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Bug of the moment 2007-05-17

I’ve started listening to music on my iMac again, because it has a decent pair of speakers (long story). The majority of music is on my Pentium PC so I access it over SMB. While browsing my trance singles folder, I was curious to note that I seemed to have far more OceanLab singles than I remembered:

For some reason, every song is duplicated, with a copy of each one under “Oceanlab” and “OceanLab”. At some point, a month ago according to Firefox’s history, I confirmed that the “L” in “OceanLab” is capitalised, and adjusted my tracks accordingly.

What does this screenshot suggest? Does Tiger keep a cache of every remote folder’s contents, and fail to update it correctly? Does Windows still have some record of the earlier spellings, and is sending those over to the Mac? I can replicate the problem on the iMac (after a reboot) but not on the other Windows PC so it would appear to be Apple’s doing.

I guessed that, because Windows is case insensitive, the earlier spellings are still getting positive responses from Windows when tested. Does this suggest that Tiger opens a cache of the folder’s contents and asks Windows whether each one is still where it used to be (which they are, just with modified case), and then asks for all the new files in a case sensitive manner, receiving the revised spellings of all the OceanLab music?

I had already written this one off as unsolvable and posted the entry when I realised what was going on. Mac OS X keeps track of Finder metadata on non-Mac volumes inside hidden .DS_Store files. I took a look inside of the one in Trance (using JujuEdit’s binary reading capability and switching to two-bytes-per-character big-endian, bless JujuEdit) — in there are all the files under their old names.

I imagine Tiger must be confirming that these all still exist (Windows will say “aye”); when the modified names roll in off my server, they don’t match, and yet they don’t get added to the metadata file. It may have been my switch from iTunes to QuickTime that told the Mac to write a note against every single file’s name to open in QuickTime Player now, but I don’t know. Apple’s mash-up of Classic, UNIX, Microsoft and NeXTSTEP is pretty screwy when it comes to file handling. It’s only taken me all afternoon and evening to figure this one out, after all.

Posted 17th May 2007 – Comments and questions?