betabug... Sascha Welter

home english | home deutsch | Site Map | Sascha | Kontakt | Pro | Weblog | Wiki

Entries : Category [ mac ]
Macintosh computers are some of the betabugs preferred tools. Sometimes something comes out of it, this category is a container for such knowledge.
[digital]  [language]  [life]  [security]  [media]  [zope]  [tourism]  [limnos]  [mac]  [athens]  [travel]  [montage]  [food]  [fire]  [zwiki]  [schnipsel]  [music]  [culture]  [shellfun]  [photography]  [hiking]  [pyramid]  [politics]  [bicycle]  [naxos]  [swim] 

25 March 2006

iTunesDB Gone Foobar

All songs still on disk, but nothing shows up

Yesterday afternoon my iPod went Foobar [1] all of a sudden. All songs are still on the disk, but the library that holds all the information (where each song is etc.) is gone. Disk repair and even DiskWarrior were no help (the file is there, it's just wrong) and a look into the hidden configuration directory shows the iTunesDB file to be abnormally small. No backup file around either (there should be one next to the one in use). Damned. Searching on the web the only solution seems to be to restore the iPod (which erases everything) and to load the songs back to the iPod from iTunes. Since I sync my stuff manually (from home and work) it will take me some time to get the little white muzak box back to order. So much for using a closed format DB file, dear Apple...

[1]: And for our non-techies, FOOBAR stands for F* Up Beyond All Repair (or Recognition). See the defintion of foo from the "jargon file" for some background.

Posted by betabug at 13:15 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
02 June 2006

HelMUG Generalversammlung diesen Sonntag

Diesmal in Athen

Die letztjährige Generalversammlung des griechischen Mac Clubs "HelMUG" ist mir noch lebhaft in Erinnerung. Seitdem ist unglaublich viel passiert. Bei "denen im Vorstand" hat es viel Durcheinander gegeben, die GV ist dieses Jahr auch stark verspätet. Ich selber bin inzwischen Hilfs-Systemadministrator auf dem HelMUG-Server. Den Server hatten wir bei einem Ausflug nach Thessaloniki komplett neu aufgesetzt.

Diesen Sonntag ist jetzt also wieder Generalversammlung. Dieses Jahr in Athen, in der Piräus-Strasse, so dass mich diesmal keine Bahnfahr-Abenteuer erwarten. Ganz ohne Abenteuer wird die Anreise wohl nicht ablaufen, denn am gleichen Tag findet in Athen wieder der "Stadtlauf" statt, der "Γύρος της Αθήνας" (Link auf Griechisch). Dafür wird die gesammte Innenstadt abgesperrt und mit der Anreise mit Bus ist nix. Ich werde versuchen das Stadtzentrum zu "unterfahren", mit der Metro.

Posted by betabug at 15:59 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
14 June 2006

IMAPS setup: Please wait for to time out

Yes, there is an 'S' at the end of "IMAPS"

Why are some mail clients so obviously dumbed down in respect to secure IMAPS? For the server of HelMUG (where I'm co-serveradmin), I'm testing our soon-to-be IMAPS setup. We are going to open up only SSL based IMAPS, not plain IMAP. And what are programs like Apple's (in 10.4) trying to do when you set up an account? They test the availability of the IMAP server only without SSL. Result: Users have to wait for that test to time out. Maybe the developers of that app have never heard or imagined a setup where security is at least a bit of a consideration...

When you set up the new account, you enter the most basic account information (username, password, mail server), then tries to connect... and tries to connect... and tries to connect. At first I thought this would make it impossible to set up accounts with 10.4 with our setup. But you just have to wait for the timeout (some minutes), then ignore the warning message, and click on "continue". Only then can you tell your shiny mail client that you care to connect via SSL. Would it have been so hard to move that checkbox to the other side of the test? The user has to pass by this checkbox anyway, and it's vital for being able to connect to the right port.

