OS X Leopard

About version 10.5.x


If you own a copy of OS X version 10.5.x known as 'Leopard' and any disk repair utility with older repair permissions routines that worked on OS X "Tiger" and older systems, do not use this older utility to repair permissions on OS X "Leopard" under any circumstances.

Apple has made substantial changes to under OS X "Leopard" rendering specific repair options in older disk repair utilities useless. If you accidentally use these utilities (especially if you boot off the inbuilt OS X "Tiger" system from the utilities own CD/DVD installation disks, you will damage file permissions causing some applications to run as root and other applications and files failing to run properly at all. Should this occur, you will need to re-insert the OS X "Leopard" DVD disk and reinstall the system.

This discovery has been made by experienced Apple users and comes as a warning to all Apple users.

About version 10.5...

Apple Inc. has been waiting in the wings for the reaction by PC users to Microsoft's latest new operating system known as Windows Vista. It's been mixed. Vista's poor performance has cursed many users alike and there was little by way of a significant number of useful features beyond the standard core already provided by Windows XP. The only thing worth raving about is Vista's parental-controls, which some believe may revolutionise the way parents control their children's access to the internet.

Apple has watched and learned from the experiences of Microsoft and now the company has released what it thinks Apple users will need from an OS in the 21st century.

Leopard OS X, the latest offering from Apple Inc., was released on 26 October 2007. It provided users with a whopping 300 new features to the original OS X "Tiger" operating system to help entice users to move over to the new OS X. While most Apple users, especially those still using "Tiger" and "Panther", would prefer to hear words to the effect of "300 new bugs fixed" rather than new features, OS X "Leopard" does provide some interesting tools that could make life easier for you.

A brief look at the new features

Among the more useful benefits to be found in the latest OS X is a tool called Time Machine. This tool is for backing up files to an external hard drive or partition disk. It won't create a clone of, say, your startup disk and therefore allow you to boot up OS X from another disk — you'll need Carbon Copy Cloner 2.x or some other similar third-party tool to do the job properly. But at least you will have the peace of mind of knowing all your core personal data files will be saved (even if Apple doesn't want you to copy your fully installed and legitimate copy of the OS X System Folder).

Quick Look is a new tool for viewing files without opening applications. Basically an enhancement of the Preview application where more third-party files can be observed (or previewed). This in turn will have greater benefits to anyone wanting to find information inside files using the latest Spotlight search tool.

Another potentially useful tool is called Spaces. This one is designed to switch between a group of applications. For instance, you may have one Microsoft Word and one Excel document opened side-by-side. Instead of switching from Microsoft Word to Microsoft Excel and vice versa which could hide one application or the other, this tool will permit viewing of more than one application at the same time.

The Finder (i.e. the desktop and file management system you see when no other applications are running) has been redesigned to let users quickly browse and share files with other Macs.

Also the Dashboard has made more efficient use of the power and performance of your machine without hogging the processor. And it can be properly switched off if you don't need it.

Watching DVDs will also allegedly get better with an improved de-interlacing feature kicking in on a machine with at least 1.6GHz processor speed. However, most users with Elgato's EyeTV software and digital TV tuner with its own built-in de-interlacing feature on a 1.6GHz or faster machine have not noticed a difference. Will Apple's de-interlacing be any better?

Intel users will benefit from a non-beta version of Boot Camp (but don't be surprised if Apple needs to make updates to this utility to fix up further bugs). And this one will let users boot into the latest Windows Vista as well as Windows XP.

One common problem of the Dock system is the limited number of icons it can hold to represent and access your files and applications. Unless you reduce the icon size to fit slightly more icons, there isn't much you can do except place a folder icon inside the Dock. Although a folder icon does have the benefit of revealing a hierarchical pop-up menu structure to access all your applications and files, Apple has removed this hierarchical pop-up menu (at least on version 10.5.0) and now a new Stacks utility will combine more files in a neat stack on the Dock and will expand with one click to reveal the files in an elegant arc or "at-a-glance" grid. The new Stacks utility is not designed to show an unlimited number of files and applications like the hierarchical pop-up menu, but hopefully it will be enough for users to store all their applications and files they regularly use in a way Apple can monitor.

When connected to the internet (Apple likes you to do this), you can harness the power of Wikipedia right inside your Dictionary tool.

And you have all the latest improvements to the standard range of OS X applications such as Safari 3.0.4, Address Book, iCal, AppleScript, Mail, Dashboard, Spotlight and Finder, which you probably won't get in OS X "Tiger" (just another reason from Apple to get users to move over to the latest OS version).

NOTE: Apple, Inc. has been kind enough to let Tiger users have the latest copy of Safari 3.0.4 in the OS X "Tiger" 10.4.11 update as of late November 2007.

Are users free of all remaining OS bugs and incompatibility issues?

Naturally, as with any major OS upgrade, users ask two big questions: Will installing OS X "Leopard" allow you to run all your older OS X applications, and will they be sufficiently stable enough (including the OS itself) to let you do your work (or play in order to get an iLife these days)?

As a general rule of thumb, more features usually means more bugs to fix. Given the rate at which bugs were fixed on OS X "Tiger", we shouldn't be surprised if Tiger users will be waiting for the best and most stable version of OS X "Leopard" to come out of the woodworks from Apple (probably version 10.5.9).

For example, users (and with official acknowledgement from Apple Inc.) have noticed how typing the first letter in a Web-based form (in the search page of Google.com) may not show up. But the second and every other letter thereafter will show up. According to MacFixIt.com, this seems to be common among Intel users on the MacBook Pro, but has been observed on PowerPC laptop users (e.g. the 1.67GHz and 1.33GHz machines) on the odd occasions as one MacFixIt user has discovered:

"I have had this issue with my PB 1.67GHz for months, so I don't think it's just with the new MBPs."

Apple is looking into it according to this quote:

"This is a follow up to Bug ID# 5365684. 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# 4333743."

If you have this problem, try adjusting the "Delay Until Repeat" timer in the Keyboard and Mouse pane of System Preferences for some welcome relief. If not, try a utility that will clean out the font caches.

19 February 2008

Apple has come up with a solution for the missing first letter issue by way of a MacBook/Pro Keyboard Firmware 1.0 update. Interestingly Apple has chosen to make this update available only for users with OS X "Leopard" version 10.5.2 and an Intel MacBook and MacBook Pro of the following models:

MacBook (Late 2006)

MacBook (Mid 2007)

MacBook (Late 2007)

MacBook Pro (17-inch Core 2 Duo)

MacBook Pro (15-inch Core 2 Duo)

MacBook Pro (Mid 2007, 2.4/2.2GHz)

MacBook Pro (Late 2007, 2.4/2.2GHz)

PowerPC "PowerBook" and OS X "Tiger" users experiencing the same issue are denied access to this improvement, meaning Apple is forcing users to upgrade their system.

Also the creation date for the same file can appear as two different dates in the OS X "Leopard" Finder. Try the familiar Get Info command on a file and compare the creation date with the one generated by the general Finder preview pane when you click once on a file inside a folder in list view. It is thought this discrepancy exists in OS X "Tiger" and OS X "Panther" but has not been rectified by Apple Inc.

And we cannot forget the long running wireless AirPort problems still not quashed under OS X "Leopard" (e.g. hanging under load or when copying large files across to another computer — apparently frowned upon by Apple Inc. these days — or simply no good reason at all, loss of connection to the AirPort when a connection is expected under OS X "Tiger" etc). As one MacFixIt reader said:

"I have a white dome Apple Airport (802.11g) and an Airport Express being used as a relay to extend the signal in my house. Under Tiger I had no problems with this setup. Now under Leopard my 17" 1.67 GHz Power Book G4 will not hold the signal from the Airport. It drops the signal about every 5 minutes. "It only does this when connected with the Express." If I use the Powerbook in another room or at another location there are no doped signals. The bars in the menu bar icon turn grey. I turn airport off and on with the menu bar icon and it works again." (MacFixIt.com: AirPort problems in Leopard continue: Better fixes. 10 December 2007.)

A suggestion is to turn off IPv6 setting in the Network pane or downgrade the firmware on your Base station. Unfortunately no guarantees these solutions will work.

Also you will be greeted with extra fancy graphics which for some users are generally described as bloatware. As one Versiontracker.com user said:

"OS X is looking more and more retarded and childish all the time with bloat graphics and bloatware."

How much will OS X "Leopard" set you back?

Willing to take the plunge with OS X "Leopard"?

Retail price for a single user license (US$129) and a 5-user license Family Pack (US$199) is about the same as previous OS X versions. Students and others working at an education institution may notice a bit of a price jump, to coincide with higher prices set by Apple for the latest iWorks and iLife 2008 products. It is not exactly clear why Apple has made this pricing decision. Perhaps it is to make a higher profit from these users who are more likely to adopt the latest technology and in reasonable numbers. Or it could be to cover the shortfall in profits from students who are probably pirating OS X, and with it iWorks and iLife too.

For standard users (i.e. non-developers), you should have a minimum of 512MB of RAM and an Intel, PowerPC G5, or PowerPC G4 Macintosh computer of at least 867MHz speed to make the new OS X seem like it is running at a reasonable speed (compared to OS X "Tiger"). Any slower or less RAM and OS X "Leopard" will probably kick up a stink. And if you are a developer, make sure you have a minimum 1GB RAM and an additional 3GB of available disk space. You may need this to run Apple's own developer tools.

Looks like it may be time to upgrade your computer.

Or better still, wait and see the reaction from American users. It is amazing how quickly users learn which applications are compatible underOS X "Leopard" and which developers are willing to provide a free update to their applications for compatibility.

For example, FileMaker Inc. (owned by Apple, Inc.) has, strangely enough, waited for the full release of OS X "Leopard" before issuing an update to their flagship software FileMaker Pro 9 (considered critical for a number of businesses who use it), and hopefully FileMaker Pro 8 and 7 as well. In fact, a day before the official release of OS X "Leopard", FileMaker Inc. released the following statement:

"We are very excited about the release of Leopard (Mac OS X 10.5). We are currently working on Leopard compatibility updates for FileMaker Pro 9, FileMaker Pro 9 Advanced, FileMaker Server 9 and FileMaker Server 9 Advanced. At this time FileMaker does not recommend the use of FileMaker 9 products on computers running Mac OS X Leopard.....We also do not recommend the use of earlier versions of FileMaker software on Mac OS X Leopard as we have not performed compatibility testing."

So what happened with testing FileMaker Pro products on a developer's beta versions of OS X "Leopard"? Or has Apple Inc. kept quiet on some technical details until the final release? Or maybe Apple has suddenly made last minute changes to the final OS X release?

Waiting remains the best advice for all other businesses running business critical applications (i.e. non-developers) until all software is compatible with the new OS X. (1)

NOTE: You can by-pass the 867MHz processor speed limit set by OS X "Leopard" during installation. Install OS X "Leopard" on an external disk using a faster PowerPC computer. The external disk will boot up any G4 computer slower than 867MHz speed. Alternatively try the freeware utility Leopard Assist 1.1 which allows the installation of OS X "Leopard" directly from Apple's DVD onto almost any slower PowerPC G4 computer. But don't be surprised if things get really slow when running this monstrous beast of an OS.

No Classic Environment supplied with OS X "Leopard"

It's official. Steve Jobs has decided (with users finding out at the last moment) to dump Classic Environment in the final release of OS X "Leopard". The beta version of OS X Leopard had allowed for this. But now it is gone. It is assumed everyone will be happy with this decision.

Statements from users at MacFixIt.com suggest otherwise. Bill Strohm said:

"Leopard is not for me. I use Classic for ClarisDraw, Myst Masterpiece, Riven, Starship Titanic, and Journeyman Project 3: Legacy of Time. Can't handle losing all those. I'll stick with Tiger." (MacFixIt.com: Mac OS X 10.5 (Leopard): Processor upgrade compatibility, Time Machine and AirDisks, No Classic. 18 October 2007.)

NOTE: Or there must be enforceable legislation to force third-party developers to release the original source code of all classic applications and let other developers update and compile them for compatibility with OS X. It may even force Adobe and other commercial applications to make older software titles available at low cost to the public and let businesses pay for the latest version.

Richard G. Hallas said:

"Can this 'no Classic' business really be true? If you upgrade a Tiger system, with a working Classic installation on it, with Leopard, does Leopard really render Classic unusable?

If so, I feel quite sick about it, and feel that Apple is being nothing short of spiteful. There are various Classic applications that I very much want to continue to use, and if I'm prevented from accessing them simply because Apple doesn't want to support Classic any more, I'll be most upset.

I have many files created with a couple of applications that aren't available any more (discontinued before OS X came along) and for which there's no migration path. It isn't that they're hugely important, but I do need to access them on occasion." (MacFixIt.com: Mac OS X 10.5 (Leopard): Processor upgrade compatibility, Time Machine and AirDisks, No Classic. 18 October 2007.)

Other users weren't too sympathetic. a MacFixIt.com user named I. Gaucho said:

I understand that the lack of Classic support can be frustrating to some. Honestly it really is time to move on. Steve Jobs announced that OS 9 was dead several years ago, and it's essentially been on life support ever since and all but forgotten by most users. I will admit that it is awfully generous of Apple to extend Classic support up to Tiger. If you really need OS 9 still, just install it on an old Mac and use Leopard on newer ones. (MacFixIt.com: Mac OS X 10.5 (Leopard): Processor upgrade compatibility, Time Machine and AirDisks, No Classic. 18 October 2007.)

Hallas responded by saying:

"I'm not surprised to see people here going on about it being time to move on and all that; it's what I expected. However, saying this is really missing the point.

...the point is that if the software you want to use won't work on OS X, you haven't much choice but to use OS 9. Saying "it's time to move on" isn't exactly helpful when the only place to move is to not being able to use software that you want to use any more.

...There are no replacements. It's incredibly high-handed of Apple to say that I can't access my files any more on the very machine with which I've been accessing them successfully for years. Fair enough that new machines can't run Classic, but it's totally unreasonable to prevent existing machines [ie. Power PC models], that currently can run Classic, from doing so in the future. It's entirely different, for example, from preventing new machines from booting into OS 9. That was something that users could plan for, but this equates to having Apple sabotage existing machines without warning.

