solved

Cyberduck pauses when dragging files to upload [solved]

I’m on a speed-up-my-computer kick today.
I’ve generally used Cyberduck as my main FTP client, but switched to Transmit and FireFTP when it became too sluggish. It has been sluggish for several years now, though I still use it for advanced operations such as right-click file permissions (with the Info menu).
I finally did enough googling to solve its sluggishness: In the transfers window, select all and click Remove. Unless you need a detailed history of everything you’ve downloaded, this window is fairly useless and is the cause of Cyberduck’s sluggishness.
I found this solution via this thread.

Firefox is sluggish and streaming video is choppy [solved]

I got a brand new 2010 8-core mac pro with 12 GB ram, and was horribly disappointed to find that streaming video on Hulu and Netflix still stuttered. Why is Apple’s second fastest machine worse than my iPhone at playing Netflix video? Flash is an infamous hog on mac, but Firefox in general was slow when hovering over links and clicking on things. Netflix uses silverlight too, so it’s bizarre that it would also stutter.
Running Netflix and Hulu in Safari worked fine, but I missed features in Firefox. So in Firefox I went into Tools > Add-ons, disabled everything and restarted. Everything was zippy again. Then I slowly enabled add-ons one at a time.
The culprit seems to be Firebug and the enormous cache it keeps. For now, I have disabled Firebug, and only enable it when developing.

SMSDaemon crash causes screen to wake up and hard drive to constantly access [Solved]

I have been having issues with my Mac screen waking up in the middle of the night for some years now. I think I may have finally solved it. Many sites have suggested that a faulty USB bus or oversensitive USB mouse could cause the wakeup, but I ruled that out when I migrated my OS to a new mac with new hardware. It had to be software related.
My solution is probably very uncommon, but perhaps the diagnostic steps I took would be useful to others.
I woke up at 5:57 AM to my mac screen turning on and my hard drive accessing constantly. I’ve written a script that can sleep my display from my phone, but instead of doing that I got up and started investigating.
I launched Console (Applications/Utilities) and took a look at the Console Messages log. At 5:52 AM there was a ReportCrash that said “Saved crash report for SMSDaemon” and a path to the crash file.
I googled “SMSDaemon OS X crash” and came across a macrumors thread that explained that it is an open source daemon installed by the Syphone utility, a piece of software that used to help get text messages off your iphone but is no longer supported. That thread didn’t have a lot of info on how to remove syphone though, so a google search of “uninstall syphone” lead me to this page, which has the following instructions:

1) Launch Syphone, open the Preferences, and UNcheck “Run helper app in the background” (leave it unchecked if it already is).

2) Close Syphone.

3) Go into ~/Library/Application Support/ and delete the folder named ‘Syphone’.

4) Go into ~/Library/Preferences/ and delete the file named ‘com.micromat.Syphone.plist’.

The Syphone application now just displays a link to techtool pro, but you can still access the preferences menu and turn off the Daemon. If you can’t run Syphone for some reason, the following commands will unload the daemon and delete it:

$ launchctl unload ~/Library/LaunchAgents/com.micromat.SMSDaemon.plist
$ rm ~/Library/LaunchAgents/com.micromat.SMSDaemon.plist

Apparently SMSDaemon may have had an enormous memory leak; I’ve come to my computer with 1.5 TB free and yet gotten the “there is no more disk space on the startup disk to write, please force quit some applications” errors before. Others have complained of memory leaks too; my machine seems to be running better now.

Override USB or Firewire Volume Level in OS X with Soundflowerbed [solved]

Update2: Lion has this functionality built-in. hurray!

Edit: While the sound controls work, I’ve been having major issues with soundflower, from audio disappearing to getting stuck and looping on a sample. Looks like soundflower still needs a bit of development. :(

This has been driving me nuts for years.

I have an external firewire audio interface, a MOTU 896, that has served me well for 7 years. It powers my studio monitors, has multi inputs and delivers superior sound compared to my internal computer speakers.

The only problem with it is that OS X’s volume controls don’t work with it. The volume keys don’t work on the keyboard, the apple remote volume doesn’t work, and you can’t control the volume with AirMouse on the iPhone. In system preferences, you get the message “The selected device has no output controls”, and you get an annoying disabled speaker when you try and use the volume controls.

