How to fix stuck Mac OS X clipboard – won’t copy/paste anything new

Something has been bugging me with OS X for a while — sometimes the OS X clipboard (officially known as “pasteboard”) gets stuck and won’t accept any new ‘copied’ content. Instead, when you ‘paste’ in any app, the clipboard always pastes back the last thing you successfully copied.

One solution to this is to reboot the Mac, but since Mac OS X is generally so stable and doesn’t need to be periodically rebooted as a matter of course, rebooting a machine with many open apps and windows can be a hassle.

Searching for this issue online provides a lot of bad advice (one website I saw said “repair permissions and if that doesn’t work, reinstall the OS”… terrible advice.)

Other websites incorrectly advise to kill the PBS process and restart it.

Apple’s manual page for PBS notes it is not related to the Pasteboard process. Instead, the correct process to kill is PBoard.

So, to fix a stuck clipboard (pasteboard) problem, you simply need to:

1. Open your application folder

2. Open the utilities subfolder

3. Open the Activity Monitor app

4. Type “pboard” into the search box at the top right

5. In the search results below, there should only be one result — a row listing the “pboard” process. Highlight it by clicking on it.

6. Click the “x” button at the top left of the window which represents ‘quit this process’

Once you’ve done that, OS X will kill the faulty PBoard process and re-establish it with a fresh one automatically. Your clipboard should be back to normal.

I have a suspicion that this stuck clipboard is a bug in OS X Mavericks 10.9 – I don’t recall it happening before I installed that. It is still an (infrequent) current problem as at 10.9.2.

Word 2011 for Mac gets blank dialogue boxes, then crashes

Anyone else see this problem with Word for Mac?

Often, when I am using Word for Mac 2011 on Mac OS X (I’ve seen the problem since 10.5 Leopard, 10.6 Snow Leopard, 10.7 Lion and 10.8 Mountain Lion), Word starts putting up blank dialogue boxes — e.g. literally blank white, with no buttons or text.

Soon after, Word crashes.

The following errors are logged repeatedly in the Console shortly before Word crashes.

WindowServer[109]: map_shmem_internal : vm_map(3: (os/kern) no space available) : Cannot map memory
Microsoft Word[16338]: bind_window_backing: cannot map backing data shmem
Microsoft Word[16338]: _CGSLockWindow: Unable to lock window

The other long-standing bug with Word that drives me crazy is that when you’re using it on an external monitor, with the lid of your Mac closed, and then you disconnect the external monitor, the Mac sleeps, and you later resume the Mac, all the Word document windows are blank, but all with random bright coloured backgrounds. I don’t know if the problem is related.

Screen-Shot-2012-11-26-at-12.21.57-PM

I’ve seen these problems on my MacBook Pro which had 8GB RAM and my current MacBook Air with 4GB RAM. Problem occurs whether I’m using discrete NVIDIA graphics or the built-in Intel graphics.

Stop NAB Internet Banking opening in a full-screen popup window

If you’re a customer of NAB (formerly known as National Australia Bank), you’ll no doubt have found the way its internet banking opens up in a new, full-screen window — even if you have a 30″ monitor.

In the office, this is particularly annoying because it makes it difficult to discreetly check your bank balance without giving everyone around you a “full screen view” of your finances.

A looooong time ago my old friend Simon Wright (proprietor of the excellent Whirlpool.net.au online community) wrote a script to stop this annoying full screen NAB internet banking behaviour.

It’s a “userscript” that slightly modifies the code on the NAB homepage to stop this annoying pop-up behaviour. To use it, you have to install a plug-in in your browser — Greasemonkey on Firefox or GreaseKit on Safari. Chrome has the capability built in already.

