Friday, April 27, 2018

HaiPad M701-R Firmware & Hacks


I bought a "Haipad" M701-R back in 2010, shipped directly from Shenzhen China, about a month before even the Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.0 was available.  For a no-name Android tablet it turned out to be surprisingly well built.  As I write this in April 2018 it's usefulness isn't so great, but it still works!

I used to run a user group over at AndroidTablets.net for this tablet.  But during one of the redesigns of their website the user groups were apparently eliminated - along with all that collected knowledge.  Now, only those things that were copied into the public forums survive...and what I archived offline.

I strongly recommend you use the custom MalaRom firmware on this tablet!  It is superior to any of the stock ROMs, 1.1.0 is already rooted and tweaked, and there is also an optional pack of drivers for almost any USB device Linux supports that will make the micro-USB port a lot more useful.  You can get MalaRom builds here:

http://www.michel-lange.net/tcc/

Be aware that Haipad sold this exact model number in both 2GB and 4GB versions with Samsung, Hynix, or Micron flash storage - so make sure you grab the correct version!  The ZIP should also contain the FWDN firmware flashing app (but it's Windows only).

If you're running one of the stock firmwares (there were about a dozen releases) you'll probably need to root and hack it. I've collected all the useful hacks for the Haipad M701/M701-R in one place so you don't have to hunt for them.

USING ANDROID DEBUG BRIDGE (ADB)

You will need the Android SDK from Google for these, so go get it here: http://developer.android.com/sdk/index.html

If you are using Windows you need to also get the USB Driver: http://developer.android.com/sdk/win-usb.html

HACK DRIVER android_winusb.ini FILE
You may have a problem getting the ADB Driver to connect to your tablet.  That is because the drivers from Google only support a small list of devices (all phones) and you need to add your tablet to that list!

1. Copy one of the existing sections with two parameters something like this:

;Moto Sholes
%SingleAdbInterface%        = USB_Install, USB\VID_22B8&PID_41DB
%CompositeAdbInterface%     = USB_Install, USB\VID_22B8&PID_41DB&MI_01

2. Paste it in between a couple of the other entries
3. Change the device name (";Moto Sholes" in my example) to ";Haipad M701"
4. Go to the device manager
5. Double-click on ADB (which should have an question mark next to it).
6. Select details.
7. From the dropbox select “Device Instance ID” and copy the VID and PID
8. Paste the VID & PID values into the entry you created
9. Either reinstall or update the driver
10. Open Console, cd to the SDK /tools folder and type "adb devices" (without the quotes) - your device should now show up as connected.  However it may show it as a gibberish-looking device ID instead of the name, which is normal.  I start every ADB session by first checking that I can connect to my device.

Things to keep in mind!
1. Back up your tablet if you can, any little mistake in ADB could brick it!
2. You MUST have changed directories into the SDK /tools/ folder to run ADB
3. When PUSHING files the first path is referring to your desktop computer, 2nd to the tablet
4. When PULLING files it's the other way around (and it has to be a directory you can write to)
5. You type [B]adb.exe[/B] on Windows and [B]./adb[/B] on Mac & Linux
6. The "#" hash sign indicates the shell prompt on the Android tablet, don't type it in.

ROOT YOUR TABLET
You need the "su" and "SuperUser.apk" apps.  SuperUser.apk is available from Market.  Google for "su" or download it from http://bit.ly/su2361ef (this may only be for Eclair, I'm not sure).

adb shell mount -o remount,rw /dev/block/mtdblock3 /system
adb push su /system/bin/
adb shell chmod 4755 /system/bin/su
adb push Superuser.apk /system/app/
adb shell reboot

Once Rooted, on the device you can enter the following in a terminal app to get "write" access to the file system:

mount -o remount,rw /dev/block/mtdblock3 /system

REMOVE CELL STANDBY SERVICE
A tablet is not a phone.  It doesn't have a cell radio.  Yet if the OS thinks it's a phone (because it is a phone OS) the cell standby service can drain your battery.  Best to get rid of it:

adb shell mount -o remount,rw /dev/block/mtdblock3 /system
adb shell mv /system/app/Phone.apk /system/app/Phone.OLD
adb shell mv /system/app/TelephonyProvider.apk /system/app/TelephonyProvider.OLD
adb reboot

(This technically doesn't remove it, you can always reverse the process and change the .OLD back to .apk and it will restore them - so it's easy to undo).  I just did this myself so I'll have to update this post when I know how much (if any) extra battery life I got out of it.

