TweetFollow Us on Twitter

September 93 - KON & BAL'S PUZZLE PAGE

KON & BAL'S PUZZLE PAGE

I'M HERE TO SERVE

KONSTANTIN OTHMER AND BRUCE LEAK

[IMAGE 132-136_Puzzle_Page_rev1.GIF]

See if you can solve this programming puzzle, presented in the form of a dialog between Konstantin Othmer (KON) and Bruce Leak (BAL). The dialog gives cluesto help you. Keep guessing until you're done; your score is the number to the left of the clue that gave you the correct answer. These problems are supposed to be tough. If you don't get a high score, at least you'll learn interesting Macintosh trivia.

BAL Here's one for you, KON: I've got this server that I store builds on. It's a Macintosh ci running System 7.1 with File Sharing enabled, hooked up over Ethernet. The server runs an experimental MPW tool that spins the beach-ball cursor (don't they all?) waiting for a build to appear; then it renames the build with the next release number and makes it available to the public. Early on we had some problems with the tool and it would occasionally crash the server, but that seems to be working now.

KON So what's the problem?

BAL When I use the Finder to copy my latest build out there, it crashes the server. Yet when I use the duplicate command as part of the MPW build script for my project, it works.

KON I thought you did all your builds in THINK C.

BAL Of course, but I use MPW for file management just like the guys on the Finder team.

KON Chalk one up for MPW.

BAL But that's not all. When I use the Finder to copy other files out to the server it works fine. Solve me, KON. Over.

KON I'm suspicious of that MPW shell script running on the server. It's continuously making file system calls while File Sharing is trying to copy your file over in the background. There must be some contention caused by MPW trying to rename the file while it's still in the process of being copied.

BAL Come on, KON, what do you think we're running here? This is System 7 we're talking about. Don't you think we would get something like that right on the seventh try?

KON No comment.

100 BAL If I stop the MPW shell script running on the server or even quit MPW completely, the server still crashes when I use the Finder to copy my build to it.

KON Are the Finder copies that crash file-size dependent?

95 BAL Size doesn't seem to matter. The Finder can successfully copy files that are the same size, smaller, and bigger than mine without crashing the server.

KON So it's the server that's crashing?

BAL Yeah, the progress bar comes up on the client machine, the copy starts, and then almost immediately the server crashes and the client machine hangs in XPP's two- minute penalty box.

KON There's an updated version of the StopXPP dcmd that works with System 7 for all those MacsBugphiles. Install that baby and you're golden. When the client hangs because the server has gone away, just drop into MacsBug and type StopXPP to force the connection to time out immediately. Any other problems?

90 BAL Yeah, yeah, yeah. I've already got that dcmd. My machine isn't hung anymore, but the server is still crashed and your point total is still falling.

KON You packrat! You stole one of those rev J Apple Ethernet cards from Van Brink's garage. It's dropping bits, same as it ever did, and the way the Finder is slicing up your bit stream chokes it.

85 BAL Sorry, it's rev K of the card -- the one that only drops bits when you're running in 32- bit mode -- but the ci has only 8 megs of RAM and is running in 24-bit mode.

KON OK, I'll try Third-Party Cards for $200.

80 BAL KON, I use only Apple equipment. Throw the card out altogether, use LocalTalk, and it still happens. Get a life.

KON Are there any other cards in the ci that are dropping bits? Perhaps the Apple ci cache card?

75 BAL No cards, but if it makes you feel any better, I'll have Vanna swap in a new ci, keeping only the hard disk; it still happens.

KON I don't want a ci anymore. How 'bout we try an fx, or maybe even a Classic?

70 BAL Vanna's getting a little tired here. Bad news: it still happens on all of them.

KON What if we try one of those NuTek boxes?

65 BAL Fine. It crashes on boot. Next.

KON And swapping out the hard drive fixes it?

60 BAL Swapping out the hard drive stops the server from crashing. Any chance I can solve this problem and preserve my existing hardware investment?

KON So there's something wrong with your system software or the File Sharing software on that drive. I'll reinstall all that stuff and watch it work beautifully. Problem solved.

55 BAL Not! After you reinstall System 7.1 and all the bogus networking disks, and reinstall MacsBug and the dcmds from the virgin copies that came with that Debugging Macintosh Software book, ISBN #0-201-57049-1, it still happens.

