MacBook Prolapse

Apple, seriously … you fucked up.

Are you seriously telling your MacBook Pro & iPhone users that they’ll have to buy a dongle to connect their flagship Apple phone to their Flagship Apple laptop?  What’s that all about?

Your core user base (in your own words) are creatives.  I’ve been a pro photographer and a recording studio owner in some of my previous lives and you’ve just alienated all of them too.  All the graphics packages I use and Nvidia CUDA core hardware acceleration features.  This is KEY technology for these folks, Blender, Premier Pro etc … why did you throw out NVidia and welcome AMD?  All our pro cameras use SD cards and you’ve thrown that port away as well.  And we can’t even connect them via USB since you threw all of those ports away as well.

What the hell are you doing?

I like to run VMs on my Mac and I was seriously hopeful that this “upgrade” would include a 32Gb RAM option.  Why?  Why oh why?  I don’t care what you want me to think, this is NOT an upgrade.

Then the price … holy shit.  Just no, bye bye Apple.  Why even Apple fanboys are crying over the price you know you have a problem on your hands.  It’s going to be interesting watching the sales figures fall off a cliff.

No ESC key you say … oh really?  WTF?

£2,349  Fuck Off … just FUCK OFF Apple you have lost the plot.

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My Life With a MacBook Pro – 3 Years In

Hmm  … where to start?

I had to buy a MacBook, I need to write and compile apps for iPhones and iPads.  I would have preferred to spend the extortionate cost for it on something else, like keeping it as inheritance for my kids or buy a house.  But well, my hand was forced by Apple.

I’d love to be able to say it’s been a pleasure to own but frankly it hasn’t.  I know it’s fine for the average user who wants to browse the web, send a few emails and “facetime” but trying to use it for my needs and it a pig frankly.  I’ve had more weird issues with this one laptop than I’ve had in previous 18 years of Windows based PC ownership, I’m not exaggerating.

It just works? If it “just works”, why the need for genius bars?

I’m a power user, a software engineer and I build desktop PCs and mission critical servers so I know stuff about hardware as well as software.  I just do not rate these machines.  They look pretty but my god when something goes wrong you end up in a mess.

Hardware Issues

Great hardware I hear people saying?  In these three years I’ve had to replace the power supply twice (£65 a pop – £195 on power supplies!!!).  I’ve never replaced a power supply on anything in my life, let alone a laptop.  I’ve also never had a port on a machine die.  This is a £2000 laptop and I’ve experienced both multiple times.

The first Thunderbolt port became less than reliable after the first 12 months, now this weekend the one that did work also suddenly stopped working.  Now to continue using my Ethernet network connection I have to purchase some more hardware just to keep using what has been a computer standard for decades – the RJ45 connector.

Add to those problems the completely unserviceable build methodology and it seems I’m slowly cruising towards owning a very expensive brick.

I’ve also got to make an appointment with the “genius bar” folks as this laptop is also afflicted with the screen coating issue Apple have issued a recall over.  Luckily my MacBook Pro doesn’t seem to have the issue with the video card (which also effects early 2013 MBP).

Remember, this is a PREMIUM £2000 laptop … I’m really not impressed to be honest.  Two major recalls (there may be more I don’t know about) on a product like this isn’t good.

Bluetooth has also been a constant source of hate for me.  For the majority of the time I have owned this laptop I couldn’t use the Magic Mouse & W-Fi at the same time.  The Magic Mouse, at the best of times, drops it’s connection for a hobby.  How dare I expect to use the mouse and internet at the same time!  But it doesn’t matter since I stopped using the Magic Mouse completely because it would make my Wi-Fi either painfully slow or not work at all.  So there’s another £59 pissed up the wall.

Software Issues

OSX is horrific.  I hate it.  I hate it’s design and I hate the way it operates.  Loads of things hidden in the UI until you press the option key is a usability disaster.  The finder is a joke of disk navigating tool.

When I first got my hands of OSX (Mavericks) I was literally blown away by what it couldn’t do out of the box.  Finding that I had to buy additional software tools to do proper window management was a joke.