Also, put your tablet into "Airplane Mode" (Settings>Wireless>Airplane Mode) and turn off GPS (Settings>Location & Security>Use GPS satellites) since the tablet doesn't have a GPS module either.  Turning these things off can also help improve battery life, and you can still enable Wi-Fi while Airplane Mode is on.  You won't, however, be able to use Google Maps or Latitude - they require the GPS option be checked even if there isn't actually a GPS module and the apps are using wireless networks to find your location.

REMOVE EOE MARKET APP
If you don't intend to ever use the EOE Market for apps you may just want to get rid of it.  Here is how to do that:

adb remount busybox
adb shell
#rm /system/app/eoemarket.apk
#cd /system/bin
#sh pm uninstall com.eoeandroid.market
#sync
#exit
adb reboot




ABOUT GOOGLE APPS (GAPPS)
I've never been clear on whether Haipad paid the license to include Google's apps on this tablet or not, but the real problem is that Google Play Services, Play Store, Maps, etc. continue to increase inside and are very, very bloated compared to the versions originally installed on this tablet.  If you have the 2GB version of the tablet you probably won't be able to install anything else if you update the Google Apps to their last compatible versions.

Therefore I would recommend you de-Google-ify this tablet entirely and either download apps via the browser from some trustworthy website providing APK files (I would suggest https://www.apkmirror.com) or side-load the apps to the device instead.

UPDATE GOOGLE MAPS
You may have already found out you can't update Google Maps.  You first need to get rid of the pre-installed one:

adb remount busybox
#rm /system/app/Maps.apk
#cd /system/bin
#sh pm uninstall com.google.android.apps.maps
#sync
#exit
adb reboot

Now, go to Market and install the current version of Google Maps.  The newly installed one will be able to update normally.

Again, though, I'd recommend just uninstalling it and not reinstalling it at all.  This tablet doesn't HAVE a GPS chip in it, so the usefulness of the Maps program is questionable.

CHANGE BUTTON LAYOUT
I don't really advocate you do this, but some people want the buttons to do other things or want to swap around which button does what. 

I should start by mentioning there is one button alteration you can make without hacking system files or even needing a rooted tablet!

If you have the app "SpareParts" (either the ad supported or sdk version) on your tablet go to the "End Button Behavior" setting. You can change the behavior of the Top Left button to either "do nothing" (why?), "Go Home," "Sleep" (what it is already set to), "Go Home and then Sleep."

Now, if you want more control than that there are apparently TWO different files you have to change to reassign all three buttons:

/system/usr/keylayout/qwerty.kl
/system/usr/keylayout/telechips_keypad.kl

Just pull those with adb to your desktop, MAKE BACKUPS, and open them in a text editor.

The magic key scancode values are:
107 = Top Left
139 = Top Right
158 = Front

Some guides I found said you only need to change the first one, but to get it to work I had to change values in BOTH files so they matched.

As for changing short press and long press values, the long press functions are kind of paired up with a short press one as follows:

HOME | RECENT APPS
CALL | VOICE DIALER
SEARCH | VOICE SEARCH
MENU | SOFT KEYBOARD
SLEEP | SHUTDOWN (actually ENDCALL=SLEEP on this tablet)

So what you do is assign the short press function to a button and it automatically assigns the matching long press function as well. I found out that since Android 2.0 this isn't actually "hard coded" behavior, it can be programmatically over-ridden so apps can change what the buttons do while the app is in use. But if you want to change the default behavior to what you suggested it requires editing Framework files to change the pairings - which I'm not comfortable messing with.

So what I did was found the following lines in each .kl file:
key 107 ENDCALL WAKE_DROPPED
key 139 MENU WAKE_DROPPED
key 158 BACK WAKE_DROPPED

and changed them to:
key 107 MENU WAKE_DROPPED
key 139 HOME WAKE_DROPPED
key 158 BACK WAKE_DROPPED

Then I saved the files and pushed them back to the tablet with adb and rebooted.

In case you're wondering (I know I did) what the heck the "WAKE" and "WAKE_DROPPED" flags are all about, they refer to what happens to a button call when the device is already asleep. Does it wake up and send the command or does it wake up and drop the command? Most keycodes appear to be the latter.

