Skype for Business with macOS Catalina

Today I was troubleshooting issues with a brand new MacBook Air that had the latest version of macOS Catalina on it. The user had installed Skype for Business but the microphone would never work. In the instructions that Microsoft provides, it says that you need to enable it in the Privacy & Security settings, however the Skype for Business Application never shows up under the Microphone settings. This went down a few rabbit holes, but what it appears is that Microsoft has not updated the Skype for Business app to update the TCC database. So what I ended up having to do was the following:

  1. First you need to give the Terminal app full disk access, if you don’t do this, then the rest of the actions will fail. To do this, while you are in the Security and Privacy Preference Panel, find the “Full Disk Access” on the left side, once found click the lock icon to unlock if it isn’t unlocked already and then select the check box next to the Terminal application. It may give you a popup about needing to quit the terminal app because it is open, go ahead and quit the application.
  2. Next, open a new terminal app, it is under Applications -> Utilities -> Terminal
  3. In the Terminal app, we are going to run 2 commands, the first command is going to backup the file we will be changing with the second command. So the first command we need to run is:
sudo cp ~/Library/Application\ Support/ ~/Desktop/

4. Then we are going to run the following command which will insert a new row in to the TCC.db file (this should all be on one line):

sudo sqlite3 ~/Library/Application\ Support/ "insert into access VALUES('kTCCServiceMicrophone','',0,1,1,NULL,NULL,NULL,'UNUSED',NULL,0,1541440109) ;"

5. Now go back to the Privacy & Security Preference Panel and click the Microphone, the Skype for Business app should show up there, as well has have a check mark next to it, if it doesn’t have the check mark, click it.

6. Then we need to remove the full disk access from Terminal, so scroll back to the Full Disk Access and uncheck the Terminal application. It will give you a popup about it running, go ahead and click the quit now.

7. Now you can either start Skype for Business, or stop and re-open it and the Microphone should work on voice calls now.

set default DISK$DATA:[OS.EOL]

Seeing the news the other day of HP is discontinuing OpenVMS brought back some memories. Mostly of all the different operating system’s I have used that are no longer around or have changed a lot. Back in my undergrad days, one of the first OS’ we used to program on was OpenVMS on a VAX. It was for an engineering class and we had to use Fortran 77. I remember our quota’s used to be about 5MB in size, which at the time was “huge”.

So to list some of the other OS’ I have seen gone by the way side (and other computer related items that had a huge effect on where I am at today.)

1. OpenVMS (used it between 1994 and 1999)

2. VM/ESA (not really gone, now called zOS, but haven’t touched it since about 2001)

3. Gopher (this is the “original” web…)

4. IRIX (SGI’s UNIX platform. I still have 2 SGI Indy’s and a copy of 5.3 and I believe 6.5, but haven’t had them on in years, maybe a vacation project some time.)

5. SunOS (not Solaris, but the old BSD based SunOS 4.x) my things have changed in the 19 years that I have been doing Solaris work

6. mSQL (mini sql). Not really gone, but surpassed by other’s (mysql, mariadb, etc). I used msql as my first PHP/FI + DB + Apache installation on a Solaris 2.6 box. I wrote a network management application that controlled DNS, DHCP, etc for university dorm connection management.

7. Trumpet Winsock, for the good old Windows 3.1 days when you needed a way to do TCP/IP over modem or ethernet.

8. NCSA Mosaic, the web browser that is credited with popularizing the WWW. Used to use this on some old SGI and DEC machines.

9. ULTRIX, DEC’s version of UNIX. It was on a lot of DECstations in the Engineering department and one computer in the CS department. Used to have a teacher that made us make sure everything compiled on it vs the Solaris or Linux hosts.

10. AltaVista, Search engine to use before Google came around. Now it is just a “front end” to Yahoo search ūüôĀ

11. Atari 400, used to have one of these at the grandparents house to tinker on.

12. Commodore 64, used to have a couple of these when I lived at home. We I learned some BASIC programming. (Later went on to try Visual Basic programming on Windows 3.11 on a 80486 DX4-100 AMD PC.)

