DIY Free Skype video call recorder for OS X El Capitan

In a previous post I wrote about getting Soundflower to work with El Capitan. Here, I want to outline how you can use it to enable complete Skype video call recording – including both side of the conversation as well as the video. There’s lots of information around about recording the OTHER side of the video chat, but less about both sides. There use to be a Soundflower add-on called Flowerbed that facilitated this but is has now ceased development. There are also an amazing number of apps you can buy – some for $70-$80 that will do it for you too! Let’s do it for free 😀

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Getting Soundflower to work with MAC OS X El Capitan

Not an earth shattering problem. I use soundflower extensively to facilitate screen recordings over Facetime on my iMac. Without it, it is really difficult to record system sounds as well as my external mic.

After updating to OS X El Capitan I found that soundflower simply wasn’t ‘there’ and didn’t/wouldn’t run. A quick google brought me to THIS PAGE – with the instructions working perfectly. Only thing I did differently was delete the old soundflower from the system – and yes, the uninstall soundflower option did still work.

So far so good – no major problems and the software I’ve been using that relies on soundflower is back to normal.

For those interested, there is some background information HERE explaining the problem.

Garmin GPSMAP 60sx SD card fails the iMac Test

This info is for those who might care. The above unit (Garmin GPSMAP 60sx) falls over when the micro SD card has been written to by the system on an iMac OSX. It appears the unit can not cope with the hidden system file NAMES that are left on the unit.

In my case this manifested as intermittent start-up failures; On shut-down – intermittent continuous alarms requiring the batteries to be removed and intermittent freezing…
The solution is to use CLEANEJECT  – This program will erase those files and eject the SD card before the system recreates the hidden folders again. Apparently a known problem for several years.
I would categorise this as a GARMIN PROBLEM – not an OSX problem…

My choice for a GPush alternative – Gmail Push Notification

As noted in the previous post, GPush from Tiverias Apps has become a #ZombieApp and has now ceased to work. Many people (especially on Twitter…) are looking for an alternative, as am I.

I thought I would share my reasons for the choice I have made.

What I want.

Ideally I was after :-

  1. a FREE app/service that would give me FAST alerts. Sound or text was an added extra but not needed.
  2. ALSO – learning from my experience with GPush, I ideally did NOT want to compromise my email security – by either giving out my password OR forwarding my mail.
  3. A full push service where the email itself was pushed in real time so I could read it immediately without going to the web Gmail account would also be a major bonus

This limited my choice – a lot!!

1) –  meant that most of the apps in the app store were a no go; and free services – like Boxcar – failed at point 2) and 3) . I gather you forward your email to them, they push a message alert/header and you open a web browser to see the GMail site;  even though they don’t KEEP your messages, I don’t like forwarding my email to a third party;  also I am already forwarding from multiple other accounts TO my Gmail, so do I really want to forward them on again?  However,  I admit – BOXCAR is my backup plan.   😀

Of course several people  – even Tiverias apps themselves – had said that Google was a good successor. However, “everyone else” said that the Google app was no good! I HAVE had the google iPhone app for many months – and I agree – I never seem to get push notifications over it – although they have been activated.

What I now use.

It seems I and (going by the comments on Twitter) many others, were making a fundamental error; it is NOT the Google APP we want – it is Google Sync – Google’s Push email service for Gmail  – that hooks directly into your inbuilt iPhone Email client/account using a Microsoft exchange service. Let me repeat that IT IS NOT THE GOOGLE APP .

Once I actually looked at the web instructions and set up my iPhone – I received almost instantaneous notifications by a badge alert  (remember I have it set to PUSH not FETCH) with the email immediately readable when I open the mail app. No message header popping up but otherwise exactly what I want. You do have to be careful about the initial set-up, especially if you are NOT syncing your calendar etc with Google (which I don’t – I’m also a MobileMe user) but the instructions are VERY specific.

So there you are – I have a free, fast, safe push email notification service for Gmail that I am confident will not become a #ZombieApp – unless Google liquidates<!>.

Lessons learnt from the GPush debacle

What GPush debacle?

For those who are unfamiliar with what I’m writing about, there WAS an iPhone app called GPush that was SOLD – by Tiverias Apps – through the app store from around July 2009. It offered real time push notification of new email to your iPhone account from GMail. The vendors used your (provided) email account details to poll the google servers FREQUENTLY and then sent a push notification WITH an excerpt of the header to your iPhone. Its reliability appeared to fluctuate but when it worked, it worked well.
Unfortunately there were multiple occasions GPush stopped working – and Twitter bore the brunt of the complaints process. Tiverias Apps did NOT have a good reputation for consistent customer service and would seem to go silent/unresponsive for extended periods of time.

On December 25th 2010 (Australian time) the following appeared in my in-box:-

Dear GPush user,

Thank you for your loyal use of GPush. Unfortunately, we have determined that the value added by GPush beyond such products as Google’s own push notification service is not sufficient to merit our continued maintenance of the service. We will therefore be shutting the service down as of December 31, 2010.

We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.

The GPush Team

Is that supposed to mean Merry Christmas??

