East of the Sun, West of the Moon


Does Software Hate Me?

Filed under: OS X,Software — Erwin @ 3:21 pm

This morning I realized that there was a new iTunes (5.0) available for download, so I sat myself down to install it, plus a Quicktime bugfix upgrade (as far as I can tell). Hah! The Quicktime upgrade required a reboot, so I (just in case) exited various programs, then started the upgrade process, thinking that the reboot would be the most interrupting part of it all. Nuh-uh.

In fact, the Quicktime part was done in no time flat, but the iTunes part caused some trouble. First it was telling me that iTunes needed to not be running for it to be able to continue. So I exit iTunes. It still insists that iTunes should not be running, … and insists, and insists. See, it gives a little dialog that you need to click away, but the only thing you can do is click ‘Ok’, but as long as it thinks iTunes is running, it’ll give you another popup, and another, and another. But you can’t exit the Software Update program, aside from brutally killing it using the Force Quit Application feature (command-option-ESC).

Doing that, I went ahead and rebooted, logged back in, exited iTunes again as it’s in my start-up items, and tried again. No go. This time (after forcefully quitting the Software Update program again) I decided it would be a good idea to take the iTunes and iTunesHelper applications from my start-up items, and I rebooted again for good measure.

After logging back in and starting the iTunes upgrade it complained that it could not access some file or directory in /tmp/503/TemporaryItems/com.apple.SoftwareUpdate, even though those files and directories were all owned by the correct user, etc. I (not-so-gently) removed all of /tmp/503 and tried again. Sure, now it went back to complaining about iTunes. Eh? You’ve got to be kidding me. So I go to a shell prompt and not being able to think of anything else, I do a ps aux | grep iTunes, which turns up… SizzlingKeys4iTunes. Would that be the cause of all this trouble? Surely not.

But alright, I go ahead and stop the process, and click away one more Please quit iTunes popup… and the Software Update actually proceeds to finish the actual iTunes install!

So does this mean that Apple, with all the programmers it employs, can’t see the difference between iTunes.app and <somethingelse>iTunes.app? I’ll try to forgive it for tripping over some file access problem (even though it made no sense to me), since I killed the process midway at least twice, but… sheesh. This cost me far too much time and I haven’t even started the new iTunes version yet!


  1. Time to learn another keyboard shortcut! Next time you have a strange find-the-process problem, login with shift held down, and it will skip all your login items. (This applies to rebooting as well — any startup item not marked as needed to boot the machine will be skipped).

    Comment by Josh — 2005/9/8 @ 3:39 pm

  2. Here’s hoping this applies to non-Apple-keyboards as well. I’ll have to test that sometime soon. 🙂

    Comment by Erwin — 2005/9/8 @ 3:44 pm

  3. Holding down shift during boot dates from a time when there were these new things called “CD-ROM drives” just starting to become common on computers and there wasn’t a list of critical services and drivers (thus everything outside the OS got skipped). A high-profile MacHack attendee stood up at the Bash Apple session and said “when I hold down Shift it doesn’t turn off my floppy drive.” Oh, and people still used floppy drives. So I should think it would work somewhat universally by now.

    Comment by Josh — 2005/9/8 @ 9:45 pm

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