Yasu 2.6.7 Released

I’m pleased to announce that Yasu version 2.6.7 has been released for public consumption. This update adds the following:

  • Added browser cache, history and cookie removal routines for Google Chrome.
  • Addressed a rare issue that caused the “Reset home permissions” option to fail on some systems.
  • Rebranding the software back to the “jimmitchell.org” name.

As always, it’s a recommended update for all users. Click on over to the Yasu page and download now if you haven’t already.

Speaking of releases, do you realize it was nine years ago today that the first version of OS X was released to the general public? Man, how time flies…

Woes of MacBook Pro Unibody Owner

A little more on my MacBook Pro woes

Since I’ve had this machine, a MBP Unibody 2.6 Ghz / 4 GB RAM purchased in September of 2009, I’ve had to back it up, completely wipe the internal HD, and restore 5 times. Two of those times, I’ve completely zeroed the drive for extra measure. I even tried starting entirely from scratch once hoping that would finally fix my issues to no avail. In that time I’ve ended up with a “keys out of order” error more times than I can remember. Running a single user “fsck” at boot usually cannot fix the problem. I had to lay out $100 for DiskWarrior to finally resolve that. Still, through all of that, I seem to keep coming up with issues on this unit. I’ve never had this much trouble with any Mac I’ve owned–ever.

Here are the symptoms that eventually lead up to the disk to going bad: When putting the machine to sleep for more than an hour by closing the clamshell, upon waking by re-opening it, the MBP will spontaneously log itself out, sometimes only once, other times it will happen multiple times in a row (I think I counted 5 logouts once). Usually, after all that excitement, any app that I try to launch will immediately crash. I do not keep any apps running when putting the unit to sleep anymore. I’ve lost too much work because of it. Twice I’ve gotten kernel panics instead of spontaneous log outs. It is far more likely that this machine will wake with an issue than not.

Logs allude to crashed threads in windowserver, CoreGraphics, as well as a video driver (not sure which right now). I’ve tried removing every single system add-on that I’ve ever installed, but still have problems. I’ve also cleared every single cache I can get my hands on and then some, but still have problems.

Right now, I’m testing the memory using Memtest. When I left for work this morning, it had not found any problems yet. If it were as simple as a bad memory module I’d be thrilled — but to be honest, I’m thinking the problem lies in the 7200 RPM drive I had installed as a BTO option when I ordered it from Apple. It’s always seemed to be a little finicky.

Because of this lemon fresh Mac, I’ve lost countless hours, and have fallen way behind schedule on a project that I promised would be delivered a month ago. I’m finally giving up and visiting the Genius Bar at my local Apple store tomorrow. So far, I’ve had pretty good luck with them helping me solve issues with other machines. Hopefully they can with this one too. I just hope I don’t have to send it back to China to get fixed. That would put me another month (or more) behind schedule.

More to follow, I’m sure…

Secure Virtual Memory on OS X

Since the purchase of my 2009 MacBook Pro, I’ve had a nagging issue of anytime the machine sleeps for an extended amount of time (30 minutes or more), when I woke it, it would freak out and apps that ran fine before putting it to sleep suddenly start crashing on launch. The system would become so unstable that a full restart was required to get back on track. I’ve always chalked it up to a flakey machine, and that it was something I would have to live with.

Last night, when I cracked the MBP open, I was greeted with a nasty kernel panic which lead to a whole array of disk errors that could only be repaired using DiskWarrior (a huge shout out to Steve Basile (@xebrawerx) for the reminder on Twitter — this saved my bacon last night).

After rebuilding the disk directory, I decided to see if I could get to the bottom of the flakiness once and for all. I started off by disabling every “add-on” utility I had: Growl, TextExpander, Hazel, Default Folder X, etc. Then I got to digging around in the Apple control panels to see if there as a setting I was missing somehow.

When I got to the Security system preference, the “Use secure virtual memory” was selected. It got me thinking that if the VM was being encrypted, and when the machine is put to sleep that maybe something in memory (RAM) or on the hibernation disc image is changing which doesn’t match the encrypted VM somehow on wake, thus causing the machine to not know what’s where in RAM. It’s a stretch, but worth a try I figured.

General Security Preference

So far, by turning off the “Use secure virtual memory” option — which I’d enabled in Leopard 10.5 without issue — the machine seems quite stable, waking without issue. As a (possible) added bonus, performance seems to have increased a touch since the virtual memory isn’t having to be encrypted on the fly.

More to follow if there’s anything worth noting — as in I was wrong in my assumption and my MBP is really a MBL (MacBook Lemon).

UPDATE: Nope. That didn’t fix it. Back to the drawing board. Thinking Genius Bar visit is in order for this weekend. Maybe bad RAM?

UPDATE 2: Decided to completely wipe the machine and do a fresh install of Snow Leopard, along with fresh installs of all applications. A pain in the backside, but the only real way to be sure it’s software related instead of hardware. More to follow…

Yasu and Snow Leopard

With the release of OS X 10.6 (aka Snow Leopard) just around the corner, I thought I’d post a quick note for the benefit of those who might be curious if the latest version of Yasu is compatible with the latest offering from Cupertino.

The answer, as before when Leopard was released, is that I can’t be sure until I’m able to get my hands on the latest version myself, which won’t be until the 28th along with everyone else.

While I anticipate no major issues, there is always the unknown factor — which is why I am recommending that users hold off running Yasu on OS X 10.6 until I have the opportunity to ensure that those wily enginerds at Apple haven’t made some drastic change under the hood that would upset the balance of the universe as we know it.

As soon as I’m sure everything is safe, you’ll know it here first.

Abrupt Logout in Leopard 10.5.2

Okay this so totally sucks that I have to let the world know about it!

While in the middle of my work, Leopard 10.5.2 just logged me out on its own without any kind of warning. It didn’t let me save any open documents or anything — it just logged me out, and so totally hosed a FileMaker 6 file I was working on in the process that it can’t be recovered or anything. Thank god I have a back up — but DAMNIT Apple, you just cost me two hours worth of painfully tedious work on that file with this little inconvenience. I’m pissed in a very big way right now. Thank you so much.

First it was the external monitor debacle that bit me, now this! Has anyone else had this happen to them? How did you deal with it? Is there something I don’t know about going on here?

**[update]** It would seem the WindowServer crashing was the culprit according to my crash logs. It could be that there’s a tremendous memory leak in FileMaker 6 (a PPC application which has to run in Rosetta) windowing code. Unfortunately, I don’t have much choice here as the day job is unwilling to upgrade — other than developing FM6 solutions in Windows, which I may have to do now. At any rate, I’ve calmed down somewhat, but I’m still quite annoyed that I lost the 2 hours of work.

MacBook Air Battery: A Bit Pricey Too

MacBook Air battery replacement costs $130, takes 5 days

if the unit is out of warranty. (Via MacFixIt.)

As Joe “Guitar” Huges would have said: Ouchie, baby

**[Update]** According to Andy Ihnatko on Twitter, the MacBook Air battery is an Apple Store replaceable part for $129 (same price as a MB battery) with no labor charge. No word if it could be done while you wait at the Genius Bar, or if a unit had to be left & picked up later.

**[Update v2]** Mac Daily News reports that it’s not really that difficult to swap out the battery after all. Of course, you should only have the swap done by an Apple Certified Tech, lest your warranty be voided. But then again, hopefully by the time you’d need a new battery, your warranty will have expired…