I had to manuver about 800GB of research databases (I use DEVONthink Pro Office) from one zfs filesystem to another because at some point after OS X Server got ahold of my Research volume the permissions and filesystem ACLs went bananas and DEVONthink was completely baffled by it.

Solution was to use Apple’s ignorant-of-xattrs-and-ACLs

to move it to another filesystem where everything is fine. So sometimes it’s good to have a broken

available. Still can’t be certain it won’t happen again and I’d like a more elegant way to recover.

And no, smart-asses,

did f-all to fix anything. Oh, it ran alright. But

still listed long ACLs on everything after supposedly removing it. I suspect it’s something to do with posixacls, and ACL inheritance in OpenZFS’s options, or the mimic HFS+ code is involved somewhere.

Either way, I was sweating recovering those databases with long restore times from Google Nearline until I tested one and it was fine again. Going to alter my backup destinations for different databases anyway to rely on S3 for my Personal and Household stuff at least. Oof.

What a pain.


Filesystem ACLs on OS X are Tedious

all the Macs I’ve loved before

Macs I Have Known and Loved

The 30th anniversary of the Mac has reminded me of all the delightful Macs I’ve known and loved over the years. Some of them were better than others but each of them stands out in their own way.

  1. Mac 512KE 1 that had been upgraded with a Mac Plus ROM and 2.5MB of RAM and the addition of external SCSI. Still with an 800KB floppy drive, though.
  2. Quadra 630 2
  3. Power Mac 6100
  4. PowerBook Duo 280c
  5. Power Mac 7500
  6. Power Mac G3 (Beige desktop)
  7. Power Mac 9500 180MP baller workstation that ran BeOS and Mac OS 9
  8. PowerBook G3 Wallstreet
  9. PowerMac G3 Blue & White
  10. PowerBook G3 Lombard 3
  11. PowerMac G4 Yikes
  12. PowerMac G4 Sawtooth
  13. PowerMac G4 SnakeBite Dual G4
  14. iBook Dual USB
  15. PowerBook G4 Ti
  16. iMac DV SE
  17. PowerBook G4 12″
  18. PowerMac G5 Omega dual 1.8GHz
  19. iMac 17″ iMac4,1
  20. MacBook Black
  21. MacBook Pro 2,1 or 2,2
  22. iMac 24″ 2
  23. MacBook Air2
  24. MacBook Air 11″ core 2 duo
  25. MacBook Air 13″ core 2 duo 2
  26. Retina MacBook Pro 15″ 2

In the racks of fine datacenters:

  1. Power Mac G3 (Beige tower)
  2. Mac Mini G4 (hungus)
  3. Xserve G5 Cluster Node (autobahn)


These are self-built systems built for OS X but aren’t Macs. They’re fickle and bitchy like a Blue & White G3.

  1. Hacintosh 1 — core 2 quad 9550
  2. Hacintosh 2 1. core i7 2600k 2

Apple’s Site

Apple’s Thirty Years of Mac site has a delightful interactive timeline and user stories. With a design and performance heritage that rivals some car companies (think Audi, Porsche, BMW, Mercedes, VW) there is surely a Mac for every user as time goes on.

Screenshot 2014-01-27 01.28.02

  1. System 6.0.5 and MultiFinder ftw 
  2. Still have this Mac and it’s in-use or functional 
  3. The first PowerBook to receive a model designation of PowerBook, i.e. PowerBook1,1. 

Building a FileVault’ed RAID 10 Array on OS X (10.8.4)

I’ve been using a raidz1 ZEVO ZFS volume on my workstation1 for the better part of a year now, but with the future of ZEVO being somewhat up in the air and the current alternative of MacZFS not meeting my needs2, I decided to buy a USB 3 JBOD off Amazon and build an AppleRAID set. It isn’t as good for data protection as using ZFS but is a bit faster and OS X software3 and services4 don’t get really weird about using it either. I also have a FreeNAS server that I use for things I’m really particular about, so I don’t think I’m making that much of a compromise.

I did want it to be as quick as possible with disks I already had from the old NAS that I replaced with the FreeNAS5, but I also wanted to be able to continue working when one of the drives undoubtedly fails without downtime. For redundancy and performance, Apple steers you towards RAID 10 which is using stripes (multiple disks that look like one) and mirrors (multiple disks that have the same data). In light of this, I built a 4 disk array of 1TB drives into a 2TB RAID 10 volume by doing a mirrored pair of striped disks which I then converted to a core storage volume to facilitate expansion later and so that I could use FileVault whole-disk encryption.

