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Fixed: Unable to sync iPhone with Calendar/Contacts

Sometime after upgrading to iTunes 8.0.1 and OS X 10.5.5 (not sure when it started TBH), everytime I connected up my iPhone iTunes error’d with:

“iTunes cannot sync information with the iPhone “Macca’s iPhone” because syncing has been disabled on this computer. Do you want to enable syncing? (y/n)”

Weird, I thought.  I haven’t disabled anything.  I wondered if this was a problem with Office 2008 as last time I sync’d successfully all of my Exchange based calendar items were triplicated..  but that’s another story.

Anyway.  Clicking on Yes (to enable syncing) brought up another error:

“Syncing cannot be enabled on this computer”

So, lo and behold i’ve had out of date calendars and contacts for weeks.  Music, photos and video sync’ing was absolutely fine though.

When it happened again this morning, I tried to open iSync this morning and yet another error:

SyncServices: Can’t connect to the sync server:
NSInvalidRecievePortException: connection went invalid while waiting for a reply ((null))

Looks like something funny going on with the local sync configuration.

Fortunately, the fix was easy.  I renamed the Local sync folder to Local_bak.  iSync then created a new one automatically.  I can now sync without any problems at all.

  1. cd ~/Library/Application\ Support/SyncServices/
  2. mv Local Local_bak
  3. Start iSync.

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?

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]

OS X: Finder won't quit – Logout Timeout

I’ve noticed a few problems with OS X on my Macbook over the last couple of weeks.

I’ve got added ‘Keychain Access’ to my menubar (or toolbar – the one up the top anyway) so that I can just hit ‘Lock Screen’ when I step away from my machine at work. In general it’s been working like a champ but over the last couple of weeks something seems to have gone awry.

On occasions, it just doesn’t work. No errors to the screen, nothing. It just doesn’t do _anything_. This message is added to the system.log:

loginwindow[34]: ERROR | WSActivateApp | SetFrontProcess({0, 3978187}) returned error -600. Unable to activate process.

Additionally, when this problem manifests, I can’t restart OS X either. Choosing Restart from the Apple menu just restarts Finder. After about 2 minutes it throws up a dialogue saying (I’ll Skitch this next time to get the complete error) along the lines of “Logout Timeout. Restart failed because Finder failed to quit, try using Force Quit..”.

Using Force Quit to restart Finder doesn’t fix it, still the same problem.

This is added to the system.log:

com.apple.launchd[238] ([0x0-0x3cd3cd].com.apple.finder[7004]): Stray process with PGID equal to this dead job: PID 7006 PPID 1 smbclient

I have to do a hard shutdown using the power button and then restart – which seems to fix whatever the problem was. So much for all the “At least you don’t have to reboot OS X all the time” comments.

I’ve not installed nor changed anything recently that I can think would have any bearing here and I’ve also quit EVERY running application that I can to see if something is locking Finder up.

This thread “Finder Won’t Quit” on the Apple Support Forums, this thread on Yahoo Questions and this one on MacTalk shows i’m not the only one. No one seems to have come up with a definitive fix or RCA yet. I’m considering trying to log a defect with Apple, if I can find out how. I don’t have the time to piss about with the ‘Genius Bar’ crap though.

VMWare Fusion and network bridging

** UPDATED MARCH 12 2010:  I just posted my solution to this problem here **

I’ve had VMWare Fusion running an image of my work laptop, on my Macbook, for nearly three weeks now. I’ve had no problems at all, running over both NAT and via network bridge.

Until this week.

Now, when I try to use the image over network bridge I get the error “The network bridge on device /dev/vmnet0 is not running”. It still works over NAT but i’m perplexed as to where this problem has come from. No software updates, no network config changes, nothing that I can think would affect this at all.

I started to wonder if it was something to do with being assigned a bridged DHCP on my home lan (10.0.0.X), suspending and being brought up on the work lan under a different subnet completely. Maybe something was going majorly wrong with the bridge device.

I couldn’t/can’t find anything logged anywhere other than the error message above in the vmware.log within the VM image folder.

Running the following command restarts all the vmnet related services:

/Library/Application\ Support/VMWare\ Fusion/boot.sh –restart

You’ll need to sudo that command.

I haven’t found anything on the VMWare community forums to indicate that this has been bugged for fix in a later release so i’m still not entirely sure of the cause…

Quicksilver roadmap at the end

In an earlier post, I mentioned how i’d been an admirer of the Quicksilver application and its workflow. Having finally picked up a Mac for full time use (work & play), it was I think the 2nd application I installed. It’s definately a great productivity tool. I’m not keen on the way OS X has all of it’s apps in one folder – I hate scrolling using a track pad, even with Apples two finger “gesture” method – and the Stacks feature of OS X Leopard doesn’t cut it for me.

So, with all that, I was gutted to read today that it is almost certainly in it’s final state – certainly from the developers POV according to this interview on Lifehacker.
Hopefully there is a community out there that will pick up the Open Source project and take it on.
I’m still looking for a decent Dictionary plug-in that works with Leopard…

Shortcuts and Quicksilver

I’ve always preferred to use the keyboard more than the mouse so i’ve been intrigued by QuickSilver for a long time. It was almost a weekly subject on the LifeHacker RSS feed for a while earlier this year. Being a Mac only app, I was pretty jealous, but was fine with the CTRL + R shortcut to bring up the Run box in Windows…

I’ve been using QuickSilver for a couple of weeks now and haven’t really scratched the surface of it. I only use it to open apps quickly (Terminal, Eclipse, Textmate) and haven’t gotten around to seeing what the right hand box can offer just yet. It certainly beats having a massive Dock or trawling through the Applications folder.

On another but related note, what’s the deal with Firefox (Mac), Safari and webpage check boxes?
I’m used to being able to tab down a web form and submitting without having to use the mouse at all. However on my Mac, neither browser will tab to the checkbox. It’s so much quick to tab to it and hit space than to muck about with the mouse/trackpad.

Is this just a config thing or is it really by design? To me, it seems a bit of a usability issue. Of course i’m no expert on that subject really.

RadRails – Unable to detect ruby install on OS X Leopard

I installed the RadRails plugin for Eclipse and Aptana today.
On first start, it complains that it is “Unable to detect ruby install” on my Leopard macbook.

Now, I know ruby is installed and working so had to try and figure out the path to the ruby installation.

Took me a while to work it out, I thought it would be under /usr/.. but it’s actually here:


After adding a new RubyVM with this path everything was good again.

Incidentally, although Aptana is available on it’s own as an IDE (built with the Eclipse framework), I decided to use it as a plugin for a native Eclipse IDE. That way I just have one IDE for Java, C++ as well as RoR. Made sense to me.

I’ve only had a quick play with it but it already beats the bejesus out of my Notepad and command line setup on XP. 🙂

[tags]OS X, Mac, Eclipse, RadRails, Aptana, Ruby on Rails[/tags]