Tue 12 May 2009

Filed under OS

Tags Geek Obvious

I have a client with a 17" MacBookPro "MBP", and he one day begin experiencing a login/bootup problem. Another client in the same network hit one of those annoying OpenDirectory login expirations which locked him entirely out of his laptop. (APPLE FAIL). It was the same day, the same network, and similar symptoms (to the end user at least). So, I passed the 17" MBP one off to my counterpart, and I dealt with reseting the AuthenticationAuthority of the latter.

The 17" MBP suddenly booted - ONCE. After that, it was never meant to be. Upon careful investigation we discovered the following alarming facts

  • The drive was slowly disintegrating and produced all sorts of weird problems.

  • The User(tm) had not been getting good backups for Some Weeks(c).

  • The backups, did not include the users home directory. (WAT?)

  • The Users home directory. It's encrypted.

Enough suspense. We now have a Perfect Storm of exciting problems. This user is THE key person in all things related to product design and development in a company. Only the Good Lord knows how much important data there is in the 41GB of encrypted volume.

The Testing

My first problem was the problem with "Mac". HFS+ is not grok'd by anything except commercial disk utilities and Mac OS X. Mac OS X, being clever, auto-mounts everything on startup. We had to have a dirty shutdown of the filesystem, and the farking journal is in an area of the disk which has gone bad. I need to mount the filesystem, read-only, no recovery, no journal.

I know that it's at least still got basic constructs. The boot process starts working and Single User Mode will almost start. Modules are clearly getting loaded, etc, etc, etc.

Disabling Services

I grab my 15" MBP, and set to work on figuring out how to disable the automount behavior. I tried a few mac peeps whom I know. No one knows anything. I tried service centers. They know even less than my people. At length, I discovered and disabled the following services, with this handy script:


launchctl unload /System/Library/LaunchDaemons/com.apple.metadata.mds.plist
launchctl unload /System/Library/LaunchDaemons/com.apple.autofsd.plist
launchctl unload /System/Library/LaunchDaemons/com.apple.automountd.plist
launchctl unload

  • ...metadata.mds.plist -- Spotlight Indexing engine.

  • ...autofsd.plist -- Who cares, it's 'auto' and 'fs' in the same line.

  • ...automountd.plist -- Who cares, it's 'auto' and 'mount' in the same line.

  • ...diskarbitrationd.plist -- This is the king pin. Stop it, and Disk Utility fails, and everything auto-* stops.

Cataloging Disk Devices

I booted up, plugged in my recovery disk, saw that it was available in Finder and at /Volumes/LonghornData and I knew I was ready to proceed.

I wanted a simple, verifiable way to check which disks where what on my system. So, I checked /dev for any 'disk' entries, and saved them into a TextEdit session. For some strange reason, my laptop, and my main recovery-volume presents this way:

Tulkas:log root# ls -l /dev/disk?
brw-r-----  1 root  operator   14,   0 May 11 21:32 /dev/disk0
brw-r-----  1 root  operator   14,   3 May 11 21:50 /dev/disk3

After connecting the 17"MBP, I found a new device - /dev/disk4 - and it has two slices, as expected:

brw-r-----  1 root  operator   14,   5 May 12 09:03 /dev/disk4
brw-r-----  1 root  operator   14,   7 May 12 09:03 /dev/disk4s1
brw-r-----  1 root  operator   14,  14 May 12 09:03 /dev/disk4s2

Armed with enough information to proceed, I moved on.

Practical recovery

I placed the 17"MBP in Target Disk Mode and connected up to my laptop. The files were located on the volume in /Users/.*username*. So, I mounted the disk as such:

Tulkas:Volumes root# ls -l /dev/disk?
brw-r-----  1 root  operator   14,   0 May 11 21:32 /dev/disk0
brw-r-----  1 root  operator   14,   3 May 11 21:50 /dev/disk3
brw-r-----  1 root  operator   14,   5 May 12 09:32 /dev/disk4
Tulkas:Volumes root# mkdir /Volumes/D1/
Tulkas:Volumes root# mount_hfs -o rdonly -j /dev/disk4s2 /Volumes/D1/
Tulkas:Volumes root# cd /Volumes/D1/Users/.myuser/myuser.sparsebundle/bands

After that, it was a step-by-step use of the above procedures, with "umount -f D1" after I/O Stalls which saved me. The drive made it through recovery of all 41GB of data files. As far as I can tell, it looked to be 100% success. At the time of writing, I haven't verified the encrypted data, but, that is of lesser importance (for a blog article) than such gems as DiskArbitrator and stopping auto-mount/recovery of filesystems.


