fixed : convert video for WhatsApp

Question :

I have a short video file (a movie clip) that I want to share with my friends on WhatsApp. When I drag&drop it into the WhatsApp.app in macOS, the file appears to start uploading… but when done, there is no preview shown and no Play-button, just a file icon… as if it were an unknown or incompatible type of file…

What can I do to fix this ?

Answer :

Before uploading your video file to WhatsApp, you must make sure your video file meets WhatsApp’s file requirements :

  • video format preferably MP4 in H.264 or MPEG-4 codec ( MKV, AVI or 3GP will also do )
  • audio format preferably AAC ( or AC3 codec )
  • file size smaller than about 16MB ( in reality even 18MB might be okay )
    • usually, this means your movie clip will be about 90 seconds, but by tweaking the display size and the frame rate ( fps ) you can even squeeze 3 minutes or more into about 16MB

Do this to check your video’s specifications :

  • right-click ( CTRL-click ) on the movie clip’s icon
  • select “Get Info” from the popup-menu
  • in the window that opens, check these :
    • the file name either has the “.mov” or “.mp4” file extension
    • at “Size:” less that 18MB should be listed
    • at “Codecs:” either “H.264” or “H.264, AAC” is listed

If these are all okay, you should be able to just drag&drop the movie clip into the macOS WhatsApp.app.

If not, you will have to convert the movie clip. To do this conversion, do this :

  • first, download the FREE OmniConverter.app ( by 7littlemen ) from the Mac AppStore :
  • then, open the OmniConverter.app and click on “Convert Video” from the list on the left
  • then, drag&drop your movie clip file onto the OmniConverter window
  • now, at the right of the arrow (in the middle), check if “MP4” is listed and the file size is less than 18MB
    • if you do not see “MP4” listed at the right of the middle arrow, click the Format-button
      • in the window that opens, select the “Device”-tab
      • then, select “iPhone” from the list on the left
      • then, select the “iPhone HD” option
      • now, click the Confirm-button
    • if you see a file size larger than 18MB listed at the right of the middle arrow, click the Edit-button
      • in the window that opens, at “Video”>”Encoder:” select “H.264”
      • and at “Audio”>”Encoder:” select “AAC”
      • leave the rest as is and click the Confirm-button
  • back in the Convert Video window, click on the Start-button ( circled arrow icon, at the right )
  • now, wait for the conversion to complete
    • if the file size already was less than 18MB, you’re usually okay and you will not need to do extra compression
    • if the file size was over 18MB, do this :
      • open the OmniConverter.app and click on “Compress Video” from the list on the left
      • drag&drop the .mp4-video you’ve just converted onto the OmniConverter window
      • check if the file size listed at the right of the arrow (in the middle) is less than 16MB
        • if so, click the Start-button on the right
        • if not, click the Edit-button (below the arrow)
        • in the window that opens, set the “Quality:”-slider in-between “Mid” and “High”, set “Resolution:” to “720P” and set “Frame Rate:” to “24 FPS”
        • if at “Size:” it now says anything less than 16MB, click the Confirm-button
        • if at “Size:” it says anything over 30MB, set “Resolution:” to “480P”
        • if at “Size:” it says anything between 20MB and 30MB, set the “Quality:”-slider to “Mid”
        • now, if at “Size:” it still says anything over 18MB, start tweaking the available settings until at “Size:” it says about 15MB ( see how much the file size decreases when you tweak each setting to find the optimal combination of settings )
        • when done, click the Confirm-button
      • now, in the “Compress Video” window, click the Start-button
      • …and wait for the compression to finish

After the file conversion, drag&drop the converted movie clip into the WhatsApp.app to share it with your friends…

That’s it !

enjoy πŸ˜‰

fixed : convert old .flv movie files to .mp4 for free

Question :

I’ve found this old Flash videos (in .flv format) on an old hard disk and I want to play them on my Mac / iPhone, but QuickTime gives a “The document could not be opened”-error, stating “The file isn’t compatible with QuickTime Player.”