Now the top left and right buttons actually match the little icons printed by them. But this creates a new problem - there's no button to properly shut the tablet all the way down! The easiest solution I could think of was to open a terminal and type:

reboot -p

Which, sure enough, shuts the tablet down instantly. The only way to turn it back on is to slide the on/off switch from off and back to on, which immediately begins booting the tablet BUT ONLY IF IT IS CONNECTED VIA USB TO THE DESKTOP! So if you make this hack you will only be able to let your tablet go to sleep when it's disconnected from the desktop.

Thankfully any button will wake it up if it goes to sleep. So it's just the shutdown that is annoying. If you want to put your SLEEP/SHUTDOWN back in just assign "ENDCALL" to your button of choice.

That's all there is to it!

Reference: http://www.androidtablets.net/forum/telechips-based/2212-need-help-rooting-changing-button-layout-m701-r.html#post12782

CHANGE REMOTE CONTROL BUTTON LAYOUT
If you have a M701-R and want to play with changing the button assignments on the Remote Control you can do that to:

pull /system/usr/keylayout/telechips_remote_controller.kl

save a backup copy. Open it in a plain text editor.

The currently assigned values will tell you which button goes with which number, for example here is my stock file:

Code:
key 1 POWER          WAKE
key 2 MUTE
key 3 MEDIA_REWIND
key 4 DPAD_UP
key 5 DPAD_DOWN
key 6 DPAD_LEFT
key 7 DPAD_RIGHT
key 8 DPAD_CENTER
key 9 BACK
key 10 MENU
key 11 HOME          WAKE
key 12 VOLUME_DOWN
key 13 VOLUME_UP
key 14 SEARCH
key 15 MEDIA_PLAY_PAUSE
key 16 MEDIA_PREVIOUS
key 17 MEDIA_NEXT
You can assign any valid values to those buttons, just like the hardware buttons. Might be confusing given how they are labeled on the remote, but if you're the only one using it you can customize the layout however you please (YAY!)

On a related note there is also an Audio/Video Remote Control Profile file (AVRCP.kl) which defines some remote control media operations. These are typically associated with Bluetooth devices (such as a set of headphones with ff/play/rw buttons) but is not limited to Bluetooth devices. These settings are repeated at the end of the the "telechips_keypad.kl" file, so I'm assuming if you change it in one you have to change it in the other for the new settings to take effect. I don't know, however, if these settings are for the tablet as a "control" or "target" device ("control" means the tablet controls other A/V devices, "target" means other devices control A/V on the tablet). It's also possible that this file is intended for Bluetooth devices, which this tablet can't actually use. If anyone wants to play around with the AVRCP stuff and find out you're welcome to it.

As long as I'm digging deep into the key layout files I may as well mention the "h2w_headset.kl" - it only has one button defined in it for a wired headset with a "call" button, which should wake up the tablet. I don't have a phone headset like that so I can't see if it works, but in theory you could assign the button to do anything you wanted.

Reference:  http://www.androidtablets.net/forum/telechips-based/2212-need-help-rooting-changing-button-layout-m701-r.html#post21977

FORGOTTEN SCREEN LOCK PATTERN RESET
If you have already set up a Google Account on your tablet and locked yourself out by forgetting the unlock pattern you should be able to get back in by attempting patterns six or more times in immediate succession - after which it should ask you to enter your Google Account (remember to put the @gmail.com on the end!) and let you in.  There is also an Unlock Page: https://www.google.com/accounts/DisplayUnlockCaptcha for Google Accounts (I don't personally know exactly how this works) but it's supposed to be an alternative if the device isn't asking for your account info.

Despite the fallbacks/safeguards it is still possible (especially on unofficial/unsupported devices like our tablets) to be locked out.  This is also the case if you bypassed the Google Account setup and subsequently locked yourself out of the tablet, which would have no Google Account associated with it yet.  Here is the possible fix over ADB (no guarantees this will work for you though):

1. Plug the tablet into the computer via USB and turn it on/boot it up.
2. Open a Terminal/Console and change directories to your Android SDK /tools/ folder.
3. Enter ADB commands.

adb -d shell
# sqlite3 data/data/com.android.providers.settings/databases/settings.db
   sqlite> update system set value=0 where name='lock_pattern_autolock';
   sqlite> .exit
# exit
adb reboot

If all went well the tablet should now boot WITHOUT the pattern lock enabled!

