Ian McShane Rotating Header Image


Reseting the LogMeIn client remotely

I use the free LogMeIn.com to manage my MacMini server remotely.

Today, after using it to reboot my router (via its web interface which is only accessible from my LAN) the logmein.com website kept reporting that the connection to the client was timing out or being disconnected.  I couldn’t get the damn thing to connect up at all.

Luckily, I can actually SSH to the Mac Mini remotely too.  So, in order to reset the logmein client, run this from the terminal:

1.  cd /Library/Application\ Support/LogMeIn/update
2.  ./preupdate
3. sudo ./postupdate

That’ll unload and reload the client completely, freeing up any timed out resources.

VMWare Fusion – Network Bridge error finally solved

A couple of years back, I posted this thread about an annoying problem in VMWare Fusion which occasionally stopped me from being able to run an image as in bridge mode.

Well, looks like I’ve finally sorted this one out.  I don’t know if it’s the inclusion of new functionality in v2 or v3 of VMF but after doing the below, I’ve not seen the problem occur for a couple of months now.  I can still easily reproduce this issue so I’m guessing it’s some kind of defect in the adaptor autodetect code [or a problem with my config somewhere].


Migrate iTunes to a new Mac

I couldn’t find anything, via Google nor the Apple support site, that explained in the simplest and quickest terms how to migrate a functioning iTunes library to a new Mac.  I use a bunch of smart playlists to generate my own ‘radio station‘ playlist which relies on playcount, skip count, rating and other cool stuff.  That means that I really don’t want to lose the meta-data stored in the iTunes DB file when moving my data to my shiny new Macbook Pro (courtesy of work).

The last time I migrated, from my Mac Mini to my Macbook, I lost all the meta-data and really didn’t fancy it again.  It turns out it’s pretty simple and straightforward.  The following steps assume a brand new install of iTunes.

1.  Start up iTunes on the target device.  Accept the license agreement and choose NOT to add anything to the library at this time.  You should now find the iTunes folder and a blank database in your /%username%/Music folder.

2.  Start up the Migration Assistant app (in Applications/Utilities), choose “From a Mac”.

3.  Reboot your source device and hold down the ‘T’ key whilst it restarts.  It should boot up to show a Firewire symbol.

4.  Connect the source and target devices with a Firewire cable.

5.  This should mount the source disk on your target device.

6.  Copy the entire Music/iTunes folder from source to destination.

7.  Once the copy is finished, open iTunes and you should see all your tracks preserved with the meta-data intact.

The cool thing about this is that any iPods or iPhones registered with the previous iTunes installation will continue to work on your new device.  No need to format and re-sync.

Cisco VPN Client on OSX

I’ve had a few problems with the Cisco VPN Client for Mac OS X  (release 4.9.01 (100) ) recently.
I’d get intermittent “Error 51: Unable to contact the VPN subsystem” when opening the VPNClient appliaction.
Some times a reboot would fix it, sometimes it wouldn’t.
I can’t reliably reproduce it either, sometimes coming out of sleep breaks it, sometimes restarting breaks it.

I think I’ve worked out how to resolve this now from a command line:

Firstly take the fw0 interface down and bring it up again:
Sudo ifconfig fw0 down
Sudo ifconfig fw0 up

Then restart the VPN SS:
Sudo /System/Library/StartupItems/CiscoVPN/CiscoVPN restart

That has resolved it for me the last 5 times it happened, without needing to reboot again.

Hope that helps someone else out.

Wanted : Definitive iCal Entourage sync

Now that i’ve gotten hold of MS Office:Mac 2008 and an RSA Hardtoken (for VPN) I no longer need to use Windows at all for work or play. (I’ve also just ordered a new MBP through work, huzzah!)

Since i’ve got Entourage connected up to the Exchange server here at work, I want to be able to sync my work calendar with the calendars I have set up in iCal. Not only have I got a couple of standard calendars, i’ve also set up some dynamic ones based on RSS feeds – for example, i’m terrible for remembering when I’ve got gigs lined up so i’ve subscribed to my Last.fm events feed in iCal which in turn shows up on my iPhone, along with a couple of Google Calendars (for University schedules).

Having turned on Calendar Sync in the Office:Mac preferences, I can see my Entourage calendar in iCal and thus on my iPhone. You’d think that this would please me.


I also want the sync to be reversed so that iCal events are added to my ‘work’ calendar…
This causes scheduling problems in that work colleagues who are trying to arrange meetings can’t see my ‘personal’ busy time.
I understand that there is some limitation with Entourage to do with iCal having multiple calendars and Entourage only having one but surely there is some way to merge all the calendar data from iCal into one, then populate E with that?
Taking it one step further, why not enlist the built in Categories feature of Entourage to label the events from different iCal feeds?

