CATEGORY: Mac

How to fix VMWare Fusion Pro 10 “Cannot find a valid peer process to connect to”

I recently got a new mac and was migrating a VMWare Windows Virtual Machine from my other computer. When starting the virtual machine, I received a random message from VMWare Fusion saying “Cannot find a valid peer process to connect to.”

The fix was rather simple as it was just Apple blocking VMWare from running. To fix it, follow these steps:

  1. Open System Preferences by searching in Spotlight or clicking the gear icon in the dock.
  2. On the top row there is an icon for Security and Privacy – Click that icon
  3. Near the bottom of the screen that appears the following statement
    “System software from developer “VMWare, Inc.” was blocked from loading”
  4. Click Allow

 

ReportCrash High CPU & How to Disable reportcrash in Mac OSX

For a while now, all of my MacBooks have run extremely hot and the fans have gone nuts. While troubleshooting the issue, Activity Monitor showed that an app named reportcrash has run very high on the CPU and has killed my battery life. Force quitting the app didn’t help as it would start right back up in a few seconds and climb back to 80-100% usage of the CPU.

What is CrashReporter?

CrashReporter runs in any time an application crashes and it’s designed to saves the application state to aid developers in working out why the app crashed. Basically a process is launching, crashing (and invoking CrashReporter) and then re-launching, repeating this cycle never ending.

How to Identify What’s Crashing

To show which process is triggering this cycle and stop it, CrashReporter is pretty verbose in its logging which makes finding the problem app somewhat easier. Open up the console.app (/Applications/Utilities/Console.app) and look towards the end of your system.log to see what app is crashing.

Unfortunately for me, the problem is a driver by some company called EFI and getting the latest drivers didn’t resolve the issue. The next obvious solution was to disable reportcrash.

How to Disable ReportCrash

Fire up terminal and run the following commands to disable reportcrash:

How to Enable ReportCrash

If you need to reenable crash report, run the following commands in terminal:

Cheap Macbook Pro Docking Solution for about $30

I typically prefer developing on my desktop and large dual screen monitor setup as opposed to my Macbook. Recently, I’ve gotten into more PHP development and developing on the Mac is proving to be a more enjoyable experience only because Windows is still a second class citizen for most PHP libraries/tools. I still wanted a larger screen setup, so I considered buying a docking station to hook up to a larger monitor but I soon learned they feature the ‘Mac Penalty’ in that they cost more than they should just because it’s for Apple products.

I already have two large monitors and figured my Macbook could serve as third screen. Then I did some thinking and realized I could use one of the monitors for both computers. Assuming you have two HDMI screens already hooked up to your desktop, this would save you $150+ and still allow you to be more productive.

  1. Get a copy of Synergy (http://symless.com/) for $10. It’s open source and can be built if you have the time, but a one time fee of $10 saves me the hassle of doing so. With this, you can share your desktop keyboard across all your computers with the one license and it’s cross platform so Linux support is included too.
  2. Purchase an auto HDMI switcher. I purchased the PORTTA PET0301S 3×1 Port HDMI Switch/Switcher for about $9.
  3. Be sure to get 2 HDMI cables if you don’t already have them on hand. I don’t like the Amazon Basic brand for these as I’ve had problems with the Mac and those cables hooking up to larger screens.
  4. Install Synergy on the desktop as a server. Install on the Macbook as a client and it should autoconnect.
  5. Plug the HDMI cable from the computer into the HDMI switcher, and plug the spare into the Macbook pro. Plug the “Out” end into the monitor.

When you plug your HDMI cable into the Macbook, the HDMI switcher will automatically switch to it and project the Macbook. Synergy will auto-connect as long as it’s running on both and you can share the mouse and keyboard between both and work seamlessly.

If you have an iPad and want to turn that into an additional screen, grab a copy of Duet Display on your desktop/Macbook and install on your iPad for $15.99, and viola, instant portable second screen!

How to Copy and Paste into the Digital Ocean VNC Console

I recently signed up for Digital Ocean to test droplets for my development and linux management testing. I was securing the server and setup fail2ban, disabled the root login, and created a user account but forgot to change the user name from root to the user name I selected in my SSH client profile. I ended up locking myself out of the server and had to resort to logging into the admin panel on Digital Ocean’s website and use their browser embedded VNC client to restore my access. I quickly discovered that one of the downsides of using this panel is that you can’t copy and paste commands. Luckily there’s a workaround and you can use the browser console to do sendkeys through Javascript.

Bring up the console in the browser developer tools. Here’s a cheat sheet for keyboard shortcuts:

BrowserDescriptionWindowsMac
ChromeOpen Developer Tools and bring focus to the consoleCtrl + Shift + JCmd + Opt + J
FirefoxOpen ConsoleCtrl + Shift + KCmd + Opt + K
Internet ExplorerAfter hitting F12, you have to click the console tab.
There’s no direct shortcut to the console tab.
F12N/A

Paste this snippet into the textbox in the console window:

Chrome console

 

Update 9-21-16

Ruden and Sebastiaan’s pointed out there was a bug in the code above. This updated snippet has support for characters when using shift characters like !@#$%^&*()_+

You’ll receive a dialog prompt to enter the copy to paste in. Please note that you need to click on the VNC console and hit enter to execute the command.

Javascript Prompt

 

 

 

 

 

If you need to enter more than one command, just hit the up arrow on your keyboard in the console to get the script again for easy reuse.

