Archive for the ‘Mac OS X’ Category

Missing Junk mailbox in Apple Mail

Tuesday, August 19th, 2014

When setting up a new MacBook Pro recently, I was impressed that all of my mail account settings were synced over via iCloud, but somewhat surprised and confused to find that the “Junk” mailbox for all accounts was missing.

I couldn’t find the “Junk” mailbox anywhere – it wasn’t in the list of special folders (Drafts, Sent, Trash etc.) with the Inbox and it wasn’t in the list of general mailboxes – it had seemingly just vanished.

This is particularly annoying for me as I used Zimbra for my mail server and can train the server side junk mail filters by moving messages in and out of the special “Junk” mailbox.

All of the junk mail settings in Apple Mail were enabled and seemed to match those in the same version of Apple Mail on my old laptop, so what was happening?

It seems that when you have the junk mail setting in Apple mail set to “Mark as junk mail, but leave it in my Inbox”, Apple hides the “Junk” mailbox to start with whilst it trains its filters and then only shows it once they have sufficient data built up to start identifying spam.

A quick work around to get the “Junk” mailbox to show up straight away is to change the junk mail setting in Apple Mail from “Mark as junk mail, but leave it in my Inbox” to “Move it to the Junk mailbox” and back again.

Changing this setting causes the “Junk” mailbox to be shown and the mailbox doesn’t get hidden again when you change it back.

Re-open an accidentally closed tab in Safari 5.0

Saturday, July 3rd, 2010

Apple’s 5.0 release of the fantastic Safari web browser has introduced a feature I’ve been waiting for since discovering it several years ago in a somewhat unstable third party plugin who’s name escapes me and which has been in Firefox for some time – the ability to re-open an accidentally closed tab.

When combined with the “Reopen Last Closed Window” and “Reopen All Windows from Last Session” items under the history menu, Safari now has all the features that I miss from Firefox for when I accidentally hit the cross or on the rare occasions when it just locks up (usually thanks to bloody Adobe Flash Player!).

To use this awesome new feature, just use the normal undo/redo buttons under the Edit menu.

Safari 5.0 also brings back the nice old school progress meter in the background of the address bar. 🙂

ditto 100% CPU usage in Mac OS X

Saturday, May 22nd, 2010

My MacBook Pro was starting to really drag it’s heels last night and a quick trip to the Activity Monitor revealed two copies of a process called “ditto” taking up 100% of the processor time on both cores!

The ditto program is a command line tool for copying files and merging directories as well as extracting archives. Earlier in the evening I had been trying to extract what appears to be a corrupted .ZIP file from the finder which had failed a couple of times as it contained a directory structure but wasn’t creating the directories. In the end I made the directories by hand and then extracted it from the command line with “unzip”.

It seems that each of the failed extractions from the finder with the BOMArchiveHelper system utility left the ditto process running, even when I force quit the crashed BOMArchiveHelper instance. From looking at the process hierarchy, the ditto processes were running directly under launchd so it makes sense that they wouldn’t have been killed with BOMArchiveHelper as they aren’t children of it.

Killing each of the ditto processes from the Activity Monitor returned by MacBook Pro to it’s normal responsive self. Just remember that killing a crashed process might not always get rid of everything that it has spawned!

Sharing one keyboard and mouse between several Macs

Thursday, April 8th, 2010

If you have multiple computers, each with it’s own monitor then it can get really confusing having multiple keyboards and mice in front of you, not to mention somewhat disrupting to your workflow every time you have to change between them and reposition your hands appropriately.

Having a KVM switch can help with this, but only lets you use a single monitor at once.
There is a great bit of software for Windows and Linux called Synergy2 that lets you share the keyboard and mouse from one computer between multiple machines. Synergy does have a Mac OS X port, but in the author’s own words it is “incomplete”.

Fortunately, there is a great bit of donation-ware software for Mac OS X called “Teleport”. This essentially does the same thing as Synergy, but in a nice easy to use Mac preference pane with full zeroconf auto-discovery of other Teleport equipped Macs, certificates for authentication and the option of encryption. It can also synchronise the clipboard between two Macs.
Take a look at to download it, and if you like it as much as me then I would encourage you to donate.

Activity Monitor in Snow Leopard

Thursday, March 18th, 2010

If you’re anything like me, then you like to keep your computer nice and neat and organised; this includes sorting all of my applications into categories so that they don’t clutter the place up in one big list.

In Mac OS X 10.6 (aka Snow Leopard), this presents a bit of a problem as Activity Monitor can no long be moved as the path to activitymonitord is now hard coded for some reason. If you do move it, then Activity Monitor appears to start and then just hangs.

If you fire up the Console application to take a look at the syslog, then you’ll see messages along the lines of:

18/03/2010 22:20:34[1] ([1716]) posix_spawn(“/Applications/Utilities/Activity”, …): No such file or directory
18/03/2010 22:20:34[1] ([1716]) Exited with exit code: 1
18/03/2010 22:20:34[1] ( Throttling respawn: Will start in 10 seconds

There is a similar problem with the System Preferences application if you are trying to install custom preference panes such as Growl where the install window will hang with similar looking console messages:

18/03/2010 22:50:46[1] ( Throttling respawn: Will start in 10 seconds
18/03/2010 22:50:56[1] ([2390]) posix_spawn(“/Applications/System”, …): No such file or directory
18/03/2010 22:50:56[1] ([2390]) Exited with exit code: 1

This is only a problem when installing new preference panes, and the System Preferences will work fine normally when moved.

Hopefully this will save someone the headache of trying to diagnose this. I was on the verge of doing a re-install, having only just installed OS X in the first place and started moving everything to be how I like it!