Posts for #Mac

I ran into this problem the other day where I updated Xamarin on my Mac and I was playing with various solutions that involved Android projects. I kept receiving this build error:

Error: //XamarinForms1.Droid.csproj: //XamarinForms1.Droid.csproj could not import "$(MSBuildExtensionsPath)\\Xamarin\\Android\\Xamarin.Android.CSharp.targets" (XamarinForms1.Droid)

I blogged a while ago about my trouble with that mobile internet connection through my T-Mobile 3G stick. Now I’ve finally found a chance to try things out, and it turns out I got it to work! I installed a driver package I downloaded a while ago from Huawei, called MobileConnectDriver(4.16.00.00).pkg. After that, I had to unplug the stick, and I also had to make sure the device I was using for the connection was the right one. For some reason I had the devices mixed up – there are two made available by that driver, called HUAWEIMobile-Pcui and HUAWEIMobile-Modem, and I had to use the Modem one. My previous setup was using the Pcui one, but that may be a remnant of previous experiments. The rest of my setup (it’s just the “phone number”, which I set to *99# after some instructions I found online a long time ago) remains the same, and I’m now successfully online. Cool!

I don’t have a clue whether it works! No, really! I have a T-Mobile stick that looks exactly like the one on this page. On the back it says “web’n’walk Stick III”, and “HSPA USB Stick” and “Huawei Technologies Co. LTD”. This may or may not be similar to other sticks called “web’n’walk stick III” in other countries – I found mention of a similarly named device in Germany, but there were also links there to drivers made by a company called Option or similar, and I don’t think that has anything to do with what I have. So once more, fancy marketing names are being used to make it impossible to compare hardware devices.

Why am I interested? Well, because at some point I found that my stick wasn’t working with my MacBook anymore. This is likely to do with the fact that I had upgraded to Snow Leopard at some point, but I’m not sure. I don’t use the stick very often, and I can’t actually use it at home at all, because there’s no mobile phone or internet reception here. So how did things work before? I’m not sure about that either 😃 I remember installing some sort of software from T-Mobile, which had the visible result of popping up a window every time I stuck in the stick. But I don’t remember ever doing anything useful with that window – I closed it down and went to my network preferences window. In there I had a “modem” item installed, with a “phone number” of #99*, and by starting a connection on that “modem”, I was able to get online.

So, I got fed up with this issue now and found a solution that isn’t pretty. But it works, apparently without any relevant disadvantages, so I’ll live with it for the time being.

Update: in the comments below there’s a different, somewhat cleaner solution, which doesn’t require you to change your “system” Python files. [SORRY, COMMENT REMOVED]

Yesterday I wrote that I was going to roll back my Snow Leopard update today. I just wanted to post a quick update, because as things are, I’ve decided to stay on it. The main reason is that I managed to fix my alpine build today. Turns out that a workaround had been included in the OS X dependent code parts of alpine, to account for the fact that Apple used to have PAM headers in include/pam instead of include/security, like all other systems do. In 10.6 this has been fixed, and so the workaround broke things.

I created a patch, which is now in the process of being worked into the MacPorts distribution. offlineimap is still not working, but at least I can now use alpine again to access my mail from the IMAP server directly. So I decided not to roll back Snow Leopard after all and just live with the occasional oddity a little while longer 😃

Today I ran the update to Snow Leopard on my laptop. Tomorrow I’m going to roll back that update – I’ll certainly try again, but now doesn’t seem to be the time. Snow Leopard broke a few probably minor, but to me rather important things. Here’s a summary of what I found.

After the update ran through, everything was almost good for a start. I saw a few messages coming up for kexts, but nothing that seemed serious to me. All system stuff was working. One odd thing I noticed is that I had been running a trial version of iClock, which had installed itself in my menu bar, and after the update it was gone – but the standard system clock didn’t turn up either! I haven’t looked into this.

