OS X Tiger

About version 10.4.x


Apple is quietly reducing support for older (up to 5 years old) digital cameras, external hard drives and other devices within OS X, iPhoto 5 and other Apple applications forcing consumers to purchase the latest devices. You will need to visit places such as http://www.apple.com/macosx/upgrade/cameras.html to learn the devices Apple is willing to support.

This view is supported by The Sydney Morning Herald (Icon Supplement), 2-3 September 2006, page 8 and various Apple users mentioned below.

About version 10.4.

The upgrade to 10.4 (followed by rumours of an immediate 10.4.1 update as if there is likely to be already problems with the initial release) — known as OS X 'Tiger' — has arrived (retail build number 8A428). The first instalment of this OS has been available since mid-April 2005 (this year it will be before December so it won't seem like Apple is cashing in on the Christmas spending spree from customers this time around).

When installing the upgrade, please remember to give the OS plenty of time on the first restart to do its thing. It can look like it is frozen in the middle of the startup process, but patience will be a virtue for this early release version. Apparently the new Spotlight feature is trying to index all your files which can take anywhere up to 60 minutes to complete. You may also the indexing process will quicken by disconnecting the ethernet cable and turning off the wireless Airport connection (as if the OS is keen to index your network resources).

And what do you get for this extra time and effort? Here are some of the features (and problems) you will inherit:


This is a serious modification of the original Sherlock tool designed to solve the problem of users not indexing their files immediately (probably because it takes too long with the Sherlock system) and therefore making it easier for the right software manufacturer to inspect people's applications and files when the OS X machines are online or brought into an Apple-repair centre. Now the indexing will occur immediately after installing the Tiger upgrade, and taking up to an hour to index for a number of users. When indexing is completed, Spotlight is fast and will search through the contents of files for the relevant information. However, don't try to use it to find invisible files. In contrast to the original Sherlock system, Spotlight may provide a criteria to find invisible files, but it won't work. Apple has stopped users from finding invisible files. Is this an error, or did Apple always intend it to be the case with Spotlight?

Another problem with Spotlight is how much processor time is needed to finish off or update the index when certain files have changed (e.g. mailbox folders) causing the OS and other applications to run sluggishly as processor usage spikes for Spotlight. In other cases, some third-party applications trying to create a temporary partition when burning to CD/DVD-R or backing up data (e.g. Retrospect) to external disks may suddenly quit or crash in the middle of doing its work because Spotlight wants to dominate the processor usage at an inconvenient time to achieve its indexing work on the temporary partition disk and external disks. A solution to this problem is to go into the "Privacy" tab of the Spotlight pane in System Preferences to specify the disks you don't want to index.

Another annoyance of Spotlight is how a user may temporarily access a network server for a minute or two before removing it, only to find Spotlight wants to stop you from disconnecting the server until it has indexed the entire network contents.

So it would seem like the real reason for having this Spotlight feature available in Tiger is because a large number of users are becoming fully aware of Apple's activities when it comes to rummaging for information off people's hard disks when Apple computers are handed in for repairs. Now Apple has to do it rather more surreptitiously by (i) forcing users to accept the Spotlight's need to index everything and wait until it is completed; and (ii) when the users are online, OS X can be designed to secretly send registration information, IP address, details of applications installed, and any other identifying information (e.g. in Apple's Address Book) to Apple and other major software manufacturers.

Very interesting.

Add to this how typing a character or two into the search field of Spotlight just before completing your search criteria can cause the application to suddenly pause for a long period of time, and you would want to get rid of Spotlight altogether (try copying and pasting the criteria into Spotlight instead).

If Spotlight is a pain in the arse, especially if you are going to be online on a regular basis, switch off the indexing process in Spotlight as a minimum or, better still, kill the Spotlight application. This act alone should dramatically increase performance and further improve your privacy. But as one user said:

"Spotlight is supposed to improve productivity, and it may indeed do that if you have an ideal system, whatever Apple may have decided that is. However, for those of us who need systems that perform (i.e. have work to do), or just don't wan't the hard drive to spin constantly, Spotlight's nothing but a monstrous drag. Thank you so much for the easy hostconfig method of shutting Spotlight down — we can only hope that Apple provides a software switch in the very near future to turn off this supremely annoying "feature" of Tiger (or that they permit users to restrict indexing only to scheduled indexing sessions, say between 1am and 5am or something unobtrusive." (MacFixIt.com: OS X 10.4 (Tiger) #16: Spotlight processor usage and performance problems; solutions. 13 May 2005.)

If you don't want to kill the application, there is a technique to reduce the priority of Spotlight for processor usage. Type in the Terminal:

renice -n -p

where n is an integer number between 1 and 20 inclusive for determining whether the process priority should be 1 (for highest priority) or 20 (for lowest priority); and p is the process ID number for Spotlight as determined by the Activity Monitor (located in Applications/Utilities). Look for "mds" as the implicated process and use the number next to it as your process ID number for Spotlight.

For example,

renice -20 -p NNN

Or for those wanting a freeware utility to simplify the process, try the freeware BeNice 2.0.

To completely turn off Spotlight, enter the Terminal and activate the "pico" text editor of OS X to edit the hostconfig file as follows:

sudo pico /etc/hostconfig

Scroll down through the text of hostconfig until you find the line that says SPOTLIGHT=-YES-. Change this to SPOTLIGHT=-NO-. Exit pico, saving the file, restart the computer, and Spotlight should sit quietly doing nothing on startup. Solution permanently solved.

Alternatively, you may wish to try the freeware Disable Tiger Features 1.0.2 by FilKiFan Software to cleanly disable (and reenable if you wish) both Spotlight and Dashboard (more details about the latter Apple application and why people want to turn it off can be found later in this document).

But remember, once you stop Spotlight, the Find file function under the Finder will not work. In effect, you will have to find a third-party search tool to replace Spotlight.

If you do intend to stop Spotlight using the pico text editor, you may wish to remove Spotlight icon from appearing in the menu bar as well. To remove Spotlight from the menu bar, remove the file "Search.bundle" from the folder /System/Library/CoreServices. Restart the computer.


Safari in Tiger has been updated to version 2.0 (as opposed to the 1.3 version just released in March 2005 which was giving absolute hell to 10.3.9 "Panther" users because of significant changes made by Apple to the Java classes etc). Curious to know whether this latest offering of Safari has solved the Safari-Java problems of 10.3.9?

Safari 2.0 has undergone further changes. Now users cannot copy images in web pages and paste them into another application in the traditional way using Paste command. If you do, a link to the images is shown. You will now have to use the Paste Special command. Or try a third-party internet browser to make it work in the normal way. Apple, of course, has kept this secret for users to work out.

As for the lack of a download manager in Safari (available in virtually all other third-party internet browsers except, remarkably enough, Apple's own browser) and how this Apple's own internet browser hangs during launching of Adobe Acrobat editor/reader when reading PDF files online, it is unlikely Apple Inc. (formerly Apple Computer, Inc.) will solve this problem with the Tiger update. A lot of users are finding this incredibly annoying such as versiontracker.com user Xeater when he said in April 2005:

"I use iGetter, and it suits my needs. It's pretty lame that Safari has no downloadable manager, and Tiger doesn't appear to solve this problem. I don't know if Apple just thinks nobody downloads or what, but it's d@mn annoying." (http://www.versiontracker.com/dyn/moreinfo/macosx/26260)

A reasonably effective software to get around this download manager problem of Safari is to use the free 63K-sized OS X program called Friggin' Idiot, Safari! 0.11b or What's wrong with Safari 0.1. Developed by Frequency Technologies, this software will download virtually anything from a web site very quickly where you can casually browse offline in your own pleasure and without Apple trying to restrict people from downloading music and movie files for watching on their computers.

StuffIt Expander

Allume's StuffiIt Expander is another one of those really useful software tools ditched by Apple according to http://docs.info.apple.com/article.html?artnum=301016 (as of May 2005) titled Mac OS X 10.4, 10.5: Where is StuffIt Expander. Users will now be required to enter their names and email address to Allume before they can download the friggin' free StuffIt Expander. Apparently some companies are taking the view it is better to know who and where the users are located when the software is being downloaded and used rather than supplying it free with the OS upgrade to anonymous users worldwide.


Major problems with Tiger's Mail.app. There are sluggish performance issues, not able to import old mail without human intervention, and problems with IMAP servers. To solve the import problem, rename .mbox.mbox to .mbox and move the old Sent and Inbox.mbox files to the new ~/Library/Mail folder in OS X Tiger. Delete the folder ~/Library/Mail/Envelope Index. Restart Mail.app and follow the prompt to import files (i.e. direct your Mail software to look at ~/Library/Mail).


Then we come to Apple's next important flagship application (after the OS) known as QuickTime Pro. This tool is under some scrutiny by users.

For instance, we understand Apple could not immediately supply new serial codes for Quicktime Pro 7 after the Tiger install. Customers had to wait for availability and final pricing. In the meantime QuickTime Pro 6 will not work and the serial number for this QuickTime version will not enable QuickTime Pro 7. NOTE: Apple has quickly rectified this problem. This time Panther users who run QuickTime 7 with a Pro key under 10.3.x will discover problems (not for the Tiger users). For example, MacFixIt reader Steve P wrote:

"I downloaded the new QuickTime 7.0 and purchased a new Pro key. Operating in 10.3.9, QT 7 quits when you select Show Movie Properties (Command-J), from the Window menu, for an open movie file." (MacFixIt.com: Problems with QuickTime Pro 7 and Mac OS X 10.3.x (Panther). 2 May 2005.)

To resolve this QuickTime 7 problem, try creating a new user account. Or try this method from Mike Barron and others:

1. Quit Quicktime

2. In System Preferences->International, change your language to something other than what it is set to.

3. Quit System Preferences (and then some people need to log out and log back in).

4. Relaunch System Preferences and change the language back to your preferred setting.

5. Try Quicktime again. "Show Movie Properties..." should now work.

But that's not all. QuickTime 7.0 components are forcing third-party plug-ins from Avid, Blackmagic and various others to misbehave, causing the Finder to repeatedly quit unless you go into Terminal and tell it to delete or remove the offending plug-ins. Be prepared to do lots of updating and/or upgrading of the plug-ins.

On the positive side, the QuickTime update to version 7.0.1 as of 31 May 2005 appears to be better behaved. Installation was flawless and all key features were said to be working. But do look out for unexpected crashes immediately after the update as some users have noted. The solution in this case appears to be to reinstall the QuickTime 7.0.1 updater followed by the OS X 10.4.1 updater. As Edward Elbers said to MacFixIt.com:

"After installing quicktime 7.01 my wife's powerbook had the finder crashing continuously. We were able to solve the problem by installing the QuickTime update again as well as OS X 10.4.1 again." (MacFixIt.com: QuickTime 7.0.1: Problems with MIDI instruments; Freezes when using full-screen mode (versions 7.0 and 7.0.1); more. 1 June 2005.)

Also users have noticed sudden Finder freezes and kernel panics when running QuickTime movies in full screen mode. Similar problems may exist when going full screen mode to preview something in iMail or iPhoto. This may suggest an error elsewhere in the system and not in the QuickTime 7.0.1 application and components. But then again, it could well be QuickTime 7.0.1 creating an oddity for Tiger. Or perhaps, as one user suggested, it might be hardware specific in that the PowerMac G5 1.8MHz single processor model could be the only one to be affected by this full screen Finder freeze problem.

The system log for this problem after a forced reboot is said to be:

"abc kernel[0]: AppleSMU waiting over 2 sec for reply AGAIN! !cmd=0x27, length=0x01; kernel[0]: AppleSMUsendMISC: FAILURE TIMEOUT EXCEEDED on GPIO !"

And, of course, how can we forget the lost sound after installing QuickTime 7.0.1? The solution is apparently pretty obvious: run the application GarageBand, play a few notes, quit the application, and run the QuickTime player or any other third-party application requiring QuickTime to run movies (e.g. Microsoft PowerPoint), and the sound in the movies should be properly restored to its former glory.

But as one user quite rightly asked, "Umm, what if you don't have GarageBand?"

Well, you're basically up the creek with this one unless Apple stops this nonsense about going after the pirates who aren't doing the right thing and give everyone a proper Tiger update to permanently fix all problems.

So far only a couple of QuickTime 7 users were brave enough to come out of the woodworks to claim QuickTime is working for them. For example, one user said:

"I just installed Quicktime 7.0.1. So far I have have not encountered any issues or problems. The quicktime update appears good."

But as one of our staff asked the user:

"I couldn't help noticing some problems for other users updating to QuickTime 7.0.1 according to MacFixIt.com yet you have managed to successfully install yours without a glitch of any sort.

'What's your secret?

'Did you have to remove all your third-party QuickTime extensions, applied the QuickTime update, and then reinstalled the extensions?

'Or did you wipe the hard disk clean, reinstalled OS X 10.4, then the 10.4.1 update followed by the QuickTime 7.0.1 update?

'Or did you reinstall the 10.4.1 update, ran Disk Utility to fix permissions, and hoped to hell it worked, which apparently it did for your machine.

'I had to ask because curiosity got the better of me today."

As of 5 June 2005, there had been no reply. It is possibly because the user realised he/she had spoken too soon!

17 January 2005

A MacFixIt user named RedClaw noticed how Apple is reducing features in the free version of QuickTime until you pay for the Pro version:

"I remember when QT was a free app. Then one day, Apple decided to make it a paid for version. That was fine, but when they took away many of the features that were available in the free version I was angry. Even the most common stuff like full screen was removed." (http://www.versiontracker.com.com/dyn/moreinfo/macosx/25645)

23 August 2005

Users are noticing a workaround to the full screen problem in the free version of QuickTime — just use iTunes.

CD/DVD burning

Ignoring the QuickTime problems, there is more to report. Tiger's own CD/DVD burner tool in the Finder is behaving atrociously when it comes to the very basic task of recognising CD/DVD burners. If the driver is not recognised, the blank CD/DVD-R/RW disk will be ejected. You will have to use a third-party burning software tool such as Toast 6.0.9 to get around this silly problem. Or try resetting the PRAM/NVRAM. As a final resort, quit the Finder as soon as you see the following error message:

"The disc cannot be used because the disc drive is not supported. (Error Code 0x80020025)"

Also be careful of creating temporary disk images when performing CD and DVD burns — Apple has apparently put a stop to that in 10.4. And if you can bypass this restriction, the Spotlight application will interrupt the CD/DVD burning process when it starts to index the temporary disk images.

Nice one Apple!


Apple Filesharing Protocol (AFP) is going through a major change. Users can no longer file share OS9 classic Macintosh computers with OS X machines running the Tiger upgrade. As Philip De Simone has discovered:

"Mac OS X OS 10.4 (Tiger) will not allow users to connect to machines running OS 9 for the purpose of file sharing. When you try to connect to an OS 9 machine, you get the following error message 'Connection failed. This file server uses an incompatible version of the AFP protocol. You cannot connect to it.

'This is really terrible for environments with both OS 10 and OS 9 machines. I wonder if there is/will be a way around this."

We wouldn't count on it. Your best bet is to enable TCP/IP on the OS9 server in order for the OS X machine to be seen as the client. But this technique won't work for OS8.6 machines (forcing really antiquated Macintosh users to upgrade at least to OS9). The only other alternative is to pay US$79 for OpenDoor's ShareWay IP Personal 3.0 single user license version. But given the price, you are better off upgrading to OS9 or start getting a more modern Macintosh computer (i.e. go for a second-hand titanium laptop and don't bother about buying a new Apple computer unless you are lusting after one of those mac-minis for under A$1,000).

Could this be the first signs of Apple trying to shake off its old classic environment by getting people to accept only OS X? If so, we wouldn't be surprised if Apple decides to put a bug or two in the Classic Environment to see how many people still use it based on the number of complaints received about it.

While on the networking front, you may wish to rename your computer to a short single word (without spaces or other funny characters). For example, don't try typing "My Computer", "Peter Smith's Computer" or "My incredibly hard di*k". We hear some Tiger users can resolve DHCP address problems with D-Link routers and some AirPort configurations by implementing a name like "MacintoshHD" or "Appleneedsagoodkickupthe***". Come to think of it, the simpler the solutions, the more you start to wonder why Apple didn't do those things in the first place to make the Tiger upgrade and operation more smooth sailing for everyone.

And Apple Remote Access in OS X version 10.4 has suddenly stopped working for a number of users. You should be aware that Apple Remote Access is available in 10.3.x. It is just that something in the programming side of things has taken a slight step backwards in OS X version 10.4. As Eric Bullock discovered:

"I have the new OS running on two machines. A Pismo and a single 1.8 minor issues. The most annoying is how Remote Desktop 2.1 Admin no longer launches. 2.2 coming soon I hope!"

How about trying 1.9 or 2.0 of Remote Desktop Admin? We wouldn't be surprised if this works better.

File permissions

System administrators will also welcome the subtle file permission changes in Tiger not mentioned in any obvious way by Apple until 2 June 2005 when enough users discovered a major problem and Apple decided to let everyone know a fix was coming. If you have set up an OS X 10.3.x server and suddenly upgrade to 10.4.x, clients on the network trying to read, write, move or delete files on the server will complain long and hard about why they can't perform these rather basic and important tasks as they did in the past. In essence, the server no longer wants to serve files because of a new AppleShare policy quietly introduced by Apple. Going back to 10.3.x is a very tempting proposition, and one MacFixIt reader named Robert Gruber had done just that! However, an anonymous person going by the nickname of Question Mark has kindly suggested the solution, which is namely to switch back to the old AppleShare policy of inheriting permissions from parent (i.e. the server):

  1. Start Workgroup Manager and go into "Sharing".
  2. Select a share point (i.e. a folder).
  3. In the Protocols preference pane, select "Apple File Settings" and switch the option from "Use standard POSIX behaviour" (the default Tiger option after install) to "Inherit permissions from parent" (the default Panther option after install).

But apparently this doesn't work in OS X Tiger Server versions 10.4 to 10.4.1. Apple has acknowledged the problem in Knowledge Base document #301601 as of 2 June 2005. A fix is expected to arrive soon.

As a final check, system administrators should make sure the hard disk on the server has been formatted in the HFS+ (extended) format, not the standard HFS which will not share files and folders. And you could also try setting up Access Control Lists (ACLs) as a way to get around the problem. However, as one user has discovered after using ACLs, Finder file attributes such as comments and labels did not remain intact when users log back in again and when different users are accessing the same files.

9 June 2005

We will give Apple some credit for coming up with Security Update 2005-006 which hopefully solves the file permission inheritance problem for files copied via AFP. It also solves the issue of ACL-enabled volumes for storage where a temporary ACL is attached to files during the copy process and stopping other users from accessing the files. This update should remove the ACL correctly. The update also comes with further security enhancements for Bluetooth devices capable of accessing files outside of the default file exchange directory, better error handling for applications using PDFKit and CoreGraphics to properly render poorly-formed PDF documents, more secure folder permissions applied to system's cache folder and Dashboard system widgets to reduce vulnerability, and other miscellaneous improvements. Whilst some users have noted a few problems after the update, in general this is a worthy update for all Tiger users and those running Panther 10.3.9. Just remember to clear the Safari cache and.plist files including the QuickTime.plist file called com.apple.quicktime.plugin.preferences.plist in the ~/Library/Preferences/ folder to solve a performance slowdown of Safari and another new Safari problem of not being able to access secure "https://..." sites.

.dmg images

Also information burned on CD/DVDs by OS X 10.3.x (Panther) via DiscRecording 2.1.6 (or higher but below 3.0 which is suitable only for Tiger) cannot be used as the source for creating .dmg disk images in OS X 10.4.x (Tiger). It doesn't matter if the information is ordinary photos burned on CD/DVDs, the way the files are created by DiscRecording 2.1.6 (or Panther) is not compatible with Tiger.

Also be careful with .dmg disk images in Tiger. Not all disk images will open when you double-click on them. Try the Disk Utility in /Applications/Utilities/ as an alternative approach to mounting disk images. Or, duplicate the disk image. Alternatively, try deleting the following files from /System/Library/ folder:



As a final solution, try Pacifist to mount and install the disk images. Or go back to Panther, it is much easier.

Copying large files

And how can we forget how much Apple loves to stop people from copying large files or if the total number of files exceed a certain size (probably designed to make life difficult for those people wanting to copy large applications legitimately for backup purposes or otherwise such as Adobe Photoshop). Shirley Sanderson reported on MacFixIt and published on 1 June 2005 a problem with the Tiger kernel deciding to chuck a mental (but not with Panther) when copying the files in large quantities or sizes. Try it! Get a folder together with large files or enough files to reach 100 - 200MB or more and try copying it to another part of your hard disk using the drag-and-drop approach with your mouse. The results are said to be hilarious!

We can only wonder the reason for this kernel panic problem? This is very similar to the way OS9 Finder behaves when copying a large number of files from one disk to another — it tends to suddenly quit.

26 July 2005

Apple has now progressed in the solution to this problem under the OS X 10.4.2 update with a sudden unmounting of FireWire drives right in the middle of copying large files to an external disk as if it needs to draw more power from the computer or just does so because of the way the OS is designed. For further details, click here. We appreciate this thoughtful solution.


Another major concern is the Widget architecture vulnerability thanks to some excellent observers such as stephan. Widgets are small tools supplied by third-party developers and business operators which the Safari user can install automatically and run in the background using Apple's own Dashboard application. Widgets are a recent invention by Apple for the Tiger upgrade. They help users with snippets of information they may need such as the weather, currency exchange rates, dictionaries, travel information and heaps of other uses. But it also helps Apple by getting users to connect and stay online to help with its own activities.

The only problem with widgets is that they could be made to quietly download a malicious Javascript program when visiting a Web site which can do more than what the widget had originally intended. Apple has denied users a simple means of quitting and removing widgets in the same way as cookies. As a result, you will have to use a utility such as Activity Monitor to kill the widget process. A more permanent solution is to go into ~Library/Widget/ and delete the offending widget. Better still, Apple resellers actually use a technique to stop widgets being installed on an OS X machine. The technique is simply to use the Get Info command and change the write permissions to the ~Library/Widget/ folder. In other words, click the check box that denies write privileges to the folder.

If you want to know whether widgets are being installed, use OS X's built-in folder action to give you alerts when a new widget is being installed. The technique, as kindly published by MacFixIt.com, is as follows:

1. Control-click (accessing the contextual menu) anywhere in a Mac OS X Finder window or on any folder and select "Enable Folder Actions."

