Category Archives: OSX Lion

OSX Lion

The Lion and the Jumpy Mouse: A Mac Users Tale of Frustration

Immediately after installing Lion I encountered the problem and have been researching it since. I thought I had fixed the problem by turning off pointer acceleration, but unfortunately that just reduced the symptoms.

My experience:

I first noticed that my mouse pointer will jump around the screen while moving it. That is, I would move the mouse a short distance but it does not move (seems “frozen”), then appears on the screen having covered a greater distance than it should have (100px move, appears 250px away [arbitrary values]), with no movement animation.

This seems to happen when various components in my system are under some sort load. It reminds me of older PCs and how human interface devices would take a back-seat when the system bus became overloaded.

I have noticed the problem occur during the following system activities:

  1. Dropbox displaying a growl notification about files being removed from my system (Growl, video, disk?)
  2. Saving out files in photoshop (video?, disk)

What I know it is not:

1. Solely Disk I/O related. I have run a command like “dd if=/dev/random of=/tmp/largefile bs=1024 count=4000000″ and moved the mouse all around the screen.
2. Solely video-related. I can play games just fine, though the pointer does become noticeably more jumpy.

I expect the problem is related to multiple components.

My current system configuration:

  • 21″ iMac (Mid-2010)
  • 8GB ram
  • Additional 20″ monitor (mini-to-dvi adapter)
  • Logitech MX518 mouse
  • Apple USB keyboard
I’m going to continue revisiting this until I’ve figure out what’s causing the problem.
OSX Lion

Changing IP subnets on a network containing OSX Lion Server running Virtualbox

…on a Friday afternoon in July.

I decided to finish setting up VPN access to the office and part of the process was to change our local subnet of “192.168.1.0″ to “192.168.x.0″ (for x > 1) to avoid ip address conflicts with most home routers. It’s not a difficult process, but I did encounter a few stumbling blocks along the way and I have noted them below.

Obvious Tip of the Day: Change your TCP/IP settings on all devices that have IP settings manually configured.

Our OSX Lion server has its IP address manually assigned on the server itself, and luckily I was smart enough to have changed the IP address on the machine before making the subnet change. Unfortunately, I did not remember about the virtual machines that live in Virtualbox on the Lion server. After reconfiguring the router with the new subnet information I was left without my dev linux servers or the ability to access the internet. Here’s why:

Virtualbox does not like moving subnets

After rebooting the Lion server, my VMs (which normally start at boot) did not come back online and I was unable to connect to them using the Virtualbox GUI, even though the GUI suggested they were stopped. I believe I was getting an “access denied” error.

I unloaded the VMs .plist from OSX’s LaunchDaemon and started the VM manually via the VBox GUI, but once the machine had loaded to the login prompt I couldn’t type into the console! Also, when checking the settings for each VM showed a “Invalid Settings Detected” message at the bottom of the dialog.

Eventually I found that the problem was related to the subnet change having hosed VirtualBox’s virtual network interfaces.

The Fix

I added a new virtual interface by going to Virtualbox Preferences, Network, and clicking the plus (+) button to add a new interface for each VM. Not only did this give me the ability to interact with each VM via the VBox GUI, but it also allowed the VMs to reconnect to the network (obviously). Woohoo!

Except the ugly “Invalid settings detected” error was still displayed in the settings dialog for my VMs, which also has the nasty side-effect of disabling the OK button so you cannot change any settings.

The Fix, part 2

More googling research eventually let me to a forum post that solved my problem.

Run the following command:

$ VBoxManage showvminfo “Your VM Name”

If you see the following line:

[code]VRDE: enabled (Address 0.0.0.0, Ports , MultiConn: off, ReuseSingleConn: off, Authentication type: null)[/code]

Run this command:

$ VBoxManage modifyvm “your VM Name” –vrde off

Voila! Error message gone and you can edit your settings again.

Of course this is a band-aid fix and you should really understand what VRDE does before leaving it off indefinitely, but it’s Friday afternoon and I’m going home. See ya!

Apple / Mac OSX Lion

Fixing pointer skipping/jumping after OS X Lion install

TL;DR: Disable mouse pointer acceleration.

I installed OSX Lion onto my work machine this week and, while I do love the new features, I’ve been having some problems. Most notably, once I switched away from the carpel-tunnel-causing Magic Mouse to the luscious Logitech MX518 I have been experiencing the same “pointer skip” that many other people are complaining about.

After some research it seems like the problem is related to mouse acceleration during high CPU usage, and it seems that the only way to mitigate the issue is to turn off mouse acceleration. I found a piece of software that allowed me do this, and it seems to have helped stop the pointer from jumping around as much but the problem isn’t completely solved. Obviously turning off isn’t a solution.

Here are two solutions to turning off mouse acceleration:

1. Command line app [source]

$ curl -O http://ktwit.net/code/killmouseaccel
$ chmod +x killmouseaccel
$ ./killmouseaccel mouse

2. Use the app Kill Mouse Accel.app.

Try these fixes at your own risk. I used the option #1 above and it worked just fine. I hope this gets addressed in the near future.. it’s really odd mousing around the screen without acceleration.