Validate fonts cleans up error message

May 3rd, 2014

On OS X 10.9.2 I got a message in /var/log/system.log like

Google Chrome Helper[23799]: CoreText CopyFontsForRequest received mig IPC error (FFFFFECC) from font server

whenever I opened a new Chrome window. (running version 34.0.1847.131)

Fixing this was surprisingly easy:

1) open Font book

2) select-ALL

3) Validate Fonts from the file menu.

Once I cleared the problematic ones the messages no longer appeared.

printing all pdf’s in a folder in OS X via terminal

February 13th, 2014

Make a new folder on the desktop, and drag the pdfs you like to print in there.

Open the terminal, type


and a space. Then drag the folder you just created on to the terminal window. OS X will put the path there. So your shell command looks something like this:

cd /Users/yourName/Desktop/FolderYouMadeThatHasThePDFs

hit enter.

Then you can simply print all PDF files in that folder by copy pasting this:

for i  in *pdf ; do echo $i ; lp $i ; done

fast mac keyboard

December 19th, 2013

Just in case that this tip about fast keyboards should go away.


defaults write NSGlobalDomain KeyRepeat -int 0

in the terminal and logout and login to have a super fast keyboard. Using 1 instead of 0 will make it slightly slower. 2 corresponds to the fastest setting accessible via System Preferences.

Firefox 22 . Mac OS X 10.6.8 and Quicktime 7.6

July 2nd, 2013

It seems that in any dying project the bureaucrats, middle managers and otherwise challenged people are the last to leave. They cling on to past greatness and try to re-evoke what is gone.

The last Firefox update 22 put the latest available Quicktime Version 7.6.8 on their blocklist. Clips will not longer play, but a warning will show up, requesting an update. Only problem is that Quicktime 7.6.6 is not out of date for OS X 10.6.8. FF has acknowledged this and it is fixed. But a download of FF still has the broken blocklist.xml.

If you want or need to fix this manually you can do:

1) locate blocklist.xml for instance via

mdfind blocklist.xml

2) remove the 3 lines:

<pluginitem blockID=\"p408\">
<match name=\"filename\" exp=\"QuickTime Plugin\.plugin\" />                      <versionrange minVersion=\"0\" maxVersion=\"7.7.0\" severity=\"0\" vulnerabilitystatus=\"1\"></versionrange>

3) restart Firefox

osx wrtg54 connection reset ssh

January 16th, 2010

When using via the wrtg54 ssh connections timed out after a while.
Which is was mildly annoying. The problem that with mildly annoying things is they are mildly annoying.
So one does not go and fix them soon enough. In this case it was terribly easy to cure errors like:

Read from remote host Connection reset by peer
Connection to closed.

All that it needed was to create a file called .ssh/config in the home directory and add something like these lines:

ServerAliveInterval 60
ServerAliveCountMax 5000

Nice that it didn’t require any changes on the other end.

os x: don’t crash and bother

January 5th, 2009

When a program crashes under OS X then it displays a dialog asking if the info should be sent to Apple. If you never do that then you can disable this dialog by typing:

defaults write DialogType Server

in a terminal shell. So says the C’t.

seing the wrong page? Again?

May 22nd, 2008

Funny how Apple sometimes ‘fixes’ things by giving the remedy a new name:

Under 10.4 the ‘fancy’ cache would go made quiet frequently. Basically you’d see the wrong web page, while other commands like
ping etc still reach the proper server.

sudo lookupd flushcache

used to fix that. Of course the bug has not been fixed in 10.5.2 but the remedy is called now:

dscacheutil -flushcache

TimeMachine and the curse of Version1

April 29th, 2008

minutes after raving about the current Spotlight install TimeMachine throws a fit. It is actually pretty stupid. From my syslog:

Apr 29 08:40:09 99-204-104-71 /System/Library/CoreServices/backupd[3731]: Starting standard backup
Apr 29 08:40:09 99-204-104-71 /System/Library/CoreServices/backupd[3731]: Backing up to: /Volumes/300GB/Backups.backupdb
Apr 29 08:40:18 99-204-104-71 /System/Library/CoreServices/backupd[3731]: No pre-backup thinning needed: 58.48 GB requested (including padding), 184.42 GB available
Apr 29 08:40:18 99-204-104-71 mds[33]: (/Volumes/300GB/.Spotlight-V100/Store-V1/Stores/8564E2D8-9D41-40A3-8681-0D515BC688F3)(Error) IndexCI in ContentIndexAddOids:Caught mach exception. Fun Fun Fun.
Apr 29 08:41:18 99-204-104-71 login[3737]: USER_PROCESS: 3737 ttys001
Apr 29 08:41:51 99-204-104-71 mds[33]: (/Volumes/300GB/.Spotlight-V100/Store-V1/Stores/8564E2D8-9D41-40A3-8681-0D515BC688F3)(Error) IndexGeneral in notify_lowspace:low space for device 234881029 (/Vol
Apr 29 08:41:51 99-204-104-71 mds[33]: (Error) Volume: LOW DISK SPACE device:234881029

Apr 29 09:29:18 99-204-104-71 /System/Library/CoreServices/backupd[3731]: Error: Flushing index to disk returned an error: -916
Apr 29 09:29:18 99-204-104-71 /System/Library/CoreServices/backupd[3731]: Copied 27544 files (48.3 GB) from volume 232.
Apr 29 09:29:26 99-204-104-71 /System/Library/CoreServices/backupd[3731]: No pre-backup thinning needed: 471.6 MB requested (including padding), 135.99 GB available
Apr 29 09:29:26 99-204-104-71 /System/Library/CoreServices/backupd[3731]: Waiting for index to be ready (915 > 0)
Apr 29 09:35:41 99-204-104-71 /System/Library/CoreServices/backupd[3731]: Waiting for index to be ready (915 > 0)

last line looping forever, so I stopped it and got:

Apr 29 09:46:08 99-204-104-71 /System/Library/CoreServices/backupd[3731]: Copied 0 files (0 bytes) from volume 232.
Apr 29 09:46:08 99-204-104-71 /System/Library/CoreServices/backupd[3731]: Backup canceled.

spotlight to find purchased music

April 29th, 2008

A while back people sold music with DRM. Don’t ask. It turns out that it is terribly easy to find these files:

mdfind kMDItemContentType ==

in a terminal window will list all purchased music. Apple did with Spotlight what Microsoft was known for in the 90s: Releasing a great concept. Hardly working / usable in it’s first Version, but then getting it right in the later updates. Spotlight is actually quiet useful under OS X 10.5.

OS X 10.5: me likes

March 13th, 2008

Installed 10.5 today. Actually 10.5.2. Needed a couple of reboots and installs. But it all seems to work rather well now. My crontab did not make it. Strange, but not the end of the world. The WWAN icon dissapeared from the menu bar. It turns out that you can add things to the menu bar by running them. They are located in:

/System/Library/CoreServices/Menu\ Extras/

Other than that it has been pretty flawless. 10.5.2 seems to use less memory than than 10.4.11

The memory leak in ATSServer server seems to be gone as well. Yeah!

Overall it seems to be a very nice iteration. Somebody should put OS X 10.0,1,2,3,4 and now 5 side by side. That would be a very interesting example of design evolution. Apple did well in their upgrade concept in between major and minor releases.

My pet theory about Apple is this: Nothing major gets decided without “Steve”. Most of the mid size decissions are made based on “what would Steve say to this”.
Things that his Steve-ness is likely to use are finetuned and well honed. He probably have never a folder in the dock for instance. That “Fan mode” is simply ridicolous. Good thing it can be replaced with the “List” option now in 10.5.2. So on the good side we find: OS X, iPhone, probably Keynote (I would not know),
Safari, Finder (scrolls like butter) (<= Finder is good and bad. What S. uses works, but it’s still broken elsewhere)

Then there is the sad side of Apple: Unix in general (there are no tape devices. Yes, there are none. Go Figure!), OS X Server (joke, really, it is one) Pro Apps: Some are really nice,
but overall there has been very little innovation. Quicktime is bubbling features on the surface, Final Cut is not bad, Motion was neat, yet pointless, Color was thrown in for free, and Final Cut Server has not been released yet.

