Fix vim hang on xml files

The Syntastic syntax checking plugin validates xml files using xmllint.

You can pass custom arguments to xmllint to enable/disable functions that might be causing the hang.

For me it was the network access, which can be disabled with the –nonet option.

I added the following to my ~/.vimrc

let g:syntastic_xml_xmllint_args = "--xinclude --postvalid --nonet"

Convert AVI files for AppleTV

Once you’ve setup Home Sharing so you can play movies from iTunes on the AppleTV, you’ll notice that some movie types won’t play.

Handbrake is a free tool that can convert avi and other video type to mp4 movies that will play on the AppleTV.  But conversion of more than a few is tedious using the app.

It turns out there is a HandBrake CLI tool you can  download for doing batch conversions.

Change into the directory of files you want to convert. (It is okay if there are subdirectories you also want to process.)

cd /Volumes/Data/Movies

Here is the command I am using for the conversion*:

find . -type file
  -exec \
  /Volumes/HandBrake-0.10.5-MacOSX.6_CLI_x86_64/HandBrakeCLI \
  -i "{}" \
  -o "{}-AppleTV.mp4" \
  --preset="AppleTV" \;

That command will find all files and attempt to convert them using the ‘AppleTV’ preset.

It will output them in the same directory as the original with the suffix “-AppleTV.mp4”.

Of course if you only want to handle certain file types you can change or add to the options to the find command  (-name “*.avi” for example).

To clean up the original files after you are happy with the converted files:

IFS=$'\n';for orig in $(find . -name "*-AppleTV.mp4" | sed -e 's/-AppleTV.mp4//g'); do rm -i ${orig}; done

And finally you can rename the new converted files to remove the old file extension and “-AppleTV”:

IFS=$'\n';for new in $(find . -name "*-AppleTV.mp4"); do mv -i "$new" "$(echo $new | sed 's/\....-AppleTV.mp4/.mp4/g')"; done

*Use your own path to the HandBrakeCLI. I just dragged it into Terminal from the downloaded dmg.

dockutil 2.0.0 is out

It has been a long time coming, but I finally made time to attempt to get dockutil working better with cfprefsd.

I decided to use defaults rather than PyObjC.  Although in hindsight it probably doesn’t matter.  They both have quirks when running as root.

But defaults actually does handle paths correctly, and dockutil has always used paths to the dock plist, so that fits well.

At some point we will likely need to change dockutil to take users or domains rather than paths so it works better with CFPreferences.

But for now we can stay with paths to preserve compatibility with existing scripts using dockutil.

I expect some bugs, so please test and report them on github.

Launchd Tools Released

Launchd Tools are for reading and creating launchd jobs.

For example, to see info about all Apple LaunchAgents and LaunchDaemons.

launchd2cmd /System/Library/Launch*/*

Or to create your own launchd job from an existing command:

cmd2launchd /usr/local/bin/daemond -d --mode foreground

Check it out here:

10.9 Mavericks is your security update for 10.6 through 10.8.5

Mavericks is free.

Its system requirements are the same as for Mountain Lion

It is also a security update:

I surmise that Apple does not intend to provide security updates for older OS versions.  At least not for 10.8.

If you want to get patched, start upgrading to 10.9…

Update: 10/4/2013

While it was fun to speculate about Apple forcing us to upgrade to 10.9.  It was just speculation.  I now believe I was wrong and I expect Apple to release updates for older versions similar to its past behavior.


Cursor Tracking Lag Caused by system_profiler

We’ve noticed problems with mouse cursor tracking, on Thunderbolt Macs attached to displays.

In the middle of moving the cursor with mouse or trackpad, the cursor jumps or skips making it difficult to control.

We tracked down the problem to background runs of system_profiler.  Specifically, when system_profiler queries the display for information.

Running system_profiler without flags or with the SPDisplaysDataType data type triggers the problem.

To reproduce the problem at its worst, run the following in Terminal on a Thunderbolt Mac attached to a display and attempt to use the tracking device:

while [ 1 ]; do system_profiler SPDisplaysDataType; done

Apple is aware of the issue, but has stated that this is expected behavior.

Many tools that rely on system_profiler trigger the issue including JAMF Casper Suite, Puppet, and Apple Remote Desktop.  These and other tools routinely inventory the Mac using system_profiler.

There is currently no workaround for getting display information such as Display serial number.  And the only way to avoid the trigger is to run system profiler with each data type excluding SPDisplaysDataType.

If you think Apple should address the issue, please let them know.