2. Navigate to the ~/Library folder and select the "Widgets" folder.

3. Control-click on the "Widgets" folder and select "Attach a folder action."

4. Select the script "add - new item alert.scpt" (located in the folder /Library/Scripts/Folder Action Scripts/ which should appear immediately by default) and press the "Choose..." button.

More problems for the unweary OS X user with the advent of 10.4. Now Contact and Up-to-Date 4.5.3 is Now definitely incompatible with Tiger. The makers of the software say people must wait for version 5 and pay for the upgrade (that's right, you heard it, no updates. Just a lousy upgrade to lighten up your wallet!). As the company kindly puts it:

"Now Up-to-Date and Contact version 5 is in the final rounds of beta testing. Version 5 supports Mac OS X 10.2 through 10.4 ("Tiger") and will be available by June 2005.

'The current shipping version, 4.5.3, is not Tiger compatible. We recommend that customers who rely on Now Up-to-Date and Contact wait until version 5 has been released before installing Tiger...

'We are working on subsequent versions which adds many Tiger-specific features, such as Dashboard Widgets for QuickDay and QuickContact, Spotlight support, and full support for Sync Services. These features will be provided free of charge to those that purchase or upgrade to version 5 and will be available later this year." (MacFixIt.com: OS X 10.4 (Tiger) #2. 25 April 2005.)

How about going back to version 4.5.2? Some users are suggesting the older version of Now Up-to-Date and Contact 4.5.2 does work under 10.4. Why is that so? Interesting to see how the company has kept quiet on this discovery.

Upgrading third-party plug-ins and applications

As for third-party applications installed on Panther, upgrading to Tiger may require a number of changes to make them work. For example, you may have to delete.plist files for selected software products and/or the software applications have to be re-installed. Other classic examples of software requiring re-installation to resolve problems under the OS X 'Tiger' upgrade is Adobe Photoshop CS and Microsoft Virtual PC 7. For Adobe PhotoShop CS users, you might be able to save time by following the advice of Bryan Schappel:

"This happens because the Archive and Install option does not copy over a necessary folder for Photoshop. The critical folder is called 'ScriptingAdditions' and is stored in the main Library folder. This folder contains one file 'Adobe Unit Types' that makes Photoshop open files that have been double-clicked or dragged to the PS icon in the Dock.

'Simply move this folder (and file) from the 'Previous System' backup to the Library folder, relaunch Photoshop and all is well again. No need to completely re-install."

Not all users are entirely happy with this suggested solution from Schappel.

Any other problems with 10.4 should resolve itself once the indexing of Spotlight is completed (approximately 1 hour after the upgrade).

28 April 2005

For the amount of updating, upgrading and errors, all requiring fixing of permissions, clearing of.plists files, re-installing applications, re-naming and moving files and folders, re-registering software (which can happen when clearing some.plists files), and other problems facing OS X users (unless you decide to fully reformat your hard drive and do a brand new spanking clean installation of OS X which we hear poses less problems), it looks like Apple Inc. (formerly Apple Computer, Inc.) must have discovered something from the hard disks of Apple computers (i.e. the ones brought in for repairs during the warranty period such as the latest aluminium G4 PowerBooks). Did Apple find suspect files and applications warranting Apple to give users headaches with regular updates and upgrades to third-party software (and waiting for Apple for updates to its own software) following the update to 10.3.9 and upgrade to 10.4.0?

Now the latest evidence supporting this view suggests the highly reliable, stable and effective Alsoft DiskWarrior 3.0.2 and a handful of other popular third-party disk repair utilities are no longer able to properly fix Apple hard disks on OS X version 10.4 because of a change in the HFS+ file system format. Using an OS X version 10.3 system disk to start up and check for and repair errors will not work as the files contain additional flag information that disk utilities don't understand. Incompatible disk repair utilities will report an unusual number of errors. You should not attempt to repair these errors if you are able to do so. Any attempt to repair the errors could cause serious file damage. People must wait for a third-party update (or upgrade) for the disk repair utilities to work properly.

Sounds like a lot of users have been keeping illegal copies of third-party disk repair utilities without paying for them.

29 April 2005

The emergence of numerous interesting quotes from third-party software manufacturers and developers are suggesting they are trying hard to work closely with Apple to ensure their own updates for software are provided in time for the latest Tiger release and the 10.3.9 update. However, Apple has not, on this occasion, given enough time and/or information to others about the significant changes done to OS X. Now it seems third-party software makers have been caught out and are playing the catch up game just to keep up with the latest changes to OS X version 10.4 and 10.3.9.

Or is it all part of a ploy to help software makers determine how many users have to update or upgrade and check this against the number of software titles actually sold to determine the exact extent of software piracy?

Whatever the truth, the first piece of evidence is this official quote to MacFixIt.com by the makers of Alsoft Disk Warrior 3.0.2:

"The current version of DiskWarrior (3.0.2) will not cause any harm when run on a disk with Mac OS X 10.4.x (Tiger) installed. Of course, it is always recommended that you rebuild your directory before doing any operating system install, especially a major upgrade such as 10.3.x to 10.4.x.

'In many instances DiskWarrior will rebuild the Tiger directory successfully. In certain configurations, DiskWarrior will return the message: "This disk appears to have a newer version of the Mac OS disk format than this version of DiskWarrior." Older versions of DiskWarrior may simply indicate that the disk cannot be repaired.

'We have addressed the Tiger-specific issues and will have more information once Mac OS X 10.4 is officially released. Please check our website after the coming weekend." (http://www.macfixit.com/article.php?story=20050427205930976#comments)

Still waiting? OS X version 10.4 has already been released to the public for nearly two weeks. It is being delivered in advance of the official Apple date to customers via airmail. Of course we won't ask how much longer it has been out for the developers while it was in the alpha version! An important company such as Alsoft having to wait for the official release to get more information sounds like pretty lousy service from Apple. So much for companies working closely with Apple for up to a year before the next major OS upgrade.

For example, Thursby — the makers of DAVE 5.1 — claims:

"We have been working closely with Apple for the past year to ensure a timely delivery of our new releases. The vastness of Apple's enhancements to critical parts of the system (both the kernel dealing with network transports and the file system) are requiring a major effort to obtain compatibility.

'Our target dates for FCS of ADmitMac v3.0 is August 8, and for DAVE v6.0 by the end of August. These dates are also dependent on a future release of the Mac OS that includes a critical bug fix that has been acknowledged by Apple." (http://www.macfixit.com/article.php?story=20050427205930976#comments)

In other words, by not giving information to software makers in advance has meant this company can only provide an update upgrade (there will be a cost to consumers) to its software in August 2005, or roughly 4 months after the release of the Tiger upgrade. In the meantime anyone using DAVE 5.1 will be twiddling their thumbs trying to look professional to clients or will have to start looking for a competitor to provide the software requirements and compatibility in a quicker time. Or why not get a refund from Apple for purchasing OS X 10.4 given all the incompatibility problems?

Not smart from a customer service point-of-view, Apple.

We wonder whether this is because too many people have OS X but some are not doing the right thing so Apple needs to try another technique to force people to get legitimate in their software applications?

Partly as a result of the fiascoe with the Tiger upgrade (not to mention hardware problems of the iBook), the Henrico School Board in the US has unanimously approved purchase of 15,800 Dell laptops to replace the iBooks for students costing US$18 million (or US$1,130 each). This contract will last 4 years. The other reason is because the schools need students to be familiar with the Windows environment since it is being used more extensively by industry and government than the latest OS X.

11 May 2005

Following all the commotion from early adopters of 10.3.9 and 10.4 update and upgrade for OS X respectively, not a great deal of professional users in the business world are jumping on the bandwagon. Consequently Apple has tried to get some incentive in place for these users by providing a Pro Application Support 3.0 for OS X 10.4 and OS X 10.3.9 (around 3MB). This update allegedly "improves general user interface reliability for DVD Studio Pro, Final Cut Pro, Logic Pro, Logic Express, Motion and Soundtrack" according to MacFixIt.com. Of course, the update will only work if you have OS X version 10.3.9 or 10.4 (what's wrong with 10.3.5?). Hopefully this will get the professional users to see the value of upgrading most of their software in the new OS X environment and give Apple a chance to see who is downloading the update/upgrade.

Boy have Apple stuffed up bigtime! Now Apple has to make up ground to attract the professional users because they focussed too hard on the young amateurs who may or may not be doing the right thing.

12 May 2005

News has emerged in March 2005 of a Canadian student who originally signed up as an Apple developer to test the alpha version of Tiger OS X 10.4, but has prematurely released details of the OS and the installation files online. Not a good idea if he was contractually engaged to protect Apple intellectual property. Never mind. Fortunately Apple has given him a firm warning not to do it again. But given how much we already know about Tiger from the above discussion since the official release of the software, we can't imagine why any developer would want to release information about OS X before the official date. We already know what to expect from Apple: more headaches and a waste of money!


All in all, Tiger 10.4 is an absolute shocker of an upgrade from Apple Inc. (formerly Apple Computer, Inc.). If users thought all the fuss with OS X was behind them, they are in for a rude awakening. Whatever improvements lie hidden underneath OS X (e.g. security updates of a socially-useful kind without all the hidden agenda from Apple) is masked by an enormous range of issues affecting Apple software and third-party applications. Users are not going forward with the latest OS X. Users are now required to make a heap of updates and upgrades of software to make them compatible. And that's just to get them to where they were before the upgrade. All this from the Tiger upgrade which ought to have been practically flawless by now.

A true eye-opener in anyone's language.

We can begin to see how the Panther update was designed more to slither and slink around the system to see what people were doing. Now the Tiger is designed to pounce on people with a range of software updates and upgrades to force everyone to spend more money in the hope they will do the right thing by the software companies.

Will this mean the next OS X 10.5 instalment be called the "pussycat" to keep users onside with Apple (especially the professional users)?

Tiger is clearly not meant to do the right thing with users. It is designed to get people to buy legitimate software while learning more about you. The beginnings of such a system is already emerging thanks to the advice from users of a tiny and highly useful utility called Little Snitch. These users have noticed the Tiger upgrade is trying to run an Apple application called dnotifyd designed to call home to Apple and send user information and various statistical information.

As Jim Czech wrote to MacFixIt.com:

"Since my upgrade last night to Tiger, I have noticed something going on in the background. This was never observed in the past, but thanks to Little Snitch I 'caught' this one.

'This particular app is attempting to contact 'configuration.apple.com' every few minutes. I don't have a packet sniffer, but am curious just exactly why Apple needs to 'check my configuration' every few minutes.

'After the upgrade, I started testing all my apps, one by one, to see if there were any compatibility issues making the move from 10.3.9 to Tiger. When I applied the Little Snitch update, I then noticed this "dmnotifyd" app was phoning home. I thought it was possibly related to running each app and then Apple was gathering stats for compatibility, etc.

'However, even with no applications running, 'dmnotifyd' is still contacting Apple.

'I have allowed several requests (since I have nothing to hide) thinking it would stop. It doesn't matter whether the request to send is allowed or denied, it runs non-stop." (MacFixIt.com: Problems with QuickTime Pro 7 and Mac OS X 10.3.x (Panther). 2 May 2005.)

Apple claims this daemon "dmnotifyd" is nothing sinister. It is about contacting Apple servers under the Tiger upgrade for the purposes of helping users of.Mac services and membership. Users can examine the contents in /System/Library/PrivateFrameworks/DMNotification.framework/Versions/A/Resources/dmnotifyd'.

Not exactly a ringing endorsement of Apple's trustworthiness in these matters considering all the other problems and techniques being used by Apple to learn about its users.

About version 10.4.1...

We were not surprised by this, but quick on the heel of its debut Tiger release was, as expected, the 10.4.1 update. It came out on 17 May 2005, barely a month after Tiger's initial release.

If you want our recommendation, here it is:

(i) You've already purchased and upgraded to 10.4 Tiger since April 2005? You would be wise to move onto 10.4.1 (better still, try to go for 10.4.2) to reduce many of the most common Tiger annoyances experienced by users. After stuffing around users with heaps of problems in the initial release, anything provided by Apple at this stage would be seen as an improvement. If you still have problems, try re-installing the standalone OS X 10.4.1 updater (39 MB), fix file permissions, use OnyX to clear font caches and logs, create clean.plist files, then see below for other possible solutions.

(ii) You haven't purchased the upgrade to 10.4 Tiger? You are one of the really smart and lucky ones indeed. You have chosen wisely to wait until Apple gets its act together, something which we consider absolutely critical in this era of high profitability for virtually little gain or improvements in the products we receive from public companies such as Apple Inc. (formerly Apple Computer, Inc.). Because 10.4.1 update is not a serious attempt by Apple to fully repair all bugs and bring OS X back to a level of stability and reliability as we have come to expect after OS X Panther version 10.3.5, you should not take it seriously at all.

The update reminds us of a company that has been hit hard by complaints from customers who weren't happy with the upgrade and now the company is trying all it can to cut out or block some features from operating properly or give quick and dirty solutions for other bugs to help minimise the complaints.

You will need the host of additional Security Updates from Apple to address some of the problems.

Ignoring the Security Updates, the only improvements, if we may call it that, are in the following areas:

  1. Widget vulnerability

    Apple claims to have provided a fix to this vulnerability by given users a notice asking whether to proceed with downloading an installing the widget. If users give their express consent to accept the widget, it will be downloaded. Unfortunately this is a very quick and dirty solution from Apple Inc. (formerly Apple Computer, Inc.). The problem with this approach is how many unsuspecting users may not know whether a widget is bad or has done its dirty work until it is downloaded and launched. If Apple is truly in the business of helping its customers, it should have provided a window to show all widgets and an option to remove selected or all widgets at the users' own discretion (just like the cookies of a browser), and not just get the users' permission to accept them. Even better should be a security feature from Apple to test each widget to see what they do. If any widget tries to do something it shouldn't, Apple should give a clear and unmistakable warning and let users decide what to do with it.

  2. Mail.app

    Those unfortunate fortunate enough to be using this application for sending and receiving emails will appreciate some improvements. The improvements include characters properly displaying in the Reply window, stop an annoying alert when opening an attached Pages document, better sync of the Address Book with.Mac services, no longer tries to unexpectedly quit when pasting large graphics into a message, no longer moves deleted text to the beginning of the message (it now actually deletes properly), some interface improvements such as removing a second unnecessary horizontal scroll bar from appearing in a Mail message, deleting a link now no longer deletes the entire line of text, fixes problems with importing email from an earlier version of Mail.app (Apple has decided to stop plug-ins from loading to solve this problem), and some other improvements.

  3. Dashboard widgets

    Enables more third-party mouse devices with scroll wheels to work in this application. Extra option to choose three font sizes in the Dictionary widget.

  4. .Mac, iSync and syncing

    Problems with not being able to login to the.Mac sync server at unexpected times seems to be resolved, greater compatibility to Motorola mobile phones in iSync 2.0, permits users to use an "&" in the computer name for people wanting to register their computer name for access to.Mac services.

  5. Safari, iLife etc

    No unexpected quits when clicking on a PDF document or graphic within a Safari window, no unexpected quits when hiding iDVD while it is burning a DVD or saving a disk image, no unexpected quits for an unspecified issue within iPhoto, no unexpected quits in DVD Players when change the language in International preferences, removed a block from Apple originally designed to stop people from printing a PDF document downloaded via Safari (a grey bar is printed instead of the original PDF information), no unexpected quits in iCal after you receive an iCal invitation in Mail.app, and greater compatibility and reliability with Dreamweaver MX 2004 and Motion 2.0.

  6. FileVault

    Shows the correct message "Deleting old Home folder" instead of the silly "Unmounting FileVault" (care still needs to be taken not to force-restart the computer when FileVault is attempt to secure delete the folder).

  7. Miscellaneous enhancements

    Improved the security at the password prompt on waking the computer or stopping a screen saver where it would be possible for a user to read the documents on the screen behind the prompt, better disk image mounting when the image is shared by a different computer, clicking a Help button or choosing an item in the Help menu now takes you to the correct Help pages instead of the main page for the application's Help content, you can now use long computer names while still allowing third-party wireless DHCP servers to provide an IP address to a computer (i.e. wirless communication will be better), and improvements to the OS X 10.4 Keyboard Setup Assistant.

    26 July 2005

    The OS X version 10.4.2 update now changes your TCP/IP DHCP setting without your consent to another configuration of its own choosing. You will have to manually change the setting back to DHCP to get your computer to re-recognise the existence of your ethernet cable and addresses. This extra manual work must also include all TCP/IP location specific DHCP settings you have created. Fixed internet addresses are not affected.

    Also note that the update to 10.4.2 causes older ISDN modems not to be recognised irrespective of what you do to install the correct modem script or performing other things. Only 10.4.1 can recognise the devices.

  8. Moved applications can now be updated!

    An interesting behaviour, which some might consider an improvement, is how Apple now allows applications moved from their original location in the Applications folder to be updated. Why wasn't this feature available in earler OS X versions? Or has Apple realised people could be keeping an older copy of say Safari in an attempt to escape the bugs in the latest application versions from Apple?

However, Apple has chosen not to fully activate or repair properly the following features:

  1. System Profiler crashes when checking the Firewire option in the menu.
  2. A number of users are still complaining about sleep problems after upgrading to version 10.4.1. Problems seem less apparent after quitting a few applications and clearing the following.plist files:




    More clearing of.plists might be required for Bluetooth devices such as com.apple.Bluetooth.plist. It is emerging these devices could be causing some problems. Try turning off Bluetooth, remove the abovementioned.plist file from /Users/[Your name]/Library/Preferences/, restart, turn on Bluetooth, turn off the option "Allow Bluetooth Devices to Wake this Computer" and uncheck "Discoverable" in the Bluetooth pane of System Preferences. Otherwise remove or turn-off the Bluetooth device. Sleep and waking from sleep should now be restored to your computer with some semblance of predictability as you wanted.

    As another suggestion, this time by MacFixIt reader Brian Sheppard, use MacJanitor or other freeware tools to run OS X's built-in cron tasks (normally set by Apple to run in the early morning hours). It is claimed by Mr Sheppard that this eliminates the sleep problems. As Mr Shappard said:

    "I'm not sure why, but after using MacJanitor to run the cron tasks, my computer now sleeps just fine. I had tried all the other suggestions (I don't have Bluetooth on this computer so I knew that wasn't an issue) and none of them had worked. However, I ran MacJanitor and left the room for awhile to let it do it's thing. When I came back, my computer was asleep and has worked fine ever since." (MacFixIt.com: Mac OS X 10.4.1 (#7) - Spotlight: Choking on Finder.DAT files? Problems with sleep: more potential solutions. 26 May 2005)

  3. AirPort connectivity disrupted and copying large files has dramatically slowed down compared to the Panther upgrade. The monitor will show a connection speed as you would expect of around 35Mbps, but the actual speed when copying large files drops to around 10kbps. Clearing the following cache files may help to improve this situation:



    In the worse case scenario, obtaining a copy of Apple's AirPort 4.1 updater package and using the Pacifist utility to open the package, extract the following files, and place them in System/Library/Extensions folder should work:




    Just remember to give your administrator password when you do this (you do have an administrator password, don't you?).

  4. Preview application could be playing up.
  5. Keyboard Setup Assistant is allegedly coming up with an annoying message asking the user to specify the keyboard. It seems to occur on logging out.
  6. Limited, if any, compatibility with SCSI cards and peripherals. Apple would rather have users upgrade their hardware to the USB/FireWire variety. It really doesn't cost Apple anything to maintain SCSI compatibility, but it will cost a lot for consumers if they are still using a PowerBook G3 Series "Pismo" to run OS X.

    NOTE: There are enough "Pismo" users able to run OS X 10.4.x. With this in mind, it is in the interest of Apple for the sake of keeping a loyal Apple fan base to maintain SCSI support on these older machines. Either that, or entice third-party software makers to ensure SCSI drivers are available. But if SCSI drivers are not being made available or updated by third-party software makers, Apple should make sure all Apple computers able to run OS X have drivers for all their available ports.

  7. Unexpected Tiger OS X to Airport connection drop-outs not easily reproducible in the Panther OS X version. The best solution so far for Tiger users is to configure all Airport base stations to 802.11g instead of the older 802.11b and uninstall third-party 'Panther compatible' software products that make use of the Airport Card such as Coconut WiFi, AirTrafficControl and so on on OS X Tiger. Also consider changing the wireless security protocol from say WEP to WPA2 or vice versa. Also restart the router such as Linksys WRT54G. As a final resort, delete any old AirPort Base station names and duplicates of currently used Base stations. You can do this by opening the Network system preference pane, select "AirPort", click Configure and in the "By default join:" menu select "Preferred Networks". Now delete the little data rascals believed to be creating the dropouts. Oh! And one extra thing. It is claimed Apple is no longer making it easy for users to know the part number of the AirPort card in case you want to swap the thing for another (to eliminate hardware problems or to add it on for those users whose computer didn't come with one). According to an anonymous reader:

    "Seems that Apple has changed the Airport card in newer G5s and does not have a part number that is easily found. The Apple article indicates that Airport upgrading is not a Do it yourself upgrade. I have not actually done this, but I did a little digging and it seems that the part is available basically as a repair item and is quite easy to install." (MacFixIt.com: Late-2005 (dual-core) Power Mac G5 (#4): Adding an AirPort + Bluetooth card not DIY; Power problems; more. 22 December 2005.)

    In other words, Apple wants you to bring in your computer to an authorised Apple repairer. Don't forget to have your hard disk inside as Apple doesn't like working on computers without all the parts inside (despite what the Apple manual might say about removing the hard disk), and your wallet of course unless you happen to have the extended warranty option up your sleeve (Apple wishes you didn't!).

  8. No immediate and official explanation from Apple why users were suddenly faced with two different 10.4.1 updates (one is 19MB and the other 37MB). One day later (18 May 2005), Apple mentions the smaller update is machine specific. Apparently Apple wants to see which Apple computers are still in use by the users.
  9. Still some iSync with Motorola mobile phone incompatibility problems.
  10. Can't run bundles, or third-party add-ons, for Mail.app. Apple wants to disable this feature to minimise complaints about another issue of Mail.app instead of properly fixing the problem. It sounds like major work required here.
  11. Accessing stored mail in POP accounts through Mail.app after the upgrade still a problem for users.
  12. Software conflicts between iChat 3.0 and iCAR auto-reply utility (apparently users weren't complaining before the upgrade).
  13. The "spell-as-you-type" feature of the Tiger upgrade can cause applications to unexpectedly quit, create nonsense characters and so on unless you trash the com.apple.LaunchServices cache files in /Library/Caches/. Remember, you have to restart the computer before you can properly trash the files (We wish to apologise to all those newbie users out there who thought a Macintosh computer running OS X Tiger was worth a try for the first time but are not techno whizz kids).
  14. Photoshop CS incompatibility issues.
  15. Spotlight still cannot find purely invisible files unless, as one user claimed he could achieve, you specify "visible or invisible" in the Visibility criteria. Certainly not obvious. Apple has pretty much kept quiet on this issue, hoping people will accept it. Add to this the problem of not preserving Spotlight comments on files backed up to non-HFS+ (i.e. non-Mac OS Extended) removable media such as CDs and DVDs burned using UDF, ISO9660 and so on, and we pretty much have a Clayton application from Apple.


