Archive for category OS X

Just hang on

roct

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Fix OSX’s weird (mis-)mapping of the home and end keys

So, one of the things that drove me nuts about MacOS/OSX for years is Apple’s non-standard mapping of the home and end keyboard keys to start-of-document and end-of-document.

The non-standard key combinations CMD+ and CMD+ are used to perform BOL and EOL instead.

Here’s the problem: That is not how it’s been done on other platforms that long pre-date MacOS/OSX or even the Mac itself. I typically switch between multiple operating systems every day, and consequently, coming back to MacOS/OSX fouled up my typing/editing every time. So I went looking for a solution. I found one in Karabiner.
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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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2009 Mac Pro with DVI and HDMI displays – restart problems

So I bought a new (old) Mac Pro; late 2009, 12/24 core, 64GB, NVIDIA GeForce GT 120 512 MB. It’s running macOS 10.12.3 Sierra. I hooked up one monitor to the HDMI port, and one to the DVI port. Seemed to work fine.

Until I rebooted the machine.

Then it refused to show the mouse pointer (Apple magic mouse), although It would warn of the mouse’s disconnect and reconnect if I powered the mouse up and down. Likewise, there was no response to the keyboard. It just sat there showing login options for me and a guest; it wouldn’t respond to anything at all I did with mouse or keyboard.

After trying power downs, pulling the plug for a while, pounding on the keyboard, powering the mouse up and down, I finally thought to pull a connection to a monitor. Specifically, the DVI-connected monitor. Immediately the mouse pointer showed up, and I was able to log in.

Up to this point, I had the machine set up so that the HDMI monitor was on the left, and was my home (boot screen) monitor. That’s the one you drag the menu bar to in the Prefs / Displays panel. But I noticed when the machine booted, it showed up on the DVI monitor first, then the HDMI monitor, and then it locked up.

So, still booted up after all this screwing around, I swapped monitor cables, then set the DVI monitor to be the home monitor, as the left monitor was now my DVI-connected monitor instead of my HDMI-connected monitor.

Now the machine restarts cleanly, or at least, it has a few times in a row.

So if you’re having this kind of problem, after the login screen shows, try pulling one or the other or both of the monitor cables to see if it will unlock the mess. And make sure the DVI monitor is your home monitor once you get things running again.

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SdrDx 2.16a for OS X and Windows

Here we go:
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Some OS X DHCP Esoterica

Because I develop Software Defined Radio (SDR) software, I have occasion to connect, and disconnect, various network devices to my wired network in order to test them all day long. Most of the SDRs are designed to configure using DHCP, or can be convinced to do so. That saves some fooling around, and is a good thing. However, my network is extensive, devices are always being moved around, WiFi devices arriving and leaving, and so once the SDRs are assigned an IP, I have to go hunt them down. It was annoying that they’re always showing up somewhere different.

However, my Mac Pro had an unused second ethernet port sitting. right. there. Hmmm. So…
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Why I Target OS X 10.6.8

OS X has come a long way since OS X 10.6.8; among the pluses: better multiple monitor handling, considerably improved memory management (part of which was fixing the leaks in the color management pipeline that OS X 10.6.8 exhibits) repairs to the bugs in 10.6.8′s CUPS printing system, and so on.

So why, then, target OS X 10.6.8?
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Linux and OS X console: Are you working too hard?

Recently, I had a friend, a serious Linux aficionado, come over and we had occasion to sit in front of my machine while I was doing some console work. I do a lot of work under OS X using the GUI, and previously that is what had been on-screen when he had visited. This time, however, I had some consoles open to one of my web servers.

I did a few things during which he was uncharacteristically silent. During a pause in my typing, he spoke up with a note of real interest: “That’s unbelievably awesome. What is that?”

“Midnight Commander”, I told him.

Now he uses Midnight commander too. All the time. I thought I’d tell you why.
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