Tuesday morning update from Stockholm

It's snowing here in Stockholm! Alright, it’s not much snow — just a dusting to be honest — and it won’t last either, because the temperature’s due to remain above freezing for the next few days. But it’s something! We haven’t had any snow here in a couple of weeks, and we have to be thankful for what few signs of winter we see. The place looks much brighter and happier with a layer of snow covering everything in sight.

My Mac Pro has been acting up lately, crashing hard every once in a while. When the crash happens, applications begin to hang one by one with the spinning beach ball of doom. When the problem occurs, even sshd dies, so I cannot login to the Mac from another computer and see what’s going wrong. No errors are written to the system log after the hang. I’ve done a full check of the system memory, eliminated external devices, and disabled nonessential kernel extensions*. Still, the problem remains.

Another, perhaps related problem is that the Mac doesn’t remember the startup disk I select. It insists on booting from the Windows XP partition I have installed on my second internal hard disk unless I hold down the Option key at startup and manually select my Mac OS X 10.5 volume. Oh, and the Mac refuses to boot at all if my FAT32-formatted 60GB 5G iPod is connected. Strange.

So last night before I went to bed, I reset the SMC and PRAM. We shall see if that has fixed the problem. If not, it may be time to place a call to Apple.

* What became of Extensions Manager? Mac OS X was supposed to eliminate the possibility of extensions conflicts. However, these days, more and more programs are implementing features by way of kernel extensions (.kext files in /System/Library/Extensions), and these programs can cause just as much havoc as misbehaving Extensions in Mac OS 9 ever did. Mac OS X needs a tool for troubleshooting this sort of problem.

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