Category: apple

MacBook Pro Networking Issue

Today while working feverishly I have had my MBP shutdown 3 times for no apparent reason. The power adapter is plugged in and I am using the wired ethernet.

The shutdowns occurred when I had wandered away from the machine for a few minutes and not actively using it. I have no sleep mode set to kick in when the power is plugged in and the last time it happened was during a 3 minute phone call (I checked my phone to be certain).

About an hour I lost network connectivity all together. I checked ipconfig and it was reporting I had a 169.* ethernet address. This is the default when it can’t contact a DHCP server. After renewing my DHCP lease a few times I gave up and rebooted. This did the trick.

On digging through the logs I see this…

kernel[0]: ar5212GetPendingInterrupts: fatal error, ISR_RAC=0x8402c ISR_S2_S=0x10000
kernel[0]: AppleYukon: error – Uncorrectable PCI Express error

Has anyone else experienced this?

I found a couple hits on google but nothing with a definitive resolution.

Microsoft offers Apple security advice?

Fresh after the article from security firm Sophos entitled “Sophos recommends Macs for security“, A member of Microsoft’s security team blasts Apple for not having a “security czar” and not communicating with users about security vulnerabilities.

By contrast, he points to Microsoft as a prime example of how to respond to threats, providing well-documented communications and prescriptive “how-to” guidance with alerts that are delivered through email, RSS and deployment tools.

This whole paragraph is absolutely laughable. Lets flash back for a second to Microsoft security bulletin 912840 and my rant regarding it. And now lets re-read that happy little Microsoft fud. Something doesn’t add up, does it?

If that isn’t enough to convince you, lets look at yet another reason why no software vendor should ever adopt Microsoft’s security practices. Two words; Patch Tuesday. Holy god is that a bad model. No matter how bad a vulnerability is, they will sit on the patch (leaving everyone exposed) till the next patch Tuesday. Just because its more convenient for admins.

I, as an admin, would much rather patch frequently, than sit on hands while blatantly exposed to a threat.

Once they work these things out, then (maybe) they can blast other software vendors. Until that time though, they should sit back, shut up and stop making themselves look foolish.

Fix: ssh client timeouts in OS X

Using OS X and getting a lot of this?

Read from remote host Connection reset by peer
Connection to closed.

So was I. At first I assumed it had to be Comcast, because Comcast falls into the auto scape goat category the same as Microsoft and the Bush Administration.

Before I became all accusatory and call and complain I did my home work.

The man page for ssh_config has the following to say.

Specifies whether the system should send TCP keepalive messages
to the other side. If they are sent, death of the connection or
crash of one of the machines will be properly noticed. However,
this means that connections will die if the route is down tempo-
rarily, and some people find it annoying.

The default is “yes” (to send TCP keepalive messages), and the
client will notice if the network goes down or the remote host
dies. This is important in scripts, and many users want it too.

To disable TCP keepalive messages, the value should be set to

Sounds like that could be the problem. Issuing the following command as root will add the directive to the bottom of the ssh_config file and you should be good to go.

echo “TCPKeepAlive no” >> /etc/ssh_config

UPDATE: At least I thought you should be good to go. After running like that for a while I still lost my connection. Does anyone else have any insight into why this may be happening? I suspect Comcast, again. 🙂

Things Apple needs to make…

1. Another PDA
They where far ahead of their time when they initially introduced the Apple Newton and for that reason I don’t think people where ready for the PDA yet. If they came out with a Newton2 I think it would sell like hot cakes

2. Multi Function Phone
I have heard rumors of an iPhone that will be a combination cell phone/iPod but they need to include blackberry or palm like functionality.

3. A tablet macbook pro.
I have a number friends who are die hard mac advocates that have recently purchased tablet PCs because they are just down right cool and useful. In fact Gryphn carries both her powerbook and her tablet pc with her. Once again, rumor has it that these will be released in about a year.

4. OS X for normal PCs
I know they wont do this anytime soon, so if they could just make a Darwin type OS that runs mac/intel bins… I think that would hold me over.

X-mas in April!

Last week great geeks in Cupertino, CA shipped me two new shiny Macs. My new Quad G5 that replaced our fallen friend. (Dead but not forgotten, brotha.) And my new MacBook Pro. The G5 arrived first and held my attention intently for all of two days. It was by far the fastest mac I have ever had the pleasure of using. It was unfortunate that both the RAM and 2nd video card from dual G5 wouldn’t work in it. Someplace between the dual and the quad they upgraded all of the ports in it to pci express and made the jump to DDR2 RAM. WaHoo! I have another 2 gigs of RAM on order (bringing me to 4) and am down to two of my three monitors until I figure something out.

It has 1 pcix 16x port, 1 8x and 2 4x. I have never seen video cards in anything but 16x, so.. like… what gives?

My MacBook Pro arrived Wednesday. This machine has surprised the hell out of me. I believe it to be faster than my quad G5. This is by no means a benchmark comparison, but it simply ‘feels’ faster. Snappier for opening apps, even non universal binary apps like PhotoShop CS and DreamWeaver.

Another -BIG- reason why I upgraded from powerbook to the macbook pro was the ability to easily run other operating systems. The first thing I did when I received it was update tiger, upgrade my firmware and install boot camp/xp pro. This is a big deal to me. It allows me to run Novell ConsoleOne and Client as well as all of the good forensic and security software that only comes on windows.

I have also installed Fedora on a Parallels virtual machine. I am pretty impressed with parallels so far. It’s fast, far easier and more elegant than virtual pc and vmware and allows for nice full screen, full speed OS ‘switching’.

I have run into a few odd… I dunno… bugs? I’m still working on trouble shooting them down to their source, but as soon as I know what’s up I will post my findings.

