“AFP_VFS afpfs_DoReconnect: connect on failed”: I’ve been plagued by this error for some weeks, which relates to waking my Macbook Air from sleep after being connected to my synology NAS at work. The console is replete with hundreds of these messages as it tries to re-connect to the server that is no longer available and there does not seem to be a routine that allows it detect that the server is no longer available and stop attempting to reconnect. As a result the finder simply ceases to be responsive and if you force quit it, it does not spawn properly again.
How to fix it
After getting frustrated with having to log out and log back in again to regain a responsive finder, I googled and failed to find a solution so I turned to the Activity Monitor where I noticed substantial activity from the “soagent” and found that if I force quit that – don’t worry it’ll respawn unharmed – then I got my finder back. Not the most elegant of solutions but quicky, dirty and more importantly successful. I hope the bug will get corrected in a future release of OS X (at the time of writing I’m using 10.10.3) but in the meantime this works.
So I have a business account with O2 and I wanted to transfer another number in from a personal O2 account and add it as an additional SIM card user to my account… sounds like a straightforward process right? Oh, only in a joined up world an O2 is nowhere near embracing its own synergies.
My first call to O2 represented the more naive, trusting element of my personality. I called O2 explained exactly what I wanted to do, cleared all the security questions on both accounts, spent the better part of an hour on the telephone and was told it was all arranged, but I’d need to check back in a few days.
A few weeks later (I got distracted by other things) I received a bill for the personal account, but no final bill had arrived, so I thought I’d better call and chase them up. And surprise, surprise the left hand didn’t know what the right was doing and though there were ample notes on my account no action had been taken.
I was told that I actually had to fill outcome paperwork to make this happen and directed to o2.co.uk/businesstransfer, where I discovered (at the bottom of this general page) not an online form but a pdf you have to download and send in by post, fax or email.
Now cautious, I called back to check which of these methods would be the most efficient in expediting my request and was advised the fax was best (though I had to borrow a customer’s fax machine to send it in) and now wait with baited breath to see if o2 is actually capable of actioning my request.
I’ll let you know the outcome in a couple of weeks… (yes, unbelievably, it’ll really take a couple of weeks).
Indeed it did take a couple of weeks, in fact because of Christmas it didn’t happen until the first week of January. Hardly a smooth transition.
I happened to need to know the historic VAT rates for the UK since the 1980s to ensure normalised data in 30 years of invoices I’ve been processing for a customer. The figures were quite hard to pin down so I thought I’d publish them here:
Standard UK VAT Rate from 1979 to 1991
18/06/1979 to 18/03/1991 – 15 %
Standard UK VAT Rate from 1991 to 2008
19/03/1991 to 30/11/2008 – 17.5 %
Standard UK VAT Rate from 2008 to 2009
01/12/2008 to 31/12/2009 – 15 %
Standard UK VAT Rate from 2010 to 2011
01/01/2010 to 03/01/2011 – 17.5 %
Standard UK VAT Rate from 2011 to Present
04/01/2011 to Present – 20 %
I hope this is a little easier to find for people.
Despite the intimidating title these three articles published by Roger Martin over on the Harvard Business Review are actually a fascinating read and useful for any small business owner or anyone thinking of starting a small business.Â They are:
This is absolutely essential if like me you always have lots and lots of tabs open at any one time… Just type sw <space> on your Mac and it’ll search each tabbed page for the words you write after that.
Though this doesn’t automatically save your sessions. It’s very handy indeed to be able to save a session if you’re having a problem or you just want to close Chrome and re-open it to free up some space.
What’s the point in getting google to store all your web history if the interface to search it or just glance through is as hopeless as the default google history. Replace it with this more friendly version.
The leaks by Julian Asange of Wikileaks were a dominant theme of 2010 and it got me thinking that perhaps, in some cases, a little more privacy could be desirable when browsing the internet, which is certainly unusual for a me as I rather agree with Zuckerberg that privacy is largely dead, so is it possible to browse privately nowadays?
After following the trials and tribulations of the Iranian Presidential Election in 2009 I became aware of the Tor Project for Anonymity Online which was developed to help people in oppressed regimes gain access to the internet without being able to be easily traced by their governments. They describe the project as:
Tor protects you by bouncing your communications around a distributed network of relays run by volunteers all around the world: it prevents somebody watching your Internet connection from learning what sites you visit, and it prevents the sites you visit from learning your physical location. Tor works with many of your existing applications, including web browsers, instant messaging clients, remote login, and other applications based on the TCP protocol.
