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Schlagwort: OS X

UPDATE: MacBook Pro with 10.7: no WiFi after wake-up. Sometimes.

So, I have this strange problem…
Sometimes when I wake my MacBook Pro from sleep, it won’t re-connect to the WiFi. The WiFi symbol in the menu bar will stay grey.

I can’t even turn off WiFi via the context menu of that symbol. Also trying to manually connect with my WiFi does not work.
What works is: going to system preferences / network and turning off WiFi. This will, at first, cause the System Preferences to freeze. The window will remain in that state for about two minutes. After that time it will become responsive again and WiFi will be turned of.
At that point I can turn WiFi on again and it will connect with the WiFi instantly.

What also works is firing up a terminal and issuing the command „sudo mdnsresponder stop“. This command takes about two or three seconds to execute on my machine. After that short time, the MacBook will connect with my WiFi without any problems.

I have yet to figure out why this happens (and why my solution/work-around) works… any hints will be appreciated.

UPDATE: What I forgot to mention… when this strange behavior occurs, I can’t even start „Activity Monitor“ to kill mdnsresponder. The icon will just bounce up and down in the dock forever – meaning: until the problem solves itself or until I manually kill mdnsresponder from the terminal.

UPDATE2: The problem doesn’t seem to have much to do with mdnsresponder at all. I disabled TimeMachine three days ago and didn’t run into the problem described above ever since… If you’re having the problem, please try disabling TimeMachine and comment below if this measure resulted in a „fix“ for you, too…

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OS X Lion: FileVault-Encrypt external HDD with „Home“ on it

UPDATE: The solution described below still works with the just released Mac OS X 10.7.1. (Aug, 16 2011)

So, I have this urge for security when it comes to my personal data. I really love how FileVault2 in OS X 10.7 Lion doesn’t only encrypt the Home directory of a user, but the whole disk instead.
What I learned today: this doesn’t work for power users and if power uses get it to work, there’s a creepy and scary and dangerous monster lurking in the dark. A bug.

This is the story of how I managed to encrypt my external (or rather: second) HDD with the home directory on it, how I rebooted my machine and couldn’t mount that device during boot/login anymore, how I logged in as a second user and couldn’t mount that device anymore (even with superuser privileges), how I almost started crying, how I thanked Steve for TimeMachine and how I found a bug that luckily others found before me and developed workarounds for it.

But let’s do this step by step…


mds / mdworker running wild on OS X (10.6 AND 10.7) – again

Just about a month ago I wrote about a problem I had with the mds process on OS X. That’s the process that indexes your HDD for spotlight.

Mine was running wild then and I found a way to fix it. Now, after the last system update, this was happening again. I tried to apply the same fix – only to see, that the update didn’t change anything about my settings there.

I disabled all aspects of spotlight, one item at a time (disallowing it to search Applications, Contacts, … until I was down to „Messages“). Didn’t help. Rebooting did – for a few minutes. Oddly enough, this didn’t happen on my second machine which runs (almost) the exact same software.

So I figured that something on my HDD (which is actually an SSD) must undergo constant changes so that spotlight would have to index it over and over again. While thinking about that, mds stopped and went down to a CPU usage of 0,0%.

I waited about an hour and it was up to 104,7% again (plus 63% for mdworker). By then I already had found the solution and had only waited for mds running wild again so I could verify my theory…

I’m a long time customer at Backblaze – an online backup service provider. The backblaze application constantly watches over changes on my system and, if it found any, encypts the newly added/created files and uploads them to a backblaze server. The tempory data needed to do this is being stored in USER/Library/backblaze. After adding this folder in the „Privacy“ tab of spotlight’s settings in System Preferences, mds IMMEDIATELY went to to 3,4%, then 2,0% and finally to 0,3% CPU usage.

I don’t know why this started happening just now. I don’t know wether this is happening only on one of machines. But I’m 99,9% sure that this did the trick.

So if you’re using backblaze on a Mac with spotlight and experience mds/mdworker running wild from time to time or even regularly – you might want to give my solution a shot.


mds running wild on OS X 10.7 (Lion)

UPDATE: Since the release of OS X Lion, my blog is being frequented three times as often as normally. Especially this article seems to attract a lot of attention.
If you just updated to OS X Lion and your mds or mdworker (both parts of Spotlight) are running wild: don’t worry. It’s most likely that everything is OK. Spotlight needs to (re-)index a lot of stuff. Just let it work for a couple of minutes (maybe even hours). If mds/mdworker don’t calm down, come back here and read the following or this article. 🙂



Just jotting down a few notes on what I found a couple of minutes ago…

I updated my iStatsMenus installation on my OS X 10.7 MacBook Pro to restore compatability with Apple’s new system and thus, for the first time in weeks, had all running processes viewable right underneath my nose.
I then saw that mds, the process that indexes the Volumes for spotlight, was running all wild and crazy at about 85-97% CPU usage for more than two hours.

