Categories for OS X

CH340 Drama on OSX 10.12 Sierra 16A313a

After a recent update to my OS X Sierra, plugging in an Arduino clone suddenly caused a kernel dump on my macBook. I’m running the beta program and it didn’t give me a problem until this week. Something must have changed.

UPDATE: Yu Wang point me to a website that contains an updated CH340 driver that works with MacOS Sierra http://www.mblock.cc/posts/run-makeblock-ch340-ch341-on-mac-os-sierra

I traced the issue back to the CH340 driver, and it needs to be uninstalled.

  1. Open a terminal and type: cd /Library/Extensions/
  2. Verify that the .kext file is present: ls | grep usbserial.kext
  3. Output should be: usbserial.kext
  4. Then type: sudo rm -R usbserial.kext
  5. Verify that the .kext file has been removed: ls | grep usbserial.kext
  6. Output should be empty.
  7. After youshould remove the files stored in receipts folder: cd /private/var/db/receipts/
  8. Find the enties: ls | grep usbserial*
  9. Output should be: codebender.cc.ch34xinstaller.usbserial.pkg.bom codebender.cc.ch34xinstaller.usbserial.pkg.plist
  10. Remove each one of the files of the above list: sudo rm -r filename`

To verify that the driver has been successfully removed, go to System Information Panel, select ‘Extensions’, and sort by provider to quickly see what 3rd party drivers you have installed. After uninstall/restart I took the following screenshot.

macbook_pro

The wch usb driver has been removed and I can now safely plugin the device. It won’t be recognized by the OS but as long as it doesn’t crash my machine that’s fine.

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Rastering Autocad 2016 designs on OSX

For my simpit i designed several backlit panels that i wanted to engrave using the lasercutter at our hackerspace. To print with this lasercutter, i need to export my drawings, save it on a network share and then run VisiCut on a laptop running some Linux distribution. Even though all the fonts and files are there, the export of the DXF loses all the fine details of the font and line thickness. This is probably because i’m a total n00b with AutoCad and VisiCut. Searching on the ‘net the only solution was to vectorise the image on a Window edition of AutoCad (because that comes with the awesome text tools that aren’t available on the Mac edition of AutoCad). I have no Windows machine so that is an absolute no-go.

However I found a workaround to get the 100% spot-on engraving option of my design.

The trick is to print the design to PDF in AutoCad and save the PDF as bitmap to get the proper DPI:

  • Select the layers you want to engrave, either through a WBLOCK or direct from your main design
  • print it as PDF. Make sure you print 1:1 and that you paper size is large enough.
  • Then, on the Mac, open the .PDF with Preview,
  • Crop the image
  • Save As PNG. This will allow you to set the DPI of the target image (be blunt and just set it to 1000dpi or something).

Now, to laser-engrave our design you need to make sure that the scale is exactly right. VisiCut is a little pesky about opening bitmaps, but what I do is I open the DXF of the design, and then IMPORT an additional layer with the pre-rasterized bitmap I just saved. With a little adjustment, you can overlay the PNG on the vector file. When the scale is absolutely spot on you can delete the vector file.

Deleting photos in iPhoto

When you are browsing an iPhoto album and press `delete`, the picture is not deleted, but only removed from the album. This isn’t really helpful when you are trying to prune your photo albums.  Instead, you’d have to flag the photo, move to events or photos, find the flagged photo’s, and press delete again (simply selecting flagged doesn’t cut it). This is very tedious.

But I found the solution:

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Colonise for OS X

Colonise will convert comma-separated files to semi-colon separated files so they will play nice with Apple Numbers.

Get it here for free.

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