Posts Tagged ‘OS’

Save High Res Program Icons in Mac OS X

Often on this site I like to highlight some software programs of which I am particularly fond, and this usually means augmenting my text with an image of some sort. The best way to identify a piece of software quickly is by its icon so for anyone who needs to do the same, here’s the way to grab high resolution versions of Mac OS X software icons.

  1. Right click the program in your Applications folder and press ‘Show Package Contents’
  2. Open the ‘Contents->Resources’ folder and double click on the ‘[program name].icns’ file (for example ‘QuickTimePlayerX.icns’)
  3. The Icon package will open in Preview. Now, simply press ‘File -> Save As’ and select a picture format (such as JPEG) to save the icon as a high resolution image file.

iMac Waking Itself Up [Solved]

My main desktop for the last couple of years has been a 24″ Apple iMac. While performance and reliability have been nothing less than bulletproof for the entire time I’ve had it, there is one really irritating problem that it’s suffered with for absolutely ages – and up until a few weeks ago went unsolved.

The Problem

I use the machine every day, so I only ever send it to sleep rather than going through a full shut down. Unfortunately, it developed the very annoying habit of waking itself up in the middle of the night, sometimes for a couple of seconds only (spinning up the drives and fans, but not fully waking) but sometimes waking completely and staying that way.

The Solution

1. Launch ‘System Preferences’

2. Load the ‘Energy Saver’ preference panel

3. Uncheck ‘Wake for network access’

Hopefully this will solve this annoying problem for you. My computer had been doing this for over 2 years now (possibly coinciding with my upgrade to Snow Leopard?) – since unchecking the network access box a couple of weeks ago it’s been behaving itself perfectly.

Web & Coding Tools for Mac OS X

Here’s three essential tools for anyone who uses Mac OS X for coding or remote admin.

FTP: FileZilla

If you work on a remote machine of any sort the chances are you’re going to need to send files to and from your local terminal.

FileZilla is not just the best open source FTP client I’ve ever used, it’s the best FTP client I’ve ever used period – it’s fast, free and dead easy to use, as well as being available for all three major platforms. I can’t recommend the Mac OS X version highly enough – it’s essential.

You can grab the latest version of FileZilla here, and remember, it’s donation-ware so if you love it, hit up PayPal and help out.




Fixing Finder Error -10810

Finder error -10810 is one of my most passionate personal hates. 10810 normally occurs when you’re accessing a bad/cheap/slow/oddly formatted external storage device, but can also crop up when using the Finder to access a remote server. The symptom? Beachball and no response from the Finder – the only option is to ‘close and relaunch’. Unfortunately, only the first half of this solution can be carried out automatically: the desktop icons will disappear, Finder will close, and you’re presented with the following error message:

Usually it takes a reboot to coax the Finder back into responsiveness, but this trick has worked more often than not for me:

  • Open a Terminal window – you still have access to the Dock, but if it’s not in there you can search for it in Spotlight – and navigate to /Volumes
  • List the directory contents with ls and find the name of the drive/FTP server/etc… which has become problematic.
  • We can now force the system to unmount the disk. When this last happened to me, I was browsing an FTP server called ‘pub’, so I typed:
  • sudo umount pub

  • Substitute in the name of your problem disk, and after the disk unmounts, the Finder will open immediately.

Hopefully this will save you a reboot some day.

Vintage & Rare Part I: Microsoft Xenix

Xenix was a Unix variant produced by Microsoft, and distributed by the Santa Cruz Operation (SCO). It first appeared in 1980, and there’s a pretty decent short history here.

A Microsoft version of Unix? How interesting!

Well, ordinarily this sort of curious old OS is deeply awesome. Unfortunately, Xenix is Unix at its most classic – and that happens to be dead boring. No funky 80s experimental feature set or crazy GUI…just CLI Unix. The story of a Microsoft Unix operating system, which had ports to the Apple Lisa (of all platforms) is, sadly, much more interesting than the OS itself –¬†check out the gallery below for a trip back in time to the exciting world of Xenix.

Setting Up a Headless VirtualBox VM in Ubuntu Server

In the past week, I’ve been asked to reinstall Windows XP onto a PC which has recently suffered a hard drive failure. One of the problems with the continuing use of this OS (which celebrates its tenth birthday this year) is its antique selection of included drivers and inability to load from anything except a floppy disk at install time – press F6, etc…

Thankfully, we have nLite, which helps the process of slipstreaming drivers written this century into an installation and creating custom media for loading the now ancient XP onto machines with such advanced features as…SATA.

