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Modem initialization freezing the system in 10.0.4 System
There is a problem with my 10.0.4 that is increasingly apparent. Whenever I click on the Connect button in the Internet Connect application (used to dial up a PPP connection), my superb ultrafine preemptive multitasking goes to hell. Everything freezes, nothing responds, only the mouse is moving (rather hopping from place to place). Force quit of course does not appear either if I press cmd-alt-esc. I even rebooted several times, thinking that my OS X simply froze. But if you wait long enough, eventually everything resumes, the Mac dials up the connection and everything is fine. The delay caused is not fixed a varies from time to time.

My guess is there is a delay when setting up the modem with AT commands, some sort of hardware interupt which hogs the system. I have no direct evidence or solution, however.

Does anyone have any idea what's going on?
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Code Red and OS X firewalls Internet
Recently I started seeing lot of activity in my Apache logs. For those that don't know, they are at /private/var/log/httpd (access_log and error_log). The code was:
63.82.46.11 - - [07/Aug/2001:04:06:38 -0700] "GET /default.ida?
XXXXXXXXX...snipped...XXX%u9090%u6858%ucbd3%u7801%u9090%u6858%ucbd3
%u7801%u9090%u6858%ucbd3%u7801%u9090%u9090%u8190%u00c3%u0003
%u8b00%u531b%u53ff%u0078%u0000%u00=a HTTP/1.0" 404 27
[Editor's note: Carriage returns inserted, and repetitive "X" characters snipped, to aid readability; this will appear as one line in your log].

If you're seeing this then it's not a threat to your system. It's someone's machine running windows NT 4.0 with IIS 4.0 or 5.0 enabled, Windows 2000 servers, or betas of XP with the Code Red worm running on their box. This probably means they don't know about it and it doesn't hurt us except it bloats your access logs. The information on it can be found at
http://www.cert.org/incident_notes/IN-2001-08.html

I have a question. Is there a way to set a deny rule for this with ipfw. Anyone?
-j
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Using tcpdump over a PPP connection Network
Tcpdump is great and I was looking ahead using it. The bigger was my surprise when I could not, because tcpdump does not recognize my PPP internet connection (or better the ppp0 device) as being configured. Apple's Network Utility has the same sort of problem (it shows only en0, even while being on-line via PPP). Here's an example:
root# ifconfig ppp0

ppp0: flags=8055 mtu 1500
inet 62.84.136.53 --> 62.84.128.250 netmask 0xff000000
root# tcpdump -i ppp0
tcpdump: ppp0: Device not configured
root#
Please help - how can I get packet monitoring on PPP working??
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Debugging a RAM upgrade and slow OS X performance Install
[Editor's note: Here's a story of a user experience with a RAM upgrade that was anything but normal. If you upgrade your RAM at some point in the future and are faced with extremely slow system performance, you may want to remember this article's suggested fix...]

I recently installed additional RAM in my G4 450DP running OS X v10.0.4. I went from 640MB (128MB + 2x 256MB DIMMS) to 1128MB by adding a single 512MB DIMM. The installation was NOT routine.

The system ran normally before installation. After installing the DIMM, all system operations were noticeably slow. The boot process took longer than normal and even the insertion point in the login window blinked at a dramatically slower rate than normal. I could type my username and password blind and not see the character echo for close to 2 minutes.

Once logged in, all my login apps would attempt to start and then quit prompting the standard system message. It would take about 3-5 minutes between each app to get the quit-message. At no time was I able to do anything useful in any application. The system was just too slow. The pointer did move as fast as normal...the system was just unresponsive to clicks or drags.

Read the rest of this article for more detail on the troubleshooting Alex did, and his eventual solution...along with a question about why this happened.
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Use the Finder to browse hidden directories System
I discovered the following.

If you open the menu item "connect to server" and write localhost, you will be connected to the same machine on which you are working. You will asked the user for the login. If you choose a user with administrator priviledges, you will asked to connect either to the volume of that user or the to the entire volume.

If you choose the entire volume, you can navigate over the full set of directories of the volume. This means that you will be able to see also the classic Unix directories such as /etc, /usr, /tmp etc. In this manner, you can use the GUI to navigate to the hidden directories on MacOsX.

Just one warning: inside these directories, there are some UNIX links that are displayed as folders even if they point to normal files. If you click over some of these folders, the Finder seems to go to an infinite loop. In this case, in order to regain the control of the machine, press the button on the keyboard used normally to startup or shutdown the system. It will apperar a pop up window that will ask you to shutdown the system or to put it in "stop" mode.