13. BeOS, was a really neat idea, excellent media support, unfortunately it was around the time of the PC vs Mac battle so getting buy in was hard.


This all also brings back memories how of rudimentary computers were back then and the lack of security. There was no SSH, everything on the VM, OpenVMS and UNIX machines was done through telnet. There was no SSL, and people didn’t think twice about typing in a credit card number on a web site.

I also remember doing web surfing with Lynx on various UNIX systems. And what goes along with Web browsing then email, the first GUI email client I remember using was Pegasus Mail on a Novell Netware based mail system. Once people started doing POP3 mail, people switched over to Eudora Mail. Which I used for a while, but not a lot. I for some reason stuck with Pine a text based mail reader, mostly because I used it on the server that received all the mail.  (And to totally geek out, there were times were I would telnet in to the POP3 port on the mainframe and read my mail by issuing the pop commands by hand.)

As for personal computers, I have had quite a few since my first one. My first computer only had a 40MB hard drive in it. It was a KLH brand 80386 SX 16 that I bought from Phar-Mor. I think I had it maxed out a 4MB of Ram which at the time was huge. I remember trying to play some game on it (I keep thinking it was SimCity, but may be wrong) and it needed more Video RAM cause it only came with 128K of video ram. So I had to buy more to up it to like I think 384K.

As a list of what I have had or still have, here goes:

  1. KLH 80386SX 16MHz – First, no longer have it, came with a 40MB hd, and a EGA 15inch monitor.
  2. AMD 80486DX4 100MHz – Used this to run Windows 3.11, Linux and later Solaris 2.6. It came with a 320MB hard drive. I later paid close to $300 for a 1.6GB hard drive for it. It had a VESA Local Bus video card and a Sound Blaster 16 sound card. No longer have this computer.
  3. Intel Pentium II 266MHz – Bought this in 1997 from a company called Vektron (who later went out of business, like all fly by night computer places back in the early days). It had 32MB of ram and a 500MB hard drive. It ran Windows 95, Windows NT, BeOS, Solaris and Linux. (I had bought bigger and more hard drives later, just can’t remember what all was in it.) I actually still have this machine, it’s most recent use was as a router for my home network running Solaris 10 with 3 NIC’s (one on Comcast, one on Verizon and one on my home network). The hard drive died in it a couple of years ago, so I turned it off, it is still sitting in a rack thought.
  4. Sun SPARCstation 2 – This was my first “workstation”. I got it second hand from a friend’s company. It was where I cut my teeth on Solaris. It ran Solaris 2.5 when I got it, and over the years I upgraded it to Solaris 7. Ironically it only had a 40MHz processor and 64 MB of ram. It had 2 huge external 800MB disk packs and a freakishly heavy 17 inch Sony monitor that used 13W3 connector with BNC ends. I still have this one, but the disk packs both died, so it hasn’t been on in years.
  5. Sun Ultra5 – 360MHz, 128MB of ram. One of the first “IDE” based lower end workstations from Sun. I still have this, but I think the power supply is bad, as I can’t get it to turn on :(. When it ran, I had Solaris 9 on it.
  6. SGI Indy – 2 of these 133MHz with 96MB of ram. One of the coolest “workstations” I ever owned. I believe they both still run, but haven’t been on in years. One ran IRIX 5.3 and the other ran IRIX 6.5
  7. Dual Intel Pentium III 933MHz – Bought this in probably 2001 I think. It is huge, it was a full tower with onboard IDE raid (which only works with Windows because of driver issues.). Right now it has 1.5GB of ram in it, ~2TB of disk and runs Solaris 10 with 7 zones running on it.
  8. IBM Thinkpad i1100, Celeron 500MHz. This one was given to me as a result of work being done for a company. It was my first laptop, and I still have it today. However it’s stats are very underwhelming by today’s point of view. The monitor is an LCD one, but not TFT, so that means there are all kinds of shadows and the picture isn’t crisp. It also only had a 5GB hard drive in it. Which means after installing Windows 2000 on it, there was only maybe a gig free. It also had no floppy drive, and no network ports. So I bought a Linksys WAP11 back in the day (probably in 2002 when I got this) for upwards of $300 so I could have wireless internet on it.
  9. ThinkPad A22p – 900MHz Pentium III. I bought this one as a replacement of the first. Side by side this one is HUGE, as it has a 15 inch display that runs at 1600×1200. It also had a 30GB hard drive (which was split in to 3 10GB chunks, one for Windows XP NTFS, One for Solaris 10 and one for FAT 32 to share files between the two OS’).
  10. AMD 3600+ – Got this one in 2005. It currently runs a combination of Windows XP and Windows 7. Has about 2.5 TB of disk on it.
  11. Sun X2100 – This server. Currently running Solaris 10, with a surprisingly small 160GB of disk with 4 zones on it.
  12. Apple MacBook Pro 2.0GHZ – This was one of the first Intel based Mac’s that was released in 2006. It had a Dual Core 2.0 GHz processor, 2GB of ram an a 100GB hard drive. It did have it’s issues (mostly battery and power adapter ones), but it ran solid for about 5 years. In the fall of 2011 the logic board “died” and it will no longer run in full “user” mode. (I think it is the graphics part of the board.) Still have it hoping for a price drop of replacement boards some day.
  13. Apple Mac Pro – Dual Quad Xeon 2.8GHz with 10 GB of ram. This is the best desktop I have ever had. It is fast and quiet. Right now I think I have close to 13GB of disk on it (both internal and external). I also dual boot it with MacOSX 10.8 and Windows 7 (for a couple of games)
  14. Apple MacBook Pro 2.8GHz iCore7 – the replacement for the one that died above. It is hands down probably 4 to 8 times faster than the 2.0 one that I had before.
  15. Sun V20z – Used to run VMware ESX 3.5 with a Sun T3 fibre connected Disk array. The V20z is fully loaded with processor (2) and ram (16GB). One loud machine…
  16. IBM X3550 – Dual Quad Xeon with 8GB of ram. Used to run VMware vSphere 5.0. Used it to play around with doing virtualization of my house servers. Unfortunately it is too loud to leave running 24×7, so it is only on when needed.
  17. HP XW8600 workstation – Dual Quad Xeon with 16GB of ram. This is my “production” VMware server at¬† home. It has 3 TB of disk it in and runs probably 11VM’s all the time. It was used to replace the noisy IBM one, and it is super quiet.

As for a list of operating systems I keep current with, it is many and with VMware it is possible to have “test” versions of everything sitting around which helps a lot. Basically the following is what I keep running:

  1. MacOSX 10.7 and 10.8
  2. Windows XP, 7, 8, 2008, 2008R2, 2012
  3. CentOS 6.3
  4. Solaris 10, 11
  5. OpenIndiana 151
  6. pfSense (freebsd)
  7. OpenBSD
  8. Ubuntu Linux

Well that is about enough nostalgia for tonight. Trying to think of other things to put back on the blog to start updating it more often. If you have any idea’s leave a comment (open for 30 days only to keep the spammers away..)

How R-Studio for Mac saved my ass

I have an external Seagate Firewire 800 drive that I use on my Mac Pro that has over 700GB of VMware images on it. Pretty much anything I work on I have an image on there, everything from a Windows XP client to Microsoft Exchange servers, and Solaris, Linux and the such. I have had the drive for a couple of years and it has always been rock solid and fast too. (I bought it when Windows 7 screwed up my internal drives.)

Well today I ¬†was wanting to run a VM off of that drive to test something, and noticed that the drive did not appear on my Desktop. Weird, it as plugged in, the light was flashing, but no icon. Hmm, where the hell did it go? So I unplugged it and plugged it back in. Still no go. So i tried switching power supplies, still no go. Then if I left it sit for a while I would get the error that it could not use the drive, or that it needed initialized. Holy crap, that isn’t good.

