15 September 2015

SMART Notebook 11.4 on Mac OS X 10.10 Yosemite requires Ruby 1.8

I upgraded my Mac to OS X 10.10 Yosemite and SMART Notebook 11.4 started to crash upon opening it.  SMART doesn't provide a patch or any information on why that is, except that you'd basically need to buy a newer version of Notebook (which I wasn't about to do).

So with some investigation it turns out SMART Notebook 11.4 requires Ruby 1.8 to work.  Except installing Ruby 1.8 from, e.g., Homebrew doesn't work.  I guess SMART had statically linked Notebook 11.4 against the particular Ruby library that was distributed by Apple.

A bit of research online turns up a post describing the same problem and the solution: copy Ruby 1.8 from a pre-Yosemite Mac over to Yosemite in the same directory.

The directory is /System/Library/Frameworks/Ruby.framework/Versions/.

Someone even made an installer and posted a link in the comments in that post, although I can't say whether you should trust using that installer...  Not feeling comfortable using that installer, I dug up an older Mac and zipped up the 1.8 folder from the above directory and copied it over to my Yosemite machine.

Leave a comment here or message me if you want a zipped copy of the Ruby 1.8 folder.  Or else if you feel comfortable with using that unvetted installer, then go download it from that comment.

Problems with this fix

Note that this method of making SMART Notebook 11.4 work will make the program less stable.  I've had crashes from time to time.  It also makes the toolbar unusable, and in fact, it won't even show up on the screen!  So get used to picking tools the long way via the menubar instead.

I do wish there was a better software solution to what I'll call the "Projector Transparency Roll - Writable (50 feet)".

5 comments:

Audra Crist said...

I write math curricula for a the New Jersey Center for Teaching & Learning, and some of our Notebook 11.4 Mac users are having this same issue. Could we forward this blog post to them so that they can contact you about getting Ruby 1.8 for their system?

Another question: Do you know if Ruby 1.8 that you would send to anyone who needs it for OS X Yosemite would also work for Notebook 11.4 users running OS X El Capitan?

Thank you for your time,

Audra Crist, M.A. Instructional Technology
Program Manager, NJCTL
Email: audra@njctl.org

mlsci said...

Hi Audra,

Sorry for the delay while I was finding the zip file. It's been a while. Here it is though.

As for your question regarding Notebook 11.4 on El Capitan: I have no idea. I found Notebook with this hack to be rather unstable on my Mac. So soon after writing this blog post, I decided to purge my system of SMART products.

I strongly suggest you and your colleagues think carefully about whether to continue sinking your valuable time and effort into producing teaching material that is trapped within the walled-garden of SMART Notebook.

I'm unhappy with how so much of my own teaching material are trapped in SMART Notebook, and I have no way to migrate it out except (1) suffer thru an unstable Notebook 11.4 with the Ruby install hack from this blog post, or (2) personally pay for a new Notebook license since the institution I'm affiliated with doesn't want to pony up anymore.

Instead, I now use a more open solution: LibreOffice's Impress. It has a free-drawing tool so I could write with a pen-tablet. It's a bit rough around the edges to use, but it's free and open source, and it saves in an open document format.

If you need something a little less rough to use but does save to a more industry accepted file format, then try using PowerPoint. These don't have some of the goofy features of Notebook, but if all you want (as I do) is just a digital version of what I called the "Projector Transparency Roll - Writable (50 feet)" solution, then PowerPoint or LibreOffice is pretty much perfect.

As a migration step, I believe Notebook can export to PowerPoint, so perhaps this blog post's Ruby install hack can help salvage some Notebook files into an editable format (I saved most of my stuff into PDF to share, so I have those for salvage, but they're not editable).

Hope this helps. Enjoy the holidays!

Pagan said...

I would like a copy of the zipped file

Pagan said...

I would like a copy of the file to download

mlsci said...

Hi Pagan,
A link to download the file I referenced was posted above, but here it is again: Here it is though.

Hope that helps.