ATV 4 Apple TV HD image is faded; washed out; no contrast; foggy… a fix?

My Apple TV 4 (ATV4) hooked up to a 4K TV looked like everything was filmed thru fog. “Shot through scrim” as they say. No contrast, no vibrancy.

Well, looking around, as you likely have, this is hardly uncommon.

I tried the whole range of adjustment, (as you likely have) without any luck.

Last night I figured out what it was.

Now, I’m not saying this will fix yours, but I -am- pretty sure that this is at least the gist of the problem, and perhaps armed with that, you can apply this to your particular setup.

My setup runs the ATV4 in to a Sony AV amp and out to the input HDMI on my TV. This allows me easy switching of my Tivo, ATV4, DVD player and Xbox.

The issue is HDMI itself, and how Apple vs your TV (vs your AV unit if you have one) implements it. HDMI is (at least in part) the industry’s attempt to keep you from playing pirated video (among other “safeguards”.) To this end, it isn’t a “simple pipe” of the audio/video signals, but a sophisticated chit-chat, where one component talks to the other and even coordinates how things will work.

Well, when that coordination isn’t just right, you end up with famous foggy picture: no contrast; washed out color etc.

My amp has a buried setting for each HDMI input. (I’m suggesting here that your TV may have this too, so keep reading.)

My amp had a setting for “standard” HMDI input, and “enhanced” input (ie 4K/HDR). If memory serves, my setting was, in fact, “enhanced.” But I decided to check the inputs for my other devices, and did find one set for “standard.”

What all this mucking about did however was this: it lead me to go to the HDMI input for my ATV4, and toggle it; to switch it to “standard” and back again to “enhanced.” When I did that, the TV screen went black and then came back…

… in Glorious Color! The fog was gone!

So that toggle caused  the “chit chat” between devices to start over, and reset things properly. THAT is what I discovered, and which I hope will apply to you as well. See if your AV-amp has similar settings. If you don’t have an AV-amp in the circuit, and you’re going from your ATV4 right to the TV, then see if you TV has an HDMI setting that makes a distinction between the quality/type of incoming signal (my “standard” vs “enhanced”.)

In fact, some TVs have a single specially marked HDMI input for HDR/4K.

Finally, before you do all this, here’s the other important thing I learned: mucking about with the ATV4 settings breaks this delicate balance, so set your ATV -first- and then leave it alone.

The new OS allows you to choose “automatic dynamic range” or “original dynamic range” (aka “as shot’.) Choose the latter. Do NOT choose automatic range. Then quit messing with it.

NOW you can try what I’ve described above:
1) setup your ATV4 and leave it alone.
2) if you have it, set your amp or tv to “enhanced” (or the equivalent) mode for that input. (Perhaps that means choosing the “enhanced” input for your cable. )
3) Do what it takes to “toggle” that so the devices are forced to reset their communications. (Unplugging and replugging it? I dunno, that’s not how mine works, so I can’t testify to that bit.)

I’m no guru on this stuff, and don’t blame me if you try this and your TV vanishes in a puff of smoke…I’m just sharing what worked for me, and why I think it worked.

Good luck to you!

Permissions “fetching…” – the FIX!

Permissions: “fetching…” the fix.

So you’ve checked your permission on a problematic file, and discovered that that first entry is for a user named “fetching…”

More than a little trouble, especially if you just migrated 1.2 million files from one machine to another.

You can’t move or delete almost anything at all without having to enter your password. Here’s the problem: permissions are read in order, and if the first one (fetching…) can not be found, things get wonky.

The are a number of extremely tedious fixed out there on the font-of-all-wisdom (the internet) but wouldn’t a simple quick fix be nice?

Here it is:
The files are trying to access a user who no longer exists on your machine. The user is recognized by his/her “UID” number.

The fix is simple: create a new user with the correct (missing) UID.

Here’s how to do that:

First, you need an example of an affected file with the corrupt preferences (where the top preference name is “fetching…”)

Open the terminal and enter

ls -le (drag affected file here)

You entry might then look similar to this

ls -le /Volumes/Data/wonkyfile.txt

Hit enter, and the resulting line will look similar to this:

-rw-r–r–@ 1 501 staff 11522 Apr 17 11:14 /Volumes/Data/wonkyfile.txt

where the 501 (or whatever number it is, let’s call it NNN) is the first listed permission and therefore IS the UID that is “fetching…”

You’re done in the terminal.

Visit system preferences/ users & groups

unlock the padlock, and click the + button to create a new admin user with password. Might name it FixFetch, for example.

When done, contol click on the new fixfetch user in the “other users” listing in the left-hand column, and select advanced options.

BINGO! There’s the UID assigned to “fixfetch”. Replace whatever the number is with NNN, that you found in the terminal.

You’re done. All those “fetching…” names in preferences will now be “fixfetch” and your problems have vanished.

Done.

USB device won’t mount? Is your hub powered or not?

Here’s something I just discovered. Maybe it’s “old news” or maybe it’s “just me” but FWIW

Based on my own experience, there is a subtle difference between powered and unpowered USB 3.0 hubs: sometimes a powered-hub device is not recognized.