Is there a simple way to convert them to a video file format that QuickTime can handle (preferably .mp4) ?

Answer :

Yes, there is : the FREE Smart Converter app can do this for you very easily. Just do this :

  • open the SmartConverter.app
  • when the Smart Converter window opens, drag&drop the .flv-video file that you want to convert onto it
  • then, click the Mac-button (in-between the QuickTime and iPad buttons)
  • then, click the blue Convert-button (bottom right) and wait for the conversion to finish
  • then, after noticing that the blue Convert-button has changed into a blue ShowFile-button, click on it
  • in the Finder-window that opens, click on the converted video file (that now has an .mp4 file extension) and it will open in the QuickTime Player app

That’s it !

enjoy πŸ˜‰

fixed : delete an old TimeMachine-backup file from a Time Capsule

Question :

I’ve bought a new MacBook and I want to use my existing Time Capsule for it’s TimeMachine-backups, but it’s full. The backup-file, a .sparsebundle-file, from my previous MacBook that I am going to pass on to one of my children, is far too big.

I have installed my new MacBook from the old MacBook’s TimeMachine-backup, so I am not needing that backup again, but I want to make two new TimeMachine-backups as soon as possible : one for my new MacBook and one for the old MacBook right after my child starts using it.

But, I can’t seem to delete the old .sparsebundle-file from my Time Capsule completely… I’ve done several attempts, but I keep running into the same error message “The operation can’t be completed because some items had to be skipped. For each item, choose File > get Info, make sure “Locked” is deselected, and then check the Sharing & Permissions section. When you are sure the items are unlocked and not designated as Read Only or No Access, try again.”. On first sight, the .sparsebundle-file is still there. On further inspection, it turns out the the .sparsebundle-file has shrunken in size.

But… what can I do to completely delete the old .sparsebundle-file ?

 

Answer :

This problem can occur especially with bigger and older .sparsebundle-TimeMachine-backup-files. Note that the really new TimeMachine-backup-files have a .backupbundle-extension, not a .sparsebundle-extension, but there is hardly any difference

To be able to delete the old .sparsebundle-file, start by doing this :

  1. connect your new MacBook to the Time Capsule using a UTP/Ethernet-cable
    • make sure to shut off AirPort/WiFi on your MacBook :
      • in the top menu-bar, click on the AirPort/WiFi-icon (the piece of pie)
      • in the pulldown-menu, set the WiFi-slider to OFF
    • if you do not have an Ethernet-port or a USB-to-Ethernet-converter on your MacBook :
      • connect your MacBook to the Time Capsule using AirPort/WiFi
      • but make sure to disconnect all other AirPort/WiFi-connected devices
  2. Make sure that your Time Capsule has the latest firmware installed :
    • goto Applications > Utilities > AirPort Utility
    • open AirPort Utility
    • in the AirPortUtility-window, click on your Time Capsule’s picture
    • when prompted, enter the Time Capsule’s password
    • in the popup-window, at ‘version’ check if there is an update available
    • if so, click on the button to install it
    • if just the version number is shown, you already have the latest firmware installed, so you don’t need to do anything extra here
    • exit AirPort Utility
  3. Make sure that you have read&write-privileges on the .sparsbundle-file you want to remove :
    • right-click ( CTRL-click ) on the Finder-icon (blue-grey face icon) in the far left of the Dock
    • from the popup-list, select New Finder Window
    • scroll down to the “Locations” group in the menu list at the left and click on “Network”
    • in the window that opens, goto Network > Time Capsule
      • if you have multiple Time Capsule devices, make sure you select the Time Capsule that the .sparsebundle-file you want to delete is actually on
    • if it says “Not Connected” click the “Connect as”-button and typ the Time Capsule’s password
    • if it says “Connected”, you’re good
    • open the Data folder and right-click ( CTRL-click ) on the TimeMachine-backup-file you want to delete
    • from the popup-menu, choose Get Info
    • in the Get Info window that opens, choose these settings :
      • uncheck the check-box at “Locked” (so the file is unlocked, i.e. delete-able)
      • uncheck the check-box at “Hide extension” (so the .sparsebundle extension will be visible in the file name)
      • at “Sharing & Permissions” set Privilege for “everyone” to “Read & Write”
    • close the Get Info window

Having set the above, there are various options that might enable you to delete the old .sparsebundle-file (or .backupbundle-file). Your options are listed below, from simple to extreme. Read all of them before starting, and choose the option you want to try first. Any of these might be successful, and if the one you chose first doesn’t work, just try another one.

