I don’t get this. I’ve had this on servers, on desktops, now I have it on my Mac: a process froze, didn’t do a thing and just ignored the hell out of me. So what do you do? Kill it!
In Mac OSX, there’s a little interface which allows you to choose an application and force it to quit. Works every time. So far. But how do you solve the frozen-process problem with a fullscreen application that won’t let you switch to another application, like Front Row?
Tonight, my Mac froze on Front Row. I was comfortably sitting in bed, ready to watch an episode of a tv show on DVD, when Front Row just froze up. Silent. Nothing. No response. So I got out of bed, walked to my Linux PC and logged into my Mac using SSH. And I looked up the logs. And there it was:
Mar 31 22:41:46 Yoda2 diskarbitrationd: Front Row :40707 not responding.
Non-responsive. That’s fine, I thought, I’ll just kill it, get back into bed and start over. But Front Row didn’t let itself be killed:
breuls@Yoda2: ~ $ ps aux | grep Front
breuls 4435 0.3 0.0 590472 84 s005 R+ 10:43PM 0:00.00 grep Front
breuls 4394 0.2 3.8 430184 78816 ?? U 10:39PM 0:11.11 /System/Library/CoreServices/Front Row.app/Contents/MacOS/Front Row
breuls@Yoda2: ~ $ kill 4394
breuls@Yoda2: ~ $ ps aux | grep Front
breuls 4394 0.0 0.0 0 0 ?? E 10:39PM 0:00.00 (Front Row)
breuls 4440 0.0 0.0 590472 204 s005 R+ 10:44PM 0:00.00 grep Front
That’s right. Didn’t listen to the kill command. Now, I know about the several options to kill. I tried several, including the -9 switch. Didn’t work. Front Row ignored me, all the way through my giving up and pressing the reset button.
I hate that. That’s not supposed to happen. Kill -9 is supposed to be the last way out of trouble. It-should-work. But it didn’t. Why am I not in control of my own laptop? Why is there an afterlife to kill -9?
Canonical: “Landscape provides users with a hosted web interface on which all machines are registered. From this single interface, packages and security updates are deployed to the entire network of servers and/or desktops with a single click. Additionally a wealth of monitoring data is provided graphically to the administrator showing process and resource use as well as flagging any available security fixes for the system.”
Wow. Cool. Seems like a real time saver; currently, when I have to apply changes to a group of machines, I find myself logging in and out of each of them and that’s not very funny when you know your server farm increases in size regularly…
Okay, this annoys me. Since a few hours, the wireless connection on my MacBook Pro is gone. No reason given. Of course I’m trying to connect back, while I’m using Google to find solutions when it seems I can’t solve this on my own.
The problem is, my Mac recognises my wireless network. It can see my accesspoint, read its name and it asks me kindly if I would like to connect to it. Sure I would, so I press Yes. It then tries a couple things and comes up with the message that tells me connecting failed. No reason given.
Being both a Linux desktop user and Linux server admin, I have seen my share of failing pieces of software or equipment, and one of the reasons I like Unices to much is that there’s a whole bunch of logiles being kept in the /var/log folder, providing me with the how and why of these errors. Mac runs on a Unix-type OS, so during my wireless-problem I’m listing the files in that folder, sorted by date and time, and I’m using tail to view the latest entries in what seems to be the only active log file: system.log. Indeed it shows me some errors, but there’s nothing corresponding to the pop-up message that told me the connection to my accesspoint failed. Nothing! Not a single logfile seems to have updated with information I can use to solve this problem.
And I’ve seen that before: software that’s dealing with its problems all on its own, without asking for help or enabling the user, me, to find out more using Google or my own knowlegde. That is a mistake. If you create software, make sure you have nice friendly error messages for the average user. That’s important. But the “extra mile” in this is just as important: make sure you write every error into a log file and point me to it in case it’s not system.log (or syslog or messages or anything that can be considered a default). Make sure enough information is in there to enable me to exactly understand what’s going on. I am a technical user. I understand technical information if it’s described in a human-readable way. I can think for myself and come up with solutions, or spend time pasting the log entry in search boxes to I can find other people’s solutions.
To me, having enough information is very important. So, software developers, please log all those information somewhere.
I’m an admin for a MySQL database server, and today I needed to add a user account. I’m used to doing this using the commandline program or phpMyAdmin, but today I thought “let’s use the nifty MySQL Administrator for Mac,” a GUI tool, very much point-and-click and supposedly easy to use.
Or so I thought. For creating a user, you need to fill in, of course, username and password. When you want to save that, you get notified that you need to add a hostname for the user, first. That makes sense, because in MySQL, a user consists of a username and a hostname. So I press the tiny icon that seems to mean “add host”. Wrong, MySQL admin tells me. I need to save the properties of this user before I can add a host. Allright, but I just tried that.. but whatever. Pressing Save again.. wrong again! Need to add a host first.
As you can see, I can fill my day with this. The MySQL Administrator is no good. Back to the drawing boa.. eh, the commandline tool. At least those things always work.
I’m looking for a page on the Ubuntu website that tells me which software packages have recently updated. Or something like that. I can’t seem to find such a page. Surely there must be something like that, but where is it?
This is cool: Yakuake, a KDE console application. Instead of opening just another application that lives in your task bar, it hides itself, to be shown when you press F12 (or a key you assign to it yourself). It drops down from the top when you press the key, let’s you do the work, and rolls up again when you’re done. Quite nifty!
A Concise apt-get / dpkg primer for new Debian users
Everything you never knew about your favourite package manager.