There's an important matter here relating to data longevity. It is not Apple's place to arbitrarily cut users off from their data, without notification. Users can buy new machines and plan their migration, and it's entirely reasonable that new systems can't be expected to be wholly backward compatible. However, in this case we're talking about systems that ought to be backwards-compatible ceasing to be so simply because of a whim on the part of Apple.

Apple didn't need to expend any effort at all on incorporating Classic into Leopard. It could have just left it there, untouched from Tiger days, in a working state. It's probably cost Apple more effort to exclude Classic support, in fact, than it would have cost to leave it in, untouched.

Besides, I really don't see why Apple should care whether users run legacy software under Classic or not. How can it possibly do any harm? The new Intel-based Macs can't run OS 9 in any form, and they will replace all PowerPC machines in time, so Classic could have been left there, to wither away naturally with the PowerPC platform. That would have been the natural, and least objectionable, approach for Apple to take. I mean, there will be some diehards who are still using OS 9 natively on ancient Macs, and there's nothing Apple can do about that. It's all part of the natural cycle of software decay; things die at different speeds, but that speed should be a choice for the user, depending on personal circumstances. To have Apple forcibly kill off Classic on machines that run it well, and thus cut users off from data that may be important to them, is unbelievably unhelpful, even if it only affects a relatively small minority of users.

The irony of all this is that it's now possible to run, on Macs, Windows software that's years older than stuff I want to run under Classic. My favourite game, Heroes III, was released in 2000 for the Mac. On a new Intel Mac I can run that game, and all its predecessors in the series, along with Windows 95 and other software that's well over a decade old, through Parallels or Fusion. (I think Parallels even supports Windows 3.1.) The whole gamut of Windows software is available on an Intel Mac. Yet with a PowerPC Mac (which is what I have as my main machine), not only can I not run Windows software (at least, not fast and well), but I soon won't be able to run relatively new Mac OS 9 software either, now.

Apple is effectively killing off its PowerPC machines from both ends. They can't run the latest Intel-only apps (I'd like, for instance, to be able to run Adobe Soundbooth or play Heroes V, but they're Intel-only), and now they're being prevented from running legacy OS 9 software as well. Given that nothing much other than Macs could run this old software in any case, there's a big library of old software that will soon be virtually inaccessible.

So I say again: this is a really bad move on Apple's part, and a perverse sort of triumph for Windows software, actually." (MacFixIt.com: Mac OS X 10.5 (Leopard): Processor upgrade compatibility, Time Machine and AirDisks, No Classic. 18 October 2007.)

It is true. Apple does not think the customer is important unless it is paying for the latest software. It controls the OS and its the only one available on the Mac to allow people to run Mac software. And Steve Jobs can decide which Mac software he will allow on the latest OS X.

As Lou Zer said:

I guess the difference is that the customers should be the ones who declare something dead, not the developer, who's doing it for no other reason to just kill it off." (MacFixIt.com: Mac OS X 10.5 (Leopard): Processor upgrade compatibility, Time Machine and AirDisks, No Classic. 18 October 2007.)

As for the view that Apple can't afford to provide support to the Classic Environment, this MacFixIt reader said:

"It should be remembered that Apple does not need to apply more resources or support to maintain Classic Environment in OS X "Leopard". Classic Environment has always been an independent application that only needs an OS X environment to run it. And anyway, has anyone heard of Apple providing "support" for Classic Environment? The only support I've seen from Apple is basically allowing Classic Environment to run on OS X 10.4.10 and earlier. Since the release of OS X "Tiger" 10.4.0, there has been no further improvements to Classic Environment. So where's the cost and support to maintain it?

I concur with an earlier user, Lou Zer, who said it is the customer who should decide when it is time to kill off the Classic Environment. Otherwise, it doesn't take any effort or additional resources or costs for Apple to keep the Classic Environment installer on the PPC version of OS X "Leopard" and leave it at that. Or why not sell the Classic Environment on a separate CD if it wants additional profit?

To not do so is evidence of how Apple wants to impose its latest policy of forcing customers to accept OS X "Leopard", warts-and-all, and in its current form, thereby forcing users to purchase new software (and potentially new Macs) or to go without the older software if they have nothing else to run them on.

Who are they serving? Themselves and a few other expensive developers (eg Adobe) with their own OS X applications, or the customers using the Macs who are currently forced to run OS X as provided by Apple just to run all the Mac applications they have?

This is what happens when there is no competition in the OS market to allow users to run the Mac software they want.

If we can't get real competition and Apple doesn't want Classic Environment on OS X "Leopard", what's wrong with Apple providing the source code for the Classic Environment to the public for free and let other developers and their customers decide what to do with it?

This is a poor decision from Steve Jobs." (MacFixIt.com: Mac OS X 10.5 (Leopard): Processor upgrade compatibility, Time Machine and AirDisks, No Classic. 18 October 2007.)

It seems Apple will be looking very hard to find positive news in terms of high sales figures supporting the view that OS X "Leopard" is the most popular OS X ever.

And if this is the trend Apple wants to take with users, we can expect OS X version 10.6 in 5 years times to come out without Rosetta. Any more special surprises to come from Apple Inc.?

Installing SheepShaver Update 26 October 2009 (the stable version) on Intel/PPC running Leopard or Snow Leopard — the alternative to Apple's Classic Environment

You can now install and run SheepShaver, a universal binary freeware emulation application, for running Mac OS 9 on an Intel or PowerPC machine running OS X "Leopard", "Snow Leopard" (or any earlier version of OS X). It will emulate at high speeds on PowerPC computers, but a minimum of 2.4GHz microprocessor (and preferably 2.8GHz) on an Intel Mac is recommended to get the same speed.

Details available here.

OS X "Leopard" now a true universal binary application - well almost!

One extra benefit for users in owning OS X "Leopard" is how it has been designed as a true "universal binary" application. It means your OS X installation disk can now create a bootable OS X software to run on PowerPC and Intel Macs. Furthermore, it has the potential to create an OS X disk to boot both PowerPC and Intel Macs.

We say potentially because you do need a PowerPC computer to create a single OS X to properly boot both PowerPC and Intel Macs. Because if you create OS X under an Intel Mac, it will only boot another Intel Mac. The cause for this anomaly is in the way a PowerPC computer formats a disk. It uses Apple Partition Map (APM) format, meaning the way the digital data is organised and stored on a disk is unique to Apple and there is nothing in the PowerPC OS X to read the disk format employed by an Intel computer called the GUILD partition scheme.

You can only use OS X formatted on a disk by a PowerPC computer to boot both PowerPC and Intel Macs but not the other way around.

Fancy superficial design features of OS X attract the attention of newbies

Apple Inc. released OS X "Leopard" to the world market on 26 October 2007. When compared to Microsoft Windows Vista, which is considered a monstrous beast providing little useful benefits for all its fancy looks, many reviewers were raving about OS X "Leopard".

Admittedly the alleged 2 million sales of the OS after a week according to Apple Inc. indicate just how many early adopters and newbies have taken a chance. As c/net news stated on 18 December 2007:

"When comparing the first full month of sales of Apple Mac OS 10.5 "Leopard" (November 2007) to the first full month of sales for the Mac OS 10.4 "Tiger" (May 2005), dollar volume for Leopard was up 32.8 per cent, and unit volume was up 20.5 per cent, NPD Group said in a statement." (Reuters. NPD: Apple launch of Leopard system its best ever: CNET news.com. 18 December 2007.)

The extra sales could have also come from some more experienced Mac users thinking they couldn't get any more problems than they had with OS X "Tiger". But after the first month, sales of OS X "Leopard" has been not much better than OS X "Tiger". Why?

From a superficial level, most things may look attractive (the one thing you can depend on from Apple these days). And there are some useful new features. Deeper down, however, there are some major problems for users and third-party developers needing closer attention either by Apple Inc., or more likely from other developers who must find the time and effort to make their software compatible once again with the new OS.

More details are revealed below.

Bugs and sluggish performance issues under version 10.5.0

A basic upgrade (and even a full clean install) from OS X "Tiger" (version 10.4.11) to what we hope is of merchantable quality OS X "Leopard" (version 10.5.0) has caused the following teething problems for users and third-party developers:

  1. Keychain password data lost. Keychain First Aid tool can't run because it quits immediately. Solution: Replace relevant keychain files from a backup disk.
  2. The parental controls — said to be a major feature of this OS X version — apparently blocks all web sites from being viewed when the "Try to limit access automatically" and/or "Keep a log" options are selected for Safari. NOTE: This would not be solved in versions 10.5.1 and 10.5.2 of OS X. Solution: Type in the Terminal:

    sudo mkdir -p /private/var/log/apache2

    It is believed this command creates a directory that was originally missing and could have been responsible for the problem. Apple have been notified of the issue by users since the original 10.5.0 was released.

  3. The latest OS X is not without its fair share of display glitches despite users performing a clean install and/or how a majority of these glitches have never appeared in previous OS X versions running on the same identically configured systems. As one MacFixIt reader Jonathan said:

    "When there is a Finder window open and not selected, it has some strange black outlines around and on the sides of it. If you select the window, this goes away. I've changed wallpapers, rebooted, tried safe mode, etc. Nothing seems to fix it. This is presenting itself in all accounts, even creating a new one doesn't fix it. This is a Fresh CLEAN install and it is an iMac 1.83GHZ Core Duo w/ 2Gb of RAM."

    Some users have discovered a solution. It involves installing one lousy ATI extension for those users running a graphics accelerator card on their Macs called ATI ROM Xtender. It was originally installed by OS X "Panther" 10.3.6, but not the original OS X "Tiger" 10.4 version. Now users who have installed the extension on the latest OS X report the display quirks have disappeared.

  4. Admin accounts in earlier versions of OS X are converted to standard user accounts under OS X "Leopard". Solution: (i) Boot into single user mode; (ii) Type mount -uw /, and press Enter key; (iii) Type rm /var/db/.AppleSetupDone, and press Enter key; (iv) Type reboot, and press Enter key. Your computer will reboot and you will get the splash movie from Apple. From here you can reestablish your admin account. The alternative solution is to boot into your OS X 10.5 installation disk, select Password Reset under the Utilities menu, choose Root under Users, assign a password, restart as Root, and use your admin rights to change the Standard Account to Admin, logout and login to your new Admin account.
  5. Time Machine, the official Apple backup tool in OS X "Leopard" does not have an option to set the time when an automatic backup should be performed — it is fixed to every hour. When it does perform a backup of files and folders, it is slow especially for large files (e.g. hard drive files of Parallels, VirtualPC etc. Processor usage spikes during the backup procedure causing the processor to get hot and the fans to turn on. Battery power will shorten by this extra work. Solution: In the Time Machine pane of System Preferences, click the Option button. In the "Do not back up" dialog box, click the small "+" button and reduce the number of folders and files you need to backup.
  6. If you are upgrading from OS X 10.1 or earlier, your logon password of 8 or more characters will create problems. Within 24 hours of releasing OS X "Leopard", Apple Inc. recommends users download the Apple Login & Keychain Update 1.0 (21.2MB) to resolve this issue as well as change the password of a FileVault-protected account. It will also address issues connecting to some 802.11b/g wireless networks.
  7. Serious third-party software and hardware incompatibility issues. You will need to check third-party system software add-ons such as SideTrack located in /System/Library or /Library/. Reports of Adobe Photoshop 7.0, Adobe Photoshop Elements 2.0 and Macromedia Freehand MX not working on OS X "Leopard" has revealed itself. The indispensable OnyX does not work (wait for version 1.9.0 to come out). Some virus checking tools such as McAfee Virus Scan won't work in their current pre-Leopard condition. Norton AntiVirus 10.0 will not be updated for compatibility — the makers will release version 11.0 at the cost of an upgrade. The software called Now Up-to-Date is no longer up-to-date under Leopard as it cannot find the public event server. Daylight 3.5.1 seems to get stuck during the splash screen startup window. Various printer drivers have come unstuck under OS X "Leopard". The most notable drivers not surviving the transition include those from HP printers, Epson printers, Brother P-Touch printers, Ricoh Aficio SP4100 printer, printing to Adobe 8.0 PDF printer, DYMO Label Printers etc. Digital scanner drivers may also be affected (e.g. HP Scanjet 5590c). The current iteration of Qualcomm Eudora 6.2.4 has some minor quirks under OS X "Leopard". Toast 7.1.2 crashes immediately on launching. EyeTV 2.4.x has trouble waking from sleep to start recording TV programs. And if you happen to have old classic OS9 software you could have relied on as you wait for the hopefully free updates, well guess what? Classic Environment has been taken out of OS X "Leopard" courtesy of a decision by Steve Jobs. And all this from a simple upgrade of OS X "Tiger" to OS X "Leopard". Reports of fewer problems after a clean install have come to light. However it does mean reinstalling third-party applications and crossing your fingers they will work. Sounds like Apple is really p*ssed off with some software pirates out there. Or perhaps Apple doesn't like too many rogue developers bypassing Apple's technology?
  8. Because of substantial rearranging of libraries and fragment codes under OS X "Leopard", including changes to the UNIX commands to be compliant with UNIX 03 and uses the AT&T semantics instead of the previous BSD and sometimes the Linux/GNU semantics), it has caught Apple in a slight quandry through new bugs that never existed in previous iterations of OS X. For example, MacFixIt.com claims a user has found a new bug known as the "Get Info" on a blank column (you must switch to column view) inside a Finder window. According to a quote from the user:

    "Open a window in finder and switch to the column view. Right click in a row *without* any items (not the column right to the last column with entries) and choose Get Info -> finder crashes and starts again. This crash happens right after a restart too. I have a MacBook Pro 17" 2,4 ghz, 4 gb, bought two weeks ago direct from apple; with a fresh 10.5.1 (no archive - i deleted 10.4 and installed 10.5)." (MacFixIt.com: Reproducible Finder crash in Leopard. 4 December 2007.)

    Another user claims "copying a file from a hard drive in list view to another folder on a different hard drive" induces a crash to the Finder. It is not yet clear if other users are experiencing the same issue as of 7 December 2007. (MacFixIt.com: Reproducible Finder crash in Leopard. 4 December 2007.)

