLLOW-UP on 26 DEC 2009:

As a follow-up, my issues were solved by installing Leopard on my G4 machines, which was not easy. See my post below on the Apple Discussions thread:

I can confirm now--as have others here--that it is definitely the Airport Extreme Base Station (802.11n) that is causing the kernel panic problem with Tiger. It will also not cooperate with Panther 10.3.9, IF you install the AirPort Extreme Driver Update 2005-001 update:

I downgraded my Powerbook G4 Aluminum 15" to Panther and had it working well at 10.3.9 until I installed the above driver update, so this driver (or some code within it) is the culprit; obviously, it hung around in Tiger but changed in Leopard and Snow Leopard (hint, hint, Apple).

I have now managed to update my old G4s (through much effort) to Leopard and both are cooperating nicely now with the Airport Extreme Base Station. I suspect Apple will update the driver eventually, but if you're having issues...go back to Panther (w/o the aforementioned driver update) or upgrade to Leopard if your system will install/run it.

FWIW, I installed Leopard on my old G4 Mac Mini (with 512 MB RAM) using Target Disc mode from the Powerbook running the install DVD. Leopard would not install any other way on that machine. Good luck all!

[From Apple - Support - Discussions - Re: Kernel Panic when Running Tiger ...]

Monday, December 21, 2009

Extend New Airport Extreme With Old Airport Express

So maybe you're like me and bought a new Airport Extreme Base Station (802.11n) and want to extend your wireless network through an older Airport Express (802.11 b/g). After Googling this, I discovered I wasn't the only frustrated user. Apple wants you to buy a newer Airport Express with 802.11n to make extending your network easier. However, you can still use the older Airport Express with a little work and a hidden trick.

For some reason, this took me SEVERAL hours to figure out. It didn't JUST WORK. LOL! Fortunately, I learned that using the Option key while selecting the Wireless Mode popup menu in the Airport Utility (Version 5.5 (550.29)) returns to the user the ability to set up a WDS (wireless distribution system).

A nice user named Bob on the Apple Discussion forums confirmed the Option trick I had learned elsewhere. However, I still had trouble getting the WDS to work properly. Here's what I tried that seems to do the trick:

Thanks Bob. Yes, I found that trick elsewhere. Still had trouble, even though I went through all the proper motions (i.e., making the AEBS(n) the WDS base station and the APX the WDS remote...including entering the correct MAC addresses for each).

However, I think I've discovered the fix that allowed my old APX [Airport Express] to work with the new AEBS [Airport Extreme Base Station] in a WDS network: I set the radio mode on the APX to 802.11g ONLY! The radio mode on the base station was kept at AUTOMATIC. And I used Channel 1 for the 2.4 GHz frequency on both and left the 5 GHz frequency channel selection at AUTOMATIC on the base station. WDS wasn't working until I made those changes (don't know if one or more of those steps is important...but it's working now).

[From Apple - Support - Discussions - WDS set up problem ...]

Apple Aluminum Keyboard Low Power Warning

If your Aluminum Apple keyboard suddenly tells you it can't power a USB device anymore (that it once did power without issues -- WTF Apple?!?), try unplugging the keyboard for 30 seconds and then replugging it. My SD card reader works again after doing that, though the LED no longer lights up. My Logitech camera (that once worked plugged into the keyboard) seems to not work anymore. I wonder if this was a change from Leopard to Snow Leopard?

Apple makes great stuff, but they'll just randomly change things sometimes, seemingly unconcerned with the problems those changes will cause to their uses. Rakin' frakin'...

Just had this problem on my late '07 Alu iMac. never had any bother before, it was always possible to have the wired MM and 5th Gen iPod attached. Today got a low power warning on just the iPod! (wireless MM now)

I unplugged it and reconnected after 20s - was all fine again. How odd.

interested on the power discussions here, the system profiler says the ipod is drawing 500mA thru the keyboard, and the keyboard itself only needs 20mA

[From New Apple keyboard, doesn't sync or charge ipod nano - Page 5 - Mac Forums]

iPhoto '09 Flickr Uploader Weirdness

If you run into weirdness with the Facebook or Flickr Uploaders in iPhoto '09, try this. Keep in mind that if you share your Snow Leopard account and someone else is signed into their Facebook, Flickr, or Yahoo! accounts under your SL account, you'll have problems. Try logging them out and yourself in before deleting these keychains.

I found this post last week when I had the same exact problem. Today, I finally just did a Google search and found a post in the Apple discussion threads ( It says all you have to do is go into the Keychain Access application on your Mac and delete the iPhoto key from your computer.

Just search for "iPhoto" in Keychain Access, and if you have more than one key for iPhoto permissions (I have Facebook and flickr), just double click them until you find the one that contains "flickr" in the "Account" text box and delete it. I just did this, and after I restarted iPhoto, when I clicked the flickr button in the lower right, it asked me if I wanted to setup iPhoto to publish to flickr. AWESOME.

[From Flickr: The Help Forum: iPhoto '09 flickr uploader Permissions]

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Using Preview to Merge and Save PDF Documents

Neat trick for Preview! Changed a bit since Leopard.

For Snow Leopard 10.6.0, Apple changed the way this feature works in Preview Version 5.0 (501) and made it more cumbersome. Here’s how it’s done in Snow Leopard:

Open a PDF.

Expose the Sidebar.

Drag the PDFs you want to include in the Sidebar area.

Note B: The PDFs all retain their name in the Sidebar (contrast with Note A).

Select all but one of the PDFs in the Sidebar.

Drag and drop the selection into the unselected PDF recipient.

Note C: You only get one chance at this or you’ll need to start over. You can only drop one set of PDFs onto the recipient.

Note D: After doing so, the recipient icon changes to include a Binding Comb on the left edge. Moving the arrow cursor over the combined PDF exposes a circle-left-turn arrow on the right edge.

Save or Save As the PDF. VoilĂ  – one PDF.

[From Snow Leopard Changes Preview’s “Combine PDF” Behavior «]

Monday, December 14, 2009

Guide to Cleaning Your Mac

Here's what you do when the little air can isn't enough...

But sometimes a bit of compressed air isn’t enough. So, here is our guide to cleaning everything from mice to laptops.

[From Complete Guide to Cleaning and Disinfecting Your Mac ]