G5 Saga: The Final Chapter

Wow has this been a trip. The helpful tech came out again and replaced my motherboard, CPU module and power supply. The machine was now booting into OS X and appeared to be happy. The fans where constantly on at full blast because we had not yet calibrated the CPU temperature as you do every time you swap out a CPU module in a G5.

Attempting to boot from the techs “Service Diagnostics CD” it failed to do anything. He tried an older version with the result. When we let it boot normally it would go into OS X and mount the disk. We could browse the files on the cd, just not boot from it. I stuck in a store bought Tiger DVD and it still refused to do anything attempting to boot from it.

I grabbed a spare DVD drive from one of my parts cabinets and the tech replaced the dvd drive only to find it produced the same results as the last drive.

He called AppleCare to see if they had heard of this behavior (I sure hadn’t) and knew how to fix it. After verifying that the tech was doing every thing right they decided that another (the fifth!) motherboard should be installed.

At this point I just didn’t want to deal with the downtime anymore. Combine that with the fact that each time it comes back to life it has a new and completely different problem… I had enough.

I called AppleCare and went over the history of the machine with them. At the end they decided to replace it with a new unit. Because it was top of the line (price wise) when I bought it, I get top of the line to replace it. So I will be sending in my dual 2ghz G5 and will be receiving a Quad 2.5ghz G5… I’m not complaining. 🙂

I have never seen a computer act as strange as this G5 has. The only constants throughout the whole process where the chassis and the RAM. Possibly bad RAM would cause strangeness such as this. A bad or strange grounding issue in the case? Who knows. Hopefully the Apple techs poke around at after I send it in to find out.

The tragic tail of my G5

I had previously bloged about the liquid cooling system leak in my dual powermac g5. Since the major hardware replacement (mother board, cpu module, hard drive, power supply and trim pieces) I had been having intermittent mouse problems. I know, it sounds weird.

After working for a random amount of time my mouse would ‘lock up’. The light on the bottom of the mouse goes out and no amount of swirling it or chucking it at the wall would make the cursor move.

After this I would use launch bar to open iterm and issue ‘sudo shutdown -r now’ to shut it down properly. It reboots to come back with still no mouse support. I reset it again and it works.

Some times it locks up multiple times per day, other times I will go two whole days without a reboot.

I have used three different mice, spread out over every usb port the som’a’bitch has. I have no other usb devices plugged in and have no after market ram.

Called AppleCare again and they sent out another mother board and repair technician.

Once the new mother board was installed the machine wouldn’t start.

They put a new mother board (the fourth) and power supply on order and the technician is scheduled to return tomorrow.

Wow has this machine been a nightmare! Don’t get me wrong, I don’t blame Apple. I have had a number of other Apple machines that proved to be absolute work horses and tough as nails… this one is just… different.

The good news of the whole thing, is that I got to take pictures of the G5’s liquid cooling system with its top down. No fancy logo’d shield covering it.


G5 cpu module, topless

In this image you can clearly see the Delphi logo. How strange to see that logo in a computer.

G5 topless: pump and hoses

The pump and some hoses.

G5 topless: hoses, hose clamps, radiator cap.
In this one you can see the radiator hoses, clamps and radiator cap.

G5 CPU Leak Update

AppleCare covered my CPU leakage issue and they sent someone out to replace all of the damaged parts. The liquid ended up corroding a few internal chassis parts so those where replaced as well. In all I ended up with a new CPU/Cooling module, motherboard, hard drive, power supply, PCI Divider and motherboard/power supply divider. At the end the only original parts where my exterior chassis, dvd writer and ram. It seems like it would have been easier to simply replace the whole thing, but.. whatever. 🙂

The CPU Module was an interesting thing. I had never seen anything like it in the PC world. Both CPUs and the liquid cooling system where all 1 unit. The cooling system consists of a radiator grill, a liquid pump and a number of pipes, rubber hoses and small radiator clamps as you would find in a car. In fact, the entire cooling system is a product of Delphi, so its EXACTLY as you would find in a car.

After installing new CPUs in a G5 you have to perform a temperature calibration processes that takes up-to 20 minutes per CPU, the ambient room temperature needs to be 68-72 degree wile performing this test. It is only available on a bootable apple technician issued diagnostic cd.

The entire process was interesting to say the least. I am happy to have it back up and running and am also happy with level of support Apple was able to provide.

G5 liquid cooling leak

I leave my Dual 2.5ghz G5 PowerMac on all the time. So I never really had a chance to notice that the cpu liquid cooling system was leaking.

I had never heard of this happening before and thought I would be one of the first to encounter such a problem until I saw the little screen print next to the large corrosive pile of dried yuck that reads “If you see liquid unplug the computer and consult the manual”.

The CPU area is completely covered by a giant radiator looking heat sink and a bezel that is only supposed to be opened by an apple certified tech. I was able to snap some photos of the fore mentioned ‘corrosive dried yuck’ for your viewing pleasure.

The liquid it uses is NOT water. The MSDS for the chemical used can be viewed here (in case you care).

Now to get apple on the horn and get my baby back up and running.

leaky g5 2Leaking G5 1
g4 leak

mac ftp clients?!

I am trying very hard to find an ftp client for the mac that doesnt suck. So far they either try to get bits of batched files all at once and then dont complete any of them, or they dont have batching capability at all.

I have tried fetch, transmit, captain ftp and cute ftp and they all seem to suck for one reason or another.

I want something with 3 window panes… one for the remote site, one for the local hard drive and one that is a batch that you drag stuff into. Something ala flashfxp or bulletin proof ftp. WHy is this so hard on a mac?!

Doe anyone know of one that I am overlooking?