Tue 10 March 2009

Filed under OS

Tags Lamer Moments Obvious Retarded

It's Daylight Savings Time - Again. Time for a new round of FAIL from Microsoft.

Windows Mobile

A clients' Verizon Windows Mobile phone has changed all the appointments for the foreseeable future to an hour later than originally scheduled.


Microsoft Entourage 2004, on my older PowerBook G4 is rendering ...

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Mon 23 February 2009

Filed under OS

Tags Geek Obvious Retarded

Read any post you like. Read any _place_ you like. In 1994 it was "NTFS doesn't fragment by design, it never fragments". In the later 90's it was "ext3" or some other filesystem "doesn't fragment". Later, starting in 2000 - OS X doesn't fragment.


It started ...

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Mon 02 June 2008

Filed under Politics

Tags Obvious Retarded

You have to give Microsoft credit. They were 66% correct. That's about 150% better than normal. Seriously. Todays fun is imported from the land of broken-wmi-crap.

the bug

After the super-exciting side affect of an asshat package manager, a Microsoft standard-issue-busted-software problem has cropped up:

Event Type: Error
Event ...
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Sat 31 May 2008

Filed under Email

Tags Lamer Moments Obvious Secret Messages

I hate Microsoft. I truly do. These assholes are simply unbelievable. I cannot articulate the fury and frustration which I feel at this moment. Seriously. The insanity of whatever policy drives them is beyond the measure of intelligent people.

I cannot write a scathingly witty post about overcoming them. I ...

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Wed 21 May 2008

Filed under Misc

Tags Obvious

There are a ton of articles, esp from Microsoft, regarding moving SQL Server data and log files. After our storage expansion we wanted to move the data and logs for several databases, all of which participated in replication by one means or another.

I didn't find any articles specifically ...

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Thu 01 May 2008

Filed under Politics

Tags Geek Lamer Moments Obvious Retarded Secret Messages

Why is it that normal people don't run more successful projects? See this ticket regarding Paludis. Paludis is a C++ replacement for Portage. Portage is a squirrels nest and even though the ebuild system is pretty nice, portage itself is pretty lame.


In the interest of fairness, I ...

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Wed 12 March 2008

Filed under Politics

Tags Obvious Secret Messages

Of all the responses to Zed's seminal work about Ghettos, I think that Obie has the only one worth reading. Reader Beware: Obie's article is well intentioned, but misguided. He provided a valuable axis of opinion for me.

I thought Zed's orginial post was difficult to read ...

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Sun 09 March 2008

Filed under Politics

Tags Lamer Moments Obvious

I was literally looking for a "change-log" type document describing the differences between Java 1.4, 1.5 and 1.6. This was what I found.

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Wed 05 March 2008

Filed under Email

Tags Lamer Moments Obvious

I am having more and more problems with OpenDNS. I have dropped it's

usage at my house, and I am dropping it all my business locations.

Your "website is down thing" is not only a huge pain in the ass, but

it's generally wrong.

1 in 10 are ...

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Fri 11 January 2008

Filed under Politics

Tags Lamer Moments Obvious

The only people on the planet interested (consciously) in worshiping and serving lower forms of life are PETA wackos. However, the folks at Verizon want you to know something: When you call them, you are on equal footing with machines. Call with any problem: New service, old service, complaint, billing ...

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Wed 31 October 2007

Filed under OS

Tags Cool Obvious

I setup VMWare Server on Gentoo the other day. It was pretty much easy. After install, cleanup all the .vmware folders in various home directories. Assign users with priv's to the 'vmware' group.

User Setup

gpasswd -a vmadmin vmware

Run the vmware-config.pl - Note the network numbers.

Network Setup ...

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