Now – I may be cynical about the timing, but I do wonder if they THOUGHT that there would be less of an outcry over the holiday period! At the same time the website disappeared from the web….Now it ends up as a godaddy parked page.

As expected there was a bit of an outcry on Twitter. Users decried the loss of service with some asking for a refund for the app they had bought. The only response to a refund request was:-

…..please contact apple directly,  we have no way to issue one, we’re sorry.

Along the way, they have suggested that:-

  1. They would be willing to sell the business and are looking for a buyer.
  2. They are going to keep the business running

Now – once again they have gone silent and GPush is dead. I have solemnly declared it a #ZombieApp.

So where are we now?

Older and wiser I suspect! Once you look at it, I don’t see how this could have survived. The business model is fundamentally flawed from the outset. Any company offering a sole product as an ongoing – time unlimited – service with no revenue stream can simply not survive! How on earth did Tiverias expect to maintain the infrastructure required to provide the service?? Why did we – the users – expect them to be able to?

Lessons learnt:-

Any PAID app that offers an ongoing service either needs

  • A strong associated advertiser base to generate income (Not popular with paid apps users) OR
  • A subscription model to generate income (As seen with some newspaper apps) AND/OR
  • Multiple OTHER revenue streams to support a non-revenue generating product (Google is a classic!)

To expect it to survive otherwise is naive at best and stupid at worst.

I am surprised that Apple allows these sort of apps onto the store and do wonder what provision for abandoned users exists within the Apple – iPhone App-store framework….?

I – for one – will think twice about plonking down money (how ever little) for another App based on this flawed model.

As for Tiverias Apps postulated plans…. I can NOT see another company buying their buisness for the stated reasons above. PERHAPS they will sell their user base/lists – and that raises a whole lot of issues about their right to sell it.

Lastly, with  respect to your GMail account, the user-name and password of which you gave to Tiverias-


Gmail Restored! What now for the future?

Received 2 November:

Thanks for your report. We apologize for any inconvenience you may have
experienced. The issue you described should now be resolved. If you
continue to experience difficulties, please respond to this message, and
we’ll investigate further.


The Google Team

Now I am VERY pleased to get my accounts back – but – why? The accounts were disabled without an explanation and re-enabled – without an explanation. Should this make me happy – or confused – or mad?

Maybe I shouldn’t look a gift horse in the mouth 🙂

I note that I am not the only one who has experienced this “phenomenon”. Multiple reports are around in the Internet including ones on Cnet’s , a classic one at Google Blogscoped , and that story on ZDnet.

So where to from here? I guess there are multiple options, including abandoning Gmail. BUT I don’t really want to do that – the search capability is too valuable, and the price is unbeatable!

So – Guess I go double (Quadruple?) redundancy. All mail going to my main gmail archive will also be forwarded to another gmail account. Together with my Home PC mail files and their backup on a secondary PC that should help prevent further major problems?

Importantly, the second Gmail archive will be opened independently; that is – not from an invitation from my first account. It seems Gmail may disable all subsidiary accounts as well as a main one!

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How to move 3000 emails from Windows to Gmail!


As you may have read, for reasons known only to Gmail, my original Gmail account was disabled.

Being a sucker for punishment, I still want my Gmail for both its archiving and storage capabilities. Setting up a new account was easy. Figuring out how to move the 3000 odd emails I have in Outlook express was another matter!

Naturally, I am not the first to try this (for which I am TRULY grateful!) and some judicious Googling helped me out. In essence, emails in outlook express (and outlook) are stored in what seems to be a non standard/proprietary format. Or at least one not in common with Mozilla’s Thunderbird and I guess Gmail. Therefore, the files need to be converted FIRST and then uploaded.

The way I did it was detailed here and here. In essence, I download and installed Firebird, Let it import all my outlook express emails (yep it left the originals in place) and then uploaded them to my new Gmail account using Gexodus .

Couple of pointers:-

Firstly, after installing Thunderbird and allowing it to convert my outlook-express files, I could not see them in the inbox area! I then had to IMPORT the files (about 3 seconds work) with the TOOLS -> IMPORT dialogue.

Next I went looking for the profile folder , and was surprised it seemed so small. It was only AFTER I opened each sub-folder in my Thunderbird email interface that the profile folder seemed to populate properly.

Secondly, I found the default SMTP server in Gexodus was unresponsive, and used instead.

I initially pointed the system at my Inbox file in my profile and set the system running.

It ticked away, about 200 emails – then stopped. Said it was finished ! HUH!

Then I figured it out – Gexodus does NOT recursively work its way down through the sub folders of the inbox – you have to select each one individually – if that’s the way you want to go. The easy solution – simply move ALL email from the sub folders to the inbox within Thunderbird.

The upshot – all my 3000 emails (including their attachments) are back in Gmail. The original sender IDs are intact. Unfortunately the Dates simply reflect the upload date; I can cope with that.

I am still using Outlook Express, and forward a copy of all incoming and outgoing email to Gmail as I outlined some time ago.

NOW if only Gmail can explain why they deactivated my old account in the first place!

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