Option #1 : delete the .sparsebundle-file from within the Finder

  • goto Finder > New Finder Window
  • goto Locations > Network > Network > Time Capsule > Data
  • right-click ( CTRL-click ) on the .sparsebundle-file you want to delete
  • from the popup-list, select “Move to Bin”
  • wait for the “Move to Bin” action to complete
  • if it doesn’t end in an error, empty the bin/trash (and you’re done)
  • if this ends in an error, try any of the other options

Option #2a : additional TC reset

  • restart your Time Capsule by unplugging the power cable for 30 seconds
  • plug the power cable back into the Time Capsule
  • when the Time Capsule comes back online, follow the directions from Option #1

Option #2b : additional Mac reset

  • shut down your Time Capsule by unplugging the power cable (for 30 seconds)
  • shut down your MacBook by selecting Shut Down from the Apple-menu top-left
  • plug the power cable back into the Time Capsule
  • restart your MacBook by pressing the power button
  • when both your Time Capsule and your MacBook have restarted, follow the directions from Option #1

Option #2c : additionally disconnect other devices

  • shut down your Time Capsule by unplugging the power cable (for 30 seconds)
  • now, disconnect all UTP/Ethernet-cables leading to other devices than your MacBook (you can even disconnect the cable connected to your internet modem-router)
  • shut down your MacBook by selecting Shut Down from the Apple-menu top-left
  • plug the power cable back into the Time Capsule
  • restart your MacBook by pressing the power button
  • when both your Time Capsule and you MacBook have restarted, goto Applications > Utilities > AirPort Utility
  • in the AirPort Utility window, click on the picture of your Time Capsule, typ your password if needed and check which devices are connected
  • then, one-by-one go to each device listed and shut down it’s WiFi-connection
  • when done, close the AirPort Utility application and reopen it
  • again, in the AirPort Utility window, click on the picture of your Time Capsule, typ your password if needed and check which devices are connected
  • you should now see no devices listed at “wireless clients” (except for your MacBook if you aren’t able to connect it using a UTP/Ethernet-cable)
  • then, follow the directions from Option #1
  • NOTE : do not forget to plug all UTP/Ethernet-cables back into your Time Capsule and switch on WiFi on all devices that were previously connected

