Tag Archives: os_x

os and software text

Updates, Updates, Updates and More Updates

There have been a lot of updates this past week. Much to my relief most of these updates went smoothly. The main problem were with the updates to this site but I half expected it so allowed extra time to get them done and I did plenty of backups before starting.

WHS 2011 Update Rollup 4 & More

I was happy to see WHS 2011 is alive and well within Microsoft, even if it has been marked for death. Tuesday’s patch bundle included Windows Home Server 2011 Update Rollup 4 with 10 documented fixes. I’m pretty aggressive in keeping my WHS box up to date so it was updated back in November, but it still had 8 patches waiting in addition to the rollup.

I generally take Microsoft’s default selections when I chose which patches to install then do the unselected ones after, if they are still needed. In this case I also unchecked UR4 and started the update.

A couple updates failed and I selected them and the other remaining updates after the reboot, only excluding UR4. It was fine this time and UR4 was successfully installed after that reboot. The connector updates were then pushed out to the clients automatically. This required a reboot, but that was done when the client patches were installed.

No problems so far.

Windows 7 & Windows 8 PCs

Lots of updates all around and they all needed reboots. Windows RT got its share of patches, including a firmware update. I haven’t noticed any difference but some report better performance.

Windows 8 threw in another patch on Thursday which also required a reboot. These are annoying since I run a lot of apps and unlike my Macs they don’t restore running apps automatically. So while the actual reboot is fast, it’s a frustrating 15 minutes of preparation and recovery.

Mac OS X

My new Mac Mini had a BIOS update related to HDMI monitor connections. I haven’t had an issue. My monitor goes through an adapter to the Mac’s HDMI port. I’ll be moving my old Windows monitor to the Mini and then it will be HDMI direct. So probably a good update to have.

The iTunes 11 update wasn’t problem free. But the new bugs were minor compared to the nightmare that is iTunes anyway. More on this in a future post.

Debian 6 and WordPress (My Web Server)

WordPress LogoThis was the big one for me. Just about every major software component of this server was slated for an update. Apache, MySQL, PHP and WordPress all had updates waiting. I held off on the Apache, MySQL and PHP updates until WordPress 3.5 was released. I’d do it in two phases – everything except WordPress, then WordPress. Of course, before starting I did a full server snapshot backup and a file system backup of my web server.

The OS updates and Apache, MySQL and PHP updates all went fine. Everything tested out OK after the update. Then the problems began.

The WordPress upgrades on my test sites only had issues on the ones using the new Twenty Twelve theme. The theme is now part of the core WordPress installation and I install through Subversion (svn). The sites were broken until I deleted the Twenty Twelve directory and re-ran the svn update. That wasn’t going to be a problem on this or my other production sites since they didn’t have the Twenty Twelve theme installed.

I saved this site until last, since it’s my biggest one. So naturally, that’s when the problems began. Short version – the SVN update went horribly wrong. It was possibly self-inflicted. I had deleted the old Twenty Ten theme since I never used it. SVN didn’t like that and threw an error. This must have affected the rest of the update. While pages were still being served from the cache, the site was basically down.

I spent some time trying to work around the error but without success. Finally I did a fresh WordPress installation to a temp directory using Subversion. Then I copied those files over the installation for this site, being careful not to overwrite or delete and files I added or changed. After that, and a restart of Apache all seems fine.

Picture of the Verizon iPhone

iOS6 Upgrade

Picture of the Verizon iPhoneUnless you’ve been on a desert island you know iOS6 is out now.

I upgraded both my iPhone 4S and iPad 3 on Thursday. While not completely uneventful it was relatively smooth. There were related Mountain Lion and Apple application upgrades on my Macs. In my case, it was iPhoto and Aperture that were upgraded. It took most of the evening to get everything upgraded although most of that was spent waiting, either for downloads or installs. I updated my iDevices directly, over wireless, rather than through iTunes. There’s also been a steady stream of iOS app upgrades since then.

So far I only had one real app problem, the UPS app crashed when trying to paste in tracking numbers. But that was fixed a couple days later with an upgrade.

My most serious problem is that my iPad 3 can no longer sync to iTunes over wireless. It just says it can’t find the computer when I tell it to sync. Of course, other apps can see the computer and transfer files to and from it. And my iPhone syncs to iTunes just fine. I’ve done the normal troubleshooting (reboots, re-enter settings, try a second wireless network, etc…) but haven’t dug into it. I don’t sync too often. iCloud backups work just fine.

Apple’s taking a lot of grief over the new Maps app. Based on the examples given it appears justified. The U.S. maps seem better than the rest of the world. They have the street I live on, they just don’t extend it as far as my house. Of course, my street closely parallels a second street once it reaches me, separated by a line of trees. The local directions seem fine. I already have another app I use for turn-by-turn so I haven’t tried the built in maps app for that. I never really used the old Google Maps app very much so the change is mostly unnoticed by me.