Then I tested with Thunderbird, the mail client of the Mozilla project (where Firefox comes from). It's even worse. It does the same crap "I'll test if I can connect to your server before you enter all your information" dance too. But also it doesn't really let you know what it's doing. Even worse, when you finally get to tell it you want IMAPS, you have a choice of different options (amongst them "TLS" and "SSL" and some "maybe this or that", of which for Mac OS X Server 10.4 only "SSL" seems to do the trick, not "TLS" - which incidentally is only a nicer name for newer versions of SSL actually). OK, think that would have done the trick? Nonono, thank you, you also have to manually change the port to 993 too!

In my eyes, someone has dumbed these products down, with the thought that "nobody uses secure setups anyway, let's forget about all this SSL crap and make a really simple account setup". Which is nice and dandy, but it shouldn't make a secure setup seemingly impossible. Instead of just giving members the information "enter your account info, choose 'connect via SSL'", we will have to give them instructions for the complete dance.

Posted by betabug at 22:14 | Comments (1) | Trackbacks (1)
26 June 2006

Getting Firewire Back From G4 to iPod

No hard reset needed

As noted in my famous[1] post iPod hard reset, I've had trouble connecting my iPod to the G4 in my office before. The first time around I had the iPod hooked up while running "Software Update" and subsequently rebooting. Bad idea, the iPod wouldn't connect to the G4 any more, but it would still work with my PowerBook. (On the G4 it did charge, but did not show up on the Desktop / in iTunes / in the System Profiler / in Disk Utility.) Diagnosis: Hosed Firewire on the G4. Somehow confirmed by the inability to get other Firewire devices to work. But nothing is as lame as a valid diagnosis when you can't change it. So looking for solutions I had discovered the various ways to "reset" the Firewire on a G4. Back then I solved that problem through luck, then it came back and I solved it again...

Back then I got iPod connectivity back through an aborted Software Update and reboot cycle. After that Firewire was working for a long time. It left me again for a short interval (don't remember the reason), but a classic "press and hold the cuda reset button" reset solved that. Now I've upgraded to 10.4, without much thought - and the result was that Firewire was hosed again. In 10.3 while Firewire was hosed, the System Profiler would display "No information found" in the Firewire panel. The 10.4 System Profile searches for a long time and then just displays an empty panel.

This morning I got my Firewire back. What did I do? When I left the office on Friday, I shut down the machine, then unplugged it from the power grid. I came in Monday morning, opened the case, pressed the cuda reset button loooong. Then I waited for some minutes more before connecting the power and booting. Before actually digging out the iPod [2] and cable I looked up in the System Profiler - and hello, was greeted with "Maximum Speed: Up to 400 Mb/sec". Then carefully plugged in the iPod and the two were back on talking terms.

To tell you the truth, I believe the Firewire on this machine is very fragile and can't be trusted. I've seen other G4s that could take a lot of abuse on the Firewire and not complain. Maybe this one was mistreated before or has a specific hardware problem. I'm happy to have Firewire back for now.

[1] That post is famous, because it was No 1 in my stats for a long time. It doesn't contain much information, but a well known search engine loves it. For a while it was listed No 1 for the search terms [ipod hard reset], and it's still on the first result page, so it gets a lot of clicks.

[2] For the record, it's a "Dock Connector" iPod with the touch wheel. I don't remember what "Generation Number" that gives.

Posted by betabug at 16:14 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
29 June 2006

Griechische Rechtschreibprüfung bei Mac OS X

CocoAspell macht's möglich

Es gibt für Mac OS X eine frei verfügbare Rechtschreibprüfung für das Griechische. Von Haus aus hat OS X schon einige "Wörterbücher", z.B. für Deutsch, Englisch, Französisch, usw., Griechisch ist nicht dabei. Doch nicht verzagen, mit CocoAspell wird der Open Source "Spellchecker" Aspell in die Macintosh Rechtschreibkontrolle eingeklinkt. Dadurch können wir das ebenfalls frei verfügbare griechische Rechtschreiblexikon benutzen.

Die Installation geht recht einfach, ich gebe hier mal den Überblick:

Die Rechtschreibkontrolle für's Griechische funktioniert nun überall da, wo die systemeigene Rechtschreibkorrektur benutzt wird: In, TextEdit, Pages, iChat (!), und so weiter.