Thanks to this post and the wonderful folks at Cycling 74, there is a free solution. You can install soundflower, which allows you to route all of your audio to a soundflower device. Once you’ve installed soundflower, you can run Soundflowerbed from your applications menu, which makes a finder menu appear that allows you to choose which device to route audio to. Choose your external device, and you’re done!

Finally, you can leave the volume knob on your external device in one setting, and control the volume from across the room with a remote! Glorious!

Soundflower is also a great app for interapplication multichannel audio routing, similar to rewire or jack.

Firefox 3.6 won’t open on primary monitor [solved]

Firefox 3.6 has been driving me nuts by always opening on my secondary monitor, no matter if I drag windows over, restart, delete user preferences, etc. Every time I hit command N, the new window opens on my secondary monitor.

This is a known bug with Firefox 3.6.

The work around for now on OS X anyway is to drag a firefox window to your primary monitor, hit the green plus button to maximize the window, and then hit the green plus button again to restore it. Now windows should remain on the primary monitor.

Get Growl Notifications on VNC connections, SSH attempts, and HTTP logs [solved]

Use this script to monitor VNC connections with Vine Server:
nice -n 100 tail -n 0 -f /Users/jordan/Library/Logs/VineServer.log | php -r 'while ($m = fgets(STDIN)) shell_exec("growlnotify -p 0 Vine Server -m ". escapeshellarg($m));'

Change “jordan” to your username (home directory), or the whole path of the log if you’re monitoring something else. “Vine Server” is the alert title, which could be anything (“Hello World”).

Save this as a file such as vncnotify.sh. Run
chmod 755 vncnotify.sh
and then you can run the command by typing ./vinenotify.sh.

Duplicate this file and name it vinenotify.command.
Finally, in System Preferences > Accounts > Start up items, add vinenotify.command, and make it hidden, and it will run when you log in.

Things I’m still working on: preventing a string of notifications when you launch VNC; hiding the terminal window when you log in; and grepping for only connect/disconnect/login failures.
Thanks to drewish.com for the growl tail code.

Check for open logs running on OS X, unix or linux [solved]

Use this command to find the log you’re looking for:
lsof | grep -i log

On OS X, typical directories I look in are /var/log/, $HOME/Library/Logs/, and /private/var/log/.

Make Google Maps actually geo locate you in Firefox 3.5 [soved]

One of the most exciting features about Firefox 3.5 is its geo-location capabilities. But when I installed 3.5 and went to google maps, it didn’t automatically geo-locate me nor was there any option to.
This blog has a bookmarklet you can place on your toolbar to click to geo-locate you in google maps. Create a new toolbar bookmark, edit it, rename it “locate me” and paste in this code for the address:

javascript:function sv(s){document.querySelector("#q_d").value=s};sv("Checking...");navigator.geolocation.getCurrentPosition(function(a){c=a.coords;sv(c.latitude+"%20"+c.longitude);document.forms.q_form.submit();},function(){sv("Rejected!")});

Then when you go to google maps and click “locate me”, you can search for businesses near you wherever you are.

Thanks, John Ath!

Dual boot Windows 7 and Ubuntu, fix Windows MBR issue [solved]

I went through a heck of a time getting Windows 7 and Ubuntu (actually eeebuntu) to dual boot on my new Asus Eee PC. Either would work fine alone but liked to overwrite the other’s boot loader.

I’ve read that it’s easier to install Windows first and Ubuntu later, but even though I installed Ubuntu later, Windows failed to boot after I installed it.

My first lesson through all of this: Don’t customize, save any documents, or install any software until both OS’s are installed and dual booting. I went through two windows installs and 3 ubuntu installs to get it all to work.

You can use either Windows or Ubuntu’s installer to partition the drive. I formatted 40 GB in NTFS for Windows 7, 10 GB as ext3 for Eeebuntu, 2 GB for Eeebuntu swap, and 5 GB in Fat32 for a shared partition between the two drives.