I like the “Do Not Disturb” feature, although I already keep most notifications off all the time anyway. I do wish there was a way to allow certain apps to alert all the time. Similar to the way “Favorite” callers aren’t blocked by DND. Guess we have to leave something for Apple to add in iOS 7.

The new Passbook started off by annoying me. It bumped an icon off my home screen to make room for itself. Then it didn’t properly link to the iTunes store  (which was the only action it would try to do) until I did this fix. Once I got into it I was underwhelmed by needing to install each vendors own iOS6 app to use passbook. The only other way to get info into Passbook was a 3rd party website. While it’s probably OK, the security implications limit its use.

I liked the clock app, especially on my iPad where it easily shows multiple times across the world. But I knew the clock face looked familiar.

I never found much use for Siri. I was more frustrating than useful. Being able to open apps by voice is a nice addition. Of course, the apps have to be pronounceable and real words, which isn’t always the case. (I’m looking at you Waze.) I may give Siri another tryout.

I can’t say I have an desire to get the iPhone 5. Sure, its better than th 4S that I have, but not so much better. The only hardware feature I would want is LTE, but for what I use the iPhone for now it’s not a big deal. My iPad has LTE so I can tether to it in a pinch. I also tend to do more web surfing on the iPad rather than the iPhone. My contract is up at the end of November which may be a good time shop for a phone. I’m not ruling out the iPhone 4S but it will be a tough sell. If I decide to stick with the iPhone I may just stick with the 4S for another year.

Anyone else upgraded to iOS6? How’d it go?

Trashes folder on a WHS share

Apple Software On WHS Shares

Trashes folder on a WHS shareI run a mixed Windows/Mac home and all my data resides on my Windows Home Server no matter whether it’s Windows or Mac. This means my iPhoto library, iTunes library, Aperture library are all on my Windows Home Server. I recently noticed that these libraries were saving deleted files forever.

The libraries are a directory structure that OS X understands and may present to the user as a single file. For example, iPhoto displays as a single file in OS X unless “show package contents” is selected. Even though my iPhoto library is on a WHS share OS X displays it to me as a single file bundle. As long as the files remain within the library structure all is well. Libraries that maintain their own internal trash bin (i.e. iPhoto and Aperture, maybe more) end up trying to move the files to the OS X trash bin when you empty the library’s trash bin.

I recently noticed that when I emptied the trash in iPhoto that it moved the files to a “.Trashes” folder on my WHS share. (Note the leading dot)  See the first graphic to see what I mean, click it to enlarge) Well actually I noticed this huge .Trashes folder and then found it came from iPhoto and Aperture. If this was an OS X drive running on OS X it would be part of the trash bin and get emptied when I emptied the trash. Aperture also worked the same way once I checked. On the WHS share they live forever,  even OS X didn’t see it as part of the recycle bin.

The .Trashes folder could be deleted just like any other folder without causing a problem. The next time you empty a library’s trash it will be recreated. To see the folder you need to enable viewing hidden files and folder (click for full size for the Windows 7 setting below):


Show Hidden Folders Option

I also found that iTunes saved replaced apps to the .Trashes folder. Luckily it doesn’t save replaced or deleted podcasts. If it did I’d probably have run out of disk space. iTunes doesn’t seem to save anything I delete on my own, only the apps it replaced.

It’s only my apps that maintain their own library structure that have this issue. Deleting regular files on my WHS from OS X deletes them immediately.

I guess there is a price to pay for trying to get Microsoft and Apple to play together. But this is a small prices since it’s easily fixed with a scheduled task to delete the directory.

Picture of a white classic car

The OS Quest Trail Log #52: Updates, Updates & More Updates Edition

Picture of a white classic carJune has been one of catching up with projects started long ago. First one system build was finalized, then a second system build started months ago was finished. Of course, that meant several PC’s that needed this month’s Microsoft patches. So this past Saturday I turned them all on and ran system update on each one. For good measure I made sure they were online long enough to backup to my Windows Home Server.

Website Updates

The big updates this past weekend were a system upgrade from my webhost and a upgrade to the newly released WordPress 3.0. Linode celebrated their seventh anniversary by bumping the memory on all their VPS plans. So my 384MB plan got bumped to 512MB. All I had to to was reboot my Linode to get the upgrade, and I did that Saturday. I tweaked the Apache configuration a little to allow more Apache but the new memory is still going unused. Still, a nice surprise.

I went through a upgraded all my WordPress plugins on Friday and then upgraded my guinea pig site to WordPress 3.0. Can’t really call it a test site since it is live. Just doesn’t get much traffic. That seem to go well so on Saturday I edited my svn script to install 3.0 on all my sites and ran it. Everything seems to be fine. To be honest, from my selfishly personal perspective I don’t see any earth shattering changes or enhancements although there is certainly a long list of enhancements.

Since I was updating WordPress I also updated my theme from Frugal 3.3 to Frugal 3.5. This upgrade was painless with the new theme seamlessly importing the old settings.