Specifically I have an external USB 3 trayless enclosure that I use for swapping in/out bare drives for backups and so on.

My process is, with the enclosure powered off, I insert a drive. Power it on; wait for the drive to appear on the desktop; use it; eject it; and power off the enclosure before removing the drive. Wash, rinse, repeat.

The enclosure was been plugged into a powered USB 3 hub, and that “mostly” worked. But many times, I’d insert a drive and power up the enclosure and the disk never appeared on the desktop. Unplugging and replugging the hub caused things to work again.

I noticed something similar with USB flash-drives (sticks) as well, when used with powered hubs, so it’s not just this one enclosure.

A few days ago, I switched to an UN-powered hub… and everything “just works” now.

I suspect that a powered hub may present a unchanging signal of some kind to the device, and that in turn prevents a new device from being recognized. Perhaps the continual power makes it difficult for the system to recognize that the device has been -removed- instead. I dunno, but I do strongly suspect that something like that is going on.

Devices that do -not- have their own power switch/supply seem to have no problems at all with a powered hub.

As usual: YMMV.

Tracy
www.valleau.art

Tired of trying to remember passwords?

Tired of trying to remember website passwords? Does the thought of long, complex passwords intimidate you? Are you using “IL0VeYou” as your main password? Does the thought of a different password for every site bring up images of the Spanish Inquisition?

How would you like to be able to choose (say) your banking website from a menu, and never have to enter your name and password? How would you like to have impossible-to-crack unique passwords for every single site, and -never- have to remember any of them?

Sound like magic? Too good to be true?

Nope. It’s available now, both in free and paid configurations. It’s software called a “password manager.” Once you start using this kind of software, the -only- password you’ll need is the one that unlocks your account with it. From there on, it’s all automatic.

For example, when I want to log into The Center for Photographic Art website, I just choose it from a bookmark, as usual, but the software remembers my name and password and fills it all in for me. Even better, the software will come up with passwords the bad-guys will never break, like “bjTArzcU4{73Ud28xDUgM”. Of course I can’t remember that, but the point is I don’t have to remember it: the password manager software remembers it for me, and fills it in when it’s needed.

Stolen and hacked passwords are a reality. I’ve lost money because some of mine ended up in the hands of evil dudes.

Here are links to both free and paid password managers for both Mac and PCs.
If you are not using one of them… why?

Top two recommended first in most lists:

LastPass. Free and paid.
https://www.lastpass.com/
and
1Password. Paid (with free trial)
https://1password.com

Dashlane. free and paid
https://www.dashlane.com

RoboForm. paid
https://www.roboform.com/

Sticky Password. free and paid.
https://www.stickypassword.com/

___________________________________________

Finally…

Want to see if your password has been stolen? Visit here:

https://haveibeenpwned.com/Passwords

Want to see if your email address is well known?

https://haveibeenpwned.com/

Safari won’t play some videos

 

If you are using a recent version of Safari web browser, you’ll notice that some videos will not play. This is true not just on one site, but on all sites that embed videos. Here’s the fix:

The problem with videos is a “feature” of Safari. The recent versions have autoplay turned off.

To fix it, visit the site where the video will not play.
Under the Safari menu in the upper left of your screen, select “Settings for this website…”
Click the dropdown next to “Auto-play” and choose: Allow All Auto-Play.

 

Moving away from webmail and/or archiving your emails

On using email:

Today I was backing up my server, and noticed that some clients have over 1 Terabyte of email.

Honestly, I’m surprised their email has not slowed to a snail’s pace, and been kicking up all kinds of errors.

What happens is this: every email you get is stored on the host’s email server. If you don’t do something about it, you can end up with 15, 20, or 30 THOUSAND emails, and each time you log in, they ALL have to be accessed; each time you search, they ALL have to be searched.

Things just plain bog down. At some point, you’ll end up getting a warning notice from the host to “clean out the stables.” Automatic mechanisms take over from the ISP and move older email out.

Here’s how you to get around that; how to archive and backup emails; how to move them from the server to your computer: Use an Email Client.

Unfortunately, if you are accessing your email ONLY by webmail (using your bowser) then you’re in trouble: your only option is to -delete- old emails, losing them forever. In some states, that is, in fact, illegal for businesses.

If you use an email client…

With an email client, the process is -extremely- simple: drag the emails from your INBOX to a mailbox -on your computer.- Yep: that’s it.

In fact, with an email client, you can automate this using “rules” (aka “filters”) so that emails that meet any given criteria you choose, can be routed directly to your chosen mailbox on your computer. That way you never have to worry about the server filling up with old, outdated emails.

If you use webmail exclusively…

If you use webmail because it keeps others out of your email, you’re still doing it the hard way, not to mention permanently stuck deleting, instead of backing up and keeping archives of your correspondence.

I >strongly< recommend you set up an email client on your computer instead of using your browser.

You can still create password protected email boxes using the client.
This will allow everyone to use the same computer for everything, >except< email.

