Monday, April 03, 2006

Mac Fans: Help Out Two Jacks: Jack Miller Is Missing? AppleJack Is Missing A MacMini!


Two very important issues are at hand. Please act on both.

ISSUE #1: I've considered doing something extreme about this to cause enough drama to get a response ... but am I the only person on the internet (and within the Mac Universe) that seems to care someone VERY important is MIA? Jack Miller of As The Apple Turns has not posted since the 12th of October of 2005 ... no one in the ATAT forums knows where he is!!!

There was a scant response to my last posting on this subject.

Is he dead? Is this a scandal? Is this a publicity stunt? Is he ok? Does anyone care that an original pioneering Mac Web Blogger is no more?

The domain does not have contact information and is registrar locked ... email to ATAT goes unanswered. Some people seem to think his home is near Boston ... can anyone near there check in on him?

I would hope that if I am MIA for an extended period of time that my readers would take the same action.

ISSUE #2: The developer of the free but immensely useful utility AppleJack is in need of your assistance. Since Apple released Macs with Intel processors, development of this utility has stopped because the coding is completely different ... the author isn't making promises but he has hopes to develop an Intel version ... if only he had an Intel Mac to work with. XLR8YourMac put out the news yesterday, I'm putting it out today ... donate to this guy to buy a MacMini.

This utility has saved my life several times ... if you haven't used it ... then you should give it a try.

Here is a brief description of AppleJack:

AppleJack is a tool to make it easy to troubleshoot your Mac when no other startup disk is available to you. The script gives you an interactive menu-driven environment for basic disk check/repair, permissions repair, .plist validation, cache cleanup, and swap file removal. You can do basic system maintenance even if your GUI won't start up at all, simply by booting into single user mode, and typing 'applejack'.

Here is the full post from the XLR8YOURMAC.COM website:

AppleJack Developer comments on Future Updates, Intel Mac Mini donation - Yesterday's news had notes from an Intel CPU Mac owner on problems he saw with the current 1.4.2 version of AppleJack and a reply from the developer. (That he didn't own an Intel CPU Mac to test with and the lack of documention for single user mode programming made him feel like abandoning the project, as well as the chance future OS versions may make matters worse.)
A reader suggested taking donations for an Intel based Mini for him and I wrote to ask if that would help keep the project going. Here's his reply:

" Mike, ... I'm interested. Here's my problem, though.
What if I get an Intel Mac, and I discover that there simply is no way to make AppleJack use Apple's tools in the single user mode? Maybe Apple wants to "kill" single user mode eventually.
Then I have received kindness from so many strangers and been unable to deliver anything back for their support.
I would be interested in taking another crack at finally solving the many odd (but unreproducable to me) problems that have been cropping up with each subsequent release of the OS. Also, there is a whole list of features I would like to add (among them, for example, integrating memtest into AppleJack).

But what worries me is that I'll just be swimming upstream against the dearth of documentation and, beyond that, perhaps even an ill-will towards this or similar kinds of projects from the powers that be.

You mentioned to me that there was a developer interested in helping. (A reader with a MacBook Pro wrote yesterday saying he'd be willing to help.-Mike) Another perspective and experience-base on this project would be a boon--especially if this person has real core Apple startup/BSD expertise. I'm in an odd position of authoring a tool that relies on being able to use Apple's tools. I'm just a shell-scripter/programmer, and not an OS engineer, and kind of finding my way through uncharted waters. Would love someone with real expertise whose brains I could pick.

What are your thoughts? Like I said, I don't want to have the community support my efforts if they are ultimately doomed to fail, but I am interested in bringing AppleJack forward, or at the very least, bringing it to the Intel side of things. Just not sure if I can deliver.
-Kristofer "

I told Kristofer that if there are problems beyond his control, I'd not blame him or regret helping out. Of course I can't speak for everyone that offered to help but I think most would feel the same way. (Some of the readers that offered to donate mentioned they had already benefited from (free) Applejack and some offered to help even though they had not (yet) used Applejack. Some that said they already donated to him in the past offered to do it again on the Mini.)
Kris later wrote he has a acct. for donations (payments at

[UPDATE] With information provided in the comments (removed for privacy) I have been able to track down a home phone number that yields an answer machine ... I left a message reflecting the message in this article. I was also able to track down a place of business called Info X Czar Productions ... I also left a message (to a similar voice) on that voicemail as well. My hopes are to get a definitive answer by Friday.

[UPDATE II] InfoX/Czar Productions lead was a dead end ... the voicemail I got was not related to Jack Miller.

For those posting about his Macaddict writing ... I'm aware of it but he was still posting on ATAT while doing some work for them.

For reference: I contributed $25 to the fund to buy the developer of AppleJack an Intel MacMini. What's a dollar to ya?


Anonymous said...

I miss reading new posts from ATAT as well. My guess is that that the author(s) got busy with life. It happens. I'm crossing my fingers that they'll make an appearance though.

As far as AppleJack is concerned, it pretty much saved my arse at one point. The donating idea is a good one.


FYT said...

A poster named "Rob" posted contact information earlier ... that info was not available Feb 7 when I last checked ... but the whois info is now in place and I called the number "Rob" posted ... I got an answering machine (that seemed current) and left a message concerning this article and everyone's best wishes hoping that he would at least post an "I quit" update.

Anonymous said...

I think that Jack Miller is now a contributor to Mac360 (website) as well as MacAddict (print magazine).


FYT said...

No i've proven both to be untrue ... at least as far as 360 goes ...Macaddict never returned my emails ... but I'm pretty sure it's a different Jack Miller ... readers had suggested that (maybe it was you) the last go around. This time I'm getting definitive answers.

Anonymous said...

Just wanted to say I never missed one of Jack's columns. I have nothing to offer in the way of info, but would really be pleased to know that all is well.

Anonymous said...

The Jack Miller at Mac 360 is *not* the AtAT guy, but I am pretty darn sure that the Jack Miller we're looking for has in fact written a couple of articles for MacAddict magazine. Maybe someone could call over there, if they're ignoring their email?

FYT said...

I'll call Macaddict tomorrow ... unless someone wants to be a field reporter and do it.

FYT said...

The last article written by Jack Miller on Mac Addict as far as I can see was in mid 2005.

Anonymous said...

I, too, have missed Jack's wonderfully humorous writings at ATAT. Every once in a while, I take a gander at the site in hopes of seeing something new.

Like you, I hope he is OK and just too busy to write.


Anonymous said...

Jack posted on AtAT about his occasional articles for MacAddict.
He was having to deal with health problems (nasty, evil headaches), heavy workloads, and raising the smallest member of the staff. He really has a loyal readership, and it is very troubling that he hasn't posted a note to the effect that life has gotten in the way of keeping up.

If he never writes another post, he's still left a large imprint on the mac community. I hope that whatever's the deal resolves positively and that he can return to amusing our little corner of the web. If not, thanks for all the fish, and health and happiness to you and yours.

Anonymous said...

There are pictures of him and his wife in 2006 on a flickr page (his fathers page?) at and more recent pictures of Anya.

I miss his writing.