My Leopard Finder Bug

I found a bug in Leopard that kind of stinks. Not a huge problem, but it confused me at first. While it isn’t deadly it could mean lost files for people (it almost meant that for me). I reported it to Apple, see my report below. This bug was first found in Leopard 10.5.1 (9B18)

1) grab file
2) open a folder by hovering the file over a folder in the “places” sidebar
3) open a sub-folder of the first folder by hover again
4) drop file into folder
5) click the back arrow to return to the original folder

1) The moved file will appear to still be in the original folder, as well as the new location.
2) Deleting the file from the original folder will delete the file from new location
3) closing the window and opening a new finder window for the original folder shows the file is no longer in the folder.

It appears that finder does not refresh its file list giving the user an inaccurate listing that could result in accidental deletion of data.

mac, tips

Living with Leopard's Firewall

I made the plunge and upgraded to Leopard. A CompUSA rebate of $30 (bringing Leopard down to a mere $99) was too much to pass up. I like a lot of Leopard and I haven’t had many problems so far, though I do see a good amount of room for improvement. One place that needs serious improvement is Leopard’s new Firewall system. I’d heard that you could now choose to open the firewall on the application level, and I thought that was nice, but I hadn’t heard that you *had* to do on the application level. That’s dumb. Application level rules are fine if I have a simple application I want to open a port for, but if I want to open a port for something like a custom build of apache it can’t be done.

Thankfully you can still use the terminal to open ports in the firewall for Leopard. Not as easy as using the firewall in Tiger, but it gets the job done. Here’s a few helpful tips:

to add a port:
sudo ipfw add allow [udp or tcp] from [port] to [port]
So, if you want allow port 80 with tcp you’d type sudo ipfw add allow tcp from 80 to 80

to see your rules:
sudo ipfw list

to delete an open port:
first type sudo ipfw list, you’ll get something like this

33300 deny icmp from any to me in icmptypes 8
33400 allow udp from to
33500 allow tcp from to

take the number proceeding the rule you want to delete and type sudo ipfw deletem [rule number], so if I wanted to delete the rule “33500 allow tcp from to” I’d just type
sudo ipfw delete 33400

Hopefully Apple will realize that giving users no advanced options is dumb. But until then, start loving the terminal!

mac, technology

Calibrate Your Mac Battery

Battery life not what it used to be on your MacBook? Does your MacBook Pro have you running for an outlet like bad actors in an Imodium AD commercial? While you might have a bad battery there is a good chance you just need to calibrate your battery. How you ask? Well, Apple makes the process clear enough:

The battery calibration for the PowerBook G4 (15-inch Double-Layer SD) and any model of MacBook or MacBook Pro has been updated because of a new battery released with this computer. With these computers, follow these steps to calibrate your battery:

1. Plug in the power adapter and fully charge your PowerBook’s battery until the light ring or LED on the power adapter plug changes to green and the onscreen meter in the menu bar indicates that the battery is fully charged.
2. Allow the battery to rest in the fully charged state for at least two hours. You may use your computer during this time as long as the adapter is plugged in.
3. Disconnect the power adapter with the computer still on and start running the computer off battery power. You may use your computer during this time. When your battery gets low, you will see the low battery warning dialog on the screen.
4. Continue to keep your computer on until it goes to sleep. Save all your work and close all applications when the battery gets very low, before the computer goes to sleep.
5. Turn off the computer or allow it to sleep for five hours or more.
6. Connect the power adapter and leave it connected until the battery is fully charged again.

Afterwards try using a program like Coconut Battery to see how healthy your battery is. Unfortunately if it is like mine (near 60% health after less than 200 cycles) you might need to bring your battery to the good folks at Apple.


iPhone Update Locks Down 3rd Party Apps, Time for a Linux Phone?

With Apple’s recent move to lock down the iPhone and iPod Touch the Linux Phone called OpenMoko is starting to look better all the time.

From the OpenMoko website:

OpenMoko is a GNU / Linux based open software development platform. Developers have full access to OpenMoko source and they can tailor their implementations to underlying hardware platforms.