  9. Apple Bluetooth system appears not to recognise various devices (e.g. wireless keyboards) after the upgrade to OS X "Leopard". Is this now a third-party driver incompatibility problem and not so much an Apple problem?
  10. A number of AirPort cards are either not recognised or are running at slow speeds on mostly PowerPC G4 machines. NOTE: Further AirPort problems would arise in OS X version 10.5.2 and Apple has recommended that you update the firmware on all external third-party and Apple-specific devices as soon as they become available from the manufacturers' web sites.
  11. Users may find trouble printing remotely to a printer connected to another Mac. The error message "Unable to get printer status (forbidden)". Solution: Open the Printer Setup Utility in /Applications/Utilities; choose "Reset Printing System" in the Printer Setup Utility menu<; and click the Add button to re-add your printer. This has the effect of rebuilding the printer files for greater compatibility to Leopard OS X.

    This is probably recommended for users installing Security Update 2008-002 as reports immediately after its release suggest printing has been broken.

  12. Some aesthetic issues to fix. For example, the Dock now takes up nearly the entire width of the screen and it defaults after installation to a small size (presumably to give users more room to add application icons, files and folders to it). You also lose the highly useful hierarchy of a folder stored in the Dock pop-up menu for navigating to a file or application. Instead, Apple has forced users to accept the "Fan" or "Grid" option of viewing the contents of a folder (but not the subfolders). Apple prefers to see all the applications you use on the Dock for whatever reason. Solution: Ideally you should copy the Dock from OS X "Tiger" to OS X "Leopard". Or the next best solution would be to download and run Dock Restore 1.0 to bring back some semblance of normality.
  13. A revisit for some users to the OS X "Jaguar" days when repairing permissions took a long time. Under OS X "Leopard", users are mentioning anywhere from 5 to 45 minutes and in some cases more than 6 hours to never actually finishing the repairs. It is possible a new OS X install may require this amount of time to fix permissions. But there is no way of knowing what it is doing that's taking so long. The progress bar looks like a barber pole and there is no message indicating what it is doing. Also a common error is the inability to repair the following file System/Library/CoreServices/RemoteManagement/ARDAgent.app/Contents/MacOS/ARDAgent as if it has been modified and refuses to do anything to fix it. It doesn't matter if you have upgraded OS X "Tiger" (or earlier versions) to OS X "Leopard" or performed a clean "OS X "Leopard" install, the error persists. Is this file meant to be repaired?
  14. Installing OS X "Leopard" does not remove the Boot Camp 1.4 beta version for OS X "Tiger" users on an Intel Mac. Short of manually removing the relevant files (if you know which ones they are), there is no easy way for users to uninstall Boot Camp beta because the Boot Camp Assistant refuses to run after the expiry date of 30 September 2007. Solution: Apple has recommended in its Knowledge Base article #306805 to set the clock in Date & Time preference pane to an arbitrary date before 30 September 2007 to help reactivate the Boot Camp Assistant.
  15. Installing the new Boot Camp 2.0 under Leopard can present itself with the error "hal.dll (Hardware Abstraction Layer) Missing or Corrupt" (this file is located in \Windows\system32\hal.dll) or the standard "Disk Error". These errors could be due to users trying to install the latest Windows XP SP2 CD instead of the original Windows XP CD. A suggested solution has been to make sure you have the latest OS X "Leopard" update (now 10.5.1), file permissions are fully repaired, and have applied the latest EFI Firmware Update for your Intel Mac computer.

If you want to go back to OS X "Tiger", remember that some information will not be easily read back in using the same Apple applications in the older OS X version. As one MacFixIt reader discovered:

"I recently learned by the empirical method that any changes made under Leopard to an Apple Address Book that originated in Tiger are not readable under Tiger. Any new cards added under Leopard will not appear when you open the Address Book in Tiger, and any edits done under Leopard to cards that were created in Tiger will not appear under Tiger. Apple informed me that the only way to solve the problem is to export the entire Address Book as vCards under Leopard (making sure that the Preferences are set to include the Notes field) and to import the vCards under Tiger. The xlm file structure was changed under Leopard.

I do not know how many other problems there may be in reverting from Leopard to Tiger, but I suggest doing a lot of research first." (MacFixIt: Leopard's graphics glitches. 11 January 2008.)

Not such a bad effort from Apple considering many experienced users are now getting use to these cock-ups with any new Apple product.

Adobe users get special treatment under OS X "Leopard"

We need to give Adobe Inc. a special mention as crashes during installation, launch and running of its flagship applications are commonplace under OS X "Leopard" 10.5 in these early days and the company appears to be willing to update in its own time the latest Adobe software and perhaps older ones if there is enough public outcry.

In this MacFixIt.com article published 20 November 2007, the author describes a range of common problems associated with Adobe applications. And the main gripe the author has is how difficult it is find the offending file(s) and/or folder(s) given that Adobe loves to install lots of files and folders everywhere on a user's hard disk.

Through trial and error, some users have eventually discovered some simple solutions. For example, by disabling the TWAIN plug-in by adding the ~ character at the beginning of the plug-in file name (or removing the file altogether) will solve numerous launch problems including Adobe Photoshop 7.0 and CS (version 8). Perhaps the plug-in is old and not optimised for Intel Macs? Try Get Info on the plug-in and place a tick in the box that says "Open Using Rosetta" to get the plug-in to work. However, this does not explain why PowerPC users get the same problem.

Also news has come to hand that deleting the InDesign folder located in home/Library/Cache/Adobe/ is said to do wonders for users having problems with saving/opening files and launching Adobe InDesign CS3 in OS X "Leopard".

And it doesn't matter if OS X "Leopard" has had a clean install and you have installed Adobe applications from scratch using the original Adobe installation disk. The issues raised by Adobe users strongly suggests users will have to wait for Adobe to decide which applications will get the special treatment as far as an update (or upgrade) is concerned just to make the applications compatible again.

To make it worse, Adobe does not like users moving their main Adobe applications to different locations than the ones originally placed by the installer. So you can't fool the installer into thinking you haven't installed the applications. We are not talking about Adobe plug-ins that have to be kept in certain location(s). Rather the main Adobe applications (e.g. Adobe Photoshop) must be kept where they've been installed or else you are in trouble. If you move the application, it is likely the application and the installer will not work.

And will the Adobe installer install everything you need to get the applications working again after a major OS X upgrade even if the applications are in the correct locations? No. If something goes wrong, you are strongly encouraged to perform a clean install of OS X. Because any shred of evidence of Adobe files installed anywhere on your startup disk is likely to cause the installer to fail or stop installation of critical files. If you don't know this, you are likely to re-activate Adobe applications using code supplied by Adobe. But, of course, you have a limited number of re-activations available to you. So if you re-activate and find the application still misbehaves and you think you must reinstall again, then re-activate and discover it still doesn't work, or eventually realise you must try a clean install of OS X and later reinstall and re-activate yet again, you will reach a limit. Once you run out of re-activation codes, you are crossing your fingers hoping Adobe will grant you another re-activation code.

Basically time-wasting (and anyway, what happens if Adobe goes belly up or the Adobe applications get really old? Who will continue to provide the re-activation codes for Adobe applications?).

Ignoring all these issues, Adobe has made some effort towards telling users who have the time to call up Adobe customer service to remove the Apple Safari 3.0 beta as this appears to create a freeze for some users during installation. It would appear Apple's Safari 3.0 beta is yet another source of problems for the unwary user.

The elaborate lengths by which Adobe has gone to make life difficult for users seems to reinforce the reason why Apple had to rearrange OS X libraries under OS X "Leopard" causing third-party developers to update their software for compatibility — to minimise software piracy problems and to get rid of rogue developers.

No wonder Apple are keen to get developers and other users to upgrade to OS X "Leopard" so quickly. If it means forcing users to pay for upgrades and do the right thing when they find all these software incompatibility issues under OS X "Leopard", why not?

Perhaps we should ask Apple and Adobe Inc, has the headaches and time wasted by users resulted in an increase in profits for the companies? And is it from software pirates choosing to do the right thing?

5 December 2007

Adobe is planning to release updates for Adobe CS3 applications in January 2008. Other older Adobe applications may or may not get this special treatment in the future.

8 May 2008

As Apple Inc. follows hot on the heel of Adobe Systems Inc's idea of software activation with its own FileMaker Pro 9 (and so placing a limit on developers on having a maximum of two software activations per licence corresponding to running the Mac and PC software versions of the software and afterwards you have to ask really nicely to deactivate one of them and reactivate again if you were unable to deactivate one of the software versions properly), users are learning how silly things are getting with Adobe's software activation approach.

This MacFixIt.com article sums up the situation well when users learn that there is an unofficial limit on the number of times a software can be deactivated. While there is no known number of times FileMaker Pro 9 can be deactivated and reactivated (it's too early to tell just yet as to what the official limit is, although if users have paid a premium, they should expect the software to work or else get a refund), we discover Adobe CS3 software can only be deactivated 20 times per license.

As MacFixIt reader Dee Martin was happy to divulge to other users base don his own experiences:

""I always try to remember to deactivate Adobe CS3 before cloning a backup, but yesterday (along with numerous other times) I forgot so I booted up from my clone, ran Photoshop and tried to deactivate. I got a big dialog box saying "Deactivation Failed" error code 194:14, call Adobe tech support.

I was told there is a limit (21 times) that I could deactivate CS3 and I had reached that limit. Adobe made a 'one time exception' and restored my activation count (yes Adobe tracks this stuff), but I would have to completely erase CS3 (using level 3 of their CS3Clean script) obliterating all prefs, settings, tools, printer profiles etc." (MacFixIt.com: Adobe CS3 deactivation limits. 8 May 2008.)

The response from other users has been no less than furious to say the least. As Desmond R. F. Foulger responded:

"Its a bit like saying you can only lend out your car 20 times otherwise it wont start anymore. Surely if you buy the product and you use it legally then its nobody's business, especially Adobe's, how you choose to use it. Adobe is getting far too greedy ans possessive. They should concentrate on lowering the price and making more sales. They have overturned Quark, they have got the market, so stop being such a pain in the proverbial."

Another user writes:

"This is in line with the nightmare of installing CS3 after using the beta version. There is something wrong with this company's soul. I think they need a corporate exorcism."

Certainly no opposing views on the software activation fiascoe as another user wrote:

"Ever since Adobe started this activation scheme in CS2 it has been a PITA [pain in the arse]. The entire burden is on legal, paid users. When I had a hard drive failure I had to beg Adobe to reactivate CS2. Their representative said I should have "anticipated" it, and deactivated first. Would that everyone could anticipate a hard drive failure! Then there would never be any lost data."

Another user has suggested a solution. Why not find a cracked version of the software and use it? You have paid for the software, so why be restricted by software activations in the first place?

As the user wrote:

"One option would be to download a cracked version. I see no ethical problem with this personally given the fact that you have paid for the product. I think Adobe's position is indefensible."

26 September 2008

Other issues to arise from the latest Adobe applications include:

(i) Strangely named files and folders such as %A0 and random and somewhat unusual characters installed or added when the applications launch and sometimes containing 0 kilobytes of data and requires the user to authenticate before trashing them;

(ii) Unable to save PDF files created with Adobe PDF 9.0 driver to a folder whose name contains an apostrophe. You can add the apostrophe to the folder name after the PDF file is saved. Or save the PDF file to another folder having no apostrophe (such as the Desktop);

(iii) Adobe is following in the step of Apple's OS X by installing thousands of files in various known and obscure locations; and

(iv) It still takes a long time to install Adobe applications.

A MacFixIt user commented on a couple of these issues when he said:

"Quite frankly, I'm getting fed up with Adobe's approach to their installations. Their installations take FOREVER, and like a 2-year-old flinging toys across a room, they fling folders and files all over the f*@king place, including embedded applications like Opera browser buried deep within the folders that they create. I didn't authorize them to install other browsers on my Mac, and therefore Photoshop Elements 6 is likely the last Adobe product to ever reside on my Mac (this Mac, and my future ones). I'll likely spring for Aperture the next time instead of upgrading PE again. Acrobat reader can go too." (MacFixIt.com: Bizarrely named files associated with Adobe apps. 26 September 2008.)

One user has suggested going for free alternatives such as Gimp.app:

"They are bulky applications and while they are powerful, there are definitely a bunch of free alternatives that can get the same jobs done." (MacFixIt.com: Bizarrely named files associated with Adobe apps. 26 September 2008.)

Or there should be a worldwide legislation to force all software manufacturers to make free or at a cheaper price older software and make them fully compatible on the latest computers.

Looking for an alternative PC laptop and OS?

We don't blame you if you're looking for a PC alternative (unfortunately it won't solve the Adobe issues of where files are installed and the activation issues, but could stabilise the need to regularly update/upgrade software as it happens on OS X). While eventually all Mac software will be updated for full compatibility with OS X "Leopard" (roughly in the next 3 to 6 months), you may wish to stop this nonsense from profit-motivated companies by going totally PC and run the latest Windows Vista (or stick with XP).

Wondering what's a really good PC laptop to go for?

How about the latest Compaq/Hewlett-Packard Pavilion HDX9004TX Entertainment Notebook PC. Now this is a better constructed and full-featured product than the latest Apple MacBook Pro. While Apple is milking consumers of their so-called latest laptop technology using the standard Intel Core 2 Duo, Hewlett-Packard have designed a laptop to make full use of the latest Intel Core 2 Extreme processor, a super-sized widescreen with built in digital TV tuner, and a large, solid screen hinge that should last the better of 200 years or more of tough use compared to the flimsy variety used in the MacBook Pro (or those built since the PowerBook G4 laptop was released).

This rugged and well-constructed Compaq/HP laptop is bigger than a MacBook Pro. Why? So that the components are big enough not to wear down too quickly after a few years of use. Yet it is portable enough to put inside a backpak (well, a fairly large one). And it is a cool machine. It doesn't get as hot as a MacBook Pro even while the digital TV tuner is displaying programs and recording them.

