Archive for August, 2009

Favorite Quotes 5

“Any computer is fast enough, as long as it can get started early enough to finish what you want at the moment you realize you want it.”  – Walt Sellers

(Heh,  OK,  maybe it is a conflict of interest to quote myself.  But I do use this statement that I made up when I hear people complain about the speed of their chosen computer.)


Mysterious iPhone status bar icon?

Last night I was attending the iPhone SIG of the Florida Macintosh Users Group (FLMUG).

One of the members was asking about an icon in his status bar he couldn’t identify.  It looked like a landline telephone’s receiver with a keyboard underneath.  We scratched our heads for a minute until Phil said “wait, that’s gotta be the TTY setting”.  He quickly looked in Settings under “Phone” and yes, the TTY setting was on.  The icon went away when the setting was turned off.

Kudos to Phil for deducing the answer based on the “phone” and “keyboard” clues.

So today, I had to go lookup the other icons which may be displayed, just in case. 🙂  They are listed by Apple as “status icons” here:


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iPhone App Approval Took 12 Days

I got my first iPhone app,  ChronoGami, approved for download on the App Store.  And, the approval process did take 12 days from submission to approval.

There’s a lot more to the story than that of course.  I have worked on apps for other people that have shipped out through the App Store before ChronoGami.  But I began work on ChronoGami before I worked on those, so I still think of it as my first app.  I use it myself to track time on various bits of work and my life.   (I’ve got several upgrades to deliver when I finish testing already.)  I intend to be using ChronoGami exclusively for this in the near future. Adjusting to the iPhone keyboard still proves to be a challenge for note-taking.

An ironic part of the story that makes me laugh:  I checked the status of ChronoGami just before leaving for an interview to talk about possible Mac and iPhone work.  Late in the interview, during a break, I got online and checked again.  It had been approved!  Now I had one more point to talk about in the rest of the interview.  🙂

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Mac OS X Server 10.5.8 Problem

Here’s an interesting problem.  It makes you kind of wonder how many different things you need to test for when working on software.

Today I got a call about an XServe having problems serving files.  People had been getting errors that said no more connections could be made to the file server.  Well that didn’t make sense.  The server had an unlimited client license.  But a quick check showed that this was the error being received and that 10 clients were currently connected.

Eventually, it occurred to me that 10 clients was the limit for developer or demo licenses (set by the serial number)  so I went to check the number to see if something had gone wrong.  Selecting the server itself in the list on the left, then “Overview” from the toolbar, I see red text that says “Invalid Serial Number“. Selecting the “Settings” icon in the toolbar, then the “General” tab that appears (because I already know where to look for the serial number), I see:  “Invalid Serial Number: duplicate serial number.

Now my  favorite tool, Google, does well for me now that I know what to ask for. I quickly find this discussion on an Apple forum about this very problem. It reveals that the problem occurs on Mac OS X Servers that have more than one connection to the network on the same subnet, like this one.

Since the double-network setup was to get more network performance for FileMaker and file services, its good to note that the discussion points out Apple articles on suggested methods for combining ethernet ports and link aggregation. I haven’t had time to fully figure out how these suggestions will work with off-the shelf switches, so it looks like I’ll have another entry soon.

So, open suggestion to Apple, Inc:  It would be nice to have a major error like an invalidated serial number presented to the user or admin a bit more prominently.  Perhaps an automatic email about such a change in status, or a notification from the Server Admin application?

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Getting to Build Options in XCode for iPhone Projects

Choose one of the "Base SDK" members.

Choose one of the "Base SDK" members from the "Overview" popup in the project window.

Been frustrated with getting the proper compiler options turned on and off for iPhone projects because they don’t show up in the build settings?  Me Too.

Many thanks to Rick Maddy for posting the answer to this on so I can finally access the “GCC 4.0 – Code Generation” and “GCC 4.0 – Language” sections correctly.

To see these entries in the settings window,  you must first go to the “Overview” popup menu in the project window and select one of the entries that correspond to the “Base SDK” as specified in the build settings.  If your project’s “Base SDK” (wording used by XCode 3.1.3) is a device, you must select one of the device entries.