Option #3 : by backing up the Time Capsule content

  • NOTE : you will need a Mac-connectable external USB-harddisk for this ! (at least as many GBs as the internal HD of your Time Capsule, so 500G, 1TB, 2TB, 3TB of larger)
    • to check if the USB-harddisk is Mac-connectable, plug it into your Mac and if it pops up you’re okay
    • if it doesn’t show up, it’s a Windows NTFS-disk that needs to be reformatted to Mac Journailed format ( note that this erases all content, so ONLY reformat it if it’s an empty brand-new external harddisk ! )
  • NOTE : this method will work 99% of the time, but it will probably take (far) more time than any other method
  • start by connecting the external USB-harddisk to your Time Capsule’s USB-port
  • then, on your MacBook, goto Finder > New Finder Window
  • then, in the top menu-bar, goto Finder > Preferences
  • in the Finder Preferences window, click the Sidebar tab
  • in the list that shows up, make sure that “External disks” and “Connected servers” are checked
  • then close the Finder Preferences window
  • now select the New Finder Window you had just opened
  • goto Locations > Network > Network > Time Capsule
  • next to the Data-folder, there is now a new folder named after your externe USB-harddisk
    • for the following, assume that your extern USB-harddisk folder is simply called “usb-HD”
  • goto Locations > Network > Network > Time Capsule > usb-HD
    • if the “usb-HD” folder is completely empty, you’re okay
    • else, click on the “More” icon (the circle with 3 dot in it) and in the dropdown menu click “New Folder” and call it “TC-backup”
  • goto Locations > Network > Network > Time Capsule > Data
  • inside the Data-folder select all files (both backup-files and other files) that you DO NOT want to delete
  • drag&drop all the files into Locations > Network > Network > Time Capsule > usb-HD
    • it may take some time for all files to copy over, so let it run
    • if you run into an error, try copying over every file one-by-one
    • if you still run into an error, just try again
  • when all files are copied over, you can unplug the external USB-harddisk from your Time Capsule
    • as an extra safety precaution, you can unplug the power cable from your Time Capsule before you unplug the USB-cable and replug the power cable when the external USB-harddisk is disconnected
  • then goto Applications > Utilities > AirPort Utility
  • open AirPort Utility
  • in the AirPortUtility-window, click on your Time Capsule’s picture
  • when prompted, enter the Time Capsule’s password
  • in the popup-window, click the Edit-button
  • in the window that opens, select the “Disks”-tab
  • in the Disks window, click the “Erase Disk”-button
  • next, choose the level of security for the erase (“Quick Erase” should do fine, since you are going to use the disk for the same purpose immediately afterwards)
  • then click “Update” and the Time Capsule’s status light wil flash orange-yellow until the disk is erased and the Time Capsule is accessible again
  • then, exit AirPort Utility
  • goto Locations > Network > Network > Time Capsule > usb-HD or Locations > Network > Network > Time Capsule > usb-HD > TC-backup (depending on where you put your Time Capsule back-up files)
    • if you don’t see the “usb-HD” folder, make sure your external USB-harddisk is plugged back into your Time Capsule
  • now, select all files from the back-up folder (either “usb-HD” or the “TC-backup” folder within it)
  • drag&drop all the files into Locations > Network > Network > Time Capsule > Data
    • it may take some time for all files to copy over, so let it run
    • if you run into an error, try copying over every file one-by-one
    • if you still run into an error, just try again
  • when the copying is finished, you should now have your Time Capsule the way you wanted it : exactly the same (backup) files on it’s disk, but without the .sparsebundle(s) you don’t need anymore

Option #4 : manually deleting all files inside

  • goto Finder > New Finder Window
  • goto Locations > Network > Network > Time Capsule > Data
  • right-click ( CTRL-click ) on the .sparsebundle-file you want to delete
  • from the popup-list, select “Open Package Content”
  • in the Finder window that opens click on the “bands” folder
    • if the “bands” folder appears empty, just wait a few moments for its content to appear in the Finder window
  • SHIFT-click on the top file and scroll down to select multiple files, then press the Backspace-button on your keyboard to delete them
    • you are able to select and delete up to 8000 files per batch (according to user ‘cmaryg’)
    • if a batch refuses to delete at the first attempt, just try again – usually it will eventually be deleted anyway (according to user ‘cmaryg’)
    • if a batch refuses to delete after a few attempts, reduce the number of files in it by selecting less files at once and try deleting again
    • if you happen to run into a single file that refuses to delete, do this :
      • right-click ( CTRL-click ) on the file
      • from the popup-list, select “Get Info”
      • in the window that opens, make sure that there is no checkmark at “Locked”
      • then try deleting the file again
  • then repeat this for the next batch of files, until the “bands” folder is completely empty
  • if the “bands” file is completely empty, close the Finder window that displays the “bands” folder
  • then, goto Finder > New Finder Window
  • goto Locations > Network > Network > Time Capsule > Data
  • right-click ( CTRL-click ) on the .sparsebundle-file you want to delete
  • from the popup-list, select “Move to Bin”
  • if it doesn’t end in an error, empty the bin/trash (and you’re done)
  • if this ends in an error, you can still try Option #3, but probably this will help too :
    • goto Locations > Network > Network > Time Capsule > Data
    • right-click ( CTRL-click ) on the .sparsebundle-file you want to delete
    • from the popup-list, select “Open Package Content”
    • in the Finder window that opens, select the top folder and drag it to the bin (trash)
    • repeat this for all folders listed
    • then, select the top file and drag it to the bin (trash)
    • repeat this for all files
    • if you run into a file that refuses to delete, do this :
      • right-click ( CTRL-click ) on the file
      • from the popup-list, select “Get Info”
      • in the window that opens, make sure that there is no checkmark at “Locked”
      • then try deleting the file again

That should be it !

