Tag Archives: mac

A couple tips, troubleshooting a bug in Opera menus

31 Mar
Before I forget and in case I need it later.
A bug in Opera 11.61 I submitted in February [DSK-357462] (that apparently others with similar configurations can not reproduce) still occurs in Opera 11.62. So I looked at other possible causes for that peculiar bug.

The bug is in any menu of Opera, any drop-down list and any right-click menu. When the menus appear, selecting through them is slow at best, and doesn’t apparently work at worse. I can click several times and sometimes forever on an item in the list, it’s as though the state doesn’t change, or takes a while to actually select. I click outside of it to make it disappear and it just stays there until I click either outside of the Opera window, or sometimes (not always) until I hover the mouse over it and then click outside of it, inside the Opera window.

I needed to find when I last performed software updates. Karl gave me this tip:

cat /Library/Receipts/InstallHistory.plist

This is much more accurate than my intuition to search in the console (there is entirely too much info there, and this would take much longer) or looking in the Applications folder and find a common date for “Date Modified”.

This allowed me to check that a few days prior to my noticing the bug, I had performed the “Mac OS X Update Combined” (10.7.3). This was later followed by a “Mac OS X 10.7.3 Supplemental Update”.

Then I needed to assess whether my usage of Opera could be a factor. I typically run it several days or weeks without quitting it. I operate with 1 or more windows and the number of tabs I keep open is around 90. Opera is also my Mail User Agent, has been for years and as such its mail database indexes more than 133K messages (I archived once in 2004, but then I became lazy).

I performed two tests.
The first on my other computer which has the same OS as my work laptop and the same Opera version (the processors are different but I don’t suppose the test is invalid). My opera session on that other computer has an empty mail database and I ran it with one tab. Menus were reactive as expected and selecting through them was smooth and gratifying. I opened several other tabs and I had the same positive experience.
I performed the second test on my work laptop and started a new Opera session with one tab and then a few. I was happy to experience smooth and reactive menu action. Happy and frustrated at the same time.

So maybe there is something in the early February Mac OS 10.7.3 update that impacts Opera to some extent. And if Opera couldn’t reproduce the bug to fix it in 11.62, it may be useful to give them extra info on that bug.

Another good tip, via Dean, was to run in the Terminal:

sample Opera

And perform any menu action for it to dump an “Analysis of sampling Opera (pid xxxxx) every 1 millisecond” in a text file. The blitz sampling, which lasted a fraction of time, analysed me right-clicking on a link in a Web page and clicking on “copy link address”, and wrote 21K lines, hardly any of them making sense to me. I sent it to Opera to accompany my February bug report.

Then I went back to my habitual session, bookmarked for good as many tabs as I could and tried with a 28-tab session. Same frustratingly slow menu actions. Oh well. I need them all (I need more of them in fact) to work, they’re my work flow. I hope this is fixed some day.

Opendirectoryd crashes

26 Jan
I was unlucky enough two months ago to start to experience loss of my (computer) identity, occasionally at wake froms sleep. My computer terminal would show “I have no name!” in the prompt instead of my user name, would claim that I am 501, when it should say I’m koalie. Of course, ssh would not want me, telling me to go away as I don’t exist. So I rebooted a couple time and grumbled a lot.

Vlad suggested something was wrong with LDAP and my colleague Thomas diagnosed that opendirectoryd was crashing. All true.

It happened again tonight and Vlad found a way to restart opendirectoryd (in Terminal.app):

sudo launchctl
stop com.apple.opendirectoryd

Which restarts opendirectoryd.

I’m none the wiser on what triggers the opendirectoryd crash at wake from sleep. But I’m glad this works when the crash happens.

Update: The above doesn’t always work. Actually, it may have worked just once. Since then, I’ve experienced silent opendirectoryd crash, and no sudo worked, neither some kill -9. Only a restart can fix it.

First impressions on Mac OS X 10,7 Lion

28 Jul
I upgraded less than a week ago.

I don’t remember how long it took to download because I was working at the same time. Also, the Mac App Store put the download in the dock and only showed a little progress bar and no information such as total size, completed download, estimated time.

When the download was done, it took me 1h10 to install the new system (an installation window appeared, saying installation would take about 33 minutes, which took slightly more than 40, and then a new window appeared, similar to the first one, indicating installation would take about 20 minutes, which took 30).