Sounds excellent no? And it has the added benefit of allowing you to setup a node on your computer, so that whilst you benefit from anonymity as you browse you can help others in much more difficult situations be protected to. There are easy to follow instructions here and packages for all flavours of Windows, Mac and Linux.
But you might not want to just browse the internet anonymously all the time. I certainly haven’t spent years actively sharing my web browsing habits with google’s web history to loose it’s benefit now. So I wanted a way to just be able to turn it off and on as I felt like it. If you’re using Google Chrome this is as simple as installing an extension: the Proxy Switcher to be exact.
You can find an excellent tutorial here to guide you through the process of linking Proxy Switcher to Tor, all of which shouldn’t take you more than 15 minutes of your time (courtesy of the eminently helpful Lifehacker.com) and then you’ll be able to browse privately to your hearts content without the fear of Big BrotherÂ breathing down your neck (or read Wikileaks if you’d prefer to be secretive).
So. You’ve upgraded your Mac and you’ve decided to sell your old Mac. Just how do you go about removing all your personal data?
Erase Everything! (The Nuclear Option)
If you’re not worried about leaving Apps on for the lucky purchaser or free beneficiary of your new Mac then the best method is the Nuclear option:
1. Boot from the Recovery Disks
2. Open up Disk Utility and select your Hard Drive
3. Pick Erase from the options and then click on “Security Options”
4. You should be fine with selecting the First Option and then hitting Erase
5. But if you want to be MORE secure then options get safer down the list, but…
6. Just remember the more Secure the erase the longer it’ll take, especially for large disks!
A More “select” Erase (The Precision Bombing Option)
If you’re running a newer version of Mac OS than came with your Mac and/or you don’t want the hassle of erasing the disk and then reinstalling the software then this might be the
How To Securely Empty the Trash
First we’ll want to make sure that when we delete stuff Finder is not just removing it’s file location (which makes files easily recoverable for those in the know) but that it’s securely deleting the files by writing over them with gobbledygook.
To do this once all you need to do is add the files to the trash and then go to the Finder Menu and select “Secure Empty Trash…”:
But as we’re probably going to be doing a lot of deleting it’s probably best to go to Finder and set this as the default preference. So if you click on “Preferences” instead of Â “Secure Empty Trash…” it’ll bring up this window:
Where you should make sure that the box labelled “Empty Trash Securely” is ticked and now each time we empty the trash as normal it’ll be deleted securely.
Most people who sell or gift their Mac leave some if not all of the applications installed, but if you’re deleting any of the apps then you’ll want to make sure that you do it properly, and there is just the app for that, they’ve even been so bold as to tag it “theÂ Uninstaller Apple Forgot”.
AppZapper makes sure that all the little hidden files that an App installs are also deleted. This is especially helpful if you’re uninstalling programs that are available to all users, as these will create preference files, etc, in the root library rather than your user account library. It’s well worth the $12.95 purchase price, and I’m pretty sure that there is a free trial.
I use a version integrated with Hazel that I bought years ago so I haven’t checked).
Don’t Forget System Preferences
If you’ve installed any custom system preferences then to remove them simply launch System Preferences and right-click on the appropriate custom system preference and select “remove preference pane”.
So you’ve copied all of your user files from the Mac onto a spare hard drive, usb stick or (my personal favourite) your dropbox account and you now want to delete your user data, the best way to do this is to go to Users in System Preferences:
and select accounts. Then if it’s locked as in the above picture you’ll have to unlock it before you proceed so click and enter the password. Then you can select the little + button at the bottom of the User Name list to add a new user, which takes you to this window:
Make sure you select a new Administrator account (no it’s not the default) so you’ll have to click on the list and select Administrator like below:
Then create a new account administrator account, name it as you like and give it an easy to remember password, say “password’, the new owner can always change it to something better.
Once you’ve created your new account, you can safely log out of your current account and into the new account and once in you go straight back to the Accounts section of the System Preferences. And instead of adding a new account, select your old administrator account and click the – instead of the – and delete your old user account.
Oh and make sure you tell it to delete the user home folder. And that you empty the trash securely.
And you’re done. One “pretty clean” Mac.
Notes for the Security Conscious
PS If you want to be extra cautious once you’ve done this you can use Disk Utility to erase the empty space on your Hard Drive, which will give it another good going over.
PPS This method is itself reasonably secure but the only truly secure way is to opt for the Nuclear Option or even better don’t sell your Mac with the Hard Drive.