This is a good machine. And the price reflects it. At AUD$5,999 (or AUD$4,615 at AusTechnology.com.au) this is one serious PC laptop that's bound to bring pleasure and joy to virtually anyone who uses it.

The Compaq/HP laptop does make the Apple MacBook Pro look like a flimsy toy ready to break if you farted on it compared to what Compaq/HP came up with.

Apple releases official cause for many installation and OS X "Leopard" boot problems

It is no coincidence to learn how a large number of users who have performed a clean install of OS X "Leopard" enjoy the least amount of hassles and mayhem (e.g. Finder does fully load up) compared to those doing an upgrade directly on top of an older OS X. We now find Apple Inc. has provided tantalising clues as to why this should be so.

In a couple of Knowledge Base articles updated on 9 November 2007, Apple Inc. has recommended OS X "Leopard" users should read up detailed instructions of how to remove legacy (mainly Tiger-specific) or old (mainly third-party files designed to enhance Tiger system functionality) files in the system, or (as Apple would strongly encourage you to do) perform a clean install (i.e. you must start from scatch with a brand new OS X "Leopard" system and reinstall all your applications). For example, Divxnetworks.prev file located in /Library/Applications Support/ folder prevents the OS X "Leopard" Finder software from fully loading up. Also old Apogee FireWire audio drivers held inside the kernel extension file known as AppleFWAudio.kext can prevent a computer running OS X "Leopard" from starting up.

This decision supports the view that Apple likes to see people with legitimate software installed on their computers.

It means experienced people who upgrade to OS X "Leopard" should do a manual clean up of these legacy OS X "Tiger" files (especially if they happen to have pirated software) or, do as many inexperienced users are doing and perform a clean installation and with it a fresh installation of all third-party applications.

This upgrade fiascoe is partly due to Apple Inc's decision to relocate and rearrange a number of critical files, subroutines and code fragments within the new OS X software causing many older Tiger-specific files and their structures to no longer function properly (and with it a large number of Tiger-compatible third-party OS X applications). Apple Inc. could have easily solved these instability problems if it planned early how to develop a proper OS X in the first place, making the upgrade to OS X "Leopard" a near flawless exercise. Instead Apple wants everyone to purchase and perform a clean install of OS X "Leopard" and all your applications and have thrown in for all the trouble the 300 or so extra features to make it all worthwhile. But as far as running third-party OS X applications is concerned, Apple could have easily chosen to add the features and do away with the rearranging of files and their structures and this would have kept current Tiger-compatible OS X applications running happily on OS X "Leopard". Too easy. Apple needs to keep software pirates on their toes with these sorts of silly OS X upgrades. Everyone else will just have to wait for hopefully free updates or be prepared to pay for upgrades to get everything stable once again.

If Apple was a nation on earth, its leader would be the equivalent of a ruthless dictator trying his hardest to force everyone to follow his way of doing things.

Apple releases OS X 10.5.1 update

It was expected to be quick. And it would coincide with the release of SP2 for Microsoft's Windows Vista, which heralded much-needed improvements to Bill Gates' OS in terms of better performance and fix numerous bugs that were annoying the hell out of enough PC users — heck, it may even be enough to get other PC users to upgrade from Windows XP). And so it was with the official Apple OS X 10.5.1 update arriving mid-November 2007.

The official Apple update comes, strangely enough, in two versions. The more compact patch downloadable through Software Update, and the bigger 110MB full update downloadable from Apple's official web web. Users are advised to download the full and larger update version as the patch version appears to create problems in repairing permissions for SUID file, and some interface oddities in the Mail application to name a few. The full update appears to solve these problems.

Other alleged improvements include the Disk Utility no longer showing an indefinite barber pole during the permission checking and repair mode. But as one MacFixIt user said:

"Updated to 10.5.1 and permissions repair takes much longer than before the update. Yes, the barber pole has been replaced by a progress bar...but the bar is meaningless. When I began my first permissions repair under 10.5.1...the progress bar said it would take less than a minute. The bar didn't move for about 15 minutes. When the progress bar began to move it indicated 22 minutes until repair completed. But the 22 minutes quickly counted down until it was finished about 2 minutes later. Total time for permission repair was just over 17 minutes. I immediately started another permissions repair on the same disk just to see how long it would take. Long story short 11 minutes.

My experience with Leopard on both my MacBook Pro and Intel iMac has been underwhelming so far. I regret not staying with Tiger a bit longer until this less than satisfying upgrade became ready for prime time." (MacFixIt.com: Miscellaneous responses to the 10.5.1 Leopard update. 16 November 2007.)

The update will not address other lingering issues associated with printer sharing of third-party printers or directly printing to some printers. You may need to update the printer drivers from the manufacturers' web sites to gain some relief.

Also syncing information on iCalc between different machines running older OS X "Tiger" has been rendered useless because of the changes Apple Inc. has done to OS X "Leopard". Apple Inc. needs to add extra coding to the new iCalc to handle the old iCalc in Tiger machines. Hopefully OS X 10.5.2 will address this silly situation.

A slightly more serious problem, although not considered widespread as yet, are claims by some users that the OS X "Leopard" 10.5.1 update appears to cause a loss of privileges to the administrator account as if the password is lost or corrupted. This might be the same problem as for those users upgrading from OS X 10.1 to OS X 10.5.0 yet strangely has suddenly cropped up with this latest update.

Although not totally confirmed and possibly related to the administrator accounts corruption issue, some users are reporting that after a period of time following the installation of OS X "Leopard" 10.5.0 and/or the update to 10.5.1 that certain applications can inadvertently run with root privileges. If true, we have the potential for rogue applications to create havoc to your OS X system files. Users running the now useless Alsoft Disk Warrior 4.0 disk repair utility which has the Leopard-incompatible old permissions repair routines from OS X "Tiger" is thought to be the cause. Alsoft is taking quite a long time — over a month at time of writing — to rectify this problem. And interestingly, Apple remains quiet on the issue (i.e. no Knowledge Base articles) even though it is fully aware of the changes it has done to the permissions repair routines. By the time you read this, it is possible this issue could be resolved by the Apple Security Update 2007-009 (see below).

NOTE: Do not use Disk Utility that came with OS X "Tiger" to repair file permissions in OS X "Leopard". You will create the same problems as with Alsoft Disk Warrior 4.0. This naturally begs the question, why didn't Apple notify users of this possibility and put a programming check and stop feature into Disk Utility in "Tiger"? Or was this change to the new Disk Utility a last minute job? It would explain the problems users are having with the latest Disk Utility.

24 January 2008

It has been a while and probably took a lot of hard work and testing, but Alsoft has successfully released version 4.1 of DisWarrior for full compatibility with OS X "Leopard". Interestingly this MacFixIt article suggests only new customers will benefit from the new software (perhaps to recoup the costs). Existing customers have not as yet received an update file to bring their 4.0 version to 4.1. Hopefully this will be rectified soon.

Some users also report a loss of audio after the update. These could be isolated reports. It might be related to sounds being played through USB speakers according to this MacFixIt article. As one MacFixIt reader reported:

"When I boot, the sound works fine, including new message sounds for Mail. However, after a time, either due to sleep, use of other applications (Safari?), etc. the sound stops completely. I checked Sound in the system preferences, and all looks normal, but it acts like it has been muted - but isn't. Over time, in checking for a bad connector, I found that if I unplug the USB cable for the display (and other peripherals, including speakers), the internal speakers play a string of all the missing sounds that had been held back, or stored somehow; and then the external speakers start working again.

I went to system preferences and changed the sound output from external to internal speakers - instead of unplugging the USB cable between the monitor and the laptop. It produced the same result, the internal speakers sequentially played a series of sounds sent messages, checked email, etc. So it acts as if the sound "data" is being blocked and held, and I'm beginning to think it is triggered by one of the things turned off during sleep; such as screensaver, disk shut down, display turned off, etc."

A clearing of caches (if there is a tool out there compatible with the latest OS X which can do the job) might help. Alternatively disconnecting the USB speakers will suddenly free up the sounds to play through the internal speaker. Once the sounds are cleared, reconnecting the USB speakers is said to work wonders again!

And since Saferi has been updated to 3.0.4, you may find a problem viewing PDF documents in the browser. If so, disable Adobe Acrobat's preference for showing PDF documents using its own Adobe PDF plug-in. Perhaps removing the plug-in altogether would be effective. Try a third-party PDF plug-in called PDF Browser Plugin 2.2.3 for a better PDF viewing experience. Adobe and Apple are still asking users to play the catch up game with one company or the other through their updates.

OS X "Tiger" 10.4.11 is starting to look mightily attractive right about now. Until the incompatibilities and bugs are ironed out, you would be a very brave soul to have moved onto OS X "Leopard". As one reader going by the pseudonym WhiteDog said:

"The new OS is buggy. Why is this news? Early adopters have always been the beta testers of last resort for new software - and hardware. Yet every time Apple upgrades their OS we get a storm of complaints about the new OS from people surprised to find themselves in trouble....

...Pardon me if I'm less than sympathetic to those who fail to take reasonable precautions.

Of course we all wish the new OS would arrive problem and bug free. But this has never happened and never will happen. Complaining about it is an exercise in futility. If you can't deal, then you should by all means wait until a stable version is reported and all your third-party software has been updated for compatibility. Anything else is plain foolishness." (MacFixIt: Leopard's graphics glitches. 11 January 2008.)

To all the users who have moved onto OS X "Leopard", we wish you every success in whatever you wish to achieve with it!

NOTE: Again Apple Inc. (and Microsoft Corporation) continue to forget that it isn't the OS that's important to customers using a Mac (or PC). For developers designing their software to be highly reliant on OS libraries for a simpler software and consistency in interface design may think otherwise. However the average customer is more interested in knowing they can run all their software applications no matter how sophisticated the OS may get over time. The OS itself should actually be the least of their problems. To prove this should be the case, Apple and Microsoft ought to be giving away the OS for free just like Linux. And anyway, it isn't as if Apple and Microsoft don't produce and sell other software to make a profit. If they don't give the OS away, it is probably because there are some hidden features for gathering statistical information and personally identifiable information which the companies do not want people to know about.

Apple releases QuickTime 7.3.1 update

Although not officially confirmed, users are reporting positive and negative comments for Apple's QuickTime 7.3.1 update. If you have OS X "Leopard" and the latest Intel Mac, you may notice the update works okay (i.e. allows you to get to the desktop). If there are problems after the update, sound distortions have been reported. If, on the other hand, you have OS X "Leopard" and a PowerPC computer, you may experience problems on restarting as if your Mac is unable to get to the desktop. It will either stay on the grey screen with the Apple logo, or gets stuck in an endless loop at the Setup Assistant. Resetting NVRAM, PRAM, repairing permissions and the works doesn't seem to provide relief to PowerPC users. Fortunately this isn't always the rule of thumb for all PowerPC users. Because QuickTime 7.3.1 is such a crucial piece of software for OS X to work properly, you may need to restart your Mac, check your hard disk for disk errors and do a permissions check. Finally restart in Safe Mode (press the Shift key as your Mac boots up) before installing (or reinstalling) the update. This may help to reduce heavy reliance on the old QuickTime by other OS X components and could make the update more successful.

NOTE: Reinstalling the QuickTime update has been reported as the best solution for most QuickTime-related issues. As a final solution, consider installing the Compatibility Update for QuickTime 1.0 (18.7MB) as this might provide some relief (why isn't it supplied with the QuickTime Update and installed where appropriate?).

Or why not try the nicer Apple Security Update 2007-009, released within days of the QuickTime Update. The only problems to report here are possibly some CUPS printing issues (especially from a document in Microsoft Word) and unexpected quits to Safari 3.0.4. If you wish to take the lesser of two evils, this update comes in three flavours:

Security Update 2007-009 (10.5.1)

Security Update 2007-009 (10.4.11 Intel/Universal)

Security Update 2007-009 (PowerPC)

and hopefully none of them will leave a funny taste in the mouth when you install and use.

Unfortunately the taste left behind in some people's mouths by this update to their printing (the UNIX printing system known as CUPS has been disabled and remains so each time you restart the computer, even if you can find a way to launch CUPS) remains unpleasant. A manual method of restarting the CUPS system is going into Terminal and typing:



Apple has decided to solve another issue concerning the Safari sudden quit problem (possibly caused by a corrupted Shockwave preference file) by issuing a new Apple Security Update 2007-009 version 1.1 on 22 December 2007 (in case users are not busy enough during the Christmas break). The new tastier flavours are:

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)

Will there be a Apple Security Update 2007-009 v1.2 to fix the UNIX/CUPS printing problem? Probably not, as the best solution users have come up with so far is to use Leopard Cache Cleaner to clear all caches and restart the computer. This should hopefully re-enable permanently the CUPS printing system. It's a pity Apple couldn't come up with a utility of its own or some instructions on what to do. Leave it up to the users to figure it out. Saves Apple on the costs of providing customer support in the long run. (2)

If you have any further problems with the CUPS printing system, run Disk Utility and/or the Printer Setup Utility and repair permissions. There is an excellent chance repairing permissions will restore your printing services. If all else fails, install CUPS 1.2.8.

Another issue raised by users following the Apple Security Update 2007-009 1.1 concerning the difficulties in accessing secure web sites through Safari 3.0.4 has now been resolved by deleting the sites' bookmarks if you have created them. Create new bookmarks will change to a less corruptible format considered more compatible with the latest update.

Again this reinforces the view that any update from Apple should be taken with a grain of salt until sufficient numbers of users are happy with the update and any lingering problems for other users are easily resolved (and remains permanently the case after a restart of the machine). Or better still, wait for the next major revision of the OS (and cross your fingers that enough users are happy with it).

We recommend waiting until 10.5.9 is released before jumping on the bandwagon of having the latest OS.

Otherwise, if you are going to update anything now, be prepared to clear all caches, repair file permissions, and remove bookmarks and other user-defined information.

NOTE: Apple has also recommended updating firmware for older third-party external devices for better compatibility with OS X "Leopard" 10.5.x. See below for more details.