Posted by betabug at 20:49 | Comments (2) | Trackbacks (0)
08 July 2006

HelMUG Athens Meeting on Sunday

Café Ethnikon, Syntagma square

Just a quick note: I just learned now that tomorrow, Sunday the 9th of July, at 11:30 in the morning, there will be a meeting of HelMUG in Athens. (HelMUG being the Hellenic Mac User Group.) The meeting will be very relaxed and informal (as usual), and this time it is at the Café ΕΘΝΙΚΟΝ (Ethnikon) at Syntagma Square. Since the area of Syntagma Square currently has free wi-fi, bringing your laptop could be interesting. Please consider yourselves invited!

Posted by betabug at 12:54 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
23 July 2006

Get Notices on HelMUG Meetings

For Thessaloniki and Athens; also fixed monthly meetings in Athens

Mac users in Greece can now get advance notice of HelMUG's (the Greek Mac user group's) meetings. We've set up two announce mailing lists: Λίστα ενημέρωσης Δρώμενων Σωματείου - subscription for Thessaloniki and Athens. Since these lists are moderated and should carry only announcements, you don't have to fear getting too much mail from then.

In related news, at the last meeting in Athens, we agreed to have meeting fixed on the first Sunday of each month. Next one will be on the 6th of August, at the Café Ethnikon on Syntagma Square (11:30AM). Since there is free wifi reception on Syntagma, bringing your portable *book computer is a good idea.

Posted by betabug at 21:58 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
01 August 2006

Avoiding Dangerous Menu Logout

Don't send the server to sleep

With the HelMUG server (running Mac OS X Server 10.4) we once had the problem that one of us wanted to logout through VNC, but slipped onto the "Sleep" menu command in the Apple menu. The server went to sleep as told, and someone had to go to the rackfarm, connect a keyboard and wake the server up. A lot of trouble. Since then I always get half of a heart attack when I have to go to "Log out" through the Apple menu. I've solved that now: I'm avoiding going to the Apple menu at all for logout, I made a small AppleScript...

The script is very simple, actually just one line.

tell application "System Events" to log out
I've saved the script as an "Application", and placed that on my desktop. Now I can safely double click this and then confirm the logout.

Posted by betabug at 23:02 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
29 September 2006

Password Protected RSS Feeds and CookieCrumbler

Disable the cookie login for RSS!

Another one of those "remind myself" posts. Just tried to get past a problem with our "extranet" feeds, which are password protected and through SSL. The problem was that they are embedded in our Zope site, which uses CookieCrumbler for cookie based authentication. The feedreaders would always get the login page instead of the feed, even when using proper authentication. Solution: Disable cookie login by appending "?disable_cookie_login__=1" to the URL. Of course the state of feedreaders was part of the problem...

The RSS feedreader on Mac OS X in widest use appears to be NetNewsWire Lite. It's actually fine and free, and advertised as "Mac like". My biggest grief with this thing is the almost total lack of feedback if something goes wrong. There sure is an error log, but it doesn't always log errors. Most of the times the feed just displays an old listing of entries, not even an indication that something went wrong. I had a lot of pain with that back when I tried to get the encoding on my own weblog feeds right.

Other RSS readers don't support password protected feeds at all (as far as I can see), for example Vienna or Shrook. Didn't try some of the "for pay" ones and maybe putting the login credentials in the URL would work for these too (like "http://username:secretpass@domain.tld/rss_10.xml).

One that works with passwords and is really quite funny for its mininalistic style is RSS Menu. RSS Menu puts another menu item in the Macs menu bar and gives you a quick and low profile indication of what's new. You need the free menu bar space though, nothing for my 1024x768 at home :-).

Posted by betabug at 11:56 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
05 November 2006

Coffee with HelMUG

Sunday Meeting on Syntagma Square

We're sitting in the cafe Ethnikon on Syntagma square, chatting about Mac stuff. I'm on a meeting of the Greek Mac User Group HelMUG. Ten people have shown up so far and we even signed up two new members. I'm typing this entry on a white MacBook, trying to get used to the keyboard. Reminds me of Spectrum home computers. The screen is nice, even though I don't like the glossy finish.

