Looking up Mac specs..

Did I mention I love TextExpander? Yeah.. so, to make a long story short: clients ask me questions about their computers, upgrades, lifespans, etc. I don’t normally remember all the details of their Macs so I get them to send me the Serial Number (Open the Apple menu, click About This Mac and it should be right there.)

Once you have it you can go by Apple’s support site and look it up… but that takes too long.

Make a new TextExpander snippet with Applescript as the content type:
property theURL : ""
set theURL to "http://support.apple.com/specs/#" & (the clipboard)
do shell script "open " & theURL

Then you just copy the serial number, and anywhere you can type use !specs to invoke it and up pops open Apple spec page a few seconds later.

1Password4 URL trick

There was a trick mentioned at our last ByMUG meeting to make using 1Password 4 on your iOS device a little easier.

There are several ways you can modify a URL to make it open directly in 1Password:

onepassword4://search/<search term> will open the app in the search mode searching for the <search term>. For example: onepassword4://search/icloud will bring up all your saved items with iCloud in them.

Add ‘op’ to any URL in your mobile browser before the http:// or https:// to have the link open in the 1Password browser. Makes it easy to switch over and login…

If you are a developer and want to add 1P support to your app the details, and code, are available in an AgileBits Blog post.

Using Adobe Acrobat to view PDF’s in Safari 5.1.x and Mac OS X 10.6.8

Safari no longer displays PDF files.. and hasn’t done so on my machine for months. It does not bother me much, as I prefer to download them anyway, by clicking in the URL bar and then holding option and then hitting return, which downloads them.

But a client called and complained that they needed to be able to fill in online pdf forms, and when they clicked the link all they got was a black screen, so I went and figured it out:

On Mac OS X 10.6.8 with up to date versions of Safari, you need to make sure that Safari is running in 64 bit mode for the Acrobat reader plugin to work.

To get it to do so, quit Safari, go to it in your applications folder, right click on Safari and Get Info. Empty the checkbox that says “Open in 32 bit mode”. Launch Safari, and viewing PDF’s in Safari with Acrobat Reader will now work.

You can also run into problems if you have Acrobat Reader and Acrobat Pro installed, any updates to the Pro version may mess up your browser plugins. To fix this you need to delete the plugins and reinstall Acrobat Reader.

The AdobePDFViewer plug-in is used to display PDF files in Safari using Acrobat and Reader. This plug-in is installed as part of the Acrobat X or Reader X installation. The location of this plug-in is:

Macintosh HD/Library/Internet Plug-ins/AdobePDFViewer.plugin

Details are from Adobe’s Help page: Troubleshoot Safari Plug-in

To remove the plugin: Quit Safari, then go and delete the plugin. Yes there’s a second one, called AdobePDFViewerNPAPI.plugin, you can ignore it.

Then reinstall the latest version of Acrobat reader. You can find various installers on Adobe’s Acrobat Reader Download Page.

I should also mention: if you have need to use Acrobat Reader to view PDF’s in Safari and would prefer to use the built in viewer, just go and delete both the plugins mentioned above and then restart Safari.

How to mount the Windows partition of a hybrid DVD

A client of mine has an older Lenovo laptop with a defective DVD drive. He’s saving for a MacBook Air rather than spend money fixing it! I downloaded the installer for his new Fujitsu ScanSnap so he could get up and running right away. But the DVD has goodies that you can not download, so I offered to bring it back home and copy the installers to a USB stick. When I put the DVD in I only get the Mac partition. So here’s how I worked around it:

You need to have a mount point for the Windows partition, on the Mac one gets created in /Volumes when you mount something, we need to make one, so pop open your Terminal and do:

mkdir /Volumes/windows

This creates a directory named “windows”. You can name it whatever you want.

Now you need to find the device name of the DVD:

diskutil list

and, since the DVD is in the drive, you’ll see it come up as a device, and some partitions. In my case it was:

0: Apple_partition_scheme *3.3 GB disk1
1: Apple_partition_map 17.9 KB disk1s1
2: Apple_HFS ScanSnap 943.7 MB disk1s2

To mount the Windows side of the CD:

sudo mount -t cd9660 -r /dev/disk1 /Volumes/windows

sudo to prove we are an admin (SuperUser DO), and the mount command with options to mount 9660 format, the device and the path to mount it at.

It showed up as expected, and then I copied the installers I needed. You can try dismounting it in the Finder, but that will not work, you need to unmount it like this:

sudo umount /Volumes/windows

Note that it is umount not un-mount.