As mentioned before : the Option #3 method will work (nearly) always, but it’s time-consuming and you will need a lot of extra disk space for it (on an external harddisk).

enjoy πŸ˜‰

Β 

fixed : quickly create GIF from QuickTime or MP4 video

Question :

For my social media I regularly want to create a .gif-animation from small clip out of an .mp4-video file that I have, but I don’t have a lot of video-editing skills or specialised software.

Is there a simple way to do this ?

 

Answer :

There are lots of ways to do this. And no video-editing skills are required to do the most basic, but with some editing you can quickly get better results.

I would recommend buying the $5 GIF Brewery 3 from the Mac AppStore and doing the editing in QuickTime (or iMovie).

The recommendations for a good GIF-animation for most social media are (suggested by .gif-database GIPHY) :

  • duration of about 6 seconds (shorter is better)
  • file size close to 8MB (smaller is better)
  • video resolution of 480 pixels (or 720 pixels maximum) on the shortest side (depending on either landscape or portrait view, or square, or any custom size)
  • total number of frames of 100 maximum (less is better)

If you just want to turn part of an existing video into a GIF, do this :

  • get GIF Brewery 3 from the Mac AppStore ( the $5 price tag is worth it if you plan on doing this more frequently )
  • first, open the video source in QuickTime.app
  • then, in the top menu bar, click on “Window”
  • then, in the pulldown menu, click on “Movie Inspector”
  • then, check out the number that is at “Encoded FPS” and remember it (you need this later)
  • then close QuickTime.app
  • now, open your source video in GIF Brewery 3
  • then, in the video slider below your video, slide the green slider to match the first frame of your desired GIF
  • and slide the red slider to where you want your GIF to end
    • click on the PLAY-button (black triangle left of the video slider) to preview your GIF
    • if the preview-length is not okay, readjust the green and/or red slider to improve your clip
  • now, in the editing window, click on the Resize-button top left
  • then, in the popup window, make sure “Maintain aspect ratio” is checked
  • then, move the Scale-slider until either Width or Height is 480px (if the clip size is less than 5 seconds, you could also stop the Scale-slider at 720px)
  • now, in the editing window, click the Settings-button top right
  • then, at “Frames Per Second” set the fps to match the “Encoded FPS” of the original video
    • again, click on the PLAY-button (black triangle left of the video slider) to preview your GIF
    • if the preview-speed is too slow, adjust the Speed-slider to a higher value (anything less than 110%, even 103%, will usually do)
    • if the preview-speed is too fast, adjust the Speed-slider to a lower value (anything over 95% will usually do)
  • then, make sure there’s a checkmark at “Optimize GIF colors”
  • then, adjust the ColorCount-slider to 48
    • again, click on the PLAY-button (black triangle left of the video slider) to preview your GIF
    • if the preview looks okay, leave the ColorCount-slider at 48
    • if the preview looks too dark or otherwise odd, adjust the ColorCount-slider to a higher value like 96, 128, 216 or 256, but make sure to set it as low as possible
  • then, click the “Create”-button (at the bottom, slightly right of the middle, with a beer glass in it) to generate the GIF
  • then, click on the Save-button (bottom right)
  • in the popup window, type the name you want your GIF to have, set the location where you want it stored and click the Save-button
  • then, browse the Finder to find the GIF’s icon and ALT-click on it
  • first, select “Get Info” from the popup menu and check if the file size is 10MB or less
    • if the file size is over 10MB, go back to GIF Brewery 3, lower at least one of the values you have set there and create an extra version of your GIF that has a file size of 10MB or less
    • as mentioned before, the main values you can adjust are :
      • Length of the clip
      • Scale / Resize (might make the picture more grainy)
      • Frames Per Second / FPS (might make motions less fluent)
      • Color Count (might make the colors less vibrant)
  • then, ALT-click on the GIF’s icon again and select “Open with” from the popup menu and select your internet browser (probably Safari) to preview the animated GIF
  • If you are happy with the end result, you are ready to post the GIF on your social media
    • if not… redo your editing and try again