Setting up the disks was easy, I did all of that in Disk Utility and created three raid sets. One I set to mirror, and the other two I set to stripe. I then dragged in the disks I wanted to use to their appropriate locations in the stripe sets, and then moved the two stripe sets into the mirrored set.

My final volume name will be cornballer so I named the striped devices cb1 and cb2.

Disk Utility RAID stuff

When I look at my disks in the CLI tool diskutil, I see this:

Core Storage Stuff:

Creating a Core Storage volume is done only via the CLI at this time, it isn’t fully baked yet, but works well. This is also the means used for people that build their own “Fusion Drive” stripes with a fixed disk and an SSD. I’m not certain of this, but I suspect if I created a mirrored RAID of two SSDs I could add that to my logical volume family created by core storage and I suspect it would work as any other Fusion Drive except with redundancy and the ability to recover from a failure without losing data.

Converting my RAID 10 set into a Core Storage volume is simple, yet none-the-less a bit terrifying. Pick the wrong device and you can destroy data, so I had to be clear on what I was doing! My formatted and ready-to-use RAID 10 volume was disk9 when I listed all devices via diskutil list, so I unmounted it just to be safe. I ran diskutil list again to be sure that my unmounted volume was still presently recognized and at the same device number, and then blew it all to hell:

Using diskutil list will only show you traditional volumes and devices. It will not show you the particulars of logical volume groups created with Core Storage, to do that you need to use the the verb ‘cs’. Now when running diskutil cs list I saw a new set of entries for this logical volume group, and the associated unique identifiers (UUID). Device names like ‘disk9’ can change on reboots or hardware changes, so using UUIDs is a great way to make sure you’re working with the right disks. You also must use UUIDs when using Core Storage and creating volumes, so don’t dismiss them when they scroll by.

It’s time to create a usable filesystem on my new Core Storage volume!

This means “hello there diskutil, please use Core Storage, create a new volume on UUID blah, make it a Journaled HFS+ filesystem using 100% of the storage available, and ask me for a passphrase to unlock the disk”. Give it the passphrase you want to use (you can add it to your keychain later so don’t be shy — mine is also a note in 1Password) and you’re done! The 100% designation means I want to use all the space I have available, but you can resize them later in Core Storage’s commands (sweet) or create partitions and mix filesystems if you want to6.

When I look at my disks in the CLI tool diskutil, I now see this:

This volume has performed very well so far, certainly feels faster in use than my ZEVO raidz1 volume, and after doing a series of tests copying data back and forth, I promptly rsync‘ed my data from the raidz1 to the new volume without incident except for one instance where I was stupidly following symlinks recursively and didn’t notice until 4 hours later while it was still writing in a loop.7 I’d still rather be using ZFS for many reasons, but this path at least removes some complexity in the future and doesn’t leave me at the mercy of a vendor and product that has been up in the air twice now without much communication from the developer and management of the company.

  1. named ‘lindsay’ 

  2. I think in the near future it will get a lot better as there is active development on a next generation of the software 

  3. like iTunes 

  4. like iCloud 

  5. It was an Infrant/Netgear ReadyNAS NV+ with a slow-as-shit SPARC processor that couldn’t push files at gigabit ethernet 

  6. i.e. you could start with 70% jhfs+ and then add new 10% fat32 and an extra 20% jhfs+ filesystem 

  7. Way to go, doofus! 


32 Flavours and Then Some

Flavours is a Mac application that allow users to create, apply and share beautifully designed themes.

Years ago there was the Mac OS Appearance Manager in Mac OS 8 and 9, and then Shapeshifter for Mac OS X. Each of these allowed users to customize the Mac user interface by altering the appearance of window decorations, widgets, and colors for the purpose of changing the theme of their Mac. The Shapeshifter project fell by the wayside and there ceased to be a reliable way to manage the appearance of OS X, until recently.

It’s a little fiddly in that you can spend a lot of time browsing themes, and a bit of a time-sink for sure, but there are some  beautiful themes ready for your Mac. It probably won’t make you more productive, unless there are certain elements that you find infuriating about OS X that can be solved with paint. For support, I’ve found their support person (Nuno) to be very responsive and quick to respond to any bugs, the last of which that affected me were resolved this week with the release of version 1.0.9.

The changes Flavours makes are purely cosmetic, but in spite of that, it was money well spent; there are dozens upon dozens damn near hundreds of contributed themes already available, and they are available free of charge! There are some real gems in there too.

Thank you for Flavours, and well done, Pedro and Nuno. I’ve had a lot of fun with your software and am really happy to see you two take up this project and the Theme Shop is especially well executed.


SWTOR on VMWare Fusion

SWTOR on VMWare Fusion