It will probably ask you for account info again like the first time it was booted. You can bypass that by pressing in all four corners in sequence upper left, upper right, lower right, lower left (if I recall correctly). Once into the tablet perform an actual factory data reset or it will pester you for setup info EVERY time you boot it. Go to Privacy>Factory Data Reset>Reset

Last resort is to reflash the tablet firmware, which will wipe out whatever is on it and let you start fresh.

WILL THERE BE FUTURE UPDATES?

No.  Most of the no-name Chinese tablets had little to nothing in the way of customer or software support after the sale.  The Haipad was the exception, by providing about a dozen firmware updates before they ended support.  Unfortunately Haipad ran into the same problem as custom firmware developers did - the South Korean chip maker Telechips wouldn't release their source code, so nobody could cook up any firmware for a later version.  Ok, I take that back, they did ultimately release the source code for a Honeycomb kernel on that chip, but nobody was ever able to successfully build from that source.  And it took a massive e-mail campaign and complaints about them not abiding by open source rules to get them to release anything.

So the lowly M701 tablets are forever stuck on Android "Gingerbread" and of the ROMs for this tablet the MalRom custom firmware remains the best.

WHAT GOOD IS THIS THING ANYWAY?

Well, the screen on it is pretty low-res but it doesn't hurt your eyes with terrible contrast or abysmal viewing angles, so it's ok as an e-reader, or for checking your POP/IMAP email, webmail, some web browsing (keeping in mind the browser is badly outdated and never got security patches).  It streams audio and video pretty well (considering it only has a 802.11/g wifi chip in it) and plays audio and video files from a micro-SD or USB flash drive quite well.  Combine that with the full high-def HDMI output and the infrared remote, and it's an okay way to get some digitized movies up on a TV screen without having to muck about with Airplay or Chromecast or Miracast.

The resistive (rather than capacitive) screen means you can use it with gloves on.  You can use any pointy thing as a stylus on the screen.  I used to have a sketching app called "Maple" on it and, so long as you're not expecting pressure sensitivity, it was ok for dashing off quick drawings.

What it's good for depends on what uses you might have for it, and what compromises you're willing to accept. ;)

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Stop Avid Composer Background Java Processes

Today I noticed in Activity Monitor that there were multiple “java” processes constantly running under both CPU and Network and wondered what they were.  Double-clicking to get info showed they were launched by “bash” and owned by "root."  That didn’t tell me much so I ran this command in the terminal:

sudo fs_usage -w -f filesys java

That gives you TON of info, but most importantly it revealed that it was Avid/EditorTranscode/rnc-central/lib/ and then a bunch of things after that.  I wasn’t using Avid, and hadn’t in a while, so why was it seemingly running a bunch of transcoding processes in the background!?

No idea.  But I wanted it to stop.  Since the processes were owned by “root” but there are no Avid launchers in System/Library/LaunchAgents or System/Library/LaunchDaemons I figured they were probably owned by "root" only because the system "bash" had been used to launch them.  That led me to look in Library/LaunchAgents or Library/LaunchDaemons (the "Library" folder that's at the root of the Mac drive, not inside "System").

There are some com.advid… plists with “transcode” and “editor” in the name set to “RunAtLoad” so I changed the <true> to <false> in these:

com.avid.interplay.editorbroker.plist
com.avid.interplay.editortranscodestatus.plist

Then, because I'm not using Avid's Cloud Service I didn't see any reason for it to be doing stuff either.  So I changed the “KeepAlive” to <false> for the Avid Cloud service too:

com.avid.transport.client.plist

That seems to have successfully killed all these java processes that were constantly running in the background.

I like Avid Composer, but I don't use it very often and I hate that it assumes you want it - and all its components - ready to go at a moment's notice so it keeps all these bits and pieces active in the background all the time.  It's obvious it's meant to be installed on a dedicated video editing workstation and not your everyday computer.

Monday, October 9, 2017

Soundflower No Audio [FIXED]



Like a lot of people I've been using Soundflower and Soundflowerbed forever to capture system audio on my Mac.  But it's not something I do very often so I didn't notice when some system update at some point broke it.

