Sharing Keyboard and Mouse between Mac’s with Teleport

Working on two or even more machines in parallel would require a KVM switch or just a neat software like Teleport which lets you share your keyboard and mouse simply over the network. One big advantage against Synergy is that this solution comes as a prefpane and embeds the configuration UI and the backend within one application. Further once a Mac has been enabled for sharing other Mac’s will automatically find it in the network. Anyone who has security concerns will be happy that the connection can be encrypted.

After a couple of hours using it I will definitely not miss it anymore!

Restarting VmWare guest if shutdown is not successful

Today I run into the problem where one of my Vmware guests with an installed Windows XP wasn’t able to shutdown. The only option users have via the UI is to put the machine into sleep. But that doesn’t help at all. I wanna have a running XP box again. Waking up from sleep still shows the same problem: “Windows is shutting down…”. So how someone can kill this instance to restart it like a manual hard boot?

The first thing I tried was to kill the Vmware application via the Activity Monitor of OS X. But I wasn’t successful. After I’ve started VmWare again the same screen as above was displayed for the XP machine. What a bummer! So how to process? After searching a while on Google I found the solution. You simply have to kill the process which handles this machine. Grep the output of ps to get a list of all Vmware related processes:

henrik$ ps -ef | grep vmware
0 31737 1 0 0:00.00 ?? 0:00.01 /Library/Application Support/VMware Fusion/vmnet-dhcpd -cf /Library/Application Support/VMware Fusion/vmnet8/dhcpd.conf -lf /var/db/vmware/vmnet-dhcpd-vmnet8.leases -pf /var/run/vmnet-dhcpd-vmnet8.pid vmnet8
0 31745 1 0 0:00.00 ?? 0:00.00 /Library/Application Support/VMware Fusion/vmnet-dhcpd -cf /Library/Application Support/VMware Fusion/vmnet1/dhcpd.conf -lf /var/db/vmware/vmnet-dhcpd-vmnet1.leases -pf /var/run/vmnet-dhcpd-vmnet1.pid vmnet1
0 31776 1 0 0:08.81 ?? 0:11.93 /Library/Application Support/VMware Fusion/vmware-vmx -E de -D h5VWrEgtEdEDLwAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA= -# product=1;name=VMware Fusion;version=2.0.4;buildnumber=159196;licensename=VMware Fusion for Mac OS;licenseversion=6.0 build-159196; -@ pipe=/var/folders/w2/w2myuXRLE1q1Ex7puQAPYk+++TI/-Tmp-//vmware-henrik/vmxebfd750b90971fa0;readyEvent=6 /Volumes/data/vmware/Windows XP Professional.vmwarevm/Windows XP Professional.vmx
501 31781 153 0 0:00.72 ?? 0:04.42 /Applications/VMware Fusion.app/Contents/MacOS/vmware -psn_0_14101874
501 31795 13404 0 0:00.00 ttys000 0:00.00 grep vmware

As you can see the process with the id 31776 is the one for the Windows XP guest. Run the following command to do a hard switch-off:

henrik$ sudo kill -9 31776

Now you can start the machine from scratch and it should be started as expected.

Replacement of the cracked MacBook topcase

Some month ago I noticed a little crack in the topcase of my MacBook. It happened in the area where your thenar is placed while using the keyboard. I haven’t made too many thoughts about because the guarantee has still expired. But with the time its getting bigger and bigger. So I just wondered if other people are also affected by this issue. I searched on Google to find an answer and found an interesting article at apfeltalk.de. As mentioned in the discussion it could be a manufacturing error which happens for MacBooks from late 2006. And that’s the time span when my MacBook was manufactured. Good news! So a week ago I started a request to my local Apple dealer. Some hours later I got an acceptance that Apple will exchange the topcase without any costs. I was really glad and the topcase was ordered. The replacement happened last Thursday and now I’ve again a shiny new one including a new keyboard and mousepad.

Everyone who is affected by this problem should ask the local Apple dealer for a replacement!

