Mac mini needs tv on

Argh. What a strange thing. Took me a while to figure this out. It quartz extreme is graphics acceleration For Mac os x.

If you boot up a mac mini and the display is off it assumes it is a headless Mac and turns f quartz extreme acceleration.

but then if you try to watch tv and the tv is turned in later you don’t get any graphics acceleration and everything from vlc to iMovie fails.

So you either need to remember to leave you ac system powered up when you reboot. Or you have to buy a gizmo that fakes out the hdmi signal. Argh!

Mac OS X hangs

Well the Mac isn’t immunie to strange problems. At various times I’ve noticed syslogd (the logging daemon), the spindump and kernel_task all spinning at 100% cpu utilization. Not really clear what is causing it. In one case a flaky USB hub causes kernel_task problems which makes some sense.

kernel_task uses 70%+ often – Mac Forums

kernel_task is the core of OS X. It runs all the device drivers, and other high privilege tasks. If it’s spiking up like that, it could be a bad device driver causing it. Have you checked the logs to see if anything is being reported there? Also, have you installed any 3rd party USB drivers (including printers, scanners, etc) as they are often a cause of problems

In another syslogd hangs on a particular file… | 100% CPU usage caused by syslogd (Leopard)

Over the last few days I experienced a strange bug that didn’t go away even after several times of rebooting — a process called syslogd used up to 100 percent of one CPU, which means up to 50% of my computer’s processing power.

After some research, I found the following solution:

Fire up Terminal and execute the following commands (enter administrator password when asked):

sudo launchctl stop
sudo rm /var/log/asl.db
sudo launchctl start

What do these commands do? First of all, we stop the syslogd process. The second line removes a database file which causes the whole dilemma (don’t worry, it’ll be re-created afterwards), the third line starts the previously stopped process again.

kernel_task uses 70%+ often – Mac Forums

With a hyperactive kernel_task, check the fonts and font cache.

Apple Shortcut keys

The Unofficial Apple Weblog (TUAW)

To open your Applications folder, click on your desktop and use the shift (⇧) and command (⌘) keys to type ⇧ ⌘ A. Voíla! Your Appplications folder appeareth.

Other folders have shortcuts too:

* Your computer: ⇧ ⌘ C
* Your home folder: ⇧ ⌘ H
* Your desktop: ⇧ ⌘ D
* Computers on your local network: ⇧ ⌘ K
* Your Utilities folder: ⇧ ⌘ U
* Your iDisk: ⇧ ⌘ I

Snow Leopard to support Exchange natively

This is a big deal for making Macs enterprise friendly. Can’t wait until next year!

AppleInsider | Apple previews Mac OS X Snow Leopard with QuickTime X

Mac OS X will include native support for Microsoft Exchange 2007 in OS X applications Mail, iCal and Address Book, making it even easier to integrate Macs into organizations of any size.

No word on when it ships but “Arstechnica”: claims that it might be as early as next January 2009.

arrghh Plaxo really didn’t work!

OK, I thought I was back in business. I synced my Mac Address Book to Plaxo and then had Plaxo create an Outlook Express CSV format file which I imported into Outlook. Bad news. It shorn off all the mobile phone numbers. So back to the drawing board. Also, Plaxo isn’t double byte enabled, so it totally hashed all the Chinese in my contacts.

Found “Address Book Exporter”: which is a little utility that taes Mac OS X Address Book and exports into a format Outlook can read. Can’t believe Apple doesn’t have that sorted, but giving that a try now.

Mac Open Source Software

“Darwin Ports”: automatically downloads open source projects over the Internet and compiles and installs them on your Mac. Means the whole world of 40 years of unix tools is available with a single command line on your computer. (BTW, Darwin is the name of the core operating system under Mac OS X and Ports means “portable software” you can load onto your computer. To get them you need to:

# Download darwin at “”:
# Install “Xcode”:
# Install XWindows. First see if there is a file /Applications/Utilities/X11 and if not, insert the Mac OS X install disk and run Optional Installs and check X11
# Set the Unix shell envioronment. Make sure ~/.profile includes the lines _export PATH=/opt/local/bin:/opt/local/sbin:$PATH_ and for X11 you need _export DISPLAY=:0.0″ and to run X11 appls properfly, you need to edit /etc/X11/xinit/xinitrc and add _source ~/.profile_ and finally open X11 and select Customize Menu/Applciations and double click on Terminal and change that entry to _xterm -ls_
# Install DarwinPorts by downloading and runing the installer. Regularly run the self updater by running the command _sudo port -d selfupdate_

Now you can install just about any open source software if you know it’s name. For instance to install the network mapper called nmap, you start /Applications/Utility/Terminal and run the command:

bq. sudo port install nmap

Here are some useful utilities from a huge list of 4,000 ports at “”:

* nmap. Listed above, this let’s you scan a network and look for broken devices. Unfortunately with Darwinports, only the text based thing work, the graphical interface called zenmap doesn’t
* nessus-core. This is security software that look for security holes in your network. This doesn’t build at all complaining about an error in a library. On the other hand, you can download a compiled binary at “”:
* “”: is another open source utility for checking the security of your wifi keys that also has a Mac binary version

So I’m on to “Fink”: which has the same purpose. It is a little more complicated because you have to:

* download fink and then compile it yourself.
* You also have to load “Xquartz”: which is a version of the X11 package.
* download “FinkCommander”: which is a graphical interface to Fink

More Mac Utilities

OK, just catching up as I finish the install of the new office and home networks. Here are some more super useful Mac utilities:

* “Wireshark”: This is a protocol analyzer that used to be called Ethereal before trademark problems. You use it to get really deep information about what is actually happening at the wire level. Good for seeing what packets are moving. Kind of a nerd tool, but useful if you are wondering if is actually talking to a server and is it using SSL as an example.
* “Eavesrop”: If you want something a little less nerdy, this utility just listens in on TCP conversations rather than everything on the wire, so you can debug just one connection rather than seeing everything leaving your machine.
* “Network Utility”: this is hidden away in the /Applications/Utilities folder and puts a nice user interface on a bunch of Unix utilities like netstat to see how your network is working, ping to see if you can send a packet to someone, traceroute to see how your packets are traveling, port scan to look at open ports at a particular IP address, whois to ask who owns a particular domain name.
* “Nmap”: is the definitive network scanner that looks throughout your network for what devices there are. It is from Unix land, so to install it you have to have darwinports or fink. Nmap is the command line utility while Zenmap is the graphical front end. Once you’ve installed Darwin, “Wolfgang”: says the commands are easy, which is to start /Applications/Utility/ and run _sudo port install nmap_. There are lots of options, so see the official guide at “”:
* “Darwinports”: This and the other project Fink automatically over the Internet give you access to all the freeware that is available for Unix. Darwin BTW if the codename for Mac OS X and so you can be cool and say Darwin and mystify your friends when they ask what operating system you use. Pretty easy, you install it and then start Terminal and run “sudo port -d selfupdate” and it downloads all the pointers to the latest stuff on the Internet that works on your Mac. It’s amazing but the core of OS X is actually availabel in source code, see “”: For the geeks out there, Mac OS X is built on top of Mach 3.0 and FreeBSD 5. You also need to install “XCode”: which is included with every copy of OS X but not installed by default, this gives you compilers and all the tools that you need to build your own open source.

Clearing Mac DNS Cache

I’m in the middle of switching hosting providers. One problem is that when you do this and your host changes, you have to clear your DNS Cache (this is what maps names like to IP address like On Windows, there is a command line, _ipconfig /flush_ that you run. On Mac OS X, there is a similar but Unix command, _dscacheutil -flushcache_ as pointed out by

Mac Utilities

OK more Mac utilities, this time from a quick read of Mac magazine:

* “iStumbler”: This is like a similar utility on Windows, it tells you the strength of various Wifi and Bluetooth devices. Even has a widget for your dashboard
* “USB Missile Launcher”: OK, its not really a utility, its a nerf rocket launcher you can attach to your computer to fire at coworkers. “Adrian”: will love one!
* “DVI to HDMI Cable”: If you’ve got a late model TV, then you can take the DVI output of your Mac and plug it directly into the HDMI input. This works great. Its $20.

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Share Mac Desktop

I need some help to navigate through a website, so how do I do it. Well, Mac’s allow desktop sharing and it should be pretty easy as long as you can get through some settings. “”: has a good guide for Max OS X 10.4 “Tiger”

h2. For the machine that you want to share, do this:

# System Preferences | Sharing | Apple Remote Desktop. Tick this option.
# Click on Access Privileges
# Tick “Observe”, “Show when being observed”, “Guests may request permission to control screen”, and “VNC viewers may control screen with password”
# Enter the password next to the last of these options, e.g. we’ll assume it’s “easy2guess”

h2. Now you have to forward a port with your router

This application will ask for the IP address of the view. Use “”: that should give you the IP address of the client

This is the hard part, you have to forward TCP port 5900 to your Mac. Every router is a little different, but for Linksys and D-link, you need to know the IP address of the router and access its administrative web page. Typically for D-link and for Linksys. Hope you know the password for the router!

h2. Install a VNC Client onto the “viewer machine”

Use “Chicken of the VNC”: as its free and my goodness what a great name!

You need to give the viewer, the IP address from and also the password

He should then see a replica of your screen and you can now share and debug

h2. Windows alternatives

As an alternative, “Unyte”: is a free skype addin that does that same thing for any Skype user with Windows. You can actually view from any platform with IE, Firefox or Safari, but the client has to be a Windows machine.

I’m going to see if this runs under Parallels

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