Category Archives: Mac OS X

Mini tip on clearing iCloud bookmarks and starting over

I’ve got a backup of my several thousand bookmarks (mostly junk, but who’s got time to dig through it?), but I’ve played a bit with importing and exporting bookmarks from all over the place so the syncing with iCloud never ends. Too many changes!

So, how did I just finish dealing with that?

What follows is error prone, and if followed, may cause data loss. I’m not documenting this for your benefit, but for my own. Consider this a letter to myself in the future. Please don’t follow this unless you yourself know exactly what you’re doing and have three backups of your important data. Everything that has to do with syncing is error prone out of the box, even without a user messing with it.

As previously discussed, iCloud’s bookmark sync actually involves WebDAV and XBEL. It also involves a file containing all bookmarks: ~/Library/Safari/Bookmarks.plist.

So after ruthlessly murdering the SafariDAVClient process (and ensuring it doesn’t wake up until I want it to: watch -n1 killall SafariDAVClient), I opened the aforementioned file. There were over 30000 pending changes. That’s unacceptable.

So I went and deleted all bookmarks using Safari, for convenience. The plist editor I used didn’t allow selection of multiple items, so deleting bookmarks would take a while. I left alone the Reading List, because I didn’t have a proper backup of that. I took note of what the remote folder name of the Reading List was.

Then I mounted the root WebDAV mount point, and went and deleted every folder and bookmark except for the Reading List — thus bringing iCloud into sync with the local dataset.

Then I watched the progress as the changes were applied, and imported the bookmarks several times using a certain tool I use that also reduplicates bookmarks and keeps a copy of bookmarks, etc. I watched the progress by opening Bookmarks.plist and looking at how many changes were in the ./Sync/Changes array.

Bulk uploading of Google Apps accounts via CSV using Apple Numbers

I’m using Apple Numbers on a Mac with Croatian locale. This means CSV files not only don’t have a BOM (byte order mark) which Google Apps requires, but its CSV files are not actually comma-separated, but semicolon-separated. (Croats use decimal comma instead of decimal point, so any CSV files generated by spreadsheets can’t use commas. Weird, yep, my dear US reader.)

So… follow Google’s instructions in building the CSV file, and then process it with the following commands in Vim.

:set bomb

You’re welcome.

Installing IMAP extension for PHP on Mountain Lion

Based on Dao Hoang Son’s tutorial (itself based on Dan Spencer’s Lion tutorial), as well as a few corrections of my own, I came up with the following script. It fetches and installs University of Washington’s IMAP library, then the PCRE – Perl Compatible Regular Expressions library, and finally the PHP IMAP extension itself.

Please study the script yourself before running it, or run it line by line. It performs no error checking, meaning it might totally wreck your machine — and I’m not responsible if it does. Keep a Time Machine backup around and unplugged from the computer, in case it does.

The script wasn’t yet tested in its complete form; it’s an approximate transcript of commands I ran in shell. But since I’ll keep it around in case I ever need to re-run it, I’m fairly certain it works.

UPDATE December 24th 2012 – Merry Christmas! I’ve applied corrections based on Mehmet’s comment. He also comments you need to install autoconf before running the script (so phpize can work). I already had it installed.

Filesizes for stuff I downloaded: 1.990.304 – imap-2007f.tar.gz, 1.539.766 – pcre-8.20.tar.gz, 12.926.535 – PHP-5.3.15.tar.gz


mkdir "$BUILDDIR"
echo " "
echo " "
wget -c
rm -rf imap-2007f
tar xvvfz imap-2007f.tar.gz
cd imap-2007f
make osx EXTRACFLAGS="-arch i386 -arch x86_64 -g -Os -pipe -no-cpp-precomp"
sudo mkdir -p /usr/local/imap-2007f/include
sudo cp c-client/*.h /usr/local/imap-2007f/include
sudo mkdir -p /usr/local/imap-2007f/lib
sudo cp c-client/c-client.a /usr/local/imap-2007f/lib/libc-client.a

echo " "
echo " "
wget ""
rm -rf pcre-8.20
tar xvvfz pcre-8.20.tar.gz
cd pcre-8.20
./configure --prefix=/usr/local
sudo make install

echo " "
echo " "
PHPVERSION=`php --version|head -n1|cut -f 2 -d ' '`
##git clone -b "PHP-$PHPVERSION" php-src
wget --no-check-certificate -c -O PHP-5.3.15.tar.gz
tar xvvfz PHP-5.3.15.tar.gz
cd `ls |grep php-php-src-|head -n1`
cd ext/imap
./configure --with-imap=/usr/local/imap-2007f --with-kerberos --with-imap-ssl
sudo cp modules/ /usr/lib/php/extensions/no-debug-non-zts-20090626/

Mac App Store: “An unknown error has occurred”, iCloud: “Unable to sign in because of a problem communicating with iCloud. ” on genuine Mac

So perhaps you’re getting these errors?

