VMWare frustrations

I am a sad customer of VMWare as I have bought VMWare Fusion for macOS and had constant issues running it. I’ve tried getting support, they told me to uninstall and reinstall VMWare over and over, but this never solved anything.

In the end I have found solution myself, but only after I’ve given up on using VMWare Fusion literally for years.

At worst VMWare support asked me to provide full remote access to my laptop, which is impossible since I use it for work and it contains information on my clients I am not at liberty to disclose to third-parties. Knowing that I can’t do that they practically found a way not to provide me any support.

Anyhow, for couple of years I had no need to use VMWare Fusion and it was just sitting there, but recently I had a need to using it again and encountered same issues as previously – it had failed to run some “peer process”, most often it was /dev/vmmon
Screen Shot 2019-07-28 at 12.32.26.png
Continue reading

MacOS Security&Privacy Allow button vs FortiClient

In order to install some of the software into macOS one has to go to Security & Privacy section of macOS preferences and click “Allow” button to allow that software to run as an OS kernel extension (or something like that).

Problem is, sometimes clicking the “Allow” button simply does nothing. Nothing at all. And there is no error message to figure out what’s the problem and what is happening.

One thing to find out the root cause of the problem though is to open Console.app that comes with macOS (inside /Applications/Utilities by default) and look there for log messages produced when clicking that “Allow” button.

In my case, as it was the case for many others, the message was roughly this:
“Dropping mouse down event because sender’s PID () isn’t 0 or self ()”.
Continue reading

Retro-gaming: ZX Spectrum + X-Box 360 controller on a macOS

For those who remember and love the good old ZX Spectrum – here’s a retro-gaming lifehack to have some fun experience playing ZX Spectrum games using X-Box controller on a Mac.

Some ZX Spectrum games allow one do redefine keys in order to play them. Others support standard key mappings like QAOP+Space or QAOP+M, and some also support standard joystick configurations like Kempston joystick, which essentially uses number keys 12345 and 67890 for left/right/up/down/fire on 2 joysticks – very simple and effective scheme, that also seamlessly works with games that allow redefining keys but don’t have special joystick support.

In any of those cases X-Box 360 controller can be used on macOS – by using macOS port of Fuse ZX Spectrum emulator, that supports it out of the box. A macOS driver is also needed for X-Box controller to work with Mac, but such a thing is available too (also there is an older one from TattieBogle).
Continue reading

SQLite: export BLOB to file; ToastMaster SpeechTimerz: export audio records; Apple CAF to MP3

UPD: Apparently the sqlite BLOB export stuff is a popular request, and my article on how to do it here with Java program source code is just too complex for people that aren’t familiar with Java. So I’m going to do a better one soon, with more complete Java program, precompiled for anyone to use. Stay tuned.
Done! Check this post.

UPD2: It seems JailBreak is not really necessary to get the files from SpeechTimerz – you can use tools like DiskAid or iExplorer to get files from your iPhone apps, JailBreak is not necessary for that (which is good, because it seems iOS5 on iPhone4 isn’t properly jailbreakable still, and for 4s and iPad2 there’s even no “beta” jailbreak).

There is an iPhone app called SpeechTimerz that (among others) I use for ToastMasters public speaking club meetings to perform “timekeeper” role. Besides helping to track/indicate time this app also records audio during speech time, so technically by the end of the meeting all speeches are recorded and can be listened to from the iPhone. But there is no audio export feature in the app, so there is no way to get recordings anywhere.

Having a jailbroken iPhone I have access to all files on it, so I decided to dig in this apps files to see where does the audio go and check wether I could get it out. And I succeeded.

What I found out was that audio (in Apple Core Audio Format) is stored in SQLite database as BLOB (Binary Large OBject) field. So once I’ve got my hands on the file the task was to extract BLOB values from it. It turned out to be a bit harder than I thought.

The final touch was to batch-convert Apple CAF (Core Audio Format) to MP3, which also took me a bit of digging.
Continue reading