disk0s2 (no file system)

Following the crash of the SSD of my girlfriends 128GB 13" MacBook Air (MBA), I was surprised that the computer does load from the recovery partition. Since the partitions for the main 'Macintosh HD' (disk0s2) and 'Recovery HD' (disk0s3) are on the same physical drive, I figured that not the complete SSD is destroyed, but that the partition containing 'Macintosh HD' is giving problems.

I decided to boot the computer from a USB drive (via restoring the 'InstallESD.dmg' within the 'Install OS X Mountain Lion.app' package contents with DiskUtility to a USB drive with a GUID partition table), which would enable me to access the drive via the Terminal. An article on RawComputing called 'Repair and manage disk drives using Diskutil on the Mac' gave some very useful commands to use for my search for recovering data from the failed MBA SSD.

To determine which drives and partitions are available to the system, the following command in the Terminal utility can be used:
diskutil list

To figure out what the status is of the 'Macintosh HD' is on partition 'disk0s2', use the following command:
diskutil info disk0s2

On the MBA this gave some goose bump causing clarity: there is no filesystem on this partition! But at least the SMART status of the disk says 'Verified'. Very confidence inspiring test this just became.

In an attempt to fix the volume, I used the following command in Terminal:
diskutil verifyvolume disk0s2

This gave more errors, but nothing giving hope. I do suspect that all the data is still on the 'drive', but that the index table is destroyed. Now I am searching for a Terminal command to rebuild the index table from whatever boot system. Fingers crossed.


The 13" MacBook Air of my girlfriend has a 128GB SSD in it. According to a support page from Apple, it would say after a firmware update tool if the drive was one with bad memory. It did not. This morning it still died though. Good thing she turned TimeMachine off, since it was annoying how slow it was... Double crap.

iTunes error -54

Big update day yesterday, which jumped my retina MacBook Pro to OS X 10.9 Mavericks and my phone to iOS 7.0.3. Noticeably better performance on both devices, which of course is great. I did get a bit scared though when I got the iTunes "-54" error a few times after updating to 10.9 and downloading the iOS update.

After performing a 'Repair permissions' in DiskUtility all works fine again fortunately. I wonder where my books from iTunes went though. Apparently they are now in iBooks, but they don't show up. Weird. Good thing I got backups...

Normally I don't update to major new OS releases until there is at least one big fix update. This one had so many good reviews though that I just had to try. Big improvement and so far only minor annoyances (e.g. can't drag links to network locations to finder window headers anymore).

Calibrated my display yesterday as well and the colours are shockingly better now. Did not expect the one year old factory profile to be that far of what my Spyder3 made of it. Also I noticed that my display has the dreaded 'ghosting' or 'image retention'. Turns out I have a LG display, which is notorious for that. Found out that I have an LG via the following Terminal command (which only works on 15" rMBPs):
ioreg -lw0 | grep \"EDID\" | sed "/[^ I got a result with LP in it, which apparently means it is an LG and not a Samsung.

Weird though that I only now started to realise it. Guess I have never worked for longer periods in the same environment (LibreOffice); kind of proofs that I switch apps too much.

Relative links to images in LibreOffice Writer

In LibreOffice Writer, the word processor part of the LibreOffice suite, it is possible to insert images either embedded or linked. When working on a larger document, the performance is much better when linked images are used. It is annoying though that by default the links seem to be absolute rather than relative. When you work on one system that is no problem, but as soon as you move to another it is not possible to simply copy the images as well since the links would be broken. There is a fuzzy explanation on the LibreOffice Help pages which did not help with this. Fortunately there was a discussion somewhere else that gave the answer: it is possible to simply edit the links to the images (right-mouse-click or double-click on the image after inserting it as a linked image) and by replacing the absolute part of the link by ./ and the images become relative. Pity there does not seem to be an automated or GUI way to do this, but at least the functionality is kind of there.

So if the file is located at //Users/lars/Documents/document.odt and the original link to the image would be file:///Users/lars/Documents/images/plaatje.jpg, then by changing the location/link to ./images/plaatje.jpg it would get a relative location.

One inconvenient thing I ran into in version 4.1.2 it is not possible to change the link after performing a rotation to an image. It did work as intended though after first changing the link and then applying the rotation.

speed up Safari (the browser)

Safari can display pages rather slow, especially annoying on my girlfriends MacBook Air. Found a tip to speed up the rendering of pages on a MacRumours Guide: Enter the following two lines (each followed by a confirming ENTER) in Terminal while Safari is NOT running:

defaults write com.apple.Safari WebKitInitialTimedLayoutDelay 0.25
defaults write com.apple.Safari WebKitResourceTimedLayoutDelay 0.0001

That should reduce the built-in delay Safari has to pre-load content to a value that feels faster. Smaller numbers are faster. You'll increasingly see items appear while they are loaded though, rather than a full page being rendered at once.


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