OSX Mavericks ( 10.9 )

This is a discussion on OSX Mavericks ( 10.9 ) within the Mac OS X forums, part of the Mac Software category; Troubleshooting complex issues on a Mac can be challenging as is, and if you’re ever confronted with some complex situations you may find the command ...

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Thread: OSX Mavericks ( 10.9 )

  1. #311
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    How to Enable Safe Mode from the Command Line on a Mac



    Troubleshooting complex issues on a Mac can be challenging as is, and if you’re ever confronted with some complex situations you may find the command line to lend a major hand. In this case, advanced users can boot a Mac into safe mode through the usage of the nvram utility, a tool which allows users to directly manipulate firmware variables. We’ll use nvram to enable safe booting entirely through the command line, preventing a user from needing to use the standard Mac method to boot into safe mode by holding down a Shift key upon system start of OS X, this opens the door for remotely enabling safe mode and improved remote troubleshooting, and for a variety of scripting applications.

    This is a trick with fairly advanced application, so most users will never need to use this. Nonetheless, nvram command allows for truly remote troubleshooting, or for situations where there is an issue with a Mac keyboard and USB interfaces that are preventing the Shift key to be used for safe booting as is usual.

    The command sequence to enable safe mode through the terminal with nvram is as follows:

    sudo nvram boot-args="-x"

    Note this is applying a boot argument so that safe mode is set to always be enabled, meaning until it has been specifically disabled again, every boot will be ‘safe’ with all the accompanying limitations.

    After your troubleshooting is complete, you will want to remove the boot-arg from firmware so that the Mac can boot as normal and behave as normal again, that can be done by clearing boot-args with the following command string:

    sudo nvram boot-args=""

    You can also check the current nvram boot arguments with the following command:

    nvram boot-args

    If it’s cleared, you’ll see an error message indicating no variable was found.





    This can obviously be used directly from the local terminal of OS X, but to be able to use this nvram command for remote management purposes on a different machine, the target Mac would need to have enable the SSH server to allow for a remote login to administer the Mac.

    The -x boot-arg can also be used in conjunction with the -v argument to combine booting safe mode with always booting verbose mode, though how useful verbose booting is on a remotely administered Mac is questionable.

    I’ve had to use this trick when troubleshooting a Mac with mysterious erroneous behavior that had nonfunctioning keyboards and USB interfaces, eventually it was discovered the Mac had water contact, and the machine eventually recovered after drying out. In that case the troubleshooting tricks weren’t necessary, but there are plenty of situations where they would be.





    9-6-14

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  3. #312
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    What exactly is “Other” hard drive storage?



    I read your article about freeing up space on a hard drive and had a follow-up question. My niece was running out of space on her MacBook Air. I did some digging using About This Mac under storage and found she has 78GB of “Other” storage. What kind of files does this “Other” entry reflect?


    If you choose About This Mac, click on the More Info button, and then click the Storage tab you will indeed see a very general graphical layout of the file allocation for each volume connected to your Mac. This representation lists Audio, Movies, Photos, Apps, Backups, and the Other entry you mention.

    As you’ve noticed, this entry can account for a lot of space on the drive. And it can because it denotes files that don’t fit into the other five categories. This classification is based on Spotlight indexing, which is how your Mac knows what is and isn’t one of these other file types.

    Specifically “Other” files include the contents of the System and Library folders (because Spotlight won’t report on them by default), non-media documents such as text files and email archives, plug-ins and extensions, media files that are tucked away inside a package (because Spotlight doesn’t look inside packages), and other file types that are mysterious to Spotlight.

    As you can see, this graph is broadly helpful in that it can tell you that you have far more movies and audio files on your Mac than you might have imagined. And that perhaps it wouldn’t be a bad idea to move them to another drive. But it’s not terribly useful for finding individual large files. If that’s your aim, it’s best to use the techniques I outlined in the article you cited.

    One additional tidbit: If you start up your Mac in Safe Mode (by holding down the Shift key after you hear the startup sound) and then choose About This Mac > More Info > Storage, you’ll discover that “Other” is the only entry that appears in the graph. This is just the way the graph works in Safe Mode and isn’t something to worry about.





    9-6-14

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    Have Your Mac Tell You Bad Knock-Knock Jokes (EASTER EGG)



    There’s a rather amusing Easter Egg built into the Speakable Items function of OS X Accessibility options that lets your Mac tell you bad jokes. Yes, seriously. Sounds goofy, maybe even pointless? Well that’s why it’s an Easter Egg, so if that isn’t compelling I don’t know what is. Let’s dig in and learn how to access this rather silly joke routine ability hidden away on your Mac.