Apple releases OS X "Leopard" 10.5.2 update

Apple has released OS X "Leopard" 10.5.2 in late January 2008. It includes all previous security updates together with a range of other fixes. For example, this update fixes a glaring omission from Apple Inc. during installation of ensuring all applications are quit before installing 10.5.2. Hopefully this important improvement (re-introduced from pre-Leopard updates) will solve a number of claims by users of damaging their OS X during the installation to the point where they had to make a fresh new installation of 10.5.0. Apple has also reworked the Dock to allow for hierarchical folder and file navigation and is easier to use. Other alleged improvements, according to Apple's official release notes, includes the following:

"...improves AirPort connection reliability and stability and resolves certain AirPort-related kernel panics."

and a host of other network and Bluetooth-related improvements. A number of users appear happy with this update. But this MacFixIt article suggests there could be other users still having lingering issues. Why? It seems the best solution so far rests with fixing file permissions jusing Disk Utility and clearing caches with a tool such as Leopard Cache Cleaner. In the circumstance where this does not work, resetting NVRAM, PRAM (parameter RAM) after a shutdown followed by pressing the On button and immediately before the screen turns on and perhaps a reset of the SMC or reinitialising external third-party problematic hard drives under OS X 10.5.2, rebuilding preference files by clearing them initially and starting again, and/or going back to OS X 10.5.1 or OS X 10.4.9 appear to be the popular choices for a solution.

However, this MacFixIt article may suggest deeper issues needing attention. For example, this OS X update has affected some features available in Apple's system utilities (with a particular emphasis on Time Machine) and various third-party system utilities such as Cocktail.

NOTE: An alternative and more popular backup tool called SuperDuper 2.5 has proved to be working flawlessly after the update to OS X 10.5.2. It raises questions as to the reliability of Time Machine from Apple after a major OS X update.

There is also some talk of a transfer of large files becoming dramatically slower over LAN under OS X 10.5.2 and that a modification of the delayed_ack parameter of OS X's TCP/IP configuration via the following Terminal command:

sudo sysctl -w net.inet.tcp.delayed_ack=0

followed by a restart (and applied to all OS X machines running OS X 10.5.2 on the network) may solve the issue.

Various Adobe application may be slow to launch under this version of OS X. Best solution is to clear the font caches.

And there is the alleged re-occurrence of the unwanted clicks emanating from the speakers.

The update can be best summed up by one user:

"I had such high hopes for 10.5.2. Maybe Leopard would finally graduate from beta software and become a stable, mature OS. While there have been many improvements, all I've seen on this site (and others) seems to say otherwise. I tried Front Row to see if they restored the cool transition effects between the desktop and the Front Row menu. Small thing but I liked how it was before. Well they didn't change it back to how it was and I found much that was broken in Front Row in 10.5.2. I get a black screen when trying to access the "Songs" section in "Music." Also when trying to browse through "Movies" the cursor cannot be advanced. It keeps jumping back to where it was before. And that's all I've found wrong so far. Sigh."

Apple Inc. remained curiously quiet on the specific reason for all these anomalies or widespread problems depending on how the company wishes to view the user complaints. And this is despite the company reaching version 10.5.2 in the development of OS X. Haven't we gone beyond the beta software stage for OS X by now?

So does Apple have any answers?

If so, how about putting them in the Disk Utility application as evidence of Apple's maturity and experience in the way OS X should work.

19 February 2008

Apple Inc. has provided a brief recommendation to users afflicted by some unwanted issues under OS X 10.5.2 and the Leopard Graphics Update 1.0 (e.g. unable to wake from sleep) by resetting the NVRAM/PRAM. This is best done by shutting down the computer and pressing the On button and before the screen comes on to press the Command, Option, P and R keys simultaneously. So what about the other issues?

Apple releases the MacBook Air

If it means grabbing users kicking and screaming to use OS X "Leopard", you can be sure Apple Inc. will find a way. And we find Apple Inc. has come up with a brilliant idea. Why not make an early public release of the new MacBook Air as of 14 January 2008?

Since its release, the laptop's thinness and with less moving parts (ie no CD/DVD SuperDrive — it's an optional accessory you have to pay extra for) and a slightly smaller screen size to prevent bending of the aluminium casing as well as incorporating the new compact aluminium keyboard design is likely to attract non-professional new Apple users or people who have all their Intel-specific applications fully updated or upgraded for the latest OS X — or will definitely be up-to-date for new Apple users when they have to buy new Macintosh software to go with the laptop — but don't need a powerful computer.

And, of course, it comes loaded with OS X "Leopard". Users are truly overwhelmed by the choice.

Apple releases a buggy OS X 10.4.11 compared to OS X 10.4.9

As another way to entice users to upgrade, Apple has included an improved Safari 3.0.8 followed by the world's fastest internet browser version 3.1. But in order to run these browser versions, you need to upgrade to OS X 10.4.11. But to get users to upgrade, OS X 10.4.11 has been made more unstable than OS X 10.4.9, meaning some users will think it may be worth paying for the upgrade to OS X Leopard.

So you do have a choice. Stick with the stable OS X 10.4.9 without the benefits of the latest security updates and a better Safari browser, or be forced to move to OS X Leopard just to get away from the instability issues of OS X 10.4.11.

It's nice to know Apple is thinking about its customers (with a close eye on the profit as well).

Apple recommending updating firmware on older hardware

Because of the substantial changes to OS X "Leopard", Apple has reminded users as of 1 February 2008 to update firmware on older (even if it is 1 month old) third-party devices such as printers, scanners, graphic cards, CD/DVD burners, wireless network units etc, and early generation Apple computers trying to run the latest OS X.

In particular, Apple has recommended for users of the latest MacBook Air to update firmware for older third-party wireless routers:

"If using a third-party (non-Apple) 802.11n wireless router that has out-of-date router firmware with your MacBook Air, you may experience issues with Remote Disc, Migration, or Remote Install Mac OS X.

Make sure the firmware on your router is up-to-date. Contact the manufacturer of the router to obtain the latest firmware for that device."

We cannot stress enough that updating firmware for any device is frought with danger for the inexperienced user. If you need evidence for this, just refer to the experiences and comments of users who had tried to implement the Apple SuperDrive firmware update 2.1 (which was later withdrawn by Apple). You need to make absolutely sure that there is no software on your computer running in the background or foreground that can potentially interfere with the firmware installation and there is no power failure (e.g. take a risk by plugging the computer to mains power, but will be safer than running off the computer's battery power).

Again this explains why Apple loves new Apple users to be part of their current marketing drive for taking up new technologies to help prop up its profits, because it means the users will have to spend money to get everything they need or want in brand spanking new condition. And this usually means the latest devices that are fully firmware-updated, and in having new and therefore potentially more stable software applications for OS X "Leopard". Very nice if you are the one supplying all this new software and hardware. Everyone else with older Macs, external devices and/or software (i.e. the more experienced types as we call them) will need to be aware of the possibility that updating firmware can render a device inoperative.

If this happens, you are pretty much up the creek unless the firmware update can re-rectify the problem (not always guaranteed).

Again you are wise to wait until OS X "Leopard" has reached a level of maturity in terms of the stability and flexibility all users should be able to enjoy. And this should include nearly all third-party devices and software (old and new).

A Clayton-OS X "Leopard" 10.5.3 update from Apple Inc.?

In almost quick succession to the release of OS X 10.5.2, Apple Inc. has worked hard to release what could be described as an update midway between 10.5.2 and 10.5.3 known as the Leopard Graphics Update 1.0 for OS X 10.5.2. And yes, you must have OS X 10.5.2 to install this update. Did Apple forget to bundle this update with OS X 10.5.2?

On the plus side, users are noticing a graphics performance boost for most systems after the update providing improvements to selected graphic card drivers and the original Intel GMA 950 graphics adapter on the processor. On the negative side, some users are claiming saving files larger than 10MB in size through Adobe Photoshop CS3 is no longer possible causing the application to hang. Oh well, sounds like Adobe Systems Inc. will need to produce another update for Adobe Photoshop CS3 to get it working under the latest OS X environment.

Beyond that, only the tiniest graphic glitches may appear ever so briefly when windows and menu pop-ups show up on the screen. We have to wait for the next update to get this one solved.

Avoid Security Update 2008-002

This shocker released early in March 2008 has put a lot of Leopard users offside. System instability, problems printing, Safari crashing and more have been the highlights of what would otherwise have been a good update except Apple just can't come up with the goods when OS X stability is the aim. As one MacFixIt reader said:

"After the last update (my Mac) has been effectively wrecked as a useful machine. The process of updating via 'Software Update' led to the BSOD (alternating blue screens with and without cursor) just before the login screen (lots of people with the same experience). I reinstalled Leopard (and all subsequent updates one by one - four hours of work, and updated all TP apps before running. Now after twelve hours of apparently trouble-free running, the machine is constantly failing with kernel panics (I have never had to deal with those in the previous four years). I am trying to run diskwarrior (latest version - from an emergency firewire disk in Tiger) to ensure the system disk has not been damaged, although the disk utility has passed it." (MacFixIt.com: Security Update 2008-002 v1.1 released. 26 March 2008.)

Even OS9 is starting to look more stable than OS X "Leopard".

Apple has attempted to quell the concerns by reissuing version 1.1 of the Security Update 2008-002. Again the documentation for this update is extremely poor with some users claiming it may only be compatible with Intel machines running Aperture 2.0, while others with PowerPC machines or those without Aperture 2.0 can install it but still makes OS X "Leopard" unstable.

Unfortunately Apple is unable to explain which users are being targeted with this update. It must be Top Secret.

Again we can only reiterate our recommendation to wait until a substantial update is made by Apple, and one which moves the OS X version number from where you are to a much higher level. And only do so when you know the majority of users are happy.

31 March 2008

An interesting comment made by one MacFixIt reader has come to the foray:

"I upgraded (not archive/install, not erase/install) my Tiger 10.4.11 system to Leopard 10.5.2 this weekend. Installed all updates and patches including the 2008-02 v1.1 Security Update in one big Software Update session. Came up on a fully patched Leopard upgrade and haven't looked back. HP Laserjet 1022, HP 940C printers work, Canon LiDE 80 scanner works (with Vuescan). No wireless issues. So from my perspective the latest security update is a non-issue.

'Dual 2.5/G5 PPC Tower, 3.5GB RAM, Leopard 10.5.2 fully patched. I tried to find some minor issues I could complain and rant about. No luck, everything works as advertised." (MacFixIt.com: Security Update 2008-002 v1.1: worse than the original?. 31 March 2008.)

This strongly suggests certain custom settings stored in preference files (.plist) and possibly cache files could be incompatible under the new patched up environment.

If this means users must clear all settings, delete old caches, fix permissions and start again by re-entering custom information, it must be one of the biggest time-wasters users have to put up with from Apple. There is no known equivalent under Windows XP or Vista. This has to be unique to OS X given the level of clearing and re-entering of custom information needed to get things right again.

If this is the situation we are at with OS X, users will almost certainly want to wait for one single update for OS X Leopard to bring them up to 10.5.9 and forget about the rest of the nonsense with incremental updates along the way. Apple is still playing the beta software testing phase with users as it tinkers with its OS.

1 April 2008

Fixing file permissions using Disk Utility could be the other important function you should perform after installing any update or new application. As one MacFixIt.com reader said:

"I have had many problems with the latest update of safari [3.1] and after reinstalling the standalone update and trying your suggested fixes the app kept crashing my mac. Not only would safari 3.1 crash but the whole system would crash, sometimes even as a kernel panic. Finally i decided to verify permissions and repair. Verify found many problems with the flash player plugin. I repaired and now no problems, for now anyway." (MacFixIt.com: Safari 3.1: uninstalling and going back to 3.0.4, more. 1 April 2008.)

The procedure for updating OS X appears to be this:

  1. Wait until a combo updater becomes available to bring OS X Leopard to version 10.5.9.
  2. Fix file permissions using Disk Utility.
  3. Clear custom settings stored in preference files and re-enter them.
  4. Clear cache and log files using a third-party tool such as OnyX

Apple is trying to be customer friendly with its range of new updates

To counter the hostile response from Leopard users after the Security Update 2008-002 debarcle, Apple has immediately released a number of new updates possibly to handle the new security updated environment in a more stable way. It includes Apple Airport Extreme Update 2008-001, Apple Aperture 2.1 and Apple TV 2.0.1. And if all else fails, Apple has provided an Apple Firmware Restoration CD 1.5 software to bring your Intel Mac to its previous firmware version at time of manufacture.

But if you do apply all these updates, check your TCP/IP settings as it is likely you could lose your IP address and DHCP server address. Somehow these updates may delete your network information according to this MacFixIt article.

Perhaps Apple is trying to help users get some OS X stability by automatically deleting custom information in preferences files for you without telling you what it has done?

Also the installation of the latest Time Machine and AirPort Update 1.0 will change the build number of you "Leopard" OS X 10.5.2, stopping users from reapplying the OS X 10.5.2 combo updater should anything go wrong with your OS. Perhaps Apple likes to see users reinstall OS X from scratch should it get hosed? MacFixIt has recommended a solution. Open the Terminal utility and type the following command:

sudo defaults write /System/Library/CoreServices/SystemVersion ProductBuildVersion 9C31

This will fool the system into thinking it is an older version.

Apple keeping update details well hidden or inconspicuous for users

It has been recently noted how Apple would not inform users of what is being changed by an update. Now we have a funny situation where Apple does not make it clear up front the procedure for updating something as critical as a firmware update, requiring everyone to be a bit of a geek to know the precise details or to read the fine print deep in the belly of a ReadMe text in the Software Update panel.

Allegedly this is the claim from users as of 10 April 2008 after Apple released another 5 updates (all to do with firmware updates) for the MacBook Air (MacBook Air EFI Firmware Update 1.0), MacBooks (MacBook EFI Firmware Update 1.2), MacBook Pros (MacBook Pro EFI Firmware Update 1.5), iMacs (iMac EFI Firmware Update 1.3) and the almost wafer-thin Aluminium Keyboard (Aluminium Keyboard Firmware Update 1.0).

One MacFixIt user said:

"The firmware update for my MacBook Pro did not happen as I was expecting. I ran Software Update to find it there and after clicking OK for that update (and others that I had not yet applied), all of my apps were quit and the download for the Firmware Update was downloaded whereupon the MacBook Pro then shut down and restarted like normal.