Apple should release the Pro Apps division out of their ridicolous communication strangulation and let it go on it’s own rules. People need Beta versions. They want to shape the product. Millions of dollars of peoples testing and feedback get wasted right now because Apple is unable to apply different commuincation rules for consumer products like iPhones versus applications like Shake. Idiotic. Not like Apple? Well, much like Apple. There is the dark side of the Apple. That’s the one that Steve’s light does not shine on. He should realize that, and give those divisions the room they need to grow. Sure Apple, Inc can afford not to do that. Apple, Inc can afford many things. Some of them might be pretty stupid. Like the way the ProApps division is been treated.

OS X server 10.5 is a waste of time

March 11th, 2008

So I thought I’d give OS X Server another try. With 10.2 it was dismals. But things might have changed. Years have gone by. Turns out some of the horror is gone. But overall it is still a waste of time. Total waste. Serving AFP volumes. Fair enough, that works. I got a used G5 and over gigE the performance is decent.

For everthing else: Just don’t touch it. Apple has made a nice and impressive bullet list of features. And every single one I have tried to use stinks. It is as bad as Microsoft software 5 years ago. Just get any linux server do these things. Trying to configure / tweak / guess the Apple server interface is (still) an utter waste of time. It might demo ok, but anything that you like to do in real life (anymous ftp with write permissions, having a second wiki that does NOT 404, etc etc) is simply impossible. Allot of clicking to just find the feature to be broken in the end. A waste of 500 Dollars. That’s what OS X server 10.5 still is. Stay away from it. You will be much happier.


March 2nd, 2008

when compiling gives this error:

/usr/bin/ld: Undefined symbols:
::deallocate(void*, unsigned long)
::allocate(unsigned long)

then use

gcc_select 3.3

to use the proper compiler.

(this is a blog entry that I will hopefully find when I google for this problem again in six months or so)

pesky keychain password prompt

March 2nd, 2008

After I rebooted my computer the Keychain prompted me for a password. I had seen this on other people machines before. The peskiness of this issue is rather windowesk. I am so glad that I could fix it! I got out the backup of my machine and copied the contents of ~/Library/Keychains from there. Reboot. Done, works again. Needless to say that I made a quick copy of this Keychains directory.

The problem was that none of my passwords really work. Apple recommends in those cases to delete the keychain and create a new one. Which is rather ridicolous. I have 140 items in my keychain. Of which I propably use 80, of those I maybe remember 50 the password for. It’s not a nice outlook having to enter / guess passwords 80 times in the next months. Probably exactly when I need to get something done quickly. Not getting distracted by the machine when something needs to get done is important. It’s why I choose to run a Mac.

How nice to have a backup.

OS X API Apple secretism bullshit

February 29th, 2008

For me this blog entry is very interesting in a couple of ways. Yes, it does expose that Apple has created a two class world. Other developers are welcome, as long as they add applications and functionalities. But whenever Apple feels like it, they will keep parts of the system they develop for themselves. This is extremely stupid and short sighted. It certainly got Microsoft not anywhere.

airport command line utility

February 27th, 2008



There is a very neat airport command line program. Starting it with –help will show you the possible options.
I like specially the -I option to show me the actual strenght of the signal etc in numbers. Not some bars. It also
seems to accurate more precisly what is going on. I wrote a quick perl wrapper to give me the outputs I care about
as a one line:


#airport usually is in /System/Library/PrivateFrameworks/Apple80211.framework/Versions/Current/Resources
use strict;
my $sleep = $ARGV[0] || 3;

my %trans = (
"commQuality" , "cQ",
"rawQuality" , "rQ",
"avgSignalLevel" , "sL" ,
"avgNoiseLevel" , "nL" ,
"lastTxRate" , "lR" ,
"maxRate" , "mR" ,
"Security" , "sec:"
while (1){
#print "x\n";
foreach my $o (`airport -I`){
#print "y $o\n";
$o =~ /\s*([^\:]+): (.*)/;
my $k = $1;
my $v = $2;
if ($trans{$k}){
print "$trans{$k} $v ";
#print "$k -> $v\n";
print "\n";
sleep ($sleep);

The other helpful option is the -s one: It scans all base stations it can find and displays them. Much better than the gui menu.

