Tuesday, November 28, 2017

The 2x2 Box

I bought this on a recent trip to Paris (from Tumbleweed - recommended highly) and it took enough time to solve that I'm happy with the purchase.

If you examine all the pieces, you'll see that there seem to be four pairs of pieces, one of which is the reflection of the other. I spent a lot of time trying to form those pairs into shapes and then assembling those shapes.

That didn't help.

In the end, this is what it looks like, with the pieces carefully pulled apart.


The cube was a bit tight getting it into the box one way, but when I rotated it 90 degrees it slipped in just fine - obviously just a tolerance error.

All told, a fun puzzle that definitely took me more than a few days of trying on and off.

Flexera Operations Portal startup problems

If you run a FlexNet Operations Portal and it uses an Oracle database on the same Windows server, you may find that it fails to startup correctly when your host restarts.

The problem I found was that insufficient dependencies are set up between the two Windows services, and they get into a race at startup. The FlexNet service always seems to get there before Oracle, gets locked up and never recovers.

My fix was to add a dependency between the two services, using:

sc config FlexNetOperations depend= Tcpip/Afd/MyOracleInstanceService

This makes the FNO wait until the Oracle service is started, which has fixed the problem for me at least.

Note, you need to reapply this fix every time you re-deploy the FNO software.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Cryptic Crossword Helpers

Trying to do American Cryptic Crosswords can occasionally require snippets of US pop culture that few Australians recognise, so I'm going to start collecting them here so that others I try to turn on to cryptics don't give up in despair.  This blog entry, more than any of my others, is likely to see edits as I encounter new references that need explaining:

letters clued as
EL Train, Railway why?
OTT Baseball player, Mel why?
TY Baseball player, Cobb why?
A, A's Baseball team, Oakland team why?

And some, perhaps obvious, common clue indicators

clue suggests
! An exclamation mark usually means that the entire clue should be read two different ways, rather than looking to seperate it into two clauses
? An question mark usually means that the wordplay in the answer may be even more groan-worthy in terms of punnishness.
Reverend Spooner Two words will have their prefixes phonetically switched.
To shout across the harbour might be a "Bay Hail" which is also clued as a "Hay Bale".
why?

Siebenstein-Spiele 5-L Box

I bought this on a recent trip to Paris (from Tumbleweed - recommended highly) and it took enough time to solve that I'm happy with the purchase.

If you search for solutions in Google, they turn up quite quickly - but I only searched after I had independently arrived at this one:


However, #1 son had previously beaten me to it with this one:


which is obviously not what the designer intended but is just as legitimate a solution.  All the pieces move freely, nothing has been jammed in - in fact many of the pieces have a bit of wiggle room - note the gaps at bottom-right and bottom-left.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Error -50 when trying to write to an HFS+ Journaled file system

First, credit where credit is due.  The answer came from https://discussions.apple.com/

One of my Seagate drives suddenly started acting really weird.  It wouldn't let me delete files from it, copy new files on to it, etc.  Copying files off the drive seemed to work fine, but when I tried to run Disk Utility to validate the file system, it gave an error complaining about being unable to dismount the file system - someone had it busy.

Quick trip to the Terminal and tried:

$ sudo lsof | grep VOLUMENAME

and that showed a couple of issues, OneDrive, GoogleDrive, etc keeping files open, so I quit those apps and tried again.  Same dismount problem, even though there were no open files that the system would tell me about.   Hmmm, real Unix fsck can run on a mounted filesystem, surely the hfs variant can?  Yep.  First, work out the device name with mount ...


$ mount
/dev/disk0s2 on / (hfs, local, journaled)
devfs on /dev (devfs, local, nobrowse)
map auto_home on /home (autofs, automounted, nobrowse)
/dev/disk2s2 on /Volumes/VOLUMENAME (hfs, local, journaled)


... then run the HFS checker using that device name


$ sudo fsck_hfs -ld /dev/disk2s2

... and that claimed that the file system was fine.

Back to Google, found the thread at discussions.apple.com which suggested that the problem might be a corrupted journal.  His solution was more complicated than I needed because I don't have a hardware failure to contend with, so I tried doing it online.

Turn off journaling with Apple's hidden hfs.util tool:

$ sudo /System/Library/Filesystems/hfs.fs/Contents/Resources/hfs.util \

    -N /Volumes/VOLUMENAME

and try Disk Utility again.  Lo and behold, now it can unmount.  Let it run through the check and it gives the drive the thumbs up.  Turn journaling back on:


$ sudo /System/Library/Filesystems/hfs.fs/Contents/Resources/hfs.util \
    -J /Volumes/VOLUMENAME/
Allocated 229376K for journal file.

And we are back in business.  No idea why the journal went bad, and I'll make sure my backups of all the stuff on that drive are up to date. 

P.S. The crappy fonts and colouring in this post are a function of this wysiwyg editor that blogger.com provides.

P.P.S Less than two weeks later, the same disk has died again but this time with an error that fsck does not seem to be able to fix.  Sigh.

Monday, October 10, 2016

iTunes Rants

Dear Apple,

when people tell you that iTunes is a piece of crap, this is what they mean.


I'm sure one of those numbers is correct ...

Useful Mac Hacks

If it gets in here, it has to be pretty useful.  I didn't work it out, I'm just trying to hold on to it for posterity.  Always look to the original link for details.

Add a "recent apps" icon to the dock.
defaults write com.apple.dock persistent-others -array-add '{ "tile-data" = {"list-type" = 1; }; "tile-type" = "recents-tile";}' && \killall Dock
Credit: http://www.howtogeek.com/273187/quickly-open-recent-apps-and-documents-with-this-hidden-mac-feature/

Note: I don't know why they include the \ in front of killall - it isn't needed, it merely escapes the 'k'.  If you wanna avoid PATH issues, use /usr/bin/killall.