I had not taken the opportunity to read the ReadMe that was shown in the Software Update panel and I was curious as to what Apple may have shared about was supposed to have been fixed. To find this ReadMe, I manually downloaded the firmware update from this MacFixIt site. Running the updater produced an on screen note as to how it was necessary for me to Shut Down my MacBook Pro, hold the Power key down until a sound continuously was heard, then let the firmware update happen. I did this and the update progress bar happened which I knew was a good thing. Upon completion of the restart, the firmware update automatically was run and then I received a confirmation that my firmware had been updated.

Interesting that just running Software Update did not cause the firmware update to happen." (MacFixIt.com: Apple posts slew of firmware updates: MacBook (Air, Pro), iMac, keyboard. 8 April 2008.)

Some other users tried to be a smart arse by saying they have followed the procedure by claiming they have already read and/or know how to do it and couldn't find a problem. Some others were a little more helpful by saying what the procedure is for the benefit of other users.

The truth is, how many users does Apple need outside of the company to become free technical advisers to other users on how to do something right? Does it really take so much money and effort by Apple to put the critical details users need to know of what's being changed, why and how to perform an update in the correct manner right at the beginning of a ReadMe text in what is known as good customer service?

We hope Apple hasn't cut back on their own technical advisers and specialist software designers to do the job right just to save a few bucks for CEO Steve Jobs. We have already seen a similar attempt made with the hardware of a number of Apple computers and we all know the consequences of that approach as this web site has revealed.

Just to add a little twist to the whole situation, the above firmware updates will only work on selected Intel-based MacBook, MacBook Pro and iMac models. Apple is again quiet on which boot ROM chips and specific computers need the update, saying at most:

"After the firmware is successfully applied to your Mac, your Boot ROM Version will be: MBP21.00A5.B08 or MBP31.0070.B07."

But as one MacFixIt reader said:

"Why won't Apple specify which machines the updates are for? I went to the trouble of downloading the iMac firmware update only to be informed that my computer (a 24" white iMac) does not require it. They could easily have specified that the update is only for A L U M I N U M iMacs and that white plastic iMacs need not apply." (MacFixIt.com: Apple posts slew of firmware updates: MacBook (Air, Pro), iMac, keyboard. 8 April 2008.)

Another MacFixIt reader said:

"I downloaded the MacBook Pro firmware update but it said my computer did not need it. The support document says after the firmware is updated the Boot ROM version will be MBP21.00A5.B08 or MBP31.0070.B07. My Boot ROM version is MBP31.0070.B05. I didn't see anything in the support documents indicating that some computers may not accept the update." (MacFixIt.com: MacBook Pro EFI Firmware Update 1.5: system confusion, what it fixes. 9 April 2008.)

In the case of the MacBook Pro, further investigations by others have deduced that the Boot ROM versions requiring the update are:






which can be checked using Apple's own System Profiler tool.

Apple recommends users should use the Software Update to determine the correct machines. Of course, you just have to remember to read the entire ReadMe text to know the correct procedure.

After all the confusion, the only improvement allegedly seen by users of these firmware updates is the "elimination of a blue color flicking problem" during Boot Camp operation, and the key repeats on the Aluminium Keyboard may be eliminated only after users realise by accident that you may have to readjust the key repeat delay timer in the Keyboard and Mouse preferences pane to notice the change.

Any other improvements remain mysterious as we speak.

11 April 2008

One interesting discovery after the firmware updates is how Safari 3.1 has gone on the blink (i.e. hangs or won't browse). One user has suggested the WebKit used by Safari needs updating. A new WebKit is available as of 11 April 2008. It can be found at http://nightly.webkit.org/. Run it and see if this solves the problem. If so, you will have to wait for Apple to update Safari 3.1 with the new WebKit.

NOTE: The new WebKit works with OS X "Tiger" 10.4.9 (use revision r33943 or less, otherwise higher revisions will cause unexpected quits of the WebKit when you close a window). It means Apple's decision to force users to update to OS X "Tiger" 10.4.10 and 11 together with a corresponding increase in instability of the OS as an incentive to move to OS X "Leopard" just to benefit from the latest Safari 3.1 is almost certainly unwarranted. Apple could have quite easily if they wanted allow Safari 3.1 to run on any version of OS X "Tiger" if they so choose.

On the positive side, MacFixIt reader Don Neesley writes:

"When I started cold or restarted with my Dell 24" monitor connected, the external monitor would show only the resolutions available on the MBP screen, max res 1440 x 900. The only method to get the max 1920 x ??? res of the Dell monitor was to startup with the monitor unconnected and, after reaching the log-in page, connect the monitor. This problem vanished after the MacBook Pro EFI Firmware Update 1.5."

Allegedly MacFixIt claims the problem also appears on other MacBook Pro models that cannot be updated with the MacBook Pro EFI Firmware Update 1.5. If this is true, why is Apple being selective?

16 April 2008

Apple provided what it calls WebKit security enhancements to the updated Safari 3.1.1. We don't know whether Safari now runs properly under the new EFI firmware updates, but Apple has stated the update is "recommended for all Safari users and includes improvements to stability, compatibility and security."

That sounds like a little more than a simple security update.

Having problems installing this Safari update. It seems like you are not alone according to this MacFixIt article. We suggest you fix file permissions and verify your disk first, followed by a full installation of Safari 3.1.1 (preferably from the standalone updater), and clear all caches, cookies, history and bookmarks. Finish it off with another file permissions fix and check the hard disk again just in case. This may help to restore the speed of the browser and minimise instability issues.

NOTE: If you use Software Update, fix file permissions and check hard disk before and after the installation. This usually makes a difference.

21 April 2008

Apple has realised the MacBook Pro EFI Firmware Update 1.5 wasn't up to their usual standard. So Apple has kindly provided us with an improvement known as MacBook Pro EFI Firmware Update 1.5.1. This one should bring your Boot ROM to version:



if it is not already updated by the previous firmware update.

Good to see that Apple has provided an Apple Firmware Restoration CD 1.7 in case anything should go wrong (looking at how users have been updating their firmware, getting it wrong doesn't seem to be too hard to do). Interesting to see how Apple has decided to let users read the license agreement on the web site first before downloading the software. Maybe Apple has decided to provide instructions directly in the software and up front without the license agreement getting in the way?

Wise move!

Mac OS X 10.5.3 Update

This latest update is thought to be an improvement from the previous 10.5.2 update, so much so that one must ask why did Apple fall short of improving the "the slowness and inaccurate messages of Disk Utility doing permissions repair" as one MacFixIt user said.

It's a problem that existed since OS X 10.5.0 and its remarkable how many users have discovered the problem and mentioned it on the Apple Discussion board.

Also the Disk Utility will report the following message when it encounters the ownership details of CUPS (the Unix Printing System):

"Group differs on "private/etc/cups", should be 0, group is 26."

but never gets around to fixing the problem.

And another common problem is the switching network locations causing users to have their machines freeze. Apple has yet to address this issue.

Other issues requiring further attention include unusually high spiking CPU usage when a computer's network is set to access the internet through a proxy (deleting proxy.pac files or changing to a non-proxy network configuration can resolve this issue); increased fan activity thought to be caused by a corrupted or incompatible Spotlight index (you may need to delete the index and restart the computer); and users stuck at the Login window because something had been modified in the System files (try booting in Safe Mode by holding down the Shift key when booting up, and if you see the desktop then it's a Startup Items problem, otherwise type /sbin/fsck -fy and repeat if necessary until the message "** The volume [name] appears to be OK" appears). And it may be difficult to boot in Safe Mode — a long standing issue in OS X "Leopard" — so be prepared for long wait times.

As one user responded about the Safe Mode issue:

"This has been a bug since the day Leopard was released. It consistently happens with both my G5 PPC and Mac Pro Intel. I submitted an Apple Bug Report, to which Apple engineers responded several times, but as yet no fix has been found. Logs show the restarts are due to fsck always reporting a change has been made to the file system, but checking with Disk Utility, DiskWarrior, etc., find no problems or repairs needed. Note this known bug only occurs when booting from a RAID configuration using Apple RAID software. Single boot disk configurations boot into Safe Mode on both machines consistently." (MacFixIt.com: Safe boot doesn't work check default boot partition. 31 May 2008.)

Is Apple holding back on repairing all problems in the hope users will continue to update and eventually upgrade to the latest OS X? Sounds plausible considering Apple needs to sell and get people to use the latest OS X to make its bread and butter at the end of the day and force people to accept Apple's decisions.

It is almost like Apple wants customers to believe having the latest OS X is critical to everything they do with a computer.

This is certainly the case with the final iteration of OS X "Tiger" (i.e. 10.4.11) with its increased instability issues. Are we still putting up with this silly antic?

At any rate, the improvements can allegedly be found in:

Time Machine

Iincreased reliability when performing a full restore from a backup; able to work properly with Aperture 2, and it performs backups on laptops running on battery power. Other errors do persist but this update seems to eliminate most of them.


Improve synchronization between iPhone and iCal.


Realiability in 802.1X transmissions, able to be indexed using Spottlight, screen sharing is better handled etc.


Computer can go to sleep when user has set Mail to check messages every minute; better handling of large attachment files; dragging a file to the Mail icon when two compose windows are opened no longer generates an error.


Prevents reordering of application windows with a different active window when switching and returning to an original space.

Parental controls

Computer can now have a forced sleep, better speed when applying web content filters, iChat transcripts will now be created and stored with managed accounts, can handle 4-byte files and whitelist and a host of reliability issues with application logging and time limits.


General improvements to make it more stable with other applications, fixes stuttering video and audio playback in QuickTime with movies stored on USB external drives, and correct uses Helvetica font in applications instead of automatically resorting to Helvetica Narrow, ability to load pages from selected DNS servers etc.

Installation of the update

Generally described by users as very smooth.

Hopefully there are more improvements. But for now we have to wait and see how users responds to Apple's latest offering.

Now can we have the OS X "Pussycat" upgrade with no errors at all?

NOTE 1: Problems with this update? Most users have complained of repeated crashes with iTunes and other odd behaviour in other applications. It is recommended that you delete relevant preference files (.plist) of the offending application as this appears to work in most cases (although no guarantee). Otherwise clear Startup Items while some third-party applications and drivers may need to be updated to work with OS X 10.5.3 (e.g. Maya 3D, HP print drivers etc).

NOTE 2: Takes ages to boot up? This is thought to be a common issue with this latest update. You should be prepared to wait for several hours before getting to the desktop or login window stage. It should quicken considerably the next time you restart.

NOTE 3: Consider repairing file permissions first and, as a last resort, delete /Library/Preferences/DirectoryServices/ should you have problems booting up.

NOTE 4: Having trouble saving an Adobe Photoshop CS3 file remotely on the network? Does it seem the file is corrupted in some way? Some users are recommending you should run VersionCue under OS X "Leopard" 10.5.3. Or, in Preferences of the application, change the Save dialog from OS X to Adobe's own dialog version. Adobe has yet to update its own CS3 applications to work with OS X 10.5.3. Even the problem of saving a file remotely has been problematic since OS X "Panther". It is not clear whether this is an Apple or Adobe problem in their software. Perhaps one is blaming the other and vice versa as their best solution?

NOTE 5: Changing the screen colours or resolution in the Display preference pane and putting it back again is said to help solve the iMovie launch problem (i.e. it won't launch for some users under OS X 10.5.3). One user is suggesting the file permissions for /Library/ColorSync/Profiles is not correct and Disk Utility will not fix it. Changing the screen colours, however, allegedly does. But it won't solve another issue allegedly found by another user claiming the iMovie window when opened for a project cannot be resized to a smaller dimension. Sounds like another Apple update is needed soon (probably for iMovie to make it compatible with OS X 10.5.3).

NOTE 6: Can't shutdown or restart your computer? Try deleting third-party print drivers. Then get the latest print drivers and reinstall.

13 June 2008

It's Friday the 13th and something in the air is suggesting users are having to grin and bear some extra horrors when working on OS X "Leopard" 10.5.3. According to this MacFixIt article, it is claimed OS X 10.5.3 somehows manages to make visible on its own a rather critical system file called mach_kernel.ctfsys at the root level of the startup disk and/or in the Dock. Users who are inexperienced with computers are likely to trash the file thinking it is one of those standard invisible.DS_Store files that appear from time-to-time, only to discover on rebooting how difficult it is to get back to the desktop. And using the Terminal command:

sudo chflags hidden mach_kernel.ctfsys

is not usually successful for the more experienced users trying this method suggesting there are some serious issues yet to be fixed in this latest OS X version.

This is a new bug that hasn't been documented (or at least not in an obvious sense) in previous OS X versions.

Perhaps a programming mistake? We hope Apple is not trying to introduce new errors as a way for users to constantly update and upgrade OS X and other software.

Another bug to be found — more a security issue than anything else — is the Apple Remote Desktop Agent (ARDAgent). It is claimed by this MacFixIt article that when this Agent is run and permits users to let others see their screens, it sets user ID on execution of shell script commands at the root level allowing virtually unfettered control of the system and applications (so long as users know where the files and applications are located and their names). This is another reason why Apple should never force users to accept default locations for all their applications (the same for other software companies). If users wish to change the name of the Application folder to, say, My Applications or something else, it would make it very hard for other users to tamper with OS X and other applications. Fortunately there is a workaround. It is just a question of knowing what to do. To prevent the execution of commands as root, type in the Terminal:

sudo chmod -s /System/Library/CoreServices/RemoteManagement/ARDAgent.app/Contents/MacOS/ARDAgent

To reverse this process (in case the above shell script command creates adverse behaviour on your Mac), type:

sudo chmod +s /System/Library/CoreServices/RemoteManagement/ARDAgent.app/Contents/MacOS/ARDAgent

As one user in the article was prepared to say:

"It is difficult to avoid the impression that the current system 10 upgrade is a complete dud."

Well, perhaps not quite.

