Mac Tips

Using your soaring instruments (dumb devices) with a Mac computer can be frustrating but here are a few tips I have learned. CNII is ClearNav II, CNv is ClearNav variometer.

There are some issues with using a Mac style USB stick with these “dumb” devices (ClearNav, LXNAV, LX Navigation, FLARM, etc.). ClearNav is running windoze mobile or CE or something so it has all the eccentricities and pitfalls of any micro$oft device. LXNAV is running Linux I believe. Most thumb drives and SD cards come formatted correctly and most instruments require that the thumb drives be formatted in a particular way. FAT32 is common for drives that are 32GB or less and this is called MS-DOS (FAT) in the Mac Disk Utility program. ExFAT must be used for drives bigger than 32GB.

One thing that happens is that Mac USB sticks have hidden files on them which may cause problems with some soaring devices.  Every file you drag to the stick always has a matching hidden file with the same name but the name begins with ._ (dot underscore)

Soaring Instruments might see these files but the latest software versions just ignore them.  For instance, if you copy a waypoint file named waypoints.stx to a thumb drive or SD card a hidden file will also be created named ._waypoints.stx.  When you tell CNII to update the waypoints it will load BOTH files into itself and you will see both of them in the available waypoint file list.  Just ignore or delete the ._ version within the CNII.  LX devices seem to ignore these files.

I have been using a program on my Mac called Blue Harvest which deletes the hidden files on USB sticks. Sometimes it works but not always. The Mac puts folders named .Spotlight-V100 and .fseventsd on all drives. Also .trashes.  The dot at the beginning designates a hidden file or folder to the Mac but other devices can see them.

Another common issue is that you have downloaded a file for one of the dumb devices onto your Mac and it has a weird file extension not recognized by the Mac.  You should always “Get Info” on any file after you copy it to the USB stick to be sure it has the correct name and that the file extension is not being hidden by the Mac OS.  See the pic below. Sometimes the Mac will warn you if you try to change the file extension.  Some FLARM update files are downloaded from the internet with long file names. Sometimes it helps to reduce the file name to no more than eight characters before the “dot."

I have 3 USB sticks dedicated to updates of my FLARM, CNv and CNII.  I only use them for updating software, waypoints, SUA, Maps, etc.  For every day use I have another USB stick that has all the folders that CNII wants.  I use that same stick to download my CNv and FLARM flight logs because those other two devices don’t care about the folders on a stick.  In fact, they must have everything at the top level of the stick and they can’t see any folders.

CNv requires you to use a windoze program to configure it but after that you don’t need windoze.  I also carry a Nano 3 as a backup logger and it needs to run a windoze program to configure it as well.  I use a Mac program called Parallels with Windows 7 installed to run these configuration programs plus SeeYou to analyze flights, create tasks, manage waypoints, etc.  Parallels is not expensive but you have to install a proper legally obtained version of windoze in it.



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