OSX Eats Itself

19 days of sweet uptime on the OS box, then we have to go and have a five-second power outage today. After reboot, most of my apps won’t launch. The dock icons just bounce eternally. Try to Force Quit and they won’t quit. App launching is stuck in limbo.

Reboot in single user mode and run fsck -y. One small error found, but that doesn’t fix the problem. Try to reinstall X 10.1 but it won’t let me – says it can’t find a valid OS X installation. Which is ridiculous because the OS will still boot.

Call Apple Support for the first time. Friendly and patient, but I felt like I knew more about OSX than the rep did, and I’ve only been using for a couple months. He suggested installing over again back from OSX and going through the upgrades, which is what I was hoping to avoid.

So install OS X. Install OS X.1. Then do all the online software updates to get back to X.1.1. Some of the downloadable updates are upwards of 10MBs. I’ve already done these – aren’t they cached somewhere? Why do I have to download them all again?

Problem solved, but there goes half my Saturday. As if there weren’t other things I wanted to be working on today.

Lessons:

1) HFS+ needs journaling badly.
2) Apple Support ain’t that helpful. Could have gotten better answers for free online.
3) HFS+ needs journaling badly.

20 Year Usenet Archive

This is pretty amazing. Amazing that there’s finally a near-complete and total usenet archive for the first time, and amazing to see some of this old stuff. I remember some of these posts and scandals, but not most of them. Got a kick out of the first usenet post from an AOL account – I helped to beta test that service. That message mentioned the fact that CompuServe (CIS) was just starting an Internet gateway. At the time, none of the proprietary services had connections to the net – AOL, CIS, and Prodigy were all self-contained universes. I remember when my CIS ID (CompuServe was command-line only at the time) — 72241,1777 — suddenly got access to the rest of the world and I became 72241.1777@compuserve.com . Everything opened up at once. A few months later, CompuServe got a GUI. Saw the Mosaic browser for the first time later that year. Everything was happening so fast…

Canonical Errors

In the ID3v1 spec (see end of document), the genre “psychedelic” is misspelled as “psychadelic.” Which means it’s misspelled in the id3ren tool I recompiled for BeOS, which means that RipEnc has probably created tens of thousands of misspelled attributes on people’s BeOS systems over the years. I could have recompiled it with it spelled correctly, but didn’t want to affect compatibility with other tools on that genre. I should have done it anyway. Now the misspelling shows up in a screenshot that’s going to end up in my BeOS/OSX piece on osnews.com on Monday. And I’ll look like an idiot, even though that institutionalized misspelling has been bugging me for years. I wouldn’t have thought of it except that mneptok spotted it and called me on the carpet for it.

How much of history is mistakes compounded by time and propagation?

Orphan Removal

Whew. Finally finished with orphan removal on the j-school site.

As of Nov. 13 there were:
12,260 files
998 MBs

As of now, there are:
3,798 files
113 MBs

… and without breaking any links ;). For years, the students have been able to drop pretty much anything they wanted anywhere they wanted. What a mess. The staging server I’m building will prevent that from happening again. All of this cleanup has been just a preface to the things I’m actually here to do.

I can’t recommend HTML Rename highly enough. It helped me lowercase all files and corresponding links sitewide (so the site will work when we move to Apache), and to dig up all these orphans. I ended up corresponding with the developer quite a bit, and beta testing builds after I started sending bug reports on false positives.

Tomorrow we build a new server. The current one is NT4/IIS. Looks like I talked them off of IIS, but we’re keeping Windows for ease of use. So it will be Win2K/Apache/MySQL/PHP. I guess that’s WAMP rather than LAMP ;) Once that’s up and running, I can dig in for realsies.

QuickTime and IE

So it turns out the reason my QT movie didn’t work properly under IE/Win is because MS burned Apple with the release of IE 5.5/6 by dumping the old Netscape plug-in methods. Nowadays you have to wrap your embed tag inside an object tag, and set all the parameters identically for each. Fine if you find out, but I feel sorry for all the people with legacy QT content online which suddenly no worky no more. Anyway, the trapeze page should work for everyone now. Sorry about that.

Got my UC Berkeley staff ID card today, which meant I was able to order BBEdit at an educational discount (you have to fax proof to BareBones).

OSX Guidebook

If you think you know all there is to know about using OSX, you’re probably wrong. Rob Griffith’s OSX Guidebook is out , it’s great, it’s worth the shareware fee (I helped edit it ;)

OSX Guide

Have been corresponding a lot with Rob Griffiths of www.macosxhints.com. We set ourselves up as sister sites (his site and betips.net). He’s working feverishly on a 60-page power guide to OSX, with tons of information I never would come across just surfing around. I’ve been one of his editors, giving regular feedback on drafts as they roll in. Have learned a ton in the process. He plans to start selling it in PDF format to help support the site, which is ad-free. Should be around $4. Y’all should get a copy when it’s released, which will be soon.

This has taken me away from working on the OSX piece I’m writing for Eugenia, but it’s time well spent.

iTunes Needs Streaming

Have changed my mind about iTunes. Was using Audion, but iTunes2 fixes a lot, and I’ve gotta say – it’s playlist manager is really great. It’s as meticulous about ID3 tags as I am, and its search makes it super easy to create custom playlists like I did in BFS with queries on any criteria. Most impressive though is that you can rename files in the filesystem and the playlist references don’t break – must be something like Tracker’s node monitoring going on, sending apple events to itunes. Very nice. But OSX is seriously lacking something like Live Encoder and/or HTTPUI for BeOS. Want to listen to my home collection at work, but have 128kbps upstream. Most of my music is 160 and 192kbps, so it has to be dowsampled before broadcast. Can’t find a single tool for OSX that can downsample before broadcasting. Installed the mp3_mod apache module and it works, but it doesn’t downsample either. Would kill for a LiveEncoder plugin for itunes right now. Tried to get set up with the mpg123 | lame | icecast trio but can’t figure out how to get icecast to take stdout from lame. Anyone?

Cheap Memory as an Excuse

Imagine if memory still cost today what it cost a few years ago. Would Apple have still released such a RAM-hungry OS? At old RAM prices, only the richest owners could use OSX with reasonable performance. It’s as if Apple thought to themselves, “RAM is cheap, let’s take advantage of the situation and do all kinds of creamy stuff with it” rather than “Lean-ness is one of our goals.”