    Although Apple has not officially stated the reason for removing the "invisible file" feature in Spotlight, MacFixIt reader Adam Williams claims he has spoken to a friend working at Apple Inc. (formerly Apple Computer, Inc.). It would appear the reason for removing this feature is because the process used by Spotlight for indexing called mdimport (the process for Spotlight is mds) has a list of additional privacy folders on top of those already defined by the user in the Privacy tab designed to stop the prying eyes of users from finding and investigating invisible files in the system folders. As Williams kindly stated to MacFixIt.com (which we have reproduced below for the benefit of our readers):

    "I talked with a buddy of mine that works at Apple about the spotlight invisible file issue. More specifically I was trying to locate files in usr directory and other system directories.

    He told me this is why spotlight wasn't finding invisible files: mdimport (the process used by Spotlight for indexing) has a built in list of privacy folders on top of those defined in the Spotlight System Preferences pane. This prevents Spotlight from indexing these system folders. He told me it is apples wishes to keep system files from appearing to the common user who might type in a phrase that could pull up system files that a less experienced user could harmfully alter.

    There is also a noted issue about spotlight performance he brought up. Anything spotlight has indexed, will be reindexed every time file is modified. With how often system is changing it's files, caches, installing updates, etc. Image spotlight spiking CPU constantly for this. The speed hit would be hideous. A user can force an index of system folders using the mdimport command, but it is not recommended at all. He did inform me that Spotlight reverts to filename/catalog b-tree search if an index isn't present. However, it still follows it's privacy defaults so still ignores system folders." (MacFixIt.com: Mac OS X 10.4.1 (#3): Spotlight: Disable for backup target volumes, invisible files; Mail.app 2.0, iSync 2.0 solutions; more. 19 May 2005.)

    But as a MacFixIt reader nicknamed "MacHound" said:

    "This nonsense of Spotlight refusing to search the System folder is presumptous on Apple's part. How much additional time will it take a person to track down all the.plist and other files left behind by a deleted application if we can't search for them?

    This new "feature" negates any potential gains of the new search engine. Now we have to wait until someone writes a search program (or front end) that works across the ENTIRE hard drive.

    Bad idea, Apple, to assume your users can't discern the difference between a system file and a non-system file, or at least not include a back door to the functionality we had in 10.3.x. Not everyone likes having a childproof plug in their AC outlet."

    It is presumed this modification to Spotlight for invisible files is Apple's way of saying "a security enhancement".

  16. Some widgets or possibly in the Dashboard itself may suffer from memory leaks causing memory usage to swell to over 60MB in a couple of days, forcing some users to think it is time to upgrade the RAM card. Also the Dashboard application itself isn't free of errors. It is claimed by a number of users that Adobe's Helvetica Neue font creates a font problem for Dashboard with all widgets displaying an unreadable outlined text. No other application is affected by the font and no other fonts are affecting Dashboard in the same way. To disable the font, launch the Font Book application in /Applications/ folder, highlight the offending font (i.e. Helvetica Neue), and click on the button that says "Disable Selected Fonts". Log out and log back in for the changes to take effect. As for other users, some of them are suggesting any changes to your network location where you want to change from say an Ethernet connection to a wireless connection using the switch facility in the Network pane of System Preferences causes Dashboard to crash the system rather badly. And it ain't the occasional crash; it is a very repeatable event and something Apple can't ignore.
  17. Mac OS 9 users wanting to open and save files stored on a Tiger OS X server will get an error message suggesting the file is corrupt. Using the original application the file was produced to open and save will not work. Users will now have to copy and save the file onto their own local OS 9 machines and transfer the file later to an OS X client Mac which can then properly save the file onto the Tiger OS X server.
  18. A conflict between the third-party internet browser Firefox and Tiger's Spotlight application has been observed by users where the FireFox folder through ~/Library/Application Support/FireFox/ is constantly being indexed by Spotlight when FireFox is quit causing a new bookmark file to appear in the user profile. Disable Spotlight's indexing feature for this FireFox folder via the Privacy tab of the Spotlight pan in System Preferences. This should solve the problem.


    A host of unexpected errors have appeared in FireFox 1.5 running on Tiger 10.4.3. Wait until an update arrives for FireFox to resolve these errors. We hope Apple is not trying to stifle the alternative internet browsers competition market.

  19. It looks like Apple was saving the best til last with the release of the updated Apple iTunes 4.9. Apple's latest iTunes released on 30 June 2005 does more than it should be doing. As part of Apple's attempt to stop people changing the files in some way so the company can impose certain restrictions on how the files can be played, the company has quietly introduced a technique of getting iTunes to recognise any files containing the file extensions ".mp3", ".m4a" and so on as QuickTime files and therefore should be run as Apple's own proprietary files together with the restrictions needed to stop people doing things with the files they probably shouldn't (although not illegal for personal use).

    So not only can you re-record audio and video files on even the most restricted commercial files to help bypass the restrictions for personal use (after you've made a payment), but now you must change the file extension to fool iTunes into thinking it is a third-party file not owned by Apple. Nice one Apple!

    Ignoring the visualizer of iTunes 4.9 which apparently doesn't work (switching to visualizer forces iTunes to suddenly quit for no good reason), a fair bit of work is required by users to reestablish and fix up lost iTunes libraries following the upgrade to iTunes 4.9. If the iTunes library folder from previous iTunes versions can be recognised (make sure you have a backup), you will have to do a bit of cleaning up of duplicate music lists (mainly from non-AAC-protected files purchased outside Apple's music store) in the latest iTunes version. Apparently iTunes does some funny things to the old lists.

    And if you need to check the help section of iTunes 4.9, be prepared for the problem of reading up the help file from previous iTunes versions. The newly-installed iTunes 4.9 help file does not display itself properly. We recommend re-installing iTunes 4.9 from the standalone installer to solve this problem or go back to iTunes 4.7.1. If all else fails, send to the trash and delete (before running iTunes 4.9) the iTunes and iTunes Music Store Help folder.

    NOTE: Apple has recommended upgrading all the iLife tools. In particular, use QuickTime 7.0.1, and the latest iMovie and iPhoto. Yes, this company would suggest this. It is the only way to get people to live with the latest restrictions to music and video while forcing people to upgrade the OS to Tiger.

    And finally, don't try to burn to CD your MP4/AAC-protected files through iTunes. Some users have complained of gaps in the music where they shouldn't be. Try a third-party CD burning software such as Toast 5.2.1.

    And did we mention downloading PDF files with Safari creates the same file type problem? Double-clicking the files will open them in QuickTime 7.x, not the Adobe Acrobat Reader as you would have expected. Using QuickTime 6.5.2 or earlier does not create the problem. Why? You either have to Get Info one of the downloaded PDF files and select the application to Open With, or go into System Preferences and open QuickTime. In the Advanced tab, click on Mime Settings. Open Still Images and remove the option to open PDF files as PDF images in QuickTime. So why the extra work for users?

    But after one too many problems with iTunes 4.9 (and QuickTime 7.x), one user commented:

    "Can't Apple EVER release an update without a bug or two (or more) in it??? Are WE the Apple QA department?? I am REALLY getting fed up with this. I'm reinstalling iTunes 4.8" (MacFixIt.com: iTunes 4.9 (#3): Solution for MP3/AAC files being recognized as QuickTime movies; more. 30 June 2005.)

Again we can only reiterate our opinion based on our experiences of OS X, the experiences of others using OS X, and the reports we have read about and listened from others, is that you are at the mercy of Apple if you follow the latest trends by blindly and immediately accept anything Apple releases to the public.

But if you can be patient, read up a little, ask yourself what is it you need to do today and in the next 5 years and determine whether you need to update or upgrade to do the same work, and just play it smart, then you will survive any kind of onslaught a company such as Apple can dish out to its customers.

Apple putting a positive spin on the Tiger fiascoe

On 6 June 2005, after much fanfare of Tiger's initial release in April 2005 and numerous problems encountered by users (see above), Apple has announced it expects to deliver 2 million copies of Mac OS X version 10.4 (Tiger) by the end of the week. The figure is based on a combination of retail sales, delivered under maintenance agreements, and copies bundled with new Mac computers.

As Steve Jobs said in the press release:

"The response to Tiger is off the charts. Critics are raving, customers are delighted and developers are creating hundreds of widgets and applications that take advantage of Tiger's incredible innovations like Spotlight, Dashboard and Automator."

In other words, the problems experienced by users in this section in Tiger are isolated incidents and only affect a few.

Now that the hardware side of the latest aluminium G4 PowerBooks and G5 PowerMacs appear to be showing some stability, we would not be surprised if most of the Tiger copies came from bundling with new Apple computers and as part of certain agreements. Consumers probably didn't have much choice but to purchase a new computer and as a result have to be given the only OS X Apple is prepared to provide (i.e. Tiger).

Why not bundle the latest Panther version instead? Do consumers have a choice?

However, if we were to assume this is due mostly to retail sales, then this would have to be described as Apple's fastest selling OS release ever. Perhaps we should ask consumers whether they would purchase the next OS just as fast as they did with Tiger?

Apple's press release said:

"Developer support for Tiger is also setting new records with hundreds of developers including Microsoft and Adobe announcing support for Tiger. To date third-party developers have released more than 400 Dashboard widgets, 550 Automator actions and 40 Spotlight plug-ins for Tiger."

Nothing like trying to attract a few more developers and consumers to Tiger with a quote like this one.

Seriously, notice how the two main players of Microsoft and Adobe are spearheading the support for Tiger. They need to if consumers are to buy Microsoft and Adobe software products for Tiger and to get more people onboard. Every other developer who depends on these two companies or are looking for support from the big players will simply have to follow.

As Microsoft's general manager of the Macintosh Business Unit, Roz Ho, said and quoted in Apple's press release:

"With the new technologies in Tiger, we worked closely with Apple to ensure that Office 2004 customers would benefit by making it even easier to search, share and manage information. Whether searching for an Office 2004 document using Spotlight or synchronizing data in Entourage to another supported device, the innovation in Tiger means Office for Mac users will be more productive now and in the future."

Notice how earlier in this page other developers were caught off guard by the new features in Tiger and required time to update or upgrade their flagship software products? It would appear Microsoft wasn't one of them.

Adobe has joined in, with Shantanu Narayen, president and chief operating officer of the company, stating:

"Tiger is an excellent release and will be relied on by millions of Adobe customers who, as creative professionals, change the way the world looks every day. The combination of Adobe Creative Suite 2 and Tiger delivers a powerful design and publishing platform that will accelerate creative workflows worldwide."

So why wasn't the recent Apple Pro Application Support 3.0 for 10.3.9 and 10.4 update to its interface for key professional software programs such as Final Cut Pro (which naturally requires Adobe software to help these professionals) available only for 10.3.9 and 10.4? What's wrong with 10.3.5? It would appear Apple is trying to bring onboard more professionals to the latest OS. Given the problems of 10.3.9, professionals would have no choice but to upgrade to 10.4 after the update. Only to receive more problems in the Tiger OS.

And still no rest for the wicked. It seems more upgrades await everyone in the land of the great Apple with the announcement from CEO Steve Jobs that Apple will move to Intel processors starting in 2006.

Apple testing legitimacy of OS X software?

It looks like Apple wants to test the legitimacy of users 10.4 "Tiger" software by creating directory damage during installation, forcing users to run the OS X system disk (hopefully the original Apple CD) in the CD-ROM drive and launch Apple Disk Utility from the CD. The errors could be repaired after OS X is launched on your hard disk, but you will have to remember the technique of restarting in Safe Boot mode. Otherwise the errors will cause hanging in the middle of the normal full startup process for users.

Adobe appears to be assisting in the problem with the discovery that the Version Cue component of Adobe's Creative Suite 2 package is causing a stalling problem during startup and shutdown of OS X 10.4.2 systems.

Could this be an example of Apple showing a concern about the number of people having the Tiger software and how not enough of them are buying the software from Apple?

Or maybe the sales of Tiger isn't too crash hot for Apple and is thinking the lower sales represent evidence of software piracy?

Perhaps Apple shouldn't be focussing on the OS so much. All it takes is one person to purchase a second-hand Apple computer and discover how easy it is to get a DVD/CD copy of OS X version 10.4 included with the machine. Because every Apple is entitled to have a free OS system disk. The version of the OS doesn't really matter (come to think of it, how many people have kept their original OS9 system disks?).

Unless Apple has secretly changed this policy in recent times, Apple should be concentrating on the other software it produces such as Final Cut Pro to see if they are legitimate. Forget about the OS.

NOTE: The OS should be more like Linux: everyone can see what is going into the OS; and is very stable, fast and lean. The only thing Apple had to do is put on a decent interface, which it has thanks to OS X.

Increasing the stability of Tiger?

If you must go for Tiger (yawn!), we strongly recommend updating to version 10.4.2 using the Combo updater (58MB).

If you use Safari a lot and can't stand the numerous problems it creates (1), you may benefit from using FireFox 1.0.7 and Firefoxy to give Firefox the ability to use widgets and Java Embedding Plug-in 0.9.4 to allow Firefox and other non-Apple internet browsers the chance to use the latest Java capabilities.

A Java Security Update 4 (still not perfect or well-tested by Apple, but a big improvement in the speed of loading most web pages using Java or running Java applications) and, if necessary, put on the Security Update 2005-007 v1.1 (ignore Security Update 2005-007 v1.0 because it breaks support for 64-bit applications) and perhaps the Safari Update 2.0.1 (although Safari will load web pages more slowly in return for greater system stability, see footnote below). However, making these updates may cause problems to TCP/IP and ethernet networking. Until Apple makes yet another update to Tiger (possibly version 10.4.3), you will have to live with at least one major annoying bug.

Security Update 2005-008 is another one designed to do more than plug security holes. Apart from problems with the Keychain (you will need to delete the Keychain and reenter passwords to create a new Keychain), Apple states:

"A corrupt GIF image could potentially create a buffer overflow in ImageIO (an operating system component for rendering images used by Safari and other applications), which could enable an attacker to execute arbitrary code. No known exploitations have occurred, and Security Update 2005-008 fixes the problem. A similar issue with PICT images is fixed in the operating system's QuickDraw component."

Now uncorrupted or clean PICTs and animated GIFs will no longer work in Preview after this update is applied. You must now use QuickTime or a third-party graphics software tool to read the graphic files.

You will also get rapidly bloating of OS X log files in the invisible folder /var/log. If you want to delete these logs under OS X, (i) choose Go>Go to Folder in the Finder, (ii) go to /var/log/; and (iii) delete log files named "System.log.x.gz" where x is equal to 1, 2, 3, etc.

And the Apple Security update also causes erratic problems with Microsoft Office after having been updated to SP2. Either Microsoft hasn't done its quality control check, or Apple hasn't. Or both are not communicating to each other to explain there is an update coming so both can do the quality control work.

However, if you don't need the updates for Safari, the Combo updater on its own should be enough to provide the most stable Tiger version yet. But remember, for the least problems when installing the Combo updater, try to boot off from a separate startup disk and apply the Disk Utility to repair all permissions before going back to your original OS X 10.4.2 startup disk containing your latest updates. And also consider reinstalling some third-party applications in case some non-Apple approved plug-ins or preferences have been changed.

As a word of warning, Apple wants users to have the original Apple OS X DVD disk to repair permissions during and, most importantly, after the updates. So keep this in mind.

Once you've finally got it all stable again, make a carbon clone of the startup disk to a backup disk for use as a reference or if you have to revert back to this system when Apple decides on issuing another poorly-tested update.

NOTE: Security Update 2005-007 v1.1 (can also be applied to Panther) is still causing problems for users. Problems range from AirPort connectivity issues, AppleTalk over Ethernet broken for some users, bluetooth connectivity lost, login items lost, Mail.app issues, problems with startup after updating, Safari issues, Sherlock issues and third-party application problems. The update is also causing problems to users of older Apple computers such as the titanium PowerBook and Quicksilver G4 computers. The newer mini's and G5 computers are not experiencing any problems. Is this Apple's way of enticing people to upgrade Apple computers to the latest (non-OS9 bootable) versions?

However do what the experts do and wait until the next major OS X instalment comes out — whether it will be called Leopard, Pussycat or some other creative name — after 10.4. Then you can choose to have the most stable and hassle-free Tiger OS you want (purchase it from eBay.com where everyone will be trying to get rid of Tiger). Leave it to the young naive consumers to go for the latest OS (the Internet is littered with messages about how many problems are found on the OS).

Come to think of it, what's wrong with Panther?

1 November 2005

Apple releases the 10.4.3 update of the infamous or famous (depending on how many bugs you had to endure) OS X. This one fixes up some annoying features of Apple-specific software in Tiger such as those in mail.app and a few bugs in the Finder. Most importantly some stability improvements for Safari appear to be incorporated into this update. Yet you will still have to use Microsoft Internet Explorer to access some web sites, only to find this third-party browser will behave more unpredictably under the latest Java improvements. This is probably due to the fewer people using the Microsoft product and the decision by Apple to start ditching the software in favour of Safari.

Or perhaps Apple has received word from Microsoft of its eagerness to ditch Microsoft Explorer for OS X and therefore needs a little enticing of the users to move to Safari with the help of Apple? Now that the Macintels are coming and Microsoft knows its Virtual PC software will run at full speed on the new Macs, why supply a Macintosh version of Microsoft Internet Explorer when the PC version will do?

Could Apple be putting in the bugs now, or incorporating sufficient changes to OS X, to force people to use certain commercial products (e.g. Apple's own) or to see what people are doing?

As for other non-Apple third-party programs trying to keep up, you may discover an increase in security bugs now that Apple has decided to make some fundamental changes to Tiger OS X. In particular, the popular Symantec AntiVirus program reveals a big security and system corruption bug. As MacFixIt.com and Secure OS X reported in December 2005:

"Secure OS X reports on a "highly critical" flaw that has been discovered in Symantec's AntiVirus software for Mac OS X.

'The vulnerability occurs when AntiVirus is decompressing files compressed in the RAR format for scanning. When AntiVirus is performing this operation, it is susceptible to to multiple heap overflows allowing attackers complete control of the system(s) being protected..." (MacFixIt.com: "Highly critical" Flaw is discovered in Symantec AntiVirus. 21 December 2005.)

Secure OS X further elaborated on this issue when it said:

"These vulnerabilities can be exploited remotely without user interaction in default configurations through common protocols such as SMTP.

Successful exploitation of Symantec protected systems allows attackers unauthorized control of data and related privileges. It also provides leverage for further network compromise. Symantec implementations are likely vulnerable in their default configuration. In default configurations users are likely vulnerable regardless of whether they choose to open or read the email." (Secure OS X: "Highly Critical" flaw in Symantec AntiVirus. 21 December 2005.)

Continuing with the quote from MacFixIt.com:

"The only solution at this point is to filter RAR archives at email or proxy gateways, or disable and uninstall Norton AntiVirus...

This flaw is the latest in a bevy of other issues caused by the AutoProtect component of Symantec's Norton AntiVirus under Mac OS X 10.4.x including apparent corruption of Mac OS X temp files that can result in spiking processor usage and complete system unresponsiveness." (MacFixIt.com: "Highly critical" Flaw is discovered in Symantec AntiVirus. 21 December 2005.)

The security concern was allegedly first reported by researcher Alex Wheeler. Original report can be viewed from here.

Moving on to other areas of the OS X 10.4.3 update, we can see Apple is trying hard to reduce the heat in the G5 microprocessors. After extensive months (or possibly years) of careful deliberation, Apple has come up with the best solution and one that doesn't cost the company anything. The solution is simply to have the inbuilt fans of nearly every Mac run more regularly and faster. Expect this update to be a noisy one as your laptops start sounding like a helicopter about to take off. As one user said:

"Updated G5 iMac and now the fan runs at high speed constantly, great for cooling the processor, now approximately 31deg celsius. But extremely noisy. Did all the usual repair permissions before and after, no luck there." (MacFixIt.com Mac OS X 10.4.3 (#2): First restart may be longer than usual; General purpose fixes (try these first); Mail 2.0.5 issues; more. 1 November 2005)

You'll be also glad to know third-party Safari plug-ins may need further updating to make them compatible under OS X 10.4.3. The same is true of a number of third-party utilities such as OnyX 1.6.4, Thermograph X, FireFox 1.5b2 and Microsoft Internet Explorer. Generally the people who have the least problems updating to 10.4.3 tend to be the ones who don't have third-party software (and certainly not the ones Apple doesn't like people to install), plug-ins, extensions and control preference panes (how useful is that?). Now that's speaking volumes for the stability and compatibility of Apple's Tiger OS!

Some devices attached to PowerBooks may also draw more power causing some laptops to lose Airport connectivity and in some cases suddenly fall into sleep mode after a period of time. Other sources of AirPort connectivity drop outs include too many Base stations in the Network system preference pane, and greater sensitivity to interference by local equipment near your computer or AirPort Base Station.

Apple's own iDisk, the file synchronisation software tool for backups of the latest files and applications to an external drive, is now under scrutiny by users as complaints emerge of excessive hard disk space usage (up to 80GB taken up after a short period of use) and very slow file transfer rates despite having the fastest possible network speed or firewire/USB 2.0 cable connection. A third-party backup solution may be in order for those serious about this task (aren't we all?). As Rudy Fabre said:

"I stopped using iDisk because iDisk syncing caused my entire operating system to slow down to a crawl. I sync'ed iDisk between a PowerMac G5 at work and iMac G5 at home, both computers had the same problem. At first, I couldn't figure out why my OS's were slowing down, I thought there was a problem with a system update; I had updated to 10.4.3. Turns out, the iDisk was appropriating around 85 gigs of hard drive space during the syncing process, and it was taking hours to sync. I have stopped using the iDisk, unfortunately it has proven too unstable to depend on for work purposes. Address book, Bookmarks and iCalender syncing has worked flawlessly. I have been a.Mac subscriber for two years." (MacFixIt.com: More iDisk Issues: Consuming hard disk space when synchronizing; Failed scheduled backups. 20 December 2005.)

