Mac OS X Tiger 10.4.x: Color profile - fast user switching bug

When using the fast user switching feature of Mac OS X 10.4.x (x == 1 to 8 at least) there is a nasty bug which screws up the color profile settings (if you use a custom color profile, which is very likely if you use a LCD screen).

The bug appears like this:
- you log in: color profile OK
- you switch to another user: color profile OK
- you switch back to the original user: color profile screwed up and can not be reset by the obvious means in the system settings

I found a workaround here which works pretty well:

Thanks a lot for sharing this!

In short:
- to fix the problem temporarily (e.g. fix the color profile) start
- to fix it permanently add this to the startup objects for all users

Have a colorful day!


Flash player screwed up on Mac OS X

Today I tried to watch youtube.com on my Mac Mini running Mac OS X Tiger 1.4.8 but I was hearing no sound. The video is played using some flash plugin (which sucks). The sound setting on my machine seemed ok since all other apps were playing sound fine.

Google found some hints here:


But none of the hints would solve my problem exactly. The key seems to be the Audio MIDI Setting application. Open a shell and type:

open "/Applications/Utilities/Audio MIDI Setup"

Twiddling with the volumes at the bottom of the first pane and setting the output device correctly solved the problem for me. Others reported that they needed to (re-) set the sampling rate to 44100.

This is of course only a workaround. This Flash stuff is real crap as always. You always need the newest version to be able to do stuff you could easily do without it. And it prevents you from doing useful stuff which you could do without it, all for commercial reasons. It does not play fullsreen fluently on my 1.25 GHz iBook while this plays DVD with much higher bitrate and framerate fine, i.e. it does not use the hardware scaler. This crap sucks.

By the way: This is exactly the type of behavior I expect from Windows machines: Install something and something completely unrelated breaks. Apple: Please make this more robust!

So long ... happy youtubing! :-)


HP 2550 toner empty?

The HP Color LaserJet (CLJ) 2550 / 2550L / 2550LN uses the toner cartridges Q3960A, Q3961A, Q3962A and Q3963A. The printer stops printing after some defined number of pages although the toner is not really empty. This is really annoying. The HP toner is very expensive and the toner cartridges which are supposed to last for 4000 (5000 black) pages only last for about 2000 pages in practice (at least for me).

To make use of the remaining toner there is a workaround. This requires tampering with the toner cartridges and you will loose the warranty for your device. You may also damage your device, so do not do the following if you do not know what you are doing!

Disclaimer: Do not follow any of the procedures below! They are unsafe. You have been warned!

When the LED is flashing for some toner cartridge: Take it out and swap the chip with the chip of some other toner cartridge of a different color. This can be from an empty toner cartridge. It's a good idea to mark the chip with the original color as it cannot be used for this color in the future. The printer will now claim that there is a non-HP toner in the printer, but it will print as normal. The LED of that cartridge will be off. When I did this for the black cartridge I always had to switch the printer off after each print job as it would recognize a fault on black. I also had to open and close the paper compartment every 50 pages or so. Btw, this also helps when one of the toners gets empty (blinking) during a long print job: When the printer stops open and close the paper compartment, then it will continue to print. You need to take care of the image quality yourself now of course. Destroying the chip with 12V did not work for me for the toner cartridges.

For the imaging drum swapping the chip did not work for me. But destroying the chip by applying a Voltage of 12-14V for 10 seconds to the two pads worked for me. The drum LED is now also off and recognized as non-HP. I also needed to get the old toner out of the imaging drum: It can be opened by removing the screws from one side and removing the white gears and the cover of the old toner compartment. This was very tricky to do and I had to almost break the platic parts. I took out a long threaded platic part, The old toner causes a big mess! Do this outside! Wear old clothes! Use an old or industry vaccum cleaner to remove all of the old toner. Don't use you home vaccum cleaner for this, the toner goes thorugh all the filters. Do this outside! This may seriously damage and break your imaging drum. But it does not work anyway if the drum LED is blinking. I made the mistake of touching the white platic sheet, so I had my fingerprints on the first 10 pages I printed. However, they fade out by themselves. Avoid touching the imaging drum itself by any means.

The original ideas came from this german forum post: here.