KON I never really trusted installing over existing corrupt software. So I throw everything in the trash, empty the trash, and reinstall fresh.

50 BAL It still happens.

KON Maybe the volume allocation is messed up: you've got some bad I-nodes, circular B- tree references, or some other HFS mumbo jumbo. I'll confer with Dr. Norton and see what he thinks.

45 BAL Doctors Norton, Feldman, and Bruffey, Disk FirstAid, and others all give it a clean bill of health, though a few file dates were wrong and they've been fixed.

KON So maybe some part of the media went bad, producing bad sectors or ambiguous data. I'll do a media test using Silverlining.

40 BAL The media is fine. OK, KON. Quit screwing around. It's not a hardware problem.

KON But when I replaced the hard disk, the problem went away. What remains after I throw all the files away? Well, the driver persists. I'll update the driver with the utility software that came with the drive.

35 BAL It still happens. It doesn't have anything to do with the driver.

KON I'll try SneakerNet!

30 BAL Well, transferring the file by floppy disk doesn't work either, using the Finder on the server. Surprisingly, this most reliable means of networking doesn't work even though you aren't using high-density floppies. In this case paper clips don't even help.

KON OK, I reformat the drive and reinstall the software fresh.

25 BAL Now it works. So what's the bug?

KON Well, the reformatting changed the interleave, and there was some weird timing problem hosing you.

20 BAL Enough grasping at straws. Remember it only happens with my file or copies of my file. Get those rusty old gears turning.

KON I'll chop the file into pieces and see if those still crash the server when I copy them. I'll strip out all the CODE resources with ResEdit and try that file.

15 BAL The file is pretty small now, and it still crashes.

KON I strip out all the data by setting the EOF.

10 BAL It still crashes. Look, I can build it from scratch, I can build it on other machines, I can change the code that's in it, other people can build it on their machines, it happens with Ethernet, SneakerNet, LocalTalk, you name it -- it still crashes.

KON And people thought we'd run out of these puzzles.

BAL I got a great one for next time, too, but you've got to finish this one first.

KON So what makes my file my file? If it's not the name, the data in it, or the creation date, it's got to be the container info -- the icon, the file type, the creator, that stuff.

BAL Your puzzle, KON.

KON The Desktop Manager previously used only by AppleShare is used by the Finder in System 7, right?

5 BAL Yeah, there are two invisible data files: Desktop DB and Desktop DF. Desktop DF has the all the data for the icons, and Desktop DB has information for all files: the document-to-application binding, the file-to-icon binding, and the file-to-comment binding. For each application creator, it keeps a list of all the applications of that type with the newest one first. That way when you double-click a document, the Finder launches the newest version of the application that handles that document.

KON I get it. The desktop database got corrupted by the experimental MPW tool you had, and when the Finder tries to update the database, it reads bad data and chokes.

BAL It worked when copying files via MPW because MPW doesn't try to keep the desktop database up to date.

KON So you should be able to rebuild the desktop database by holding down the Command and Option keys while booting. Then everything will work great.

BAL I knew the AppleShare servers are the most reliable in the business, and I couldn't believe we got one to crash.

KON Well, if you want to write sleazy MPW tools that you haven't fully debugged, you get what's coming to you.

BAL In fact, for ultimate security on a network server, you should lock it in a room and not run any weird stuff that isn't endorsed by your AppleShare administrator.

KON Right! But if you insist on running untested code, you get what you pay for.

BAL Nasty.

KON Yeah.


KONSTANTIN OTHMER AND BRUCE LEAK spent some time in the county slammer this summer, BAL for bungee jumping off a Cupertino freeway overpass and KON for losing the landmark "KON versus Stockton Board of Health" tenants-rights trial. They were able to get reduced sentences by working as waiters in "Pro Bono," the prison's nouvelle cuisine restaurant, (see photo) and faithfully adhering to the Macintosh Human Interface Guidelines .*

SCORING

  • 75-100 Excellent! Link your résumé to DEVELOP.
  • 50-70 Not bad. Link your résumé to MACTECHMAG.
  • 25-45 Hmmm. Better sit on that résumé for a while.
  • 5-20 At least you beat KON's score!*

