Friday, July 17, 2009

MobileMe (.mac) and the OS X Console - bug and the console dock bounce

I've been trying to track down an odd 10.5.7 software bug.

Every 1-3 days, my user session browsers hang. I can ping the net and browse the LAN, but Safari and Firefox are unable to get secure sessions or access the net (I need next time to check if email works).


Anyway, to investigate this I launched the OS X Console app (called ... "Console) and studied the output. I didn't see that much about the browsers, but I saw a series of recurrent ".mac" sync requests that were failing. I looked into my MobileMe PreferencePane (new name for .mac) and I still had the credentials of a MobileMe account I was trying. I'd canceled the trial account, but the OS was still trying to sync it. I clicked 'log out' (or equivalent) and the problem went away.

So there's a 10.5.7 bug with discontinued MobileMe accounts. If you discontinue your MobileMe account, be sure to "log out" of the old account in the MobileMe PreferencePane

The Console's an interesting place to look for odd problems, in much the same way as in XP one checks the admin event monitors. It does, however, have issues of its own. It transiently uses 100% of my G5 CPU, and it has a very obnoxious bounce behavior. Every time a line is written to the Console it bounces in the dock to get my attention. I admit, I can't ignore the bounce.

I'm sure there's a way to kill the Console dock bounce, but a Google search didn't turn it up. (You can, however, toggle all bounces via the terminal).

Now back to that networking/browser/http bug ...

Update: I have to laugh. There's a preference for "when an open log is updated" that toggles the bounce. My expectations were too low; I didn't even look.

Update 7/20/09: The weird bug struck again. I tried to hit an https resource and both Firefox and Safari couldn't get a secure session -
Safari can’t establish a secure connection to the server...
In the past the next step is losing all http access. It's as though something were consuming a finite http related resource ...

I switch users and there's no problem, so it's a resource in my user session.

Then I check Console and find this ...
7/20/09 1:56:21 PM DashboardClient[23283] (ca.aquabox.widget.twidget) file:///Users/jfaughnan/Library/Widgets/Twidget.wdgt/Scripts/prototype.js: SyntaxError: Badly formed JSON string ... Twitter is over capacity

Yes, sure enough, I once installed a Twitter Dashboard client, Twidget, -- then forgot about it. It's making http requests in the background - constantly.

I wonder if it's consuming some resource ...

I've deleted it. Never occurred to me that the Dashboard client was sucking cycles -- I rarely run the db.

Update 7/25/09: Fixed. Turns out it was a Parental Controls bug.

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