Saturday, November 29, 2008

Got my Mac back -- but many problems in setup.

Last Saturday, the internal HDD on my MacBook died -- this is the third one I've lost in just 16 months of the life of this computer.
Luckily I had paid €319 for an AppleCare Protection Plan as soon as the warranty on my Mac ran out last August. So, now I'm covered up to August of 2010.
So, today I got the Mac back with a new HDD but I still had an awful lot of work to do to get back my multiboot system.
First problem -- OS X Leopard disk damaged
Before re-installing Leopard, I checked the disk's integrity. It failed after about 48%.
So I cleaned it with window cleaner, although one very small but obvious defect remained, and tried again. This time it failed after about 62%.
Next I tried to clean it with toothpaste, rubbing it with my fingers. I gave it what could be called a through clean, but the defect I mentioned was still visible although very very small.
Tried the disk check again and it failed again.
Now, I tried the metal polish Silvo. Here I used a soft cloth with a radial motion (occasionally doing it in a circular motion). did this for about 5-7 minutes, washed with warm water, dried it and examined it. The defect was still there but barely visible.
However, I fully expected it to fail again but it didn't. And the install went fine after this.
I was very glad about this as I probably would have had to have bought a new Leopard disk at a cost of €110.

Next problem -- creating partitions on Mac HDD

Although I had done this many times before, and never had a problem that I can remember, this time I had to overcome quite a number of difficulties to get this done although I did succeed in the end.
I tried first with the GParted 3.0 disk but the Mac just spat that out 20-30 seconds after booting it (this is WITHOUT anything at all having appeared on the screen -- NO, it wasn't after the program had been transferred to RAM).
So, then I tried the 1.8 disk. This time it booted but the mouse movement was extremely jerky and difficult to get it to do anything. Worse, however, was the fact that although I could get the mouse cursor to the partition image, and the pointer changed shape as expected, I just could not drag the partition to a smaller size.
Well, with only one other version available to me, I then tried the 2.1 disk and this WORKED -- although the mouse was still very unsmooth in its movements.
Nevertheless, I got all of my new partitions created and formatted including two new small partitions aimed at installing Haiku and Senryu.

Ibex or Hardy on the Mac?

My experiences with Ibex so far have not been totally good. In particular, I'm annoyed that one of my favourite apps (Yakuake) doesn't work correctly in Ibex (on my Mac anyway) in that the F12 key doesn't open/close it.
In any event, I tried it again (28-11-2008 one month after launch) on the Mac. Install went fine and I installed all the updates without problem.
However, Ibex looked very buggy with these problems:

1. Same thing with Yakuake. I'm surprised that I haven't seen anything else in Google on this problem as I've had it on the alpha, the beta and several installs of the final product -- although all on the same machine. I've even emailed the developer about it and he didn't seem to have heard of it before. Maybe it's just a Mac thing. However, I've used various versions of Ubuntu here without ever seeing this problem before.
2. Very slow to shutdown if it shutdown at all. Kept stopping at particular points in the shutdown sequence so that, invariably, I had to hold down the power button to get it to halt.
3. Not totally sure if this was a Ibex problem or something with my router but the wireless signal strength detected by Ibex varied from almost zero to close to 100% (100% being expected as the computer was right beside the wireless router). This was such that almost always no connection could be made. Killian had no problem with the strength of his wireless upstairs and the EeePC also showed no problem.

So, guess what, I switched to Hardy and this is currently operating without any problems.

msftres -- where did this come from?

As usual, after installing Ubuntu Ibex on the Mac, when I rebooted I just got a white screen -- nothing else.
So, again as usual, I used Gparted to look at the partitions and found, again, that all the partitions were greyed out and each had a yellow warning sign against it.
However, just fiddling around with the Manage Flags option (even though I didn't actually change anything) got rid of the warning signs and the partitions all became "ungreyed".
I really have no idea what this is, but luckily it's easy to get rid of.
However, something strange is that both FAT32 partitions (sda3 and sda 12) that I had created for Senryu and Haiku) had msftres flags.
Apparently these are Microsoft Reserved partitions and it's some kind of Gparted bug.
There are some articles, tips about this because apparently having this flag, which is difficult to get rid of, can stop the partition from being mounted in OSX.
The first time I tried, I couldn't remove the msftres flag in GParted but the second time I could by substituting it with a Boot flag. However, taking away the boot flag, just brought back the msftres flag.
Nevertheless, I tried to mount one of the partitions labelled with this in Ubuntu and had no problem so I'm not sure if I should worry.
Also, it seems that these two msftres flags were the reason for two grey Legacy OS (and later Haiku OS) icons in the rEFIt menu.

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