Our company is unconventional, we openly share our roadmap. And your participation, in terms of actual code, hardware features, suggestions, and usage-scenarios will shape product features of our future devices. …The real power of an open phone… emerges from the interaction of all the users of “freed phones.”

While it may not rival the iPhone in terms of design, I might rival the iPhone in terms of function. It has a little way to go yet, but this phone may rise through the horde of silly closed phones to become a true iPod killer. The combination of openness not only of software but also of network (any GSM network anyway) makes the OpenMoko a compelling alternative to what Apple offers, that being a closed software and closed network phone.

Interestingly the OpenMoko uses a microSD and microSDHC cards for it’s storage. Currently microSD cards can go up to 2GB, but microSDHC are up to 4GB with 8GB cards in the works. This would also mean that a person could carry much more than an iPhone if they are willing to carry around extra cards. One the negative side the UI looks dog ugly, however being Linux, I am sure there will be all sorts of themes for folks to use. Another downside is that it looks like it will be more expensive than the iPhone, but if the OpenMoko takes off that could change as mass production always drives price down. Only time will tell if the OpenMoko succeeds but one thing for sure is that it will be worth keeping an eye on this phone.

business, mac

Apple's World-Wide Pricing

Will Green has created a listing of word-wide prices for a few Apple products and a comparison on their cost to US Customers. I was wondering about this myself recently. So it was nice to see. Of course, the reason for these differences is that Apple is an America company and the prices for the rest of the world try to account for what they would like to get for their products in US dollars and the fluxuation in the exchange rate. I’m interested in how well they account for it. I’d assume that the American price is what they’d like to get on average so a history of how close they’ve come would show how effective their economists are at guessing prices for the products. To see that you’d probably need a full year at minimum of the highs and lows of the dollar versus each currency plus the average. Even then that might not be enough, I don’t know enough about the stores in the rest of the world, do they prices change yearly even? Or is it every few years or is it more sporadic? That could make a difference.

For instance looking at a Mac Pro on the site:
$2499 USD
$2,529.75 USD – Cost based on 6 month average exchange rate for yen in Japan

But it gets interesting to me when more statistics get added in. From what I can tell using Google Finance:
$2,688.14 USD – Current price for Japan (based on the exchange rate at the end of the day 2007.Sep.11)
$2,456 USD – Year’s low price for Japan (approx.)
$2,695 USD – Year’s high price for Japan (approx.)

I’d really like to see a whole history and analysis of their world wide pricing.

boneheads, business, mac, technology

NBC Wants People to Stop Buying TV Shows

On the heels of iTunes getting rid of DRM in music NBC says they want more. NBC would also like to re-negotiate pricing and bundle shows. So far NBC has declined to renew its contract with Apple.

First issue: pricing. The pricing is fine. No one else really thinks it is too much or too little. Done.

Second issue: bundling. Users don’t want to be forced to buy a bundle and won’t like a change that removes a freedom of choice that they once had.

Third issue: DRM. Okay, more and more people are starting to agree that DRM is bad for consumers. Just look at Microsoft’s PlayForSure (which even the Zune doesn’t support) and Sony’s ATRAC (which has been dumped, leaving owners of those music file holding the bag). DRM limits how legitimate owners can use their purchased content and creates a situation in which it is likely that users will be locked out of different devices or just plain lock out of ever using the content again. The good thing is that many people just won’t purchase DRM burdened files. A user on one forum wrote a response to NBC’s demands:

Either I can buy a season of Scrubs and the Office when it starts again or I can find it in some other manner that will not benefit NBC at all.

Your call, NBC.

This exemplifies the main issue with DRM, that is that it agitates the problem it seeks to solve. By demanding an increased cost and adding DRM NBC simply pushes customers towards peer2peer sites and of course that will be far worse than unbundled slightly DRM’ed $1.99 TV episodes.

update: NBC and Apple are splitting ways. Apple has announced that they will not carry NBC shows because NBC wanted each episode to sell for $4.99 which is more than double what they cost now. We’ll see how NBC likes it when their own service fails and people turn to the peer2peer networks. It will be especially interesting to see how this effects the popularity of its shows, considering it was iTunes that saved the award winning show The Office from certain death.

humor, mac

Beta iPhone Rejected

image of old iPhone

The first iPhone design was a little primitive. When given the beta iPhone, early test groups responded that they wanted “less wires, no pen, and something significantly smaller and mobile.” Apple’s designers threw just about everything out and started again from scratch. It took a little over twenty years, but late in 2006 Apple was ready to show off their new and improved design.

