Cleaning a Vicks Vaporizer (Humidifier)

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Humidifier-01
We bought a Vicks Vaporizer a few years ago. Last season we noticed that its performance had degraded and this week, when I filled it up and plugged it in, it didn’t appear to be working. I figured it probably needed to be cleaned but I wasn’t certain how so I located some posts in a few forums that described the basic process. Fortunately, it’s very simple.

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Fixing a Window Lift on a 2008 Chevy Impala (Driver Side Window)

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Note: This was originally posted as a joke. However, I did not realize how close I actually was to figuring out how to replace the window regulator. This year (2019) my driver’s side window regulator went out, again, but I was able to purchase a new replacement for only $65 and replaced it myself. Checkout this video by someone else, on YouTube, for a great, step-by-step instruction on how to do this.

When I left work this afternoon I approached my car and found this:

Impala-Door-01

Considering that an automotive windshield is typically rather transparent, as is most glass, it may be helpful for me to point out that the driver side window is down in the above photo.

Upon seeing this was I was so confused that, for a moment, I was actually stupid, which is generally uncharacteristic. Stunned, I entered the car and just sat there trying to remember if I had rolled down the window on my lunch break and simply forgot to roll it back up.

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OS X Mavericks Affecting Trackpad/Keyboard on Older MacBook Pros?

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I’ve read a few articles at different tech sites, along with some Apple support forum postings, discussing a problem with keyboard and trackpad issues on new MacBook Pro Retina systems. Apple even has a support article titled MacBook Pro (Retina, 13-inch, Late 2013): Keyboard and Multi-Touch trackpad may become unresponsive.

I don’t think this issue is limited only to newer MacBook Pro Retina systems. A day after upgrading my wife’s 13″ MacBook Pro, which is a 2010 or 2011 model (and doesn’t have a Retina Display), we experienced a similar problem. She was trying to use her laptop but the mouse cursor did not follow the movements on the trackpad. It seemed to stop responding for brief moments and then move off in a slightly different direction when it did work. I witnessed this problem myself and even checked to see if something had gotten on the trackpad that was throwing it off. Nothing had.

Because I had yet to learn of this problem I happened on the solution by accident. My wife had become frustrated so she closed her laptop and let it sleep. I grabbed it, opened the display, but it wouldn’t fully wake up (an issue that itself isn’t exactly rare). Rather than power the laptop off, not knowing what she may have left open and unsaved, I simply closed the lid and waited until the LED pulsed to indicate that the system was sleeping. Then I opened it back up. This time the system woke up properly and, once again, the trackpad behaved normally.

It’s certainly possible that something else was the cause but the problem hasn’t recurred so I doubt it’s a hardware issue. This has never happened before. In addition, a friend of mine mentioned that he also had a similar problem with an older MacBook Pro. So, if you have an older MacBook Pro that behaves this way try the solution for new MacBook Pro systems.

OS X Mavericks (10.9) Breaks VPN Server

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Updated 12/10/2013: Jon Stacey has identified a fix, which involves restoring a copy of racoon from Mountain Lion. I followed his advice and was able to successfully establish an L2TP VPN connection again. Please visit the ‘OS X 10.9 Mavericks fix’ section of his page for more information.

Updated 07/06/2014: The VPN continues to function just fine. I’ve installed several server updates since my previous updates so at this point I’m no longer certain if the previous fix is still in place or if Apple provided a proper fix via update. Regardless, I haven’t had any new problems.

Despite having updated various software packages to avoid software problems with compatibility under Mavericks I hit a wall that I simply haven’t been able to get past. The built-in VPN server in Mavericks (with and without OS X Server) is broken.

I had it working just fine under Mountain Lion, which I managed using iVPN. After upgrading it stopped working. Not long after I added OS X Server and it still wouldn’t work (I purchased OS X Server for its Time Machine capabilities, not for VPN support so I didn’t purchase it expecting it to fix this problem).

Prior to upgrading I had an L2TP VPN server working. Since upgrading I’ve been unable to get L2TP or PPTP working, though I’ve seen more activity with PPTP during connection attempts than with L2TP.