I’m using SoundTrack Pro to do editing on recordings for Sod This [LINK REMOVED], have done so since the first episode. Cool software, usually. But sometimes shit happens in it, and it’s just unbelievable. When recording, I always try to remember to switch the track to mono, but about half the time I forget. By default it records in 24 bit, 44100 Hz, and saves as an AIFF file. So a typical one track recording ends up being a cool 600MB or so, in stereo. Anyway, so I have to bring the thing down to mono before mixing it in. No problem – that’s what the Convert to Mono menu entry is for. Right? Yeah, theoretically. It works fine on the mp3 files Gary usually sends me from his end of the recording (yeah, somehow he can’t be bothered to set up that recording format to something more sensible). It usually works on my files as well. Sometimes it doesn’t, like today. When it doesn’t work, the result is simply an empty file. Not a single sample left. Well, that’s not true – it still shows 12000000 samples or some such number, but they are all empty, silent. No idea why it does this. I can only imagine it’s a bug, perhaps based on the precise details of the encoding of the audio data. I just can’t imagine where it comes from. I can be accused of leaving all the settings on their defaults, but definitely not of fiddling them to some creative new combination every single time I record. Nobody else in the world seems to have that problem, or at least I can’t find a single mention of it in Google. Brilliant, so I try fiddling around with the various encoding settings to try and work around that odd bug. Save my file in 16 bit (need to do that anyway, since a hard-learned lesson of the past is that Logic is too dumb to work with 24 bit files – not that it ever tells you so, it just doesn’t work), resample it to 32000, whatever. No dice. Hm, how come that the AIFF file I save for my recording is always called _.aiff, while the one I save from Gary’s recording is called _.aif (yeah, single ‘f’)? No idea – both are saved using the same file type in SoundTrack. Anyway, finally I think what the hell, I’ll save the file as an MP3, since that works with Gary’s thing. Stupid, but there you go. Just need to use that Export command in SoundTrack to do that, right? Hey, what’s that? Export is disabled? Interesting… wonder why. Well, Google once more is clueless. Not a single fucking result. Should never be inactive, by all accounts. Brilliant. Guess what I’m just doing? I’m using Audacity to encode the file as an MP3, hoping that I’ll be able to pull it into SoundTrack after that and finally start the actual work of editing it. Unbelievable but true. At least I have time to write this absolutely useless post in the meantime. If you ever see Sod This episode 6 come out, you know I’ve found a way to work around all this crap.

Update: Converting to mp3 didn’t help at all. I’m sure I’m not enough of an expert on this, but somehow I just can’t even guess what sort of a weird bug SoundTrack must have so it’s unable to do anything useful with my audio data. So, next idea: use Audacity to do the conversion to mono. No fancy menu option for it, but it seems to work so far…

Hm… update to this recent post of mine. I just found this blog post about VMWare Fusion’s support for Snow Leopard. Hadn’t thought about that yet – it doesn’t support 64 bit as the host yet, and possible won’t do so for the foreseeable future. In that case, I can’t even use the 64 bit kernel, since VMWare support is very important for me. Well. That makes me think a thought I’ve never thought before… never really wondered too much about 32 vs 64 bit on the Mac. Guess why? Because it doesn’t seem to be important. Why is it important on Windows? Simple: because you can’t have more than 3.something GB of RAM in your machine before it stops recognizing more RAM on 32 bit. So if my current Leopard installation is 32 bit, how come it works with the 16GB I have in my Mac Pro? As usual, there’s probably more to the 32 and 64 bit labels than you see at a glance… answers welcome – I may research myself, but not now 😃

Update: A quick Google search revealed the answers – everything’s right here. Interesting read. Short answer: Mac OS X, as well as Linux, can use PAE to make available more than 4GB even in 32 bit. For reasons better left unexplored here, Windows can’t.

@DerAlbert just pointed me at an article in German, which links to a PDF file with release notes for a recent pre-release Snow Leopard version. What it says is that a 64 bit kernel will not be used by default in Snow Leopard – in spite of all the advertising Apple has done for the 64 bit focus of Mac OS X 10.6. Although this information is about pre-release software (and yes, it shouldn’t be out there at all – somebody must have broken their NDA), it doesn’t seem likely that things will change before the final release (which according to Apple has been in the post on its way to my house since yesterday – not here yet though). The release notes show a list of machines where the use of the 64 bit kernel can be forced during startup, and it seems that my Mac Pro is among those. So I’ll have a chance to test this, which is nice – certainly much more than Microsoft can claim for their own efforts at supporting 64 bit. Something I like about my Macs: Apple tries hard to deliver me everything that’s reasonably part of the operating system I bought in one package. Cool.

Recently I was configuring some slide templates and I found it impossible to resize several font sizes at once. In Keynote, there are placeholders that have multiple levels, most notably the one for the body, which has multiple levels of bullet points by default. These levels each have their own format settings of course, including their font sizes. Now what if you want the whole thing a bit smaller? Maybe the first three are sized 42/36/30 and you want them to be 36/30/24. What do you do? Well, entering the font size in the combo box in the toolbar doesn’t work. Curiously, the combo box actually shows you several font sizes for the element if you have the entire placeholder selected, but you can only ever enter one font size there and all levels will be set to that size. Same with the Fonts dialog – I like the slider for the font size, but it sets all levels to the same size. Now, when I was first looking for this a few days back, I didn’t find a solution, so I just replicated my sizes manually in the few places where I needed them. After I was done, I found the real solution, and when I had the same problem again today, I could remember finding the solution, but not what it was. Don’t you hate it when that happens? Anyway, I remembered it eventually, and here it is: use the keyboard shortcuts or the menu entries from the standard Font menu to do the resizing. Command - + will increase the sizes (for all levels, but keeping the relative sizing) and Command - - decreases them. Cool, eh? Good luck!