But OSX doesn’t get viruses I hear everyone yelling.  Well, in the past 20 years I’ve had … lets see … 2 viruses on a PC that I had to deal with.  Both back when I was using Windows 98SE.  So shut up, this is moot issue.  If people will click on every link or dodgy web site they’re sent they should expect them to get viruses.  A bad workman always blames his tools …

Every time I’ve done an upgrade on the OS I’m left with crap to deal with.  Resetting the PRAM or SCM or both because some issue has crept into the system.  Either Wi-Fi not working or the Bluetooth connectivity going nuts.  For the longest time after the Yosemity update I couldn’t use my UEBoom at all as the audio was never in sync with the video.

One of the reasons Windows is so pervasive is backwards compatibility.  I had programs from 1995 that I can happily run on my Windows 10 box.  It seems with every update of OSX something stops working.  The classic example is Parallels.  They seem to capitalise on this fact with their marketing and will scare users into upgrading, even when their app will carry on working.  But for me Parallels 8 stopped working on El Capitan, so I switched to using VirtualBox (which is free).

All in all, I won’t be recommending Apple stuff anymore.  To those that I have recommended they get an Apple product, I apologise.  The problem is that now I’m an iOS developer I’ll always need a Mac around for code compilation duties.  But, no more MacBook for me, I’ll get a Mini and hide it away somewhere so I don’t have to look at it.

Crisp Retina displays on the MacBook are no compensation for the issues I have.  Particularly when the hardware is all glued together.  That fact renders this gadget as basically throw away tech.  £2000 throw away tech.  How Apple can boast of being green is beyond my comprehension.

As for developing software for the Apple platforms?  I’ll leave that to a future post as that is even worse than dealing with their hardware …

The one thing that Apple gets absolutely correct – marketing.

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Bye, Bye Parallels – Hello Virtual Box

So I finally did it.  When I first purchased my MacBook Pro I bought a copy of Parallels 8.  What a mistake that turned out to be.  Don’t get me wrong the software did what it should have done when I bought it whilst running Mountain Lion.  Then their marketing kicked in banging on about how Parallels won’t work after each upgrade of OSX.  You can read about some of that story here so I won’t go over that again here.

I finally upgraded to El Capitan and boom, Parallels issues with the networking, I tried a few fixes published on various sites, none of which worked.  I refuse to give them any more cash frankly so – bye, bye Parallels – hello Virtual Box.

I’ll keep this thread up-to-date with anything relevant or potentially interesting that happens during the switch.

Installing Virtual Box & Win7 Virtual Machine

Theres practically nothing to write about this, it was ridiculously easy.  Virtual Box installed without any issues at all.  Plugged in the SuperDrive to the Mac, launched Virtual Box, went through the VM wizard and Win7 installed without any issues.

Thumbs up all round frankly.  And no cash changed hands!

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The Apple Developer Clique

I’m genuinely gobsmacked by this.

I applied for the Apple Developer program a couple of weeks ago on behalf of the company I co-founded.  I was amazed to find out that I had to provide them with details about myself, details about my company including things like our DUNS number.

In addition to this I had to wait for them to call me … yes, CALL me.  Just so that I can get a set of digital keys to sign anything I build.  So I waited for the call which took a little over a week.  The checks they did in this call were frankly pathetic:

Them: “Hi Apple here, you applied for the developer program on behalf of <company>?”

Me: “Hi, yes I did”

Them: “Can you confirm you are <name> and can you sign things for your company?”

Me: “Yes I can”

Them: “OK, thanks.  I’ll update your application now, bye.”

I mean seriously Apple what is the FUCKING use of “check” like that??  I could have been bloody anyone on the end of that phone connection.

So, I then had to wait for that to filter through the system.  I got distracted as busy business types generally do and got on with other things to make better use of my time.  An email arrived on the 10th June saying that I could now finish the application.  So today (20th June) I’m in a position to get it paid for (I’ve got to PAY Apple to make their eco-system more attractive??? WTF??  I won’t go into how offensive I find that here).

BOOM!!  Because I didn’t cough up my cash quick enough (within 7 days) I now have to go through this laughable application/wait/phone call process again.  I have to apply again, giving all the same details AGAIN, wait for another impossibly stupid phone call and another email.

Just so that I can hand over the stirling equivilent of £110 (not $99) so that I can spend my time making an app for my company.

Seriously, Go fuck yourselves Apple.  Take about a little clique!

“Ohhh, you didn’t respond quick enough, oooh, oooh … you need to be faster than that … Oooh, join our little club you want do you?  It’ll cost ya.”

Yeah, well I’ve already paid a massive premium for the bloody laptop I’m using.

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Should I Download MacKeeper?