Google didn’t help much and so I had a look at the logs (go to Applications, Utilities, then Console and filter for „mds“) and almost immediately found out what this was about:

mds was having some trouble with a „virtual“ Volume, called „MobileBackups“ . I didn’t research much further, but I guess this has to do with Lion’s ability to do local Time Machine backups…
Well, whenever I put a file into the trash, I could find errors like this in the log:

mds: (Error) Backup: Couldn’t stat source path ‚/Volumes/MobileBackups/Backups.backupd/Sebastian’s MacBookBook Pro/2011-06-04-084934/Macintosh HD/iSchack/.Trash/testtext.rtf‘ — importing from backup path instead.

I decided to exclude /Volumes/MobileBackups from Spotlight (System Preferences -> Spotlight -> Privacy). And within a matter of seconds mds dropped from close to 100% CPU usage to  about 10%. Now, 20 minutes later, it’s steady at 0,00% which is the way it should be.

Maybe this can help others, too…


Enable TRIM Support for ANY SSD in OS X 10.6 / 10.7

UPDATE: Also works perfectly well on 10.7 Developers Preview 2 (11A419).

If you read my German articles, you probably already read that I’m by now the proud owner of a SSD which I replaced my DVD Super-Mega-Hyper-whatever-drive inside my MacBook Pro.

The Crucial RealSSD C300 does come with a chip that supports TRIM in and out of it’s own – however, Apple, so far, enabled SSD support in it’s OS X operating system only for a couple of selected SSDs. Those, those they equip their MacBooks themselves with.

This little tool called TRIM ENABLER circumvents these limitations and enables SSD TRIM support in OS X 10.6 AND 10.7 (tested it myself) for ANY SSD out there on the market. Thank you for your great work, Oskar Groth.

Proof screenshot:

MacBook Pro SSD TRIM

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UMTS Stick von 1&1 mit OS X 10.6 (ZTE MF110)

(See below for short information on how to fix your OS X 10.6 after the ZTE MF110 broke it)

Dank deren ziemlich guten VDSL-Angebots (40€/Monat für VDSL bis 50Mbit down-/10MBit upstream inkl. Telefonflatrate und UMTS-Stick, leider inzwischen nicht mehr gültig) bin ich gerade dabei zu 1&1 zu wechseln. Bzw. ich warte noch, was die Leitungsmessung ergibt – wechseln werde ich nur wenn die mir auch wirklich VDSL liefern können.

Na ja, jedenfalls macht dieser UMTS-Stick, ein ZTE MF110 unter OS X 10.6 massive probleme. In der Anleitung steht, dass man einfach die auf dem UMTS-Stick enthaltene Software installieren und den „Bildschirmanweisungen folgen“ soll.
Das funktioniert auch allerbestens. Aber bereits Sekunden nach der Installation fällt auf, dass in Abständen von ca. 20 Sekunden immer und immer wieder der System Profiler abschmiert.
Nach einem Neustart des Macs bleibt der Mac beim Booten mit dem grauen „Apfel-Bildschirm“ hängen und nichts passiert. Gar nichts. Nada.

Dank MacBug habe ich dann die Lösung gefunden: die Installationsroutine ersetzt die libcurl.4.dylib auf dem Mac durch eine alte Version, die schlicht nicht 64bit-kompatibel ist.

Die Lösung ist denkbar einfach:
– Mac von CD booten (CD rein, ausmachen, C gedrückt halten, einschalten)
– Anstatt OS X 10.6 neu zu installieren oben Dienstprogramme -> Terminal wählen
– die Originaldatei zurück auf die Festplatte kopieren: cp /usr/lib/libcurl.4.dylib /Volumes/(SYSTEMFESTPLATTE)/usr/lib/libcurl.4.dylib
– danach noch einen Patch von MacBug einspielen und alles ist wieder gut. 🙂


The problem with the ZTE MF110 and OS X 10.6 is simple to explain and even simpler to fix. The installation routine overwrites the system library libcurl.4.dylib with an older version which isn’t 64bit compatible. That’s why your Mac won’t start afterwards.
To fix this you’ll have to boot from the OS X 10.6 installation disc (hold down the ‚c‘ key during boot – with the disc already in the drive). Then select your language and from the Utilities menu at the top choose „Terminal“. This gives you a unix command line. Now you’ll need to copy the original file back to the HDD: cp /usr/lib/libcurl.4.dylib /Volumes/(Name of your system HDD)/usr/lib/libcurl.4.dylib
Now you’re Mac will boot up again as usual. Eventually you’ll need to apply a small patch from MacBug, in order to get the „Air Joiner“ application that came with your ZTE MF110 running again.


Snow Leopard: Great new Dock-Feature!

