2018-07-09

On politeness, and abuses thereof

Coming out of the supermarket today, I was assailed in the foyer by a lady in her early 30s standing in front of a poster advertising some kind of pet shelter charity, asking me:

"Do you prefer dogs or cats?"

I'm normally quite a polite person, but this lady was clearly exploiting the polite human instinct to respond to a apparently innocuous question as a hook to draw me into some conversation about the terrible conditions dogs/cats would exist in were it not for the sterling work of this shelter. Once you try to exploit my politeness, darling, you lose all your rights to it.

"Depends: roasted, or stewed?" I replied, and strode out to the car park. A sharp intake of breath and "Oh!" from behind me suggested that I'd hit my mark.

I've had it with the attempted exploits on decent behaviour - politeness, courtesy, fear of giving offence - with the aim of using it to further a political or commercial agenda. I've seen enough of it to be able to recognise when someone's trying it on, and they can expect a withering contempt in response. If more of the public took this approach, it might just dissuade the offenders from this abusive anti-social dialogue.

(For the record, I'm a cat person. Wash in my own spit, the whole deal.)

2018-07-08

How to kill Trusteer's Rapport stone dead

If you, like me, have had to wrangle with a slow and balky family member's Mac, you may have found the root cause of the slowness to be Rapport. This is an IBM-branded piece of "security" software, and has all the user friendliness and attention to performance and detail that we expect from Big Blue - to wit, f-all.

I therefore followed the comprehensive instructions on uninstalling Rapport which were fairly easy to step through and complete. Only problem - it didn't work. The rapportd daemon was still running, new programs were still very slow to start, and there was no apparent way forward.

Not dissuaded, I figured out how to drive a stake through its heart. Here's how.

Rapport start-up

Rapport installs a configuration in OS X launchd which ensures its daemon (rapportd) is started up for every user. The files in /Library/LaunchAgents and /Library/LaunchAgents are easy to remove, but the original files are in /System/Library/LaunchAgents and /System/Library/LaunchDaemons and you need to kill those to stop Rapport.

However, System Integrity Protection (SIP) on OS X El Capitan and later prevents you from deleting files under /System - even as root.

Given that, the following instructions will disable SIP on your Mac, remove the Rapport files, and re-enable SIP. You should be left with a Mac that is no longer burdened by Rapport.

Check whether Rapport is running

From a Terminal window, type
ps -eaf | grep -i rapport
If you see one or more lines mentioning rapportd then you have Rapport running and you should keep going; if not, your problems lie elsewhere.

Disable SIP

Reboot your machine, and hold down COMMAND+R as the machine restarts. This brings you into Recovery mode. From the menu bar, choose Utilities → Terminal to open up a Terminal window. Then type
csrutil disable
exit

Now reboot and hold down COMMAND+S as the machine restarts to enter single-user mode (a black background and white text).

Find and delete the Rapport files

You'll need to make your disk writeable, so enter the two commands (which should be suggested in the text displayed when you enter single user mode):
/sbin/fsck -fy
/sbin/mount -uw /

Now
cd /System/Library/LaunchAgents
and look for the Rapport files:
ls *apport*
You can then remove them:
rm com.apple.RapportUI*
rm com.apple.rapport*

Then
cd ../LaunchDaemons
and look for the Rapport files there:
ls *apport*
You can then remove them too:
rm com.apple.rapportd*

Restore SIP

Rapport should now be dead, but you should re-enable SIP. Reboot and hold down COMMAND+R to go back to Recovery mode. From the menu bar, choose Utilities → Terminal to open up a Terminal window. Then type
csrutil enable
exit

Reboot, and you should be done. Open a Terminal window, type
ps -eaf | grep -i rapport
and verify that rapportd no longer appears.