We hope iDisk isn't trying to provide a copy of the files online for Apple to inspect, which could explain the slow speed? Perhaps iDisk wants to store the files it has copied in a temporary file (what for?) and later if the computer is online, try to transfer the files elsewhere without the user knowing?

You should be aware that some third-party backup software tools may routinely fail to do its job on occasions. Sometimes you will have to make a second or third attempt to copy files. An example of this is Backup 3.0.

The initial startup screen immediately after the OS update will take a few minutes longer than you would expect. Please be patient. If it stalls for more than 10 minutes, get the hammer and... give it a reboot.

Widgets, those relatively useful little things that spring up on your screen with potentially useful information (nothing like Apple forcing you to stay online as much as possible as they probably gather information about you through your OS X), will require repairing of file permissions which hadn't been the case prior to this update.

To top off yet another amazing update to Tiger, Apple has decided to record the time and date for each time you use the "Command-Tab" keys to switch between applications. This information will be stored in /var/logs/windowserver.log. In the present update, the name of the application you have selected will not be stored. Did Apple forget to include this information? Well don't be surprised if this changes in the next Tiger update. Despite leaving out the application name, as one user has noted, the log file will swell in size quite dramatically. Sounds like another job for the tool Onyx to clean up.

And Apple is making it harder for users in OS X 10.4.3 to backup the entire startup disk (with installed applications) on FireWire 800 drives because it is harder to mount the drives on the desktop. USB drives are less problematic. As for burning information onto DVD-R/RW disks under OS X version 10.4.3, inserting the disks after the first time may not show up on the desktop of OS X Tiger. We know it isn't a disk error because they will work perfectly first time, every time on any PC or Mac running OS9 and OS X versions 10.0 to 10.3.x. Also burning DVDs on Panther may fail to mount on Tiger systems.

Supporting other users of the same DVD-R/RW problem, MacFixIt reader Mike Bartley said:

"I have the same problem - no DVD of any kind - including commercial will mount - DVD player grinds away but no mount on desktop. CD's mount and play as normal. The computer is a mirror drive door Dual 1 GHz Power PC G4 1.25 GB DDR SDRAM Mac OS X version 10.4.3 - updated from Software update. Was working normally 4 weeks ago - no DVD used until today - no joy." (MacFixIt.com: Problems mounting burned DVDs under Mac OS X (#2): Pioneer 106D SuperDrives particularly prone to problems; Solutions; more. 12 December 2005.)

Some observers claim the problem is not the responsibility of Apple or Tiger itself, but the choice of a DVD-R/RW drive put into the Apple G5 computers — namely the Pioneer DVR-106D. Even so, you would think a choice of a different drive should have rang bells for Apple to at least test it. Not so on this occasion. Apparently there is a time delay before the problem emerges as MacFixIt reader Remko Strobel said:

"I've had my system for almost 2 years now, and the Superdrive worked fine in the beginning. Then it stopped accepting self-made dvd's (all other media worked fine), expensive brands as well as el-cheapo's. When Toast has finished burning a dvd it will verify it correctly and it will also mount it. But after ejecting the system will keep spitting it out. Also booting with the dvd inserted will spit it out. There was still some warranty left, and the service center replaced the 106d with another 106dD This one worked fine again in the beginning, until some time ago. Now it won't accept any self-made dvd, from whatever brand, regardless of +R or -R. Exactly the same problems as before. Even my 7 year old iMac will accept the DVDs the 106D won't." (MacFixIt.com: Problems mounting burned DVDs under Mac OS X with Pioneer 106D SuperDrives (#3): Symptoms, Possible solutions. 13 December 2005.)

However, other users of the same burner claim no such problem exists on Panther or previous OS X versions. It is a unique problem for Tiger users made more prominent by this latest update. Is this a software problem of Tiger? Or is it the drivers/firmware for running the Pioneer 106D drives on the latest OS X requiring an update? Either way, it suggests a software-related problem. As Eric Garrison said on 13 December 2005:

"I have been having struggles with the Pioneer 106D drive mentioned in your recent article of 12 December. The drive will inexplicably stop working and fails to mount any disk at all including the Apple system disk for Tiger. It will on occasion begin working as well though not for long. The drive is detectable by System Profiler and no errors are reported by other utilities. I have checked the cables and there do not appear to be any hardware struggles with them. Working in fits would seem to indicate some sort of loose connection internal to the drive or maybe heat issues, but this does not fit with the evidence that the problem occurs after an upgrade to Tiger. Considering the machines I have control over have only displayed this problem after such an upgrade, I would rule out the simple hardware error." (MacFixIt.com: Problems mounting burned DVDs under Mac OS X with Pioneer 106D SuperDrives (#3): Symptoms, Possible solutions. 13 December 2005.)

Or maybe the burning speed should be slower and the laser heads cleaned (in particular the reading head)? Yet this won't explain why people on non-Tiger Macs and PCs can read the DVD-RW/R disks at normal burning speeds.

And still other people have claimed the laser heads simply wear out. Funny idea considering users of the PowerBook G3 Series "Pismo" and titanium laptops with their DVD burners have not experienced this problem as we speak.

Then to make things slightly confusing, this CD-R/RW disk mounting problem may extend to the Matshita (please, this is serious!) DVD-R UJ-845E drive according to one MacFixIt.com reader:

"I have an Aluminum PowerBook G4 17" with a 1GHz CPU and 2GB RAM. So, I have been having this problem for a while now and thought I might have used some bad/cheap media and it had resulted in bad DVD-Rs however after reading your report, I realized I wasn't alone and that it wasn't me or my media. Only catch is I checked system profiler and it lists this as my superdrive: MATSHITADVD-R UJ-815.

I am having the very same issues with my AL PB 1.7 GHz with a MATSHITA DVD-R UJ-845E drive. Problems started after applying the 10.4.3 update. Interestingly I have a bunch of alignment error messages in system.log. This may indicate a faulty device, but anyway I thought that relevant to report in the context of the current discussion." (MacFixIt.com: Problems mounting burned DVDs under Mac OS X with Pioneer 106D SuperDrives (#6). 21 December 2005.)

If this is true, then it is suggesting OS X 10.4.3 is doing something strange to the laser head alignment forcing manufacturers (or more likely hackers) of some burners to issue a new firmware patch. Either that, or the hardware has to be modified slightly to handle the new head alignment requirements.

Of course Apple is recommending people purchase the extended 3-year Apple warranty program to have the burner replaced. No doubt the company would say this. Nothing like an opportunity to inspect people's hard drives when the Macs are returned for repairs while making a little bit of extra money on the side. If this ain't true, then why is it that Apple refuses to repair a computer without the original hard drive presently especially if the official Apple manual claims the user can remove it for security purposes?

You are better off getting a new DVD/CD burner. Some users claim Pioneer DVR-109 is much more reliable and works as it should. Well, any burner should work fine. Just don't use Pioneer DVR-106D, or at least get a firmware update for this drive. If all else fails, delete the following preference file:


It is likely this file could be corrupt and interfering with the mounting process.

And &151 we are not quite there yet — people running OS X10.4.3 Server edition on Macintosh computers may notice the system maintenance scripts normally triggered by the Launchd process may not consistently run every time. Perhaps immediately after the update to 10.4.3, the script might be activated. But afterwards, and on some Macintosh models (or it could be a random situation), the scripts may never automatically run again. The problem is fairly consistent and common among those techos who run OS X servers for a living and have more than a few servers to run simultaneously.

Finally, and probably not the last problem by any means, any hiccups in starting up Classic Environment in OS X 10.4.3 may be solved by removing the DivXNetwork folder from /Library/Application Support. If you don't use DivX in QuickTime, also remove the DivX plug-in from /Library/QuickTime. Also Apple wants you to use OS9.2.2 (not OS 9.0 or 9.1) for Classic Environment to work, even though technically speaking there shouldn't be a problem running older OS9 versions.

If you intend to install this update (welcome to "guinea pig" land), make sure you disconnect all firewire and USB devices from your computer; install the full Combo updater (not the Software Update approach); clear caches, preferences and log files; check file permissions with Disk Utility; and possibly re-apply the Combo update if necessary. For improved Airport connectivity to third-party 802.11 cards and access points, install the AirPort Extreme 2005-001 update as well.

In summary, anyone who is sufficiently annoyed by the instability of Safari in previous OS X updates and upgrades and in other Apple-specific software tools such as mail.app will benefit from the update. If, however, you are looking for a stable Tiger OS, the ability to switch off the indexing feature of Spotlight when you want to, and to run a large range of the popular third-party software and devices previously compatible with earlier versions of Tiger or the latest Panther update, you may be disappointed.

This is not Apple's best update ever.

8 November 2005

One user has suggested setting the processor performance to maximum in the Energy Saver system preference pane seems to reduce excessive fan activity for G5 PowerMacs and G5 iMacs. Worth a try.

14 November 2005

The reason for affecting Classic Environment in the latest release of the OS X 10.4.3 update seems to be because the company is assessing whether enough users benefit from having Classic Environment. Since the period of relying on users as guinea pigs to test OS X is coming to a close, Apple is looking to ditch Classic Environment altogether when the first Macintels come onto the market in late 2006.

22 November 2005

MacFixIt.com released the results of a survey looking at the user stability of OS X versions 10.4.0, 10.4.2 and 10.4.3. Almost 1,500 people responded to the survey. A good initial overview of how Apple is doing with its products and how well they are behaving in the marketplace. Well, the most telling aspect of this survey was that nearly a third of all respondents had something to say about the instability of OS X. While Apple might want to focus on the positives by saying two thirds of respondents are happy, the reality is that for critical work in business and for scientific pursuits, OS X lags behind the competitors including Windows XP Professional (when installed with the latest Microsoft updates).

When the remaining one third consisting of up to 15.2 per cent of all respondents claiming serious problems such as improper startup or a loss of data after the update to the latest 10.4.3 version, and 23.1 per cent reported minor issues, this is not good for Apple. If Apple is only interested in selling OS X to the young, naive customers with money to burn and older newbies trying out the Mac for the first time, then that's fine. These people may come to expect problems with their system.

But when people have years of experience on the Macintosh and other customers choose a Mac for more serious work (beyond playing 3D adventure games and watching DVDs), OS X 10.4.3 is a disappointment.

Some experienced Mac users are saying the installation of OS7-9 was easier and frought with less danger than the latest OS X 10.4.3 update. Not the kind of thing Apple wants to hear. Although if it is making a profit, the company probably doesn't care. It still prefers to use its customers as guinea pigs to see what can be got away with within the OS through various scripts and hidden programming features and what people want or are still using so Apple can decide how the OS should develop.

All in all, version 10.4.0 is possibly the worse example of poor quality control ever seen from Apple with at least 63.6 per cent of users in a separate MacFixIt.com survey claiming some form of problem on upgrading and using Tiger OS X.

Things appeared to have improved with the update to 10.4.2 when a survey of approximately 1,200 respondents showed around 24.5 per cent had minor problems and 11 percent experienced major problems. The update to 10.4.3 may have fixed some issues in 10.4.2, but it seem it has created new ones, with MacFixIt.com suggesting that "our most recent user poll indicates that overall susceptibility to hardware and software conflicts has slightly increased in this incremental release."

In 10.4.3, 23.1 per cent claimed minor problems and 15.2 per cent claimed major problems according to the latest MacFixIt.com survey.

The situation for OS X 10.4.x can be best summed up by one user going by the alias of Macsure. He said to MacFixIt.com in no uncertain terms:

"Judging by the "chatter" about issues arising from installing 10.4.3, as well as by MacFixit's reporting - it is clear that "Tiger" is not yet ready for primetime. Meaning: Especially for those using their Macs for business and other mission-critical purposes! Installing this upgrade is like playing Russian Roulette when the revolver has only three cartridge cylinders - ONE of which contains the live round which will "blow your Mac's brains out.

Greater than 1:3 probability of having serious issues which require users to spend their time on "fixes & workarounds" is NOT acceptable to those needing to get on with business. Computers are supposed to enhance and improve productivity, not stymy us.

Apple will never submit to the indignity of doing what is necessary with OS X - pull the Tiger release and start over. That leaves only one alternative to users who MUST have reliable Macs: go back to the last version of OS X which ran reliably on your Mac.

I didn't adopt OS X until v. 10.2.6. I stopped upgrading at 10.3.6 (which works great on my eMac). I've been as eager as anyone to go ahead with Tiger - but will not do so until (probably) 10.4.5 (or.6) is released. Already I have saved myself hours, days, perhaps weeks of delay and frustration and "who knows" how much money by this strategy and I remain "a happy Mac user" because of it.

The above benefits of going slow work when users follow "normal maintenance" and diligently back up both their system and data files. Always monitor for problem reports for a week or more before committing to the system upgrade Ð (in some "famous cases" this applies to Apple applications, too). Keep a printed list of potential problems and their remedy procedures at hand when running any upgrade.

Still - it's good to see that 2/3rds of those adopting 10.4.3 have come through successfully. I just wish the proportion of "successes" was closer to 100%."

We hope Apple is listening...

30 November 2005

Apple quickly released Security Update 2005 number 009. This one still does not stamp out all Safari and other OS X problems. Well, at least it is better than a kick in the pants! Anything for Tiger users to get some real stability. There is also a noticeably speedier responsiveness in starting up and running OS X (both 10.3.9 and 10.4.3) this time.

6 December 2005

One user has noticed on exiting the screensaver of three different Macintosh computers running OS X10.4.3 how the password dialog box does not always show itself. Instead, the user can sometimes find him/herself having unimpeded access to the files and applications of the current user account when the screensaver disappears. As a MacFixIt.com user going by the name of George claimed to have discovered:

"I have three different Macintosh computers, all running 10.4.3, that have lost their screen locking capability some time in the past week. The three systems are a G4 tower, G4 Powerbook, and a snow iBook. All three will enter sleep mode or their screensavers correctly, but as soon as I hit a key or move a mouse they wake up with full access to the system." (MacFixIt.com: OS X not asking for password when exiting screensaver, waking from sleep; solution. 6 December 2005.)

In another example, a password dialog box may appear after waking up from sleep mode where a person with administrator privileges can unlock the system using the Administrator Password and have access to the current user's files and applications. As:

"We share the computer among 5 accounts, and have set Energy Saver to lock the system during sleep or while a screensaver is active.

'I can repeatedly demonstrate this situation: My wife is logged in, does not use the computer for a while and it goes to sleep. When I move the mouse, the password prompt appears: When I now type in my user name and my password, the system returns to the desktop of her account." (MacFixIt.com: Mac OS X not asking for password when exiting screensaver, waking from sleep (#3). 12 December 2005.)

On hearing this, some other users have claimed this is normal behaviour. For example, Greg Neagle wrote:

"This is normal behavior if Bernd's account has admin privileges. Administrators can clear the screen saver with their username and password. This has been the case in OS X since 10.1." (MacFixIt.com: Mac OS X not asking for password when exiting screensaver, waking from sleep (#3). 12 December 2005)

Well, is it? Because the observation has been around for some time and appears on Windows XP doesn't mean it is right. If Apple is serious about security, the last thing you want to do is leave some sensitive work on a multiple user account Macintosh computer in sleep mode and come back later only to realise somehow that the Administrator or someone else who knows the Administrator password can access your current user account and see what you were doing. Not exactly good security policy.

If it is to check for software piracy or some other illegal stuff, this may be okay. But if it is important commercial-in-confidence material or even something personal, the last thing you want is someone else not personally authorised by you to be inspecting and copying your work. This is not good security at all.

How it should work is for the current user to properly log out of his/her account on the computer before allowing any other user (including the Administrator) to access his/her own individual account on the same computer. If not, the option to force a log out should be available causing the computer to properly close all files and securely lock them away until the current user returns. Then the files can be opened and for the user to decide when it is time to save and possibly encrypt the files, and/or make sure the files are backed up somewhere (probably onto a detachable and portable external backup drive) where the work can be taken away. And if files have to be trashed on the computer after the work is completed, OS X should do a proper secure emptying of the Trash (i.e. permanently delete the files by writing over the files with random information several times).

Now that's the industry-standard of security most business professionals come to expect of an OS these days.

Is this another error of OS X, one of a number still persisting to this day? Not a major one for most consumers (as Apple might say). But if you are working for the Department of Defence or a business where protection of commercial-in-confidence or secret information is critical, it is a major fault.

Again we can only reiterate the view that OS X in its current form is not geared up for professional work within government and business industries requiring real stability, security and high performance.

It is more than just good looks, as Apple is known to be good at. It goes down to the core of the products the company manufactures. They have to have the resilience and industry-strength to handle a wide variety of situations including different software from the past to the present.

If you are a professional deciding on PC or Mac, stick with a PC. The first truly stable, high quality and possibly secure Macs won't arrive until 2007 (at least 12 months after the first Macintels have been released to the public). And even then you won't know what Apple will come up with for the unsuspecting user.

As for temporarily solving this problem until the next update permanently fixes this password security problem, one user has suggested resetting the option to "Require password to wake this computer from sleep or screensaver" in the Security preference pane. If this fails, delete the following file:


repair permissions and reset the security preferences.

Good luck!

NOTE: Could this be a new approach from Apple to make it easier for some authorised Apple service repair centres to inspect customer's hard disks (e.g. check for software piracy problems, obtain commercial advantage etc)?

9 December 2005

Not only are third-party software manufacturers dropping SCSI driver support on the latest OS X version 10.4.3 software, but Apple will not include the drivers to make sure people running the latest OS X on PowerBook G3 Series "Pismo" computers or SCSI cards in newer Macs are able to make backups to their favourite SCSI external drives etc.

Problems such as kernel panics could become a normal part of your life using certain SCSI cards and backup software under the Tiger environment.

This MacFixIt.com article published today confirms the third-party manufacturer of the popular Adaptec SCSI cards is not compatible with the backup software solution Retrospect from Dantz. More precisely, Adaptec will no longer update the SCSI drivers for compatibility even though there are Apple computers still having SCSI ports from Adaptec which are able to run the latest OS X. As Dantz reported on its web site:

"Dantz does not support any Adaptec SCSI adapters for use in any Macintosh Computers running Mac OS X 10.3 or 10.4. Adaptec is no longer developing SCSI drivers for the Mac OS.

'Adaptec has issued a driver compatibility statement at:

http://adaptec-tic.adaptec.com/cgi-bin/adaptec_tic.cfg/php/enduser/std_adp.php?p_faqid=11052" (http://kb.dantz.com/al/12/1/5642.html)

Since Dantz made this statement, Adaptec has officially removed its own statement confirming no further development into SCSI drivers for the Tiger environment.

Apple has not provided support of its own in the latest OS X release either.

The user will now be required to purchase alternative SCSI adapters (e.g. ATTO) or purchase new computers and external drives (fortunately Dantz can safely say its backup solution Retrospect can run on the latest computers using FireWire or USB despite not being able to work entirely retrospectively with Adaptec SCSI cards).

Or as a possible permanent fix for the problem, MacFixIt.com has kindly suggested performing the following changes to OS X to help reduce the incompatibility problem:

"...[remove] the following files from the /System/Library/Extensions folder:

Adaptec 290X-2930.kext

Adaptec 29160x.kext

Adaptec 39160x.kext

but leaving the file,

Adaptec 78XXSCSI.kext." (MacFixIt.com: More on kernel panics with SCSI devices: Alternative backup solutions; Confirmation for fix. 12 December 2005.)

However, not all users were confident of this suggestion. Worth a try anyway.

NOTE: Apple could be determining how many people are likely to be affected by a loss in SCSI drivers.

OS X becoming more friendly to Windows-specific devices

If there is any consolation in all of these changes, one could say the latest Tiger update has provided an unexpected bonus: purportedly Windows-only devices are more likely to run on the latest OS X.

The key to the success of any Windows-specific device running on OS X is wholly dependent on the level of compliance the devices exhibit with respect to the Open Host Controller Interface or OHCI. If the devices are fully compliant with OHCI, the device is said to be fully compatible with your Macintosh computer running the latest OS X.

Nothing like enticing more users to Tiger for the extra benefit (and headaches).

Tiger update to version 10.4.4

The much awaited improvements to Tiger via the latest 10.4.4 has arrived! Early days, but it seems the only problem this update poses for aluminium G4 PowerBook users (1.67MHz) is a sudden loss in RAM for the lower memory slot after the update (even if the memory is Apple factory approved). Suggestions of removing and reinserting the faulty RAM card have been made and may fix the problem.

Please note that this problem has been recognised by Apple as a manufacturing defect. You may be entitled to participate in Apple's worldwide PowerBook G4 (15-inch 1.67/1.5GHz) Memory Slot Repair Extension Program. Please visit your local Apple reseller for further details.

There is also a suggestion the audio volume controls on the function keys for the latest aluminium PowerBook G4 computers could be broken. Controlling the volume may require the user to go directly into the System Preference Panes and open the Sound Manager control panel to make the adjustments.

In general the main improvements have been in Spotlight's now lightning fast searching and in showing results compared to previous incarnations of the Tiger OS. Although admittedly one could download the freeware Laserlight 1.0.6 from One Left Foot. This utility bypasses the slow, as-you-type search method presented by Spotlight by allowing you to type the search string directly into Laserlight and once you are happy with the information, click Search where the utility automatically inserts the entire search string into Spotlight. This brings back the versatility and speed of searching via Panther and all other previous OS versions.

In addition we see how Apple is trying to ween users off Classic Environment by stopping users of the utility RCDDefaultApp 1.3 from setting their preferred classic applications for launching as the default applications under OS X. Expect more attempts by Apple in the near future to stop people from using Classic Environment.

Beyond that, there are general improvements (we hope!) to iTunes, QuickTIme and other core Apple software tools included with the OS. Time will tell whether these improvements are to the liking of nearly all users.

13 January 2006

There has been a number of new bugs appearing in the latest iTunes 6.0.2 in what were thought to be bug-free features of previous iTunes versions. Such bugs is forcing a number of users to downgrade. Further details can be found in this MacFixIt.com report.

Slightly less annoying is iTunes 6.0.4, except the some users are reporting frequent re-buffering of media downloads even when the streaming buffer is set to "Large". All iTunes version prior to 6.0.4 don't exhibit this problem.