I never knew I really missed this feature – but now that I accidentally discovered it, I do now know how I should live without it!
OS X Leopard (10.5), and versions before that, display three colored bubbles in the top right corner of each window. Red to close it, green to maximize it, yellow to minimize it.
The yellow bubble did the following: click it and the window will disappear into the dock and sit right next to your stacks and the trash bin. Do that with multiple windows and you have – perfect chaos.
Now, with a single activated option in System Preferenes -> Dock, you can change this behaviour. If you click the yellow bubble now, the window will be minimized to the applications icon in the dock which prevents much clutter.
„Bullshit!“, you scream. „What if I have multiple windows for one application?“, you ask.
Calm down, young friend. Apple thought of that, too. Say, you have multiple windows of Safari open and you minimize them all to the icon in the dock. Now you want to re-open only one of your seven windows. You have two options to do that.
1) Right click the icon. The menu will pop up and above the known options (hide, quit, …) you’ll find a list of all your windows. Select the one you whish to open and you’re good to go.
2) Left click the icon and HOLD the mouse button a little. This will trigger a „light“ version of Exposé, that will only show you the windows belonging to that application.

Great, isn’t it?

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Merging PDFs in Preview with Snow Leopard (Mac OS X 10.6)

I had a problem this morning. I’ve been working on a project with several people and now we have to hand in a documentation on what we did – and why we did it.
So I have a collection of seven documents (all PDF – I threatened the others with medieval punishments if they should send in .doc or .rtf or stuff like that!).
Well, to cut a long story short: I wanted to make one PDF of it. With Preview in Leopard (Mac OS X 10.5) that was pretty easy peasy: drop all documents in the sidebar, hit „Save as PDF“ (or even „Print“ and then „PDF“), done.

Not so much with Snow Leopard. You have to open the sidebar and put all your PDFs in there. Arrange them in the correct order and select all of them but the first one. Then drag the selected PDFs onto the first one (the unselected). Now you can, again, save or print the document as one PDF.

I’m neither really sure why Apple decided to change the… uhm… behaviour of Preview’s sidebar, nor have I decided if I like it – which is mostly because, at the moment, I do not fully understand this new „feature“.

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Argl! Kernel Panic und Whole Disk Encryption!

Manchmal möchte man einfach nur noch in die Ecke kotzen!
In meinem MacBook werkelt eine mit PGP 9.9.0 „whole disk encryption“-verschlüsselte Festplatte. Das tut sie seit nunmehr zwei Wochen ganz artig und ohne zu mucken.
Heute habe ich dann die drei neuesten Apple Software Updates (irgendein RAW-Foto-Quatsch, Air Port Update und Air Port Utility Update) eingespielt, weil mich „Software Update“ über das Vorhandensein dieser Updates informiert hat. Runtergeladen, derweil vorsorglich alle Programme beendet, und nach der Installation der Updates auf den angezeigten „Restart“-Button geklickt.

Nach dem Neustart kommt auch, wie nicht anders zu erwarten war die WDE (Whole Disk Encryption)-Passwortabfrage. Danach: Kernel Panic! Und zwar dieser hier:
mac kernel panic

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MacBook hängt beim Booten. Repariert.

Heute Morgen 7:45. Ich setze mich an den Schreibtisch, klappe mein MacBook auf und drücke den Power-Knopf. Und warte. Und warte noch etwas länger… und noch etwas mehr. Aber es tut sich nichts. Grauer Hintergrund, dunkelgraues Apple-Logo, darunter das bekannte sich „drehende“ Symbol. Erst eine Minute, dann zwei (hab ich irgendwelche Updates runtergeladen die installiert werden müssen), nach fünf Minuten ein erster Anflug von Panik.

Installations-DVD reingeschmissen und die „Disk Utilities“ gestartet. Das Programm stellt fest: keine Fehler. Ich klicke trotzdem auf „Repair permissions“. Das bricht mit einem Fehler im „underlying process“ ab. Ups!

Dann habe ich zum ersten Mal einen Blick ins Handbuch geworfen und geguckt, wie man einen Mac denn sonst noch so starten kann. Aha. Beim Booten CMD (Apfel) + V gedrückt halten bringt einen in den „Verbose Mode“. Bootet auch erstmal ganz normal. Doch dann kommt immer wieder die Meldung

com.apple.launchd[1] (com.apple.mDNSResponder[16]); posix_spawnp(„/usr/sbin/mDNSResponder“, …): No such file or directory.

Merkwürdig. Ich hatte ganz sicher nichts am System verändert. Das lasse ich unter der Woche nach 23:00 grundsätzlich. 🙂

Mit CMD (Apfel)+S kann man im so genannten „Single User Mode“ booten und hat dann eine Konsole vor sich. Von dort aus habe ich dann nochmal den nach dem Booten vom System empfohlenen Systemcheck durchgeführt

sbin/fsck -yf

Danach muss die Bootdisk gemountet werden:

sbin/mount -uw /

Dann habe ich mir den Ordner /usr/sbin mal genauer Angeguckt. Die nicht auffindbare Datei lag noch genau da wo sie hingehört. Ein ls -la zeigte aber auf, dass die Dateirechte irgendwie… merkwürdig waren.

chmod 755 to the rescue! 🙂

Neu gestartet. Läuft wieder! Tag gerettet.

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