The original developer, Cycling74, handed it off to "Rogue Amoeba" which stopped developing the free, open-source "Soundflowerbed" app in favor of the proprietary pay "Loopback" app.  The free, open-source "Soundflower" driver (aka kernel extension) has continued being developed by Matt Ingalls.

Depending on what version of the Mac operating system you're using you might be able to still use the last release of Soundflowerbed (1.6.7) with the Soundflower 2.0b drivers.  But don't count on it.

The new, preferred method is to use the built-in "Audio MIDI Setup" utility (it's in your Applications/Utilities folder).

1. Click the [+] and create a "Multi-Output Audio Device"
2. Check the boxes for "Built-In Output" and "Soundflower (2ch)"
3. Set the Multi-Output Audio Device for your Sound Output (you can do this either in the MIDI utility or in the regular System Settings --> Sound --> Output control panel).
4. Set the "Soundflower (2ch)" as your Sound Input device.

Seems simple enough right?  Except no audio app would actually record the sound I was hearing!

I also tried creating a "Aggregate Device" in the MIDI Utility.  Unlike a "Multi-Output" you can select an "Aggregate Device" as an audio input source, so I created one of those with "Built-in Output" and "Soundflower (2ch)" checked.  Then selected it as the input source in my audio recorder and...nothing.  Didn't work.

After installing, uninstalling, reconfiguring, and trying everything in every troubleshooter or tutorial I could find online, fighting with this damn problem ALL DAY LONG then I stumbled onto this post: http://www.mac-forums.com/music-audio-and-podcasting/340016-solved-tricky-soundflower-giving-audio-quicktime.html

What the author of that says is they discovered that even though the Master and individual channel volumes in "Soundflower (2ch)" in the MIDI utility said they were turned up, they actually weren't!  The solution was to slide them down to nothing and then slide them back to the volume you wanted.

Somewhere behind the scenes this must write new values into a configuration file that, despite the appearance of the sliders in the Utility, were apparently actually set to nothing.

Once I slid them down and back up I was able to record system audio, while also monitoring what I was recording, just like I always have before.

You can still adjust the INPUT volume in the System Preferences --> Sound --> Input but when you select either a Multi-Output Audio Device or an Aggregate Device you lose the ability to adjust the sound OUTPUT with your volume keys or the menubar slider.  The MIDI Utility becomes the only place you can adjust the sound output.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

RE-Enable Old Default Clip Studio Materials in 1.6.7

When you install Clip Studio Paint 1.6.2 or 1.6.7 it will automatically disable all your previous default materials (that huge ZIP file you used to have to download separately and install manually) and automatically download the new default materials from their Assets “cloud” site.

Actually if the material file size is >250KB it will only download the thumbnail and overlay the “cloud” icon it, indicating you have to manually tell it download it.  However, that still means it automatically downloads a LOT of the materials with smaller file sizes.

That can be a significant problem for people who have limited internet bandwidth or low data caps on their internet service.

Ok, so how do you STOP it from disabling the materials you’ve already downloaded and installed, or at least RE-enable specific old default ones you already have?  Or make it not download everything from the cloud?

DISCLAIMER: you do this at your own risk, I make no guarantees, don’t expect Celsys or Smith Micro to help you fix it if you mess everything up.  Also keep in mind the old default 3D materials are also in a “legacy” format, while the versions from the Cloud may be in the “new” format (or will be updated to it sometime in the future).  For now that legacy format is still supported, but Celsys could drop support for them in a future release.


RE-ENABLE SPECIFIC OLD MATERIALS


Go to your “Local User” Materials folder:
/Documents/CELSYS/CLIPStudioCommon/Materials/Install/

You’ll have to drill down into each folder looking at the contents of “thumbnail” to find the material(s) you’re looking for.  When you do, one level up from the thumbnails is a file named “cloudSyncAlready” which you can open in a plain text editor.  It only has a “-1” in it.  Delete the minus sign so it just says “1” and save the file.  Repeat this process for every old Material you want to re-enable.

Open Assets app and run “Gear —> Maintenance Menu —> Organize Materials” and wait for it to finish.

Your old Material should now re-appear in your Materials list.

Note that many of them have EXACTLY the same names as the ones available in the Cloud, and if you also download the ones from the Cloud you’ll have no way (within the Materials list) to differentiate the two.


