Monday, September 06, 2010

Applications Allowed in Parental Controls don't Show Up

Parental Controls are a nice integrated feature of Mac OS X. The problem is they have some problems.

This article specifically addresses when you allow specific applications for a restricted user but they still do not appear available to the user.

I’ve been fighting this issue for nearly a year. Sometimes I’ll add a new application for my child (usually a game or educational application) via the Parental Controls control panel only to find the application is never made available to my child. There are tons of posts that span several years and different versions of Mac OS X describing this problem and a few suggestions that never worked for me. After a particularly frustrating day I decided to determine what was causing the issue. The good news is I did find the cause and offer a solution here...

I tried a lot of things that didn’t work including reading the console log entries, reinstalling software, running Disk Utility and repairing permissions. Finally I started comparing an application that behaved as it should and one that refused to show up. Here’s a picture showing the comparison.
Preview behaved as it should and MarbleBlast Gold would not. BTW my username and main admin account on this machine is “aric.”

See the difference? Preview is set to system: Read& Write whereas MarbleBlast is set to aric: Read&Write.

For the record I had run repair permissions multiple times so this is apparently a permission issue that is not corrected by Disk Utility.

So we’ve identified the problem… what’s the easiest way to fix it if Disk Utility doesn’t do the trick?

Instead of working on the individual applications and manually adding system: Read&Write (which should work if you only have one application to fix.)

  1. I recommend selecting the Applications folder and doing a Get Info (either command I or File->Get Info). You should see permissions similar to those shown on my Preview application consisting of system, admin, and everyone.
  2. Now click the lock in the lower corner of the Info window for the Applications folder so you can make changes. I show it circled in red in the picture below. It should ask for your admin password.
  3. After that you should have access to the permission settings. We don’t want to change the permissions for this folder but we do want to use a feature here.
  4. Now click on the Gear icon at the bottom of the same window. I show it circled in green in the picture below. A drop down menu should appear with an option called “Apply to enclosed items…” Go ahead and select that.
  5. Now on my computer applying that setting took several minutes so be prepared to let it run until it is finished. You’ve really solved the problem at this point.
Parental Controls seems to cache permission data sometimes so I recommend rebooting the system now too. After that everything should work as you expect! Unless you run into Parental Control Issues with applications due to creator problems which I’ll save for another blog post.

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

iPhone forces you to double accept appointments you already accepted in Outlook

Ok, so here are the symptoms. Your iPhone is setup to get/send email and appointments with your corporate MS Exchange server. You use MS Outlook as your email and calendar application on your Windows machine at the office.

If you get a meeting invitation it shows up on your iPhone calendar notifications as well as Outlook. If you accept it on your iPhone everything is fine and Outlook understands it's been accepted. However if you accept it from Outlook your iPhone won't realize it's been accepted and will still show it as a notification and an unaccepted meeting in your calendar. You then have to accept it from your iPhone which sends an additional accept notification to the meeting creator causing them to think you are an idiot.

As I searched the web for a solution I found convoluted answers about Exchange not being setup correctly, MS and Apple bugs, etc.

There was another clue to my issue. Two other co-workers with iPhones were not having this behavior so it was somehow specific to my setup.

It turns out this is a bug in the iPhone if you have Outlook setup to keep meeting requests in your inbox after accepting/declining. You see by default (and most users keep their default settings) Outlook will remove a meeting invite from your inbox once you respond. At that point the only way to find that meeting is in your calendar and no longer in your inbox. This can be annoying if a meeting request had an attachment and you didn't remember the date of the meeting and need to open the attachment. So whenever I get a new work PC with Outlook one of the first things I do is change that default setting to leave meeting requests in the inbox.

Apparently the iPhone uses that information to determine if you've accepted/responded/denied a meeting request. This appears to be a bug in the iPhone as it assumes the user hasn't changed their email settings in Outlook.

To get the iPhone to recognize that a meeting request has been responded to in Outlook so it stops asking you to accept/decline, do the following in Outlook (This should work for Outlook 2003 and 2007, not sure about other versions): Go to Tools->Options->Email Options->Advanced Email Options. Look for the item called "Delete meeting request form Inbox when responding" and make sure it is selected.

If it was already selected then you have a different issue then I did. This has solved my problem 100%.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Unlink YouTube and Google Account or Gmail passwords

Hey so the last time I tried to log into my YouTube account it said:

Sign in with your YouTube or Google Account.

So I tried using my YouTube account that I've had for years, but then it said:

Please use your Google Account. We no longer support signing in with your old YouTube password.

So apparently Google linked my Google/Gmail account with my YouTube account. I don't remember asking it to and it sure doesn't seem like something I would want considering I've had the same YouTube login since early 2007. Anyway if you run into this situation you can unlink your two accounts by following the link below.

Good luck!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

iPhone heads to Verizon?

The iPhone becoming available on Verizon in the U.S. has been an ongoing rumor for the last few years. A new iPhone is always released in June and leading up to June the rumors start to fly. Supposedly the sources this time are "more accurate" so it's possible but don't get your hopes up. Also it *is* understood that AT&T's exclusive contract runs out this year so that may indicate more of a chance as well...

To keep some perspective I've posted the rumor as it has appeared over the past few years...

Here's the same rumor in October 2007:

Here's the same rumor in September 2008:

Here's the same rumor in November 2009:

Long story short... I'll believe it when I see it (or rather when Steve Jobs says so.)