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Use the Dock as a 'last chance' Finder fixer System
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!
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Epson printer support info update System
Epson has finally released some useful info on which of their printers will be supported in OSX 10.1. The info is here: http://support.epson.com/webadvice/wa0301.html.

[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.]
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Unable to login System
I tried to reset the password with the CD, didn't work. I tried the method mentioned here, boot into single user etc. When I used this method, the computer couldn't find the file, ie no such user root, or System Administrator, or my login name. I am currently using X from my second (slowwwww) drive and am trying to avoid doing a new install. Any help would be appreciated.

Jim

[Editor's note: Anyone seen anything like this? It appears that the Users data is either missing or damaged, based on James' description of the symptoms...but that's a semi-wild guess on my part...]
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Finder file rename bug identified System
Over in this MacNN forum thread, 'JoeyA' identified a rename bug in the Finder, which I've verified on my machine.

If you have a filename that is less than six characters in length and starts with a number, then you cannot modify the name to start with a zero. If you try in the Finder, the name will revert to the previous setting. The only workaround in the Finder is to lengthen the name to at least six characters and then add the zero (this can be one step). After the change is made, then you can re-shorten the name.

Alternatively, you can rename the file in the Terminal with (for example) "mv 3abcd 03abcd" and it will work fine.

Admittedly, this bug won't hit most of us, but if you're having trouble renaming a file with a leading zero, this appears to be the cause.
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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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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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Pop-up access to individual system prefs System
A tip published in December of 2000 pointed out that the System Preference panels are stored in /System/Library/Preferences. At that time, about all that was said about this was that you could double-click an individual pane, or drop the panes into the dock for fast access. For some reason, I failed to mention that you could also drop the entire folder into the dock for easy pop-up access to any individual preference panel, as seen here. I use this and the Volumes in Dock pop-up to make navigating to prefs and hard drives quite easy.

There are three ways to get the pop-up in your dock...

EASIEST: In the Finder, click on your OS X hard drive, then the System folder, then the Library folder, then the Preferences folder. Drag this to the dock. You now have a prefs pop-up, but it doesn't have a custom icon, and everything is named with ".Preference" at the end of it.

HARDER: As before, highlight the Preferences panel, but now cmd-opt-drag it to your home folder. Then highlight the System Prefs application in the Applications folder and copy the icon. Select your new shortcut and paste the icon. Drag the new shortcut to the dock. Now you have a custom icon, but you still have ".Preference" after each item.

HARDEST (but still easy): Create a new folder in your home directory (or wherever you have write access), and name it with the words you'd like to see when you roll over it in the dock. I used "SysPrefs". Open a new Finder window and navigate to the /System/Library/Preferences folder again. This time, select all the prefs files inside of the folder, and cmd-opt-drag them to your new SysPrefs folder. Edit each new shortcut name in SysPrefs to remove the ".Preference" ending, and copy/paste the System Prefs application icon as in the "Harder" method. Drag this folder to the dock, and you'll see the results pictured here.

Note that the custom icon will NOT survive restarts in 10.0.4; you'll have to re-drag the customized folder in each time you restart. Hopefully 10.1 will address this issue.
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New TerminalBasics version 2.0 posted System
Neal Parikh has updated his TerminalBasics PDF to version 2.0, and it now includes a fairly extensive section on pico and emacs, and other sections have been rewritten and expanded. It's linked in the box at left, or just click here if you're feeling lazy ;-).
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Enabling meta-key Emacs shortcuts in Cocoa apps System
Notice how Cocoa apps actually have emacs bindings? At least on the control-key anyway (try control-A in a text field in OmniWeb). How would you like to have those meta (option) key bindings available as well? It's simple enough to do. Just copy this file to your ~/Library/KeyBindings directory (make one if you don't have it).

For more info check out this page on gnufoo.org.

[Editor's note: You may wish to visit the page first to make sure of what you're downloading. And if you don't use Emacs and/or like their keyboard-editing shortcuts, then you probably won't be interested in this hack all that much!]

[Submitted by semios on Thu Jul 26.]
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Resolving generic folder issues System
[Editor: Submitted by 'nikon' last week]

If you ever get generic folders in the dock and filesystem, there are three things that normally cause this:
  1. Corrupted prefs.
  2. Corrupted NetInfo database.
  3. No privilieges on home folder.
For a solution to the generic folder problem, read the rest of the article.
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