My imaging drum still works perfectly (but only after I removed the old toner from it). And the toner cartridges can print many pages after they initially stopped printing!

BTW, all the hold keys down while switching on did not work for me at all!

Update: 2011-01-16:

Second imaging drum was depleated today. The last color pages printed were absolutely flawless. The locking mechanism is annoying. I tried to burn the cjip with 12V like the previous one, I even used the burnt chip which worked on the previous drum, nothing worked. The drum LED would blink and the printer was not ready. Pressing cancel didn't help and also all the 'hold down buttuns which powering on' stuff did not work at all. No effect.

I finally (already prepared the throw the whole thing into the trash including 4 new toners) tried an old empty chip from a yellow toner. This worked! The drum LED was blinking and the attention light was on. Pressing cancel cleared both LEDs. Now the drum LED is off and the printer print again. (For the first page there is no ready light though. However this cured itself later as well, nit sure when.)

My conclusion is: Do not buy HP printers. You will get a big pile of trash for a lot of money. Looking back the years, HP2550: Expensive toner, expensive drums, lots annoyances, lots of paper jams from bottom compartment. Very slow printer. Crappy HP printer driver (always prints color pages, also for BW pages). Bad support for Mac OS X.


Apple security update breaks Mail and Safari

Apple, what have you done. A black day in Apple history. :-)

After installing the Apple Security update 2006-004 I had problems starting Mail.app and Safari.app on my iBook. The problem report I sent to Apple said:

Symbol not found: __ZN3KJS9ObjectImpC2Eb
Referenced from: /System/Library/Frameworks/WebKit.framework/Versions/A/Frameworks/
Expected in: /System/Library/Frameworks/WebKit.framework/Versions/A/Frameworks/

The rest of the system seemed fine, and I was able to use Firefox to find this simple solution (after tons of useless problem reports without solution):

Just install the MacOS X Update 10.4.7 Combo PPC update again. This solved the problem for me. Of course I don't have the security update anymore, but quite frankly, I can live with that.

Btw, I found this solution on another blog.

On days like these I really like blogs.

Happy installing,




Stop the bombing! Every bombing destroys lives unselectively. No bomb has ever lead to a better world. Never, ever. No matter which nation ever sends bombs under which condition. It's just horrible. It takes 3 generations at least to forget the violence. In the end, it's a lose-lose situation. Many deaths and the feeling of great injustice on both sides.

Please, stop now! Every damage not done makes the situation less complex and the future more worth living. The true solution is in peace, deescalation, passiveness, self-control, understanding, helping and in the end love.

Make love not war!

This had to be said. I feel a little better now.


Worldcup 2006

Congratulations Italia. The final was not a very good game to remember, but italia deserved the thin win in the end in the penalties. I still have no idea what has bitten Zidane who saw the red card after a head assault. This did certainly not help the french team.

The game for the third place (the small final) between Portugal and Germany yesterday was much better. Usually these games tend to be boring. Congratulations go to both teams which gave everything in an interesting game with many goals.

Special thanks go to the german team for playing so well during the whole worldcup: You gave us back our national flag and a part of our national identity. Now let's hope we qualify for the Euro 2008.



Torsten Frings misses match against Italy

Honestly, I can not believe it. The german football player - Torsten Frings - got suspended for one game in the worldcup after the FIFA committee reviewed video material broadcasted by the italian owned pay TV station Sky. He is accused of hitting the argentinian player Julio Cruz in the face. He has been found guilty, although 3 official referees did not see anything and even Julio Cruz himself claims that he felt nothing.

How can this be? Why was video analysis only for this game? How can somebody be found guilty if the alleged victim himself claims there was no harm done?

I get the strong feeling something is going on there ...

OK, I'd better stop before this gets ugly .. :-)


Lousberglauf Training

Today 32 minutes door2door for the usual round without looping on the top but along the columns. That looks bad since the real Lousberglauf is even a bit longer. I guess I will not reach my ambitious goal to stay below 30 minutes for the first time.

The last two sundays I was running along the Pferderennbahn / Gut Leidenhausen(long round) and it took me 25:19 and then 24:25.


