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MacBooks without batteries severely throttled #

/mac | Nov 15, 2018

Best Linux distro for a 2009 MacBook Pro? #

See also Breathing new life into a 2006 MacBook and Apple's New Hardware With The T2 Security Chip Will Currently Block Linux From Booting

With OS X 10.11 El Capitan no longer receiving security updates1, unsupported but otherwise excellent hardware like the MacBook Pro (15-inch, Mid 2009) can be revitalized with Linux.2

After some false starts with the usual suspects (namely Linux Mint 19 (both Mate & XFCE), Elementary 5, Fedora Workstation 26, and Pop!_OS 18.04 LTS), I decided to give Manjaro XFCE 17 a try after seeing it regularly mentioned in HN comments.

After struggling with previous distros, Manjaro was a dream: boot and shutdown times were halved (at least), the boot splash screen displayed properly (rather than just displaying a black/blank screen like so many others), WiFi and video drivers working right out of the box, and there was no screen flickering or taskbar weirdness. In short, Manjaro presented the most polished experience, from start to finish, of the bunch.

However, during install, Manjaro requires creating a password for the root account, which is subsequently enabled. If you prefer to disable it after installation is complete:

$ sudo passwd --status root
root P 10/29/2018 -1 -1 -1 -1

$ sudo passwd --delete --lock root
passwd: password expiry information changed.

$ sudo passwd --status root
root L 10/29/2018 -1 -1 -1 -1

Test:

$ su
Password: 
su: Authentication failure

To reenable root:

$ sudo passwd root
New password: 
Retype new password: 
passwd: password updated successfully
$ sudo passwd --status root
root P 11/01/2018 -1 -1 -1 -1

Footnotes

  1. Why doesn't Apple just come out with an official macOS support policy? It's clearly and consistently been 3 years from release on modern versions, why not share that with consumers? Speaking of which, why not warn them when they are running an unsupported and unsafe version (something even Microsoft, hardly renowned for its stellar consumer support, did for Windows XP)? Within the last week or so, I've had two different people contact me with problems which turned out to be caused by running OS X 10.7 and OS X 10.8 respectively! See also No more security patches for OS X El Capitan, time to upgrade and Apple has released Mojave 10.14.1 update, and Security Updates for Sierra and High Sierra.

  2. There's also Collin's kind patcher collection of course (macOS Sierra Patcher Tool for Unsupported Macs, macOS High Sierra Patcher Tool for Unsupported Macs, and macOS Mojave Patcher Tool for Unsupported Macs) if you don't mind disabling SIP, limited WiFi support, and trusting third-party, closed source software with deep access.

/mac | Nov 01, 2018

"Burning" an ISO image to USB flash drive with just dd #

More

/nix | Oct 28, 2018

Twitter - Disable auto links in tweets #

Having set up IFTTT to autopost blog updates on a recovered Twitter handle, I did my best to forget all about it.

However, I recently discovered that Twitter automatically inserts hyperlinks for text that matches certain patterns (e.g., "Mail.app" becomes a link to said domain), prompting me to go back and delete such tweets, namely:

I was able to delete today's earlier tweet (Mojave - Where did DVD Player.app go?) and repost it with the hyperlink disabled (why can tweets not be edited?) by inserting a zero width space after the dot as explained by Amit Agarwal.

See also:

/misc | Oct 23, 2018

# Mojave - Where did DVD Player.app go? #

It's been moved from /Applications/ to /System/Library/CoreServices/Applications/. Due to SIP, "Make Alias" is not available from the Finder's context menu in that directory, nor does the new Make Alias keyboard shortcut (Ctrl+Cmd+A - really, Apple?! Cmd+L does not appear to have even been reassigned!) work.

If you'd like a Finder alias for DVD Player in the Applications folder*, one can be created via AppleScript like so:

tell application "Finder" to make alias file to (POSIX file "/System/Library/CoreServices/Applications/DVD Player.app") at (POSIX file "/Applications")

* To its credit, Apple still provides the "CDs & DVDs" preference pane, which offers an option to open DVD Player when a video DVD is inserted, but some may prefer another action or to launch DVD Player manually to play VIDEO_TS files, etc.

/mac | Oct 23, 2018

OS X / macOS printer drivers #

As reported by Howard Oakley, Apple has stopped maintaining its printer compatibility list and is apparently only supporting AirPrint going forward.

I scoured support.apple.com for the final printer driver versions, preferring to archive them locally rather than rely on Software Update. The inconsistent naming conventions and system requirements sections have been preserved intact:

/mac | Oct 19, 2018

Large hosts file causes networking issues in Windows 10 #

Network problems encountered include: web browsers crashing, websites not loading, yield symbol appearing over the notification area's WiFi or Ethernet icon, "No Internet, secured", etc.

Solution: disable DNS Client by changing the value data for HKLM\SYSTEM\ControlSet001\Services\Dnscache\Start from 2 (automatic) to 4 (disabled) (recent versions of Windows 10 no longer allow disabling DNS Client via services.msc).