Well, you can have your fancy futuristic mobile phone folks— give me something I can pug into a wall and sit at a desk with.

mac, technology

Aqua OpenOffice is Shaping up

The Mac OpenOffice team released the second snapshot of the Aqua (X11 free) version of OpenOffice today. While there is more to be done before it is ready for people to use in a reliable and easy fashion, it is really making headway. The big thing is that you can print from OpenOffice now. That’s important. The print dialog isn’t Mac’s so that still needs work, but gosh it’ll be there soon enough.

At this point it is still too early to review the new OpenOffice, but it looks like it is on its way to becoming the same great free office suite on Mac that it is on every other platform. Mac users, get ready to throw your copy MS Office in the trash. You can open and save Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint documents, or use safer open formats.

mac, technology

How Tiger 10.4.10 Killed My Wireless and How I Fixed it

As a seasoned Mac user I know to be careful when updating my Mac. In the five or so years that I’ve been using OS X I’ve only really hit problems once before 10.4.10 came out, so I’m usually not too worried. There are lots of people that claim an update killed their computer— a slightly dubious claim in my opinion— but updates can make some things unpleasant.

After safely updating my iMac I decided to update my production machine, a MacBook Pro. Everything seemed fine until I tried to go onto the internet. What happened was that I could connect to the router, I could even get to the router’s control panel, but I couldn’t do anything else. No internet, no network.

During my troubleshooting I noticed that when I removed the security settings I could get online. But there is no way that is an acceptable solution.

So I downloaded Apple’s airport update from a while back and saw which files it was updating. Then I downloaded the 10.4.9 combo update and replaced the file on my computer with the one in there. In case this happens again, or if anyone else has this problem I’ve saved the file and put in online (to avoid the massive 10.4.9 combo download). Here are the steps to getting wireless back:

  1. Download and unzip the file to your desktop
  2. Open terminal and paste this in:
    sudo cp -R //System/Library/Extensions/IO80211Family.kext/ /System/Library/Extensions/IO80211Family.kext.backup/;
    sudo mv ~/Desktop/IO80211Family.kext/ //System/Library/Extensions/IO80211Family.kext/;
    sudo chown -R root //System/Library/Extensions/IO80211Family.kext/;
    sudo chgrp -R wheel //System/Library/Extensions/IO80211Family.kext/;
    diskutil repairPermissions / -v;
  3. Restart the computer and hold down the shift key until you see the spinning circle, this boots the computer in “safe mode” which will ensure the permissions are all set correctly
  4. Once the computer finishes booting you can restart it normally

That did it for me anyway, I’m cruising the information super highway again! Of course this is done at your own risk and you should backup important files first. I don’t take any responsibility for anything not working or messing things up.

update: Apple’s latest wireless release (2007-004) broken my wireless again.


Aqua OpenOffice Around the Corner

Well, it’s slightly old news but the day mac users see an aqua version OpenOfice is getting closer. The timeline that was updated on 2007, March 24th, says we’ll be seeing the earlier version soon.

May 2007

  • Present a downloadable public Aqua version, working as alpha (not complete, with missing features to be implemented later)
  • Start QA using user’s feedback

Yeah, April is only like half over and the alpha could be out in late May, but it is closer. I’ve been wanting a nice aqua-ed version of OpenOffice since 2002. To my chagrin early efforts to bring OpenOffice to a wide (non-x11) Mac community were abandoned, but now the new effort is in full swing.

There is still a bunch to do, but I am eager to get in line and test the alpha.  For those less willing to have “fun” with an alpha, a beta is due by the end of the year… which is still a ways away, but at least it looks like it will really happen this time!

OpenOffice is great, making it work on a mac how you’d expect will be amazing.