« Email Blackout: The Supermoves of a Stupendous Bozo | Main | Net Neutrality and You »

Instant Karma!

On 10 April of this year in “Cure application crashes,” the first installment of a series titled “OS X First Aid,” Landau suggests that badly behaved applications can sometimes be rehabilitated if you

3. Restart Your Mac Select the Restart command from the Apple menu. It’s amazing how often this simple act resolves a problem. If the crash is so bad that you can’t get Restart to work, press and hold your Mac’s power button until the machine shuts off. As a last resort, turn off your Mac by unplugging the power cord.

In the comments to Landau's article, I replied, in part

Restart your Mac? I really can't take this seriously.

Very rarely, an application might freeze the WindowServer and leave your Mac seemingly unresponsive. (In many cases, one can still remotely log in and set things right.) [. . . .]

So, while I agree some applications might lock up your computer (or create conditions which look like a lock up but can be solved by remotely logging in), I cannot think of a single Mac application that benefits from having the machine rebooted. Can you provide an example?

I should have known that if Landau or anyone else could not provide examples that the Pneuma of the Machine would intervene and supply me with some.

The first example came the very next day (11 April) in the form of baby's refusal (baby is the computer which hosts organ-machine among others) to mount a particular remote volume (named “gort”) on its desktop though gort could be seen from the command line (/Volumes/gort/). Attempts to force gort to show on the desktop using commands like “open /Volumes/gort/” yielded a cryptic error whose number, I think, had a negative sign. I logged out and in, mounted and unmounted, but nothing helped. So, I rebooted baby after which gort obligingly appeared.

The second example is part of the aftermath of “The Supermoves of a Stupendous Bozo.” After fixing the mail server, I notified my users that everything should be back to normal and to notify me of any problems. The next day (Monday, 22 April), the author of mandyowen.net alerted me that Squirrelmail was complaining “ERROR: Connection dropped by IMAP server.”

As is often the case with Open Source Software (OSS), several dozens of people have encountered the same message but nowhere is there a procedure to diagnose the problem, let alone a solution to the problem. I even narrowed my search to the point where Google returned results containing the error in /var/log/mail.log, “SSL23_GET_CLIENT_HELLO:unknown protocol,” but none of the sites I visited contained anything that smelled like help.

I decided that I would restore the last backup I had made of the server's operating system and suffer redoing the changes I'd made since then (the last day of April), but before doing so I'd try, you know, rebooting.

You can guess the rest. end of article