Unable to Enter Time Machine on OS X 10.11 El Capitan

I recently upgraded my iMac 5k to OS X 10.11 El Capitan, and one of the few problems I’ve run into is that the Time Machine UI wouldn’t work. Time Machine itself was working fine – my files were being backed up; I just couldn’t get into the UI to browse the backups.

Looking at the system logs in Console.app, it was obvious that the Finder was crashing as soon as the Time Machine UI tried to launch:

Finder[23082]: An uncaught exception was raised
Finder[23082]: *** -[__NSArrayM objectAtIndex:]: index 0 beyond bounds for empty array
Finder[23082]: *** Terminating app due to uncaught exception 'NSRangeException', 

After a bunch of Google searches, I found this thread on the Apple support forums which provided the fix: if you have multiple monitors, either unplug all but your main display, or turn off “Displays have separate Spaces” in the Mission Control system preferences.


After turning that option off and logging out / logging in, the Time Machine UI works great. Hopefully, Apple will fix this in 10.11.1.

Root cronjobs not running on Ubuntu 14.04

I recently ran into a very odd problem on my DigitalOcean virtual machine, which runs Ubuntu 14.04 LTS. None of the root-owned cron jobs were running. Jobs were running as other users, but not as root. I first noticed this because automysqlbackup puts a cron file in /etc/cron.daily, but the backups were never running. I could run it manually via sudo, but it just wouldn’t run under cron.

At first, troubleshooting this was rather difficult, as Ubuntu 14.04 doesn’t log cron events by default. This is easily fixed by uncommenting a following line in rsyslog’d config:

$ grep cron `/etc/rsyslog.d/50-default.conf`:
#cron.*                          /var/log/cron.log

After a quick service rsyslogd restart, messages from cron started showing up in the right place. A suspicious entry quickly became obvious. Lots of these:

Nov 30 10:09:00 xx CRON[1741]: Authentication token is no longer valid; new one required

A bit of Googling seemed to indicate that this was related to the password being expired for whatever user is trying to run the task. But wait, root’s password expired? That seems unlikely. BUT this led me to remember that I had recently rebuilt this droplet (DigitalOcean’s word for “VM”). When I rebuilt, I gave the control panel my existing SSH keys for authentication, so it didn’t email me a root password. Could it be that it didn’t actually set a root password?

I pulled up the handy encrypted file where I keep server passwords and whatnot, and did a quick sudo passwd root to reset the root password to the most recent one.

Fixed! Adding a test job to /etc/cron.d to run as root worked, and I soon started seeing regularly scheduled root jobs showing up in cron.log (e.g. php cleanup stuff).

tl;dr: if root crons aren’t running, make sure root has a password

Python Class and Object Attributes

In [1]: class Foo(object): ...: bar = 123 ...: In [2]: Foo.bar Out[2]: 123 In [3]: f = Foo() In [4]: f.bar Out[4]: 123 In [5]: f.bar = 234 In [6]: f.bar Out[6]: 234 In [7]: Foo.bar Out[7]: 123 In [8]: del f.bar In [9]: f.bar Out[9]: 123

Sort files with underscores first in Linux

On my work Linux box (Ubuntu 12.04, aka “Precise Pangolin”), the ‘ls’ command lists files beginning with an underscore intermixed with other files. In other words, the following four files will be displayed like so:

blanders@arya$ ls
a.txt  b.txt  _c.txt  d.txt

This is not what I want. I want files that begin with an underscore to be sorted first in the list. Fortunately, there’s an easy way to fix this. The sort order is controlled by the LC_COLLATE locale variable. By default, it’s set to:

blanders@arya$ locale | grep LC_COLLATE

If we override this to set LC_COLLATE to either ‘C’ or ‘POSIX’, Linux will do what I want:

blanders@arya$ LC_COLLATE=C ls
_c.txt  a.txt  b.txt  d.txt

I don’t want to override LC_COLLATE globally, since that may cause unexpected effects elsewhere, so let’s just override it for the ‘ls’ command:

alias ls='LC_COLLATE=C ls'

blanders@arya$ ls
_c.txt  a.txt  b.txt  d.txt


How Many Pingable Devices Do You Have?

A Google+ post from a colleague reads:

Make a tally of all Internet-connected devices in your home. Only count devices that ping (so dumb switches and such don’t count)

I decided to count mobile devices that are usually on the network when I’m at home, e.g. phones and tablets.

  • iMac 27” desktop
  • Macbook Pro laptop
  • iPad 2
  • iPhone 5
  • Playstation 3
  • Panasonic Viera TV
  • Foscam FI8910W wireless camera
  • Synology DS1511+ NAS
  • Buffalo LinkStation Pro Duo backup NAS
  • Withings internet scale
  • Cisco ASA 5505 firewall
  • Netgear WNDR3700 wireless AP
  • HP 2811 managed gigabit switch

Moved My Link Dump Posts

I’ve moved my frequent “Link Dump” posts over to my other blog at Broken Robot

Finally some raid drops!

After two solid weeks of nothing but gold from raiding, I finally got some upgrades this week!

I also finally got the last 2 drops of Sigil of Power to complete The Strength of One’s Foes. Now I just need to re-run ToES again next week to kill the Sha of Fear and get my Crystallized Horror.

I also broke down and bought Enchant Weapon - Jade Spirit and a full set of level upgrades for my Giorgio’s Caduceus of Pure Moods.

Only a couple more 400-level items to replace before I’m done with Chidori unless I start raiding for real. Don’t think that’s going to happen. I just don’t have time to get back into the grind more than I already have.

On an amusing note: a Druid healer in last night’s raid got beat in healing on Sha of Fear by the DK main tank! That’s just sad.

Tiny WoW Update

Not a lot going on in the WoW world. Still raiding LFRs every week, but not a lot of useful drops. I did build up enough Valor points to get Ring of the Shado-Pan Assault, which was a nice upgrade.

Currently working on maxing out Valor points every week to get Wisp-Weave Pantaloons, or Bracers of Shielding Thought, depending on what drops I get in the mean time, but that’s going to take a while.

Hit an amusing milestone on my Warlock tailor this week: I’ve finally run out of new recipes to discover, I think. Three days in a row of no discovery when crafting Imperial Silk. Need to get one of the recipe addons to see which ones I’m still missing.

Another Productive Week of Raiding

Couple of nice pieces tonight from some ToT raiding:

Finally got enough Valor points last night to pick up Necklace of the Terra-Cotta Mender and replace my last blue.

Got Giorgio’s Caduceus of Pure Moods last night, but ended up not using it, since I also got Giorgio’s Caduceus of Pure Moods. Combined with Venomlord’s Totemic Wand, which I already had, main-hand/off-hand is a better mix than the staff.

Also got a nice robe upgrade with Robes of Static Bursts, although still several better slot items there to work towards in the future.

No More Blue Pants!

Maxed out on Valor for the week, and got Leggings of Shadow Infestation in LFR Heart of Fear. Woot. Bought a Greater Pearlescent Spellthread and gems for it, reforged a bit, and now I just need 1 trinket and 1 ring to get rid of all blues. Both need rep and Valor, so it’s going to be at least 2 weeks before I can get what I want.