References and more information:

/windows | Sep 30, 2018

Backing up a large Gmail / G Suite account #

is theoretically possible via Google Takeout, but there are issues:

Got Your Back (GYB) does not suffer from these issues; messages are downloaded as individual EML files, sorted into folders by year, month, and day:

$ gyb --email name@example.com --action estimate

Select the actions you wish GYB to be able to perform for name@example.com

[ ]  0)  Gmail Backup And Restore - read/write mailbox access
[ ]  1)  Gmail Backup Only - read-only mailbox access
[ ]  2)  Gmail Restore Only - write-only mailbox access and label management
[*]  3)  Gmail Full Access - read/write mailbox access and message purge
[ ]  4)  No Gmail Access

[ ]  5)  Groups Restore - write to G Suite Groups Archive
[*]  6)  Storage Quota - Drive app config scope used for --action quota

      7)  Continue
7

Your browser has been opened to visit:

    https://accounts.google.com/o/oauth2/auth...

If your browser is on a different machine then press CTRL+C and
create a file called nobrowser.txt in the same folder as GYB.

Authentication successful.
Got 67100 Message IDs                                                           
GYB needs to examine 67100 messages
GYB already has a backup of 0 messages
GYB needs to estimate 67100 messages
Estimated size 26.47gb 67100/67100 messages 

$ gyb --email name@example.com --action backup

Using backup folder GYB-GMail-Backup-name@example.com
Got 67100 Message IDs                                                           
GYB needs to examine 67100 messages
GYB already has a backup of 0 messages
GYB needs to backup 67100 messages
backed up 67100 of 67100 messages                                               

GYB needs to refresh 0 messages

If desired, import the collection into Thunderbird via ImportExportTools.

If you need to copy the massive collection of EML files, tar it without compression to save a LOT of time (pv is of course optional, but very handy when tarring tens of thousands of files):

$ tar -c ./GYB-GMail-Backup-user\@example.com/ | pv -s $(gdu -sb ./GYB-GMail-Backup-user\@example.com/ | awk '{print $1}') > user\@example.com.tar
4.03GiB 0:00:23 [ 177MiB/s] [====>                             ] 15% ETA 0:02:08

* Attempting to split a ~26GB MBOX file by label via mbox_split.py or WB Optimum's script on which it is based did not avail.

UPDATE: Royce Williams kindly informs us of outtake, which "sync[s] Gmail to maildir...quickly", "uses the Gmail API to efficiently sync only deltas", and "can also be limited to a specific label". Crafted in Go by Google software engineer, Daniel Margolis. (On a related note, Evolution is swell for browsing and searching Maildir directories; add via Edit > Preferences > Mail Accounts > Add > Next > enter required info and deselect "Look up mail server details based on the entered e-mail address" > Next > for "Server Type:" select "Maildir-format mail directories" > select the "Mail Directory:" location, etc.)

/misc | Sep 25, 2018

NVMe Sanitize #

posted to the docs section.

/nix | Sep 13, 2018

Unexpected SCSI Command Failure: 00h - No SCSI controller error #

In an Adaptec SCSI Card 29320LPE's Adaptec SCSISelect Utility, neither "Format Disk" nor "Verify Disk Media" would work for two Fujitsu Ultra-320 SCSI 146GB (MAW3147NC) hard drives, immediately returning "Unexpected SCSI Command Failure" and "00h - No SCSI controller error". Both functions worked normally on two Seagate Ultra-320 SCSI 73.4GB (ST373405LC) drives.

When a Verify or Low Level Format is attempted on the hard drive, it responds with some error codes did not sound very promising:

If the error occurs in both Format and Verify, it usually indicates a defective drive. Contact the drive vendor for interpretation of other errors.

Happily, Unexpected SCSI command failure message when attempting low level format held the answer:

One reason for this could be the way the SCSI controller is set up to hand-shake with the device. This can be changed through the SCSISelect utility. Enter the SCSI Select utility by pressing CTRL-A on system boot or insert the SCSI Select diskette.

In the SCSI Select utility, take the option for Configure/View Host Adapter Settings. Then choose SCSI Device Configuration.

On the next screen you will see the SCSI ID's listed across the top and the options to set for each ID listed down the left side. For the SCSI ID of the hard drive that you are trying to verify or format, set Initiate Sync Negotiation to NO ( on U160/U320 controllers change Initiate Wide Negotiation = No), Enable Disconnection to NO, and Maximum Sync Transfer Rate to 5mb/sec. Exit the utility, saving the changes.

While "Verify Disk Media" failed if run first, running "Format Disk" then "Verify Disk Media" worked. Increasing the "Maximum Sync Transfer Rate" to 40MB/sec had no ill-effect and made verifying the format via hexdump much faster.

/misc | Sep 13, 2018


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