giovedì 27 dicembre 2007

Mac OS X (Tiger) and VPN

This article applies to the latest update of Mac OS X Tiger, 10.4.11. I cannot tell, if you can find the option described here, in a previous version of the operating system.

In Mac OS X you can create VPN client connections by the application Internet Connect, under the Application folder.

The procedure is straightforward, but at the end there is only one annoying issue.
When you decide to start up your new VPN connection to connect to the remote LAN it is impossible to use your gateway to continue to surf the web or download e-mails until you close the VPN.
In the best scenario you end up using the gateway of the remote LAN in the worst one you are limited to access only machines and devices of the remote LAN.

The solution is not too far. Select the menu "Connect" and then Option from the Internet Connect app.
Uncheck "Send all traffic over vpn connection" and confirm your choice.
This is a global option, that applies to every VPN connection you may have in your list.

martedì 11 dicembre 2007

Mac OS X and the file hosts

Mac OS X stores the file hosts in /private/etc directory.
hosts is useful when there is no DNS server on the LAN and you want to reference a computer by name instead of its IP address.
In the majority of the Unix systems and Windows as well, editing the hosts file is sufficient to achieve the goal.
In Mac OS X it is also necessary to make changes at the local NetInfo database.

Here's how.

Mac OS X: How to Add Hosts to Local hosts File

mercoledì 17 ottobre 2007

Starting Mac OS X in safe mode

Booting up Mac OS X in safe mode can solve some troubleshooting issues.

Beginning with Mac OS X version 10.2 and later it is possible to start the operating system in a special mode called "Safe Boot".
To do so you must press the shift key, just after switching on your Mac and holding it down until you see the spinning gear under the gray apple.

Find out what maintenance procedures are run, reading this Apple knowledge base article.

mercoledì 3 ottobre 2007

Windows XP desktop disappeared

What if one day you turn on your PC and instead of displaying the desktop full of icons you'll just see the wallpaper.
And worse, even rebooting in safe mode has the same result.

Before preparing to reinstall the operating system you can try this.

Bring up task manager pressing Ctrl-Alt-Del. Choose "New task" from the File menu.
Type regedit in the run box and search for the following registry key.

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Image File Execution.options

There should be two subkeys. One named explorer.exe and the other iexplore.exe.
Delete both keys, close the Registry editor and restart the computer.

lunedì 17 settembre 2007

Resource Fork, how to get rid of it

***** WARNING *****

Use the informations of this post at your own risk
You can loose data if you don't know what you are doing

How do you know if one file has associated resource fork with it.

It's fairly simple.
Open up the Terminal application. Change the directory to the one the file is located and type this command

ls -la filename/rsrc

If the file "filename" has resource you'll see an output like this one

-rw-r--r-- 1 yourusername yourusername 57847 Jan 1 2004 filename/rsrc

In this case the resource fork size is 57847 bytes long.

If the file has no resource fork at all, the file size should be 0 (zero).

What about get rid of this resource information

Create an empty file

touch emptyf

and copy it over the resource

cp emptyf filename/rsrc

Check the result issuing the ls command again

ls -la filename/rsrc

This time the output should look like this

-rw-r--r-- 1 yourusername yourusername 0 Sep 17 10:48 filename/rsrc

To know more about the macintosh file system read these articles



giovedì 17 maggio 2007

Getting the username password logon panel

In system preferences under account, login option, there are three choices regarding the way Mac OS X displays the logon panel to the user at the end of the startup process.

- Automatic logon as
- Users list
- Name and password

Generally the User list is the preferred picking because of the picture.
There are a sequence of keys that can momentarily change this behaviour from User list to Name and password.

Press the 'esc' key. The password box disappears.

Press the first letter of a user name in the list. The foreground around the picture and the name become darker.

Press alt(option)+shift+enter(return)

and in a matter of a second the panel changes its appearance, asking you to type in the user name and your password.

domenica 29 aprile 2007

Can't install Mac OS onto your Macintosh?

Every Macintosh computer comes with its own version of the operating system out of the box.

Some people, for any reason, want to have different versions of the Mac OS on the same computer.

This is possible only if you install a later version of the OS.

For example. Your Mac came with Mac OS X (Panther) 10.3.7.
Well, on that Mac you can neither install Mac OS X 10.3.6 nor any previous versions.
But, you can install any version of Mac OS X that came out after 10.3.7 without any trouble.

See this technical document for reference.

lunedì 9 aprile 2007

Diacritical mark on Italian Mac keyboard layout

Every keyboard layout contains just a bunch of letters pertaining to the corresponding alphabet that a particular keyboard was made for.

For example, on the Macintosh Italian keyboard there are the most used accented letters in Italian words such as à, è, é, ì, ò, ù.
But from time to time it is necessary to use some other letters such as the Germanic ü.
Without switching the keyboard layout in System Preferences panel, is easy to obtain those letters, using dead keys.

A dead key produces no output when it is pressed, but modifies the output of the next key pressed after it.

Here you can see how is simple to get the most used character in Western country alphabets.

The option key is the key labelled with "alt". These key combinations are intended for Italian keyboard only.

´ option-8 (á, é, í, ó, ú)
` option-9 (à, è, ì, ò, ù)
¨ option-u (ä, ë, ï, ö, ü, ÿ)
^ option-^ (â, ê, î, ô, û)
~ option-n (ã, õ, ñ)

which is then followed by the letter the accent is intended for.
To obtain ñ press option plus the n key, release them, then press the n key again. In Mac OS X, pressing one of these key combinations creates the accent and hi-lights it, then produces the finalized character when a supported character is pressed, otherwise it leaves the accent remaining.

See Wikipedia for an exhaustive explanation.

domenica 8 aprile 2007

Error authenticating Tiger clients against SMB server

After upgrading a PowerMac from Mac OS X Jaguar to Mac OS X Tiger, this client couldn't access a remote folder hosted on a Sun server running Samba services.

I did not have access at the Sun server so I needed a solution for the client and fortunately I found it browsing the web.

The problem is that the Sun server expected the password from the client in clear text.

The following is a link to Apple knowledge base about this issue.