Mac 911 - May 2007

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TiVo transfers

I adore the miraculous digital video recorder TiVo, but I’ve also been frustrated by the difficulty of moving programs from my Series 2 TiVo boxes to my Mac and iPod. Thankfully, the following tools have made the process a lot easier. (Regrettably, none of them works with Series 1 or Series 3 TiVos.)

Toast 8 Titanium TiVo’s long-promised Mac version of the TiVo2Go application is available only as a part of Roxio’s $100 Toast 8 Titanium and has been renamed TiVo Transfer. It works as advertised, easily finding your Series 2 TiVo recordings via Bonjour networking and downloading them to your Mac.

There, you can view them with Roxio’s Video Player. You can also bring these recordings into Toast to burn them to disc or export them to your iPod. The only hitch is that you can’t edit these protected videos to cut out commercials or any extra material at a program’s beginning or end. To do that, you need an additional tool.

TiVo Decoder Nik Friedman TeBockhorst’s free TiVo Decoder strips out the protection imposed by TiVo Transfer. Drag a program onto the TiVo Decoder AppleScript icon, and it’s converted into an MPEG-2 file. In my experience, these files won’t play or export properly with QuickTime Player. But they will play perfectly with VideoLAN’s free VLC Media Player.

Once you’ve used TiVo Decoder, bring the converted files back into TiVo Transfer by moving them to the TiVo Recordings folder in your user folder /Documents. Select one of these files within the TiVo Recordings area of the TiVo Transfer window, and click on the Toast It button. The TV program will appear in the DVD-Video area of Toast Titanium 8. In Toast, select it and click on Export. You can now export the recording in a format compatible with the iPod, as well as in a variety of other video formats. Then you can edit out the ads in QuickTime Pro Player or iMovie.

TiVoDecode Manager If that sounds like too much trouble, try David Benesch’s free TiVoDecode Manager. It can display and transfer recordings from networked Series 2 TiVos via Bonjour, and convert those recordings into MPEG-2 or MPEG-4 video files. You can edit that format in QuickTime Player Pro or iMovie.

[ Senior Editor Christopher Breen is the author of The iPod and iTunes Pocket Guide, second edition (Peachpit Press, 2007). ]

Bugs & fixes

FIX: Target Disk Mode Freeze If you have a 15-inch MacBook Pro or iMac from early 2006, you may find that it freezes in Target Disk Mode. Disconnect the target Mac and restart it to get everything working. To prevent the problem, install the latest firmware update for your Mac.

BUG: Streaming Music Drop-offs Has your local AirPort Express network become unusually slow? Does AirTunes’ streaming music periodically stop and start? If so, open the Network preference pane, select AirPort from the Show pop-up menu, and click on the TCP/IP tab. From here, click on the Configure IPv6 button at the bottom of the window. Select Off from the Configure IPv6 pop-up menu. Don’t worry, most users don’t need this option. Of course, if you are one of the few who do, this workaround won’t work. You’ll just have to wait for Apple to squash the bug.

FIX: Pro Application Crashes Several of Apple’s pro applications, including Aperture 1.5 (   ) and Logic Pro 7.01 (   ), may “unexpectedly quit” as soon as you launch them. If so, you probably installed either Pro Application Support 3.0 or 3.1, or both, before you updated to Tiger (OS X 10.4). The fix is to delete two items: a file called ProRuntime.pkg, in /Library/Receipts/, and a file called PrivateFrameworks/Pro-Kit.framework, in /System/Library/PrivateFrameworks/. Then reinstall Pro Application Support 3.1 for Tiger.

BUG: Photoshop Files Don’t Open Have you found that when you double-click on an Adobe Photoshop file (made in the CS or CS2 version), the application launches but the file doesn’t open? If so, try opening the file via the Open command in Photoshop’s File menu. To fix the problem, search your Previous Systems folder for a file called Adobe Unit Types. If you find it, copy it to the active /Library/ScriptingAdditions folder. If you don’t find the file, create a new folder called ScriptingAdditions in the /Library folder and then remove and reinstall Photoshop.

[ Senior Contributor Ted Landau is the founder of MacFixIt, a Web site devoted to reporting Mac problems and solutions. Got an issue to report? E-mail or post it in’s Mac 911 forum .]

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