Moving this program in the bin folder would be a nice move by apple. Giving it a man page would even be better. But the way it is is certainly much better than nothing.

google down? Probably not

February 26th, 2008

With OS 10.4.11, but also before I have sometimes the funky behaviour that google appears to down: Both in Safari and fireofx the whole internet works normal, but when I do a google search both browsers show me google being down. Which is a blatant lie. In the terminal doing a

sudo killall lookupd

fixes the issues. It seems to happen when google can not be reached for reasons like an intermittend connection and and lookupd seems to give up on that name.

old computers that still work

February 23rd, 2008

A new problem that is looking for solutions: Computers are worth replacing while they are still work fine.

Some solutions

Interesting is the theme that the OS is often the reason to kick it to the curb: It is outdated (OS9), just got slower and slower (windows used to do that, does it still? Luckily I have no idea) or it just filled with malware (That WOULD be a windows feature). The hardware might do some good. I am always surprised how little harddrives have been. “Back in the day”.

vmware Unexpected signal: 10

February 21st, 2008

When getting an error like ‘Unexpected signal: 10′ when launching vmware on OS X it could be that you ran a 3rd Memory Manager like iFreeMem. Quitting it did not fix the issue. I had to reboot, and then vmware was happy again. It might even be that running iFreeMem first and then VMware would work. My solution is just not to use ‘iFreeMem’ any longer. It feels snake-oilish anyway: why should a 15 dollar application do a better job in managing my memory than the OS itself? It’s one of these things that the OS should be really good at. It’s not about having ‘green’ in your pie chart.

suExec fpr Apache under OS X

January 9th, 2008

In order to get Apache running with suexec under OS X 10.4.11 and also have php you will need to do the following:

1) get the apache sources. (1.3.39)

2) get the php4 sources (php-4.4.8)

3) extract in the same directory and go into the php one to run:

./configure --prefix=/usr \
--sysconfdir=/etc \
--localstatedir=/var \
--mandir=/usr/share/man \
--with-xml \

sudo make install

4) then go into the apache folder and

./configure --with-layout=Darwin \
--enable-module=most \
--enable-shared=max \
--enable-suexec \
--suexec-caller=www \
--suexec-docroot=/Library/WebServer/Documents \
--activate-module=src/modules/php4/libphp4.a \

make -j2
sudo make install

5) I had to change /etc/httpd/htddp.conf like:

comment out modules in httpd.conf
#LoadModule userdir_module libexec/httpd/

#LoadModule php4_module libexec/httpd/
#LoadModule hfs_apple_module libexec/httpd/
#LoadModule bonjour_module libexec/httpd/

#AddModule mod_userdir.c

AddModule mod_php4.c
#AddModule mod_hfs_apple.c
#AddModule mod_bonjour.c

Please note that mod_php4 gets added but not loaded. Probably since it got compiled in.
My httpd rejected to start with hfs_apple or bonjour loaded and crashed with userdir.

install apple developer tools in the command line

January 9th, 2008

Since years I work on a couple of computers via command line. Since they are real unix computers it all works remarkably well. For a specific solution I need to run osacompile. AppleScript needs to get compiled. I did not find a way to distribute it as text. So finally I got a hold of an OS X machine in the internet. More on that part later. osacompile really wants to run the application that it will talk to later. Also rather odd. But, hey, we talk Apple here. A sect in disguise of a technology company. So everything is possible. Or rather impossible. Like adding a development environment. The Box happened to have no Dev Tools installed. Usually that’s maybe a bit timely but overall straight forward. Installing development tools on a unix computer.
With Apple OS X 10.4.11 it turns out that doing so via ssh is not as trivial. You can download the source code. But first you need to create a developer account with ADC. It’s free. It’s annoying. They keep forgetting my password. Once you logged in,
you could download the dmg file to your local machine. I could have done that and waited only a couple of weeks for my DSL to upload the 900+ MB file to the final server I need it on. Downloading the dmg directly did not work. I had to fake a login. Which is easier as it seems. In the browser that is logged in (firefox I assume) you look for a cookie called ADCDownloadAuth. This you copy paste into the following command line:

curl -b "ADCDownloadAuth=SomeVeryLongCookieString" -O \

At least that’s the valid file of today.
Once you have the file you attach (aka mount) it via:

hdiutil attach xcode25_8m2558_developerdvd.dmg

and navigate into

/Volumes/Xcode Tools/Packages

to then run:

sudo installer -verbose -pkg XcodeTools.mpkg -target /

Don’t run this against XcodeTools.mpkg in /Volumes/Xcode Tools directly. This results in the error message:

2008-01-09 03:47:43.889 installer[2843] IFPkg::_parseOldStyleForLanguage - can't find .info file (XcodeTools)

which does not google very sucessful.

