Manually Download and Install VMware Tools

The automatic VMmare Tools install is convenient. However, I needed to run Ubuntu 14 as a guest with an old version of VMware Player (because it is the standard, at my employer). The old Player would not download a Tools that was newer than the Player.

The packages appear to be at

I Hate My MacBook Pro

I have an early 2011 MacBook Pro. I'm one of the people who has been hit by the solder problem on the GPU see Of course, it happened a few months after my AppleCare expired, when my MacBook was just over 3 years old. At this point, I can use my MacBook only if I never activate the discrete graphics chip. If I activate the chip, the Mac crashes within a few minutes.

Why I Do Not Use Pages on the Mac

Apple is not really into backward compatibility. When they release a new version of Pages or Numbers, it will open files from the previous version. Generally speaking, you can't go back 2 or 3 versions. This means that every time you upgrade iWork, you're really supposed to find all of your old files and upgrade them.

I'm not going to do that.

As ugly as it is, Office is big on backward compatibility. You can still open really, really old Word or Excel files in recent editions of Office.

Compare Two Directories Recursively on Mac/Unix/Linux

diff -rq directory1 directory2

Mac OS X Says File In Use, But File Isn't In Use!

Sometimes, when you try to move or delete a file/folder on a Mac, it says "The operation cannot be completed because the item is in use". If you are certain that the item is NOT in use, then it got locked at some point and the app ended without unlocking it. To manually unlock a file:

chflags nouchg filename


chflags -R nouchg foldername

Debugging JavaScript Problems in Internet Explorer

I work in an environment where IE 8 is the norm. Sometimes our web sites use JavaScript. Sometimes they have problems. Here are some notes on JS debugging in such an environment.

Attempt to duplicate the behavior in Firefox. You still have to make it work in IE, but knowing whether the issue is due to a browser quirk or a flat-out bug in your code will help to guide your debugging strategy.

Movie Video Too Dark on Mac/Macbook When Using VLC

If the movie is too dark when playing a video on your Macbook, and you're using VLC, press Command-E to bring up the Video Effects. This is also available from the Window menu (not the Video menu).

Create High Memory, CPU, and Disk Use, for Stress-testing Windows

Sometimes you need to generate 100 percent CPU use, or memory exhaustion, or slow system response due to high disk I/O.


"CPU Stress" (aka cpustress.exe) is at . It can use up from 1-4 logical processors.

Need to use up all your memory? See . TestLimit can soak up varying amounts of RAM.

Autoexec for Excel

I wanted to run code on startup/opening an Excel workbook. I tried

Sub Auto_Open()
    Debug.Print "Got here"
    MsgBox "auto_open"
End Sub

It didn't run when opening the workbook. (Yes, I enabled macros via the Trust Center. I also checked to be sure it was stored in the ThisWorkbook object.) I tried Public and Private variants. It just wouldn't start. So I changed it to the following, and it runs.

Private Sub Workbook_Open()
    Debug.Print "Got here"
    MsgBox "auto_open"
End Sub

Why I Use Word On My Mac

I like the Mac's elegance. I like the elegance of Apple's programs. But I use the "bloatware" of Microsoft Office -- by choice.

You often hear that 90% of Word's features go unused. Well I'm here to tell you about one of those obscure features that drives me to use Word, despite owning a Mac and Pages: Paste Link.

I've got a library of trip plans. Every trip plan has some common boilerplate text, some text that is unique to the trip, and a schedule (in a table). Boilerplate, unique content, and a spreadsheet.


Subscribe to Input Jam RSS