HelMUG meetings are on every first Sunday of the month (around 11:30 in the morning), members and non-members welcome. For the moment we are meeting here on Syntagma square, where we have free wifi access, but the location may change. If you are interested to get reminders about these meetings, you can sign up to our notification mailing list.

Posted by betabug at 12:08 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
12 November 2006

Photography from Freaky to Ultra Expensive

Looking at Macs and Hasselblads
Serious picture taken by photobooth

Yesterday I was planning to go to Stournari street to look for a replacement HD for my server. Right as I was walking down to the bus station my phone rang. Panos (Libero) from HelMUG called with an invitation to visit the largest illegal structure in Europe, Athens "The Mall" super shopping center. In some kind of coincidence-colliding-with-an-idea moment, I changed plans as well for my server as for the day. I went straight to The Mall, where I met Panos and about half of the shopping crazed women of the Attican peninsula. While we tried to avoid being run over by the masses, we went to play with some Macs and later in the day even got to play around with expensive Hasselblad cameras...

We went for a tour through different shops, trying to locate a pair of good quality lady gloves. Yes, boys do those things. It was quite funny, because in some shops we were the only male human beings amongst big crowds of women. The fashionable "Zara" shop was also funny, with only one cashier in a huge store. The line of customers was about 10 meters long. As Panos remarked: "Even if I would find the gloves here, I couldn't buy them." Makes me wonder if the cost of adding a second cashier to that shop is so high, or if they treat their customers like that on purpose.

Serious picture taken by photobooth

Shortly after that sight we gave up and went to serious matters: Visiting the Macs for sale in the Fnac and Multirama stores. In Fnac we were more concerned with accessories and add-on products. When we got to Multirama, we were ready to play around. First we opened the bluetooth browser... what a sight! It found about 15 to 20 bluetooth enabled devices around. Half the stores display was running bluetooth and lots of people had their phones on too. Then we fired up Photobooth and played around with it, transferring the pictures to Panos phone. Thinking of it, we should have sent it to all those open bluetooth devices. But I was told to behave in stores in order to be a good child, so we didn't.

After being fed up with the mega shopping experience, we drove all around half of Athens, to Glyfada. Over there, in a part of the old airport, was the "Foto-net" exhibition, where our friend Thanassis Kordalis (aka mackellaris from HelMUG) was "working" at the stand of the Hasselblad distributor. When we arrived at the stand, he wasn't there. So we went all over the show floor looking for him. We finally found him in the cafeteria, which prompted Panos to remark: "See? I told you when we don't find him at his place, he'll be in the cafeteria!" That in turn left Thanassis speechless, since he was running around all day. All the time we were there he was mighty busy, presenting a new super-colorproofed monitor, but we got to talk to him for a few moments inbetween.

We also had a look at a Plaubel tilt-and-swivel camera and at the new digital Hasselblad models. It doesn't happen so often that I can take something in my hands that is worth about 30'000 Euros. Ups, and I didn't even drop it.

Posted by betabug at 19:44 | Comments (1) | Trackbacks (0)
03 December 2006


At the ΙΜΕ

The General Assembly (ΓΣ) of the Greek Mac User Group is under way. Seeing a lot of people again, having fun chatting.

Let's see how it all turns out. We still have a lot of program ahead and are already late. But it wouldn't be a Greek Mac user group...

Posted by betabug at 12:15 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)

General Assembly, Short Report

Elections and Talks
betabug at the Dec 2006 HelMUG general assembly

The HelMUG general assembly has happened today, finally after many tries with success. We managed to vote a new board. That's the main news. The lesser news is that I happened to be voted as board member, even though I really didn't want to (my previous experience with that kind of stuff was rather mixed). counting the votes For many months I turned down all request for setting me up as a board candidate. In the end I stood to be voted only because we needed to fill the roster to the required number by law. But then I got voted, probably by pure malice!

Attendance was not very high. But the important point was the atmosphere of the event. There were some old stories to sort out, but in general the consensus was that we wanted to go forward. I believe the new board is united in a practical approach. We want an uncomplicated user group, a place where things happen. So, here we are. What the future will bring, we will see.

