Mac Hell

August 27, 2006

Even though Macs have been renowned for being the most secure and stable as well as user friendly operating system, I have begun to question how it stands up in a heterogeneous environment.

The place where I work has a few Macintosh EMacs in the lab. They are hooked into Active Directory network where they are authenticated by a Windows 2003 server and where the printer is based on a Linux platform.

What a headache that it has been. There has been three main problems with the Macs:

  • Bumping out of the Active Directory. Every so often the Macs will just not log on to the network. So the way to fix that is to unbind the computer from the AD and then rebind it.
  • Printing to the Linux Print Queue.It just doesn’t print! There are only a selective few in our IT team that really know how to fix that. Print from an application and the Mac doesn’t respond to the printer.
  • Lastly the default application that reads PDF is really poor when it comes to opening PDF documents. The text appears as squares. When viewed in Adobe Acrobat reader on the Thin Clients it was fine.

It seems to me that Apple seems to be only reliable when it is used with its own systems. What do you think? 



July 31, 2006

When working in a lab environment where there are two printers and a number of clients, there is always going to be a swarm of people gathering around when the printer queue clogs up. This can be quite a daunting experience especially when you know that you are the one that they are going to mob if there cannot be any printing. I call the people swarming like vultures because the scene is literally like a group of vultures gunning for their prey. 😉

Not enough negative attention Apple?

June 17, 2006

Have you ever got sick of the Apple ad, where you see the PC (which look lke an accountant) and the Apple (who is a younger hip person)? I did. So after seeing this ad, I had to give a bit of a chuckle. 🙄

Mac blue screen of death

May 24, 2006

Everyone knows about the dreaded Windows Blue Screen of Death, right? Well now, there is the equivalent of that on the Macintosh. Below are two links that show the problem in action:



Cryptography issues with IE 6

May 11, 2006

Came across an interesting issue with Windows 2000 Service Pack 4 and Internet Explorer 6 Service Pack 1 today. When we were installing it, it kept on coming up with errors complaining about the cryptography component. The installation source of Internet Explorer was an offline version. Been a few years old.

To cut the long story short, after many tries of trying to reinstall IE with this version with a complete reinstall, I just went to the Microsoft Internet Explorer web page to pick up the ie6setup.exe file to install IE 6 online. Choose the "reinstall all components" or "start from beginning" option if asked. Resuming an installation can cause potential problems.

Spyware Quake

May 9, 2006

Spyware Quake is one of the most recent spyware that has been released on the Internet. In fact, I had seen an infection of this on a clients machine, but did not know what it was until I did some research on the symptoms. I have listed a few links that will help resolve this.

Just for the benefit of others, some of the symptoms of the Spyware Quake is that a flashing icon appears at the task bar and ocassionallly there is a window appearing saying that your “Your computer has been infected”, and to buy the Spyware Quake product.

Here are some links that can help you eradicate this annoying spyware:

Spyware Quake problem- Hijack this posted
How to Remove SpywareQuake – Geeks to Go!

It seems to me that the Smitrem seems to be the one program to get if you find that you are infected with Spyware Quake problem. Good luck cleaning!

Can get onto network but can’t surf the Internet?

April 21, 2006

Picture the scene. Windows can browse the Network, but cannot browse the Internet. Its a Windows 2000 machine. When I see that kind of behaviour there are three possibilities.

  • Spyware and Malware issues
  • TCP/IP Protocol interference
  • Third party application Interference

Spyware and Malware issues
The first thing that I check when I am doing this diagnosis is to check to see if there is any Spyware and Malware. I install Spybot Search and Destroy and update the antispyware definitions. I try to go into Safe Mode to do this. That way if it does pick up any nasties then it can remove them better.

Some of the spyware latch themselves onto the Winsocks without you knowing so what I also use to check this is a program called LSPFix and if it detects anything abnormal such as NewDotNet or any other strange protocols…I remove them.

NOTE: there are things that you shouldn’t delete in LSPFix. Some of the things are:

  • wspwsp.dll -Winsock Proxy Name Space
  • Mswsock.dll-tcpip
  • winrnr.dll-NTDS
  • wshbth.dll Bluetooth Namespace
  • rsvpsp.dll

These are what I deem to be considered safe to keep. If you are unsure, I would recommend going to a forum and let the experts confirm the entries for you.

I also use Hijack This to see if there is anything, but I have found that cases where we can’t surf the web, Hijack This plays a lesser part.

TCP/IP Protocol interference
This is another cause of the internet surfing problem. What you might find is that some rogue protocol attached to the adapter. This was the cause of one of the problems that I was facing with the particular case that I was facing. You can check this in Windows 2000/XP in the Control Panel under network connections, and then checking the network adapter that you are connecting to the Internet. Usually the adapter is labelled Local Area Network Connection. On the system that I was working on, there was a strange protocol WinPoet. On further investigation, talking to the client, this was the protocol that talked to a ADSL wireless device. That solved the problem with Internet Explorer, but any other Internet applications it came up with connectivity issues. Which leads me to the third cause that can potentially cause problems………

Third party application Interference
The last component that can cause connection problems is third party applications. The worst offenders are the Security Suites. There are too many applications that can cause these problems. But I will talk about my experience. On this particular machine I knew that it had previous remnants of Norton Internet Security and Norton Antivirus that were not uninstalled properly. You can check this by looking at services running in Windows 2000/XP in Administrative tools.

For those of you that don’t know at the Symantec site they have utilities that can remove these remnants. This page talks about this. The tools are located here(Norton Internet Security Removal) and
here(Norton Antivirus Removal).

After running those utilities the third party Internet application worked! If there are any other causes that you have come across then please leave a comment! 🙂