I’ll cut to the chase – NO, DO NOT DOWNLOAD this “software”.

MacKeeper is one of those apps that seems to pop up everywhere offering to fix all over your problems and more or less upgrade your life along with it.  Do not fall foul of this software, far more people report problems with it than you can shake a stick at.  They’re marketing tactics alone should warrant serious concerns a lá Parallels.

There are precious few tools that I’ll recommend for any platform in addition to the tools that arrive natively on these platforms.  OSX has some neat built in maintainance tools that you can use, if you leave your Mac on overnight it will probably execute a bit of maintainance for you without any prompting.

Generally I find the tools offered by Piriform to be excellent.  Their CCleaner app is available for PC and Mac and I make use of it all my machines Windows and OSX.

If you have been duped into downloading the trial for MacKeeper, get it off your system, NOW and never look back.

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Compiling Blender on Mac

So I decided that after all these years I would like to start looking at and contributing to an open source project.  And since I’ve been using Blender a lot lately this is the project I’m going to get stuck into.

So … how to build blender.  I’ve had a few problems getting this to work on my 2013 Macbook Pro so I’m going to keep a track of all the issues and solutions that I needed in order to get things working.

I’ve been following through on this Blender documentation here:

http://wiki.blender.org/index.php/Dev:Doc/Building_Blender/Mac

Getting all the source code from git and svn was very simple and no problem to report there.  The first issue I encountered was the installation of CMake is broken and doesn’t register itself on the system correctly.  As soon as I got to these commands everything started failing:

cd ~/blender-build/blender
make

The error I was getting was make: command not found Error 127. I cannot find the post that helped me get over this issue at the moment but I will find it and update this post as soon as I do find it. The point is that I ended up giving up trying to get these commands working. I kicked off the build at about 23:30 and it was still hung and not doing anything (no error messages either) at 8am the following morning. Beachball of death …

So I moved on to building Blender in Xcode using the makefiles generated with CMake. The build completed in about 5 minutes and launched straight into Blender in debug mode. I may go and try to find out why the make command failed but XCode was fine but to be honest I’m not sure I’ll have the time (or the inclination) at this stage.

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App Store Repeating Updates

So I had a number of apps installed on the MacBook that kept asking to be updated repeatedly.  Tried every possible solution I could find online and nothing worked.  The updates for the same versions kept popping up.

So I’ve uninstalled the apps to get around this issue.  I’ve never seen Windows Update do anything this braindead … ever.

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Yosemity Handoff – What’s really happening?

It should be obvious to people that the more and higher levels of integration of devices like the Mac and the iWhatever will have some kind of impact on your privacy.  The problem with the new handoff feature in OSX Yosemity is that it actually makes a lot of decisions for you.  The basic gist of it would be easily described using a comparison with Dropbox.

When using a system like Dropbox the essential core sharing model is “opt-in” meaning that the only files Dropbox gets are the ones that you have chosen to include in your local Dropbox file structure or explicitly uploaded to the Dropbox service.  However, when using the Handoff feature it basic will have to upload any files for the compatible apps you are using to the iCloud Drive service in order to then subsequently edit on another iCloud linked device.

The problem here is that this will upload ALL files for these devices and it also won’t ask your permission first it will make the assumption that you will do this and it will therefore need to upload it to Apple servers.

OSX uses a “Saved Application State” in order to power such features as restarting the OS without use intervention and also restarting apps where you left off.  All files are stored in this application state structure on disk, this is now also all going to your iCloud Drive if you have handoff enabled.  So basically everything is on their servers if you want it there or not.

Hmm … that isn’t exactly private is it.

You can see all this stuff on your hard disk here:

~/Library/Saved Application State/"

You can read a bit more about this here, an article by a security researcher.

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Using Older Versions of Adobe Photoshop under OSX Yosemity

I’ve already made the leap to using Yosemity on my MacBook Pro and so far all seems really stable and good.  However I have a number of older version of Adobe applications on my machine like Photoshop CS4.

As soon as I tried to launch any of the Adobe applications after upgrading to Yosemity simply showed an error message sayin “In order to run Photoshop CS4 you need to install Java SE 6 Runtime”.  After hunting around the Oracle site for the version of Java SE 6 for OSX I simply couldn’t find it.

I eventually found the correct download on the Apple site.  And you can get it here.