MAKING THEM PERSISTENT?


It is possible that a future update could re-disable them if they’re in the “Install” folder.  If you want to prevent that potentially happening you should drag them to your canvas and then use “File —> Register as Material” and re-register the material with a custom name or tag (something that will help you differentiate them from the originals).  They’ll be copied into a new User Material sub-folder (one of those ones with a number for a folder name like “56” or “94” etc.)  You can go ahead and delete the original ones from your Materials list in Paint if you want (note that doing so only deletes them from the Local User Materials folder, it does not delete them from the Global folder).

An update to the software should NEVER disable your custom materials, so the re-registered default material will now be treated as a custom material and won’t be automatically disabled or deleted.


RE-ENABLE ALL OLD MATERIALS


Ok, so all that stuff above is about re-enabling the old default materials, but it has no effect on Assets also downloading the Cloud versions.  But re-enabling ALL the old materials can trick the Assets app into not downloading everything.

First, get the Materials back-up from the “Global” folder:

Mac:
[MacDrive]/Library/ApplicationSupport/CELSYS_EN/Common/Material/Install/

Windows:
C:\ProgramData\CELSYS_EN\CLIPStudio\Common\Material\Install\
(Note: "ProgramData" is a hidden folder)

If you don’t see the “PAINTxxx” folders in it, try looking in the \CELSYS\ location instead, assuming you’ve never had the Japanese language versions installed, the “Install” contents there should work too.  If you can’t find them elsewhere then you can use the contents of the “Install” folder in your Documents folder, but you’d have to edit each and every one of the “cloudSyncAlready” files - and there are a LOT of them.

Navigate to the “Local User” Materials folder:

/Documents/CELSYS/CLIPStudioCommon/Material/Install2/

DELETE any sub-folders that are already in “Install2” (those are Cloud stuff) and paste the copies from the Global “Install” folder into the Local “Install2” folder.

Run “Organize Materials” operation from Assets app.  Assets will mistake the copied local materials for the identical ones it usually downloads from the Cloud.  However there are some that are different and it will still want to download those.

Subsequently, if you run “Gear —> Sync All Materials Installed from Cloud” it will still take forever and a year to go through them, but it will ONLY download the new materials that weren’t included in the original, old default download pack.  At least when I did this it didn’t overwrite any of the materials that were already present, it only added the ones I didn’t already have.  I don’t know if the Assets app does the “Sync” operation on its own or not.


RESTORING CLOUD MATERIALS


Ok, let’s say you decide this arrangement sucks or you get better internet service or whatever and you want to put it back the way it’s supposed to be.  How?

1. Inside the Local User Materials folder DELETE the “Install2” folder.  
2. Open the Assets app (if you look at “Material” many of them will be blank)
3. Go to “Gear —> Maintenance Menu —> Organize Materials” (the blank ones will be removed)
4. Go to “Gear —> Reset Materials Installed from Cloud”

It will take forever and a year, but when it’s done you should now have a bunch of materials in your list with the little “cloud” icon on them.






Friday, September 8, 2017

Clip Studio Assets 1.6.7 Adds UPLOAD Materials

The English version of Clip Studio Assets now allows users outside of Japan to upload their original materials to share with other users.  Any Material you can "register" for use in Clip Studio Paint can now be uploaded to the Assets site.  Users outside of Japan, however, still do not have non-Japanese versions of the apps for creating native 3D content.  Nor can users outside of Japan SELL their custom materials through the Assets site.


Monday, August 28, 2017

Make Avid Media Composer First open Help Docs in a specific browser (Mac)



I was going to post this on the Avid Forums, but their new "Master Account" login is a confusing mess.  Or maybe it's just me.  It asks me if I want to "Link Accounts" but after having that fail several times I realized they meant if you already HAD an account on their forums.  Well, I think I did like 1,000 years ago.  What they really meant was to use "Create Account" to create a new forum account controlled by the Master Account.  That failed several times too.  As it did for a Download Account and a Support Account.  Basically it seems like their "one login to rule them all" was coded by Orcs.

So I can't actually post this on the Avid forums right now.  Fine, I'll post it here instead.

I’m trying to familiarize myself with Media Composer | First I wanted to right+click on the “What’s this?” context menu and get the Help page about that thing. 

