Monday, February 6, 2012

Snow Leopard Security Update Fix

I missed this initially. I got a call yesterday from a client who couldn't save properly in Word 2004, and my suggestions didn't work. Today, while checking the Mac blogs I read the news that Apple screwed up the Security Update 2006-001 for Snow Leopard 10.6.8, causing Rosetta to fail. That caused problems with Office 2004, Adobe CS, Quicken 2007 and others.

They fixed it yesterday. The updated installer is not yet on Apple's downloads site, but it IS available via Software Update right now.

These security updates are important, so please run Software Update now and get the fix. If there are other items in there you don't care about (like iTunes 10.5.3) then simply uncheck their boxes and start the update.

This does not affect any other versions of OSX.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Solution to Lion SuperDuper problem

I just heard back from Dave Nanian at Shirt Pocket. (On a Sunday during the Super Bowl! I love that company.)

Here is his message:
Time Machine stores its local snapshot in the .MobileBackups folder on the source drive when you're using a laptop.

Rarely, this folder is in a state that makes it uncopyable. If you get an error like this, there are four things you can do:

• Wait for the next actual Time Machine backup to occur, which will flush the folder
• Temporarily turn Time Machine off, which clears the snapshot
• Use "sudo tmutil disablelocal" to turn off local snapshots
• Create and use a copy script that ignores /.MobileBackups (which is more complex for the user, but will be the default in the next version of SuperDuper.

So that's the answer. You can ignore the second two suggestions. When the next version of SD comes out, it will be fixed for good.

BTW, none of this affects SuperDuper users in Snow Leopard or Leopard. It's a Lion-only problem.

Apropos of Lion, I determined that there is no way to downgrade Safari to version 5.0.5. Lion 10.7.0 shipped with, and requires, 5.1 or later. Now we just gotta wait for Apple to fix the mess.

10.7.3 Update Results

Lion Update

Well, I did the update to Lion 10.7.3, and I see no change in performance or features. The update included a jump to Safari 5.1.3, which did NOT fix the problem it has been having with pages not responding, and requiring a forced reload of all open pages.

Obviously Apple knew about the problem or they wouldn't have included the dialog box, which did not exist (or at least, was never invoked) in 5.0.5 and before.

Biggest fail, however, is with SuperDuper. It cannot copy a specific invisible folder called /.MobileBackups, which exists at the top level of the hard drive. It fails with a Type 8 due to error 28: No space left on device. This is actually not true; the target drive has three times as much free space as the source drive it is copying.

I sent the report to Shirt Pocket Software, publisher of SD, and maybe they will have a response next week. You who use SD, be sure to click the Send to Shirt Pocket button at the bottom of the report, which you see by choosing the Show Log item in the Window menu, any time your backup fails.

That .MobileBackups folder exists to save older versions of files like TimeMachine does, but it works when the T-M backup drive is not present. I can't blame this on 10.7.3 because it appeared when backing up the 10.7.2 Lion disk before I ran the updater.

I went through half an afternoon trying to clear out that folder, too. First, it's invisible so I have to run the widget "Hidden Files" in order to have the Finder show all invisible files and folder. Then, when I could see it, that folder had a NoEntry icon on it, which told me I could not open the folder because I didn't have enough privileges.

Root User did not help

Okay, I have to get those privileges, so I enable Root User on my Mac and log in as that. This lets me open things not available to a simple Administrator, but lo, the Hidden Files widget cannot be installed and run in Root. So off to Google I go to find the Terminal commands that will enable hidden files. That works. However, when I open the now-readable .MobileBackups folder, I see the items that are causing the problems (as well as wasting 4 gigs of drive space) but it won't let me delete them! Even as root! I am truly playing in a sandbox that Apple does not want anyone to play in.

The failure was caused by some Safari files. After banging around a bit I was finally able to make them go away and lo, the SuperDuper backup works. I return to normal user mode and run the backup so I can load the 10.7.3 update.

When all this was finished, I plugged in a larger hard drive, one big enough that I could partition it to support both Time Machine and SuperDuper backups. Set to run that night, I wake up to a SD failure again, with the same error message pointing to the same /MobileBackups folder, but with a different file in it: the 10.7.3 Combo Update!

This is where I gave up and am waiting to hear from Shirt Pocket.


I got a short answer from Shirt Pocket just now: It seems the only workaround is to turn TimeMachine OFF (in System Preferences, Time Machine) for 10 minutes before running SuperDuper. I wrote back and answered if this is something that can be fixed in the next SD update. Will post when I hear back.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

February Update

Updates for February

There has been a slew of updates from Apple in the last week or so, most notably the 10.7.3 release of Lion. The reports coming in so far are favorable: lots of bugs fixed and problems repaired. I will be installing this myself this weekend (after making a clone backup so I can revert if need be) and I will write a further update if I have any trouble myself.

You can use Software Update, but some people are reporting problems with the Delta update (which is what Software Update uses). I strongly recommend going to Apple and visiting the Downloads section and getting the full-sized Combo Update.  This update also boosts Safari to 5.1.3, and I hope this will fix the forced reloads and spinning-rainbow problems that have plagued 5.1 since its release.

I also want to see if I can successfully downgrade Safari to 5.0.5. Of all the browsers, Safari has been the most difficult to do this to, with Firefox being the easiest. Safari scatters pieces of itself all over your library and they ALL have to come out before a 5.0.5 install can succeed. If I do, I will report on the full details of how you can do it too.

There is a Security Update for Snow Leopard out as well. Due to the increasing frequency of malware apps attacking Macs these days, I recommend getting all of the updates they issue, after waiting the usual week before installing them that I recommend.

iTunes is now up to 10.5.3, which is needed for the latest iPod and iPhone 4S. I have been running it for a week now and have not noticed any changes at all. I'd say go ahead, but it isn't necessary unless you have the latest iDevice.