And then, everything looked the same. The obvious difference was that the scroll bar of some windows appears at launch and disappears, the bar revealed only when the window is scrolled. At the top right corner of some windows, there is the new icon for “full screen”, in case I want my screen real estate consumed by just this one window. Windows are now resize-able by each side and corner (woohoo!). Back in 2004 when I used a mac for the first time I was looking for that feature.

Mission control is the new exposé and virtual screens. It’s nicely done. The layout in exposé view is pretty (that is, every window of every program minified and stacked behind the program’s icon) and useful: the icon of the program in the foreground of each stack, and then the window(s) opened belonging to that program are stacked. If I put the mouse pointer on a window and click space, I remain in the exposé view but the window maximises and the effect is similar to quick look. Active corners remain active. I had set them up for a particular Exposé action, and I keep using them as before.

The biggest change is natural scrolling on the touchpad. They’ve unified scrolling on Apple devices, bringing the iPhone and iPad scrolling to the touchpad. I’m still not used to it! As though my brain is cabled to adapt my scrolling direction based on the device. Anyway. When I want to read down a document, I’ve got to pull it (scroll up), and when I want to read up a document, I’ve got to push it (scroll down). In the systems preferences, one can choose old-skool scrolling.

I didn’t notice any improvement in system memory, cpu and battery consumption; it seems no better and no worse than OS X 10.6.

I gave Mail.app a try for one full day. I set it up with IMAP with the same config I have on my iPhone. It didn’t work for me, I’m too used to Opera mail, which I resumed using the next day.

iCal presented me with one disappointment. I don’t mind their aesthetic choice of faux-leather and torn paper line below the leather pad, I really miss the left panel that showed the calendars and allowed me to display as many months I could fit in that space. This was convenient to quickly check, uncheck, select + refresh given calendars, and the small months view was convenient when planning, next to the main window in which I showed the current week. They added a year view which is pretty (small months featuring my calendar colours and the more stuff I have on a given day, the darker the colour), but doesn’t make up for the loss of the left panel. The calendars I created or I’m subscribed to appear in some popup window when I click “Calendars” at the top left of the iCal window and stays on while I mouse-over, click a cal, refresh, etc, until I click somewhere else.

I almost forgot to install XCode! But I had to because I you run stuff like CVS or make. This took me ages and I even feared it would never complete. The Mac App Store let me download XCode (it used to be, I think, on one of the installation DVDs), put the dl in progress in the dock, and when it was done, I was shown Launchpad. It looks like my iPad welcome screen, with icons of all my apps. I clicked on install XCode, entered my system password and waited, waited. Waited. Something went wrong, it was stuck, I had to force quit the installation, do it again, and wait, wait. I think it took more than a couple hours (by that time, I was busy doing other stuff, like cooking, entertaining guests, eating, so it may have just taken 2 hours).

Some apps like TextEdit have active window bars; if I click on the document title on that bar I see light grey text, for example “ – Edited” and if I mouse over, I see an arrow. Click the arrow to lock the file, duplicate the file, revert to last opened version and browse all versions. It might make some use of a my local CVS moot.

Amaya works fine. Quicksilver too.

That’s all folks.

The mds process was too greedy

15 Feb

Every now and then when my mac is slow, I take a peek in the Activity Monitor, to find out what is the culprit. Today I didn’t find any usual suspect and the only odd bit was the process mds. While it was using barely 10% of the CPU, the memory it used was outrageous. I remember having only 1MB free memory left, and that mds was using 14GB of the virtual memory (this figure stuck, while the real memory one didn’t).

I had learnt that mds is in use for Spotlight indexing. I have no use for Spotlight indexing, because I use other tools or tricks. So I searched for the way to disable Spotlight and did it in the Terminal:

sudo mdutil -a -i off
Password:
/:
 	Indexing disabled.

All of a sudden the process mds jumped from using 14GB of virtual memory to 77MB of virtual memory, whee! And the system memory, of which 1MB was free, reached the comfortable level of 1.7GB, re-whee!

If I ever need Spotlight, the command above is reversed by using “on”.

You’re welcome!

Update of the day after:
It turns out I need that Spotlight indexing after all, if only to search in iCal. <sigh />
mds is on again! until it gets too greedy, that is.

sudo mdutil -a -i on
Password:
/:
 	Indexing enabled.