Shin

USB drive failure in OsX Lion and older

Bought a new 2TB external USB drive by Samsung for the iMac. I know Samsung doesn’t like Apple but this is ridiculous. Whenever the computer goes to sleep the drive ejects, and when the computer wakes up again, the drive doesn’t.
Looking into this I discovered this has been a common problem for a lot of people. It seems several brands/models exhibit this behavior. It’s not limited to Lion btw, older versions are affected as well. So buyer beware.

In my case the problem was easily ‘fixed’ by swapping it with one of my Mac Mini’s drives as that one runs 24/7 and never sleeps (being used as a server and all).

Bring back Front Row in Lion!

Front Row is missing in Lion, and that sucks seeing as there’s no good alternative.

Don’t even get me started on Plex, tried it, hated it.
Plex, and other alternatives, might be good if you’re Joe Average, listening to popular music, watching CSI and the newest big hit movie. But the media manager in Plex sucks DONKEY ASS if you like to watch anime, obscure movies and listen to electro and anything not in the mainstream. It’ll mess up your collection, label your anime as some weird 50’s american tv show, show incorrect info on all your albums seeing as last.fm is a mess with 1 page for 6 artists. One… big… mess… So please gimme back a fully working Front Row please!

Until this gets sorted or there’s a better alternative I’ll postpone upgrading to Lion. Snow Leopard’s working just fine, thank you very much.

PHP5 on Snow Leopard

Using PHP5 under Mac OS X 10.6 (Snow Leopard) was a bit of a pain thusfar, because you’re limited to either using the built in PHP5 or building it from scratch. The latter being not for the faint of heart and the first not being ideal either. Although the built in PHP5 is a big improvement over the one supplied with 10.5, it still is lacking some rather standard and useful libraries. With 10.5 this was easily remedied by installing Entropy’s PHP5 package, but that hasn’t been updated for 10.6 and it doesn’t look like it will any time soon.
Luckily someone stepped in to fill the void and built his own using Entropy’s build scripts. So you sort of get the Entropy build, except it works.
So thank you very much Taracque, and for the rest of you; go download it here:
http://taracque.hu/php5/

Snow Leopard upgrade

Finally took the jump and upgraded both Macs from Leopard to Snow Leopard.
On the iMac, which is used as our every day computer, it couldn’t be more simple. Plop in the disk and go and at the end everything was upgraded and everything worked, we didn’t have a single app that was borked. Beautiful. And indeed, Snow Leopard is noticeably faster, which by itself is worth the upgrade.

The Mac Mini however… not so nice. Not really Apple’s fault but that one is used as my webserver/mailserver/database server/ftp server and after the upgrade…. well nothing worked. At all. It took me a good day to figure out every single little thing as some problems just didn’t make any sense whatsoever.
First and foremost, it’s a stupidly simple thing to fix once you’ve figured it out, but before you do it can take a while; if you see parts of your site failing without any proper error, with apache processes crashing left right and center (with messages in your Apache error log like “[notice] child pid 7362 exit signal Bus error (10)”), look for mysql_close() in your php scripts and remove it. Simple huh? Apparently it’s no longer supported in PHP 5.3 which is default in Snow Leopard and using mysql_close() makes your page halt wherever its called and the Apache process fall over and die a horrible death. This was during my upgrade the last glitch to fix, but it also took by far the most time to track down as I thought it was simply crapping out due to misconfiguration.
The rest was pretty simple, just make sure you make a backup of your Apache config files prior to upgrade as these get replaced, so you can easily get things like your vhost settings back. You may also have to recreate the symbolic link to mysql depending on which package you were using. As for my mail, that was simply a matter of buying the new MailServe Snow to replace the old Leopard Pro version.

So overall, yay for Snow Leopard. Just make sure you have a good backup if you’re using yours as a server as well.

Work in progress... not home!
Trying to get all/most of the new code working before I start on the eyecandy.