Temporary folder for Firefox and Thunderbird on OS X

In February last year I bought my first MacBook with OS X 10.4 alias Tiger installed and I was happy to say “Hello” to the Apple folks. Ever since it was a bit of work and I had to learn a lot until everything worked like expected. But there is still one thing which bugs me when running Firefox or Thunderbird on a fresh OS X installation. Both applications don’t use a reasonable temporary folder. Instead files which are opened by helper applications are stored under ~/Desktop or ~/Download and will not be removed sometimes after Firefox or Thunderbird are closed. This results in a really cluttered desktop or download folder. All the following steps have to be done because there is no way to specify the temporary folder from within Firefox and Thunderbird. Both lack an UI or a hidden preference to change this folder. I cannot say when this will be changed, but there is a reported bug about this issue. But lets go on… Continue reading

OS X leaks keyboard shortcut for optional button in dialogs

Hey, what’s up with my Tiger? I didn’t realized it all the last weeks but why there is no keyboard shortcut anymore to cancel a dialog? It was a fine thing to only have to hit the space key. I mainly used it within Lightroom to delete an image from the database. But as I see now, the button hasn’t a small blue border anymore. It’s cumbersome to grab the mouse and navigate to the cancel button.

Does anyone of you also have this problem? I could imagine that this regression was caused by the latest Apple update 2007-009 which also half-killed my OS X installation.

dialog

Update: The button I talked about isn’t cancel itself, sorry. What I mean is the optional button e.g. “Delete from Disk” within the following image:

Update 2: See comment 4 for the solution.

Update 2007-009 kills my MacBook

Today I got a notification from the Apple update tool that a new update is available. I hit ok, to install the Update 2007-009. After rebooting my system OS X presents a black screen. I like the console on Linux but I’m totally stranded at the moment.

I used dmesg to get closer which module or application is responsible for the behavior but didn’t really find anything for the moment. But probable VMware Fusion could be the reason. After trying to restart from the installation DVD it doesn’t even recognize my keyboard. Holding down the c key doesn’t start the installation procedure. I had to do several reboots to be able to get it running. But no errors were found. It’s enough for today.

If anyone can help me I would be very happy.

Update (20.12.2007): It’s time to respire. After several hours and with the help of some friends I got the problem solved. Now my MacBook is running fine again. But what’s happen? Lets try to explain…

As I have written in the last post I got some trouble with Keychain. All my stored passwords were invisible until I restarted my system. No idea what happened at this point but meanwhile I think its causing all the trouble from yesterday.

I had to start my MacBook in Single User Mode – just holding Cmd+S immediately when booting. I opened the system.log (cat /var/log/system.log) again and found the information that the “Setup Assistant” has crashed. Why the Setup Assistant? I don’t want to setup a new profile! But it looks like that it forwards you to the login screen if a profile already exists. Anyway, if an application crashed the CrashReporter puts a file with log information in /Library/Logs/CrashReporter. For the “Setup Assistant” it’s called “Setup Assistant.crash.log” and looked that way:

Host Name: hostname
Date/Time: 2007-12-20 20:30:04.095 +0100
OS Version: 10.4.11 (Build 8S2167)
Report Version: 4
Command: Setup Assistant
Path: ./Setup Assistant
Parent: sh [2]
Version: ??? (???)
PID: 283
Thread: Unknown
Link (dyld) error:
Library not loaded: /System/Library/Frameworks/SecurityInterface.framework/Versions/A/SecurityInterface
Referenced from: /System/Library/Frameworks/PreferencePanes.framework/Versions/A/PreferencePanes
Reason: no suitable image found. Did find:
/System/Library/Frameworks/SecurityInterface.framework/Versions/A/SecurityInterface: unknown file type, first eight bytes:
0xD9 0xD5 0x05 0xF9 0x20 0xA1 0x63 0xD7
/System/Library/Frameworks/SecurityInterface.framework/Versions/A/SecurityInterface: unknown file type, first eight bytes:
0xD9 0xD5 0x05 0xF9 0x20 0xA1 0x63 0xD7
/System/Library/Frameworks/SecurityInterface.framework/Versions/A/SecurityInterface: unknown file type, first eight bytes:
0xD9 0xD5 0x05 0xF9 0x20 0xA1 0x63 0xD7

Here you can see that there is a problem with the SecurityInterface library. Due to some strange bytes at the beginning of the file it’s not recognized as library. It has to be replaced with a working one. But where can I get it? Running the Darwin console doesn’t give me a chance (or I didn’t found it yet) to mount the dmg of the update. I asked several people if they could send me their file. Here you have to take care about your system. You need a version which fits to your OS X version! If you have a MacBook it has to be compiled for an Intel processor. Otherwise the PPC version is the correct one.

I downloaded the file with my other box and was able to retrieve it via scp from its file system. Now I replaced it locally:

$ cd /System/Library/Frameworks/SecurityInterface.framework/Versions/A/
$ mv SecurityInterface SecurityInterface.bad
$ mv /var/root/SecurityInterface .

