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Jos Kirps's Popular Science and Technology Blog final version online

November 29, 2013

Last week we released the final version of the platform, which concludes the two year beta phase. We’re very happy with this version, I like the look and feel of the entire platform and we managed to complete almost all planned features.

Almost 6000 users have an account on now, which is more than we originally expected when launching the beta in late 2011. Q3/2013 has been the most successful third quarter so far, and it looks like Q4/2013 will become our most successful fourth quarter. A record breaking 3635 worksheets had been generated in October 2013, and the current month already beat that number (3799 so far). Let’s hope things continue like that ;)

We’re already working on the next new features that shall become available in 2014. I can’t reveal any details yet, but I can say that there will finally be some really new stuff after we’ve been mostly completing the initial design during the past two years.

Just a short update today...

November 13, 2013

The final version will become available very soon, we’ve been able to address almost 100 items on the todo list within the past 4 weeks and as far as we can tell all major issues have been resolved. A bit more than 40 smaller issues are scheduled to be addressed until the end of the year, while the rest of the list (about 60 smaller feature requests) will have to wait until next year.

You may have noticed the fact that there have been very few CorneliOS/CIOS updates during the past two months, which is due to the fact that we’re currently fully focused on finishing the final release. Yesterday we’ve released CorneliOS 3.11r12, which is a maintenance release with more than 100 smaller enhancements, regular updates will be back early next year.

Stay tuned…

New / Morzino icon set online

October 12, 2013

Today we released the new / Morzino icon set, which finally replaces the original icons that went online with the very first BETA in late 2011. Consider this to be the first step that will lead us to the final version which is still on schedule and will be ready before the end of the year. Expect further patches, features and UI updates within the next few weeks, we're working really hard on fine-tuning everything.

There are currently still over 200 items on the Morzino todo list, we won't be addressing them all this year but we'll try to complete the most important stuff and to fix the most annoying bugs. Like any platform, Morzino will be an ongoing project that will evolve over time.

Later this year we'll also start to finally publish the tutorials that will help people to use the more advanced features of the platform, and we'll also focus on finishing the international version targeted at DACH (Germany, Austria and Switzerland) that we'll launch as BETA in early 2014.

As you may see there's plenty of work that still has to be done, although this will only the beginning. We now have completed work on our project plannings for 2014, 2015 and 2016, and we're really excited about the stuff that's still to come.

While we'll keep putting some more energy into the Galaxiki project in future, we've also decided to kill off some of our smaller platforms and projects. There's some really cool stuff on our roadmap now, and we just won't find the time to keep working on smaller projects where we can't see and big and bright future. We killed our web directory a few years ago, we didn't regret it and now it's time to say goodbye to some further projects that would be slowly dying anyway.

A final note: the new CHRIS album won't become available this year (I announced this in my last post), but the delay is not related to our work and this also won't affect our own ongoing music projects which are still on schedule.

Updates:, Morzino, CorneliOS, CHRIS, Trident, Galaxiki and more...

September 15, 2013

This week we released BETA 2.6 which will be the last beta before the final release in late 2013. We'll now fix some final bugs, implement some last features and put first tutorials online. The final version will focus a bit more on collaboration and publishing, although the current release already gives you a clear picture of what is going to be.

Even during the summer holidays there has been a lot of activity. Users logged in every single day, creating worksheets and communicating. There are now more than 5,000 registered users, over 50,000 worksheets have been generated and more than 35,000 messages have been written.

After the final release later this year we'll focus a bit more on Morzino (the international edition of the site), especially on the german version which shall be launched as BETA in early 2014. We have many ideas on how to further improve the platform, so make sure to check back from time to time. We're also working on the design of the upcoming standalone software version of the site, but you'll have to be patient as we don't want to rush this one. It will be big. And it will be FREE (we'll release it under the GPL).

It's not a secret that we'll do the cover and booklet for the next CHRIS album, which shall also become available before the end of the year. Expect further music projects in 2014, we have some really cool stuff coming up.

But all of this is just the beginning, as 2014 will probably become our most important and impressive year so far, with tons of new stuff to be released. We will not only continue work on Morzino/, but we'll also launch a new major platform that will not be related to education. It will in fact be much more than just another platform, but I won't reveal any more details now. Expect something just as big as Galaxiki or Morzino.

The Trident project is also progressing fine, and during the past few weeks our visionary framework received a major upgrade. Expect some changes to the philosophy we're basing our work on soon, this will not only affect future projects but also exting ones such as Galaxiki or Morzino.

Our new third API also made some progress, while CorneliOS and CIOS will see a major update within the next few days (as we didn't publish releases for a few weeks now). The development tools have been successfully moved to the new API, but you shouldn't expect any information on this till mid 2014 or so. Today we worked on the design of the front end of the API and it now looks like we'll do two different versions.

The only downside is that we were not able to release the two smaller platforms I had announced some time ago, as we wanted to fully focus on Trident and Morzino. This doesn't mean that these platforms are dead, they're just delayed. The same is true for the lastest Galaxiki update btw. We're working hard on the Galaxiki update now, we know that it's late and we can't guarantee everything will be ready by the end of the year. But be assured that we haven't forgotten or scifi fans, and we apologise for the delays.

Repairing MacOS X permissions - brute force method

May 29, 2013

A few weeks ago I had the problem that my Macbook Pro didn't start up anymore. The grey screen appeared, but the blue background or even the login window never showed up. Booting in safe mode (holding shift when starting up the computer) didn't help either.

The first thing to do is to boot in verbose mode then, by pressing both the Command and V keys when starting the computer. The booting process stopped after launchd came up with some problem with the OS permissions.

So I booted in SUM (single user mode, press both the Command and S keys when after restarting) and fixed this first. If you can't login in single user mode anymore then you're probably doomed, backup your data and reinstall.

Apparently permissions on some launchd files were not restrictive enough (777 instead of 755) and the OS had some problems with that. After rebooting launchd started fine, but the OS was hanging again after (or while?) checking the network devices.

I didn't have a system DVD that moment, as booting from the DVD and using Disk Utility to repair permissions might have helped. So I decided to repair permissions in single user mode using the diskutil command line tool, just to notice that this doesn't work as diskutil is missing some libraries when using it in SUM. But no problem, you can load those libraries manually - just to see that diskutil seems to hang again, and there is no verbose mode :/

The next thing I did was to boot the laptop in target disk mode (connect your computer to another machine using a Firewire cable, press the T key when starting up) and to backup all data. Unfortunately it seems that you cannot repair permissions in target disk mode btw (those features were disabled on my machine at least).

Comparing files on both computers showed that some OS files had bad permissions on my laptop, but there are thousands of files and checking them all manually was not an option as I was quite in a hurry. So I opted for a brute force method to get that thing to work again quickly (although I wouldn't recommend this as a standard method - try to get a system DVD with disk utility if possible, or maybe some other tool...)

Here's what I did (you have to boot in single user mode of course):

mount -uw /

chmod -R 755 /Library

chmod -R 755 /System

shutdown -r now

The chmod commands will take some time as these are huge directories, so be patient.

After the reboot the login window came up again (it took a bit more time then usually), I was able to login and to run the Apple Disk Utility to repair all permissions (this took about 30 mins).

So, if you can't login anymore and nothing seems to work then you may want to try to simply chmod the entire OS directories. Most files should belong to root/wheel, so you may also want to use chown to repair these if required. In some cases you may also need to fix permissions in the /etc directory.

As said, consider everything here as a "last option", and use at your own risk!

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