Thanks to Gary Davidian, Pat Dirks, scott douglass, Kevin Stinson, and Chris Zuleeg for reviewing this column. *

 

Community Search:
MacTech Search:

Software Updates via MacUpdate

Luminar 1.0.2 - Powerful, adaptive, conf...
Luminar is the new full-featured image editor that adapts to the way you edit photos. Over 300 essential tools to fix, edit, and enhance your photos with comfort. The future of photo editing is here... Read more
Slack 2.3.3 - Collaborative communicatio...
Slack is a collaborative communication app that simplifies real-time messaging, archiving, and search for modern working teams. Version 2.3.3: Fixed window zoom jumping back-and-forth OS X 10.9... Read more
WhatRoute 2.0.10 - Geographically trace...
WhatRoute is designed to find the names of all the routers an IP packet passes through on its way from your Mac to a destination host. It also measures the round-trip time from your Mac to the router... Read more
Luminar 1.0.2 - Powerful, adaptive, conf...
Luminar is the new full-featured image editor that adapts to the way you edit photos. Over 300 essential tools to fix, edit, and enhance your photos with comfort. The future of photo editing is here... Read more
WhatRoute 2.0.10 - Geographically trace...
WhatRoute is designed to find the names of all the routers an IP packet passes through on its way from your Mac to a destination host. It also measures the round-trip time from your Mac to the router... Read more
Slack 2.3.3 - Collaborative communicatio...
Slack is a collaborative communication app that simplifies real-time messaging, archiving, and search for modern working teams. Version 2.3.3: Fixed window zoom jumping back-and-forth OS X 10.9... Read more
Lens Blur 1.4.3 - True out-of-focus boke...
Lens Blur transforms your existing photo into true SLR-quality out-of-focus bokeh effect! Everyone needs a gorgeous personalized background for a social profile, blog, Web/UI design, presentation, or... Read more
CleanMyMac 3.6.0 - $39.95
CleanMyMac makes space for the things you love. Sporting a range of ingenious new features, CleanMyMac lets you safely and intelligently scan and clean your entire system, delete large, unused files... Read more
DEVONthink Pro 2.9.8 - Knowledge base, i...
DEVONthink Pro is your essential assistant for today's world, where almost everything is digital. From shopping receipts to important research papers, your life often fills your hard drive in the... Read more
MacFamilyTree 8.1 - Create and explore y...
MacFamilyTree gives genealogy a facelift: modern, interactive, convenient and fast. Explore your family tree and your family history in a way generations of chroniclers before you would have loved.... Read more

Latest Forum Discussions

See All

Amateur Surgeon 4 Guide: Become the worl...
It's time to wield your trusty pizza cutter again, as Amateur Surgeon has returned with a whole fresh set of challenges (and some old, familiar ones, too). Starting anew isn't easy, especially when all you have at your disposal is a lighter, the... | Read more »
Le Parker: Sous Chef Extraordinaire (Ga...
Le Parker: Sous Chef Extraordinaire 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $2.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: | Read more »
Telltale Games really is working on a Gu...
Telltale Games' next episodic adventure is indeed Guardians of the Galaxy. A document tied to the voice actors strike suggested that the project was in the work, but now we have direct confirmation following an announcement at the Game Awards that... | Read more »
Amateur Surgeon returns to iOS and Andro...
Amateur Surgeon and its two sequels disappeared from the App Store some time and it was sad days for all. But now, just in time for the holidays, the Adult Swim favorite makes its joyous return in the shape of Amateur Surgeon 4, a remake with... | Read more »
The best board games on mobile
Sometimes you need to ditch all of the high speed, high action games in favor of something a little more traditional. If you don't feel like parting ways from your mobile device, though, there are still plenty of ways to get that old-school fix.... | Read more »
The best Facebook Messenger Instant Game...
Facebook's new Instant Games is now here, meaning you can play games with your friends directly via Facebook. It's a fun new way to connect with friends, of course, but it's also proving to be a solid gaming experience in its own right, with a... | Read more »
You can now play game's on Facebook...
Facebook launched its new Instant Games platform in an exciting new attempt to engage its user base. As a result, you can now play a number of different games directly through Facebook Messenger. All of these games run with HTML5, meaning you play... | Read more »
Apollo Justice Ace Attorney (Games)
Apollo Justice Ace Attorney 1.00.00 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $.99, Version: 1.00.00 (iTunes) Description: Court Is Back In Session Star as rookie defense attorney, Apollo Justice, as he visits crime scenes,... | Read more »
KORG iWAVESTATION (Music)
KORG iWAVESTATION 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Music Price: $19.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: A revolutionary new world of sound.The Wave Sequence Synthesizer for iPad - KORG iWAVESTATION | Read more »
Don't Grind Guide: Tips for becomin...
Don’t Grind is a surprising, derpy little one touch game with fun hand-drawn graphics. The goal is simple -- get the high score without being chopped to bits. That can be tough when you’re not used to the game, and that’s compounded by the fact... | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

