zen.org Communal Weblog

December 17, 2009

cool improvement of rsync under Mac OS X

Filed under: — brendan @ 00:02 IST

The version of rsync installed with Tiger Mac OS X 10.4.11 isn’t the best … you can followsome great instructions and build the 3.0.6 version instead, getting a bit of a speed boost-up.

Anything to avoid typing commands you already know, and apply patches for changes someone else already did. 🙂

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July 15, 2009

Dreams of a 7 year-old

Filed under: — brendan @ 14:08 IST

Elana and OE spent the night away last night, so Patrick slept on her side of the bed. This morning I happened to wake up before him (not a common occurrance, for sure). It was really cool getting to watch him sleep. I picked up my book and read for a little bit, then heard him start to make a scared, whimpering sound—in his sleep. A dog would have paws jerking in unison, the dream sending him running across a vast green field. Patrick said with his eyes still closed, “Dad, have the tables moved around in the office?”

“No, they’re still where they were,” I answered.

“Good. I want to keep the old table for a really really long time.” His movement settled, and he continued to sleep quietly for another 15 minutes or so before waking up.

Parenting can be so cool sometimes.

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July 12, 2009

Easy printing to a Mac printer from Vista

Filed under: — brendan @ 13:22 IST

This morning I discovered Apple has made a seductive play on having your printer hosted on a Mac and shared on your network. Bonjour for Windows was a simple exercise of installing and then using its wizard on the Vista laptop to find the printer. It was added with just a few clicks. No more messing with finding the .PPD file, drivers, whatever. Pretty slick!

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March 28, 2009

Best movies for kids? Our list

Filed under: — brendan @ 07:45 IST

With our older son making his way through age 7 and no sign of stopping, we decided to try to find out what would make for good movies for him to watch. He’s old enough to actually enjoy a lot more of them.

Are we missing anything? This is our list to use to make random selections. Not to check off each one like we’re expecting he’ll see everything. 🙂

  1. The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T
  2. The Adventures of Robin Hood
  3. Alice in Wonderland
  4. Annie
  5. Babe
  6. Back to the Future
  7. Bad News Bears
  8. Bambi
  9. The Adventures of Baron Munchhausen
  10. Batteries Not Included
  11. Beauty and the Beast
  12. Bedknobs and Broomsticks
  13. Bee Movie
  14. Beetlejuice
  15. Big
  16. Bolt
  17. A Bug’s Life
  18. Bugsy Malone
  19. Cars
  20. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
  21. Chicken Run
  22. Children of Heaven
  23. Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
  24. Chronicles of Narnia
  25. Cinderella
  26. Cloak and Dagger
  27. Coraline
  28. The Dark Crystal
  29. Eric the Viking
  30. E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial
  31. Fantastic Four
  32. Ferris Bueller’s Day Off
  33. Finding Nemo
  34. Flight of the Navigator
  35. Ghostbusters
  36. Groundhog Day
  37. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
  38. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
  39. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
  40. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
  41. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
  42. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone
  43. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
  44. Hook
  45. Horton Hears a Who
  46. Howls Moving Castle
  47. Ice Age
  48. The Incredibles
  49. Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade
  50. Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom
  51. The Iron Giant
  52. James and the Giant Peach
  53. The Jungle Book
  54. Karate Kid
  55. Kikis Delivery Service
  56. Lady and the Tramp
  57. The Last Unicorn
  58. A League of Their Own
  59. Lilo + Stitch
  60. The Lion King
  61. Little Fugitive
  62. Little Mermaid
  63. Madagascar
  64. Madagascar 2
  65. Mary Poppins
  66. Meatballs
  67. Monsters, Inc.
  68. Monsters vs Aliens
  69. Mrs. Doubtfire
  70. The Muppet Movie
  71. My Life as a Dog
  72. My Neighbor Totoro
  73. Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind
  74. The Neverending Story
  75. Night at the Museum
  76. Peter Pan
  77. Pinocchio
  78. Princess Bride
  79. Princess Mononoke
  80. Raiders of the Lost Ark
  81. Ratatouille
  82. The Red Balloon
  83. Secret of Roan Inish
  84. Shrek
  85. Sleeping Beauty
  86. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
  87. Sound of Music
  88. Spiderman
  89. Spiderman 2
  90. Spiderman 3
  91. Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace
  92. Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones
  93. Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith
  94. Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope
  95. Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back
  96. Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi
  97. Star Wars: The Clone Wars
  98. Superman
  99. Superman II
  100. Superman III
  101. Time Bandits
  102. To Kill a Mockingbird
  103. Toy Story
  104. Toy Story 2
  105. Transformers
  106. Wall-E
  107. Wallace and Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit
  108. War Games
  109. Who Framed Roger Rabbit?
  110. Willow
  111. Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory
  112. The Wizard of Oz

I’m not going try to link all of those over to the IMDB. Heh.