Posted by betabug at 22:16 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
17 December 2006

Doing Seminars for HelMUG

Results from another Sunday MUG coffee break

Due to the general assembly two weeks ago, the monthly HelMUG coffee break was postponed to today. I went there and after a while we were four of us... seems the holiday season is taking its toll. But the meeting was very interesting and had good results. Next to the usual computer chatter we also discussed locations for seminars and some good ideas came up...

As a small reminder: I had given a couple of seminars and workshops back in Switzerland. Now that I'm here and active in the Greek Mac User Group, I thought about doing some more Seminars for HelMUG. My first candidate is something about using PGP. This is one topic that I'm personally interested in, and it seems that at least a few others might be interested too. For example I was surprised and delighted to hear that Takis (citylop on HelMUG) had started to install and explore GPG.

The topic isn't so hot that I would fill a big room. If we get 10 to 20 interested people together, I'd consider that success. There are of course professional conference rooms in a city like Athens. But a user group can't afford that. So another option is to find a more unconventional room (like a cafeteria back room) and find someone with a beamer. After a while there popped up one location that could be exactly what we need. I'll wait for Takis to investigate to say more. Of course such a room could hold other HelMUG seminars or meetings too, but I guess I'll play the guinea pig.

When the venue is found, all that's left is to announce it to the world and for me to prepare the seminar. I'll see how well I'll do with that task, since I haven't been holding a seminar in Greek ever. Lots of work and new frontiers!

Posted by betabug at 20:04 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
29 December 2006

Vorstand... wieder mal

betabug im Vorstand der HelMUG

Statt hier für meinen Weblog was zu schreiben, sollte ich eigentlich einen Text ins Griechische übersetzen. Und das kam so: Seit ein paar Wochen bin ich nämlich im Vorstand der griechischen Mac User Group HelMUG. Wiedermal Vereinsvorstand... das letzte Mal war ich ca. 2000/2002 für zwei Jahre im Vorstand vom MUS. Wie (auf Englisch) schon erwähnt, bin ich im Vorstand nur gelandet, weil wir noch ein paar Leute brauchten um auf die vorgeschriebene Anzahl Kandidaten zu kommen. Dann bin ich gewählt worden, jetzt bin ich PR-Fuzzi und Apple Ambassador.

Wenn man so als Vorstand anfängt, dann ergibt sich doch schnell eine Liste von Dingen, die man machen möchte. Allgemein liegt im Verein Aufbruchsstimmung in der Luft, so soll auch das eZine des Vereins wieder aufleben. Damit das ein Erfolg wird, möchte ich zwei meiner Artikel auf Griechisch übersetzen. Sollten bis Anfang Januar fertig sein, drum hätt ich jetzt eigentlich was besseres zu tun. Nebenbei möchte ich noch Informationstexte über den Verein auf Englisch und Deutsch machen, ein Seminar vorbereiten, ein paar Scripts schreiben um unsere Server-Administration zu vereinfachen, und und und. Ich weiss auch nicht, warum ich mir immer so viel Arbeit einhandle...

Posted by betabug at 16:18 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
04 January 2007

Meet HelMUG at Dasein!

This months MUG meeting at new location

Next Sunday (2007-01-07) is our monthly HelMUG meeting in Athens. For various reasons, we are at a new location, in the cafe Dasein in Exarheia. The Dasein has a room with a projector that we could use for future presentations and seminars, it has more free space than the cafe Ethnikon on Sintagma this time of year. So since there is no wifi on Sintagma this week, it's time to give the Dasein a chance!

If you are in Athens next sunday, consider yourself invited, attendance is free for members and non-members. There won't be much more than having coffee and chatting about Macs and the world. But maybe you can get some questions answered and catch up with Mac tech talk. The Dasein is near Exarheia square, at 12 Solomou street (which is parallel to Stournari street, where all the computer shops are :-) we will start to arrive around 11:30 in the morning.

Posted by betabug at 10:50 | Comments (2) | Trackbacks (0)
Prev  1   2   [3]   4   5   Next