September 19, 2006

Comparing Contents of Folders

Posted in Mac OS X at 3:45 am by intermediatemacintosh

From –

The Apple DevTools includes an application named FileMerge to diff the contents of textfiles: FileMerge. If you drag two folders on the application icon, a different dialog appears which shows a merged column view of both directories. You can set the checkmarks (on the right) to filter the view, and FileMerge also provides actions to remove or add files to the “left” and “right” folder. Additional information is available in the help.

On a sidenote: Roxio’s Toast also has the ability to compare disks and folders (this functionality has been there for ages), and it provides a color-coded output, where you can easily see which files have been changed, removed, or added. I hope Apple will add something similar to FileMerge in the future.

opendiff is the command-line version of this, and you can feed it two directory paths or file paths and it will open the interface. The eye-candy quotient alone is phenomenal.

BBEdit and TextWrangler have a decent file and folder comparison under the Search menu.

Compare Folders is a commercial package for $25 and I fail to see what it’s advantage is after trying it a few times.


May 19, 2006

Spotlight and Associates

Posted in Mac OS X at 8:39 pm by intermediatemacintosh

Spotlight is the content indexing program built into Mac OS X Tiger (10.4) by Apple. It’s real breakthrough is that it’s part of the operating system, and updated in real time.

The built-in search feature in the upper right hand corner is fast, but has some drawbacks.

Which has generated a robust third party marketplace, that replace the search GUI, while using the Spotlight indexes in the background.

NotLight is one very useful program, and it’s free. It also has a very nice help page that explains how Spotlight works, and how Notlight works around Spotlight’s drawbacks.

MoRU is shareware for $10, and has a nice front end that will appeal to programmers and people comfortable with boolean logic.

HoudahSpot is shareware for $15 and provides a GUI that allows boolean logic, although I could not figure this program out. I’m very happy with MoRU, but maybe non techies would prefer the logic that HoudahSpot brings to Spotlight.

Spotless is also shareware for $10, and simply turns the Spotlight indexing on and off. Useful if you have backup volumes attached to your computer, as you don’t want Spotlight indexing multiple copies of your same data.

And VersionTracker lists plenty of other add-ons and replacements for Spotlight, so dive right in.

May 18, 2006

Factuur Bright X

Posted in Mac OS X at 10:41 am by intermediatemacintosh

Factuur Bright X by Mountain Rose Multi Media.

Just what I need, a program that can email invoices, track who has paid, and send dunning notices to people that are late. In addition, I need a history of payments so that I can research questions that occasionally come up.

This is a brand new program, and a bit rough around the edges at first glance. For example, some of the paragraphs in the documentation did not get translated to English.

And it’s written in Real Basic, so there are no normal menu items. The application window has a toolbar, and you use that to work in the different modes.

However my customers won’t know all of this, so if it works, I’m more than happy to ante up the $35.00

* Can’t copy and paste my SMTP user name and password.
* Support forum is in Dutch (or perhaps German), but it’s definitely not English.
* Have to show Tax column even when you don’t want to.
* Wording and concepts are oriented towards Europe, not USA, which makes the invoice look awkward at best.

What I really need
* Ability to put the client id into the invoice, so my clients can include that with the payment.
* Need to have starting and ending date of the service in each line item, so I would prefer a separate field for these values.

I’ve seen enough to disqualify Factuur Bright X for my purposes, but I wish these developers success in fulfilling this market niche.

May 17, 2006

login: fork: Resource temporarily unavailable

Posted in Mac OS X at 7:36 pm by intermediatemacintosh

I’m still having problems with my iMac G5 and OS X 10.4.6. Actually I’ve had these sorts of problems on all versions of OS X.

The culprit seems to be when I fire up 8 or 10 different Terminal sessions.

Yesterday some of those sessions started, and others generated this error message.

login: fork: Resource temporarily unavailable

I see bad things happen with BackityMac and Checkbook to name a couple of examples. These programs are probably firing off shell scripts on their own, and running into the same sort of problem.

I have increased the number of processes my user id can run at the same time from 100 to 200.