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Parallels Desktop 8 for Mac and Yosemity Compatility Fiasco

I’ve been using Window 8 on my MacBook Pro for well over a year now.  The combination of the two really are great (yes I do like Windows 8 on the other hand OSX is a mixed bag).  Anyway, I’m digressing.

For the past few months I have been getting emails from Parallels informing me that PD (Parallels Desktop for Mac) is not compatible with Yosemity.  These messages started roughly around the time Apple released the preview of Yosemity to their newly minted public beta program.

The emails where always very clear in their message of informing all its recipients that PD8 will not work with Yosemity.  These messages carried on appearing in my inbox periodically but I ignored them as I wasn’t running the preview and had no intention of doing so.  After a subsequent update to PD8 whenever I launched PD the application itself started to flash up the message informing me of the same issue.  So now I’m receiving emails and software pop-ups delivering the same message of impending doom when your apps stop working post OSX update.

Anyway, cue Apple releasing the official first cut of OSX 10.10 Yosemity.

I updated my MacBook Pro on the Friday (October 17th) following the release on Thursday October 16th 2014.  After having had a play around I decided to try and launch Parallels and boot into my Windows 8 VM.  Well, well … what a nice little surprise I had.  All working despite the advisories for Parallels themselves.  As of this writing (23rd October 2014) my instance of PD8 is still launching and is advising me that it won’t work which is slightly baffling.  As a developer myself if my apps work on an OS I don’t feel inclined to wonder around shouting the opposite …

Screen-Shot-2014-10-23-at-00.08.01

So what gives?

I have been over to the Parallels forums writing about this as I know there are people out there spending a significant amount of money on this program in order to keep all their machines running.  How many PD8 users blindly splashing out cash on multiple instances of the update when in fact they didn’t need to?

On the PD forum in this thread the Parallels support staff have made statements like this:

“Parallels Desktop 8 is not compatible with OS X 10.10 and I’m surprised to hear you were able to launch it – that was not the case when we tested it in the labs.”

So according to their support staff the application shouldn’t even launch, let alone run an instance of a VM.

The problem is that there seems to be a growing number of people reporting the same as me.  Their instance of PD8 under Yosemity is working just fine.  This goes to some distance to proving that it’s not a fluke of my particular system.

What does this mean?  I’m convinced that the insistence of Parallels that it doesn’t work is simply an opportunity to capitalise on OSXs compatibility model.  Windows has for a long time been berated for being a lumbering dog due in some ways to it’s backwards compatibility.  I’ve got code from Windows 95 running on my Windows 8 box.  No such luck in Apple world and I believe Parallels are capitalising on this with a chance for a provable deniability approach to exclaiming their old products no longer work when in fact they do.

This really is so counter-intuitive from a developers point of view.  Compatibility is usually a massive plus to developers (albeit a pain in the ass for the sales teams).

the main problem I have with this is that I believe Parallels have broken UK advertising standards laws.  The UK laws are very sophisticated when it comes to advertising and consumer protections and I think these have been breeched frankly.  Part of the government web site states:

Advertising to consumers
The Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations mean you can’t mislead or harass consumers by, for example:

  • including false or deceptive messages
  • leaving out important information
  • using aggressive sales techniques

Read ‘The consumer protection from unfair trading regulations’ for the rules on advertising legally.

Really to boil it all down either the support staff have not been kept up to date, Parallels are simply lying in order to boost sales of PD10 or their testing labs are completely useless in modelling even the average users environment.  None are good.

I chipped into a thread that had been started by another PD8 user that had the same experience I did.  You can read that thread here.

The last email I received on the subject from Parallels is show in the image below:

Screen-Shot-2014-10-23-at-02.30.26

 

There really isn’t any interpretation of that email, it’s pretty explicit in informing people that this combination absolutely won’t work.

In the thread on the Parallels support forum one of the support staff (Eugene@Parallels) sent this message in the thread:

“Hi People,
Thanks for feedback and replies.
Please consider, this set up: Host Yosemite Mac OS X and Parallels Desktop 8 is _not_ recommended to use.
This is not the pushing to upgrade. This message about safe usage of the product and getting proper support.
lets say the virtual machine runs and then crashes. Then user upgrades to Parallels Desktop 10 and it won’t launch at all. The fix will be really time-consuming and sophisticated. And all because the system requirements were not met.”

