Tag Archives: osx

Apple worse than Microsoft regarding browser policy

Many thanks to the Multi-Safari project for working allowing one to use Safari 3 on a system that had been upgraded to Safari 4.

For some reason, Apple chose to not let one uninstall Safari 4 once his system has been upgraded to it. Removing Safari 4 with AppZapper still would not allow me to reinstall Safari 3. Had it not been for Multi-Safari, I’d still be having my issues.

So why did Apple choose such a Microsoft-like approach to the browser? I should be able to uninstall the OS-included browser firstly, and secondly, I should be able to then reinstall the prior version of the same browser.

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Clearing incorrect saved form field entries in Entourage or Firefox

Someone called me today with an all too common occurence that needed remedy: He entered his password mistakenly in the login name field of a webform. While the easy route would be to clear private data (doing a bulk erase), that’s like killing a cockroach with a bazooka. When you find yourselves in a similar situation, be it a mispelled streetname, login, address or whatever, there is a very simple (and keyboard driven) way to fix this problem.

To remove individual values from saved formed data within Firefox and Entourage (and probably other applications that I seem to not have had the need to test), perform the following, very simple procedure.

1. Put your cursor in the field on the form in which your mistaken entry lies.
2. Hit down arrow key (start typing the incorrect entry) and then hit the down arrow key until the incorrect entry is selected.
3. Press SHIFT + DEL to delete the offending entry.

(Note: This trick doesn’t seem to work in Apple’s Safari browser so if anyone can help document that for me I’d appreciate it.)

VMware Fusion Machines Locked after Clone Recovery

I had been without my MacBook Pro while it was in repair for a power-related issue. Prior to my handing over my system to Apple, I secure wiped the entire disk but some Vaulted users for demonstrating the system malfunctions.

Upon my first system restore, I was unable to run any of my machines as the reported “File locked” in the Virtual Machine list as their state.

The machine packages themselves were not locked at a file system level; however, upon exposing the package contents of each Virtual Machine, there existed a series of .lck files. So, knowing I had a good backup still of course, I proceeded to delete the least innocuous and most likely candidate file first: .vmx.lck.

Presto! Once that file was removed, I reloaded Fusion and confirmed the status had changed to “Powered off” which was its true status. I had a hunch that the machine still would not work though as there were several lock files remaining. Where had they come from? Hadn’t I powered the machines off prior to the last cloning? Then it hit me… I test all my clones by booting directly to them though I don’t use the disks once I confirm they are operational – except once when I launched my XP virtual machine to get access to files I left within it. While this could be the reason for one series of lock files, how could that explain that my Vista, 2008, Ubuntu, RedHat, CentOS, Celerra, and so on were all in “File Locked” state when I know those systems hadn ‘t been accessed subsequent to the clone operation and, therefore, were in a clean state?

For now, I decided to delete all the lock files and confirm each machine’s health. Though I chose to relaunch Fusion for good measure, simply double-clicking the package, using “File | Open…” or “File | Open Recent” would all have worked.

What I need to schedule for a lab now is to test if recovering from a clone is related to the creation of the lock files. Until then, case closed… happy VMing again. :-)

Crossover Office or Bordeaux?

Bordeaux or CrossOver?

I am an avid user of virtualization and emulation since as long as I can remember. However, what a heavy-weight solution it is to support an application only by means of a virtualization host.

For example, I use a great program to learn German called the Rosetta Stone. Unfortunately it ships only with a Windows installer and no means of running on my other two primary OSs, Linux and OSX (Leopard and Panther), other than by means of some emulation/encapsulation/virtualization layer. Here is where CrossOver and products such as VMware can readily and reliably step in (especially the latter).

As it has been for a while, I first try to run the application in CrossOver then should that fail, I’ll install it into as a guest into my VMM, usually VMware nowadays. Of course there are programs I will install straight into a VM for other reasons, such as interaction, dependencies or data exchange between existing or planned programs.

The downside to both of the above solutions is cost. Now aside from running free virtualization products (which I do), I don’t see cutting ties to VMware any time soon (not just because I’m certified and therefore must proselytize).

A CrossOver license is required for each machine that I install it on, regardless of whether or not there isn’t concurrent usage.

The pros for Bordeaux are:

  • Inexpensive! (I can afford to dish out for a copy for each of my key systems)
  • Supports Linux (I use BSD for servers only right now really so its BSD support is neither a pro or con)
  • Office 2007 support (CrossOver still lists their support of 2007 as primitive)

The cons for Bordeaux are:

  • Less official application support
  • Doesn’t support OSX installation officially

Right now, I’m betting on CrossOver over Bordeaux only in that it is the established player. Once I see Bordeaux support Office 2007, I’ll reconsider. I run a few Windows VMs on my MacBook Pro so I’m well covered regardless and can wait patiently.

Mac VMware Fusion and Linux Machines Blip

Oddly, after updating to the newest VMware Fusion on my MacBook Pro, EVIL gremlins decided to attack my VMs. Little pests they can be.

For the record, I updated from Fusion 1.1.2 to 1.1.3 prior to completing 10.5.2 to 10.5.3 Leopard update which fixes a notorious , wicked bug (system lockups under intense disk usage). Of course running as many windows/tabs as for I am famous in my circles on my host and guests combined, frequently pegs my disk I/O. Afterall, isn’t that for what preemptive multitasking exists – to maximize your productivity and that of your system by combining workloads with safe, proportionate resource assumption.

For the uninitiated into VMware, it’s guests, the hosted Virtual Machines, best perform and function with a package called VMware Tools. The VMware Tools package handles some pretty core items such as connected state of the hardware (e.g., audio and network controller), time synchronization, and virtual disk management (e.g., shrinking). VMware makes excellent tools for their Windows hosts and satisfactory versions for non-Windows systems such as Linux and BSD. I’ll cease my foray into VMware here and get back to the point.

When one upgrades a VMware host, there is a period which the guests will be running the old VMware Tools on the new version of the host. Additionally, on non-Windows systems, you must compile the Tools packages yourself. I don’t like to rush to conclusions, but it would seem that this combination alone may not have played well together. As a result of a short run the following occured across my VM guests.

  • My CentOS virtual machine became non-responsive.
  • My Ubuntu virtual machine’s network PCI interrupt became permanently disabled.
  • My KNOPPIX virtual machine became non-responsive until reboot.

I rebooted the CentOS guest and needed to run massive filesystem repairs (ultimately, I chose to restore to a backup).

The Ubuntu machine is a long story but the way I resolved the issue was to add/hook into another set of network cards, leaving the original momentarily. The new controllers came up on alternate PCI addresses and work fine under the old and recompiled binaries.

KNOPPIX is just nice – it will always be one of my favs… I just rebooted it of course.

I hadn’t had my other VMs in use and need to rebuild their tools (BSD-based)… I build them on a different system like a good boy so I can install them straight off the bat.

All is well… this only reinforces the need to have regular (and tested) backups for more than just your data. Your time is worth it let alone the mitigation of risk.