However, it would try to open it in my default web browser, which is Google Chrome.  Chrome will not open local files.  It requires web pages to be sent from a web server.  Obviously the solution is to open the Avid Help files in Safari (or Firefox) which WILL open local files.  But how do I do that without changing my default browser?

The first thing I tried was third-party preference pane “Choosy” but no matter what rules I set in it Avid Media Composer would always open the help documentation in Chrome, where it won’t load (you just get a pulsating blue bar across the top of the window).

The good news is you can do this with setting already IN the operating system, no third-party tools necessary.

METHOD #1 (if you want ALL local .html files to open in Safari)
1. Go to Applications —> Avid —> Media Composer First —> Help
2. Select any one of the files ending with .html, right/hold+click and select “Get Info” OR press CMD+I
3. Under “Open with:” set it to “Safari.app”
4. Click the “Change All…” button.

Now ALL local .html files will open in Safari.

But I do web development, so that wasn’t what I wanted.

METHOD #2 (if you want JUST the Avid Help files to open in Safari)
1. Go to Applications —> Avid —> Media Composer First —> Help
2. Select ALL the .html files there (Help_ix.html, Help.html, MCHelp.html - it doesn’t matter if you also select the .js file too)
3. Right/Hold+Click or Go to “File” in the menubar and while those are all still selected hold down your Option key.
4. The “Open With” will change to “Always open with”
5. Select “Safari” from the list of apps.
6. It will immediately open all of them in Safari, but you can just close/quit Safari.
7. Now, go into the “Help” sub-folder
8. Select ALL the files in that folder (CMD+A works, or select the first one, scroll down, and with the SHIFT key pressed click the last file in that folder.
9. Again Right/Hold+Click or go to “File” in the menubar, hold down the Option key, and under the “Always open with” select Safari.
10. It will try to open ALL those files in Safari (it will probably error at some point because that’s a LOT of files to have open at once).  Just close/quit Safari.

Now, when you go to “Help —> Media Composer Family Help” or Right/Hold+Click on any element of the UI and select “What’s this?” it will open the help documentation in Safari.


It would be nice if the Help documentation opened in the same Online Resources window as the Knowledge Base and Forums under the Help menu.  Why is it opening an external browser for the “Media Composer Family Help” when there’s already built-in webview window?  It makes no sense.

Oh, and the last thing is that every time I intentionally QUIT Avid Media Composer First - you know with Command+Q or selecting it from the menubar, it thinks it CRASHED instead!?  I get both a "Report this Crash" from the OS and another one from Avid's Application Manager.  Dammit, I quit the app ON PURPOSE.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

BIG BLOG UPDATE!


Now that the english-language version of CLIP STUDIO PAINT has an Assets/Launcher app, the Japanese version has actual Cloud storage, and the format for 3D Materials has changed it was time for another Big Blog Update!  Here's the rundown:

Introduction to Clip Studio Suite
More like a "re-introduction."  This is based off what was originally written on the Unofficial Translations page but has been rewritten and moved to it's own page.

Unofficial English TranslationsI have completely new english translations for both the “legacy” and 1.6.3 versions of the Japanese suite, plus I wrote patch scripts for both Windows and Mac. Should be a lot less painful process now, but still requires installing specific versions.

Installing, Sharing and Synching Materials
Again, this used to be at the bottom of the translations page, but it's grown into a enough info to be on its own page now.  It is now possible in version 1.6.3 to share installed materials between different language versions and, with a cloud storage drive, between installations on different computers.


Assets/Launcher app (Japanese version)It used to be mostly an app launcher front-end and storefront. Now it does a lot of other stuff so I dive deep.

Assets/Launcher app (English version)
This is new territory for users of the english-language version.  Unfortunately it isn't as fully featured or functional as the Japanese one, but it's a start.  We in the West *finally* have legit access to the Clip Assets Site!

Assets/Launcher app (Legacy version)
The good ol' Legacy version ain't what it used to be.  Lots of functionality has been purposely hobbled in favor of the new version.

Old vs. New 3D Model Formats
Since version 1.6.0 the native format for 3D materials has changed, as have the apps you use to create them. COORDINATE is (kind of) done.  MODELER is the future, but it's not free - except when it is.  If you're making 3D materials for PAINT you're going to want to look this over.