Apple issues security update

Apple Computer today released a security update for its Mac OS X 10.3 and 10.4 operating systems. The update addresses several potential vulnerabilities. The worst of these allow a malicious website to execute code on a browser's computer through the Safari web browser. With the quick patching of these issues the chances of exploitation are low. However, this provides a great reminder why one should limit browsing from a server computer as much as possible.

iPod blues

I've been working on a friend's iPod recently. The otherwise healthy iPod has started freezing every time you move songs to it. Choose a batch of 20 songs and 5 or 6 will transfer fine and seven will die. The real problem is that it is not just the iPod that freezes but the whole computer. The machine (running Mac OS X 10.4) will stop completely. A few processes are "stuck" but even attempting to shut-d. own or restart the computer don't work. The only solution is to power down the computer and restart it. After a restart the whole scenario plays out again.

After several tries with other iPods and the computer it seemed to be a problem with the specific iPod. A trip to Apple Care and back and they report the iPod is just fine. Upon transferring the next set of songs the familiar freeze was back. The iMac locked up completely. Had Apple Care missed something? Why did this computer that works with other iPods not work with this iPod.

Eventually I decided to reload the iTunes library to make sure there wasn't a problem with the library itself. After taking all the files out and re-importing them there was no difference. Could it be the cable? The cable had been used for a couple of years and had never really been taken anywhere or used in any other way. However, it occurred to me at that point that the "other iPods" that were working fine were all USB models. Plugging the ill-functioning iPod into the USB cable it performs flawlessly. Somewhere along the line one of two things has happened. Either there is a problem with the firewire cable, which I'm still skeptical about, or there is a problem with the OS on the iMac and how it recovers from firewire errors.

OS X 10.4 vs. Drupal Mailhandler

After upgrading from OS X Server 10.3 to OS X Server 10.4 the Drupal Mailhandler stopped working on the server. Clients could login and get mail no problem. Even Squirrelmail worked flawlessly.

However when the mailhandler module would try to login the response in the error log was:

TLS server engine: cannot load CA data
TLS server engine: No CA file specified. Client side certs may not work
STARTTLS negotiation failed:

A few sites suggested permission problems with the /etc/certificates directory but that did not seem to be the problem in my case. Ultimately it was fixed by going to Server Admin's general settings and re-creating the server's self-signed certificate.

How did I ever?

Over the weekend I finally got around to downloading iScroll2 a two-finger scrolling trackpad driver for older Apple laptops that don't come with the functionality. Honestly I thought I'd play with it a little and decide I didn't care one way or the other. What's the big deal with two-finger trackpad scrolling. I couldn't have been more wrong. It is a fantastic new addition to PowerBooks.

Safari's Home Button

Dave Winer comments on Apple's decision not to include a "Home" button in the default toolbar of Safari. As pictured above it can easily be put back by choosing Customize Address Bar... from the View menu. I've often wondered about the choice but don't often think of it because it's solved in the first few seconds I use Safari and never an issue again.

Terminal Widget

Needing to do a little system administration from the road I stopped in the local Apple Store. Unfortunately they've decided to lock up the terminal application in a password protected archive. That is one place Widget Term comes in handy.... Download it and viola even a machine without terminal now has a terminal.


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