Even though I was careful not to format, resize or overwrite the windows drive, Windows 7 booted into a startup repair, and failed with the message “startup repair cannot repair this computer automatically”. My additional info was StartuprepairOffline and CorruptRegistry. I ended up having to reinstall Windows.

In hindsight, I would have installed Ubuntu first and then Windows. Windows is more picky when its boot record is overwritten, and ubuntu’s is easier to fix.

I tried a couple of solutions first – this article, “How to fix your windows MBR with an ubuntu live CD”, has been mirrored everywhere, and no longer works. ms-sys is no longer included with Ubuntu, is not available in the Ubuntu software repositories, and when I tried downloading and compiling from source I got missing libraries errors.

My efforts to use Super Grub Disk also failed. Supposedly Super Grub Disk makes it easy to edit your master boot records and boot menu, but it only runs from windows. After I reinstalled windows, and installed Auto Super Grub Disk, when I tried booting and chose it as an option, I simply got to a DOS-based menu screen saying Windows cannot start normally. I’m also finding it hard to uninstall super grub disk.

What finally worked was installing Ubuntu, installing Windows, booting from an Ubuntu live disk, reinstalling grub, booting into Ubuntu, and editing the Grub menu to make Windows 7 active (“makeactive”) again. No special software required, just some command line editing. This tutorial from the Ubuntu site walked me through it.

Finally, the steps:

1. Install Ubuntu (partition the drives first)
2. Install Windows into one of the partitions (format it as NTFS)
3. Boot into the Ubuntu live CD. In terminal (Accessories > Terminal) run these commands:

sudo grub
find /boot/grub/stage1
root (hd0,0) [or whatever the find command listed]
setup (hd0)
quit

4. Reboot back into Ubuntu (not the live CD)
5. Open terminal again, and edit your boot menu:

sudo gedit /boot/grub/menu.lst

Add an entry for Windows 7 above this line:

### BEGIN AUTOMAGIC KERNELS LIST

Here is my entry:

title Windows 7
rootnoverify (hd0,0)
makeactive
chainloader +1

Your (hd0,0) may be different.

Towards the top of the file, I also changed my timeout from 10 to 5, so that it only takes 5 seconds to choose a custom default OS to boot.

I also deleted the other entry at the end of the file, below the lines:

### END DEBIAN AUTOMAGIC KERNELS LIST

# This is a divider, added to separate the menu items below from the Debian
# ones.

because that entry didn’t work anyway. It’s similar to the Windows entry we added but uses savedefault instead of makeactive; I believe makeactive is what Windows needed to make it work correctly.

That’s it! Now you should be able to boot into both OSes.

Edit: I got super grub disk to stop showing in my boot menu in Windows by running this in a command prompt:

bcdedit /enum

That lists the identifiers in your menu. Then:

bcdedit /delete {super grub disk's super long identifier string with curly braces}

That got Windows to boot normally again.

Make Firefox’s URL Autofill Behave [solved]

I like to go to websites as quickly as possible. Firefox usually gets me to the site I want to go after I type two letters – ‘di’ autocompletes to digg.com, ‘li’ takes me to lifehacker.com, etc. But there were some sites that it would not autocomplete, no matter how many times I would arrow down and to go that site. If I typed ‘ny’, it would never take me to nytimes.com, and if I hit enter it would accidentally take me to a google search for NY. Likewise, if I typed ‘fa’, it would not take me to facebook.com.

For a while I was using this lifehacker tip to force autocompletion, but that wasn’t working well either – often it would try to force me to a sub-page of the site I wanted to go to. So when that was turned off in a firefox upgrade, I didn’t re-enable it.

Finally, I found a solution that worked. Facebook and nytimes.com tend to redirect to www.facebook.com/home.php and www.nytimes.com. It also turns out that I had bookmarked these two sites, with the www in the URLs because of the redirects. The first step was to delete these bookmarks – they were overriding my history.

Then, the next time I typed in ny, I hit down until I found www.nytimes.com. Then I hit shift-delete to delete this URL from my autocomplete.

Finally, I had to type ny again and arrow down to nytimes.com. I hit enter, and now whenever I type ‘ny’ and hit enter I go to http://nytimes.com. Finally! I did the same for facebook and my other sites.

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