Thursday 15 October 2015

Adventures with The Captain

I have been running El Capitan for quite some time now and I have never encountered a single blip, even when running the various pre-release betas (plus the final released version) of BitPerfect v3.  None of our beta testers have reported any significant issues either.  Now, I’d be either a hopeless optimist or a fool if I thought that meant there would be no issues when the released version hits our 30,000+ user base.  And so it has proved.  There are some strange things happening with El Capitan.

First of all, it is clear that “strange things” are not afflicting everybody.  Far from it.  But as I try to track these problems down I am finding that some factors are cropping up regularly.

First of all, as best as I can tell, when you install El Capitan it comes with the latest and greatest version of iTunes as a default.  So if you upgrade OS X to El Capitan, you are going to have iTunes upgraded to (as of the time of typing this) whether you want to or not.  This means that many BitPerfect users are making simultaneous changes to both OS X and iTunes, usually a harbinger of adventures to come.

Another El Capitan oddity is that when BitPerfect pops open a Finder Window, it provides that window with a title, indicating what the purpose of the window is.  Unfortunately, El Capitan does not seem to want to display that information, so those windows can be quite confusing if and when they appear.

A third aspect of El Capitan appears to be that if you have remote folders that you mount during login (such as the music folders on your NAS), there are indications that these folders are being mounted later on in the login process than they were under previous versions of OS X.  This can cause problems in cases where BitPerfect is set to launch automatically during login.  BitPerfect may attempt to read the mounted folder during its launch process, and when it finds that the folder is not mounted there can be problems.  If you think you may be encountering this type of problem, e-mail me on the BitPerfect Support line.

Anyway, depending on what versions of OS X and iTunes you were running before the upgrade, and maybe the weather too, an upgrade to El Capitan will either go smoothly for BitPerfect or will leave you with problems.  I thought, therefore, that I might post an El Cap upgrade procedure that you could consider following, that would avoid most of the issues that I am at least aware of.  Here is what to do:

  1. If you have set up BitPerfect so that it starts automatically upon login, uncheck this setting.  We don’t want it to start up automatically for the time being.
  2. Now perform the El Capitan upgrade.
  3. When you have satisfied yourself that El Capitan is installed and working properly, launch iTunes.  In particular, make sure that if you have any external folders that contain music files, these have been successfully mounted and you can navigate to them in Finder.
  4. Open the iTunes Preferences Window.  In the Advanced tab, make sure the checkbox “Share iTunes Library XML with other applications” is checked.  This is important.  While you’re there, make a note of the location of your iTunes Media Folder.  You’ll need it later.  This will normally be something like “Users/MyUserName/Music/iTunes/iTunes Media”.  Your iTunes Folder location is the bit that precedes “/iTunes Media”.  Close the Preferences window.
  5. When you have satisfied yourself that iTunes is working properly, quit it.  Don’t just click on its red button, select “Quit iTunes” from the iTunes menu bar.  This is important.  FYI, you may notice that with this version of iTunes you will often see a dialog box appear during the quit process, saying “Saving iTunes Library”.
  6. Now launch BitPerfect.  One of the mysterious Finder Windows will open without anything to tell you what it is looking for.  What it wants is for you to navigate to your iTunes Folder.  This is the folder I mentioned in step 4 above.  In the example above, that folder would be “Users/MyUserName/Music/iTunes”.  Navigate to that folder and click on “Open”.  If the finder window doesn’t appear then you are probably one of the lucky ones that wouldn’t have had a problem in the first place.
  7. Now launch iTunes.  Wait for it to fully launch.
  8. In BitPerfect’s menu bar drop-down menu select “Change Music Directory”.  BitPerfect should spend a few seconds thinking about that, and then pop up an information box telling you that your music directory has been updated.  Press OK.
  9. If required, now is the time to re-set the setting you changed in section 1.
  10. Quit both BitPerfect and iTunes.  You are now ready to go.

If, after doing all that, you still encounter problems, please e-mail me on the BitPerfect Support Line.