I have hunted across many forum threads and I have been unable to find a solution that works. Some users have reported success though the apparent causes and solutions are extremely varied. The majority of posts are from users that cannot find a solution. This weekend I spent several hours trying to find a solution without success.

At this point there appears to be nothing more that I can do. I’ll simply have to wait until Apple issues an update that fixes the problem. Until then I’ll have to use a service such as LogMeIn to access my desktop, though it’s only a partial solution and doesn’t provide the full access to my network that I need from a VPN server.

Dreamweaver CS6 Won’t Add Link Tag to Selected Text in Code View

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I seem to be encountering more bugs in the latest version of Adobe Dreamweaver (CS6) along with OS X Lion…

One of the oddities I’ve been dealing with is a problem in Dreamweaver. It seems to happen after editing several pages in one session. During this work session I was in Code View a lot (and it may even be happening in Design View).

I’d add a string of text, or select an existing string, and then click in the link text box of the Properties pane. I’ll type the URL but when I click out of the box it doesn’t apply the link.

At this point I can repeat this step as many times as I want but it simply won’t work.

The “fix” is to restart Dreamweaver. After a while it just seems to have a problem keeping up with adding links.

Note that I have the latest updates installed that were available at the time of writing this post.

iMessage and Network Authentication (iOS)

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The Short Version: Depending on the network environment, network authentication may block iMessage text messages. In addition to blocking messages to and from iPad and iPod touch devices, it will also result in blocking iPhone text messages. The simplest work-around is to disable iMessage in Settings -> Messages or just disable WiFi.

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Superdrive Failure After Upgrading From Snow Leopard To Lion

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A few days ago my wife’s MacBook Pro (13-inch, Mid-2010) suddenly couldn’t read CDs or DVDs. Inserting a disc results in the drive spinning up and down a few times and then ejecting the disc after a moment. We quickly realized this was the first time she had tried to use a disc since I upgraded her computer to Lion.

So far, I haven’t been able to fix the problem. I’ve tried several different suggestions, but I haven’t hit on the correct one. My assumption is that one of two problems have occurred: (1) The Snow Leopard to Lion upgrade resulted in a software problem that affects the Superdrive or (2) it’s purely a coincidence and the Superdrive has simply suffered from a hardware failure.

In the worst case, the MacBook Pro is still well within the AppleCare warranty period so we can have it repaired, if necessary. I’ll try some additional tips as I come across them before we resort to sending it off or visiting an Apple Store.

This doesn’t seem to be an uncommon problem. Quick searches turn up numerous complains from individuals using different configurations who upgraded from Snow Leopard to Lion and ran into the same problem. I’m including a few related links. If I find a solution that fixes our problem I’ll add an update to this post.

Updated 11/11/2011: The fact that this problem just started after upgrading to Lion may be a coincidence. I went through some additional diagnostics this evening. The one step I did that has convinced me that this probably is a hardware failure was an attempt to boot from a CD. My assumption is that if the drive issues were caused by a software problem then it wouldn’t appear before booting into Lion.

While it’s true that my wife hadn’t tried to use the drive since we upgraded to Lion, that doesn’t exclude the possibility that the hardware failed sometime before or after the upgrade. In addition, I have noticed signs indicating that the body area where the drive is located isn’t well reinforced. On more than one occasion, and with other models with similar body designs, that when one holds the laptop in a way that puts pressure in that area that it seems to transfer into the drive itself. In my opinion it’s very possible that the drive can be damaged if one has a disc in the drive while putting any kind of pressure on that area of the frame.

It looks like we’ll need to take the MacBook Pro to an Apple Store for repair.

Updated 11/12/2011: The nearest Apple Store is a long drive from our house so we opted to call Apple support and mail the system back for repair. The initial call was painless. It didn’t take much to convince the Apple tech to enter a ticket to have the drive fixed. I updated him on what I’ve done and when I mentioned it wouldn’t boot from a CD he agreed that the drive was most likely bad. It was a good experience overall. I didn’t have to go through the troubleshooting steps again – the tech accepted my conclusions without forcing me to follow a script.

Updated 12/12/2011: The weekend after my wife submitted the support ticket she received the box to ship the laptop on Tuesday. Her laptop was repaired and back in her hands by the Thursday of the same week.