We can also report the Pro license key for QuickTime 7.0 may or may not work in the latest QuickTime 7.0.4. To get greater reliability in activating the Pro features of QuickTime, you may be required to purchase a new license key. Further details can be found from this MacFixIt.com report. Actually this QuickTime update has allegedly been removed by Apple and a new version posted recently. Unfortunately the latest version of QuickTime causes Alsoft DiskWarrior to crash when running from one volume on another (not from the CD), and there could be video recording problems using the H264 codec.

To keep things on the positive, a MacFixIt reader can happily report the following:

"On a a lighter note iTunes' newfound ability to play from multiple speakers is just great! I now have my 5.1 H-K surround system for ambient sound via AirTunes and my H-K SoundSticks for the left & right front sound. That makes for a much fuller & yet focused sound than I ever had before. It's all nicely in synch and it works perfectly on both of my Macs. I did not need to do the "open UDP ports 6001 and 6002" workaround for the 'unknown error' problem reported by several people in Apple Discussions. Way to go, Apple!" (MacFixIt.com: QuickTime 7.0.4 (#3): Problems with Pro key; DVD Player problems try downgrading, then re-upgrading; more. 13 January 2006)

We think more users would appreciate simple and stable software that works on any system rather than having extra fancy features added.

Tiger update to version 10.4.5

Although not all errors noticed by users have been removed in this update (Apple must be fixing up the noticeable errors at their own pace), OS X 10.4.5 is a better update. However, if you own older models of G4 (and new Intel) computers, this update may be characterised by a slow down in network (e.g. page loading in Safari, uploading files etc) and FInder performance, forcing some people to consider buying a new computer. This is not due to an error, but a decision by Apple to turn on certain features. The decision to slow things down never appeared in previous updates suggesting this could be a way for Apple to encourage people to purchase the latest, slighty faster Intel-based MacBook Pro (only to be disappointed when they realise the problem persists in the new model).

Our best recommendation to minimising this problem is to go into the Network preference pane, choose TCP/IP and turn off "IPv6 configuring..." This should speed up network performance unless you already use IPv6 addressing to access network resources, in which case it won't make any difference whatsoever.

Here are the steps:

(i) Open Network preference pane

(ii) Select "Built-in Ethernet" (or the currently used network port such as AirPort) from the Show popup menu

(iii) Click on TCP/IP

(iv) Click the "Configure IPv6..." button

(v) Select "Off" from the pop-up menu

(vi) Click the "Apply Now" button

(vi) Do the same for IrDA and Internet modem options in the Show popup menu.

This may also solve your music streaming problems on AirPort. MacFixIt reader Johan van Emmerik writes:

"I had problems streaming music to my stereo via Airport Express. The music would stop for a second every 20 seconds or so. Since I turned the IPv6 setting to 'off' the music stream is flawless." (MacFixIt.com: Try toggling IPv6 for network slowness; dropouts in streaming connections. 28 March 2006.)

If this doesn't work, reapply the full Combo Updater (125MB, not the 16MB delta update). As MacFixIt.com rwader Fred Moore whas discovered:

"After much thrashing about and wasted time, I appear to have solved both the slow web page loading as well as my email sending problems in one stroke. Guess how: download the Mac OS X 10.4.5 combo updater and reapply it. This nonsense has cost me a lot of time but everything seems to work now. IPv6 is set back to Automatic, there is no entry in the Network prefs DNS server field, and my email sending works perfectly (so far, I've sent a bunch of tests). Why didn't I just download the combo updater and apply from my hard drive at the beginning? Well, Software Update should (yes, I know, I know...) work. I'll never again use Software Update for a system update." (MacFixIt.com: OS X 10.4.5 (#9): Another fix for network slowness - re-applying the combo updater; SIIG FireWire card not working; more. 24 February 2006.)

As for the Finder speed problem, try turning off Quartz 2D Extreme feature. Use BBEdit to open up the text file known as "com.apple.windowserver.plist" located in /Library/Preferences. Look for "Quartz2DExtremeEnabled" and set it to NO. If you don't have the file, it means you don't need it for your computer (probably an older machine). And check your startup items for those that might be slowing the Finder. It appears Apple has found some incompatible startup items (e.g. Keystrokerecorder X and Default Folder) which need users to weed them out. You'll need to check two folders for this: startup items (the folder where items are loaded universally for all users), and login items (the folder where items are loaded after entering your username and password for your particular account).

Go into the Accounts preference pane, click the Login Items tab, and remove all items. Restart your computer. If there is a significant performance boost to your Finder, go into the Accounts preference pane and add on a one-by-one basis the login items, relogging into your account each time an item is added. Then hopefully the culprit can be found (i.e. when the Finder is suddenly slow to operate).

Finally, restart your computer after the OS X 10.4.5 update to maximise performance. It can sometimes make a difference.

Owners of some Adobe applications such as Adobe InDesign and GoLive may also experience screen redraw problems. And we can also report that Photoshop CS users are experiencing regular freezes under OS X 10.4.5. If Adobe is not nice enough to provide free updates to their software to fix these minor annoyances, you may have to live with them (or get rich as Apple is trying to tell us). Sorry guys!

However there is one Adobe problem you can fix yourself. As incredible as this may sound, the annoying dialog box asking for administrator password everytime you launch Adobe Acrobat 7.0.7 for users without administrator privileges can be resolved as follows:

(i) Log in as the Administrator user.

(ii) Use a text editor to edit the file "CS2ENUDistSelfHeal.xml" in ~/Library/Application Support/Adobe/Acrobat/ folder.

(iii) Search for instances of "AdobeBibUtils.framework" and change it to "AdobeBIBUtils.framework".

(iv) Save the file.

Loss of sound in embedded Flash players (e.g. running in Safari) and other third-party applications under OS X 10.4.5? It is possible Apple has set the Audio Output Format to 96,000Hz instead of the standard 48,000Hz. Open "Audio MIDI Setup.app" and change this option to reestablish sounds.

And, of course, that perennial problem of burning DVD disks under 10.4.x. It doesn't seem to get fixed permanently under Tiger for some reason. As one user named Jay Galvin has noted, he allegedly had to spend 10 minutes erasing his DVD RW but failed half of the time (out of 8 tries) using his Toast 7.0.2 application.

And anyone trying to access drives connected to an Acard PCI Ultra-ATA 100/133 card will realise there is no bug fix to permit the drives to boot on any version of OS X higher than 10.4.3. You will have to install OS X 10.4.3 or less on the disk drive for you to have any hope of booting off the drive.

Did you install Security Update 2006-001 from Apple? Noticed anything unusual about accessing Windows servers on OS X 10.3.9 to 10.4.5? You've probably noticed how connectivity is lost especially behind a firewall. Or if you do have connectivity, the Windows browsing feature really sucks! The solution:

(i) Open System preferences

(ii) Select the "Sharing" pane

(iii) Select the "Firewall" tab

(iv) Click the "Advanced..." button

(v) Turn off the option to "Block UDP traffic"

Any other problems with OS X following the installation of the Security Update 2006-001 file on OS X10.4.5 is usually best dealt with by re-applying the combo updater (e.g. the 125MB OS X 10.4.5 Combo Updater). But as one MacFixIt user has noted:

"So, if you reapply the 10.4.5 combo updater, should I assume that you end up overwriting some of the files that the Security Update fixed, thereby undoing the update? Or, have people reapplied the security update successfully after the Combo Updater reapply?" (MacFixIt.com: Security Update 2006-001 (#3): Fix for -36 errors when connecting to Windows shares; More on VPN issues; more. 6 March 2006.)

Perhaps this raises an important issue. Why do you need to apply a Security update from Apple immediately after a full Combo Update? What's wrong with your OS X to require this minor update? Our strongest recommendation is simply not to install any Security Updates until the next major revision is released (i.e. the next Combo Update). It minimises all the hassles of misbehaving OS X software.

For example, when Apple released the Security Update 2006-002 1.1 file to unsuspecting users, the first thing people began discovering was a loss in performance. MacFixIt reader Steve B. noticed this when he said:

"We are experiencing similar slowdowns after installing security update 1.0. We are using 12" powerbook G4 with 1Gb memory. Slowness seems to randomly occur. Once it slows down rebooting doesn't fix it. System accesses the hard drive constantly and can spend minutes doing simple tasks. Palm Desktop also decided to quit working. Don't know if this is related. We decided to [do] a system reinstall but after reading the post today will not be installing the security update until we are sure it won't slow the system down." (MacFixIt.com: Security Update 2006-002 1.1 (#3): System slowdown. 21 March 2006.)

Another user, Mike Barron, adds:

"I am also experiencing some slowness after installing Security Update 2006-002 (tried v1.0, then v1.1). My main problem, though, is a lag between the time my Powerbook wakes up (or boots) and the time it connects to my Airport Express. Typically, after a wake or boot, the computer does not initially see my wireless network (it's hidden and uses WPA Personal encryption). It does see other open networks, and asks if I want to connect to them. If I dismiss the numerous prompts to join other networks and wait two or three minutes it will eventually discover the preferred network, my Airport Express, and connect as usual. Prior to the update everything worked flawlessly." (MacFixIt.com: Security Update 2006-002 1.1 (#3): System slowdown. 21 March 2006.)

Only a reapply of the last Full Combo updater will restore your Mac to its familiar feel and behaviour. And don't bother about the Security Updates. As the name implies, how often do you experience security problems on your Mac?

Then there is good old Sherlock, the find utility from Apple. Having trouble downloading content and accessing movie trailers through this utility? The best solution so far is to delete the following folders and files:




To prevent the problem repeating on restart, use the Get Info command on the following folder:

~/Library/Caches/Sherlock/Web Foundation

Put a tick in the "Locked" check box to prevent faulty files being stored there by Sherlock after a restart of your computer.

If you use Front Row 1.2.1 or higher to unsuccessfully access Apple movie trailers, try deleting the following folders:

~/Library/Caches/Front Row


Beyond those minor irritations, this could be one of Apple's better 10.4.x updates for a long time (hard to believe, isn't it?).

If you do update OS X (makes one wonder how much work you are getting done), try getting the OS X 10.4.5 full combo file of 125MB to help cover all known security updates and changes to the OS since version 10.4.0.

23 February 2006

Have you updated your iTunes to version 6.0.3? You'll need to do a little extra work for Apple by helping your application to see where your previous library of iTunes music is located:

(i) Quit iTunes if you have already launched it.

(ii) Go into /Users/[username]/Music/iTunes/

(iii) Send to the trash (but don't empty) the iTunes Library file created by iTunes 6.0.3.

(iv) Open the previous iTunes Libraries folder in the iTunes folder.

(v) Rename your old iTunes Library [YYYY]-[MM]-[DD] file to "iTunes Library". Apple has decided to do away with the date information from previous iTunes software versions.

(vi) Drag this renamed file onto the new iTunes folder in /Users/[username]/Music/iTunes/.

(v) Open iTunes 6.0.3.

Tiger update to version 10.4.6

Apple releases OS X 10.4.6 partly in response to the hack allowing Windows XP to run on an Intel Mac but also to improve OS X to the point where hopefully Apple now has got users to see the value of staying with Apple's own branded OS. This update could be close to providing an almost flawless OS X. Apple needs to. There is little incentive for people to stay with OS X if Windows XP can be run on an Intel Mac. Furthermore a freeware utility called FlyakiteOS X v3.5 is available to change the appearance of Windows XP to look remarkably like OS X, including a pop-up docking station for your favourite applications at the bottom. You would be scared beyond belief when you see what this utility can do on Windows XP.

The only problems to emerge so far for OS X 10.4.6 appear to have fixable solutions so long as you know what you are doing. The first problem concerns mounted volumes from computers/servers running OS X 10.3.x. If you look more closely at the mounted volumes, you will notice how the volumes are locked preventing you from writing to it. The solution is to clear the "User Immutable" flag as follows:

(i) Mount the volume as usual (if you haven't done so already).

(ii) Open Terminal (located in Applications/Utilities)

(iii) Type: chflags nouchg /Volumes/[name_of_mounted_server_volume]

The volume should be permanently unlocked.

The second problem concerns USB printers. If you happen to have one of those USB hubs plugged to your computer and discover a problem in not being able to find and print to your printer, try disconnecting the USB hub and plug the printer directly to the computer. It may just work for some strange reason.

Another problem that has come to hand are unexpected errors to Adobe Photoshop CS2, Acrobat 7.0.7 and QuarkXPress 6.5. It is not entirely clear how to solve the Photoshop CS2 problem. Fortunately the Acrobat problem can be resolved by clearing the following files:

(i) "Acrobat User Data" from ~/Library/

(ii) "Adobe" from ~/Library/Application Support/

(iii) "AdobeUM" from ~/Library/Preferences/

(iv) "com.adobe.acrobat.sh.plist" from ~/Library/Preferences/

(v) "com.adobe.Reader7.0.plist" from ~/Library/Preferences/

As for QuarkXPress, some users have claimed the software can't print and the Usage function to re-link images doesn't work. As soon as you try, the application quits. There is no known solution except cross your fingers and hope the software manufacturer can figure it out and give you a free update.

A minor issue with Microsoft Word 2004. Before the update, a new file created by the application and with automatic hyphenation turned on when crash the application. This update improve the problem by not crashing. The hyphenation features remains inoperative, but at least it won't crash.

Apple's Mail.app may have trouble quitting after the updated to OS X 10.4.6. As one MacFixIt user said:

"Since upgrading from 10.4.5 to 10.4.6 the Apple Mail application will not quit without doing a force quit. I have repaired permissions, ran a disk repair and tried a new preference file all to no avail. Any mail I delete from the trash is returns after a force quit. Anyone else having this problem? I am running a G5 1.8 MHz Dual processor with 1.5 Gb RAM. I initially upgraded using software update and the down-loaded the PPC combo update and ran that installer but Mail still won't quit from neither the Menu nor the dock without resorting to force quit." (MacFixIt.com: Mac OS X 10.4.6 (#7): Audio streaming issues fixes; Read-only server-mounted volumes another fix; more. 11 April 2006.)

When waking from sleep, OS X 10.4.6 may not automatically reconnect to the default AirPort network. The solution is to delete all old entries with encrypted AirPort network configuration data in the Airport section of the Network preference pane and re-add them in.

The auto hide/show dock feature is broken under OS X 10.4.6. The problem can be fixed by deleting ~/Library/Preferences/com.apple.dock.plist, log out and log back in.

And finally the sleep/battery issue appears to be a significant problem for people upgrading to 10.4.6 (seems much worse than in version 10.4.5). Here are a few quotes:

"When in the sleep mode my computer goes into a coma. The only way to wake it up is to disconnect from the power source , wait a few minutes and then reconnect the power cord. All this started after I upgraded to 10.4.6." (MacFixIt.com: MacBooks/PowerBooks/iBooks powering off during sleep; when power adapter is disconnected; other sleep irregularities. 24 April 2006.)

"With Mac OS X 10.4.6 on a 15" PowerBook 1.5GHz, after going to sleep for 10 minutes or so, a complete power down occurs. This is even with the power adapter plugged in. It requires holding the power switch for more than 4 or 5 seconds to get it to come alive and then it acts like its simply booting up cold." (MacFixIt.com: MacBooks/PowerBooks/iBooks powering off during sleep; when power adapter is disconnected; other sleep irregularities. 24 April 2006.)

"I updated to 10.4.6 a month ago and noticed the same behavior: My 15" PB Al sometimes (but not always) will 'drop dead' after being put to sleep requiring a reboot. This occurs whether the battery is in or not, though more often in the former state." (MacFixIt.com: MacBooks/PowerBooks/iBooks powering off during sleep; when power adapter is disconnected; other sleep irregularities. 24 April 2006.)

"I've experienced this problem with my 1.67 G4 Powerbook several times since the 10.4.6 upgrade. I've tried inserting a CD (this worked in the past when I couldn't wake my Titanium PB) but to no avail. I've had to restart each time." (MacFixIt.com: MacBooks/PowerBooks/iBooks powering off during sleep; when power adapter is disconnected; other sleep irregularities. 24 April 2006.)

Possible solutions range from re-seating the battery into its compartment, turning off all Energy Saver settings, resetting the PMU, disabling network activity before sleep, to disconnecting some power-hungry USB or FireWire devices. Basically a dog's breakfast if you ask us!

No, hold on! There's more...

This latest update of OS X could be creating a high incidence of sudden mouse and keyboard freezes on Intel MacBooks and some PowerBook G4 laptops. Only by adding an external keyboard and mouse can you bypass the problem, or else restart the laptops. Such a problem has not been seen before the update. Others are not too sure if this update and problem combo is a coincidence and another issue could be at play. One user has considered the possibility that the inbuilt keyboard and trackpad could be unusually sensitive to static charge. As the user remarked:

"Maybe this will help someone. I have had the keyboard and trackpad go haywire on an iBook G4 because of static discharge. To fix it, I had to reset the power manager." (MacFixIt.com: Keyboard becomes unresponsive on various Apple portables. 1 June 2006.)

Stay tuned for more exciting developments in this field.

And finally Apple Safari has a code fragment error problem, highly repeatable according to various users and the people at MacFixIt.com. Causes system-wide freezes. It could take five minutes before things are returned to normal. Unfortunately, you will have to save your work in other running applications and restart as the system and Finder will be extremely unstable. To speed up this laborious waiting game, we recommend a thing called Activity Monitor. This utility (if running before the freeze takes place) allows you to select the active process causing you trouble (will show up in red) and you can tell it to quit the process. No special geek Terminal code to achieve the same thing (exactly as a Mac is designed for).

Phew! Glad you haven't upgraded? Join the party!

On the positive side, we hear SCSI support has improved with this update. Any more positives? We like to hear about it.

15 May 2006

Having problems with sound and video — that is, you're losing it — after installing QuickTime 7.1? Try opening up the QuickTime folder in both the user and main Library folders, and remove the following Codec files:

XviD_Codec v0.5.component

VLC codec beta

If you have problems with embedded Web media not playing properly, remove the following Internet plug-in:

/Library/Internet Plug-Ins/VLC Plugin.plugin

then restart your Internet browser.

But this is just the beginning. Apple feels it is also necessary to affect the sound quality of MP4 music encoded with QuickTime on the latest iTunes 6.0.4. So now you can't use the latest iTunes to play music in high quality if encoded in MP4 file format through QuickTime 7.1. As one MacFixIt reader stated:

"I have discovered since 'upgrading' to iTunes v6.0.4 that about 30 songs in my library won't play anymore. Specifically they are songs that I used Quicktime to reencode from a quicktime-associated.mov file to an AAC formatted.m4a file. I used Quicktime because it has more elaborate (read better) quality controls than the more rudimentary settings deployed by iTunes. Unfortunately now, my higher-quality recompressed files will not play in iTunes because something changed in this last release that breaks compatibility.

'To prove my suspicions to myself, I was able to reproduce the same problem on both a G4 and G5 iMac, so it's not a hardware related issue.. it is software-related. Further, I didn't any longer have iTunes v6.0.3 because I let Apple's Software Update install v6.0.4, so I dug around and found a copy of iTunes v4.8.. Not to my surprise, iTunes v4.8 played both the original Quicktime.mov files and the AAC recompressed.m4a files fine so then just be sure I ran the same files again through iTunes v6.0.4...no dice.

'The original Quicktime.mov files will play (however, since iTunes uses Quicktime layers to decode and playback the files, it loses the ability to support sound EQ, visualizers, and 3rd party sound EQ software. The very reason I wanted to reencode the files to a non-Quicktime format in the first place)." (MacFixIt.com: iTunes 6.0.4 (#5): Problems playing some QuickTime-encoded MP4 files . 18 May 2006.)

You may also encounter some installation problems with Adobe Photoshop CS2 using this QuickTime update. We recommend you update to QuickTime 7.1.1 to solve the problem (oh, and ignore the message asking you to purchase a new pro registration key — the old key should work fine).

16 May 2006

Apple has made a reasonable attempt to show the positive improvements to their software with the release of a bunch of new updates. Showcasing the improvements are iWeb 1.1, iMovie HD 6.0.2, iPhoto 6.0.3 and iDVD 6.0.2 each revealing varying degrees of better usability, stability and performance issues. One problem to emerge is how double-clicking some thumbnails may crash iPhoto 6.0.3. And if you are missing photos, quit iPhoto and re-launch it at the same time as you hold down the Command and Option keys. This method should force a rebuild of the library, bringing back your photos.

Overall, the Apple software is slowly getting there.

How about doing the same in the hardware department instead of the one step forward, two steps back method? And also improve iTunes 6.0.3, not take it back to the dark ages.

25 May 2006

Another classic example of why users should never install a Security Update from Apple until a proper and full sequential version number update is issued (e.g. 10.4.7, or why not wait until the final Tiger update?). The latest news concerns Security Update 2006-003 for OS X10.4. If you install this update, expect mayhem for Intel users installing the Adobe CS2 suite including Adobe Acrobat 7.0. Some users claim clearing caches and installing without Version Cue CS2 may help. But the reality is that after getting through the system freeze at end of installation you must contact Adobe, give your serial number and contact details, get the password for entering the secure Adobe Customer Support ftp site, and download the missing files to fully activate the software. The 5 critical files you will need for activation must go into Library/Preferences/Adobe Systems/Product licenses_120.

Otherwise if Adobe customer support in your country acts like they don't know what the issue is or you don't want to contact Adobe (where your registration details will be obtained), you will have to wait for the new installation CD to come out to solve this problem.

So why can't the files be downloaded freely? Apparently Adobe is concerned the files have special licenses to activate the Adobe CS suite. It should be available only to genuine licensees of the software. Not that they are much use to anyone who hasn't got the software, unless Adobe is worried their CS2 software is already in the hands of too many pirates. But how about issuing a message at the Adobe home page about the problem, explaining why it has happened and show users how to solve it? For some reason Adobe has chosen not to at time of writing. A search through Adobe's support documents using "CS2 & Intel & installation & Mac" shows early 2006 information about Adobe's commitment to making Intel-pure Adobe CS2 software (i.e. no universal binary software).

Adobe needs to get its act together fast. The Intel Macs have only been out for the last 5 months!

25 May 2006

You will need to mention you are a professional user running a business or having a professional career in multimedia to get Adobe's ass into gear. As one user mentioned:

"I must defend Adobe support on the registration process, as soon as the telephone registration guy had the authentication code from me, he knew there was a problem and passed me to tech support. As soon as they heard it was a pro, they had the files needed to fix it on email to me within minutes.

'Obviously a fix and some form of information on the Adobe site would of saved me a lot of bother in the first place!" (MacFixIt.com: Adobe Creative Suite 2.0 (CS2): Adobe providing missing files necessary for activation to some users. 1 June 2006.)

Better still, users should provide the critical activation files for others to download freely. It will stop this nonsense from Adobe.