When updating Office 2011 for Mac, you are prompted that you must close “Microsoft Database Daemon” and “SyncServicesAgent”

If you’re trying to update your install of Microsoft Office 2011 for Mac, you may get the following message:

“These applications must be closed before the software can be installed:

Microsoft Database Daemon
SyncServicesAgent

Close these applications and try again”

If you try to kill the apps using activity monitor, you’ll find they keep getting restarted. The only way I found that worked to stop them is by following the instructions below.

  1. Open a terminal window and enter the following command:
    launchctl unload ~/Library/LaunchAgents/com.microsoft.LaunchAgent.SyncServicesAgent.plist

This will unload the SyncServicesAgent. Unfortunately the Daemon kept running for me after the latest update. To stop that, do the following:

  1. Open activity monitor
  2. Scroll down until you find Microsoft Database Daemon in the list of active applications.
  3. Click on Microsoft Database Daemon and click on the Quit Process button in the toolbar

Go back to the install utility and you should now be able to proceed with the install. Once the install is finished, you’ll want to restart the Sync Services Agent, so do the following:

  1. Go back to the terminal window and enter this command:
    launchctl load ~/Library/LaunchAgents/com.microsoft.LaunchAgent.SyncServicesAgent.plist

Now you should be all set with updates and can close terminal.

 

How to Import Multiple VCF contacts into iCloud

One of my users recently came to me with an interesting problem this week. She had left her old job but had left all her contacts on her work account. Once the account was deleted, all the addresses were wiped out as well. By sheer luck, her iPad had a copy of the contacts since she never connected it to a new network which prevented any type of sync. We managed to export the contacts off the iPad to VCF cards but were now left with the tedious task of importing them all into iCloud for her to use on her phone. I tried dragging and dropping all the VCF cards into the browser but iCloud displayed 300+ errors saying the card could not be imported, without specifying which ones were a problem. The import would error out after clicking OK at around 300 times and not actually import a single one.

I remembered that the format of the cards is simple text and you can easily merge the files into one big file to import.

  1. Copy the VCF cards to a folder like c:\temp\vcf.
  2. Right mouse click on c:\temp\vcf while holding shift and you’ll see an option that says “Open with Command Prompt”
    1. You can also open command prompt by clicking Start -> Run, or windows button + r and type cmd to launch it.
  3. Enter the command copy /a *.vcf merge.vcf in the command prompt.

This will merge all cards into a single VCF file. Now return to iCloud Contacts, click on the gears icon on the bottom left, and click “Import Contact” and choose the generated VCF card. iCloud will now display a progress bar of the import and any errors. In a strange coincidence, importing the contacts this way only prompted me with three or so errors. I’m not exactly sure why the error count was reduced doing it this way. (There were over 1500 contacts to import and I wasn’t about to sift through them to see what was different since it was for personal contacts.)

Mac Outlook 2011 Reply All Includes My E-mail (with solution)

I’ve started a new job and was assigned a Macbook for my daily work. I’ve found equivalents for most of my applications. Personally, I find the native Mac apps are just extremely underpowered for my computing needs. I hate Mail especially, and even more so how all the apps are split out into separate apps. Luckily I have Office for Mac. Not so luckily, Outlook Mac 2011 is not as well designed as Outlook for Windows in so many ways.

One of the bugs I ran into was the “Reply All” bug where your e-mail is included in the CC field. It’s rather annoying having to choose from having to manually delete your address or having an extra e-mail to delete from your inbox.

The fix turned out to be rather simple for me. It turns out that Outlook for Mac isn’t very smart. It doesn’t seem to be able to tell which address you’re sending the e-mail from even though it’s doing the sending. When my account was initially setup, the company set it up with one of their subsidiary domains which was incorrect. Rather than creating a new inbox, they simply created an alias for the domain but never updated my configuration.

To fix the issue, do the following:

  1. Go to Tools -> Accounts.
  2. Ensure that your e-mail address field is set to match the address you are sending from.

My e-mail address had been set to the old one and still worked due to the aliasing. As soon as I updated the address to match the corrected domain, the reply all stopped including my e-mail address.

 

Safari Prompts Authorization for Video in Password Protected Folders

Safari Sucks - Use a Real BrowserUsing Safari 6 and trying to password protect a site with videos? You might run into issue where Safari prompts you for a password. Unexpectedly, you’ll find that you’re unable to interact with the fields to re-authenticate or even move the box to get it out-of-the-way.

If you run into this issue, check your folder structure. If your videos are in a password protected folder and inherit from the parent like below, you’ll have to move the video files out of the password protected folder to get the videos to play.

Main
Password Protected Folder
——Videos

Your new folder structure will need to be similar to something like:

Main
Password Protected Folder
—Videos

Once you do that, your videos should play with no issues. I’ve already reported the issue to Apple when I first encountered the issue but there’s been no fix to date.

mtouch exited with code 98

MonoTouchIn an attempt to leverage my existing .NET skills, I started working on learning MonoTouch and MonoDroid. I tried following the simple HelloWorld tutorial on the documents section of MonoTouch and kept getting a random error during any build:

mtouch exited with code 98

This is a really good example of bad user experience. The error is extremely cryptic and tells the user nothing. I tried searching for documentation on error codes to no avail. Finally I stumbled upon the build output tab (which is hidden by default, unlike Visual Studio) to find a bit more useful information:

License file is missing. Please activate MonoTouch.

Looks like the IT team didn’t activate the license properly on the Mac they provided me but having this error description shown in the error list would have saved me 3 hours of hunting.

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