This itself isn’t accurate as there is no mention in these emails that the incompatibility is merely labelled as “not recommended” it clearly states that it simply will not work.  I’ve included a screen shot below showing my VM running under OSX Yosemity.

Screen-Shot-2014-10-23-at-01.14.44If you go hunting around the Parallels forums there is no shortage of people proving that the combination of Parallels 8 and Yosemity work fine together.  You can read more in these threads:
Parallels Desktop 8 and Yosemite Update
Parallels Desktop 8 and OSX Yosemite – guess what?…

In every thread there are very annoyed PD customers complaining about this issue and Parallels appear to be VERY quiet in those threads.  I alone with a lot of other people are seriously pissed off and with in my opinion very good reason.

UPDATE

So as of Wednesday 29th October all my posts to the Parallels forum have been set to require moderation before posting …

Interesting response from Parallels to say the least.  So, I’ve asked why …

Hi Eugene,

I was just wondering if you could let me know why my posts to the forum are now being pre-screened (“awaiting moderator approval”) before appearing on the Parallels forum?
This strikes me as an odd response since I certainly have not breached any of the forum guidelines.
Thanks,
J
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Nefarious Yosemity Spotlight Feature

With the new version of OSX just released there is a rather naughty feature that is switched on by default.  By default any searches you do using spotlight will be sending these search terms off to various web services in order to fetch results.  Personally I think this is a very dodgy situation and I’ve turned these features off in order to grapple back some control over my privacy.  I don’t want all my local search terms broadcast to anyone.

To fix this you need to do the following:

  1. Open “Spotlight” Preferences
  2. Turn *OFF* “Spotlight Suggestions” as well as “Bing Web Searches”
  3. Open “Security and Privacy” Preferences
  4. Under the Privacy tab, select “Location Services”, and then the “Details” button of “System Services” item in the list on the right. (You may need to “Click the lock to make further changes” first…)
  5. Turn *OFF* “Spotlight Suggestions” in the “Allow system services to determine your location” section.
  6. Turn *ON* “Show location icon in menu bar when System Services request your location.

Once you have completed these steps Spotlight will no longer be broadcasting your searches and will also indicate when your location services are being queried by applications.

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Safari Web Inspector for iOS Debugging

Whilst I’m building web pages I make a lot of use of the development tools that modern browsers include.  These features are amazing in that they let you inspect the page and make extensive changes to the layout, CSS and other bits of code live in the browser.  A kind of interactive debugging session of sorts.  However, doing this on a mobile device to get to the bottom of issues isn’t always straight forward.  I’ve not found a way to comfortably do this in Chrome or Firefox yet, but Apple have included a nice workflow to do this with iOS and Safari.

If you need to properly diagnose web site issues on an iOS device the process is actually really simple.

  1. Enable the web inspector within Safari on your iOS device (Settings -> Safari -> Web Inspector)
  2. Connect your iOS device via a USB cable to a Mac
  3. Open Safari on the Mac and activate the dev tools (Preferences -> Advanced -> Show develop menu in the menu bar)
  4. In Safari on the iOS device navigate to the web site you want to debug
  5. Open the developer menu and you will see the connected iOS device name as sub menu – choose the site from the list
  6. Start debugging in the inspector window

This works just as you would expect it to.  You can inspect the site just as you would during a normal debugging session within any of the big name browsers on a native platform.  Very cool feature imho.

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iPad Mini Retina 32Gb

So with great trepidation I have indeed bought my second Apple device – an iPad Mini with Retina display (32Gb WiFi Black).  The truth of it is that I needed one.  And I using the word “needed” there on purpose as I really do need one.  I’m about to embark on developing the mobile versions of my application and I simply cannot test it on an iOS device if I don’t have access to an iOS device to test it on.

Anyway, so far it’s been a joy to use.  I didn’t get the Cellular version as I can use my HTC One as a wifi hotspot when out and about and I went for the increased storage (over the bas 16Gb) as I just know I would fill it up in no time.  16Gb might sound enough for a lot of people but remember that you have to subtract from that the space used by the OS so immediately a 16Gb iPad becomes a 13Gb iPad … 2Gb out of 16 is a lot more to loose that 2Gb out of 32Gb …

Anyway, I’m always amazed at how restrictive Apple are whist at the same time banging on about how connected their devices make people.  If that is the case why is there literally an explosion of apps just to allow the user to browse the contents of their iPad?  Why can’t my Mac laptop just mount the iPad storage and flick through it in a Finder window?  Why does my Mac need an app for that?  That’s basic networking right there?  I know we can manage stuff through iTunes (if that isn’t the bastardisation of a Media app I don’t know what is?).