A ulimit -a command shows

core file size (blocks, -c) 0
data seg size (kbytes, -d) 6144
file size (blocks, -f) unlimited
max locked memory (kbytes, -l) unlimited
max memory size (kbytes, -m) unlimited
open files (-n) 256
pipe size (512 bytes, -p) 1
stack size (kbytes, -s) 8192
cpu time (seconds, -t) unlimited
max user processes (-u) 200
virtual memory (kbytes, -v) unlimited

I guess the number of open files seems like the next most likely suspect. Not sure how to know how many open files there are in Unix, so I need to do some digging.

May 12, 2006

No mountable file systems

Posted in Mac OS X at 3:12 am by intermediatemacintosh

When I try and mount a DMG file, I frequently get

The following disk images failed to mount

No mountable file systems.

If I then quit my terminal sessions, then the mounting works fine.

So I’m running up against some sort of resource limitation, caused by running 10 or so Terminal sessions at the same time.

I was thinking it was a limit on processes, but I think I’ve bumped that up to 200 processes successfully.

May 11, 2006

bash: fork: Resource temporarily unavailable

Posted in Mac OS X at 11:00 am by intermediatemacintosh

I’m getting this error message when I kick off a script that opens a bunch of Terminal shell scripts.

In addition, I frequently have problems opening up a DMG file because there are not enough processes available.

So I ask D Andrew Reynhout, and here is what he says.

I’d guess that they’re hitting a process limit too. Shell scripts
are convenient, but they often spawn a bunch of processes to get
their work done.

Try this:

## check the number of processes allowed per user id.
## (OSX default is 100)
ulimit -u

## try to increase it (this should fail)
ulimit -u 200

## become root and increase the user limit
(as root) /usr/sbin/sysctl -w kern.maxprocperuid=200

## exit root and try to increase it again (should work)
(as self) ulimit -u 200

To make the system limit increase persist across reboots:

## edit or create /etc/sysctl.conf, add this line:

To make the user limit increase persist across logins:

## edit ~/.bashrc, add this line:
ulimit -u 200

I expect that will solve the problem. If not, you can try
raising the limit higher. The default OSX maxproc for the
whole OS (not per-user) is 568, so you will eventually hit
a wall. This system limit can be increased in the same way,


In addition, I added a .bash_profile file with the contents of “source .bashrc”

That seems to solve the problem 🙂

Dot Mac Syncing Problems

Posted in Mac OS X at 12:01 am by intermediatemacintosh

It’s a great idea, if it would only work for me.

I have 3 computers I want to keep in sync with Address Book, iCal, and Yojimbo. Frequently I get

There was a problem with the sync operation.
.Mac Login failed

Worser problems has been when some of my data gets duplicated, and the worsest problem was when my data was getting deleted.

I’m running the latest and greatest Mac OS X Tiger on all my machines, although for a short while I may have been shooting myself in the foot. When the 10.4.6 upgrade came out, it mentioned removing old sync plugins. That did not quite penetrate my skull, as I did have a Mark/Space Palm plugin installed, but was not using it.

So that is now cleared out, thanks to a small script from Nova Media.

So I’m starting from scratch, and documenting things as they happen.

Well, I got some things synced up, but have learned that not all data is transferred. For instance, the Address Book Department field does not transfer. Does not appear to be in the Dot Mac version of data, and certainly did not make it over to my other Macintosh.

April 24, 2006 Bookmarks

Posted in Mac OS X at 2:47 am by intermediatemacintosh

I never bookmarked many sites because I could not manage all the bookmarks that accumulated. So I was an early adopter of Delicious because the tags allowed me to pour bookmarks in, with a minimum of effort. And then ferret things out later on when I needed the data. And the fact that Delicious hosted the data on their server, allowed me to bookmark at home and access the data from the office with no effort.

I’m not the only fan of Delicious and several Macintosh tools have sprouted to scratch other people’s itch. One of the first was Cocoalicious which provided a three panel view of all the bookmarks you accumulate.

Delibar is an application that lives on the Apple Menubar, and displays your Delicious bookmarks. Pukka makes it easier and faster to get your bookmarks into Delicious, as you don’t have to wait around for the Delicious server to respond, but can let Pukka handle things for you in the background.