That’s it !

enjoy πŸ˜‰

Β 

fixed : macOS Big_Sur installer hangs at 95%

Question :
I just downloaded the new macOS 11 Big_Sur on my Mac mini (2018) and started installing. But even though it said that installing would take about 28 minutes, it’s now about 40 minutes and the installer hangs, the screen is black with just the white Apple-logo and an installer bar that hangs at about 95%.

What can I do ?

 

Answer :

Just wait for about 15 to 20 minutes more, and it might just finish the last 5% of the installing process. If it doesn’t, press the power button on your Mac mini until it shuts down completely. Then, restart your Mac mini by pressing the power button again.

Note : this will probably work for any Mac, but it has been tested only on Mac mini (2018).

That’s it !

enjoy πŸ˜‰

Β 

fixed : edit Photos.app pictures in Photoshop

Question :

In iPhoto I used to be able to edit my pictures in Adobe Photoshop. In the current Photos.app it automatically opens the built-in editor that can’t do everything I’m planning to edit (like cutting out or blurring out some parts of the picture). And when I click on the ‘Other…’-button (the circle with 3 dots in it – inbetween the Info-button and the Heart-button) I do get some editing options like Markup and searching the AppStore to find an editing app, but Photoshop isn’t listed… even when clicking “Manage…” there’s no way of adding Photoshop…

What is the easiest way to edit pictures from my Photos.app database in Photoshop ?

Answer :

The option to edit your Photos.app pictures directly in Photoshop is still available, but it’s somewhat hidden. To get it, do this :

  • in Photos.app select the picture you want to edit (if you are in the built-in editor already, click the Done-button top-right)
  • make sure the correct picture is shown enlarged, that the menu-list (Photos, Memories, People, Places, etc.) is shown at the left, and that the Edit-button is shown top-right
  • ALT-click on the picture (right mouse-click) and the popup-menu will be shown, then click on “Edit With”, then select Adobe Photoshop [ or goto the top menu-bar > Image > Edit with > Adobe Photoshop ]
  • so… the picture you want to edit will open in Photoshop, and you can edit it there
  • now, when you save the edited picture in Photoshop, it will be saved in Photos.app [ the version of the picture in Photos.app will be updated to the Photoshop-edited version ]

That’s it !

enjoy πŸ˜‰

fixed : quick slideshow of a folder of pictures

Question :
Someone sent me a bunch of photos that I need to review. I have them in a folder, but I don’t want to import them into Photos.app, Keynote or PowerPoint or even Preview.app to have a look at them and select the most important ones.

Is there any option or simple app to do this ?

 

Answer :

Yes there is, there is an option for this in macOS (and OSX) called Quick Look. In previous versions of OSX and Mac OSX the Quick Look option was visible in any Finder window as a ‘button with an eye icon on it’, in macOS it is slightly hidden in the pulldown menu that opens when you click the ‘button with a sprocket (gear) icon on it’.

There’s even a shortcut for this :

  • open a Finder window
  • open the folder with the photos in it
  • select the photos you want to review (hold the CMD-key while picking photos one-by-one, hold the SHIFT-key to select multiple photos in a row, or press the CMD + A key combo to select all photos)
  • then press the SPACEBAR to view all selected photos as a slideshow
  • or press the ALT + SPACE key combo to view all selected photos as a full screen slideshow
  • note : the file names are shown with each photo, so if you need to review and select photos you will know which photos you have chosen

That’s it.

enjoy πŸ˜‰

Β