2 June 2006

Adobe has twigged at the importance of posting a support document outlining the solution to the installation problem for Adobe Creative Suite CS2 when QuickTime 7.1 is installed.

22 June 2006

It is official. Increased wireless signal strength and dropouts when using AirPort software, a MacBook and OS X Tiger does not appear in Windows XP under Boot Camp. Something in OS X or the AirPort software is not right.

Tiger update to version 10.4.7

On 27 June 2006, Apple released the next major instalment of OS X "Tiger". Numerous bug fixes. This one is rather curious as it suggests Apple has decided to pull its thumb out for once and fix long-standing bugs in OS X that people were mentioning over the past year or two. For example, internet browsing using a DSL connection has suddenly whipped up remarkable speeds thanks to this update.

Installation is also a breeze and incredibly, after repairing permissions, there aren't the lingering "what the heck did Apple do to my friggin' OS X?" statements from previous OS X users.

And more transparency and accountability in the comments from Apple in what has been updated by the full Combo OS X 10.4.7 update. Shocking stuff!

Also some features available in the MacBook Pro 17-inch model has suddenly emerged as an extra bonus for MacBook Pro 15-inch owners. Take, for instance, the ability to place two fingers on the trackpad and click the trackpad button to give you the right-click option. Useful stuff when running Windows XP.

Is this a once-off thing in preparation for the released of OS X 10.5 "Leopard"? Or is Apple going to make this a consistent thing in the future?

28 June 2006

Some users are mentioning a slight problem starting up OS X after the 10.4.7 update. It is not clear if users were applying the delta update or were doing something they shouldn't during the update process.

Best recommendation is backup your crucial files, disconnect all non-critical external drives, startup from another OS X disk (e.g. using a firewire external drive), fix up permissions initially, install the full Combo 10.4.7 update on your preferred disk, and if starting up OS X is possible, repair the permissions again! Or better still, ask Apple to get its install file to do it for you automatically and correctly. But remember, even after doing all this, some external Firewire and USB drives may not be recognised for a while. The mounting process should hopefully be quick and painless afterwards. As MacFixIt reader Joseph Samuels said recently:

"I did have some trouble with one of my two laptops recognizing my firewire drives. On the Pismo, with Daystar G4 550mhz upgrade and 1 GB ram, there were no problems. On my Powerbook G4, 1.67mhz, 2 GB ram, at first after the upgrade, the firewire drives were not recognized. I unplugged them all from the computer and restarted and tried them again and they all worked. For the first plug-in with each drive, it took some time for the machine to mount the drive. It seemed that the system had to do something to the drive before it could mount. But after the first plug-in for each drive, the later plug-ins were very quick like it had been before installing 10.4.7." (MacFixIt.com: Mac OS X 10.4.7 (#2): Drives not recognized, fixes; Dangers of working while update is taking place; Mail.app problems, fixes. 28 June 2006.)

You might also be wise to download the latest hardware firmware for your external drives and install them for maximum compatibility with OS X 10.4. A rumour is circulating that some large external hard disk drives (125GB or greater, specifically the Oxford 911 hard disk enclosure unit) may experience data corruption at some limit (usually around the maximum limit). Updating the firmware has been known to improve the situation.

And remember, quit all applications and let the update do its job. Perhaps some wise words from MacFixIt reader Eric might be in order:

"I was working on some latex documents while at some point my mac (MBP) asked me to install the upgrade. Said yes and kept on working... then, I got a message saying that the update had failed. I thought, OK, no problem, I'll retry later. But then back to the terminal and nothing was working. All command in the terminal gave a 'illegal instruction' as return... started to panic, and restarted the machine. Except that it never restarted. Since then I still cannot reboot. It stays at the gray screen stage." (MacFixIt.com: Mac OS X 10.4.7 (#2): Drives not recognized, fixes; Dangers of working while update is taking place; Mail.app problems, fixes. 28 June 2006.)

Also note that some utilities such as Tiger Cache Cleaner may not work after the update. Part of the problem is that third-party developers don't know what to expect from Apple after a major update, so the utilities may be programmed to restrict its operation to work on specific OS X versions. Our recommendation: Wait for the developers to make updates to their software to get everything working again.

Also if you can't launch the Adobe Creative Suite CS2 under OS X 10.4.7, trying removing Unsanity's Application Enhancer tool until this has been updated for compatibility with the latest OS X. The same is true of PowerPC-only applications failing to launch or operate correctly on Intel-based Macs using Rosetta. You might wish to re-consider the purpose of having Application Enhancer.

Having trouble getting Mail.app connecting to servers? Try these steps:

1. Open System Preferences.

2. Click on the "Network" pane.

3. Select your current connection method (e.g. AirPort, etc.) and click the "Configure" button (if you are not already at the configuration screen).

4. Click the "Proxies" tab.

5. Uncheck the "SOCKS Proxy" option from the "Select a proxy server to configure:" menu.

6. Click the "Apply Now" button.

At least one user has noticed high CPU usage when no applications are running (i.e. idle mode). It doesn't exist on OS X 10.4.6. We must wait to see if the problem repeats.

There may be some AirPort problems (a never ending saga with every OS X "Tiger" update), such as loss of connection. Try clearing the AirPort preferences and start again fresh. Perhaps it might be an old AirPort preference file (.plist). The file is located at:


And delete the System keychain entry for AirPort. Then reconfigure AirPort and connection should be maintained even after a reboot.

30 June 2006

Make sure to disconnect non-essential devices during the OS X 10.4.7 update (both delta and combo updaters). As MacFixIt reader Jeff Smith kindly notified other users of his discovery:

"Wanted to let you all know that i've tried different combinations of upgrading my MacBook Pro to Mac OS X 10.4.7 and I'm getting similar problems using both the old delta (through Software Update) and combo updaters. It appears at this point if you upgrade with an external display connected the install won't complete after the reboot and you will have video issues/machine freezes anywhere from during boot to 5-10 minutes after boot up. Installing the combo update without the display connected seemed to work although I have not reconnected my external 23" Apple Cinema Display since doing the successful combo update this morning." (MacFixIt.com: Mac OS X 10.4.7 (#4): More on re-released Intel version; Continuing problems logging into sites with Safari 2.0.4; more. 30 June 2006.)

Then again not everyone seem to have the same problem. Might be worth checking permissions yet again to make sure everything is okay.

Some comments by users of Safari 2.0.4 under OS X 10.4.7 suggest crashing when accessing some web sites (e.g. cnn.com) and not being able to login to some online accounts. Again it doesn't affect everyone. Try deleting all cookies via Safari's preferences and the Security tab, or turn off Javascript. As a last resort, delete the preference file com.apple.Safari.plist from the ~/Library/Preferences and relaunch Safari. Good luck!

There could be some sleep issues to consider when certain peripherals are connected via USB, FireWire, PCI, SCSI and others. Some users have gone back to OS X 10.4.6 to bring back peace-of-mind.

iSync users should prepare for some problems. For example, James Reid said:

"I installed the updates that were released when Mac OS X 10.4.7 came out and found out today that iCal has not been syncing with my palm using Missing Sync ever since. When I pull up the settings in missing sync for the Mark/Space Events and Mark/Space Tasks, I noticed that the calendars in the 'Synchronize events from calendars:' are blank." (MacFixIt.com: Mac OS X 10.4.7 (#4): More on re-released Intel version; Continuing problems logging into sites with Safari 2.0.4; more. 30 June 2006.)

And Bluetooth problems may exist. For example, MacFixIt reader Brandon Meixel said:

"I have noticed that since installing Mac OS X 10.4.7 that my apple bluetooth keyboard is no longer working properly. For example, when i press the "j" key, "8" will appear, and even worse, one keypress will register as three, four, five, or more of the same key - example: evvvvverything. No amount of permission repairing, restarting, or re-pairing the device fixes the issue so far. I have been forced to proofread and edit everything i type much more than usual." (MacFixIt.com: Mac OS X 10.4.7 (#4): More on re-released Intel version; Continuing problems logging into sites with Safari 2.0.4; more. 30 June 2006.)

And should you find the processor working too hard after this update, turn off Window Sharing in the Sharing preference pane. For some reason Windows Sharing on OS X 10.4.7 is turned one and does a lot of saving of information into an invisible log file called log.nmbd. To delete this log, open Terminal and type:

sudo rm -r/var/log/samba/log.nmbd

Could this turning on of Windows Sharing be part of the reason for the overheating problems on Intel Macs?

Finally, should you find it difficult to put to sleep your Mac, try disconnecting certain peripherals connected to your USB, FireWire, PCI, SCSI and other ports.

Damn! Yet another one escapes the clutches of Apple in this latest update. Now we have the appearance of multicoloured vertical lines during startup. Unfortunately it isn't a new screensaver picture from Apple. It seems to be a unique feature of OS X 10.4.7 suggesting not all video display drivers are properly updated. As one MacFixIt readers said:

"Shortly after installing 10.4.7 (initially via software update and later as the combo update), my MacBook and that of several others have developed an odd malady. Upon reboot, the screen goes completely white, then gradually more and more numerous, colored, vertical lines appear on the screen. The machine never reaches the desktop or login screen. Pressing the power button to force shutdown and restart does not clear the problem. Zapping PRAM temporarily restores normal function, but a reboot later may still result in the white screen with vertical lines.

Some speculation is that the NVRAM has been affected by 10.4.7 and this is consistent with my experience. I initially only had a sudden shutdown problem after awakening from sleep. I had not see the white screen with vertical lines problem despite restarting the machine. That appeared after I tried resetting the PMU and zapping PRAM.

For now I've reverted to 10.4.6 to see if my MacBook becomes stable again. Prior to installing 10.4.7, my MacBook had worked solidly for weeks without any sudden shutdowns or screen of vertical lines issues. There may be something awry with the 10.4.7 Intel update." (MacFixIt.com: MacBook (13"): More on vertical multi-colored lines at startup; caused by Mac OS X 10.4.7?. 5 July 2006.)

And from another reader:

"I too have had this problem with my white 2Ghz MacBook, ever since I updated to 10.4.7. I'm not saying that 10.4.7 is the definitive cause of this, but it never happened to me before. Every time I've shut down the MacBook and powered it up later, I have to do a PRAM reset in order for the display to come online again. Apple really dropped a bollock on this one." (MacFixIt.com: MacBook (13"): More on vertical multi-colored lines at startup; caused by Mac OS X 10.4.7?. 5 July 2006.)

Try reapplying (several times) the full Combo 10.4.7 update file to resolve the multicoloured vertical lines problem. Or try booting into the DVD OS X disk, go under the Utilities dropdown menu, and from the startup disk, choose your OS X hard disk updated with 10.4.7. This little shake-up of OS X may get it right.

On the positive side, OS X 10.4.7 now supports various new PC Card cellular access devices.

7 July 2006

The gains made with OS X 10.4.7 are now being quickly lost in the latest installed Apple video drivers and key major applications not being able to launch and run properly. Firstly, MacBook Pro uses will enjoy their laptop's in-built screen experiencing problems via a loss in colour and sudden black and white strips after a few minutes of connecting to an external display. And secondly, running Quark Xpress 6.5 and all versions of Microsoft Word will experience repeated unexpected quits or freezes. There is talk of clearing font caches may temporarily solve the latter problem (until the next restart).

To clear font caches created by Microsoft Word, delete:


~/Library/Preferences/Microsoft/Office Font Cache

Having problems getting your digital cameras to be recognised by OS X? You must download the latest firmware or driver updates from your camera manufacturer's Web site to solve this problem.

The same may be true of some USB/FireWire device.

21 September 2006

It has been a long time coming but finally the first AirPort Extreme update for 2006 has arrived! Apple is scanty on the details side of things regarding this update. The most this company is prepared to say is:

"The Airport Update 2006-001 improves AirPort reliability on Macintosh computers."

Could it be just another security update? Certainly Apple is giving this impression when it says below:

"For detailed information on this Update, please visit this website http://docs.info.apple.com/article.html?artnum=61798"

and within the website we find nothing else but a discussion on various security updates. Apple must have a funny idea about what it means to provide reliability to Macintoshes using AirPort Extreme. Shouldn't it be better to have said, "...improves AirPort security on Macintosh computers"?

Tiger update to version 10.4.8

Intel users will be pleased to hear the update to OS X 10.4.8 is riddled with bugs or unexplained behaviour to the Finder and some applications. PowerPC users, on the other hand, can't see what the fuss is about or aren't experiencing so many problems. Is this an indication of the problems Apple has in getting OS X stable for Intel use? Or is Apple changing the system so much so that it requires users to find numerous updates and upgrades to drivers and firmware for the various third-party software and hardware running on their Macs?

Well, this seems to be the pattern emerging from Apple's latest update released in early October 2006. If you have a MacBook, MacBook Pro or one of the other Intel-based Macintosh computers, be prepared for the following:

  1. A utility called Sleepless designed to prevent laptops from sleeping when the lid is closed (useful for Front Row operations) can no longer achieve this goal under OS X 10.4.8. The company that makes this utility stated on their Web site:

    "Lid-closed operation on Mac OS X 10.4.8 (Intel) is broken. We are trying now to understand the problem and find a solution." (MacFixIt.com: Mac OS X 10.4.8 (#11): Finder crashes, fixes; Closed-lid portable functions. 12 October 2006.)

  2. Finder crashes as you try to control-click (i.e. right-click) on items. This is because some third-party contextual menu items have become incompatible with OS X 10.4.8. Remove the offending contextual menu items from ~/Library/Contextual Menu Items/ and /Library/Contextual Menu Items/.
  3. Some applications may not launch under OS X 10.4.8 (Apple suggests re-installing the application or check for updates/upgrades) or, if it does, it may behave in unexpected ways. For example, you would think a launched application would normally be put to the foreground as the active application ready for you to use. Well, guess what? Under OS X 10.4.8, this may not always be the case.

  4. There may be problems sharing resources between a Mac and Windows machines via Windows Sharing.
  5. The continuing saga of AirPort connectivity problems and the need to clear caches and AirPort preferences and start again (i.e. re-entering information) seems prevalent under OS X 10.4.8.

  6. Safari playing up as if it can't handle third-party plug-ins and old caches.
  7. Classic Environment for PowerPC users may have trouble starting up and launching some OS9 applications.
  8. Problems with Adobe Illustrator in terms of its pathfinder function (could be related to Rosetta).
  9. The ColorSync display profile file /Library/ColorSync/Profiles/Displays/Color LCD-4271780.icc has gone awry in OS X 10.4.8 for MacBook users where a slight blue tinting of the entire display may be apparent. Apple recommends downloading an old OS X10.4.7 profile called Color LCD-4271780_1047.icc to solve it. Well, you've got to give them credit on this one: they were quick to acknowledge the problem!
  10. OS X 10.4.8 still cannot remember the username and password of servers you connect to for longer than 2 weeks even when you ask it to store them in the keychain (quite common for anyone who has installed a fresh copy of OS X10.4.8). And turning off Bluetooth and AirPort doesn't always stay off after a period of time.

    The best solution appears to involve re-applying the full combo update file and/or deleting the file called "com.apple.finder.plist" from ~Library/Preferences. Other solutions include checking manufacturers' web sites for latest updates to all third-party software and hardware you use. And consider clearing accounts and reentering passwords, IP addresses and other information to get clean preference files set up.

    Or ask Apple to fix it.

NOTE: Don't try to update the AirPort Extreme Base Station firmware to 5.7. Stick to 5.5.1 if you don't have a higher and better version. Too many users are having problems with accessing the internet, print jobs etc. Further details available here.

NOTE 2: Improvements to iTunes 7.0.2 has taken a slight step back thanks to the latest QuickTime 7. Apple has managed to introduce a video stuttering effect where video displayed in iTunes can suddenly stop for a short period as it tries to gather additional video information. It may be related to processor performance. Try plugging the power cable into the computer and make sure the Energy Saver has not reduced processor speed to conserve power. Maximum performance from your machine may improve the situation. As one user said to MacFixIt.com:

"I am so pleased to see this issue acknowledged in your report. I have had trouble playing video system-wide on my G4 since upgrading to iTunes 7 AND the QuickTime upgrade that was released concurrently. Video purchased before iTunes 7 plays reasoanbly well, but everything since iTunes 7 is unwatchable. Beyond this, though, locally-stored video and steaming video utilizing QuickTime are now all problematic. It began specifically with the iTunes 7 & QuickTime upgrades. It's very disappointing and has taken a lot of fun out of my Mac." (MacFixIt.com: iTunes 7.0.2 (#9): Video stutter; iPod-stored Podcast display problems (cont.); more. 13 November 2006.)

Tom Cole has given his thoughts about what might be causing this problem:

"I think there's got to be something going on at the QT playback engine layer. I find that TV playback on a 1.8GHZ G5 gets choppy and stutters if QT is asked to do any meaningfully heavy lifting at the same time. For example, open a web page with a flash or animated GIF and it dramatically increases the likelihood of a video stutter - whereas accessing Mail or doing a Java compile doesn't cause nearly as many stutters even though they can be network or computationally intense operations.

It makes me wonder if there is a some kind of multithreading problem in the bowels of the QT code, such that either there are too many synchronization points or something in the engine that trip up when many processes and/or threads are doing QT operations at the same time." (MacFixIt.com: iTunes 7.0.2 (#9): Video stutter; iPod-stored Podcast display problems (cont.); more. 13 November 2006.)

NOTE 3: You'll be happy to know that anyone who owns Adobe CS and CS2 products requiring a call to Adobe to get an activation number will have to call up again to get a new activation code every time you use the Archive and Install function of OS X to move applications from one OS X to another (e.g. OS X 10.3.9 to OS X 10.4). It also happens if you reinstalled OS X or reformatted the hard disk. Talk about the fear of software piracy. And now intel Macintosh computers won't run Classic Environment to allow users to run older Adobe software. Anyone for a PC?

1 December 2006

A shocker of a security update has emerged from Apple this month. Known as Security Update 2006-007, whatever improvements may have been provided by this update has been marred by large numbers of reports relating to loss of bluetooth and Airport connectivity, inability to launch Font Book, excessive iMac fan speed, application launch delay, login to secure web sites fail, palm synchronisation difficulties, startup problems, USB/FireWire device connectivity issues and more.

As one user remarked:

"I've been putting off installing this update due to the seemingly long list of potential problems. Is it recommended to proceed and hope for the best or perhaps will Apple come out with a fix for this fix.....Seems a dangerous world lately....when the security fixes cause more problems than the lack of security..." (MacFixIt.com: Special Report: Troubleshooting Security Update 2006-007 . 6 December 2006.)

It is worth noting that this update came with virtually no explanation from Apple about what was updated or what it hoped to have achieved. If you encounter updates like this one where no explanation is given, you should avoid them. They are not worth the risk.

Compared this to the next Security Update 2006-008 on 20 December 2006 which did come with an explanation. And remarkably only a handful of users have complained of problems after the update, and they are mainly to do with clearing.plist files for problematic applications, removing third-party software in startup folder (/Library/StartupItems) and preference pane folder (/Library/PreferencePanes) such as DoubleCommand, or just toggling the preference options within an applications may help to correct and update many of the old preference files no longer compatible under the new patched up environment.

In some cases, you may have to delete the username/password information of say your iDisk account, rebooting the computer, reentering the account information to help wake up the newly patched OS X to create a fresh new file, and remounting the iDisk. Apparently the crucial part in all of this is how the old file is no longer compatible and should be cleared. But don't ask Apple to do this for you automatically. It is Apple's policy for customers to figure it out for themselves.

Speaking of doing it yourself, have you ever wanted to know how to reinstall individual Apple applications such as Safari, Mail.app and others from the OS X Tiger DVD? Well, physically move those fingers of yours to find the DVD and insert it into your drive. Double-click the "Optional Installs.mpkg" application on the DVD. From here you will have access to all the custom install options you are looking for.

NOTE: This feature is not available for users of older OS X versions (it is part of Apple's aim to force users to constantly pay for upgraded software to obtain certain luxury features).

And have you noticed any problems launching Adobe Photoshop CS2 (9.0.1) after the Security Update 2006-008? It appears you may have to remove or rename in order to disable the TWAIN plug-in located in Applications/Photoshop/Plug-ins/Import/Export. With this solution known, it is not likely Adobe will provide a free update to Adobe Photoshop CS2 to fix it properly. But do check just in case. Miracles have happened before.

NOTE: We understand Adobe is trying to be tricky with customers by making sure the volume for installing Adobe Photoshop CS3 beta remains on that volume. If you try to deinstall the software and reinstall on another volume, Adobe can work out from a hidden file in OS X where it was originally installed and tries to stay on it. If this happens, check all invisible files added by the installation. Use a utility called Show Hide Invisible Files and use Spotlight to see what has changed (or use a third-party tool to do the same thing). Otherwise keep a copy of the original OS X on backup and replace folders that may have additional files added by Adobe. If necessary have two OS X volumes on two partitions so you can switch between them and restore the changes as required.

Tiger update to version 10.4.9

Released on the auspicious 13 March 2007, the update to 10.4.9 is arguably the most secure and stable version ever produced for OS X "Tiger". One gets the impression Apple wants to end Tiger on a good note because the last thing Apple wants is for users to look back and describe Tiger as one of the most crappy OS ever made. Could this be a common trend by Apple when completing all iterations for a given OS X version?

Among the observed improvements by users include a slightly faster application launch time and opening of windows in the Finder; updated ATI and NVIDIA graphics drivers; audio enhancements, more stable font handling and Dashboard capabilities; Finder and Dock improvements (probably performance-related issues), more support for bluetooth devices; and numerous improvements to DVD Player, Apple USB modem, AirPort connectivity, and enhanced Spotlight searching of Microsoft Office and iWork 2006 documents (nothing like an opportunity for other people to snoop about on your computer to see if you have legitimate software applications by checking the files you produce).

The update also represents a bonanza of security improvements. So if you have problems with previous iterations and/or older Security Updates of Tiger, try this latest update for a better OS X.

Likewise Adobe Illustrator users can happily report the application's "pathfinder" tool no longer crashes on Intel-based Macs. OS X 10.4.9 has resolved the issue.

And incredibly, Apple somehow managed to make the delta update a trouble-free experience. Nevertheless we still recommend the Combo update for a complete fix from OS X 10.4.0 to 10.4.9.

It is also highly recommended that users do not update OS X "Tiger" version 10.4.9 to a higher version (e.g. 10.4.10 or 10.4.11) as users in the future will report a loss in stability in the way the OS behaves. For example, after a period of use, running the Check Disk feature of Disk Utility will not report an error under OS X 10.4.9. But under OS X 10.4.10 and 10.4.11, the following error is common and must be fixed regularly:

Verify and Repair disk "MacintoshHD OS X"

Checking HFS Plus volume.