Unable to sign in because of a problem communicating with iCloud.
Try signing again.

App Store
An unknown error has occurred.

The server encountered an error processing registration. Please try again later.

The server encountered an error processing registration. Please try again later.

Perhaps you may say, “Gasp! This is supposed to be a hackintosh issue, and not an issue on genuine Macs!”

Fear not, my friend, if you have committed the ‘grievous sin’ of moving your Mac’s hard disk into another Mac. (As a penance, say 10 hailmarys quickly.) For you see, on occasion, Mac may get confused about your networking devices when you do this.

What do networking devices have to do with all this? If you read hackintosh forums, you’ll see that Apple seems to use your primary ethernet network card’s MAC address to identify the machine. And communicates the identity in some shape or form when you log into the aforementioned services.

Problem arises when your Mac’s primary ethernet card cannot be identified.

Cure for your transgression? Aside from those hailmaries, you’ll also want to delete (or move aside, or rename) /Library/Preferences/SystemConfiguration/NetworkInterfaces.plist. Then reboot. Behold! This file should be magically regenerated, and your access to iCloud and Mac App Store should be restored.

You’re welcome.

Naturally I’m not responsible if deleting this file harms your Mac, or if you do it yourself in process of deleting this file. Have an expert around. Then again, if you did move the disk around, you probably are the expert.

Refusing to update

“To update this application, sign in to the account you used to purchase it.”

Mac App Store started rejecting updates for some apps. It offers “Update” button, but then rejects updating. The dialog on the image is common if a different Apple ID was used to purchase the app… except if that were the case, it’d be mentioning the exact Apple ID it wants be to update with.

“To update this application, sign in to the account you used to purchase it.”

And, another problem: the apps were used using the only Apple ID I use for App Store purchases.

So far, the only certain recourse was to delete the app and redownload it. If it’s associated with my Apple ID (double-check that it is!) there is no problem — the app will be newly installed and you’re good to go. Updates also only appeared when I checked the “purchases” tab, not when I went to the “updates” tab.

A hacker’s note: The wording of the error is strange. You see, it only mentions an account — which may refer to your local account as much as it can refer to an Apple ID. So I went and played with permissions, changing the permission for “everyone” to “read & write” for the application in question. For a few apps, update then went through. For a few, it didn’t.

The above is, naturally, from the “Get info” dialog on the app.

EDIT Oct 11 2012, 14:36 CET: User nikv has a helpful tip:

This error can happen if Settings -> Spotlight has the Macintosh HD in the Privacy section (not to be indexed). Reason being App Store uses Spotlight. If you don’t do this and Spotlight can index the Apps then it finds the updates and works okay.

EDIT Oct 11 2012, 14:58 CET: Also, while trying to figure out why Spotlight is so slow to starts indexing again on my machine, I found a thread that mentions the problem from my post. Their solution? Delete contents of /var/folders. Not the /var/folders directory itself, but its contents.

EDIT Oct 11 2012, 15:30 CET: You may need to restart your machine. (I just quit App, and killed storeagent process, but your mileage may vary.)

Unrelated but helpful tip: sudo opensnoop -n processname helps you see filepaths that a process accesses. Useful with mdworker.

Exploring Apple’s customization of titlebar in Xcode 4

As you may have noticed, Xcode’s NSWindow does not actually have a single representedURL; it has two, the project and the current in-project file.

So how did Apple achieve that?

First things first, you can start figuring that out by yourself by asking your window’s contentView for its superview. Although undocumented, enough apps seem to be playing around with this (including Xcode) that I presume Apple would be reluctant to change something important here.

Second, I’m not going to actually show you any code just yet. Perhaps in a future blog post; I did start writing something, but it’s unfinished.

Third, there is no third: let’s get to it.

Hacking tools

Playing with contentView‘s superviews can only get you so far (although, you may be able to hack something anyway). Injecting code in form of plugins into Xcode is possible, as proven by JugglerShu’s XVim.

But there’s a nicer way.

Say hello to F-Script. It’s a nice scripting language and let’s-call-it mini-IDE in itself, but there’s something far more powerful it can do.

On F-Script

It has a full fledged object browser that uses introspection to figure out what the hell exists in the view hierarchy. It also has a nice view picker so you can easily access the exact view that you’re playing with. Python may be neat for programming, but this one is just smashing for debugging GUI apps.

F-Script is not intended to be used as a standalone dev environment however; you’re supposed to put it into your app and use it at runtime. Kind of like what you can do with Python already… except this one comes with a runtime debugging GUI out of the box (and the aforementioned view picker!), and is pretty dedicated to playing with Cocoa and Objective-C (while Python can play with it through its PyObjC bridge – powerful, but not the best way to do it; also, method names become lengthy and weird when written in Python).

Note that I, for now, have absolutely no experience with F-Script as a programming language, and I don’t intend to learn it too much for now, just as I don’t intend to learn all nuts and bolts of GDB. It may be nice, but for now, it’s far, far, far more amazing as a debugging tool.