This is exactly the issue I faced with this particular machine, but without a Windows machine on which to run nLite (which is sadly not available for Mac OS X or Linux) I was pretty stuck. For my own work, I never have any need to use Windows, however there is one killer application for Windows which means I do sometimes have use for it once or twice a year – repairing other Windows computers. A virtual machine is the perfect solution for this problem.

In this tutorial, I’ll show you how to set up VirtualBox on a headless Linux server and access the VM from any internet-connected computer.

(These instructions are written for Ubuntu Server 10.04, however they should work with other versions of Ubuntu and be similar to other distributions as well)


  • Oracle VirtualBox 4.0
  • Operating system installation media
  • Microsoft Remote Desktop for Mac (or equivalent)

Step 1: Installing VirtualBox

  1. Visit Oracle’s VirtualBox download page on your client machine. There is a wide range of supported Linux distributions and versions, so find the one you are running. Right-click the appropriate link and select ‘Copy Link Address’
  2. Open an SSH connection to your server and navigate to the folder you wish to download the installer to (for example /home/user/downloads). (more…)

OpenStep Running Under Mac OS X with VMWare

I’ve had a great time today playing with the precursor to Mac OS X, the NeXT OS. For many Mac geeks, the NeXTSTEP/OpenStep is an object of curiosity, and what better way to learn about it than by getting your hands dirty and having a play around.

As far as I can gather, the NeXTSTEP OS originally only ran on ‘Black’ hardware – hardware produced by the NeXT company, using Motorola 68K CPUs. While the OS and the machines were both technically brilliant, the hardware was, for most, prohibitively expensive. In the early/mid 90s, NeXT uncoupled OPENSTEP – the advanced and easy-to-use object-oriented software development environment – from its hardware and operating system, eventually porting to several software platforms (including Windows NT!). They updated their own NeXTSTEP operating system, in the form of OpenStep/Mach, which coupled the dev environment with a Mach kernel based OS designed to run on common (Intel x86 and other) hardware.

This is a guide on how to get OpenStep up and running on VMWare Fusion for Mac – I suspect it’s mostly Mac aficionados who are curious about this stuff, and most of the guides I found were either for Linux or didn’t ‘finish the job (i.e. ending up with a black & white OS with no sound!)

Required Materials

Disclaimer: none of the above files are my own creations, I am merely placing their links in a single location to facilitate their easy retrieval. The boot floppy and 4.2 update are hosted by Apple, while the SVGA driver and custom drivers floppy image were obtained from Laurent Julliard’s site. The remaining drivers were linked to from this forum thread. I also take no responsibility for any equipment damage or loss of any kind (data or financial) as a result of using this guide. Onwards…

Preparing the Virtual Machine

For this guide, I’ll be using VMWare Fusion 3 for Macintosh (OS X 10.6.5).

  1. Open the ‘New Virtual Machine Assistant’ and press ‘Continue without disc’
  2. Select ‘Create a custom virtual machine’
  3. Some people recommend creating a virtual BSD machine – I used OS: Other & Version: Other, so select these now.
  4. Hit ‘Customise Settings’ to open the machine configuration panel. There are a number of custom options required to get OpenStep running smoothly.
  5. CPU and RAM: Set the VM to single core with 128MB of RAM. (Remember how dreamy 128MB of RAM was back in 1995? It’ll be plenty for this application)
  6. Hard drive: You’ll need to create a new hard drive (I called mine ‘OS4.2.vmdk’), of bus type IDE – OS4.2 VMWare SCSI drivers not available to my knowledge – ¬†and of disk size 3GB. The only rule here is that the drive has to be between 800MB to install the OS and 4GB to remain compatible. Uncheck ‘Split into 2GB files’ and check ‘Pre-allocate disk space’. Hit apply.
  7. You will need to create a new Floppy drive to get those boot and driver disks working. First, you will need to configure those weird .floppyimage files. Under Mac OS X, I simply changed their extension to .img. Do this for all the images in advance.
  8. Return to VMWare: Click ‘Other Devices’ and then ‘+’, then hit ‘Add Floppy’ in the context menu. When it asks you to select an image file, point it to the Install Disk image.
  9. Finally, attach the OpenStep install disc to your virtual CD drive – hit ‘Virtual Machine’ and select ‘CD/DVD’ and either select the drive you have the OpenStep disc or locate the .iso file of the disc image.

Installing OpenStep

  1. You are now ready to power on the machine for the first time. After OPENSTEP has checked the RAM memory, you will be presented with some boot options (interestingly, anyone who’s seen an OSx86 bootloader will recognise this screen). Hit enter to progress to the next screen. (Fig 1)
  2. At this stage, the Device Drivers floppy disk will be requested. Click the floppy disk icon on your VMWare window and select ‘Choose Floppy image’. Point this window to the ‘Custom Drivers’ floppy .img and hit return. (more…)