 

To install the script in Firefox:

1. Install the Greasemonkey for Firefox plugin

2. Restart Firefox (File > Quit) then reopen it

3. Click on this link to download Simon’s NAB Internet Banking no-fullscreen UserScript

4. Click the “install” button that comes up.

5. Enjoy your NAB internet banking without the stupid 90s full-screen pop-up window!

 

To install the script in Safari:

1. Install Ninjakit for Safari (download the extension file, then double click it in the downloads list to open and install it)

2. Click on this link to download Simon’s NAB Internet Banking no-fullscreen UserScript [currently I can’t find a way to actually install the script as of Safari 5.1.5… waiting for the developer of Ninjakit to release an update.)

 

To install the script in Chrome:

1. Go into Chrome

2. Click on this link to download Simon’s NAB Internet Banking no-fullscreen UserScript

3. Click the “add” button that comes up.

4. Enjoy your NAB internet banking without the stupid 90s full-screen pop-up window!

In memory of my friend John Pospisil

john-pospisil

I heard the very sad news yesterday that one of my colleagues and close friends, John Pospisil, passed away two days ago, aged just 39.

He had been treated for a brain tumor since 2009, and had gone through surgery, chemo, radiotherapy and an experimental treatment trial, and as far as I knew, the cancer was at least being held at bay.

However, I know that when John became aware he was ill (with a phone call, “Would you mind if I didn’t attend a meeting with a client and you took my place… I don’t want to freak you out, but I’ve just found out, well, that I have a brain tumor”), that he was not keen to broadcast it to the world. He wanted to keep on doing the things — and being with the people — he loved, without focusing on the sickness.

His many online outlets show he has been active right to the end of his life, which is, I know, exactly what he would have wanted.

He was one of the most decent guys I’ve ever known — generous with his time and in his business deals and utterly devoted to his wife Rocio and two young children Grace and Hannah.

He was always keen for a stimulating and entertaining chat about the machinations of the tech media, and musings over how exactly Google News’ algorithms worked. I met him regularly for lunch or coffee and we chewed over ideas for new ventures and swapped tips on our own successes and failures.

But as I got to know John better, we connected on a philosophical level as well. He told me about his faith and that he believed God had shown himself to him. We both shared a deep love for family.

On a professional level, John had a string of successes, borne from his creative, entrepreneurial spirit.

He conceived, founded and edited Computer CHOICE magazine (CHOICE has published a lovely memorial article about him here); founded and ran Free Access, an IT newspaper that was distributed with great success through retailers for many years.

He wrote a book on hacking MySpace (something he always reminisced on with a mix of mirth and entrepreneurial pride, as it was a case of ‘right time, right place’ even though he wasn’t really that interested in MySpace), and published a series of computer and business related books for CHOICE.

More recently, he ran a very successful blog network called Blorge, reporting on the global technology space, and fostering the talents of many bloggers.

Alongside all that, he was also a successful marketing/comms consultant.

Behind the scenes, he has quietly been a MediaConnect IT Journo awards judge in the past, helping to recognise the work of the best IT journalists in the industry.

Despite his many successes, his beautifully humble approach to the world is encapsulated well in what he wrote on his “about” page — “I’m husband to Rocio and father to Grace and Hannah – my greatest achievements. The truth is, any material success I’ve had in this life really comes down to being at the right place at the right time. That’s not false modesty, just an acknowledgement of how life truly works. If you need me to help you with something, you already know who am, and how I can help. Just get in touch.

As CHOICE’s Chris Ruggle points out, though, “John Pospisil joined CHOICE in 1994 as a young man who often expressed surprise at how lucky he was to work here. In fact, he made most of his own luck through his intellect and hard work.

I couldn’t agree more with a comment one of his other friends, Ravi Prasad, wrote in his memory: “John was a good friend. I was expecting us to be friends for the rest of my life. Friends like these are hard to find, you only get a handful in a lifetime. He was so funny and clever and bright and totally charming. I’ll miss John. Rocio, my thoughts are with you and your beautiful children.

John’s funeral will be this Monday, 21st November 2011. Email me for the details.