I popped up the command prompt, diskutil would list that there was a drive there, but no partitions on it. The gui Disk Utility would see the disk, and again no partitions and wouldn’t let me do anything with it. gpt wouldn’t let me read it. So I thought to my self, did Windows 7 screw the disk up again (it was working the other day when I had booted in to windows, but forgot to unplug it before doing so ūüôĀ ). So I booted in to Windows 7, it could see the drive but said it was¬†unformatted. Double shit. So back to MacOSX, I went out searching for some data recovery programs. The first one was Data Rescue 3¬†while the graphics were¬†gimmicky¬†it didn’t even look like the demo version could even see 1 file on the drive. So I uninstalled it and started looking for another program.

In the past I have used the R-Studio for NTFS & FAT and both have worked wonders. I did a google search, and they now have a Mac version.  Now we are talking! So I downloaded the demo, and with in about 2 minutes of starting it, it showed me the entire disk and all the files that were on it. But since it was a demo it would only restore 10 files under 64kb.. So I bought it for $79.99. 2 minutes after buying it, it was busy restoring the files to another external 2TB USB drive. 6 hours later, 100% of my files were restored from the dead firewire drive, and my VM started up just like nothing had happen.  Needless to say it saved me hundreds of hours of reinstalling and setting up my VM environment. Now I just need to go get another drive to make a backup of this one.


So if you are ever needing to restore MacOS, HSFS, NTFS, FAT, UFS, EXT file systems, definitely check out r-tools technology and their R-Studio products.  For $79.99 it was more than worth it!



What happens in Vegas, should have stayed in Vegas

Last week, I went to VMworld 2011 in Las Vegas. The conference was great, 20,000+ people all there and focused on one thing, VMware and every product they offer. This was my first time at the VMworld conference, and hopefully will get to go again some time in the future. The main reason I went was because of the recently released vSphere 5 and seeing what all it offered and what all was changed. Needless to say, there are many cool new features that were added, I am only going to mention a few here, but the full list is available in this PDF.

The first cool feature is : Auto Deploy. Simply said, (wish they would have chose a different name) it is PXE boot of the vSphere image from a TFTP server, so no local disk is required to “run” vSphere. For example if you have a “shit ton” of blades and don’t want to have to go update and install all of them, just get their MAC address, setup the host in DHCP with a couple of DHCP options to tell it where to boot from and have the blade boot from the network. It will download the image from the TFTP server and run automagically. Once up and running all config is stored in vCenter 5 (a requirement!). So need to upgrade your hosts? Just reboot them after updating the image. A couple of notes for this, make sure you have logging set up to go to your syslog server, and that you set up the Dump Collector incase of a PSOD.

Another cool feature is: vSphere 5 supports Apple Xserve servers running OS X Server 10.6 (Snow Leopard) as a guest operating system. This is because vSphere now supports UEFI “bios”. Now “supposedly” this does not require Xserve’s (since Apple no longer sells them), but it “requires” them because of Apple’s EULA for use of Mac OS X.

There are many other features that have been upgraded, or are new.. Too bad the conference wasn’t a little longer, as the amount of sessions I wanted to go to were greater than the amount of time I had available to go to said sessions. (I.E. only one instance of a session and 2 sessions I wanted to see were at the same time.)

The Hands on Lab area was “freaking huge”. There were over 800 workstations set up where you could do 1 of 16 LABS (you could do more, just had to stand in line, I was only able to do 1 in the week I was there). Ironically each “lab” station was a Wyse “chubby client” that had dual monitors so you could rdesktop to some windows XP and servers to do the work. The HOL area, sort of reminded me of the CTF area at DefCon, a huge big room, with nearly no light what so ever and hundreds of thousands of screens.