The install seems to work, from what I can tell so far. I have gcc and make. And that’s all I cared for.

apple and unix

December 20th, 2007

In unix you tell the system via a file called /etc/fstab which drives should be mounted.
Simple. Works. Except for OS X. Some crazy new fancy database sheme was supposed to replace /etc/fstab. It was all so amazing. It is junk, that’s what it was. Didn’t stop Apple-Idiots to claim it would be amazing. And countless websites offered help. What was one line a file became pages and pages of instructions.

Finally with 10.5 /etc/fstab is also part of OS X. It took years. It’s good that it’s there. it’s not good that it did not become available in the updates to 10.1, 10.2, 10.3 and 10.4. Apple is idiotically stubborn sometimes.

can not find that host?

December 2nd, 2007

Once in while my OS 10.4.11 machine goes stupid, and has trouble resolving specific host names.

Opening a terminal window and entering:

sudo killall -HUP lookupd

fixes this. Lookupd is one of these more stupid Apple ideas. But since Cupertino has inherited the infallible attribute from the Roman Catholic Church it is pointless to tell them about it. Apple is so shiny and perfect to the outside. Inside it just looks like the Roman Catholic Church on the peak of it’s power.

OS X 10.5 as seen by ars

October 30th, 2007

A review that’s worth the read. I have not even seen 10.5 yet. I suffer from feline-confusion anyway. I remember pretty much what changed from 10.2 ro 10.3 but would need to think hard what animal it was.


September 30th, 2007

That whole ‘think different’ campaign:

had to come out and haunt them. Once they stopped doing so, and sold their image to peddle some ringtones. Apple is just like AT&T or Exxon Mobile for that matter. They all are just trying to make as much money as they can.

slow with one point five GB

September 15th, 2007

So, my MacBook Pro has one and a half Gigabyte. Plenty, so I thought. After all I have been crusing those internets -and thats pretty much what I am doing with the machine- happily with 640MB a couple of years back.

Still, it started swapping. You can always tell: things get really slow, specially when switching back to firefox for instance. Activity monitor sure enough showed that dreaded almost all yellow circle with just a token line of green left.

Then I realised what had changed: I had re-enabled spotlight in /etc/hostconfig. Spotlight is a waste of many things: screen real estate, hope, memory, CPU cycles and mind space. I have never ever seen somebody use it happily in real life, or telling me: “I found my stuff again, thanks to Spotlight”. Good idea, ill implemented. To say the least. But wait, Apple can not make bad software. That’s impossible.

keys for brightness don’t work on OS X laptop anymore

August 18th, 2007

Somehow it always seems to happen after using a laptop for a while: the screen brightness control via function keys stops working. No idea why, no any of those modifiers like ‘alt’, option, fn command don’t help either. It’s probably a pretty strange hack, but Amit’s code to control the screen brightness works like a charm.

quicktime: I hate yer

May 1st, 2007

Old and rotten APIs should be politely guided to the graveyard of history. And freaking shot! But, no, some clueless public prodcasting people still enjoy the merits of using ‘real player’. Now Microsoft and Adobe get into a fight over movie playback systems. At least that’s what the tech journalists tell us. Very same people that speculated for years wether Microsoft or Sony would take the next gen crown of gaming. Until there was the Wii. Microsoft vs Adobe during NAB was one of these non stories that became one, since Journalists could write so easily about it.

The reality of quicktime is actually pretty grim: People are able to make movie files that are plain insane. Client of mine likes to produce anamorphic qt’s. Don’t ask. Displaying them on a website, you kinda need to know about that, otherwise they look squeezed. Only problem is: The quicktime player magically knows. But nothing else does. Probing the transformation matrix via javascript returns the most innocent matrix there is: 1.0, 0.0, 0.0 0.0, 1.0, 0.0 0.0, 0.0, 1.0.
ffmpeg, usually so brave in dealing with all this, has no clue. Apple documentation acknowledges the existence of matrices and even teases on this page with the existence of some documentation about matrix functions. But of course the link maybe having some answers goes nowhere. Which is pretty common in Apples online quicktime documentation. It’s huge, it’s old, in many cases examples require OS9 to compile. There are actually very very few working and helpful examples on Apples sites. Whenever the quicktime API gets extended again by some mostly unwanted function there are some files in the development environment du jour. But after years of operating systems and development environments moving on they mostly become a joke or grim reminder of times when Mac’s where beige. Yes, it really is that horrible. And then some.