Then go and delete the directory, in the Finder or on the command line:

rmdir /Volumes/windows

After that, you can eject the CD normally, or if you tried from the Finder and can no longer see it, do it from the command line:

diskutil eject /dev/disk1

No I did not figure this all out on my own, I used an article from the codeweavers support wiki. Thanks!

The perils of VOIP and cluelessness!

OK, so it’s really not VOIP’s fault.. here’s my clueless CSR story of the day:

My mom called to let me know that everything was fine, and that they would be offline until they come back from their home-away-from-home in Florida. What happened? Well, it turns out that when your phone is VOIP and you call Comcast (their local cableco) and tell them to disable the internet in a week, they just hear “disconnect”. The call dropped about 15 seconds later.

After a day of calling on their cell phone and trying to get the service reinstated *for just one week*, and not getting anywhere they gave up.

fun, eh?

Cisco Hardware emulator

dynamips is an emulator of various Cisco platforms, that is licensed under GNU GPL, and runs under Windows, Linux, Solaris, MacOS, etc.

Dynamips started off as a MIPS emulator for Cisco 7200, and gradually ended up capable of emulating Cisco 7200 family, Cisco 3600 family, 2600 family (with some exceptions), and Cisco 3725 and 3745. Since it is a hardware emulator, it is bug for bug compatible with the real iron, and IOS on it would have the same bugs as on the physical hardware. Since it supports hypervisor mode, it is possible to run more then one router emulation on a single system, all connected through virtual network. Latest release candidates support packet capture on the virtual interfaces between the routers.

Performance of the emulator is not that great (1 or 2K packers per second, compared to 100s of kpps that actual hardware supports), but it is useful in testing configurations, preparing for Cisco certifications, debugging IOS, etc. I found it while reading up on IOS security, but there are people in both Cisco TAC and preparing/passing CCIE exams, that indicated in 7200emu formus that they use dynamips.

Current PC with a Gig or two of RAM can support a dozen or so router instances.

Based on the information from the developer, we should not expect switch emulation support in the forseeable future, since switches use custom ASICs, so while the main CPUs (MIPS or PPC) that the switches use, are supported, it is very tricky to emulate the power on self-tests of the ASICs (sending packets over loopback, etc), that switches attempt before declaring themselves functional. However 7200 is a bitchin’ platform for pretty much anything, capable of running latest and greatest IOS.

Blog of the author, where newest release candidates of the software are announced. Best place to check to see what bugs got fixed, and what line cards got supported in the latest release.

Forums/Discussion Board for c7200emu, that is moderated by the software’s author.

c7200emu – dynamips project page, detailing more or less up to date list of supported platforms.

Dynagen a dynamips configuration front-end, that allows one easily configure and manage dynamips instances. Currently considered a must have companion to dynamips.

dynamips TODO list, that allowes you to see what the developer is thinking about improving.

P.S. If you lack elf.h, try libelf. In order to build it, you might need GNU sed


MSI P4N SLI motherboard has a build in nVidea nForce 04 NIC. OpenSolaris doesn’t have driver for it, however a driver can be downloaded from Masayuki Murayama’s Free NIC drivers for Solaris page (Drivers there are SPARC/x86 capable, one might need a functional 64 bit compiler to recompile them for their platform).

His driver will work out of the box, as long as the PCI device ID matches the ones in adddrv.sh script. To verify that, one might need to run /usr/X11/bin/scanpci -v and verify that the PCI id matches. In my case, PCI ID was pci10d3,38, which was not in the adddrv.sh script, however is in fact an nForce4 ethernet controller.
After I’ve added the ID in the script, driver worked right away.

root@dara:/[07:49 PM]# cd ; /usr/X11/bin/scanpci -v
pci bus 0x0000 cardnum 0x0e function 0x00: vendor 0x10de device 0x0038
 nVidia Corporation MCP04 Ethernet Controller
 CardVendor 0x3462 card 0x7160 (Card unknown)
  STATUS    0x00a0  COMMAND 0x0007
  CLASS     0x06 0x80 0x00  REVISION 0xa2
  BIST      0x00  HEADER 0x00  LATENCY 0x00  CACHE 0x00
  BASE0     0xfe9fc000  addr 0xfe9fc000  MEM
  BASE1     0x0000c481  addr 0x0000c480  I/O
  MAX_LAT   0x14  MIN_GNT 0x01  INT_PIN 0x01  INT_LINE 0x05
  BYTE_0    0x62  BYTE_1  0x34  BYTE_2  0x60  BYTE_3  0x71

root@dara:/[07:50 PM]# modinfo | grep nfo
 Id Loadaddr   Size Info Rev Module Name
 44 feabbbc4   1e50  15   1  mntfs (mount information file system)
141 febc78d4   4768  88   1  devinfo (DEVINFO Driver 1.73)
219 f946c000   fc40 207   1  nfo (nVIDIA nForce nic driver v1.1.2)
root@dara:/[07:50 PM]# dmesg | grep -v UltraDMA