Is there something out there that can do this already or have I just spec’d out my next dev project?

Has OS X 10.5.2 reset some security settings?

I’m pretty sure it has, I certainly haven’t turned this off.


Uploaded with plasq‘s Skitch!

The release notes for the update mentions “Improves stability and performance during log in.”.

Anyone else seen the same or worse?

First Apple 'Genius' Experience

If it was up to me, i’d just replace the cracked topcase on my Macbook myself. I’ve got the Macbook service manual (one that gets issued to the Official Apple Service Centre places) and it’s just as straight forward as I thought. However when I asked the Genius at my local Apple store if I can just get the topcase part to take out, it’s a no can do – you have to be trained to do it. It was with a little roll of the eyes as to say “what do you know about it” which annoyed me. When you make a reservation, they really should ask for a gauge of your technical competence. Even if the self-appraisal is taken with a pinch of salt, I’d rather not be talked to at length as if i’ve never used a computer before.

Not to be completely down on my visit there, although they don’t have the part in stock so I need to go back when they do, my problem was dealt with quickly and efficiently.
As soon as I mentioned the cracked topcase, before even getting the Macbook out of my bag, he acknowledged it was a known issue and started checking stock. He also agreed that it was unusual for a late 2007 model to show this problem as they ‘should’ have fixed it by then.

Like I said, it was dealt with very quickly, in and out within about 15 minutes – although granted i’ve got to go back to the store again when they have the part in. I don’t, however, understand why he asked for my admin account password, I declined to give it to him purely on the basis that there is a lot of stuff on here that is under NDA. I got a little huff out of him for that one even though I offered to turn on the ‘Guest’ account access if they need to test out functionality. I’m going to run a clean install of Leopard today anyway, due to the repeated shutdown and screen lock problems i’m having, i’ll just leave all of that stuff off for the moment until they’ve been able to do their thing.

Apple Macbook – Build quality continued

In the short time since my previous post about my cracked Macbook i’ve been doing a bit of research and have found identical issues.

Here is a pic with the same problem in the same place, via this thread on Macrumours:


Uploaded with plasq‘s Skitch!

There’s even a Flickr group for this problem and an old Engadget post. Maybe I just lucked out and got one of the older ‘faulty’ shells packed with the newer hardware..

I’ve got an appointment at the Genius bar tomorrow so hopefully I can get this sorted.

[tags]Apple, Macbook, crack, build quality[/tags]

Post MWSF Keynote shopping list

Definitely want to pick up the 1TB Time Capsule, much easier than remembering to connect up my external drive every night!

Also, i’m considering picking up an Apple TV to replace the old Mac Mini I have under my TV at the moment (Which i’m going to relocate to the music room to use as a DAS).

I’m not bothered with the Macbook Air, seems to be a bit of a stop gap between something better – as in it’s a bit underspec’d to be taken seriously – Only 80GB storage and only the 1.8ghz CD.  Nice idea though and you can see the Eco touch coming from the Apple board.

Not as groundbreaking as last years iPhone by any margin but still cool.

OS X: Finder won't quit (WindowServer process?)

My last post mentioned that I was having some intermittant issues with my Macbook after resuming from sleep, in that after entering my password I just got a blank screen.  Key presses result in an error tone and I have to close the lid and reopen it to gain access to OS X.

It just happened again, so after closing and reopening the lid (i.e ‘sleeping it’), I opened Activity Monitor.  When I try to lock the screen, the process WindowServer flashes up to the top of the CPU list momentarily.  I decided to kill that process off, which killed my session and kicked me back out to the login screen again.  Logging in this time, i’m able to lock the screen so it looks like it could be something funny with the WindowServer process.

In the WindowServer log (/var/logs/) the first entries are:

Jan 15 16:27:08  [112] kCGErrorIllegalArgument: CGXSetWindowListTags: Operation on a window 0x6 not owned by caller loginwindow
Jan 15 16:29:37  [112] kCGErrorFailure: CGXDisableUpdate: UI updates were forcibly disabled by application “Finder” for over 1 second. Server has re-enabled them.

They corralate with the following entry in the system.log:

ScreenSaverEngine[1591]: Screen saver is running in blackout mode.

Other than there there doesn’t seem to be much awry in the logs..

I’m still investigating but Google is not my friend in this case 🙁

[tags]OS X, Can’t reboot, Can’t lock screen, Lock up, WindowServer[/tags]