El Capitan

El Capitan with X Logo

The time has come..it would seem. Is it easy? It all depends. It wasn’t seamless but we are working again, sort of. Also it seems Apple consider /var to be a system directory and not for use by user installed code but I have only found one program (written by me) impacted, which I initially assumed was based on a breach of standards, I use /var, but on closer inspection, also fails because the Xcode download/install fails.  Here are my notes on the OS install, /var and Xcode. Continue reading “El Capitan”

Mac Appstore won’t upgrade

I hit the problem with my Mac Book Mavericks build that the App Store wouldn’t run an Xcode Upgrade. It offers me the terms and conditions but there’s no continue button. This thread on the Mac support forums offers a very complex diagnostic process or proposes that you download a free application to ‘blow it through’. Having done this, ask for the Xcode upgrade using the App Store. It seems that it sets an environment variable or writes a cookie so that it knows you’ve signed in and agreed the new ToS and doesn’t offer the revised terms and conditions when you press the update button. Worked for me.

Job Control

It seems that Mac have begun to decrement cron and recommend the use of launchd for job control.

I have found the following links to help me write the job control parameter file.


Log Rotate and *NIX

This has changed since my days at Pyramid. There has been quite a lot of thinking and engineering about dealing with daemon logs. The places to look are via the syslogd, newsyslog project, you can see a the newsyslog man pages and using the keyword “rotate log”. The idea is that logs are rotated, although the names are not and that old logs are deleted. So the newest is called mypackage or mypackage.0 and the older logs increment the counter. Logs are generally kept in /var/log or /var/log/package_name and not in the package or product install tree. What a nob? There is a command ‘logrotate’; it can be installed using macports. It needs a a configuration file. Continue reading “Log Rotate and *NIX”

Scripting on the Mac

It’s UNIX, how hard can it be? I want to run some Macports uodate scripts regularly. To me the obvious programming language is bash, but I got excited and decided I want to notify that the script had run, and run OK.

There are two schemes, Growl and OSX Notification system. These both have language bindings.

See also the wikipedia Growl page and the Growl home page

So most roads lead to Applescript, and here is the Apple developer resource, and here is the man osascript page which allows applescript calls from the command line, and hence from within a script. I have bookmarked the applescript manual.

The shell call osascript takes a program file argument.




a.k.a. MacOS X.9

I said in my article on upgrading MacOS that this was easy to do, it was, but the resultant performance rendered it unusable. This article discusses what I did to resolve this. Concluding that another 4Gb of RAM is all it needs.

Re-install in situ

As at the moment, the best writeup that I’ve found of how to resolve it is here, on Apple’s support forums, a correspondent called IOWA documents four steps on how to resolve it, although he doesn’t explain well why these steps help.

I have reset the NVRAM, reset the System Management Controller and then run a Safe Boot, it seems a bit better now but I need to check if an OS reinstall is required.

Yup, it needs the reinstall. Here’s IOWA’s reference at Apple’s Site “OS X Mavericks: Reinstall OS X” . I have BT Infinity so didn’t take as long as I expected, better but not brilliant. What causes this?

What’s next?

Activity Monitor points me at ‘kernel_tasks”, which points me at  etrecheck, which points me at the startup functions; I also find some MacKeeper detritus, which I delete, and Java which I update.

Dross & Dreck

Performance remains shite. I use Crucial and buy some memory, upgrade from 4Gb to 8Gb. So much better!


On the article My 1st Apple Mac, I identified a fault such that BT consumer customers could not use iMail s a mail composer. Since then I have changed my smtp server from BT to 1and1; I wanted a hosted single ‘sent’ folder and it is now immaterial who my connecting ISP is. I did not test if imail was working after this. I have upgraded from Leopard to Mavericks and tested imail as part of my performance remediation testing and it seems to be working as a reader, need to reconfigure the smtp server and retest.

Cleaning out the User Library

I have installed CCleaner, it’s a quick way of cleaning out various caches, but doesn’t solve the ~/Library problem. The first piece of advice is to get a visualiser, I have Disk Inventory X, but the Library folders are invisible in Finder, this needs to be changed. Most advice seems to be aimed at reducing what’s stored on the disk, perhaps the answer is to replace the disk with an SSD is this possible. It would benefit from more RAM.


One correspondent in the thread recommends a complete re-install using the instructions, here. Mactrast says,

Personally, I always make a habit of starting fresh whenever I install a major new version of OS X. It’s the best way to ensure you have the cleanest, smoothest experience on your Mac.

Great if the reason you have a laptop is to run the Operating Systems; oh wait, with Apple it is!


The technology changed at Mountain Lion. I had forgotton my password on the one user that I had encrrypted and using the master to change it still wouldn’t permit the one user I had encrypted to login, so I blew it away. Filevault 2 works on the whole disk not just the home directory. I think I had better take some backups first, but again it shows the wisdom of the advice above in starting from scratch.

Here are three links,

Reading the Wikipedia page documents the improvement in the encryption technology but also suggest a significant performance cost for older CPUs. I think I may have a problem. I have an Intel Core Duo. This article at osxdaily also suggests that I should consider an SSD if going here. Perhaps I should consider Truecrypt instead?

Do I need to upgrade the RAM, get an SSD and buy another external drive? It all seems a bit expensive for web browsing?

User Account Avatars

Now if we want to use pictures other than those  distributed by Apple, we need to create .tif files, I used Image Magic, and used macports to install it; they need to be located in /Library/User\ Pictures. I created a ./Local to hold my pictures.

Upgrading MacOS X

And on to 10.9

There was a rumour that it was best to stop at 10.8, Mountain Lion but by the time I got round to it htis wasn’t an option. The Appstore only permitted an upgrade to Mavericks; is this a cat?  The Appstore upgrade works fine.

And now onto Macports which is a pain, and I document on my Macports page.

Filevault is a constraint as well. You’ll need a better answer than I used if any of your pre 10.8 users had Filevault encrypted home directories.

Continue reading “Upgrading MacOS X”

Mac OS, about upgrades

I need to upgrade the Mac. The O/S version is getting a bit long in the tooth. I have V10.5, Leopard, I need to get to 10.6 Snow Leopard. Here are my notes and links.


This article, How to upgrade from Leopard to Snow Leopard makes it seem easy, and here’s the companion article about preparing for the upgrade.

Snow Leopard is the version with the distributed upgrader, and so Snow Leopard has to be bought and installed from DVD.

Here is a web version of the man page.

Obviously, I need to back up the hard disk, and have used Time Machine. I am a bit worried since I do not know how to recover stuff using the UNIX utilities from a Time Machine Archive.

Legacy apps

The biggest augmentation I have on the Mac is macports, I still have Porticus installed but have pretty much given up on it and use the command line. The Porticus site states it is not 10.7 or Macports 2.0 compliant and points at Pallet, an ‘official’ GUI. The macports site has a Guide.

I know that I have used macports, port command to update WINE, and have used WINE to install NWN.

I have upgraded macports and it’s managed objects

$ port -v selfupdate ; port -v upgrade



This page has been written in four parts. It was originally created in April 2011 and driven by my desire to install WINE. It was significantly added to in Oct 2013 when I upgraded to MacOS X 10.6, Snow Leopard. It was at this point that I transferred from Porticus to Pallet. In Dec 2013, I documented the Macports runes for MacOS 10.9 which, of course, breaks Pallet. I have by now written a script to keep my Macports up to date. In June 2014, I returned to WINE and used Macports to install Wineskin and uninstall WINE. This page was further updated in April 2016 as I moved forward from Yosemite to El Capitan. Continue reading “Macports”