Reflections on my first few weeks of listening to podcasts

A few weeks ago, and way late to the game, I started listening to podcasts. Of the several I’ve heard so far, the ones I enjoyed have included Horace Dediu’s “The Critical Path“, Benedict Evans’s “Cubed“, Gabe Weatherhead and Erik Hess’s “Technical Difficulties” and Shawn Blanc’s “The Weekly Briefly“. The ones I’ve disliked have included John Gruber’s “The Talk Show” and Marco Arment’s “Accidental Tech“.

I wanted to take a moment to reflect on why I liked some and disliked others. This is mostly for my own benefit, since going through this exercise will likely reveal my motivations for listening to podcasts in the first place. Continue reading Reflections on my first few weeks of listening to podcasts

Keyboard Maestro macro to get URL to selected message in Mail.app

While waiting for version 4 to be released, I’ve had to temporarily uninstall the MailTags plug-in from Mail.app in OS X Mavericks. One of the most-used features of MailTags for me was its ability to copy the selected message’s URL to the clipboard.

A “message URL”? That’s correct. Mail supports URLs to individual messages, that when accessed open the particular message in Mail.app. This is what one looks like:

message://%[email protected]%3e

I often use message URLs to provide myself with reference to conversations, important decisions or tasks that are captured in emails.

Without MailTags installed, though, I’ve been really missing this feature. My friend, Stefan Seiz (@seiz), however, was kind enough to email me an AppleScript that provides this same functionality. From that, I created a Keyboard Maestro macro, and assigned it to a keystroke.

If you use Keyboard Maestro, feel free to download the macro here.

How to setup a roaming wifi network over ethernet with an Airport Extreme and Airport Express

In the past, all the devices in my home operated over a single wifi network—including four Macs, an AppleTV and several iOS devices. I’ve long suspected I was probably overtaxing the wifi, and listening to the recent “taming wifi” episode of the Technical Difficulties podcast inspired me to do something about it.

Continue reading How to setup a roaming wifi network over ethernet with an Airport Extreme and Airport Express

Fixed — Stopped the tccd process in Mac OS X Mavericks from consuming CPU and memory

For the past few days, the CPU on my 11″ MacBook Air, running OS X Mavericks 10.9.1 has looked like this:

Periodically—and frequently—a process called, “tccd”, would momentarily ramp up its CPU usage to around 50%. At the same time, the process’s memory would grow and grow. When I checked this morning, it had grown to 1.3GB.

In this post on the Apple Support Communities forum, a user reports high memory usage of the tccd process, but there are no solutions proposed.

In another post someone mentions that the tccd process manages which applications have access to your contacts. That appears to be correct—after I deleted the TCC.db database, the OS started popping up lots of dialogs asking permission if this app or another could have access to my contacts.

But resetting the TCC.db database unfortunately didn’t solve my problem with the tccd process using lots of CPU and memory.

Watching the Activity Monitor for a while, I noticed that Hazel’s “hazelworker” process sometimes ramped up around the same time as the tccd process—you can see this in the screenshot above, in fact—so I started poking around there.

What I found is that several of my Hazel rules involved moving files to a folder which no longer existed (I had moved it a few days ago). After fixing those rules, to my amazement, the problem with the tccd process completely disappeared.

So, somehow, the root of my tccd problem was the existence of broken Hazel rules.

Disable iCloud Keychain to fix icbaccountsd problems

Update 2014-03-12: OS X 10.9.2 seems to have fixed this. A few days ago, I re-enabled iCloud Keychain on my Mac, and since haven’t experienced these issues any longer.

Original problem…

For a while now, the CPU profile on my MacBook Air (running OS X 10.9.1) has looked like this—quiet, with periodic high-load bursts from a process called, ‘icbaccountsd’:

Looking in the Console.app, I found my logs flooded with messages from this process:

  • icbaccountsd: [ICBLocalDictionary getIdMapping:] Mapping Error detected
  • icbaccountsd: [ICBLocalDictionary discoverLocalIAAccounts:] Unknown high level account
  • icbaccountsd: [ICBSyncOperation mergeLocalChanges:] Account not found
  • icbaccountsd: [ICBSyncOperation mergeLocalChanges:] Looking for UUID: (null) from remote key

This article on the Apple Support Communities pointed to another article which hinted that the root problem is related to iCloud Keychain.

I disabled iCloud Keychain on the Mac, restarted, and have seen no further logged messages from icbaccountsd. A pity—as iCloud Keychain is a concept I’d found very useful.