Archive for the ‘apple’ Category

More Macbook weirdness: num lock & caps lock reversed

Wednesday, January 2nd, 2008

Maybe my Macbook is messed up because I seem to get way more weird issues with it than other people I talk to.

Today it started doing this thing where it thinks the number lock and caps lock buttons are reverse what they should be. In order to type normal, I have to have both the lock lights turned on, rather than turned off. Toggling them on or off seems to work normal, it just thinks that a green light means turned off rather than on.

A bit of digging turns up that it seems like I’m not the only one with this problem. A forum post says that resetting the PRAM fixes the issue, but so does resetting the computer without doing anything sometimes so I don’t know.

I spoke too soon

Friday, December 14th, 2007

Of course, as soon as I post about my OSX kernel panics being fixed, there it is again. This definitely has something to do with networking, but it is tough to tell with all the layers.

I am using:

  • WiFi (with patched 802.11n firmware)
  • Wired Ethernet
  • Tunnelblick (OpenVPN)
  • Parallels Shared Networking

The crash always seems to occur, but not consistently:

  • When switching from WiFi to Ethernet, or the other way around
  • When Tunnelblick connection is dropped unexpectedly
  • When switching from shared to host only networking in Parallels

I am going to try my best to recreate the issue consistently soon and be done with it for good.

Update (1/30/2008):
Upgrading my version of Parallels to 3.0, build 5582 has fully fixed the problem once and for all. It has now been over 30 days without a Kernel Panic!

OSX Kernel Panic part II

Thursday, December 13th, 2007

Just a follow-up to that post a few entries ago about the OSX kernel panics I was getting.

I had hoped 10.5.1 would fix them, and they seemed to get a little less frequent when I installed that. What really seemed to do the trick was upgrading to the latest version of Parallels which I almost always have running.

It has now been 5 days since a Kernel panic.

For the horse race: I was getting 2 a day with 10.5.0, and one every other day with 10.5.1.

I think it is solved. We will see.

OSX Dictionary Screen Saver

Tuesday, December 11th, 2007

The OSX Dictionary screen saver is totally awesome. It gives you a handy word of the day as the screen saver. Why didn’t I see this in any of the reviews of Leopard out there?

As a side note, every time mine starts up it flashes the word “scrimshaw”. This is pretty awesome, but I am curious: does it do this for everyone? Is this some sort of inside apple joke?

OSX 10.5 Released

Wednesday, October 31st, 2007

Apple finally released OSX 10.5. (leopard I guess, but I don’t call OSX by its cat name ever because for some reason I can not remember what cat is what, I even bought the wrong one accidentally once, doh!) I went against my usual wait and see policy and installed it on the day it came out.

First off, I was going to head down to the apple store this past Friday and get in line at 6:00 to get a copy. This was until I noticed that no apple’s website their shipping was listed as “Delivers on 10/26/2007”. Well hell, if they are going to promise that it will deliver on a certain day rather than promise when it will ship, I might as well just order it online. I did expect apple to come through with their promise, what was a nice surprise though is that they shipped it via FedEx priority overnight. I had my copy of OSX in my hands by 10am, way earlier than if I had gone to the apple store, and for free no less. Thank you apple for this nice detail.

Of course, I got caught up in the installer trouble like so many other people. I had taken a nap while the installer ran, and woke up to the never ending blue screen. Normally I would have spent hours and hours doing a reinstall and trying to figure out what the problem was, but it was Friday night by this point so I went out drinking instead.

The next morning, low and behold, my issue was the first article on Slashdot. How handy, I wish I could just go to bed every night and have my latest problem solved for me.

It was a little frustrating that people, even the Slashdot article was calling this blue screen the Blue Screen of Death. The famous BSOD is a kernel panic which is something OSX is not immune to. This is what OSX’s equivalent of the BSOD looks like:

I have gotten four of these in the four days since installing 10.5. To be fair, on another computer I have been using Windows Vista Ultimate for over a month and have not been able to get it to crash. It slows down and complains a lot, but it hasn’t had a kernel panic.

I think that my panics I’ve been getting are probably related to some software I had installed before the upgrade. Just to be safe, I ordered a new hard drive from Other World Computing so I can swap it out and do a fresh install next week.

So, what’s the verdict. 10.5 has a lot of awesome new features and enhancements, but has a lot of issues as well. I’ll write up my wishlist for 10.5.1 later on.

Host file in OSX

Wednesday, October 3rd, 2007

I just spent a few hours trying to figure out why modifications to my /etc/hosts file weren’t working in OSX.

a google search found this article:
Mac OS X hosts File Regrouped

which had some great tips on how to get lookupd to do exactly what I wanted. Being able to set up the host name lookup search order has been hugely helpful in debuggins some errors I have had in the past.

It turns out that this particular problem was that my host file had been generated from a build script that was written for windows. It seems that if you have any windows line returns in the file, lookupd will ignore the entire hosts file.

a quick install of dos2unix from Darwin Ports fixed the issue.