Mac OS X - FAQ

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This page summarizes basic usage and FAQ for the netboot Mac OS X environment on the cs network. It is relevant only for the lion version (the gray login screen) of the cs managed macs (not old or personal computers).

Besides this page, there's also a user managed mac tips page with additional tips for mac usage.

Where can I find installed applications?

There are two places: Applications and CS-Applications. Applications can be accessed through the Finder menu: Go -> Applications. CS-Application can be accessed through the Application directory, and by default it will be placed on the right side of the Dock.

How can I install application?

If the installation is a simple drag-and-drop (not an installer), you should be able to copy it to the local disk. If there's an installer that requires administrative privileges, you can't install it. You can ask the system to install it globally, but depending on the nature of the application and the installer, it might not get installed.

I have two different CS-Applications

There is a difference between the Snow Leopard (old) CS-Application and the new CS-Application. If you have old links, or aliases (shortcuts) to the old CS-Applications you should delete them and link to the new CS-Application, as not all the applications are compatible with lion.

How can I open word (or any other office) documents?

Microsoft office doesn't work well in our environment, in some cases it will refuse to open or save files, and sometimes it will delete existing files while trying to save them. Currently it will probably only open/save files located in the home directory. Alternatives to Microsoft Word are:

  • Pages (/Applications/iWork 09/Pages)
  • LibreOffice (/Application/CS-Applications/LibreOffice)
  • Use the Windows virtual machine (/Application/CS-Applications/CS-VMWare)

But why Microsoft Office won't even open?

There can be many reasons for that, which is why we highly recommend to use one of the alternatives (see previous question). One possibility is that the leading language is set to Hebrew which for some odd reason confuses the office setup. The solution is to change the default (first) language back to English (In System Preferences -> Language & Text -> Language), and logout and re-login for the changes to take effect.

Which browser should I use?

We officially support Firefox. Safari is also installed and can be used. Any other browsers that don't require administrative privileges (e.g. Chrome, Opera) can be installed by the users (see above).

I can't install Firefox extensions

Firefox has some issues installing some extensions e.g. it will ask to restart but won't install them. If that happens, do the following:

  • Install the extension until it requests to restart firefox.
  • Quit firefox
  • Run from the shell: install-firefox-extensions
  • Follow the instructions (note that Firefox will open for at most 3 minutes)
  • After 3 minutes, or after you've quit Firefox, let the script finish copying the files.
  • Open Firefox normally

Note that this method might not work on all extensions.

Safari can't connect to any secure site (https)

You might have played with your certificate configuration (through the Keychain Access program). Delete ~/Library/Preferences/ and restart Safari.

How can I open files from the terminal?

  • To open a file from the terminal as if you double clicked on it, use: open <file>.
  • To open a file with specific application, use: open -a <app> <file>
  • To open the current working direction in a Finder window: open ./
  • To go the the front-most Finder window: cd `posd`

I can't access the course account I'm TA-ing

The courses' accounts are not accessible from the macs. As such before su-ing to the course, one must login to a linux machine.

Matlab won't open

Sometimes previous configuration interfere with the current matlab. As such, the best solution is to delete all of matlab's previous configuration. Try deleting the following paths:

  • ~/Documents/MATLAB
  • ~/Library/Application Support/MATLAB
  • ~/Library/Application Support/StartMATLAB Settings
  • ~/Library/Saved Application State/com.mathworks.matlab.savedState
  • ~/Library/Preferences/com.mathworks.StartMATLAB.plist
  • ~/Library/Preferences/com.mathworks.matlab.plist
  • ~/.matlab/R2011a

Before deleting them, make sure you don't have any special files/scripts that you wrote (specifically in ~/Documents/MATLAB).

I can't compile mex files in matlab

You need to change CC from gcc-4.2 to llvm-gcc-4.2. This should be changed in the maci64 section of the file.