    Before having the knock-knock joke function available with your Mac, you’ll need to enable the optional Speakable Items feature. Most users won’t have this feature turned on by default, so here’s how to do that in OS X first:

    Open System Preferences from the  Apple menu
    Go to the “Accessibility” preference panel
    Select “Speakable Items” from the left side menu options, then under the “Settings” tab check the box to enable Speakable Items so that it’s set to ON
    Optionally, you can change the ‘listening key’ but the default choice is fine for the purposes of this article.





    Now that Speakable Items is enabled, you can start issuing commands to the Mac. The default “Listening Key” is the Escape key, meaning you need to hold down the Escape key for the speakable items feature to detect your voice command and then to execute the command as intended.

    Hold down the “Escape” key and say the command “Tell Me A Joke”
    Hold down the “Escape” key again and respond to the knock-knock joke(s) as you normally would… and prepare for the cheese corn





    No spoilers in terms of the Knock Knock jokes… but uh, it’s safe to say they’re actually kind of funny while certainly amazingly corny at the same time. Keep asking for a joke to hear them all if you want as there’s quite a few to cycle through, or you’ll get tired of the corniness and give up.

    For those who are unfamiliar with Speakable Items, the feature is sort of like Siri in iOS, but not nearly as refined, and unlike the standard Dictation feature on the Mac, the speech-to-text recognition is not nearly as good at recognizing voice and commands. As a result it can be a little frustrating to use, so speak clearly for the service to be able to recognize your command request. It may take a few times to get it to work. Of course, for the purpose of this article we’re ignoring the broader commands you can get out of the service and focusing on the corny knock-knock jokes.

    Once you’ve had your laughs, you may want to disable the Speakable Items option in OS X and return to the default setting. Do that by just checking the “Speakable Items” box back to the OFF position and you’ll lose the little floating microphone graphic, and the Escape key will no longer trigger listening.

    Is this as cool of a Mac Easter Egg as the hidden Steve Jobs speech? No probably not, but it can still get a laugh , so have fun with it. And for those with an iPhone or iPad, remember that Siri has a particularly good sense of humor too.





    9-8-14

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    How to Show Web Site Passwords in Safari for Mac OS X



    Mac users who opt-in to use the Safari AutoFill username and password feature have a convenient way to show and retrieve those login credentials at any time. This is incredibly helpful if you’re prone to forget the passwords or logins for the billion and one websites we all use, and need to access that login data either for usage in another web browser or on another computer that doesn’t have iCloud Keychain enabled.

    Note that all AutoFill account details are stored and saved on an individual account basis in OS X, and locked to that accounts Keychain. As a result, while the website and relevant user name is shown by default, the password remains safely hidden until access has been granted to Keychain in OS X. Yes, if you use iCloud Keychain to store and generate secured passwords, those can be revealed here, and yes, these are the same logins and passwords that sync to iOS and are also visible in Safari on the mobile side of things as well.


    Reveal Saved Login Name & Password for a Website in Safari for Mac OS X

    From the Safari app, go to the “Safari” menu and choose “Preferences”
    Choose the “Passwords” tab
    Click the checkbox for “Show passwords for selected websites” – this requires the administrator password to be entered for the Mac
    Choose the website from the list whose password you wish to reveal, then choose to “Allow” when permission is requested to reveal that logins password





    You can repeat this process for any other website login that has been stored within Safari with AutoFill to show the credentials. The password appears only when it’s selected and allowed, they are not all revealed at once.





    When finished getting the password you want, you’ll probably want to uncheck the box for “Show passwords for selected websites” just to keep things extra secure. You can also choose to remove passwords from the list if you no longer want them shown.

    Of course, this particular method works only to find and reveal passwords that are stored within Safari, but that doesn’t mean you’re out of luck with other web browsers. It’s a bit more technical, but you can use a command line trick to retrieve any forgotten password from any Mac web browser, and it works in Safari, Chrome, Firefox, and Opera too.





    9-16-14

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    Apple releases OS X 10.9.5 Mavericks with reliability enhancements, includes Safari 7



    Apple on Wednesday released the latest OS X 10.9 Mavericks maintenance update, which includes Safari version 7.0.6, with fixes for VPN reliability and file access from SMB servers.

    The latest OS X Mavericks update comes a month and a half after Apple first seeded betas of the update to developers in July.

    As previously reported, the maintenance update focuses on fixes for the reliability of virtual private network connections that use USB Smart Cards as IDs. Also improved is reliability of accessing files located on an SMB server.

    As for Safari 7.0.6, the Web browser was released as a standalone update in August and includes a patch for a WebKit vulnerability that allows for termination of arbitrary code after a user visits a malicious website.