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September 16, 2008

@#$%&* Mighty Mouse

Filed under: — Sven @ 13:42 IST

I got this Apple Mighty Mouse at work. I configured it so when you squeeze it it switches spaces. The only problem is now when I’m at home I squeeze my mouse to switch my KDE desktops, and it doesn’t work. One of these days I’m going to crush the mouse in my hand, and shards of plastic is going to rip into my skin hindering my ability to type for life.

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September 22, 2007

iTunes on the wireless network

Filed under: — brendan @ 11:39 IST

After a little difficulty, I’ve got it working! The music on the Mac Mini upstairs is coming out of the speakers of our 15 year-old Aiwa stereo in the diningroom downstairs.

My laptop’s got a Belkin TuneCastII FM Transmitter plugged into its headphone jack. The laptop (booted into WindowsXP) is running iTunes, playing a song—right now, “The Devil Went Down to Georgia” by The Charlie Daniels Band. And the laptop’s connected over our wireless network.

The Linksys WRT54G in the livingroom is running DD-WRT, a replacement firmware giving it a lot more oompf than what comes on the box by default. I specifically put it on to solve the continuous problem of Mac laptops losing their association with it after a few hours or a day.

Anyway, it turns out the only thing preventing the iTunes on my laptop from seeing the shared music off the mini upstairs was that I’d left the “SPI Firewall” enabled. Since I’ve got the wireless already as tight as I can get it (no broadcast, mac filter, wep encrypted and soon wpa), it’s probably not particularly useful since anything connected via an Ethernet cable wouldn’t be protected by it either.

With that firewall disabled, the packets (to whatever port(s)) made it through and can finally play music on my laptop!

Our 9 month-old boy doesn’t seem to like “Let It Roll”, the next song in that album. Let’s see if he likes The Eagles…

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September 18, 2007

Mac OS X Update, Reboot

Filed under: — Sven @ 15:18 IST

Like, Oh Em Gee, there was a Mac OS X update today and I didn’t have to reboot! Praises from Summerland! The only problem was it didn’t tell me that until it was done and I had already saved and quit out of all my applications by the time it finished.

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July 10, 2007

MacOS to KDE

Filed under: — Sven @ 19:00 IST

I had too many passwords to remember at work, MacOS X did a good job of remembering them but it kept them in a way that was difficult to extract. At home, with Kubuntu, KWallet kept things encrypted but also gave me access to them with only one password. So I installed KDE of my University surplus system and got osx2x to work to share the keyboard with my much newer Mac. So now when I need one of my LDAP passwords in a place I have not used it before I can read it and not contact systems to reset my password.

The odd thing is, slowly, I’m doing more and more on my slow Debian box with KDE then on the duel processor Mac. MacOS X: iTunes, iCal, GNU Emacs 22, web browser testing. KDE: KMail, web browser use, OO.o, RSS, command line. I still keep the Mac monitor in front of me, hence Emacs. Before I installed KDE, I longed for a GUI sftp access in the Finder, now I use KDE’s file browser to browse my Mac files more then the Mac finder, even though it is right in front of me!

Gotta go, meeting.

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June 6, 2007

Mac Mini becomes Network Grand Master

Filed under: — brendan @ 11:53 IST

My desktop system has sporadically been freezing up on me, even as I try to swap out various parts to figure out what’s causing my grief. I’m finally giving in and accepting that it’s a 9 year-old system with a mixture of 1-year and 7-year parts. It’s wasted too much of my time. So I’ll start figuring out what to do for a replacement (yay tax deductions for work).

To be practical, I need to move some things to not depend on it until I get the replacement. First on the list is all of my mail folders which are usually available via the IMAP server (running courier-imap) on my desktop system. The little Mac Mini on the corner of my desk is probably the answer; having just upped its memory I figure it’s ready for the task.