OS Updates

In addition to the usual Microsoft monthly security patches there were a few Apple updates. Small in number, large in size. My Snow Leopard Macs got OS X 10.6.4 while my Leopard Mac got a security update. Everything got Safari 5 and iTunes 9.2.

It’s interesting that I’m at a point where the Microsoft patches don’t concern me. I do update my primary Windows machine last and make sure I have a backup. But I don’t really fret about the update. On the other hand, I put off my Mac updates (at least the OS and iTunes) until I know I’ll have time to recover. But this time around all was well. It did take iTunes about 2 hours to update my library after the upgrade and then videos wouldn’t play until I rebooted the Mac. So while not part of the plan, it wasn’t a big deal.

Other Updates and Changes

I recently switched over to using Google Chrome on Windows as my primary browser. I like it. Firefox was getting sluggish and I didn’t feel like cleaning up the extensions (although I don’t have too many of them). Windows was also buggy and I noticed it seemed to be after a Firefox crash or other Firefox weirdness. It’s hardly proof, but since I haven’t been running Firefox things have been stable. I do have to use Firefox on a site or two that Chrome has problems with.

That’s it for this Trail Log, just a quick update.

OS Wars

The OS wars are heating up again with Windows 7 and Snow Leopard nearing release and Google announcing Chrome OS. Since this site is called The OS Quest I should probably add my own tw0 cents. Feel free to ignore me as you should every other analyst.

Google Chrome OS

Despite all the buzz and claims of vendor interest Google Chrome OS is nothing more than a press release. There’s already Google Android which has been pretty slow to get traction in the cell phone market despite some early buzz.

It’s going to be Linux based, open source and built around the chrome browser. There’s already been Netbooks with OS’s that meet the first two requirements but with Firefox instead of Chrome. (At this point there isn’t a version of the Chrome browser for Linux.) Despite this Windows XP is still the leading OS on Netbooks by a large margin. After a early Linux surge to around 30% most studies now give Windows a 90% market share.

By the time Chrome OS appears Windows 7 will be firmly entrenched on netbooks. Sure, there’s plenty of vendors looking at Chrome OS but let’s face it. It’s in their interest to look, if only to pressure Microsoft.

Competition is good so another OS choice probably won’t hurt. I just can’t get excited about a OS that hasn’t expanded beyond the press release.

Windows 7

I like Windows 7 a lot and am using it as my primary OS now (well at home at least, my day job requires Windows XP). But I’m convinced Microsoft will find a way to screw it up and they seem to be trying real hard to do just that.

The upgrade pricing for premium and professional was a step in the right direction. But they managed to screw it up by limiting the time and quantity. How do you sell out of a product that will be delivered electronically (when ordered from Microsoft) and which hasn’t actually been manufactured yet? You don’t. You impose artificial limits. Microsoft makes most of it’s money off of OEM sales through manufacturers so all these sales should be considered gravy.

They further annoyed their best users. Windows Vista Ultimate users paid a premium and Microsoft barely delivered any “Ultimate Extras”. Now there’s no special pricing for them to upgrade to Window 7 Premium. Sure, Microsoft seems to be trying to de-emphasis Ultimate, but this is a slap in the face to their customers.

There’s still a lot of unanswered questions or questions with conflicting answers about the upgrade. The information out there is more rumor than fact and will stay that way until some people get their hands on official upgrade media.

It still annoys me that Microsoft ships the exact same bits with every version, they just disable features in the lower editions. It doesn’t cost them any more to make the higher editions, the bits are on every DVD, but there are huge variations in the price between editions. I’m annoyed that if Remote Control is the only feature I want in Professional I still have to pay twice as much to get it. Of course, Microsoft Mesh ignores those version limitations and brings remote desktop to all versions, making this even more frustrating.

Snow Leopard

Snow Leopard is Apple’s poke at Microsoft. A $30 upgrade targeted to improve OS performance without promoting a lot of new features. The same could be said about Windows 7, except Microsoft is charging a hell of a lot more. Sure, the business model is different with Apple selling their own computer hardware, but that doesn’t help Microsoft’s image.


I’m already on Windows 7 RC at home and I’ve ordered my upgrades along with upgrades for family PCs I support. It’s a huge improvement over XP and Vista and it’s the first Windows upgrade I’m doing on existing hardware. Usually by the time a new Windows version comes out my old hardware will collapse when I install it. Sure, my hardware is newer these days but Windows 7 ran better than Vista or even XP on the hardware.

I’ll install Snow Leopard when it’s released and it will be buggy like most of Apple’s releases these days. I’ll just hope none of those bugs bite me. It’ll get rave reviews and I’m sure I’ll like it.

Google Chrome OS, won’t be much more than a press release this year. Maybe some early builds if Google open sources it as promised latter this year. Since their will be a lot of hype around it some manufacturers will sell Chrome OS netbooks no matter what the OS is like. Whether or not the OS does well depends on how it moves from press release to bits.