For some reason it appears Apple don’t really want you to be able to do this which is why there is an explosion of these apps.  I’m currently using the imaginatively titles app iBrowse which is a free app from same people that made iExporer.

Anyway, I’m sure I’ll be writing more about this little device, it really is something very cool indeed.

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OSX Mavericks – WiFi – FIxed in 10.9.4?

This is good news! Seems that Apple have finally released an official fix to the WiFi issues introduced with Mavericks. Might seem trivial but one of the nice things about the Mac is that you should be able to just open, and start. Not open and wait 5 minutes for the WiFi to not do anything, even when it knows all the network info.

I blogged about this before where it seemed to be related to Bluetooth config, which is plain daft, anyway. I’m off to install the update and see what happens.

Read the official release here.

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OSX Mavericks Wi-Fi Not Reconnecting

OSX weirdness strikes again.  In the year I’ve been using OSX I’ve been surprised a number of times by oddities and general weirdness and I’ve just had another experience of this ilk.

After I updated the OS to 10.9.3 (Mavericks) my Wi-Fi would never reconnect properly on a reboot or a wake from sleep.  I tried various solutions listed on the Apple discussion sites none of which worked, the last in the list of solutions was to reinstall OSX!!  Which coming from a Windows world seems drastic in the extreme.  It used to be one of those running Windows jokes – reinstall windows, sheesh it’s such a nightmare OS isn’t it blah, blah.  Well since I upgraded to Windows 7 I have to say that it is a brilliant OS, better than XP and XP was damn fine.

Anyway, I appear to have finally fixed my Wi-Fi issues!  What was the issue?  A dodgy BLUETOOTH plist file … BLUETOOTH config cocking up my Wi-Fi?  Yeah, that makes a whole lot of sense – said no-one ever.

Seriously, OSX is not the be all and end all apple devotees make out.  I’ve read about all kinds of plist problems on all their platforms.

So to fix …

1. Open a finder window

2. Click on Machintosh HD in the right hand panel

3. Open the Library folder

4. Open the Preferences folder

5. Click and drag com.apple.Bluetooth.plist to your desktop to make a copy of it

6. Click and drag the com.apple.Bluetooth.plist file from the Preferences folder into your trash bin

7. Enter your password in the window that pops up to actually move it to the trash

8. Restart your mac

Under some situations you may have to re-pair your bluetooth devices but I didn’t and my Wi-Fi reconnected to my home network immediately like it used to before the Mavericks update.

Confused?  You should be …

If all goes to plan, delete the com.apple.Bluetooth.plist on your desktop and banish this problem to he bin for good.

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Cross Platform Development w/ Xamarin & SVN Source Control on OSX

Hmm, rather ambitious title there Jammer …

Anyway, I’ve just started looking at building some iOS and Android (plus others in the future) development and have so opted to use Xamarin as I’m primarily a C# developer and I have a LOT of custom .NET code in my arsenal it makes the most sense.  I can also share all the same business logic and class libraries across all the products I develop which is a massive win on many levels.

Anyway, I have a massive Subversion repository on my main development box running Windows 7 that contains the ASP.NET MVC web site and also the main WebAPI project that all the various components in the system essentially use as the data access layer.  Some of the more key security elements are initially only going to be available on the web site so there is a small sub set of data access portions of the solution coded directly in the web site project.

Now that I’m going to be working on the iOS and Android solutions I need to get the mac integrated into the work flow.  On the mac I also have parallels installed which is running Windows 8 in a VM, I also use this for some development so that checks in and checks out code from the main Windows 7 repositories using TortoiseSVN.  On the mac however the SVN client world seems a little more fragmented, the only direct analogies to TortoiseSVN are all commercial solutions with all the free tools really lagging on functionality or they seem to be in a abondonware state despite the fact that OSX actually ships with SVN already installed (see the SVN upgrading guide I posted a couple of days ago).

For my OSX client I’ve actually opted to SmartSVN as this seems like a well maintained and comprehensive solution that is also commercial but pretty well priced at $69 but thee foundation version is actually free but as you would expect it does lack some key features.  No real surprises there.