Luckily David Bondes in Sweden has spelled out most of the steps to get the Courier IMAP server to build and run under OS X. Elsewhere, I found ttya.net with a more complete and up-to-date set of instructions about how to make authentication work.

The best discovery is MacPorts (formerly DarwinPorts), which uses a FreeBSD-style ports system to make it really easy to build and install random software to run on the system. As you’re about to see, though, the efforts of the MacPorts version of courier IMAP needs some further polishing.

The steps I did:

  • Install MacPorts.
  • Downloaded and installed everything with the fun command
    sudo /opt/local/bin/port install courier-imap
    which did all of: db44, courier-authlib, zlib, openssl, and courier-imap.
  • Edited /opt/local/etc/courier-imap/imapd and set IMAPDSTART to YES (may actually be irrelevant)
  • The command the script said to run to make it start up when we boot:
    sudo launchctl load -w /Library/LaunchDaemons/org.macports.courier-imap.plist
  • sudo cp /opt/local/etc/authlib/authdaemonrc.dist /opt/local/etc/authlib/authdaemonrc
  • and edit authdaemonrc to have authmodulelist be just authuserdb.

  • Following the instructions from ttya.net, put entries in a new file /opt/local/etc/authlib/userdb
    that look like
    username uid=511|gid=511|home=/Users/username|shell=/bin/bash|systempw=*|gecos=Real Name
    with userdbpw to generate the hash that replaces the * for systempw. Then run makeuserdb to convert the userdb into a DB4 database. Make sure you have a TAB character, not a space, between username and uid.
  • sudo mkdir -p /opt/local/var/spool/authdaemon
    sudo /opt/local/sbin/authdaemond start
  • I also had to do this to make it generate the SSL key:
    sudo sh /opt/local/share/courier-imap/mkimapdcert
  • And the command to make it start now without having to reboot:
    sudo /opt/local/etc/LaunchDaemons/org.macports.courier-imap/courier-imap.wrapper start
  • I didn’t have to run maildirmake Maildir because I’m syncing mine over en masse.

And it works! The manual bits after port did its deeds were pretty tedious, and the majority should be able to be done as part of the Portfile included with courier-authlib. It should also be possible to use the DirectoryServices API to make an ‘authosx’ sort of module to not require the userdb hack. (That file needs to be regenerated any time someone changes their password, for instance.)

That’s ok—at least I’ve let go of a major depencency on my dying desktop system.

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June 4, 2007

Ahh, memory makes all the difference

Filed under: — brendan @ 15:49 IST

Cartoon from a great blog entry about upgrading

We’re using an Apple Mac Mini as our server du jour. In addition to keeping all of our CDs ripped on it in iTunes, it is our DHCP server, our nameserver, our printer server, and keeps our free dynamic DNS entry up-to-date so we can avoid paying for a static IP address with our DSL connection. It sits on top of a cool external hard drive for holding the music and backups (as a samba server).

The only problem was the way iTunes would make the rest of the Mini come to a bit of a crawl—even when other computers are just asking the Mini to resolve some hostnames. Today, after the small box sat on my desk for three full months, I finally took half an hour to do the deed. Following an awesome memory upgrade tutorial, I replaced the normal 512Mb of memory in the Mini with a whopping 1GB of luscious fruitful memory ready to serve your every need. Beautiful memory is waiting to talk to you now…cough. Since this is an older (PowerPC-based) Mac Mini, it took very little effort at all; newer ones involve more surgery.

Increasing the memory has really made a difference. I can be in iTunes loading up the white 10Gb second-generation iPod with music to play on the DART when I have to go up into Dublin. But at the same time I could have a Terminal window open, or bring up Safari to look up the generations of the iPods in Wikipedia. And it all just works. What a difference! This helps avoid random excuses used to buy new stuff. Which is a good thing—honest, I’m reminding myself of that all the time. It’s better this way. It still works just fine.

Even better now.

Really. It’ll eventually sink in.

P.S. I’m toying with tossing random cartoons at the beginning of some posts just as an experiment. A friend of ours does some awesome writing in her blog (added to our links on the right of our page as well), but she also includes a great assortment of pictures and cartoons with her posts. I found it’s a neat extra piece to the whole blog entry, and makes it more satisfying than just reading all plain text. Maybe I’ll get tired of hunting for something I like each time, or maybe the few people reading this are on dialup and loathe the waiting time. But let’s see how it plays out. 🙂

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