The most interesting part of the conference is that they have grown so big, that next year they have to go to San Francisco to host the event, as there is no place in Vegas that is big enough to house them. This year it was at the Venetian with some spill over to Wynn. They also had the Sands Expo hall, which is connected to the Venetian. The “dining” room was 1.5 million sq ft alone, you could barely see from one end to the other.

I will have to say out of the many conferences I have been to by different vendors, I will have to say so far VMware has been the best. Some of the things that has made it stand out from the rest:

  1. Food, while not “the greatest ever” it was far better than I have had at other places. They gave us breakfast and lunch every day. In addition the break periods between sessions had different items every day. One day they had fresh hot made pretzel sticks with cheese and different sauces.
  2. Hang out area: Most conferences if there is “downtime” you usually end up either walking around or going back to the hotel. VMware set up a “hang space” where they had a basketball court, badmitten court, huge chess sets, fake grass to sit on in front of a big screen (like 20+feet) TV. A Twitter vMeetup place, where you could meet other people that you have met on twitter.
  3. Scheduled sessions. While I was skeptical at first on “pre-registering” for the sessions you want to attend, I think in the end it was a good idea, as it “guaranteed” your spot in the session as long as you showed up 3 minutes before it started. (There were gaps between end and start, so you really had no reason not to be there.)
  4. Group Discussion: in some conferences, I have seen “group discussion” be these “huge” groups where it ends up being a more Q&A session. VMware had group discussions, where there were maybe max 30 people in a room, each one had a clicker, and everyone voted on how the session went and it was a free form for questions. One of the best ones was the Oracle on VMware vSphere one. I learned a lot from that session.
  5. P.A.R.T.Y. : By far the best conference / vendor party I have ever been to. First was the food, you name it, they probably had it. I didn’t realize this till I had already ate a couple of slices of pizza. Then I saw a station where they were making fresh cut cheese-steak sandwiches, another was doing fresh made crab cakes. Like I said, name it, and it was probably there. In addition, a huge open bar (not that I drink, but it was there). So now that we got past the food, they had at least 4 different acts during the night. Two people doing fire tricks, then the openers was Recycled Percussion, which I didn’t realize who they were till I got back to the hotel room that night, but they were on the America’s Got Talent show, and previously had a show nightly in Vegas. The headliners were The Killers. They played for an hour and did all the “popular” songs along with some that I hadn’t heard before.
    This part of the party ended around 9PM. Which was the start time to the “after party” which was at the Venetian pool. I did not go to it, but it sounded like people had a bunch of fun there too.

So if you are still reading by now, you are probably trying to figure out the second part of the title “… should have stayed in Vegas”. Well, it seems that some time either on Sunday or early Monday morning I either sprained or got a stress fracture in my left foot. Needless to say, the 30+miles of walking I did, (cause my hotel was 2 miles away from the conference hotel, it is a damn long walk from Planet Hollywood to the Venetian even if you take the monorail when your foot it hurting like a Mofo) did not help it any. By the time I got home it was still hurting and I noticed that the top of my foot started to have some swelling and bruising. I just iced it on Saturday and Sunday, but as of today it was still hurting and didn’t seem to change much, so I ended up going to the doctor to have it X-ray’d. They said it didn’t show any fractures, but thought it was just a really bad sprain or a damaged ligament. So it is more ice, and a ankle air cast for a while. So that is what I “wish that it should have stayed in Vegas.”

Windows 7 is naughty

Today I set out to see if Windows 7 would run MS Flight Simulator X any better than Windows XP did. I found that Windows XP on my Mac Pro (Dual Xeon with 10GB of ram) ran very sluggish. Partly because Windows XP (32-Bit) would only recognize about 3.5 Gig of the 10GB of ram that was installed in the machine. So since I recently got a Technet subscription (I seem to have to do a little more Windows stuff now at work, so thought I might as well learn what I have to manage) I downloaded the Windows Ultimate 7 to see how it would perform before going out and buying it. So I did a Time Machine backup of my data on my Mac Pro and then inserted in the Windows 7 disc and hit the “go”. It took a couple of hours to do the install, patch it, update boot camp stuff and install Flight Simulator. Once it was installed I was impressed that it actually performed much better than it did on Windows XP. I could actually turn the graphics stuff up on it and almost run it at 1900×1200 with out any jerking around. I then did a couple of flights and then it was time to boot back in to MacOS to get some real work done. This is when I about lost it..

