Kill that Screen Sharing Dialog Box

As long as we’re taking about OS X, I have a fix for when you try to screen share another computer on your network and the dialog box hangs… Really, this is super-annoying. You can get rid of it by rebooting, but I hate rebooting. You can’t easily hide it because it floats above other windows, and you can’t force quit it. Well, not easily…

In your favorite terminal program (I personally like iTerm but will do) type the following:

ps aux | grep NetAuthAgent

And you should see something like this:

pete  38146  0.4  0.2  2823072 13644 ??  S  8:28AM 0:43.59 /System/Library/CoreServices/
pete  40131  0.0  0.0  2425700   264 s001 R+ 10:26AM 0:00.00 grep NetAuthAgent

That first line, with the /System/Library/CoreServices/ bit is the one you want. See the first set of numbers in that line? That’s the process id (or PID.) Once you know the PID, you can do the following:

kill 38146

Typing the kill command followed by the process id should get rid of the dialog box.

Alternately, you can type:

killall NetAuthAgent

killall is a little more risky, as it kills processes based on name, not the PID, so if you have multiple process with the same name, it will kill them all. Hose things up enough and you’ll need to reboot, which is what we wanted to avoid doing in the first place.

Aren’t bugs fun?


Fixing an iDVD “locked” file

I still use iDVD a lot, because it’s quick and easy to spit out a DVD either with simple menus, or an as auto-play disc with no menus at all… but every now and then, I get this warning about the file being locked.

This specific error came up when I copied the file to another Mac, but I’ve seen similar locking problem even on the same Mac and even with the same user…

Here’s the fix: command-click on the file in the Finder, and select Show Package Contents from the contextual menu. This will open a Finder window showing you the files.

Go into Contents, and then Resources, and look for the project.lock file, and delete it. That should fix it.

Bonus Tip: If you want a fast way of recursively opening all folders in list view, select the main folder, and hit command-option-right arrow. Want to close them all? command-option-left arrow.


Infinite Campus

Infinite Fail

So far I’m not impressed with Infinite Campus…

I know, the school year hasn’t even started, and there probably isn’t much data in it yet, and the fact that they misplaced my daughter, and had someone completely unrelated to my family associated with my account (somehow living in my house, with my mobile phone number) is all probably the fault of some human rather than the system itself…

I’m interested to know how much Infinite Campus costs. From my preliminary research, it looks to be expensive. Really expensive. REALLY REALLY expensive. Aren’t there open source alternatives to these things? I mean, it’s not like there’s a need for software like this… it’s only the educational market, how big can that be? I probably wouldn’t mind having my tax dollars used for the development of open source software that pretty much every school district could have the option to use to manage things…

Obviously I’ve not seen the back end of this thing… If it makes life easier for the teachers and administration, that’s a good thing… My opinion is only that of a user. A user who has about 15 minutes of using it. So far… I’m not impressed, but I’ll keep an eye on it. It seems to work for other schools. Maybe it’ll just take time. Hopefully I won’t have to fix things myself like I did with WebGrader.


Here, let me fix that for you…

So my old pal Sam (@svdodge) tweeted about an annoying feature of Twitter…

I would gladly pay somewhere between 10 and 25 cents a month to never see Who to Follow in my twitter sidebar again. #whoiswithme?

Now, Sam’s a smart guy, but I wondered if at what level this “feature” annoyed him… He may have been joking, but he did offer to pay (a small amount) to have this “feature” removed.

When I come across something I don’t like, I want to change it. I want to fix it, I want to make it not annoy me.

Luckily, with the web… this is possible. It’s possible due to the work others have done who felt the same way, who felt that users should be in control of their experience.

So I followed up with the following, suggesting a Greasemonkey or Stylish solution:

@svdodge shall I find you a Greasemonkey or Stylish solution? #annonyances #fixed

But that wasn’t enough for me.. so in the tradition of Let me google that for you I headed over to, found a script, installed it, tested it, and tweeted again:

@svdodge here's one... there are others #control #the #web

I hope it works for you Sam!

Now, as for the reason I did this? It wasn’t just to help a friend, and it wasn’t to show off how damn smart I am (I mean, that’s questionable, right?) The reason I did it was because I believe in keeping the web free and open. I believe in building a better Internet, and helping people take control.

These ideas align with those of Mozilla, btw… and it’s one more reason I’m sticking with Firefox as my browser (and Mozilla) instead of abandoning it for Chrome or Safari, or another browser created by a for-profit company interested in controlling my browsing experience. Mozilla was there for us, they saved us from the big bad IE Monster, and helped keep the web open and free, and they’re still doing that, and I want to help them… If you want to join me, get in touch.


Mac OS X 10.5.7 and Fonts

Had a bit of fun today…. one of our users ran the Mac OS X 10.5.7 update, and all was well, except that which was not, and “that which was not” was the fonts.

Do you work with graphic designers? Then you know they love fonts… lots of them!

So after rebooting, running fsck, running repair permissions, trying to verify the disk, trashing preference files, and on and on… I finally ended up disabling all fonts, and then enabling just the core system fonts, and things started working again. By things, I mean Adobe Photoshop CS3. Sure, was having some issues getting up and running, but in Photoshop, every time a file with text was opened, it got a “program error” which also happened if you opened a new document in Photoshop and clicked the type tool.

So the culprit is a font. Probably a bad font. We still don’t know which one… but as they are re-enabled, hopefully we’ll find out… and then work on replacing it.