Category Archives: Apple

Couldn’t find root user? Oh my.

At my other job I was given a Mac laptop to fix that wouldn’t boot.  It just sat there on the spinning wheel and never came to the logon screen.  So first thing I did was to boot in verbose mode by holding CMD-V down after the boot sound.  This shows boot messages.  Doing this revealed the boot process was looping with an error message of:

Couldn't find root user.  Sleeping and trying again.

I tried Googling for it and didn’t get promising results. Only fix is to re-install. But I was not discouraged. Besides, re-installs are a pain because all programs need to be re-installed and all settings are lost — plus you can lose all user data if not careful.

So I rebooted the Mac into single user mode by holding down CMD-S after the boot tone. This allows you to poke around the file sytem — if you are comfortable with Unix or Linux.

Consensus on the few items I found online was that it’s a problem with netinfo and to remove the directory from /var/db. I made a backup of that directory first, tried it, and still didn’t help.

Thankfully, a lot of Mac OS X is open source code named Darwin.  The error message was being produced by the memberd program. Going back into the open source archive at Apple for 10.4.,  I found the error message and confirmed it was trying to do something with the directory service.   So I hit a dead end — for a bit.

I rebooted and followed the boot messages and further upstream in the messages was another error from dyld saying it couldn’t load libz.1.dylib.   I went into /usr/lib and lo and behold, found a bad symlink….

libz.1.dylib -> ?~

Bingo!  I relinked it to the actual library file that was in the same directory

ln -s libz.1.dylib libz.1.2.3.dylib

Rebooted the Mac, and IT WORKED!!!!

So here’s hoping if someone else gets stuck with a similar problem on an older Mac running Tiger (10.4) and Googles the message like I tried, they’ll happen upon this and it will hopefully help.

Installing Diablo 2 on an Intel Mac

Back in the day (2000-2003) I played Diablo 2 — a lot.   A bit of nostalgia and the upcoming release of Diablo 3 meant it was time to give it another shot — but I couldn’t find my CDs anywhere. No problem, I went out and purchased the Diablo 2 Battle Chest which includes the original game plus the expansion pack — Lord of Destruction.

But would it work on my Intel-based Mac.  My backup plan was to install it on an old PC, but ideally I wanted it to work on my Mac.  There’s a few roadblocks to that plan though.  1) It was written for the old Mac OS, not “OS X” which is based on Unix.  It was also written to run on a different processor, not the Intel I have in my Mac. It was a bit of a hassle to get it working, and tech notes on how to do so were lacking, but in the end it works. You just can’t expect to pull out the CDs from the box and get it working though.

This blog entry is meant to document first how to do it, then the pitfalls I hit along the way.

Continue reading Installing Diablo 2 on an Intel Mac

How to Save on Mobile Me

I like Mobile Me from Apple. I use many of its features, like syncing between my iPhone and lots of Macs and PCs, the iDisk storage, publishing of web pages, etc.  I’ve had it for years, and each year it auto-renews for $99.00.   Over those years I’ve purchased two different Macs. Each time there’s a special where you can get a year of Mobile Me for $69.  I always decline because I have it already.   I-D-I-O-T!

Tonight I was purchasing a new iPhone 3GS and the Apple rep asked me if I wanted to add Mobile Me to it for just $69.  I said “I already have it.”  She mumbled something, and I repeated it. Finally she said “You can extend your current subscription for another year for $69.”


Yeah, I’ll take that.  I’m going to spend it anyway, so why not.

So I got the box for $69.  Inside the box is an activation code.  I just went to the Mobile Me Activation Page and entered the code while choosing to renew. Even though my current subscription was good through 2010, it allowed me to extend it to 2011.

Shows extension of subscription

So anyone who already uses Mobile Me and you have an opportunity due to purchase of Apple hardware to get Mobile Me for $69 — grab it. You’re going to renew it anyway, might as well save $30.