Vodacom Data Network Down


So much for that then. Saturday 26 October 2013 the Vodacom data network was down here in Pretoria until early in the afternoon. According to MWeb:

Outage Num:17370
Vodacom 3G & GPRS outage affecting Pretoria
Vodacom 3G & GPRS services in the following area may be Inaccessible : Pretoria
Start Date:2013-10-26 12:09:44
End Date:2013-10-27 10:10:47

Although for me the downtime started and ended earlier.

24 October 2013

OS X Mavericks

Upgrading for the sake of upgrading.  First I made sure I had the latest version of Parallels. This process developed a glitch or two. When the Windows VM started up it did so in 640×480 mode and with a message that parallels tools hadn’t installed properly. There was also no network driver installed and the Windows theme was different. First I changed the screen resolution back to 1440×900, restarted the VM and reinstalled the parallels tools for Windows. The VM restarted and things were back to normal (I hope).

Downloading the OS  X Mavericks 5.9GB install app took quite a while. My ADSL line took all night to download the first 4GB so I had to download the rest at the office. The 3G modem download the rest of the file. I stopped the installation process to copy the installation app. The install app is deleted when the installation completes. The installation process takes at least an hour. Just keep in mind that “about a minute” can be substantially longer than a minute.

App Store will also suggest that you upgrade apps XCode, Pages and Numbers once you have installed OS X Mavericks.


I was curious to see if a could get my small VB.Net app to run under OS X. So I downloaded Xamarin Studio. I created a Monomac C# project instead of Xamarin.Mac since you have to buy a licence to create anything beyond a “Hello World” app using Xamarin.Mac. The lack of documentation and the bizarre technique of using XCode to design the UI make the process of developing an app frustrating.

I abandoned this idea and created a blank VB.Net project. I copied the source code from the Windows machine and added the necessary Imports statements. I also moved the designer generated code to their respective forms.

On a few occasions the VB.Net compiler crashed when syntax errors baffled it. It also took me quite a while to track down a bug caused by the compiler. It completely ignored a line of code. So I simply doubled the line. This did the trick and compiler compiled the second line although it still ignored the first line.

There was one major issue I had to resolve. My app uses ODBC to read data from an Excel spreadsheet. The ODBC access code compiled but I had no Excel ODBC driver for the Mac. Does such a beast even exist? I had to get this data into some other medium that both Windows and OS X could handle. I looked at Sqlite but I wasn’t sure that the .Net assemblies available would run on both platforms. In the end I settled on XML.

At this point I tried running the app compiled on Windows on the Mac. I was quite surprised that the app loaded but then it went belly up on the date manipulation code. It was using different date format settings than the app running under Windows. So I modified the code to use “en-ZA”. I used DateTime.ParseExact to parse the date.

The app now runs on both platforms with only minor cosmetic differences. It doesn’t exit gracefully on the Mac though. It spews forth a stream of diagnostic messages before the prompt returns.