Why Malcolm Turnbull is wrong about the NBN being unnecessary

malcolmturnbull
The always-interesting tech journo Renai LeMay has posted a controversial article on Delimiter, In defence of Turnbulls’ NBN speed claims. The crux of Malcolm Turnbull’s argument, that Renai supports, is that current broadband technologies, while not as fast as the limitless potential of fibre, are fast enough for what people need to do on broadband today, and therefore spending $40 billion on the NBN is a waste of money.
I strongly feel that looking backwards in technology terms is not the right way to evaluate whether an investment in new technology is worthwhile.

Here’s why:

– In the first few years of broadband availability, the vast majority of people couldn’t see why they’d need it, because dial-up was perfectly fast enough for their emails and web use of the day (which probably meant internet banking once a week and a few Alta Vista searches a week).

– Before home VoIP became possible (adequate broadband speeds and provider availability) people were happy enough paying 40c a minute to call from Sydney to Melbourne.

– Before ADSL2+ became commonplace, most people were perfectly happy to traipse down to the video store to rent a video and pay the associated late fees.

– Before the iPad came out, there was negligible demand for tablet competing. (See how spectacularly unsuccessful all Windows tablets had been, for example.)

– Before the iPhone came out, the vast majority of people loved their Nokias and couldn’t imagine anything better.

– Back when I started at APC in 2003, there was a prevailing view that PC CPU’s were ‘fast enough’ — you could run Microsoft Office at a good clip on them, and if you had a decent graphics card you could run the latest games.

– Before HSPA+ Telstra Next G, people had no idea you could really work effectively from a wireless connection at speeds close to home broadband. (Yes I realise the irony of that example, in the context… but no wireless network is a competitor for the rock-solid reliability of a modern wired network.)

My point is… when it comes to technology, the general public, outside of the tiny technology enthusiast field, do not cry out for new enabling technology. But they sure do appreciate it when it arrives, and when it is done right.

It’s the “done right” part that I think is the key thing about the NBN. It’s what the iPad is to Windows tablets.

I don’t pretend to be able to predict the future of technology (and I do think many of the examples given in the NBN promotional video are a bit absurd), but my personal hopes for the impact of the NBN are:

– That given it is a government project, there will be an impetus for the government to make all government services available online, including face-to-face consultations with government workers.

– That population stress will be eased on major cities because it will be easy to telework from any remote location using a reliable, non-fluctuating connection. (Wireless _does_ fluctuate, and ADSL speeds are a crapshoot on a premise-by-premise basis.)

– That more two-way internet applications will become available, taking advantage of consistently low-latency, high upstream speeds. (I am personally disappointed that the basic NBN connection is limited to 1Mbit/s upstream.) Currently, the internet is by necessity architected around one-way download applications due to the highly asymmetrical nature of connections to end users.

I also don’t agree that any current broadband technologies are capable of providing adequate performance when it comes to upstream speed. Optus’ 100Mbit/s cable, for example, can only provide 2Mbit/s upstream to each user.

My biggest hope, really, is that the NBN will provide consistent broadband speeds right across Australia. Without that, it’s prohibitive for “IP workers” to move to country areas where their broadband options will be limited and variable. As a result, we’re all forced to live in city areas and pay ridiculous house prices, or live in dowdy regional areas like Geelong or Bendigo where decent ADSL2+ is likely to be available, but you’re living in a ‘mini-CBD’ anyway.

How to tweak OS X Lion to disable window zooming and other eye-candy

lionDon’t like Mac OS X 10.7 Lion’s annoying window zoom effect for new windows? Thanks to Tomas Franz, you can disable it. Open Terminal (Applications > Utilities > Terminal) and copy and paste the following line:

defaults write NSGlobalDomain NSAutomaticWindowAnimationsEnabled -bool NO

You then need to restart any apps that are running for them to get the new setting.

Hurrah! Snappy window performance again.

Also, if you want to restore CMD+D to being “don’t save” as it was in previous versions of OS X, you can do that with this command:

defaults write NSGlobalDomain NSSavePanelStandardDesktopShortcutOnly -bool YES