Checking Extents Overflow file.

Checking Catalog file.

Checking multi-linked files.

Checking Catalog hierarchy.

Checking Extended Attributes file.

Checking volume bitmap.

Checking volume information.

Volume Header needs minor repair(or Invalid volume free block count)

Repairing volume.

Rechecking volume.

Checking HFS Plus volume.

Checking Extents Overflow file.

Checking Catalog file.

Checking multi-linked files.

Checking Catalog hierarchy.

Checking Extended Attributes file.

Checking volume bitmap.

Checking volume information.

The volume MacintoshHD OS X was repaired successfully.

Mounting Disk

1 HFS volume checked

Repair attempted on 1 volume

1 HFS volume repaired

Stick to OS X 10.4.9 and you should be free of these errors.

14 March 2007

The main problems users are encountering after the OS X 10.4.9 update suggests some.plist files may need to be deleted (especially for those problematic applications such as Final Cut Pro where they may not launch), clear out all the old cache files (try OnyX), and do a file permission fix with Disk Utility.

Worth considering is a prebinding update for your OS X by opening up Terminal and typing:

sudo update_prebinding -root / -force

and press the Return key. But only do this after quitting all applications (worth restarting the machine to be sure) and don't do anything to interrupt the prebinding process; otherwise there could be a risk of losing critical files.

NOTE: This is why Apple has the prebinding task automatically set to perform in the middle of the night when you are asleep (so long as OS X is running). Manual control of this prebinding task could be more risky if you don't know what you are doing.

Any other problems and it may be worth either deleting old preference settings (including the.plist files for any suspect application) and recreating them (e.g. for issues of AirPort and Bluetooth connectivity problems), or try resetting the PRAM/NVRAM or the PMU/SMU.

SAFETY TIP: With hard disk capacities exceeding 120GB, you would be wise to consider setting up a 20GB partition devoted entirely as a backup OS X startup disk (always keep it one version down from the latest, or choose the most stable older version). In the event of a crash right in the middle of any major OS X update and you cannot boot into your main startup disk, you can always restart the computer, press Option until you see a list of all bootable disks, and select the backup OS X disk. This gives you extra protection and flexibility when you need it should something serious happen to OS X. And even if you can boot into your startup disk, if you see a problem with one of your applications, you can compare the difference with the older OS X version.

16 March 2007

Apple wants to ween users off Mac OS 9 classic. Either that, or Apple wants to find out if there are any OS 9 users left before disgarding Classic Environment from the PPC version of OS X Leopard. Now we learn how the 10.4.9 Server update prevents OS 9 users from accessing network shares properly because of a file copying problem. If you try to login to an OS10.4.9 system from OS9, it is okay. But if you try to transfer files larger than 1.5MB to the server or vice versa, you will discover the file server will deny it, claiming:

"The file server's connection has unexpectedly closed down."

So reverse the situation and get OS X systems to login to OS9 systems. Network problems should be restored. Apple might describe this as a security enhancement.

22 May 2007

Apple has issued an official solution to the OS 9 "file copying" problem. While other users have swapped AppleFileServer.app version 3.1.5 from the OS X 10.4.9 Update to version 3.1.4 from the OS X 10.4.8 update with success, Apple now recommends typing the following Terminal command on OS X Server running 10.4.9:

sudo defaults write /Library/Preferences/com.apple.AppleFileServer TCPQuantum -int 327680

Stop Apple File Service and ensure all users are disconnected from the Server before attempting to perform this Terminal command. The new change causes the server to give more time for OS9 users to remain connected to the OS X Server when copying files.

This alternative method recommended by Apple goes like this:

  1. Make sure all users are disconnected from the server.
  2. Open Terminal (or ssh to the server from another computer) and execute these commands, each on a single line:

    sudo serveradmin stop afp

    sudo serveradmin settings afp:TCPQuantum=327680

    sudo serveradmin start afp

Not mentioned by Apple is how the above one line UNIX code can also be applied to standard OS X Tiger computers.

19 March 2007

Sorry to break the news for users of Final Cut Pro 4.5 but it has been discovered by chance how under OS X 10.4.9 users cannot capture video. Either "dropped frames or completely interrupted captures in most cases" as MacFixIt described.

Solution is to move to Final Cut Pro 5.0, which happens to be out right now for purchasing. Or downgrade to OS X 10.4.8. But do expect to pay the full price. Apple has kindly and rather abruptly stopped the discount upgrade offer to Final Cut Pro 5 as of 19 March 2007. Basically not enough time for users to do anything to reduce the costs of the upgrade. Convenient for Apple, but not so for the users.

"Now who has legitimate copies of FInal Cut Pro 4.5 out there?", as Apple would like to know.

15 April 2007

Apple releases Security Update 2007-004 within weeks of releasing the official OS X 10.4.9 update. However users should be aware that the security improvements provided by this update will result in users having to check third-party software manufacturers' web sites for updates to third-party QuickTime DivX components (e.g. Elgato's EyeTV software). Otherwise you may discover a flaw where entering your login name and password on launching your computer and pressing the Return key will bring you back to the login screen &151 the infamous "looping" situation. Also the QuickTime component may cause problems in Safari.

Until those DivX components are properly updated, you should wait before installing the new security update. The priority in any business should be to make sure all your software is working one-hundred percent before applying any new update.

Our recommendation: Always have a minimum of two OS X systems installed on your computer and test the updated OS X for all essential operations. If you can achieve everything you can possibly imagine in the updated system, move to the new system. If not, stay with the original OS. In fact, we highly recommend having a third OS X such as 10.3.9 in case you need to run slightly older OS X software that for some reason can only work or is considered most stable under Panther.

1 May 2007

Apple re-releases Security Update 2007-004 (currently revised to version 1.1). You can enjoy all the same security refinements as in the initial release. Only difference this time is that Apple doesn't tell you explicitly the fixes made in this release. A big improvement from Apple no doubt. As for the Login problems, it's early days yet. Users will know soon if the update can truly be described as an update. Better still, we recommend you go for the Security Update 2007-005 (version 1.1) which combines Security Update 2007-004v1.1. Hopefully the latest changes will involve a slightly more stable and reliable OS X machine.

NOTE: Don't try the Software Update feature of OS X for users who have already updated using the old Security Update 2007-004. It will think you have the latest update. Download the update manually and install, followed by the ritual file permissions check.

On the same day, QuickTime 7.1.6 appeared on the scene to help fix an alleged security bug affecting the handling of Java applets in web browsers via the QuickTime to Java component. After installing, you would be wise to perform a permissions check as users have found things like the Finder restarting every 90 seconds possibly because QuickTime is such a crucial component for Finder and the System to function properly (if all else fails, try re-installing the OS X 10.4.9 update). But remember, updating to the latest QuickTime can make other aspects of the system unstable. A classic example is whether third-party plug-ins within a browser can run Flash content through QuickTime. As for QuickTime media embedded in web pages which doesn't appear properly (i.e. shows up as a watermark QuickTime logo with a question mark on top), try deleting the preference file:


And download the full QuickTime 7.1.6 from Apple's web site (don't rely on Software Update) and install.

NOTE: This may be changing as of May 2007 as the latest versions of complete software updates as indicated on the creation and modification dates may only be available through the Software Update function. So-called complete updates downloadable from the Apple web site may not actually be the latest. If this happens, get the package file copy from another user assuming the Software Update function was set to keep the package during installation.

21 April 2007

Having trouble ejecting CDs and DVDs from your drive running OS X 10.4.9? Probably the drag-and-drop onto the trash icon technique or Command-E makes the CD/DVD icon disappear but will not let go of the disk? We recommend the following Terminal solution:

drutil tray eject

Unless the CD or DVD is physically stuck inside the drive unit (try tipping the computer at an angle to allow gravity to put the disk in the right position before applying the above Terminal solution, otherwise you're in deep trouble — ask authorised Apple service technician to repair it), the disks should come out every time.

24 May 2007

Apple releases Security Update 2007-005.

31 May 2007

Apple re-releases Security Update 2007-005 (now version 1.1). No major improvements here other than a minor fix up for users of OS X Servers. Download the full version and never through the Software Update feature of OS X.

6 June 2007

Have you downloaded the latest iTunes 7.2 software? If so, you may have noticed how tracks purchased from the iTunes Music Store will contain your personal purchaser data consisting of your name and email addresses. This is like Adobe's postscript files storing your email address from the Internet Config control panel of OS9 as a means of identifying who produced the PDF file when it is distilled. Apparently Apple wants to do the same as a way of tracking down owners of iTunes music files illegally distributing them on file-sharing networks and on the iPhone (once the bluetooth option for sharing files is enabled).

On the other hand, owners of these latest music files are just as concerned that someone else could get a copy and distribute them and this could cause problems for the innocent owners. Removing the personal data is the only way to protect the owners.

Best solution so far is to use HexEdit to find and delete the unwanted data or use a utility designed specifically to edit all metadata tags embedded inside iTunes music files.

The alternative is that you could try purchasing the music from a public library or cafe (with the option to delete browser caches and history files when finished), type a bogus email address or consider using an anonymous public email account from Yahoo or Hotmail. But this leaves only your name, which is obtained when filling out the credit card details. Or better still, purchase the music from another store.

Or perhaps you may wish to consider re-recording the music using a third-party recording software to produce clean MP3 files?

NOTE: Want to know how to strip DRM-protected information from iTunes music? Try burning the music onto a CD in iTunes and re-import them. It is claimed the authorization details are removed altogether.

23 January 2009

OS X "Tiger" version 10.4.9 users will no longer be able to update QuickTime beyond version 7.5.5. Significant changes to QuickTime for greater compatibility with OS X "Leopard" version 10.5.6 has seen the end of all support for OS X 10.4.9.

Tiger update to version 10.4.10

Apple hasn't wasted time releasing the official OS X 10.4.10 update for all PPC and Intel users on 20 June 2007. This one is directed mainly at Intel users although benefits are to be had for PPC users. Improvements are the usual "security" updates (whatever that means), a big effort to provide greater support to USB devices (although some users have reported a loss in USB device support for some third-party products such as the Alesis iO|2 USB audio device — has Apple dropped support for some devices or has it done something to affect the power going to these devices?), more support for third-party software applications, and better RAW camera support.

You should keep a version of the full OS X 10.4.9 combo update on a separate partition drive in case some applications don't behave as they should under this latest OS X update. OS X 10.4.9 still remains the most stable version of Tiger ever produced. This is because OS X 10.4.10 version has been observed to increase kernel panics for certain functions you perform (e.g. Airport, Safari and in running some older OS X applications). Perhaps updates to these applications will make a difference?

NOTE: You may wish to install version 1.1 of the OS X 10.4.10 update (see below) to fix an audio popping problem plus throw in for good measure the Security Update 2007-007 released by Apple several weeks later for improved stability of OS X 10.4.10.

22 June 2007

Reports have come in primarily from Intel Mac users of poor quality sound output above a certain volume threshold and other oddities after applying the OS X 10.4.10 update. For example, there is a faint audible click every few minutes or seconds. It is almost as if following the news of personal data being stored in Apple iTunes files and mentioning how to re-record the music for a cleaner MP3 file that Apple may have caught on and is now trying to lower the quality of the sound coming out of the stereo headphone jacks. As one MacFixIt reader said:

"I am also experiencing a pop sound with my speakers that are always hooked up to my 1st gen rev a macbook. The pop occurs just before actual sound is used, and a short time after, they behave almost as if it is the speakers turning on and off before and after being used, although that is certainly not the case, I'm just trying to find a way to describe the behavior. Up until the recent update there have been no issues in the year that I have run this laptop." (MacFixIt: Mac OS X 10.4.10 (#3): Important files modified by this update, downgrading components; possible fix for audio pops. 22 June 2007.)

And guess what? Coincidentally we find the headphone jack is the only place to be affected by the popping sounds as one reader noted:

"...I never hear the popping thru my iMac's internal speaker's, but only when the external speaker's are connected via the headphone jack." (MacFixIt: Mac OS X 10.4.10 (#4): Audio pops: explanation, workaround and fix; more. 22 June 2007.)

And if you try to use a USB sound input device instead, there could be loss of functionality here as well. Fortunately Apple has quietly acknowledged this issue to a developer with membership to ADC (Apple Developer Connection) in an email which allegedly stated:

"This is a follow up to Bug ID# 5287979. After further investigation it has been determined that this is a known issue, which is currently being investigated by engineering. This issue has been filed in our bug database under the original Bug ID# 5285354." (MacFixIt.com: Apple acknowledges USB sound input problems. 27 July 2007.)

So why the stuff up in the audio department?

We have found OS X 10.4.10 Intel-version (described strangely enough as Universal by Apple) has made changes to the IOAudioFamily.kext extension. Perhaps an OS X 10.4.9 version of the extension might help? The extension can be found at:


However it is claimed in this MacFixIt article that the definitive solution is to replace the kernel extension AppleHDA.kext located at:


with the version supplied in the OS X 10.4.9 Intel update. PPC users won't have to worry about this extension as it does not exist.

So where's the quality control on those Apple hardware-specific areas affected by a change in OS X extensions? Apple can't say it is a third-party hardware or software problem. This is clearly an Apple problem. If sound is going to be affected by this update (e.g. IOAudioFamily.kext), Apple should have checked.

Or does Apple have an agenda here?

As one MacFixIt reader said:

"Geez...I guess we'll be seeing a 10.4.11 from the sound of things." (MacFixIt: The problem with the Mac OS X 10.4.10 version number. 28 June 2007.)

23 June 2007

We find Apple must have forgotten to add a security update to the OS X 10.4.10 update after learning Security Update 2007-006 was released today. This one apparently fixes a problem in the WebKit software of OS X for a safer internet browsing experience. However, you are better off waiting for the more stable and secure Security Update 2007-007. It bundles Security Update 2007-006 and adds other components. Make sure you have enough hard disk space for the update to be successful (minimum 10 per cent free space) or you may discover some issues on Intel Macs.

2 July 2007

Apple re-released OS X 10.4.10 update to version 1.1. This one takes into account the repeated popping sounds emanating from the stereo headphone jack of Intel-based computers. It is the only change in what is, we hope, a reasonable update (so long as users are happy with the USB support and the Airport connection provided by it). Or alternatively, download the Audio Update 2007-001.

So has the quality of the sound above a certain volume threshold returned to pre-OS X 10.4.10 levels?

10 July 2007

This MacFixIt article suggests the audio pop issue has not been thoroughly resolved. It appears the problem began with the update to OS X 10.4.10 (both versions 1.0 and 1.1). When the Audio Update (and version 1.1 of the OS X update) was released, the popping became less noticeable, but was not eliminated. And it seems PPC users with their 1.8GHz G5 Tower computers are similarly affected by this issue. And if you've later installed Apple Pro Applications Update 4.0.1, the popping sound will return, most noticeable when the computer stops playing audio through the headphone jack. Thanks Apple. Your best solution is to re-apply the Audio Update 2007-001.

Another issue worth mentioning is how Apple File Sharing on other Macs trying to connect to a Mac computer running OS X 10.4.10 is somehow disabled or stopped for some reason. One user has suggested the solution is to disable the Firewall in the Sharing control panel.

Beyond these two issues and the drop or loss in USB support for some third-party devices, there doesn't appear to be anything else worthy to report regarding OS X 10.4.10. It's a pity Apple can't provide a problem-free update for users these days.

23 July 2007

USB device support remains a persistent problem for users of OS X 10.4.10. The files likely to be implicated are:




Perhaps getting a copy of these files from the OS X 10.4.9 combo update might work wonders.

10 July 2007

A shocker has emerged from Apple today with the release of QuickTime 7.2 for OS X Tiger. There are notable improvements from this update so long as the installation has resulted in a stable Intel-based or PPC Macintosh system. However, not all users have a stable system following the installation. It would appear this time that developers at Apple Inc. have made this installation particularly more prone to errors to the point where if you happen to have other applications running during the installation, the prebinding information may not be updated fully. Hence the installation will appear to work and the machine will restart. But an incomplete prebinding update results in Rosetta PowerPC emulated software not launching and crashing more often if they do open. This is unusual in that third-party installation can and often do tell you when to quit all applications (and may even do it on your behalf). But Apple has chosen not to make it obvious or help you do it right. The solution is to do the prebinding update yourself after the installation.

As one MacFixIt user said:

"It seems to me that either OS X is a pre-emptive multi-threaded OS or it isn't. Having to quit every other app for fear of prebinding failing indicates to me that the prebinding process is too fragile for release. Let us look at this from a common user's point of view, not a geek's:

How on earth is the average homemaker supposed to know that she should quit out of everything else when performing a system update? All she knows about computers is where the on switch is, how to move the mouse, and how to click "OK" when the system tells her "There are new updates available."

And that is not her faultApple markets the Mac as an "everyone can use it" device. So it is incumbent upon Apple to live up to that promisemake the system robust enough that even us geeks are left scratching our heads about why we can't launch Rosetta apps after an update.

C'mon folks, let's stop being complete Apple apologists here and ask why it is that the OS can't be more tolerant of completely normal user behavior like checking e-mail while waiting for an update to complete." (MacFixIt.com: QuickTime 7.2 breaking Rosetta CFM apps on Intel-based Macs: The definitive fixes; Crashes and other problems? remove components. 13 July 2007.)

Well, it's a good idea to quit all applications no matter what you do. Installation does often imply updating key components probably needed by a number of applications (including those running in the background). For this very reason, Apple will improve on this with the release of Leopard. As another MacFixIt reader said:

"In fact, under Leopard, it has been rumored that Software Update will quit all running applications before installing any updates. Perhaps Apple is doing this temporarily while they work to track down the bug and fix it once and for all." (MacFixIt.com: QuickTime 7.2 breaking Rosetta CFM apps on Intel-based Macs: The definitive fixes; Crashes and other problems? remove components. 13 July 2007.)

Could this latest update debarcle be Apple's way of enticing users to upgrade to Leopard when it is released?

A similar thing also happened with the SuperDrive Firmware Update 2.1 for pre-July 2007 MacBook and MacBook Pro. Users went through the OS X Software Update feature where it downloaded the firmware update but no message indicated when it was actually installing the software so users could stop everything they were doing and quit all applications (ideally users should restart the computer before installation). The result has been an interruption of the installation process for many users resulting in widespread failure of the optical drives. And unfortunately Apple did not provide a firmware restoration tool in case something went wrong. Apple has pulled the update down from its web site and the official web page for the update leads nowhere.

Referring back to the QuickTime 7.2 update, it is further recommended not to install Java SE 6.0 Release 1 Developer Preview 6. As the name implies, this is for developers. And when it says "preview", this is equivalent to saying it is beta software. Never install Apple beta or "preview" software on your system unless you are a bona-fide developer. All other users should install only officially released full working versions of Apple software (if you can call it that these days!).

The QuickTime 7.2 update has also made some third-party software seem old and not working well again. For example, the latest EyeTV software (version 2.4.0) can no longer maintain volume levels when a recorded EyeTV program is paused, moved to another third-party application for longer than 5 seconds, and return to EyeTV to press the play button. Volume has to be constantly increased for the sound to be properly heard. With a bit of luck, version 2.4.1 should solve this minor annoyance. Also the export into WMV (Windows Media) from Final Cut Express or QuickTime results in an error message. To solve this problem, set the audio to 44.1kHz, export to a QuickTime format, and re-export to the Windows Media format.

Finally, if you should find embedded Flash media on the web affected in some way by this QuickTime 7.2 installation, it may be a good idea to download the latest Adobe Flash player. Apparently the Flash player component built-in to QuickTime is of an older version and Adobe's Flash player released about a day before the QuickTime Pro 7.2 update is more up-to-date (perhaps a little more communication between Adobe and Apple Systems, Inc. might help unless there is meant to be an agenda here). If you can't see QuickTime media files in a web page through, say, FireFox, quit all internet browsers and remove the following plug-in:

/Library/Internet Plug-Ins/QuickTime Plug-in.plugin

Relaunch your internet browser and voila! Your QuickTime media files are viewable again!

Except for the QuickTime media files issue on web pages, PowerBook G4 and G5 Tower users aren't affected by other update problems. Only the poor Intel-based users are enjoying all the fun. A nice touch from a MacFixIt reader to this debarcle deserves a mention:

"Apple would like to welcome everyone to this forum to discuss fixes we need to make for yet another release that we've sprung upon you without proper Alpha or Beta testing.

Thanks for paying us to do our work for us.


Microsof- (cough) Apple Comput- (cough) I mean, Apple Incorporated

P.S. Enjoy your iPhones."

If all else fails, remove incompatible third-party QuickTime plug-ins. Or re-installing the OS X 10.4.10 full combo update (have you considered the OS X 10.4.9 full combo update instead?).

Or why not send a friendly letter to Apple Inc. asking, "What the heck is going on?" Apple may not return a reply, but at least they will get the message from enough users.

Do you reckon it's time for Apple to pull down the QuickTime 7.2 update too?

27 July 2007

Could this be the cause for all the wonky USB devices woes for users? Latest news suggests the OS X 10.4.10 update has changed power delivery to external devices connected via USB (and possibly through the Express Card slot). Perhaps Apple is trying to maximise the core power to the computer and wants to keep it running longer and more reliably by reducing power going to the USB ports to external devices? Certainly one user has noticed a message saying "drawing too much current" when his USB-powered external drive was plugged into his computer before it unmounted or stopped working properly. The risk, of course, in reducing current is that the user has experienced file corruption issues as a result of insufficient current going to the drive.

Has Apple realised some electronic components can draw too much current (e.g. as the temperature of the semiconductors increases) leading to overheating and have therefore decided to go the opposite extreme of cutting back on how much current certain components can draw?

Or we hope this isn't a cynical attempt by Apple to convince users of buying more power economical USB devices or to upgrade their systems to new Apple computers?

The only solution so far is to downgrade to OS X 10.4.9, unless you are successful in resetting PRAM/NVRAM, SMU and PMU (the power management system). In fact, try the latter first before taking the drastic step of going back to an older OS X version.

NOTE: Have you tried one of those Y-shaped USB cables designed to extract additional power from two USB ports into one USB plug for the external USB device?

30 July 2007

QuickTime 7.2 update has created significant problems for users in terms of audio and video export capabilities for a number of applications including the QuickTime player itself.