Medion MDPNA 510T

I bought this toy yersterday for 299 at Aldi Süd and I am mostly satisfied (so far, not having tested this on a long trip).

What I like:
  • Cool SIRF III GPS receiver (if you have one of the pre 2006 Garmin GPS devices: This is like 1000 times better. I have full reception even in buildings (e.g. under a metal roof or under steel concrete, my Garmin would give up under the light shade of a tree). It seems to pick up all kinds of reflections and make use of them. Really amazing technology. It works perfectly even under metallized or heated windscreens.)
  • Early and precise voice messages. You don't need the display at all. (Even things like and early 'keep left' or 'keep right' on multilane streets.)
  • Bright display, high contrast colors for streets (the standard colors, yellow for motorways, red for Bundesstrassen and white for small streets).
  • Easy to use touchscreen: I never have to use the pen which comes with it.
  • TMC receiver helps to avoid traffic jams.
  • Fast responses to user input. Fast screen update. Feels very responsive.
What I dislike:
  • Navigation is limited to a 'map' (e.g. you have to manually change the maps when going from Cologne to Madrid).
  • Can not simply navigate to the next POI (e.g. gasstation) just by pointing at it.
  • Can not navigate to a point without having the address (e.g. by pointing at it or by entering the GPS coordinates).
  • Is lacking even basic GPS device functionality (waypoints, tracks, ...) although a GPS receiver is built in.
  • Can not move the map in 3D view (OK, the 3D view is not so important)
The only non-obvious feature I found so far:
  • You don't have to enter the complete addresses. Just a few letters are usually sufficient and you can select from a list if your information was not yet unique.
If all this is worth 299 EUR I don't know. But it's a nice toy.

It's like flying ...

This is exactly what I feel like very often:

Flying is to throw yourself at the ground and miss.
Douglas Adams

Faroe Islands

The italians winning over australia in the last few senconds of the game reminded me of an even more extreme football game which took place on Jue 11th 2003 in Tórshavn: Färöer against Germany. I will never forget this: A beautiful stadium inbetween green grassy hills. The game was not good, but the athomsphere alone was touching. Both teams were unable to score for the first 89 minutes! This was a big achievement of the Färöer team which played well. There was no justification at all for germany winning this game 0:2 in the end. Anyway, I took a few television snapshots back then showing the stadium in Tórshavn and Gerhard Delling and Günter Netzer analyzing the game (Günter excoriating the german team of course, as always).

I would love to go to the Faroes someday ...

Swiss: What a pity!

The swiss team lost against the ukraine after overtime and penalty shootout. What a pity! The underdogs almost made it! However, the ukraine is no less and underdog and I wish them all the best for their next game(s). Hopefully we will se the swiss again in 4 years!

Australia: You had one chance and you blew it!

Australia lost in the 1/8 final elimination round of the football world championship against a very weak italian team. They had a realistic chance of winning this thing. I'm not saying the austalians played better football, but they were the underdogs and they were not far from winning this game. This could have been the sensation of the event.

Anyway: Austalia, you have my deep sympathy. Hopefully we will see you again in 4 years in South Africa!


The rock

Me holding a piece of rock in some tunisian desert. The rocks all looked black from the outside, so I split one to see that the color inisde is quite bright, like lime. Nothing of particular interest, except that it is one of the very few pictures in my archive where I am in front of the lens instead of behind the lens. It is just here to have a place for it in my blog profile.

Apple iCal without .mac account

Today I tried out icalx.com and it seems to work perfectly with Apple iCal 2.0.3. You can publish your calendar from one computer and subscribe (read-only) from other computers and you can view your calendar in any webbrowser (read-only).

To overcome the read-only limitation in this setup I also subscribed to Google Calendar, but the interaction is tedious. (I can add calendar items to the google calendar and subscribe to the google calendar in iCal from the other computers, but they are still totally separate calendars. I can then manually cut-copy-paste each individual google calendar entry into my iCal calendar using Apple iCal, but this is rather inconvenient and error prone.)

Anyway, if you create new events on one machine most of the time and simply want to review them from other machines this is perfect (since all automatic).

However, I still think I have to set up my own server to get all the functionality I want. Year 2006, and we are still in the stone-age of the computer era. ;-)