Along these lines, I’ve bought SiteTagger because I just don’t like the idea of storing my private data in public places like Delicious/Yahoo. However I haven’t really used SiteTagger because I need to keep my bookmarks synced up between two computers, and having them stored at Delicious solves the problem with no effort. Now if SiteTagger got a good sync using Dot Mac going, then I’d give it a real close second look. Actually I’m willing to buy and use just about any program that keeps my computers in sync.

Today’s mission with Delicious is to get it back under control, at least a little bit. Delicious says I have 1,430 bookmarks. Not sure how many of them have turned into 404’s. And I have the usual problem of tagging something with blog one time, and blogs the next time.

I’ve got a couple handful of bookmarks where things got tagged with asteriks or horrible misspellings which I don’t even recognize any more. And who knows how many of these bookmarks I’d just as soon drop, although I’m not sure I want to spend a lot of time figuring this out.

I’m starting with SiteTagger, and it easily imports all of my Delicious bookmarks. It has a column for FavIcon, but unfortunately its showing the Delicious Favicon, not the Favicon from the bookmarked site. So having a column of the same Delicious icon is useless.
SiteTagger has an option of validating all the bookmarks

What SiteTagger does not allow me to do is to export by cleaned up bookmarks back to Delicious, although I see that Delicious does have an import capability, so maybe I can work something out.

I see where Delicious has the capability of mass changing the names of tags, so that should make it easy to clean things up.

March 11, 2006

Fast Scripts by Red Sweater Software

Posted in Mac OS X at 6:14 am by intermediatemacintosh

FastScripts is a Apple Script add on from Red Sweater Software. I don’t quite understand what is supposed to do for a Applescript novice like myself, but that didn’t keep me from buying it, even though there is a free version available too.

My main use of Applescript on a daily basis is to fire off an Applescript that connects to a handful of servers via SSH. I’ve never been able to get Quicksilver to index and launch that script. Something to do with it not being in the right location for Quicksilver.

I do see where the Fastscripts menu item knows about that script, or at least the alias to that script. However it launches the script and never stops long enough for me to type in my password. When I double click on the script, it asks me for my passphrase and then opens up a session for each SSH connection.

Seems like a reasonable request so let me see if Red Sweater has any support.

Yes, Red Sweater has very good support, as Daniel answered my query on the forum within minutes.

Upon checking my facts, I learned that my script is actually two scripts. A shell script that launches ssh-add to get the ssh environment going, and then an Applescript to do the actual connection.

However, Daniel said that Fast Scripts should also handle shell scripts and after I sent him the scripts, he concluded that FastScripts could not help me at this time, as it has no way of capturing control when my shell script forks off the ssh-add.

Fair enough.

Daniel pointed out that the shell script could be re-written to pop up a dialog box and ask for the information that way.

But what I really need to happen is for Quicksilver to find and open this program.

Domain Name Databases

Posted in Mac OS X at 6:13 am by intermediatemacintosh

If you have more than a handful of domain names, you probably keep that information in a spreadsheet or database. I’ve got both a FM Pro database and a spreadsheet with the facts for about 60 domain names that I’m in charge of. 10 or 15 of them mine, and the rest friends and paying clients. I import/export the data from time to time to keep both systems in sync.

Besides knowing which domain names you are in charge of, the date it expires is the most critical fact. And for me, that has always been filled in by hand, and thus subject to mistakes.

Recently I ran across Master of my Domain and after researching VersionTracker and MacUpdate, I also found DomainTracker.

These are both specialized databases for domain names, with the key fact for me is that they automatically get the expiration data from the registrar. So I would not have to worry about dates being wrong.

DomainTracker seemed to have more positive comments so I downloaded the trial version and loaded in 5 different domain names, which is the limit for this shareware. Pushing an Update button, and 1 minute later I had the key facts like which Registrar and when it expires. So I sent off my $25 and waited for my license.

In the meantime, I tried a few more domain names, and found that it was not picking up data for us domain names, nor net domain names. So I took a peek at Master of my Domain, and was able to rationalize spending another $18 for it’s license.

The first thing I notice about MOMD is that I have to add my domains one by one, copying and pasting. Since most people that that need this software already have a list of domain names to import, that seems like a major oversight. And I mean how hard can it be to import a text file of domain names ?

The second thing I notice after a few minutes of copying and pasting is that you can only update the WHOIS data one by one. You should be able to select an option and have all the domain names updated at once.

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