Okay, so where does playing with Xcode come in?

Unfortunately, not in the form of injecting the debugging code into Xcode and playing with it. This is the loveliest part of F-Script, however; you can inject it into any app and inspect how it works, see runtime class definitions, send messages to existing objects, etc. But not with Xcode, because of some magic that Xcode is doing causing F-Script to crash Xcode.

Side note: injection of F-Script is done via gdb. The F-Script Anywhere automator workflow intended to be put into ~/Library/Services actually consists of figuring out frontmost app’s process ID, constructing some gdb commands and running gdb. gdb commands used involve attach to existing process, then calling Objective-C method -[NSBundle load] on /Library/Frameworks/FScript.framework, and finally calling +[FScriptMenuItem insertInMainMenu] and detaching. Quite ingenious!

Finding the beast

Let’s get back to business. Although Xcode crashes, view inspector of F-Script works long enough to let us know the name of the class implementing the custom view Apple uses in the titlebar for displaying two “represented URLs”. A-ha! DVTDualProxyWindowTitleView, we’ve found you!

Now, where could this be defined? Let’s explore various private frameworks found in Xcode using class-dump (install it from MacPorts). And voila! Using class-dump we can also see that it’s used in… DVTDualProxyWindow, a subclass of NSWindow. Wonderful!

Now, just trying to load this framework into standalone fails miserably and returns NO. At least for me. otool -L told me which frameworks this one depends on… so I loaded them first.

About the beast

Finally, DVTDualProxyWindow is a subclass of NSWindow which apparently overrides -setTitle: to do nothing, overrides -setRepresentedURL: to be used for the ‘project’ URL, and defines new method -setSecondaryRepresentedURL: to add the ‘document’ URL. Both of these methods are just talking to DVTDualProxyWindowTitleView. We don’t really care what happens behind the scenes; it’s just a regular view. But let’s see if it works.

Open F-Script app. Right click on the toolbar and choose ‘Customize’. Aside from customization sheet, a new window appears titled ‘Custom Buttons’. Pick one of ‘CustomX’ buttons, and select ‘Block…’. (Of course, prior to that, in the toolbar customization sheet, drag the picked button to the toolbar… you know, so you can click it.)

Now, paste in the following code.

Testing the beast

[:selectedObject | 

(NSBundle bundleWithPath:'/Applications/') load.

(NSBundle bundleWithPath:'/System/Library/PrivateFrameworks/DataDetectorsCore.framework') load.

(NSBundle bundleWithPath:'/System/Library/PrivateFrameworks/DataDetectors.framework') load.
(NSBundle bundleWithPath:'/System/Library/Frameworks/SecurityInterface.framework') load.
(NSBundle bundleWithPath:'/System/Library/Frameworks/Carbon.framework') load.
(NSBundle bundleWithPath:'/System/Library/Frameworks/CoreServices.framework') load.

errorPointer := FSObjectPointer objectPointer.
(NSBundle bundleWithPath:'/Applications/') loadAndReturnError:errorPointer.

" printing out an error: 
   errorPointer at:0.

"win := ((DVTDualProxyWindow alloc) init)."

win := DVTDualProxyWindow alloc initWithContentRect:(125<>513 extent:383<>175)
                                   styleMask:NSTitledWindowMask + NSClosableWindowMask + NSMiniaturizableWindowMask + NSResizableWindowMask

(win setRepresentedURL:(NSURL fileURLWithPath:'/Applications/')).
(win setSecondaryRepresentedURL:(NSURL fileURLWithPath:'/Applications/')).

"Instantiate a button, put it in the window and configure it"
button := NSButton alloc initWithFrame:(247<>15 extent:90<>30).
win contentView addSubview:button.
button setBezelStyle:NSRoundedBezelStyle.
button setTitle:'Boo'.
button setKeyEquivalent:'\r'.

"An example of using F-Script blocks to handle click on button. Ignore it."
conversionScript := [(form cellAtIndex:2) setStringValue:(form cellAtIndex:0) floatValue * (form cellAtIndex:1) floatValue].

" From docs: "
"The [...] notation creates an object of class Block which represents a block of code that can be executed later (Block is an Objective-C class provided by the F-Script framework). In our block, we simply get the values of the fields in the user interface objects, perform the computation (simply involves multiplication) and put the result in a UI element.

"An example on how to add handling for button click. Ignore it."
"Make the script the target of the button.
The script will be evaluated when the user presses the button"
button setTarget:conversionScript.
button setAction:#value.

"Show window"
(win orderFront:nil).


Click on the ‘Run’ button, and type in ‘nil‘. (You don’t really care about the selectedObject, but I did not study F-Script long enough to avoid it.)

Hopefully this gives you enough idea to debug with, explore with, as well as an idea on how to implement dual-representedURL windows. Good luck and have fun! :-)