Posts Tagged apple

OSX Sierra crash recovery

Well, that was unpleasant.

Without any warning, my Mac Pro began failing to redraw web pages. Presuming that Safari had become unstable, I commanded a reboot.

The reboot process got to 1/2 progress bar, then the machine shut down. Repeated several attempts, same results. Not just Safari then.

Time to recover. First I slapped a new HD in there, then used CMD-R (hold while powering up, keep holding until you get a dialog) to initiate recovery using the First Aid application from the original drive. The drive checked out okay as far as file integrity, but apparently (hopefully) the OS had developed some damaged boot settings. So. Time to recover to a new drive. I have a time machine backup on a different drive, but as it looked like the original drive was okay according to the tests the disk utility made on it, I decided to try to recover right from there. So off I went, installing OS X 10.12.6 on the new HD.

The dialog initially told me that 5 minutes were remaining. That stayed up for an hour without any visible changes in the progress bar. So I opened the log window (it’s in the Window menu of the first aid window) and saw that the progress value was at about .02%; 1% is complete (trust me, it’s not 100 as you would expect. .5% is halfway done.) It was changing, but very slowly. So I knew I had quite a wait ahead of me.

Twelve hours later, the install finally put up the OS X setup dialog. The progress bar dutifully moved from 5 minutes to 4, 3, 2, 1 and zero (Over 12 hours!?!?) as the percentage indicated in the install log window climbed towards 1%. I mean, come on. Really? I know Apple’s been lagging behind on software quality, but… really? This was over a 30 Mb DSL connection, btw. I can (maybe) understand the trickle rate of the download (Apple’s so poor they can’t afford a good connection, as all know) but the 5 minute indication… that’s just pitiful, shows a serious lack of QC.

Anyway… the recovery went well enough, if glacially, that the machine can be rebooted now, and it looks like most things are intact (not everything… recent file lists are clear, for instance) so I guess my griping can’t legitimately rise above some discontented mumbling.

It was a very unpleasant experience, though. If you have to reinstall Sierra, be aware that you can expect the dialog to bald-faced lie about the install time, and I suggest you open the log from the Window menu so you can see what actual progress is being made.

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What’s that Smell?

As they train to become a doctor, new interns are taught about many different diseases that produce various sets of otherwise similar symptoms. In conjunction with this new and complex knowledge, they are also taught this truism: “When you hear hoofprints, you must not initially assume a zebra is in the vicinity.” This pithy remark is meant to impart that, for instance, if a patient comes in bleeding from an orifice, one must not immediately assume that Ebola is in the building; more likely something much more common is in play, such as hemorrhoids or perhaps an unfortunate excess of enthusiasm coupled with a new, ahem, toy.

One of the clearer signs that I was becoming a competent programmer was that the problems in my code began, more and more often, to in fact, be zebras. Instead of a misplaced character or a missing clause or some kind of blatant conceptual error, the abject weirdnesses that were most often populating the realm of my final, demonstrably accurate diagnoses came to be things like operating system bugs, broken libraries, incomplete emulations and exotic compiler bugs. Zebras.
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Waiting for the new Mac Pro

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Waiting...

Waiting…

pple announced a new Mac Pro today; twice as fast as the current model, which itself is faster than the one I presently own. But that’s all they did. Announce it. It’s not ready, there’s no date, there’s no price, and other than “faster” and “supports three, 4k displays” and “much smaller footprint”, there isn’t much other information either.

Sigh.

On other fronts, they’ve finally fixed the multi-monitor shortcomings in OSX; menus, full screen apps, etc. Kudos. Even iOS got a little love with folders that can hold many files, instead of just a few.

The new OSX makes me willing to go for a new Mac Pro, or at least, it seems that way with the limited information I have now. I can put the old fella up in the ham shack where it will do a fine job with the SDR up there; and the new hotness will (of course) drive my desktop, save me time on compiles and just about anything else… and I admit, I run my SDR from my desk even more often than I do in my ham shack. Not just testing, I like the sound of a radio in the background.

The question is, newest model that can only run three displays and has only a small internal SSD? Or the current generation that can do more displays and has room for standard internal HDs?

Apple really does test my patience. It’s been several years since they really gave the Mac Pro much attention, and frankly, I was getting close to building a Hackintosh or buying the current generation. Will they get the Mac Pro out in time? Should I go for newness, the current generation, hacking, or something used off EBay? I feel information-deprived.

Tune in this fall for the next installment of “As the Apple Worms.”

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Predicting where IOS and OS X will go

Every time I read one of the sycophantic articles predicting OS X is going to become like IOS, I have to laugh. That’s not going to happen, at least, not in the long term. So in the spirit of the new year, when every fool (I’m speaking most definitely of myself here) proceeds to stuff foot deep into mouth, I offer the following IOS, OS X, iPad and iPod predictions:
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Cocoa/OSX console messages: Could not setup Mach task special port 9: (os/kern) no access

11949894331101577697bomb_01.svg.thumbEver run into this one? Under Leopard (OSX 10.5.8), the above message is posted to the system console every time cron launches a process. If you use cron for anything and the console for anything, this can be very, very annoying. Apple’s known about the problem for years, and has done nothing. Since I fall into that class of folks who use both the console and cron, I’ve been more or less quietly steaming about it. I finally decided to do something about it. Be warned; the following is technical and to-the-metal hackery. Don’t try this at home unless you’re very confident in your skill(z).

Now, as this hack is fairly specific to the problem, I don’t think it can hurt anything else (if performed correctly), and it serves my needs perfectly. Your mileage may differ for any number of reasons, and if you’re not a technical person, you should stop reading now and just forget your ever saw this post. Really. Stop now.
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Roku XDS – A Review

If you’ve been following my blog at all, you’ll know that we bought an Apple TV v2. That experience was really, really bad. The details are here if you want them, but suffice it to say that I was impelled back into shopping for a similar device, because the Apple TV simply wasn’t going to cut it.

Enter the Roku XDS. Same price, same general type of device, a fair amount of buzz. Enough to catch my attention, consume a few reviews and comments… at $99, these things don’t exactly break the bank, so, in for a penny, in for a pound, we bought one. This is the story of how that went, often contrasted to the Apple TV v2, as that was what it was replacing. You might want to grab some popcorn.
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The iPad – Not perfect. Here’s why.

In and amongst the fevered pro-iPad ravings today, I thought I’d throw a bit of a wrench in the works, as I’m not of the opinion that the thing is all it could have been. Mind you, I’m definitely pro-iPad, I think it’s a great device, I just think it could have been a lot better.

With that in mind, here are some things I really think can be done better:
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Technology Predictions

I often read the predictions of futurists with interest; it is always enjoyable for me to consider what they have to say, why I might agree or disagree, and mentally file them away for later validation – or not.

Today, I’m going to venture a few predictions of my own, based on the state of affairs that exists in early March, 2009. The idea is to re-visit them in the years to come and see how many, if any, were close to how things actually develop.

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