February 28, 2004
48 points 48 hours later
Matthew Thomas posted an article on his first 48h hours enduring Mac OS X
"The quality of Apple’s human interface has declined and continues to decline. That other current platforms, both Free and non-Free, continue to be even worse does not make this situation any more satisfying."
Matthew Thomas is a usability critic and former Mac OS 9 user. Recommended reading - BTW, I agree with most of his points.
February 07, 2004
Software Update Glitch
I got bitten by a strange bug yesterday while running Software Update on my Server: a bunch of updates where available, so I accepted to install them and went back to my desktop. After a while, I was ready to click the "restart" button when I noticed that a red exclamation mark was next to all the updates instead of the green checkmark, and a dialog box was displaying the following
"None of the checked updates could be installed. Make sure you have permission to write to /tmp/501/TemporaryItems/com.apple.SoftwareUpdate, then try again."
Hmm. I was running as administrator. Anyway, it was a while since I'd repaired the permissions on this machine, so I launched Disk Utility, repaired and rebooted, just to be on the safe side. But to no avail, the same symptom occurred again. I used Fast Switching to login as root and tried again - no luck. I checked the permissions and they where fine 700 and 755. I decided to 777 the whole tree just to see if that changed anything - nope.
It seemed time to check the net for similar problems. In case like this, I usually start with Apple's Discussions. Checking the Server forum didn't help. Searching the 10.3 one yielded several pertinent threads.
First, I wasn't the only one with this problem. Many had tried what I did, and were just as unsuccessful as me.
But a thread attracted my attention more than the others because it mentionned that Apple Remote Desktop was installed on those computers displaying the problem. I had installed ARD earlier in January to test how well I could drive my server from home (not very well actually, but that is another topic). I had never uninstalled it.
One of the fixes suggested was related to XCode, or rather uninstalling XCode than removed essential apps from the system (tar, zip, unzip, etc.) and prevents many operation from completing successfully - including Software Update.
I had never installed nor uninstalled XCode from my server, so I decided to install them to give it a try. My server runs on a B&W G3 with a 8Gb primary partition. Just over 2Gb were free, so I had to be cautious in my installation. The fulls XCode package installs over 1.9Gb of software .. I didn't want to replace one problem by another. Using custom install, I avoided the installation of documentation, various SDK, etc. - and Bob's my uncle! It solved the problem!
Now what was wrong, I don't know. I shall uninstall ARD and other unused software to save space, and check those threads to see if someone puts his finger on the problem. A worrying one if you ask me.
PS: funnily enough, just after that episode, I received the new version of XCode in the ADC February mailing.
February 01, 2004
Font management doc
I don't know about you, but fonts problems or font related problems have caused havoc more than once since I permanently switched to Mac OS X back in the 1.1 days.
A MacOSXHint thread points on a very informative document that explains - and clarifies - a lot of potential font issues and how to solve them, where to store them, what format to use, etc. The document is Jaguar (10.2) centered, but a lot of the info still applies to Panther.
The Apple article is located at,
Unfortunately, FontBook still remains poorly documented ..
iBook logic board problem recognised
Apple has finally recognised the problem with the iBook's logic board by publishing an extended exchange program and offering to reimburse previous costs of repair to eligible customers (iBook purchased in the last 3 years). Reuters comments the problem an article "Failing Apple Hardware".
I fell on this piece of information while reading an interesting commentary "Having Bitten the Forbidden Fruit, it Bit Me Back. Six Times" on OSDir.com on a Linux user feeling guilty of using Mac OS X instead of Linux, and all the trouble he had with his iBook logic board.
Check it out if you are an iBook user - or not - you might be entitle to the logic board exchange.