See when I booted windows 7 it had found the other 3 data drives that were all HFS+ drives in my Mac. It decided to assign a drive letter to them all. I went in and un did that as I did not want Windows to touch those drives. I thought all was well, until I booted in to MacOS. When I logged in, it told me that the drives could not be read, and it couldn’t find my home directory (which was one of those drives). I was PISSED! So the first thing I did was pop up the disk utility and this is what I saw (minus the 2 1TB seagate drives):

What pissed me off was that every partition I clicked on, it said it was an MS-DOS partition. Surely Windows didn’t screw around and format all my drives.. I was at a loss, all my data was on there, 20,000+ pictures, all the video I was working on, everything… So I decided to see what I could see from the command line. So off to the command line, and I ran the “diskutil list” command and saw this:

Yup, Micro$oft had screwed with my partitions.. So I was hoping that maybe it just changed the partition type and my data was still there. So I poked around to see if there was a way to change the partition type. In the gui tool, the only way to do it is to “format” it over, which meant I would loose everthing, and I didn’t have any backups, as the disk2 in there was my Time Machine backup drive. So thinking to my Solaris side, I knew there was a program called “fstyp” that would tell you what a particular disk slice was formated as. So I gave it a shot and MacOS has that program:

So I ran the fstyp util againest one of the slices, and it came back saying it was HFS… Hot diggity dog.. Maybe my data is still all there.. So I did a mount on it as readonly and it worked. I could see all the data on the drive. So I immediatly started copying data from the drive to an external USB drive (the first 1TB seagate drive in the picture above). But the problem now was, I had 3 x 500GB harddrives of information. The 1TB drive only had about 400GB free. So off to Best Buy and I picked up a Seagate 1TB Firewire drive. Brought it home and mounted up the other partitions and started copying the data. It has been going on for about 2 hours or more now on the copy. I will say that the Seagate Firewire 800 drive is spanking the ass off of the Seagate USB drive.

Once I have backed up all the data.. (Hint use the ditto command) I will see if there is a way to change the partition type with out reformatting the drive. If there isn’t then I will have to reformat and then ditto the data back on to the Internal drives..

Hopefully this will help some one else if they get the same problem, and it (MacOS) tells you “you must initialize the drive”. DONT. Tell it to cancel and then you can save your data.. If you initialize it, you may end up loosing all your data.


As I waited for the data to finish copying I decided to test some stuff on my time machine drive. I read a bunch on the GUID labels that are on the disks. Using the gpt command i did a listing of the GUID info for the drive. Using that information I deleted the index 2 and added a new one with the Apple HFS GUID label:

gpt -r show /dev/disk2
gpt remove -i 2 /dev/disk2
gpt add -b 409640 -s 976101344 -i 2 -t "48465300-0000-11AA-AA11-00306543ECAC" /dev/disk2

In the above, you can see I removed index 2. As soon as I did that, this window popped up:

I just selected ignore on it. Then went on to put in the new GUID label which was the third command in the shot above. The numbers (409640, and 976101344) are taken from the line that has index 2 on it above. You MUST use the exact same numbers, otherwise you are going to change the partition size and may corrupt your data. The value after the -t is the GUID value for MacOS HFS (HFS+), which I found on, you can also see that the one that was listed before I removed it was a Windows Basic Data Partition.

As soon as I hit enter on the gpt command to add it in, the gui disk utility immediately changed and now showed me my data was there. It also mounted the disk like nothing had happened.

I am going to wait till the copying is done and then do the other two drives and then I should be back to where I was before I installed Windows 7.

More info on the Apple GPT is at :