Quicktime was a good idea. One that got out of hand. Fueled by the success of Apple and it’s other products, it could survive the total failure in gaining any consumer traction. Youtube is flash based. Looks bad, but nobody cares. Unfortunately there are not any alternatives to quicktime. Which is a shame:
It should not be that hard to just have a simple working container format for audio and video. xml works, all these modern things. And quicktime?
Moov containers. nested in each other. Trying to hide their shameful kludgyness. Only thing that Apple did that is worse than quicktime is AppleScript. But we don’t go there. Oh, no. We will not. Sal, oh, Sal, why don’t you go where people wear the had that you do??

Quicktime VR? Who gives a shit? Sprites? Excucse me? You can write actually lots of things in quicktime. Too many. We don’t need an interactive system that would run of a CDROM. Really not. Anymore.

I will have to deal with quicktime in the next five years. And I am seriously not looking forward to all those oddities that will creep up. Not at all.

Apple should define a simple, fast, well documented (examples!) ‘core-qucktime’ subset that actually gets used and that all application should
and can support.

mailto no more!

April 8th, 2007

It has been a long time since I wanted use Apples But it still opened whenever I clicked on one of these mailto: links in a webpage. I googled and found that there is gmailto, which should do the trick, but is broken it seems. I could install it, gmail would open, but not understand the email address I wanted to send to.

Then I found Webmailer. This one works like a charm. It together with the gmail option to send email as make gmail pretty much complete. I am sure it breaks in about 7 minutes, when I rave about it like this.

one gig is not enough

April 4th, 2007

Thirteen years ago I worked for the first time on a SGI computer. “Super Computer” as it’s owners liked to call it whenever they could. They spent more than you would pay for mid sized house on it’s memory alone. It had 1GB RAM. Telling people casually about this machine back in the day I had to emphasize: No, not the hard drive, the RAM is one Gigabyte. There were a handful of computers of this size in Germany back in the day.

Yesterday I saw somebody beach-ball on a MacBook. She just uses it for the normal communication things you do these days, no ‘heavy’ applications. This computer had the same memory size: one Gigabyte. And it is not enough. The machine was swapping. Horribly slow.

Something is a bit odd here: Using one gigabyte you could store one million pages of text. Or one thousand books with a thousand pages each. Or you could fill the screen of the laptop with 350 layers of images. 349 of them being invisible.

Memory is cheap these days. But wasting a whole GB is something that might
lead to the wasting a whole 16GB in a few years. That memory one could use probably for real useful things as well.

open terminal here

September 10th, 2006

opens terminal in directory of finder window

To open your current working directory from the terminal in the finder simply type:

open .

That is open “dot”, which you can replace with other valid file names. Works with other files as well. Pretty much does what would happen if you would click on the thing. In unix a . is the current directory

change name: no you don’t

August 25th, 2006

Apple’s XCode comes free with your operating system. It allows you to compile code. But is it a decent Development API? I highly doubt so. I don’t spend 50 hours a week with it. I hope nobody has too. I wasted the last thirty minutes of my life trying to find a way to rename a project. Just giving it a new name. Not more not less. I truly sucks. This is probably not a bug, just some ridicolous user interface disaster. XCode. It truly sucks, and, isn’t that a coincidence, there is no real alternative to it.

now that apple sells lots of stuff

July 5th, 2006

they think can take a stroll on the dark side

Idiots. How often can you sell your virginity? Now Apple has marched into the ‘phone home’ camp. And for what benefit? Idiots.

where is that file?

June 26th, 2006

Looking for a specific file that I had modified today.
This did the trick in the terminal:

mdfind -onlyin ~/ 'kMDItemFSContentChangeDate > $'

Spotlight is great, just that it’s standard interface is lame. Pretty much unusuable.
But there is always the terminal …