In the midst of looking for something else, I stumbled across an 'older' (May 2001) article concerning power management with OS X on PowerBooks. In the text of the article, there's a fairly good example of how to use "ps" and "grep" and a couple of other UNIX commands to get a handle on what may be going on with your system if you're experiencing slowdowns or fast-draining batteries.
If you're interested, head over to O'Reilly's web site and read Mac OS X and Battery Life by Derrick Story. Although Derrick wrote the story, the majority of the content is from a note submitted by Peter Fraterdeus, a long-time Mac user and developer. Peter gives some very good examples of how to use the features of the core UNIX system to identify potential trouble spots. Most of the article is relevant not just to PowerBooks, but to Mac OS X users in general.
In this MacWorld forum thread, JohnKFisher asked about getting OS X version info when connecting via SSH to another OS X box. After some back and forth, PaulM contributed the easy way to get this info:
[11:13am robg ~]% sw_vers ProductName: Mac OS X ProductVersion: 10.0.4 BuildVersion: 4Q12
Just type 'sw_vers' and you'll get the info on what version of OS X you've connected to. PaulM also points out that the traditional UNIX command is 'uname -a', and that this returns Darwin information on OS X:
[11:13am robg ~]% uname -a Darwin localhost 1.3.7 Darwin Kernel Version 1.3.7: Sat Jun 9 11:12:48 PDT 2001; root:xnu/xnu-124.13.obj~1/RELEASE_PPC Power Macintosh powerpc
Many people have asked about creating bootable backup of OS X. Over in the MacFixIt forums, there was an interesting conversation about this a while ago. In this thread, "Sparky the Wonderpig" gave a fairly simple solution to the problem ... more interesting are comments from other posters concerning how it may be addressed by a future update from Apple.
If you're interested in backing up your OS X volume now, check out Sparky's method ... and let's hope we see an official tool from Apple soon!
Over on Macintouch's Mac OS X Reader Reports (well worth reading, as there's a ton of good info collected there!), Paul Christensen posted some information he received from Apple's tech support group regarding the initial setup assistant (which configures your primary user account, among other things).
According to Apple, to re-run the assistant, you need to:
Boot into single-user mode (command-S during startup)
Once the command-line prompt appears, type the following:
mount -uw / cd /private/var/db/netinfo mv local.nidb local.old rm ../.AppleSetupDone exit
When you hit RETURN after typing exit, OS X will restart and the setup assistant will launch automatically. So if you've somehow messed up your primary OS X user, this is a good fix that may get you up and running again, even if re-running the OS X installer does not.
The Speech Recognition system in OS X seems to work MUCH more accurately when external speakers are powered down - if you are finding it somewhat frustrating to constantly repeat yourself, try turning off any external speakers you have - it made a world of difference for me.
Hopefully this is one of the bugs Mr. Jobs said were being fixed with the .1 update.
Apple has quietly released the OS 9.2.1 update. It's available now on the Mac OS X home page - look for the "Classic Update" link on the right-hand side of the page. It's an 82mb file, and both one-piece and multi-part downloads are available. It does not show up (yet?) on Software Update.
Important: From the online Read Me file:
"You can install this version of Mac OS 9.2 on any of the following computers: Power Mac G4, Power Macintosh G3, PowerBook G4, PowerBook G3 (except the original PowerBook G3), iMac, and iBook."
In other words, OS 9.2.1 can only be installed on machines that are capable of supporting OS X. The Read Me contains no information detailing what's been changed, other than offering "improved Classic compatability."
A few days ago I noticed a small problem with my OS X installation on my Beige G3 266 desktop... iTunes simply will not launch!
I don't know if anyone else has had a problem with their applications not launching, but I've tried a few remedies. I trashed all iTunes preferences, gotten rid of the "Music Library File" and reinstalled iTunes from scratch. All to no avail.
I have compared permissions to other OS X machines and those and everything else seems to be identical. Thus it seems to be some sort of problem besides iTunes.
Anyway, has anyone else had issues with any applications not launching? The specific symptom is that the dock icon will bounce once and then cease to do anything.
I recently downloaded OmniDictionary from the OmniGroup and was wondering why it wasn't appearing in the Services menu. I found the following on the Omni Group web site: -
Mac OS X 10.0 only registers Services from aplications installed in /Applications, /Developer/Applications, or subfolders thereof, so if you want to use the Service provided by OmniDictionary you'll need to install it in one of those locations. Services can be provided by applications installed in /Network/Applications if the NSServicesFromNetworkApplications default (in NSGlobalDomain) is set to YES.
In order to keep my /Applications folder clean I had been placing apps that I had installed into a sub-folder of /Applications called User Applications. Once I moved my apps in /Applications I had several new entries in Services (OmniDictionary being one), woo-hoo!
The information on the OmniGroup web site implies that apps in subfolders of Applications would register as services (if applicable), but this doesn't seem to be the case.
On very rare occasions, the OS X Finder will lock up and not respond to keyboard or mouse actions. It happened to me tonight when I tried to move 300+ items from my iDisk to a SCSI SyQuest drive - I'm not sure if it was a bug in iDisk, the Finder, or the SCSI drivers. In any event, the Finder showed only the spinning rainbow, and clicking on it in the Dock revealed an "Application not responding" message. The machine was still quite usable (other open apps were doing fine and were fully responsive), but I wasn't sure how to resolve the Finder problem -- I couldn't launch any new applications (such as the Terminal or Process Viewer) since the Finder was unresponsive.
In addition, the usual escape route (command-option-escape) wasn't functional. The dialog box would not show up on the screen, regardless of which app was in the foreground.
I could have used another computer to connect and quit the Finder via "ps aux" and "kill", but that seemed like cheating. The only app I had in my dock (the only way I had to start programs) that wasn't running was CPU Monitor. On a lark, I launched it and noticed that it has two very useful menu items for troubleshooting system lockups - under the Processes menu, you can choose "Open Process Viewer" or "Open Top".
Either one of these was enough to solve my problem -- opening Top launches the Terminal, from where I could open a new window and use "ps aux" and "kill" to relaunch the Finder, or I could (as I did) use ProcessViewer to do it directly.
The moral of the story? To prevent a Finder lockup from rendering your machine unusable, keep one of CPU Monitor, Terminal, or ProcessViewer in your dock at all times. My personal choice is CPU Monitor, since I can get to either of the other apps through CPU Monitor. With one of these apps in your dock, you should (barring a dock lockup!) be able to launch a program to help you restart the Finder.
The nice aspect of working in OS X, of course, was that everything was back to completely normal once I restarted the Finder -- and, much to my amazement, I found that the copy that had locked the Finder had actually completed!
[Editor's note: It appears that if you don't have an Epson USB printer, you're out of luck. My serial Epson 800 isn't on the list, which is not all that surprising, but still a little disappointing. It is several years old, so maybe it's a good excuse for an upgrade. Anyone know of affordable Ethernet-capable color printers supported in OS X? I'd love to share one printer amongst two Macs and two PC's.]