Sat Nov 25 19:50:28 EST 2006
Nov 25 19:38:58 dara.NotBSD.org nfo: [ID 306776 kern.info] nfo0: doesn't have pci power management capability
Nov 25 19:38:58 dara.NotBSD.org nfo: [ID 130221 kern.info] nfo0: nForce mac type 11 (MCP04) (vid: 0x10de, did: 0x0038, revid: 0xa2)
Nov 25 19:38:58 dara.NotBSD.org nfo: [ID 451511 kern.info] nfo0: MII PHY (0x01410cc2) found at 1
Nov 25 19:38:58 dara.NotBSD.org nfo: [ID 426109 kern.info] nfo0: PHY control:0, status:7949<100_BASEX_FD,100_BASEX,10_BASE_FD,10_BASE,XSTATUS,MFPRMBLSUPR,CANAUTONEG,EXTENDED>, advert:de1, lpar:0
Nov 25 19:38:58 dara.NotBSD.org nfo: [ID 119377 kern.info] nfo0: xstatus:3000<1000BASET_FD,1000BASET>
Nov 25 19:38:58 dara.NotBSD.org nfo: [ID 716252 kern.info] nfo0: resetting PHY
Nov 25 19:38:58 dara.NotBSD.org gld: [ID 944156 kern.info] nfo0: nVIDIA nForce nic driver v1.1.2: type "ether" mac address 00:13:d3:5f:53:2f
Nov 25 19:38:58 dara.NotBSD.org npe: [ID 236367 kern.notice] PCI Express-device: pci1462,7160@e, nfo0
Nov 25 19:38:58 dara.NotBSD.org genunix: [ID 936769 kern.notice] nfo0 is /pci@0,0/pci1462,7160@e
Nov 25 19:38:58 dara.NotBSD.org unix: [ID 954099 kern.info] NOTICE: IRQ21 is being shared by drivers with different interrupt levels.
Nov 25 19:38:58 dara.NotBSD.org This may result in reduced system performance.
Nov 25 19:38:58 dara.NotBSD.org last message repeated 1 time
Nov 25 19:38:58 dara.NotBSD.org last message repeated 1 time
Nov 25 19:38:59 dara.NotBSD.org nfo: [ID 831844 kern.info] nfo0: auto-negotiation started
Nov 25 19:39:04 dara.NotBSD.org nfo: [ID 503627 kern.warning] WARNING: nfo0: auto-negotiation failed: timeout
root@dara:/[07:50 PM]# 

Power consumption and hard drives

Some numbers about power consumption of hard drives….

Maxtor DiamondMax 10 6L300R0, 7200 RPM, 300 gig (279.48GB formatted) ATA hard drive has the following power consumption: +5V 740 mA, +12V 1500 mA.

Seagate Barracuda ST3300831A, 7200 RPM, 300 gig (279.45GB formatted) ATA hard drive has the following power consumption: +5V 460 mA, +12V 560 mA.

Seagate tech spec sheet claims that their ‘cudas also take 2.8 amps of +12V to spin up. Maxtor doesn’t have a useful spec sheet for their product.

Observations: Seagate has a 5 year warranty on their drives. Lower power consumption means lower power dissipation, and thus cooler system. Lower power consumption means that you can get away with smaller power supply (or more drives in a system), and thus reduce your power consumption costs (that are more of an issue in a 24/7 environment) and air conditioning/cooling costs.

Conclusions: One should spec hard drives not only from the point of view of costs (WD is cheap but in my experience dies like a butterfly under a cold spell), but from the point of view of warranty and power consumption. Sadly vendors do not provide power consumtion information in their spec sheets, so the only way to find it out is by going to a computer store, asking to look at an OEM drive, and reading off the numbers.

Merging Keychains?

Does anyone know how to merge multiple Keychains in Mac OS X?

I know I can copy items from one keychain to another, but that involves authenticating twice.

I tried going in and adding those other keychains to be part of my list, but they don’t stay. Frustrating.

Why am I doing this? I replaced my computer, and was not able to transfer my account at setup time, so I ended up with some old keychains that got copied over.

Suggestions, comments, rants?

All are welcome!