Note that for XCode version 3.1.2.  this was referred to as  “(Project Setting)”.  If later or previous versions have different wording, please let me know and I’ll update this.

If any other entry from the popup’s “Active SDK” section is chosen, you will not see these through either method of accessing the build options.   This is typically my problem as the selection spends most of the time on a “Simulator” setting during development.

With another entry, you may see some flags show in the “User Defined” section at the bottom of the build options.  You can still set options with these (as I did before finding out this information.)

The "Base SDK" project setting.

The "Base SDK" project setting.

This is just what I needed to address problems like:

“error: ‘for’ loop initial declaration used outside C99 mode”

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FileMaker Freezes or Locks Up While Saving Data to Excel

I debated titling this entry “Its all in how you ask”.   When I was asked to help, one computer was failing to export a mere 140 records to an Excel spreadsheet.   There was nothing complicated about this, but it failed.

I was told it worked until recently, but failed for the last few days.  It would just start spinning the Mac beachball and that was it.  One time it eventually crashed.   However, it worked fine on another Mac.

After looking at the crash log and watching the steps to reproduce the error, and reproduce it again in a new Mac account, I went to check Google for any reports of the same problem.  I searched for something like “FileMaker Excel lock-up”. None of the entries in the first two or three pages seemed to be related to this.  After a few minutes, I tried Google again, but used “freeze” instead of “lock-up”.

BINGO!   One of the first entries is from   It details the need to upgrade 8.5 to 8.5v2 if used on Mac OS X 10.5.

ARGH! The twist on this is that experimenting shows that I would have found it by referral if I had entered “FileMaker 8.5 Excel lock-up”.

So,  its all in how you word your search query.   ie  Its all in how you ask.     Now all we need is a pre-defined language of some kind for reporting these problems so its easier to find the report we want.

Oh,  and if me searching for “lock-up” instead of “lockup” seems odd,  remember that in Google search terms,  a hypen has special meaning.  Its a wild-card for space, hyphen or no-space, so “lock-up”  will match “lockup”  or “lock up”  or “lock-up” .    I always search for Mac-OS-X  so it can match all the variations of MacOSX and MacOS X and Mac OS X, etc.


FileMaker Server Won’t Start

Another day, another story.  This time I got a call about a FileMaker Server on a PowerMac G5 that won’t restart after a power failure.

While a lot of thoughts leap to mind about what the problem might be, none of them were behind this.  All the usual stuff of fixing permissions and checking the Console application for messages turned up nothing.  The FileMaker Admin Console let me login, then told me that the server is not available and all I can look at is the overview.  Attempts to start the server in the console failed.  Surprisingly, the attempts just did nothing.  No error message, no change in status, nothing at all happened. Read the rest of this entry »

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I told XCode to forget it, but it can’t

Another XCode bug brought to light thanks to the product “Little Snitch” (mentioned in my phone-home post),  I sometimes see a notice that XCode is trying to connect to the SSH port on an IP address I no longer use.   I can’t make it stop.   I just hope that whoever has the address now doesn’t track me down and send the Feds.  (That would be like worrying about a snowflake in a blizzard I’m sure.)

XCode was once setup to connect to my home IP address to get to the Subversion server I had there.  At a certain point I stopped using that server and started using repositories on my laptop because now I’m often unable to connect back to the house. (And because I wanted to shutoff the massive tower to lower my massive electric bill. )

I removed the IP address from my list of repositories under SCM Preferences, and the address is not listed under the SSH tab in that preference pane either.  A search of the XCode preference file turned up empty.  But somewhere that address is still remembered by XCode.

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Favorite Quotes 4

“C” gains much of its vaunted efficiency by employing a very powerful pre-processor, normally referred to as a “programmer.”
-unknown author – possibly  Gharlane of Eddore  (aka David G. Potter)


Favorite Quotes 3

“In theory there is no difference between practice and theory, but in practice there is.”
-unknown author