6 September 2007

Apple Inc. released the Apple Pro Application Support 4.0.2 update. Apple claims this is an improvement for users of Final Cut Pro to help with "keyboard interface reliability" (probably another term for getting the new "mid-2007" aluminium keyboards to work properly with the flagship Apple software). Unfortunately Apple has failed to mention how this update also stops at least Aperture, and possibly other Apple applications, from functioning properly too. As one VersionTracker.com reader named Camillel said:

"Make a copy of your system before upgrading, could not use Aperture anymore, refused to open. Had to bring back old system to get it to work again"

We may have to call this a downdate rather than an update for some users. It reveals how Apple is really not in the business of providing quality control for their software as it is deemed too expensive for Apple Inc. That's a job for users to do, free-of-charge. It's part of Steve Jobs' vision of maximising profits at Apple Inc.

6 September 2007

Fascinating to see how fast Apple Inc. can update its own software when it wants to, especially if it finds something it doesn't like such as the possibility of people not purchasing ringtones from the Apple iTunes store. But when it comes to fixing anything else for customers and the update may take a while to be released and when it does Apple may choose which improvements to make.

Supporting this view is the recently discovered feature by CleveryBoy in the MacRumours forum where any MP3 or AAC file can be turned into an iTunes ringtone file. It involves duplicating an MP3/AAC file, renaming the file to have the extension ".m4r" (easily achieved with the Windows Explorer tool available on Windows XP or Vista, or use Get Info in OS X under the "Name and Extension" section), delete the original listing in iTunes for the file, double-click on the new "renamed" file to add it to iTunes 7.4 (will be stored in ~/Music/iTunes/iTunes Music/Ringtones/), click on your iPhone in iTunes and in the ringtone section you will see your new ringtone ready for synchronising with your iPhone.

Apple Inc. didn't show great enthusiam for this discovery after realising the possibility that music artists, ringtone designers and Apple itself could be deprived of a healthy income through this method (even though one can argue the opposite view by saying users would have purchased the music and playing it for short periods in a ringtone would be a form of promotion and would increase sales of the music), Apple decided to quickly update iTunes to version 7.4.1 to put a stop on it. Nothing else was changed in the update suggesting Apple is quick to change something it doesn't like, but can be slow in updating other things.

However, this posting at MacRumours suggests free ringtones may still work in iTunes 7.4.1. Or try downloading the freeware utility Make iPhone Ringtones 1.2 (as of 17 September 2007) from the same author for an easier solution. On the same day as version 1.0 of the utility was released (i.e. 11 September 2007), Apple began selling ringtones for iPhone users.

Might as well cash in on the ringtones market now before too many users find out how to do it themselves.

About a week later (i.e. 16 September 2007), Apple realised there wasn't an overwhelming interest from users in updating to iTunes 7.4.1. So Apple Inc. provided a sweetener in the iTunes 7.4.2 update. This one has been described by Apple as allegedly having numerous bug fixes. Users aren't seeing it in the same way. According to this MacFixIt article, this update is characterised by serious synchronisation issues.

In particular, users have complained of an unwanted full synchronisation process via the Transfer button involving deletion of all the music and ringtones on the iPod. Where music is involved, it may be replaced with a different set of music irrespective of the options specified in iTunes by the user. For everything else requiring a sync, there are odd behaviours. For example, calendar information may sync from the Mac to the iPhone okay, but not in the other direction. On other occasions, iTunes may freeze or crash in the middle of a synchronisation., or it may suddenly not recognise the iPhone unless the computer is restarted.

As one MacFixIt readers said:

"I hook[ed] up the iPod to the Mac[Book] Pro and get [sic] the usual message that the iPod is synched to another iTunes and whether I wanted to transfer purchases or erase and sync. I hit the button to transfer purchases. Instead of transferring purchases, it immediately started to sync. A full 1/3 of my iPod's content was wiped out and then iTunes attempted to copy 5 files to the iPod. Something was definitely wrong there since transferring purchases should not touch the content on the iPod.

I disconnect[ed] the iPod and hook[ed] it back up with the MacBook Pro. It syncs up just fine, taking about 15-20 minutes to restore the lost content on the iPod. I got no warning that the iPod was synched to another iTunes, but I shouldn't. So I then reconnect the iPod with the Mac[Book] Pro thinking that I would just hit cancel and use Senuti to copy over files. This time without any warning, it just started synching again with the iPod, again wiping out 1/3 of the contents and replacing all the playlists.

Frustrated, I set the iPod to not launch iTunes automatically and ejected it. After once more restoring the iPod's contents from the laptop, I plugged in the iPod and launched Senuti. I chose one playlist to copy over to start with. It copied over the files and then launched iTunes to copy the song! I should have remembered. Naturally, iTunes once again wiped out 1/3 of the contents of my iPod and replaced its playlists and tried to sync. Ugh."

Serious synchronisation issues under iTunes 7.4.2 persist according to this iPhone Atlas article and again in this article. As one iPhone user said:

"I synced successfully a couple of times after downloading 7.4.2. Then, just now, I synced again and couldn't get past syncing Calendars. And iTunes still freezes after connecting my iPhone to the dock."

Also, the update to iTunes 7.4.2 has somehow affected iMovie '06. As one MacFixIt reader said:

"I just installed the new iTunes 7.4 updater and now iMovie 06 will not open. I had to revert to my backup drive to get iMovie to open."

And you shouldn't be too surprised if iTunes 7.4.2 can play some MP3 files but not others. As MacFixit reader Clive said:

"I've never really used iTunes to listen to music, only relying on it to sync my iPod. However the other day I needed to use it to play a track and there seemed to be some big problems with it which I suspect crept in since updating to 7.4.2 (though I have also updated my MacBook Pro with the recent system update).

The problem is that some tracks play fine when I hit the space bar or the start button, but most don't play at all. After rebooting, the same files still didn't want to play, and the same ones worked fine. I tried playing the non-working tracks through Amadeus and they worked just fine too. I haven't synched my iPod since and am a bit reluctant to do so just yet." (MacFixIt: iTunes 7.4.2 (#4): Problems play tracks, fixes; store credits used for free media. 1 October 2007.)

Finally there could be a new issue of the CPU going into overdrive (and thus making the computer hotter) by iTunes 7.4.2 when updating podcasts.

Not exactly a ringing endorsement from users of iTunes 7.4.2 from a company that should know better.

12 September 2007

Having a horrid time running the latest iLife 2008 applications from Apple? This is not a new event. It's caused by the QuickTime 7.2 update. Apple recommends downloading and installing the Apple Compatibility for QuickTime 7.2 Update to hopefully solve all issues raised by users at this time.

Or perhaps it is time for Apple to release a complete OS X 10.4.11 update to all users?

14 November 2007

Apple released what might be the final OS X 10.4.11 update. Any further updates are likely to be by way of numerous Security Updates in what Apple calls continued support for this OS. If you want more, Apple recommends you upgrade to OS X "Leopard" version 10.5.x. Improvements allegedly provided by this update include reliability in mounting external hard drives, greater compatibility with third-party wireless networking devices, better RAW image support for Canon, Leica, Olympus and Panasonic digital cameras, and plugs several important security holes.

Please note that this does not include updates for all the Apple iLife and iWork applications. These are separate updates of which a large number have been released to coincide with the OS X 10.4.11 update (it helps Apple to see which users have which application for statistical purposes and to see how rampant the software piracy issue might be).

We hope the bugs have finally been ironed out of OS X "Tiger".

If you experience Safari 3.0.4 crashing immediately after installing OS X 10.4.11, download the full combo update (updates OS X "Tiger" from 10.4.0 to 10.4.11) and reapply to your system. Users have noticed Safari behaving properly when this is done.

16 November 2007

More stable? Not really. A third-party software called Graph Paper Maker has been poorly programmed to the point where the Classic Environment under OS X 10.4.11 for PowerPC users will freeze after a short period of time, and it can damage the Volume Header and Volume Bit Map. Minor repairs for Disk Utility. But OS X 10.4.11 is only stable so long as all other OS X applications are well designed by their developers.

There is nothing to protect OS X and the hard disk from serious damage except buying and installing a copy of the latest Disk Warrior (make sure its compatible with your version of OS X!).

5 December 2007

OS X "Tiger" version 10.4.11 does have some newly-introduced interface oddities never seen before until now. Icons representing the Classic Environment, AirPort, Sound Volume, and BlueTooth can suddenly disappear from the menu bar on occasions. Battery time remaining can also disappear on its own accord requiring users to press over the menu bar to show the icons or to go into System Preferences to reactivate the feature you want to see.

Also connecting an OS X10.4.11 machine to another Mac via an ethernet connection and the Connect to Server feature has revealed how the folder of the guest computer (e.g. OS9) does not automatically update the files after a few seconds (or minutes in the worse case scenario) as in previous OS X versions. Closing the folder and opening won't refresh the folder contents. You must close the file server to the guest computer and re-open for the refresh feature to take place.

13 December 2007

Another shocking QuickTime update to report from the bowels of Apple. This time version 7.3.1 has ruffled too many feathers on the caps of PowerPC users to the point where they are having trouble getting back to the desktop after restarting from the installation. You may wish to hold back on the update until Apple gets it right.

PowerPC users are reporting getting stuck on the grey screen with the Apple logo on booting or finding themselves caught in an endless loop at the Setup Assistant stage.

16 December 2007

The Apple Security Update 2007-009 is now out. The only problem to report here are possibly some printing issues (especially from a document in Microsoft Word). Installation should be a virtually flawless process (finally!). Sounds like Apple woke up!

Security Update 2007-009 (10.5.1)

Security Update 2007-009 (10.4.11 Intel/Universal)

Security Update 2007-009 (PowerPC)

22 December 2007

Oops, the previous update was a mistake. Apple has reissued the following Apple Security Update 2007-009 (now version 1.1) to solve a Safari quit problem.:

Security Update 2007-009 v1.1 (10.5.1)

Security Update 2007-009 v1.1 (10.4.11 Intel/Universal)

Security Update 2007-009 v1.1 (PowerPC)

We can only make a Christmas wish that the next Apple Security Update 2007-009 v1.2 to fix the UNIX printing system called CUPS (i.e. Apple has accidentally disabled this feature for some users) will come hopefully before the New Year.

Two biggest security flaws of OS X

After numerous OS X updates and upgrades since 2002, major security flaws still remain to this day:


This problem concerns downloading malicious files carrying and executing dubious "shell script" code (either by double-clicking on the file or letting another application autoexecute it) and how this code can potentially cause havoc to OS X, your applications and, more importantly, your personal files. Combine this with the fact that Apple wants to choose specific names and preferred locations to place files, folders and applications under OS X and how Apple applications are scriptable and the security concern becomes more self-evident.

Firstly, Apple makes a big deal with OS X about wanting to create its own specifically-named folders and applications such as "Application" and "Terminal" and to have them in fixed locations (e.g. placing the application Terminal inside "Utilities" within the Applications folder at the root level of your hard disk). Is it necessary? No. It has been previously observed that Apple can update applications placed in any location. However, Apple discourages this when you realise that after applying an OS X update, some Apple applications have not been updated because the user has moved them to different locations.

Secondly, the "Open safe files after download" feature of Apple Safari, when enabled, is highly ineffective when it comes to properly checking the genuine nature of files downloaded and executed. For example, you could tell Safari to download and automatically uncompress ZIP files because you think they are safe to execute. But the reality is that these are the kinds of files hackers will exploit. All it takes is for the hackers to hide the code for execution in a seemingly innocuous ZIP file and name the file [filename].zip where [filename] is arbitrary. What is crucial is the extension ".zip". Safari does not have enough security features in place to notice if this is a genuine ZIP file or not. So once the file is downloaded and executed by Safari thinking it is trying to uncompress the file, the hidden code can run other applications such as Terminal to do its dirty work.

And thirdly, when hidden code inside malicious files is executed through a simple double-clicking of the files, it is incredibly easy for hackers to execute shell scripts in the "Terminal" utility (supplied by Apple) for running underlying UNIX commands in OS X.

What's the solution?

Moving "Terminal" to another folder or renaming Terminal to something else has been mentioned as possible solutions. Unfortunately the Finder itself also has a number of similar scriptable commands capable of performing the same functions as "Terminal" (e.g. trashing files and folders). So what do you do? Rename Finder or move it to another folder? For some reason we get the feeling Apple doesn't like this idea. If anything, OS X may stop working if one tries to fiddle around with the Finder.

Perhaps more sophisticated checking by Safari may solve this problem? But then again, hackers will find a way to bypass the security measures.

In other words, so long as you download files and run them on OS X, the security risk remains. It doesn't matter if you have downloaded the files from another computer (e.g. a PC) and transfer them to your network-independent OS X computer. Depending on the code being executed, the hackers may not be interested in copying your personal files or looking at your keychain file to see what passwords can be extracted over the network. The code could merely be designed to trash any file or application.

Might be a good idea for software manufacturers wanting to destroy what they think could be pirated software on your hard drive. But other hackers may care even less. Why not destroy OS X and all your personal or commercial-in-confidence files?

Short of killing off AppleScript or any applications made "scriptable" with commands capable of deleting files and folders or sending files over the network, or forcing people not to access network resources (e.g. downloading files from the internet), it will take a miracle for Apple to solve this security flaw.

Or could it be, given how long the problem has remained in OS X without Apple doing anything, that this flaw is exactly what Apple and other software manufacturers want in order to implement the above technique in checking to see what Mac users are doing? Sounds harmless if it involves merely checking on what OS X has learnt about its users. However there is one big problem: Once hackers find out, more harmful code could be run to do a lot more than snoop around on a person's hard drive.

Maybe this is the price we have to pay for stopping software piracy and other illegal activity. While some people want to find a way to check up on users, this may end up being the security paradox that can never be resolved by any technology.

Ignoring the accidental security flaws through poor programming, trying to secure computers from hackers and yet allowing insecurity to exist for law enforcement or other purposes could be the issue no true security measure can ever allow. You either trust all users to do the right thing and therefore plug every conceivable security, or take the risk of leaving behind a security flaw and hope people won't find out.

Perhaps Apple is taking the latter option with OS X?

Already feeling uncomfortable about OS X? You are not alone! To minimise the problem, we recommend downloading (sorry, but you will have to trust two files):

  1. Safe Terminal 0.3 or higher — this utility shows an alert before executing a shell script; and
  2. Demark 0.1 or higher — this utility shows you the name of the application a file you have selected to test will open in. It will help you to see whether say a JPEG or GIF file opens in a graphics software application or the more dubious Terminal utility or some other unnecessary application.


This security issue is best described through a quote. This one is from MacFixIt reader James Reid:

"I installed another copy of Mac OS X on my second internal drive. I used a different user name and password for the 'first user' than I used on my 'first user' on my main internal drive. I confirmed that the uid(501) was the same on both drives for the 'first user' accounts on both drives. I then set permissions on a folder on my third (external drive) to 'no access' for other users from my 'first user' on my main drive. I switched to my second user account on my main drive and made sure the folder was in fact restricted.

I then booted from my second hard drive and logged in with the 'first user' account on that drive (same uid as my main drive 'first user' but different user name and password) and found that I could freely open the restricted folder on my 3rd hard drive as well as the folders in the"first user" account on my main drive. I did a get info and found that the owner of the folder was now my new user name on the second drive. That said... It is possible for a person who either steals a Mac computer or has unsupervised access to your computer (friends who come over, housekeeper,etc...) to boot your computer from their external OS X drive using the 'Option' key on startup to pick their drive or boot your computer in 'target disk mode' and connecting it to their Mac laptop. Since Mac OS X always starts with the same uid when first setup and then increases incrementally as you add new users, it is possible to breach any user account on the machine by setting up multiple users on their drives." (MacFixIt.com: Mac OS X Security: Never assign the same user IDs to two different users. 17 November 2006.)

You can check your own user ID by opening Terminal and type "ID" and return. First user account formed would be 501.

Your only solution to this security flaw is to encrypt sensitive files inside a third-party industry-strength encryption software. Don't rely on Apple's FileVault to protect your files.

NOTE: Firmware password protection is not a sufficient protection solution. Removing the RAM card or booting from the OS X DVD installation disk can reset the password.

21 April 2006

More about this security exploit issue is revealed below:

"Tom Ferris has reported some potential vulnerabilities in Mac OS X, which can be exploited by malicious people to cause a DoS (Denial of Service) and potentially compromise a user's system.

  1. An error exists in the "BOMStackPop()" function in the BOMArchiveHelper when decompressing malformed ZIP archives.
  2. Some errors exists in the "KWQListIteratorImpl()", "drawText()", and "objc_msgSend_rtp()" functions in Safari when processing malformed HTML tags.
  3. An error exists in the "ReadBMP()" function when processing malformed BMP images and can be exploited via e.g. Safari or the Preview application.
  4. An error exists in the "CFAllocatorAllocate()" function when processing malformed GIF images and can be exploited via e.g. Safari when a user visits a malicious web site.
  5. Two errors exists in the " _cg_TIFFSetField ()" and "PredictorVSetField()" functions when processing malformed TIFF images and can be exploited via e.g. the Preview, Finder, QuickTime, or Safari applications.

The vulnerabilities have been reported in version 10.4.6. Other versions may also be affected.


Do not visit untrusted web sites, and do not open ZIP archives or images originating from untrusted sources."

April 2007

Apple makes a bigger effort to improve the security aspects of OS X Tiger through OS X 10.4.9 update and the Security Update 2007-004.

Biggest attempt at tackling the software piracy problem

Another major issue of OS X which hasn't been fixed for many years and was only made apparent recently to users as people started corroborating on the discovery is the "incorrect file copy status" problem.

A number of users, including those with Intel-based and PowerPC Macs, have discovered that when transferring (or copying) files from a network or an external disk such as a ZIP or Jaz drive from Iomega, only a portion of the files copied are visible. Most other files are not. When this happens, the Get Info command may reveal the correct amount of data. But because enough files are not visible under the Finder (but may be viewable using the Open command of another application), there is a concern files have been lost or, if OS X application are copied, may not launch and run correctly.

As a MacFixIt reader named Michael said:

"I am now seeing missing files from what appears to be good copies, but with a difference. I have just copied back 4gb of data from an archive DVD. The Finder shows 5 files and a folder, the get info say their is the correct amount of data. Final Cut Pro sees all the files through the import dialog box. If I then try and copy the 'missing' files back again, I am told they exist, I say no to the overwrite and they appear." (MacFixIt.com: When file transfers appear complete but actually aren't (or "Incorrect file copy status") #3: A permissions issue?. 10 March 2006.)

This technique was probably designed to stop less knowledgeable people from copying OS X applications (Apple recommends that you install from the original disk rather than a personal archive disk). Why? Because OS X applications now come as a folder of resources containing literally thousands of files, should enough files fail to show a correct file copy status, these applications may fail to launch and run.

Your best solution is to use a utility such as BatChmod 1.3.4 or higher by Renaud Boisjoly to set permissions for all files and folders to 777 (read, write and execute privileges for user, group and others). All files should then transfer and copy correctly.

NOTE: It has come to our attention the possibility that some commercial applications could be using Google Earth and Apple Mail to obtain personal information about users. MacFixIt reader Nasser has noted this possibility when he said:

"It was OSS 3D version 2.0 causing applications to quit unexpectedly [under OS X 10.4.8]. Now I uninstalled it and removed all files with OSS in its name, all applications are running smoothly. On thing i can't understand, what does OSS 3D has to do with Google Earth or Apple Mail?" (MacFixIt.com: OSS 3D can cause unexpected application quits. 13 October 2006.)

The makers of OSS 3D has quickly issued a 2.0.1 update. It is not clear whether this has made the application stable again.

Having problems sharing your internet connection with others as if users are being suddenly denied access after 5 minutes (IP address intact etc)? Here is an example from MacFixIt reader Ben Miller:

"My problem is that when I share my Internet connection (in the latest case it is from a Verizon BroadbandAccess ExpressCard), other people can get Internet access through Airport Internet Sharing for a few minutes but then the connection abruptly goes down. Other people remain associated to my AirPort Internet Sharing and they still have an IP address, but they have no connection to the Internet. Usually if I stop Internet Sharing, disable/enable Airport and start Internet Sharing again they will regain access, but this poses a problem for me because I do long presentations for a living and I would like people to stay online while doing my full presentation." (MacFixIt.com: Problems sharing internet connections, fixes. 27 October 2006.)

Try the recommended solution which is to turn on Personal Web Sharing. It may not be clear why, but we are assured in opens up port 80 needed by users to access the internet through your machine by turning it into a DHCP web server hub. Or you could try going into the Network pane of System Preferences, choosing "Port Configuration" and, in the list shown, drag the sharing port you use to share your internet connection to the top of the list. Usually this tells OS X to give the port a higher priority and hopefully keep internet connection sharing on for longer. We are assured this will improve in the next version of OS X.

Apple wants the iPod, iTV and iPhone to make up the bulk of its profits

As people learn more about the way Apple computers are manufacturers and how OS X behaves, Apple is relying less and less on Apple computers and more on consumer electronics products such as the iPod, iPhone and iTV for the bulk of its profits.

Apple Inc. has created three divisions of which only one division is devoted to Apple computers. This is how Apple will ride out the storm of controversy surrounding its flagship computers.

The most stable OS X "Tiger" version

In summary, the most stable OS X "Tiger" version appears to be 10.4.9 (with QuickTime 7.5.5, and you could probably do without the additional Java updates). Users have reported a system running this version of the OS as virtually error-free and with no crashes after more than 12 months of continuous use. When updating OS X "Tiger" to version 10.4.9, it is recommended you boot off another OS X startup disk and apply the OS X update to the first startup disk. This ensures all files are properly replaced and file permissions correctly applied.

The OS X updates that followed version 10.4.9 (i.e. 10.4.10 and 10.4.11) have not been noted by users as providing the same level of stability as 10.4.9. But they will allow the newer QuickTime 7.6.x or higher to be installed with greater security and reliability added.

Should you go for OS X "Tiger" 10.4.11, make sure you apply the full combo update, QuickTime 7.6.4 and the heap of Java updates:



JavaForOS X10.4Release5.pkg

JavaForOS X10.4Release6.pkg

JavaForOS X10.4Release7.pkg

JavaForOS X10.4Release8.pkg

JavaForOS X10.4Release9.pkg

Safari 4.0.4 for greater stability, and SecUpd2009-005PPC.pkg for the latest security updates. In all, about 670MB plus the full combo OS X 10.4.11 update. You'll need a fast broadband connection to download all these updates. Hint for Apple: Have you tried combining all the Java updates into one?

These should be available by end of 2009.