It is probably the result of Apple trying to make too many changes to what was basically a good OS X "Tiger" version 10.4.9 system in order to stop people running the Classic Environment and to get everyone to pay for upgrades for major third-party applications as a way of controlling what Apple thinks is a serious software piracy issue.

Again we can only reiterate our recommendation of waiting for the most stable OS X version to come out before joining the bandwagon of early adopters of new technologies.

Is Apple Inc. experiencing some financial difficulties in certain countries?

Being a public company on the stock exchange has to put considerable pressure on Apple Inc. to deliver a constant stream of new and innovative products to consumers.

As most consumers are happy with the designs (although how they work and their reliability in construction is another issue) and investors think sales are going through the roof, the price of Apple stocks remain very high. It shows how well Apple has done to give the impression everything is rosy and going strong at the company.

Now we receive word from CNET News as of 17 June 2008 that a number of software and hardware engineers working at Apple Inc. are getting paid less than their counterparts in other hi-tech companies at California's Silicon Valley. But if Apple is doing so well, why aren't the engineers getting paid well? Does this mean the engineers will make an exodus from Apple Inc. in search of better pay? The author Matt Asay disagrees saying the looming US recession would see the engineers stay put where they are unless Mr Jobs decides otherwise.

But why the lower pay?

Perhaps it may have something to do with the way the engineers are having a hard time and are simply doing what Mr Steve Jobs want for a continuous sale of products and therefore are not putting the extra effort to create quality and durable products. And so Mr Jobs, on realising what is happening, thinks it is alright to pay the engineers less.

It certainly doesn't hurt the bottom-line for the company.

It is not entirely clear what's happening. However, one fact is clear. Apple Inc must maintain a healthy and successful image to consumers by opening the world's second-biggest Apple store on Georges St in Sydney covering three floors.

As all available Apple computers, iPods and iPhones for sale can fit into one small room, Apple is definitely trying to make a big impression in Australia that it is a highly successful company.

Yet the salary of Apple engineers suggest something else is not quite right at Apple Inc. We will have to wait and see what will happen in the next few years, especially after the recession is over.

Is Apple targeting young, high-income technophiles where good looks is fundamental when selling Apple computers?

There seems to be a debate raging among users as to whether people buy expensive Apple products because of their good looks, or go for other factors such as durability and free of manufacturing faults.

One user named Kev Orng wrote to CNET News Blog the following comment on 23 June 2008:

"I don't think "most" Apple customers are mainly interested in how it looks. If that was the case we'd all be sporting awesome-looking three hundred dollar pieces of junk. We'd be driving around in the Pontiac Sunfire equivalent of computers. Cheap speed, as long as the road isn't wet or curvy. Replace after three years. From what I know, most Apple buyers are interested in the internals and the OS, and that the casing happens to look really nice is a bonus. My priorities; OS, closely followed by internal hardware; Appearance is a distant fourth or fifth, after "Not-Windows". The Psystar OpenPro might be good enough, but frankly I'd rather let somebody else test drive them for a year. For $999 I'd rather splurge the extra $100 and get an iMac, for now, and see what the market is like in a year. Or I could build my own box and load up an OS X86 build, it's probably just as stable as the Psystar." (Tsuboi, Kara. Daily Debrief: Psystar makes convincing Apple clone: CNET.com. 23 June 2008.)

Other users disagree saying the majority of users who purchase Apple products nowadays are young, well-heeled technophiles who can afford to regularly buy new Apple products but want to make sure they look good among peers by having a good-looking computer.

As a user going by the name of chuckjuhl said:

"Uh, actually a very significant number of users that pick Apple products do pick them for "look and feel" and that includes the external housing (and not just the OS). I deal with hundreds (actually thousands) of Mac and PC users every year. Mac users tends to be younger, more "Yuppie" and far, far more image conscious than PC users - to the point of narcism in many cases. A significant percentage of Mac purchasers buy precisely because Macs are more expensive - the same reason they buy Porsche, BMW and Mercedes instead of Pontiac, Ford or Chevy. A MacBook Pro out here in Southern California is a social statement - an indication of class and position, much like having a BMW 135 convertable and a Newport Beach Condo." (Tsuboi, Kara. Daily Debrief: Psystar makes convincing Apple clone: CNET.com. 23 June 2008.)

What do you think?

Although if one is trying to run a public company like Apple Inc., you would probably want to make sure the products don't last very long with an emphasis on good design to attract consumers. It just makes sense from a bottom-line point-of-view.

But is it actually true?

Mac OS X 10.5.4 Update

Was Apple listening when users requested a fix for their Adobe CS3 applications? Apparently so after Apple decided to release Mac OS X "Leopard" version 10.5.4 update on 30 June 2008. For the first time in a very long time users can now enjoy saving files to a remote server without fear of corruption or not being able to reopen them once they were saved. It's a big one and Apple finally woken up to the issue.

The latest OS X update also provides the full range of known Apple Security updates; slightly more RAW image support for several digital camera models (but more is on the way with yet another update in late July 2008); users can now fully install X11 applications; greater reliability and with the ability to maintain reasonable performance when running AirPort; various user interface and functionality oddities resolved in iCal, better performance when loading secure web pages in Safari 3.x, and a host of general improvements to Spaces and Expose.

And according to this MacFixIt article, the full combo updater may provide further improvements to iSync when it comes to launching and resolving certain issues relating to unexpected loss in background functionality created by the OS X 10.5.4 update via the "Software Update..." option. So in addition to the Apple Software Update option, you may wish to apply the full Combo Updater from Apple's own web site just to get the full benefit!

But is OS X more stable and reliable? Well, let's just say that this version is better than the previous version. At least we are heading in the right direction.

As of 30 July 2008, the problems to emerge from this update were (i) Printer sharing does not work; (ii) printing PDFs from the Preview application can be erratic (may work one day but not the next); and (iii) the Help menu may not work all the time (trying deleting preferences files com.apple.help.plist, com.apple.helpui.plist and com.apple.helpviewer.plist and restart the computer).

Further security updates from Apple should be avoided (e.g. Security Update 2008-005) as further problems may develop such as third-party software becoming unstable. You are best to wait for a major update to OS X "Leopard" (e.g. version 10.5.9).

Mac OS X 10.5.5 Update

On 15 September 2008, Apple released the next stage in the development of a hopefully more stable OS X "Leopard".

The prime purpose of OS X 10.5.5 update is to bring together all the latest security updates released since 10.5.4 came out, provide much needed bug fixes for various Apple applications known as iApps (e.g. iCal, Address Book, Time Machine, Mail, MobileMe, Disk Utility and TextEdit to name a few), performance enhancement during Spotlight indexing, and includes extensive graphics enhancements.

A particularly useful improvement is increased stability during video playback, processor core idling, and remote disc sharing for MacBook Air. And we are pleased to see the Kerberos authentication issues for OS X 10.5 clients designed to connect to Samba servers (such as the OS X 10.4 Server) finally fixed.

Problems? It's hard to tell at the moment. We suspect there will be some problems installing. But if users follow the procedure below, you should be okay:

  1. Backup all your mission critical data. If you have room on your external drive, back up everything on your computer's OS X disk.
  2. Run Disk Utility and check for disk errors followed by file permissions if everything is okay.
  3. Consider as an optional extra the clearing of system caches and logs using OnyX 1.9.7 or AppleJack 1.5.
  4. Restart your Mac.
  5. Download the full OS X 10.5.5 Combo Update.
  6. Quit all third-party applications you might be running.
  7. Install the Combo Update. Restart your computer.
  8. Run Disk Utility again, checking for disk errors and file permissions. If you need to repair any errors, restart the computer after they are fixed.

Do you now have a relatively trouble-free OS X? Or should we continue to dream on?

22 September 2008

The alleged graphics improvements from OS X "Leopard" 10.5.5 update has taken a backward step with reports the SystemUIServer application responsible for various OS X interface components is crashing repeatedly for some users. If this application crashes, the entire OS X system freezes and only a reboot can bring back some semblance of stability. Greater stability could be had by deleting a specially dedicated preference file used by SystemUIServer called com.apple.systemuiserver.plist as suggested by MacFixIt.com.

There could be further instability developed from this OS X update with reports of iTunes no longer syncing with AppleTV. Turning off the firewall and SOCKS proxies, rechecking settings, reinstalling iTunes, changing wireless channels, recreating the iTunes library, and restarting the Mac and/or AppleTV have been the recommended options for fixing this problem. Or else wait for the next OS X update.

OpenGL, the graphic drivers for rendering images on the screen with speed, especially for 3D games appear iffy under OS X10.5.5 but perfectly fine under OS X 10.5.4. Could this require third-party manufacturers of graphics cards to update their own drivers?

And users of the MacBook are reporting issues with external displays not working properly following the OS X update. A reset of PRAM could help.

23 September 2008

The latest to be added to a growing list of problems under OS X "Leopard" version 10.5.5 is the "Times New Roman" of any PDF file rendered to the screen by OS X's PDF graphic rendering engine. Use Apple's own Preview application to see this effect. Independent PDF rendering applications such as Adobe Reader do not exhibit this oddity.

The effect is probably best described as a fading away of the thinnest lines associated with the shape of characters. It is worse with specific characters, namely "o", "e", and a bit of the "q", "p" and "g". For example the exceptionally thin line to draw part of the character appears at the top left of the letter "g" or right side of the letter "p" and this is what becomes difficult to read.

A suggested solution is to turn off anti-aliasing. But the question is why when previous versions of OS X "Leopard" have been fine?

3 November 2008

Numerous little bugs appear in various Apple applications including Time Machine, iPhoto etc. Some of these issues could be because older Apple applications are not compatible under the new OS X 10.5.5 environment. Some of these are currently being updated. Other issues suggest there are some lingering instabilities in OS X.

One such instability has emerged which seems far more serious than the odd bug or two in an Apple application like iPhoto. According to this MacFixIt article, some users are reporting instances where a user account may suddenly disappear or become inactive. Further observations suggest the user folder is not lost. But something in the authentication login process is failing to show up the list of user accounts.

If this is a non-admin account, perhaps setting up a new account may work. But first login as Admin and try checking file permissions with Disk Utility.

If, on the other hand, the admin account is the one doing all the disappearing, this is a bit more serious as naturally you will not be able to make admin changes to other user's accounts and general cleaning and maintenance work. And if the admin account is the only one on your laptop you can log on, you're in deep trouble as OS X hasn't got a clue how to resolve this issue automatically.

If things get really bad, try logging onto another OS X disk (e.g. a partition of your hard disk containing a backup OS X, or try an external OS X drive. Use a utility called Invisibility Toggler to show all invisible folders. Then navigate on the offending OS X disk to /var/db/dslocal/nodes/Default/users/ and delete the file called SHORT_USERNAME.plist.

SHORT_USERNAME.plist holds information on all the user accounts available on your OS X disk.

Once deleted, run the Invisibility Toggler to make the relevant files invisible again, restart the computer, and boot up from the offending OS X disk. Hopefully the preference file will be recreated and users will only need to recreate the lost account through System Preferences.

As for those unfortunate sods not having another OS X disk to boot into and only having one account on OS X, you will have to boot into the "root" account in Single-user mode and use the following UNIX command to remove the preference file.

rm /var/db/dslocal/nodes/Default/users/SHORT_USERNAME.plist

Clearly not the nicest option for less-nerdy people.

11 November 2008

MacFixIt.com can happily report the latest OS X 10.5.5 glitch known as the "corrupt Finder graphics" issue thanks to this article. Rather embarressing for Apple considering we are now up to 10.5.5 and this is something Tiger users on OS X 10.4 have not had the luxury of enjoying so far. We can only hope version OS X 10.6.x will have the stability professional users are looking for and not keep itself in the realms of a childish OS where users are forced to suck their thumbs everytime a glitch appears. We hope Apple will grow up soon.

We definitely have a piss-weak OS for the Mac.

1 December 2008

MacFixIt claims users updating to OS X 10.5.5 may experience a loss of sound. It is recommended PRAM is reset, which involves re-booting the computer and pressing Option Command P and R keys simultaneously. Keep holding these keys down for at least 3 boot chimes, then let go of the keys. Sound should be restored to normal.

5 December 2008

Some users are reporting a case of double authentication during the log-on stage on waking up a Macintosh computer requiring users to enter their password twice. Late-2008 MacBook/MacBook Pro/MacBook Air are said to be affected and has appeared in OS X versions 10.5.2 to 10.5.5. Possibly the problem prevails after an archive install of OS X although some users claim a clean install of OS X can still exhibit the behaviour. As one MacFixIt user said:

"I've had this problem for a long time, too, and it has gotten worse since getting a late 2008 MacBook Pro. The late 2008 macbook pro system came as a "clean install" and new pram, etc. out of the box factory installed, so I don't think these wake from sleep problems have anything to do with the stock advice that is always given regarding reinstalling PRAM, correcting permissions, etc. I do believe Apple needs to find the conditions that cause this situation and fix them with a firmware and/or OS update.

Sleep recovery seems to be becoming more and more problematic with each release. When you use a macbook or macbook pro as a "brick" moving it between two external monitors and throw in a bluetooth keyboard and mouse, sleep recovery gets even worse. The double sign on seems, to me, to be tied to the machine doing a synch from one video source to another pre and post sleep. Also, bluetooth thrown into the mix makes it worse. Sometimes on my system I get a black screen on wake up but the computer is running. Using command-option-eject to put the machine back to sleep, then waking it up again usually recovers. When the blue tooth mouse and keyboard don't connect, doing a power down/reboot always clears it up immediately on my machine. I've also found that turning bluetooth off then back on in the menu bar also seems to recover bluetooth connections following sleep. For the record I'm using all Apple peripherals: display, mouse, keyboard.

I sure wish APPLE would build up a robust set of tests for their systems that exercise the external monitor/blue tooth peripheral combinations and test for sleep recovery when these combinations change from going to sleep to waking up. I definitely feel there are bugs in these areas that need to be addressed, and with each release of new hardware, the bugs get worse.

For the time being I've retired my Apple bluetooth mouse and keyboard and gone to wired varieties just to get past the annoyance of the machine not waking up which forces me to raise the lid, use the macbook keyboard and trackpad to get the machine logged in and running, then switch to the bluetooth peripherals and external monitor." (MacFixIt.com: Computer requires douple authentication. 5 December 2008.)

