UMBRAPHILE has gone native.

MacOS X (Intel) native, that is. It only took my last Mac laptop, a 2003 epoch Powerbook capable of running the MacOS 9 “classic” emulator,  going belly up (fried CPU board) to motivate  me sufficiently to invest the time to bring UMBRAPHILE into the 21st century.  UMBRAPHILEX has been tested for MacOS X up to and including version 10.5.7 or automated eclipse imaging.

  DOWNLOAD the most recent version of UMBRAPHILEX (.zip file) ->  HERE

The "Classic" UMBRAPHILE page describes and details the basic use and functionality of the application.

I have closely replicated the flavor, feel and functionality, of the "Classic" UMBRAPHILE in the (Intel) MacOS X version.  Anyone with an Intel- (or PPC) based Mac laptop who may want to consider automating their eclipse photography can download thet current (2009A-RT001) version. The classic version of the S/W (most recent 2006 B) still work pre-Intel Macs with classic (Mac OS 9) environments.  An UMBRAPHILE data file for TSE 2009 can be downloaded on the UMBRAPHILE 2006B page.  At this juncture, all future development for UMBRAPHILE will be for MacOS X machines.  "Classic" users (native or in a classic shell in Mac OS X on those machines which support that) can continue to use the 2006 B  version of UMBRAPHILE.

With UMBRAPHILE X, you will find lots of little things that are a bit different.  I mention just the important ones here so anyone interested can understand how to get it up and running with their camera interface.  The primary camera interface philosophy remains unchanged.  I.e., to drive the shutter control line of any camera with an electronic/electrical shutter interface you will need to build a SIMPLE circuit such as shown on the above referenced  web page.  That circuit needs to be hooked up to a MacOS X computer through a USB-to-serial port converter, such as the Keyspan Twin Serial Adapter USA-28XB (that is the one I use, but other similar ones should work) plugged into a USB port… and the driver for the adapter installed.  Keyspan’s drivers are here: . USB-to-Serial adapters made by other vendors may also work (I just do not have first-hand experience with them).

NOW… Here are main the differences:

1. USB-to-Serial Port Device Adapter Name

With the adapter plugged in, you need to tell UMBRAPHILE the name of the USB-to-Serial adapter device you are using.  The device (adapter)  will automatically “register” itself with MacOS X when plugged in, but UMBRAPHILE won't know what device that is until you tell it. There is a new Umbraphile menu item to SET USB PORT to do that.  The simplest way to get the name of the device (once it is plugged in) is to open a terminal window (e.g., launch the Terminal application from the Mac finder) and type the unix command:  ls /dev
You will see a long list of terminal "tty", "pty" and other device names.  If you are using a Keyspan 28X adapter look for a name (or names if a multi-port adapter) like: tty.USA28X3d1P1.1   
The numbers may be different but should be easy to spot.  This is the name you need to specify in the Umbraphile SET USB PORT dialog box.  When you do that you may need to prefix that with  /dev/  so what you enter is, for example: /dev/tty.USA28X3d1P1.1 .  There is a default device name in the dialog (to show you the syntax)  that you probably will need to edit with the name of your device or Umbraphile wont be able to talk to your camera(s)).  NOTE: One UMBRAPHILE user (Joel Moskowitz) reports that with his different model USB-to-Serial port converter, when the device is plugged in, it registers port names with both a "cu" and "tty" prefix; and only the "cu.PORTNAME" device works - and the tty.PORTNAME device (which also shows up in /dev) will cause UMBRAPHILEX to "hang".  I have no "fix" for that.  If you give an incorrect port name (that is not in /dev) UMBRAPHILEX will let you know - but if you give the name of a port that does not function as UMBRAPHILE expects it may hang the application, and you will need to "Force Quit" from the MacOS Finder and try the "other" port name (if more than one).

2. Interrupting an Exposure Sequence In Progress and "Unhiding" the UMBRAPHILEX Menu.

To interrupt an UMBRAPHILEX automated eclipse imaging controller, or the intervelometer* sequence in progress, progress you have to:
(a) click anywhere in the main UMBRAPHILEX window and then
(b) select INTERRUPT from the Umbaphile menu OR  hit "Command" + "." twice.
In either case you must FIRST click in the UMBRAPHILEX window to "bring it forward".
This may seem a bit cumbersome; but is done so you won't accidentally interrupt an exposure sequence in progress with a simple mis-stroked key (which could be quite disastrous during totality!). 

Can't find the UMBRAPHILEX menu? The Umbraphile menu will be "hidden" (removed from the menu bar), unless you bring the main UMBRAPHILEX window "forward" by clicking on it.  If you are using UMBRAPHILE and don't see its menu, that is why – just click in the main window.

3. New Camera Control Parameter (entered in data file): DEPULSE.

There is a new camera control parameter in the Umbraphile data file in the Camera Controller section called DELPULSE.  In UMBRAPHLEX this replaces the ZEROPULSE parameter (still needed in the "Classic" version of Umbraphile, but ignored in UMBRAPHILEX) . You will still see in the template 01AUG2008 Umbraphile data file zipped up with the Intel MacOS X application (or separately downloaded).  DELPULSE, like some of the other camera-specific parameters may need some tuning, but generally should be about 10% less than the MINCMD value as documented on the "classic" umbraphile web page.

That's it except to say thanks to Simon Marsden of Micro APL Ltd. For his help in enabling a critical piece of the MacOS X S/W interface needed within the UMBRAPHILE code.

Glenn Schneider,
12 June 2008


The latest version on UMBRAPHILE X, 2009A-RT001,  was released on 24 May 2009.  This release:

a) fixes an earlier reported incompatability with (some) Keyspan USB-to-Serial device drivers  limiting exposure duratiaons under native MacOS X 10.4-10.5 to < 1.024 s.

b) adopts ecomputational elements for the 22 July 2009 TSE as the default  set for the computation of eclipse circumstances  (others can be imported as before).

c) provides a new data/camera control parameter file for TSE 2009.