Anyway, the reason for this post was getting OSX integrated into the source control aspects of things.  The Windows 8 VM has no issues connecting to the Subversion repository on the Windows 7 box.  I have VisualSVN Server installed on the Windows 7 box to provide easy configuration of how SVN exposes the repositories over http and https.  The problem I had was getting OSX to play nicely with the windows 7 box.  Everytime I tried a checkout I would get this error:

svn: E120108: Error running context: The server unexpectedly closed the connection.

Basically OSX cannot resolve the Windows 7 box by name on the network (a Wi-Fi router).  To get around this issue I didn’t want to go through the process of installing Bonjour on the Windows 7 box so the only other option is to give the Windows 7 box a static IP address on the network and then map that IP address to the server name.  Considering all the machines get their IP addresses dynamically from the DHCP setup on the router I decided that the easiest way to deal with this was to actually setup an IP reservation in the router for the Windows 7 box.  That way I haven’t assigned any machines static IP addresses but the router will always apply the same IP address to the Windows 7 box.

Once this was setup up I edited the hosts file on OSX and added a line in like this:

192.168.0.3 jamhq

And voila, I can now checkout the repositories to my instance of OSX and get on with the development.  I’ll no doubt blog about this again if I find anything useful that others may benefit from.  I’ll also be writing up my experiences using Xamarin.

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Updating SVN in OSX Mavericks

Well that was an interesting hour wasted spent updating SVN.

I found this write up on how to perform this update and ran into quite a few problems.  The first is if you get a “cannot compile C programs” you probablt build the wrong symbolic link.  If you are on Mavericks, this needs to be:

sudo ln -s /Applications/Xcode.app/Contents/Developer/Toolchains/XcodeDefault.xctoolchain/ /Applications/Xcode.app/Contents/Developer/Toolchains/OSX10.9.xctoolchain/

Then the next error I had was “configure: error: cannot run C compiled programs.” which probably mean you don’t have the command line tools installed along with XCode so run this:

xcode-select –install

Then carry on with the rest of the command in the write up.  I also didn’t have a bash profile setup so do this:

cd ~/ (changes to your user home directory)

touch .bash_profile (creates a bash profile file)

open ~/.bash_profile (opens the bash profile you just created)

Place this in your newly created bash profile:

export PATH=/usr/local/bin:$PATH

Save and close the file, then log off OSX and then log in again.  This forces the system to read the new bash profile file and execute any commands it finds in there.  Then open another Terminal window and execute the following command:

svn –version

This should now correctly report than you are using SVN version 1.8.0 (or whatever version you initially downloaded).

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Subversion Global Ignore Pattern

I’m slowly building up this default Subversion global ignore pattern for my Windows & Xamarin Development on Windows & OSX.  Nothing too fancy but I’m going to keep this one up to date so others may find this useful as a default pattern or as a base for their specific requirements.

*.o *.lo *.la *.al .libs *.so *.so.[0-9]* *.a *.pyc *.pyo __pycache__ *.rej *~ #*# .#* .*.swp .DS_Store *bin *obj *_ReSharper.* *.user *.suo *.pdb *.svn *_dotCover.* *_TeamCity.* *.vs *.psess *.vsp *.vspx *.userprefs
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OSX & Parallels Visual Studio Debugging – F11 / F12

If like me your using Parallels on a mac for your development you’ll find that debugging can be a pain in the ass.  Lots of the keyboard shorcuts you use on a regular basis in Windows needs a bit of configuring in OSX in order to get them to work correctly.

I use the function keys a lot so the first task is to get the function keys to work as function keys, this will be applied in OSX as well as any VMs you’re running.

In OSX go Apple -> System Preferences -> Keyboard and select the Keyboard page, make sure the following option is checked:

“Use all F1, F2, etc. keys as standard function keys”

With that option set all the nice little Apple functions need to be accessed using “fn + F8”, the default is great for casual users and pain for anyone else.  Anyway …

Next you need to remove the default functions for the F11 and F12 keys so that OSX doesn’t “intercept” the key press and do it’s function rather than letting that make it’s way to Parallels and then consequently your Windows Vm.  So swith to the “Keyboard shortcuts” page and make sure the following two options are deselected:

“Show Desktop – F11”

“Show Dashboard – F12”

Now you should be able to use these keys as you would F11 and F12 in Windows.  Yay.  I don’t understand why F12 is still mapped by default to show the dashboard in OSX considering it’s fairly unused these days.

Anyway, happy debugging!

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