If you choose "stop", the system will break the connection to the localhost server and then stops. Then, pressing a button of the keyboard, the system immediately restart without loosing anything except the freezing connection. You will be able to continue working normally.

[Editor's note: Interesting tip; I haven't yet tried this myself, but it seems like an alternate method to get to the hidden UNIX folders quite easily. Just watch that infinite loop caution!]
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Setting up sendmail for SMTP usage UNIX
I managed to set up sendmail as SMTP and have it actually start up properly during boot-time. The instructions can be found here:
http://www.tijsseling.com/professional/xtipstop.html

It also explains why it did not work before.

Adriaan
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Changing a dockling's displayed name Desktop
I downloaded and started using the Prefling dockling (as suggested in a comment to my story on direct access to preferences). However, one thing I liked about my method was the rollover name in the dock was something meaningful to me. "Prefling" just didn't strike my fancy.

So I tried renaming the dockling in the Finder and then dragged it to the dock. No go; the rollover name was still "Prefling". A little experimentation found the solution, and it's fairly easy and should work for any dockling.

Make sure that the dockling to edit is not running - drag it out of the dock before you start. In the Finder, navigate to the dockling you wish to change; mine are in the standard Applications/Dock Extras folder. Control- or right-click on the dockling application itself and select "Show Package Contents". In the new window that opens, you should see (at least) a folder named "Contents". Open this, and you'll find "info.plist".

Open this file in a pure text editor (BBEdit lite, jedit, or use vi in the Terminal), and look for the following lines (these are from the Prefling dockling, but they'll be similar in all the docklings):

<key>DLLabel</key>
<string>Prefling</string>

Change the text between the <string> tags and save your changes (make sure you save as text only!). Drag the app back to the dock, and you should see that the rollover now has the name you gave it.

To be safe, make sure you make a copy of the dockling before you start, just in case something goes wrong.
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Access mail.app's POP mail boxes from OS 9 Apps
If you're ever booted in OS 9 (as I was earlier) and have a need for something that's in your OS X mailbox (which I did), I found that that it's fairly easy to find that something from OS 9.

Apple's mail.app stores your mail in ~/Library/Mail. Inside that folder are a series of directories for each email account you have enabled, along with a folder called Mailboxes. Inside of Mailboxes, you'll see Deleted Messages.mbox and Inbox.mbox. These are both plain-text files which can be opened and searched by almost any text processing application; I used Alpha in OS 9. I was able to find the data I was looking for, and then closed the file (without saving any changes, of course!). Later, when I rebooted into OS X, I found that (as expected) the mailbox files still work normally in mail.app.

I believe this only works for POP-style mailboxes where the mail is stored locally; I don't think it can be used to view your mac.com IMAP mailbox, for example.
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Maelstrom for OS X released! Apps
In an interesting example of 'coming full circle', Ambrosia's Maelstrom (an Asteroids-based space shooter with great playability) has been released as an OS X native application! I say 'coming full circle' because this version of Maelstrom was ported by Sam Lantinga from his Linux port of the original version of the game, which was written for the Mac IIsi (yes, it's that old!).

Even more impressive, the game now includes support for multi-player network play over the internet, and full source code is available. You can read all about it on the Maelstrom 3.0 home page, and you can download the game by clicking this link.

It plays great under OS X, and brings back fond memories of hundreds of wasted hours. If you think you're good, you can even enable the 'network high scores' option, which will show Internet-wide Maelstrom high scores ... I don't even come close to the bottom of the list!

One note of caution: On my G4/733 with the GeForce3 card, the game ran fine in full-screen mode. When quitting, however, my screen was completely black. OS X was working fine; I just couldn't see or do anything! So you may wish to exercise a bit of caution (quit all other apps, for example) before you try full-screen mode the first time.
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Make a 'tunnel' through a proxy server Network
From http://www.nocrew.org/software/httptunnel.html:

"httptunnel creates a bidirectional virtual data connection tunnelled in HTTP requests. The HTTP requests can be sent via an HTTP proxy if so desired. This can be useful for users behind restrictive firewalls. If WWW access is allowed through a HTTP proxy, it's possible to use httptunnel and, say, telnet or PPP to connect to a computer outside the firewall."

Translation: As long as your proxy allows access to web pages, and you have access to both a machine inside the firewall as well as a machine outside the firewall capable of running httptunnel, you can run any one TCP/IP service through the firewall -- such as Apple Filing Protocol (iDisk, iTools, AppleTalk/AppleShare via TCP/IP), gnutella, Unreal Tournement server, etc. -- between the two machines.

Read the rest of this article if you'd like a step-by-step how-to on getting httptunnel working on OS X...

Skinlayers
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