9 December 2008

Reaffirming the great pains in moving over to OS X Leopard is how many third-party add-ons, plug-ins and full-fledged applications become incompatible. This MacFixIt article is no exception. The article states some users have reported an incompatibility between the Apple Aluminium keyboards and the MacBook whereby the MacBook apparently hangs as soon as the USB Aluminium keyboard is plugged in. Yet the problem never manifested under OS X Tiger. One user has suggested the culprit is a third-party software called DoubleCommand. The uninstaller of DoubleCommand will not remove all relevant file components. What it leaves behind are the ones needing to be removed properly. Only then will the incompatibility be resolved. However a user claimed every trace of the software has been removed and still it does not work:

"I've deleted every file associated with DoubleCommand, and it's still showing up in kernel panics. Any other ideas?"

Or try reinstalling OS X Leopard (Apple likes to hear this solution regularly!). If it works, we can add to the great pains the time wasting in installing OS X and compatible third-party applications when the whole purpose of OS X is to help you get your work done and to later relax and be entertained when you want to.

Is there anything else we haven't covered with OS X Leopard?

As for installing third-party applications, the following could prove valuable advice:

"Rules of thumb: when applications crashes persistently, start removing InputManagers/"plugins". When kernel panics happen persistently, start removing 3rd party kernel extensions. Since Apple controls most of the hardware on the Mac, the kernel can be expected to have been well-tested against all the hardware it usually interfaces with. Foreign code should always be the first suspect.

And honestly, install software with kernel extensions sparingly. By installing a kext, you're modifying the core of the OS and implicitly trusting the kext developer to have tested it well against any hardware you're using. An error in kernel space is usually unrecoverable, so that trust better not be misplaced." (MacFixIt.com: MacBooks crashing with aluminum keyboards9 December 2008.)

Mac OS X 10.5.6 Update

This is seen as a giveth and taketh kind of update from Apple. On the one hand, Apple gives you better network and graphics performance with some security updates and a little more stability and reliability in the system. On the other hand, Apple wants to take away the ability of users to jailbreak or unlock the iPhone and iPod Touch, and to force users to update or purchase the latest third-party software such as Disk Warrior for compatibility with the latest OS X version. Otherwise, it you can live without jailbreaking your iPhone and can do without or get the latest Disk Warrior, generally this update is relatively trouble free.

In the jailbreaking department, users have noticed the keyboard stops working once OS X has loaded up (i.e. the permissions of the OS X extension designed to accept input from the USB keyboards has been modified and rendered useless) after an iPhone 3G or iPod Touch has been jailbroken as people have noticed at the login or at the desktop if there is no login window. The only solution so far is to reinstall the full 10.5.6 combo update to OS X and restart the computer.

This is what happens when Apple has no one to compete against the company for a better Mac OS. It can play God by giving users the company's own idea of balance in an OS X update.

After making significant changes under-the-bonnet through the introduction of OS X Leopard to stop people running Classic Environment on PPC computers and added a few other features to keep Intel users thinking they have the best computer in the world, the amount of improvements needed to make OS X stable and reliable once again is also revealed by the size of latest full combo 10.5.6 update of 668MB released on 15 December 2008 compared to the full combo update of 180MB for OS X Tiger 10.4.11. Now people must really have high-speed broadband to download this monstrosity. US President-elect Barrack Obama certainly has his work cut-out for him just to get the US broadband infrastructure up to a reasonable standard thanks to Apple's OS X modifications.

Installation of the latest OS X Leopard 10.5.6 is not without a few teething problems according to this MacFixIt article. Would a boot into single user mode and applying whatever UNIX command is necessary to install the update make a difference? Probably users will also have to remember to verify and repair the hard disk and fix permissions using Disk Utility before going to this trouble?

STOP PRESS: Some late-2008 MacBook (Pro and Air) need to update their EFI firmware before applying this update. This is considered a critical step (see below for further details). The OS X 10.5.6 Update will not notify you of this situation, so the user beware.

So why can't the update do all of this automatically?

At any rate, those users successful in getting the update downloaded, installed and OS X running again have noticed some improvements, especially for those looking for reliable wireless connection via AirPort, better network performance, and in graphic card drivers needed to accelerate the drawing of graphics (as noticed by users running graphics-demanding 3D games). Other changes were made to Time Machine, MobileMe and system kernel extensions including a quiet modification to the input/output communication extension through a USB port known as IOUSBFamily.kext which is believed to have been designed to stop you from jailbreaking or unlocking your iPhone/iPod Touch using PwnageTool or QuickPwn. The latest late-2008 MacBook/MacBook Pro/MacBook Air has this restriction already built into the machine. The new extension is designed to deal with older Macintosh computers previously able to bypass the restriction.

If you wish to stop this nonsense (until you move onto the latest Apple computers), you will either have to:

  1. Replace IOUSBFamily.kext on OS X 10.5.6 with the one available in version OS X 10.5.5;
  2. Use a USB hub to connect the iPhone and Macintosh computer and jailbreak applications will see the iPhone; or
  3. Try a genuine PC where Apple cannot tamper with the Microsoft Windows operating system.

Download of the full combo update — recommended with a good dash of whiskey — is available from either here or here, which ever address Apple can figure out is best to use.

17 December 2008

Problems to emerge from this update relate to incompatible third-party software applications (yet again) requiring updates (e.g. Disk Warrior, although Drive Genius 2 has emerged unscathed and working fine under OS X 10.5.6), a trashing of old preference files (and re-setting new preferences) and sometime reinstallation of some third-party software (although we hope this doesn't include OS X), unusually long backup times on the first run in Time Machine, the Mail application crashing when users try to read email messages etc.

Loss of functionality of trackpads on older MacBook models has been reported by users after this update.

Installation through the Software Update option can take a long time for some users either during installation or during the re-boot sequence (usually hanging in either the white with grey Apple logo or blue log-in screen) after the update. If you have to break out of this re-boot sequence after 30 minutes by pressing the power button for 5 seconds, it is possble rebooting may cause your computer to lose sight of the OS X disk and will never boot up properly. If this happens, boot off the Leopard DVD and repair file permissions.

Any more problems? Your guess is as good as ours.

Apart from these minor irritations, most users have been able to successfully apply OS X 10.5.6 without anything unusual to note. Although admittedly most users follow the recommendation of booting in Safe Mode (i.e. all extensions turned off), repairing file permissions, applying the full combo update file, and finishing off with another bout of file permission repairs (and a good stiff drink).

Or take the advice of this user:

"...I booted in safe mode, repaired permissions, applied the update, rebooted, repaired permissions again and all was fine, and continues to be fine. I also leave ANY update to complete - I NEVER use the system while it is being updated." (MacFixIt.com: Systems not starting after applying the OS X 10.5.6 update. 22 December 2008.)

Our recommendation is at the very least verify and repair any corruption issues in the directory and boot blocks using Disk Utility (or Disk Warrior) and fix file permissions before and after the installation of this latest OS X update. Don't play around with the Finder or launch any other application while the installation is taking place or you will be asking for trouble. And certainly no harm considering the Safe Boot mode just to be absolutely sure.

Better still, you should consider installing a backup OS X on a second partition of your hard drive and boot into this OS X. Download the full combo OS X updater and run it, choosing the original OS X disk (don't do both until you are confident OS X Leopard version 10.5.6 is sufficiently stable and reliable).

We hope Apple isn't expecting users to remember anything more for what is suppose to be a straightforward update to OS X (but nothing never is from Apple these days).

Afterwards, you may wish to cross your fingers and hope there are updates to your favourite third-party software applications for free if you find any odd behaviour. Perhaps clearing the preference file (i.e..plist) of the offending application might be a good start before searching for these updates.

22 December 2008

Apple has addressed the Mail.app problem of crashing unexpectedly with a 58.1MB Apple Mail Update.

Total size of this OS X Leopard 10.5.6 Update has reached 668MB + 58.1MB=726.1MB. At this rate, we might expect the final OS X Leopard update of 10.5.9 to exceed 1GB. Good one Apple!

30 December 2008

After making so many changes to OS X Leopard, it seems Apple can't tell what it's left hand is doing from its right. This MacFixIt article suggests the OS X 10.5.6 Leopard update was unable to notify some earlier editions of the MacBook (Pro) users of an anomaly whereby installing the update can cause some laptops to display a black screen rendering them useless. It is allegedly caused by older EFI firmware in the machines that have to be updated to the latest version before installing the OS X 10.5.6 update. The laptops with black screens will now have to be returned to Apple (fortunately under warranty, but do include your hard drive for the warranty to apply).

EFI Firmware Update 1.6 for MacBook Pro

EFI Firmware Update 1.3 for MacBook Pro

EFI Firmware Update 1.1 for MacBook Pro.

16 January 2009

International news reports indicate Apple's CEO Mr Steve Jobs has stood down from his position citing sickness as the primary and official reason. Could be a temporary thing lasting a few months. But if it is more serious, his general appearance suggests he may be suffering some form of cancer and needs medical treatment.

Further news as it comes to hand.

18 January 2009

Mr Jobs has been suffering pancreatic cancer for some time and he has confirmed to the media that he is undergoing treatment for ailments relating to poor nutrition.

Mac OS X 10.5.7 Update

Apple's OS X 10.5.7 update of May 2009 has allegedly provided a host of stability and security improvements, but not quite full compatibility for all older software applications. Never mind. On the positive side, any unexpected behaviours in OS X can be resolved by applying the full combo updater after a safe boot (or tried booting from another OS X Leopard system disk).

Among the applications to experience some incompatibility, the most annoying features to be discovered include Entourage not talking to Exchange in Microsoft Office 12 products suggesting Microsoft may have to update Office (or do a safe boot and apply the full combo update and fingers cross everything will work again), Adobe Acrobat Reader has to be updated to version 9.1.1 but you must deinstall all older versions of the Reader for installation to be successful, Corel Painter 11 not working properly, Finder frozen after OS X update suggesting at the very least file permissions need to be fixed, some problems mounting CDs, DVDs, external hard drives and thumbdrives unless OS X is rebooted, iCal not accepting alarm times in events or showing the events and may not quit properly, difficulties in printing to third-party (e.g. Epson) printers, loss of native resolution options for displaying information on third-party (e.g. Sharp) external LCD screens, problems with setting authentication for a proxy, and sleep-related issues of MacBooks and MacBook Pros (closing the display lid may not induce the sleep mode).

Some users have recommended turning off and on (or on and off) the Ethernet port in the Network preference pane. This may have the effect of fixing up a portion of the XML data in the preference file that makes the entire software more stable and workable. Certainly users have claimed this simple action has improved sleep-related issues. And a final suggestion is to delete /var/vm/sleepimage for a permanent solution to the sleep problems.

Also there has been some changes to the printing mechanism in OS X. Some users claim to have trouble printing to PDF or sharing their printers. This may suggest the old printing preference files may need a complete rebuild if the updated OS X can't do it itself. Any PDF printing problems is probably best rectified according to MacFixIt by deleting the following files from the user's Library/Preferences/ folder (not the system):




And updating Adobe Acrobat Reader to version 9.1.1 or higher if you have this software installed.

To avoid other issues, it is recommended the full combo updater be applied in Safe Boot mode (or boot into another OS X disk) and fix file permissions before and after the update.

1 July 2009

Latest indications suggest OS X "Leopard" version 10.5.7 could be the most stable so long as Safari 4 is fixed of all its bugs (i.e. there is news Safari 4 will corrupt its preference file after a period of time resulting in slower internet browsing speeds). We may have to include other Mac applications in the bag too. But assuming all applications are stable (i.e. further updates and upgrades), this latest OS X version may turn out to be the most stable yet produced by Apple.

Mac OS X 10.5.8 Update

Apple's release of OS X "Leopard" version 10.5.8 in August 2009 is an attempt to fix up some more glitches after working on the upcoming OS X "Snow Leopard" to be released in September 2009. Unfortunately the glitches have not yet been completely ironed out for "Leopard" users.

We learn there is some instability in the system extension controlling wireless connectivity through AirPort, noted by users within a matter of 2 to 3 days of the update being released by Apple. The best solution so far is to check the device profiles for AirPort Utility and make sure they are correct and the right ones, clear the kext cache using OnyX, Leopard Cache Cleaner, MacCleanse or Cocktail, and fix file permissions.

Still have wireless problems? Get a copy of IO80211Family.kext file extension from OS X 10.5.7 and use it to replace the one installed (or not updated) by OS X 10.5.8. The file goes into /System/Library/Extensions/ folder. It is not clear if this hiccup in the updating process is to convince less technically-minded Apple users that the time has come to upgrade to the new OS X "Snow Leopard". We hope this isn't the case.

Apple is looking into the problem as we speak.

Apart from the extraordinary amount of time needed for this update to do its job before the computer is made reusuable for users to do their work (perhaps you might want to have a cup a coffee, read a good magazine, have a cold shower and then maybe it will be ready), the update is generally stable in all other areas. Just remember to use the full combo updater, boot in Safe Mode, and fix all file permissions (we hear there are a lot of file permission errors in this update).

Standby for OS X "Leopard" version 10.5.9....

The most stable OS X "Leopard" version

Are we there yet? Not really. So far, OS X "Leopard" version 10.5.7 appears to be the most stable. Although our definition of stability should also include all applications, both old and new, the more newer software should be able to run in a stable manner under this OS X version.

For a truly stable OS X, we are yet to see this in OS X "Leopard". And from the way things have developed given the significant changes done to OS X, it would appear you may need firmware and numerous third-party software application updates to make the experience of OS X seem stable and pleasant once again.

Please stand by until we receive the latest information and have confirmation from other users of the most stable OS X version.

NOTE: QuickTime 7.4.5 is considered stable for all users including those with G5 iMacs. Avoid QuickTime 7.5 until the playback is much smoother as in version 7.4.5 for G5 iMac owners, or consider moving all plug-in components in /Library/QuickTime to the desktop, launch QuickTime, quit QuickTime, and move the plug-in components back in the original folder. Relaunching QuickTime may be better.