    Mac users can download OS X 10.9.5 Mavericks via Software Update or the Mac App Store.





    9-18-14

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    How to Regain a Missing URL Address Bar in Safari for Mac OS X



    The address bar in Safari shows you what website URL you are currently visiting, and it also doubles as a search bar in recent versions too. That makes it a fairly critical component of the Safari browser for many of us, so if you use Safari as your default web browser and find that it mysteriously has gone missing, it’s understandable if you’d be a bit annoyed.

    It’s likely that if the address bar has disappeared that a setting was accidentally toggled or disabled, and thus it’s almost certainly easy to recover and reveal again if you find yourself in this situation.

    The first thing you’ll want to do is make sure the Safari toolbar is set to be visible, because where URL’s and web addresses are displayed is part of the toolbar. Just pull down the “View” menu and select the first option, which if it’s hidden should be “Show Toolbar”.





    That should make the entire toolbar, with back & forward buttons, URL bar, sharing features, immediately reappear.





    If the toolbar is visible but the address bar is still missing, it means the toolbar was probably customized and the URL bar removed. That’s also an easy fix. Again, return to the “View” menu and choose “Customize Toolbar”, then drag and drop the default option into the toolbar to regain the lost address bar / smart search field and all other toolbar components.

    This applies to the desktop versions of Safari in OS X, and the behavior of Safari on the Mac is different from Safari in iOS, which auto-hides the URL and navigation bar to conserve screen space. The Mac version does not do that, so if yours goes missing, it’s almost certainly the toggled setting situation described above.





    9-26-14

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  8. #317
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    Mavericks

    Since downloading OS X Mavericks I have encountered many problems. For instance my iMac suddenly started booting up from "networks" and I have been unable to change it back to a start up from my Hard Drive. Also I lost the my FireVault function and have been unable to replace it with Mavericks FireVault 2. Finally my password will not open my Hard drive and disk utility will not allow me operate permissions, only verify and Repair. Also I was trying to go back to Snow Leopard using my cd and it advises i need a new installer app 231.1. which is nowhere tone found!

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    How to Remove the Adobe Acrobat Reader Plugin from Safari in Mac OS X



    A variety of applications attempt to install Adobe Acrobat Reader into OS X, and many Mac users approve the installation and don’t think much of it. Typically when Acrobat Reader has been installed, it takes over the default PDF viewer that is built into Safari and uses a separate often slower Acrobat plugin for loading PDFs into Safari instead, and it also takes over as the default PDF viewer from Preview app as well.

    Some users may find these behaviors to be desirable, but other Mac users may be annoyed by the Adobe Acrobat Reader takeover of Safari, which is notoriously slow and cumbersome.

    We’re going to demonstrate how to remove that Acrobat Reader plugin from Safari and get the default PDF viewing capabilities back in Safari on the Mac.

    Quit Safari
    From the OS X Finder, hit Command+Shift+G to bring up the Go To Folder window, and enter the following path exactly:

    /Library/Internet Plug-ins/

    Locate the file(s) named “AdobePDFViewer.plugin” and “AdobePDFViewerNPAPI.plugin” – some versions will only have one of these files visible
    Delete* those two AdobePDFViewer files from the Internet Plug-ins folder
    Relaunch Safari for changes to take effect, confirm the change has taken place by loading a PDF into Safari app (try this link to a free PDF book for testing purposes)





    Once you’re removed the plugin and relaunched Safari, the default Safari PDF viewer capability kicks in again to load embedded PDF files:





    * Note that you can also choose to back these two AdobePDFViewer files up somewhere if you want to. We generally recommend deleting them, and should you decide you want to have Acrobat Reader plugin as the default PDF viewer within Safari again, download the newest version from Adobe Acrobat so that you are sure to have the most updated release installed on the Mac.

    While this returns the PDF viewing capabilities back to the speedy Safari default behavior, you may still find that PDF files open in Adobe Acrobat Reader elsewhere on the Mac. That’s also easy to change, and you can quickly set the Preview app to become the default PDF viewer again by making an easy adjustment in the Finder.

    Aside from the annoyance of having slow cruddy software takeover something unexpectedly, Adobe Acrobat Reader has also at times carried security flaws that could potentially make a Mac vulnerable to outside attack. For that reason, disabling or removing the plugin as part of a multi-step process to protect a Mac from external threats like malware, exploits, and trojans can make sense for some users. At the very least, keeping Acrobat Reader up to date is essential, and unlike the Flash plugin, the Acrobat Reader plugin does not become automatically disabled when it’s out of date.





    10-6-14

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