That’s all. Now you should reboot your system and login as usual.

To avoid such problems in the future I will make a complete backup of my system files and also store the updates dmg file locally!

Enhance your OS X address book

I’m really impressed. After nearly one year in using my Macbook I could learn about hidden features of Apple software each day. All of them will give your live more power and also simplifies your work-flow. Today I will tell you some nice features of the OS X address book.

The trigger to have a deeper look at possible address book features was an email I received on Monday. Someone answered the message I sent him a while back and annotates that I used the wrong address. So my first thought was: “Don’t have I set his primary address correctly?” I decided to have a look for. But where can I see what’s the primary address? I cannot find it anywhere. I searched Google and had to read that it’s not possible by default. The address book automatically uses the first entered address as the primary one. Only when you are using distribution lists you can select the primary address of a contact within the edit mode. But that’s not the same. I want to have it set globally. Thanks Apple! Continue reading

Keychain forgets saved passwords … or not?

Yesterday I was really shocked. After reactivating my MacBook from stand-by mode I wanted to burn a DVD with exported pictures. I copied all files into the burning folder and started the process. From now on the whole system was curiously pretty slow. I never had this before. No idea if the burning process was responsible for that. But anyway, let us talk about the real problem…

I opened Adium to check if a friend is online. But instead of getting my contact list a password dialog was shown. Damn, what’s that? Most of my passwords are stored within Keychain. Why I have to enter a password now? Afraid of the thing happened I started the Keychain application and I was taken my breath away. No password, certificate or notes were visible. All entries were completely gone! The only thing I saw was a bright and white background. But that’s not what I wanted to see!

I was ebbed between waiting to finish the burning process or executing a restart immediately. Finally I decided to wait because there is no reason why it should getting worse. While the burning process wasn’t finished I restarted Keychain but without luck. It seems that all my stored sensitive data was lost. But stop! Let’s run a restart first… After taken the DVD out of my drive I did a restart. All the while I hold my fingers crossed. Please, please, please give me back my data… In such situations a restart takes a really long time! I entered my password and opened Keychain after my profile was loaded…

The applications window was shown and what I saw made me really really happy! All the entries were visible again and saved me from hacking them in again. I still have no idea what’s happened here and why they are back again. But I’m glad to have them back and I’m still interested for an explanation.

Anyone of you who had a similar experience? What was your result? Did you get back your stored passwords?

No shortcut to open contextual menus on OS X?

I’m really surprised! After years of experience with different Windows and Linux versions it’s getting normal for me to open contextual menus with Shift+F10 or the special context key if a mouse is not available. But yesterday while doing some work on bug 403602 I noticed that there is nothing for OS X? What about handicapped people who aren’t able to use a mouse or even use a screen reader? How do they access the context menu?

I asked several people who are still working on OS X for a longer period of time. But no one was able to give me a hint. So I started searching the web. I got this nice shortcut overview but no system wide shortcut is given. Now, while writing this post, I found this HIG document from Apple. It’s quiet interesting but once again a keyboard shortcut isn’t mentioned.

I’ll stop searching right now and hope that someone, who reads my post, could help me. I would be deeply grateful. Thanks!

Mac OS X 10.5 alias Leopard available

Mac OS X alias Leopard It was a long time for everyone, who is interested in Mac OS X, to wait for the upcoming 10.5 release alias Leopard. Even after Apple Inc. announced its brand-new mobile phone iPhone and shifted the release forward further 6 month. But now you don’t have to wait any longer. Since yesterday Mac OS X 10.5 alias Leopard has been in the wild. Its sale started exactly at 6pm and many of the distributors celebrated a “Night of the Leopard”.

With more than 300 new features and additionally bugfixes this is the biggest release of Mac OS X ever launched. Improvements were made for the Finder, the Dock and many more. New applications like the Time Machine or Spaces add missing core features. Feel free to explore all that on the Mac OS X website.

As we know Apple there is no update available for existing Mac OS X users. Only customers who bought a Mac with Tiger in October can get an upgrade for 8,95 EUR. Anyone else has to buy the full version. But they are not too expensive. A single license of Leopard costs 129 EUR while a family license (for 5 members of one household) costs 199 EUR. Both versions can be bought by Amazon. If you order it before December you can even get a coupon over 10 EUR. Just enter following code at the end of your order request: AMZNLPRDAPPL.

Let the Leopard run!