Parallels Toolbox 1.3 for Mac Offers 25 Singl...
Parallels has launched Parallels Toolbox 1.3 for Mac, an upgrade that adds five new utilities to the stand-alone application which was released in August and is available exclusively online at http... Read more
OWC Mercury Elite Pro Dual mini Ultra-Portabl...
OWC has introduced the new OWC Mercury Elite Pro Dual mini, a powerful yet ultra-portable dual-drive RAID solution. The new Mercury Elite Pro Dual mini packs phenomenal performance into a small... Read more
Clearance 13-inch Retina MacBook Pros availab...
B&H Photo has clearance 2015 13″ Retina Apple MacBook Pros available for up to $200 off original MSRP. Shipping is free, and B&H charges NY tax only: - 13″ 2.7GHz/128GB Retina MacBook Pro: $... Read more
Roundup of 2016 13-inch 2.0GHz MacBook Pro sa...
B&H has the non-Touch Bar 13″ MacBook Pros in stock today for $50-$100 off MSRP. Shipping is free, and B&H charges NY sales tax only: - 13″ 2.0GHz MacBook Pro Space Gray (MLL42LL/A): $1449 $... Read more
New 13-inch 2.0GHz Space Gray MacBook Pro in...
Adorama has the new 13″ 2.0GHz Space Gray MacBook Pro (non-Touch Bar, MLL42LL/A) in stock for $1499 including a free 3-year AppleCare Protection Plan. Shipping is free, and Adorama charges sales tax... Read more
Finnair Adopts iOS Enterprise iPad Apps from...
Finnair and IBM have announced a first-of-its-kind agreement to utilize iOS enterprise apps from IBM to support the airline’s overall digital transformation. Finnair is focused on Asia-Europe traffic... Read more
Tech21 Launches Evo Go iPhone 7 Case Availabl...
Tech21 has announced the launch of the Evo Go case for Apple iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus, exclusively at T-Mobile. Available online and at participating T-Mobile stores nationwide, Evo Go cases start... Read more
Apple Turns (RED) with More Ways to Join the...
In recognition of World AIDS Day, Apple is offering more ways than ever for customers to join (RED) in its mission to create an AIDS-free generation. Apple is the worlds largest corporate contributor... Read more
Deals on new 15-inch Touch Bar MacBook Pros,...
B&H Photo has new 2016 Apple 15″ Touch Bar MacBook Pro models in stock today with some available for $50 off MSRP, each including free shipping plus NY sales tax only: - 15″ 2.7GHz Touch Bar... Read more
12-inch Retina MacBooks on sale for up to $10...
12-inch Retina MacBooks remain on sale at B&H Photo with models available for up to $100 off MSRP. Shipping is free, and B&H charges NY sales tax only. B&H will also include a free copy... Read more

Jobs Board

*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions- White P...
Sales Specialist - Retail Customer Service and Sales Transform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the store, you're also the Read more
Automotive Detailer - *Apple* Used Autos -...
We are currently conductinginterviews and will be accepting applications for a part-time detailer. Apple Used Autos is a great place to work andstart a career. We Read more
*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions - Apple,...
Job Description: Sales Specialist - Retail Customer Service and Sales Transform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the store, Read more
US- *Apple* Store Leader Program - Apple (Un...
…Summary Learn and grow as you explore the art of leadership at the Apple Store. You'll master our retail business inside and out through training, hands-on Read more
*Apple* & PC Desktop Support Technician...
Apple & PC Desktop Support Technician job in Dallas TX Introduction: We have immediate job openings for several Desktop Support Technicians with one of our most Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.