If you want to protect more than just email; if you want only some things on a single computer available to only some few people, the process is to set up separate users. All modern operating systems, Windows and MacOS, offer the ability for separate users to have completely independant environments on a single computer.

But, if ALL you care about is email, then create a separate profile for each user in Outlook. Functionally, this exactly the same as you are doing now with webmail: signing IN, and then signing out.

Once you are using Outlook or Thunderbird or whatever client you choose, you’ll find organizing, tracking, replying and so on are MUCH more elegant and useful… and you can automate your archives.

For example, I have every single non-spam email I’ve ever gotten going back to 1993, and it’s all automated!

Here is how to do it on a Windows system, using Outlook:

___________________________________________

If the user needs to share a common desktop, then the best way is to create multiple Outlook profiles and then configure them with different email accounts. The user has to setup a password for the PST files within their profiles, so that other users would not access them.

Refer to the following article ‘How to create and configure an email profile in Outlook’ and check if it helps:

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/829918

To setup a password for the Outlook data file, refer to the following link:

http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/outlook-help/set-a-password-to-help-protect-your-outlook-information-HA102749452.aspx

The other work around is to setup/create multiple Windows user accounts for the users on the computer and then configure their respective email accounts in Outlook. In that way each user would only have access to their own User profile.

To create additional Windows user accounts, you may refer to the steps mentioned in the following article:

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2782153

fixing the color on Roku TV : the TCL49S403

The TCL49S403 Roku TV is a heck of a deal for less than $340: 4K and almost 50″.

But it comes with flaws. First is the limited viewing angle: you need to be sitting nearly  directly in front of it to get any pop to the image at all. 30 degrees off center, and the picture quality goes to hell.

There is nothing that can be done about that – it’s in the hardware.

And second,  the color is, shall we say, less than spectacular out of the box. And the build-in controls don’t do much to help it. 

The color was “adequate” (the most commonly used word in reviews) but that was about it. And my 4K Apple TV was pretty much terrible (a big idappointment because that is why I bought the TV in the first place!)

But I’m not here to bitch – I’m here to serve. I got my Roku  TV serving up splendid colors, and I’m a happy camper.

To do that, I had to choose some unusual settings from the TV menu, and then (the real secret) use the advance settings which are only available from your Roku App on your phone!

One of the nice  features of the TV is that these setting can apply independently to each of the HDMI ports, so you can have unique settings for each of your devices.

I’m not saying that -my- settings will match -your- hardware, but I’m pretty sure they will set you off in the right direction

HDMI 1 (My Tivo box)

Brightness-brighter
PICT mode – sports
Gamma – 2.2. (2.4 is a bit too dark)
Noise reduction – off
Color temp – cool
Dynamic contrast – off
Backbite – 100
Brightness – 50
Contrast – 95
Sharpness – 60
Color – 65

HDMI-2. Apple TV

Brightness-brighter
PICT mode – bright hdr
Gamma – 2.4*
Noise reduction – off
Color temp – normal*
Dynamic contrast – off
Backbite – 100
Brightness – 50
Contrast – 95
Sharpness – 82*
Color – 69*

 

NOW… on your iPhone, first select the HDMI input  your’re going to adjust, and then try these settings in the 11-point color secction:

20 x 15 x 20. (Normal)
25-25-25. Cmyk

In short, you’re bumping up the color intensity by those percentages.

 

I bumped up the “Custom” setting in CMYK, and chose that for my Apple TV, and bumped up the “Default” setting by 20-15-20. (It was a little too green for my taste, hence the 15.)

I hope this helps someone else as much as it has helped me.

Print to PDF: Command-P Command-P

Yup: two command-P’s in a row, and you’re printing to a PDF. No more hunting thru menus!

Cool!     How?

You have to put in some effort one time. Here’s what you do:

Just add the second command-P as a short-cut:

System prefs/ keyboard / shortcuts / App shortcuts / +

You have be -exact- when adding it, caps, ellipsis and all:

Save as PDF…

that is … and not three periods . . . 

Use option semicolon.

Where did my disk space go?

There are lots fo reasons for missing disk space; most are well known.

Here’s one that I’ve just found and have not seen elsewhere.

 

I have 10 volumes I keep mounted (boot drive; photo work; video work; programming; data and so on) and a couple of shelves of bare drives I use for backup of all that, popping them into an external hot-swap enclosure as needed.

If any of that looks like what you do, then (based on yesterday’s experience) here’s a quick and simple check you might want to make.

Using Pathfinder (or however you make invisible files visible in the Finder – or the terminal if you prefer) visit the “Volumes” directory at the root level of your hard drive. (No: “Go” won’t suffice.)

What you should see there is a symlink to your boot drive and N number of aliases to other volumes you may have mounted.

What you should NOT see there actual folders which bear the name of your backup drive(s). If you see that, then the backup went to your boot drive, and not to the external drive you expected to use as the destination.

Until I discovered this “little issue” I was wondering where a significant chunk (113 GB) of my boot-drive space went.

Just “sharing” like a good Californian. 🙂