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June 2017

WiFi232 with a Macintosh 512ke

posted to writings on jun 23rd, 2017 with tags hardware, mac, nerd, and retro, last updated on jun 18th, 2017

Back in 2015, I created a BBS for Lobsters that worked in a web browser via WebSockets. After getting an old Mac earlier this year, I wanted a way to access the BBS from the Mac as natively as I could. Adding telnet and SSH frontends to the BBS was not too difficult, but being able to login from my Mac took a bit of work.

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November 2016

The 2016 MacBook Pro

posted to writings on nov 8th, 2016 with tags apple, hardware, laptops, mac, and nerd, last updated on nov 3rd, 2016

I've been using an 11" MacBook Air as my primary computer for six years. It's a great computer that satisfied a lot of requirements I had for a laptop: thin, lightweight, small form factor, excellent keyboard and touchpad, mostly silent, but not an Atom or Core M processor.

I've done a lot on this little computer, like compiling and maintaining an Android ROM, writing the Rails, iOS, and Android apps for Pushover, creating Lobsters, recording and editing 40 episodes of Garbage, and lots of OpenBSD development.

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April 2011

Making OpenSSH on Mac OS X More Secure

posted to writings on apr 19th, 2011 with tags mac, nerd, security, and ssh

Since 10.5, Mac OS X has had integrated keychain support in OpenSSH that lets one store one's SSH private key passphrase in the keychain. This makes it easy to securely store the passphrase permanently, instead of just per-session or per-boot as ssh-agent(1) does (unless the "Remember password in my keychain" option is not selected, in which case the passphrase is only stored in the memory of the running ssh-agent).

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December 2010

Pipe Event Plugin for Adium

posted to writings on dec 27th, 2010 with tags adium, mac, nerd, and pidgin

Back when I used OpenBSD on my laptop and Pidgin for instant messaging, I wrote a D-Bus script to watch incoming messages and forward any to my cell phone that were received while my screen was locked. The script forwarded messages to Prowl's web API, which would forward them to my iPhone using push notifications.

The last time I switched back to a Mac desktop, I had to switch back to Adium and lost the ability to selectively forward messages. While Adium does have an event action to run an AppleScript, there's no way of passing the actual event text to the script, so it has to talk back to Adium and try to find the newest message. The only option was to generate Growl notifications for all messages and then configure Growl to forward them to Prowl. I got fed up with that pretty quickly, so I modified Adium to create a new event type for "messages received while away". That way I could have the Growl notification only on that event, so I would only get messages forwarded while away. That worked better, but it prevented me from being able to go away while still at my computer without getting a bunch of messages queued up on my phone.

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March 2010

the setup

posted to writings on mar 28th, 2010 with tags mac, me, nerd, openbsd, and setup

since i will never be interviewed for the setup, i have interviewed myself.

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November 2009

restoring case-sensitive hfs+ volumes with time machine

posted to writings on nov 11th, 2009 with tags mac and nerd, last updated on feb 24th, 2011

i've always formatted my mac os partitions with case sensitivity enabled, which usually means formatting a new system and re-installing mac os x as soon as i get it. after installing the 10.6.2 update, i lost my system menu bar icons and was forced to restore from a 10.6.1 backup made the day before.

following apple's instructions, i booted to the snow leopard installation dvd, chose the "restore system from backup" option and thought i was on my way. about 50% into the recovery, the recovery application crashed:

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September 2009

ruby, snow leopard, and dl

posted to writings on sep 3rd, 2009 with tags mac, nerd, and ruby

more snow leopard breakage: ruby compiled for a 64-bit processor crashes when doing certain calls through the dl module.

the gd2 ruby module (which just dlopen's the gd2 c library) calls gd2's gdImageStringFTEx function which crashes the ruby interpreter. apparently this is an old issue that is still unfixed in the ruby shipping with snow leopard (1.8.7p72; why so old apple?) or any 1.8.7 for that matter. even after ripping out the old ruby and installing the latest patchlevel (174), it still crashes:

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on snow leopard

posted to writings on sep 3rd, 2009 with tags mac and nerd

pgp doesn't have a (non-beta) version of its whole disk encryption product that is compatible with snow leopard yet, so i was holding off on upgrading once my snow leopard dvd arrived. once i read that i would have to decrypt the entire drive (an ~8 hour process), uninstall pgp, upgrade, then re-install and re-encrypt the drive anyway, i figured i might as well do the first half now and wait for them to finally release the new version. please don't steal my laptop until i re-encrypt my hard drive.

installation of snow leopard was easy and fairly quick. i took screen shots of the drive in finder before and after to see how much disk space i saved, but since snow leopard now reports drive capacities in base 10, both values changed. before it was 6.95gb free on a 148.73gb drive. now it's 23.94gb free on a 159.7gb drive. i'm also not sure how pgp wde affected the disk space utilization, so i guess these numbers are meaningless.

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July 2009

running multiple x11 instances under mac os

posted to writings on jul 27th, 2009 with tags mac, nerd, openbsd, and ratpoison

i am heavily using x11 under mac os x with ratpoison as my window manager. combined with mac's "spaces", this basically gives me full-screen x11 (but not actually full-screen with a root window) and a bunch of xterms in one screen, full-screen firefox in another, and then other mac applications in the rest.

i am also a heavy gimp user, but the attempts to port gimp to mac as a non-x11 app don't work very well at all. since i'm using fink, installing the regular x11 gimp was as easy as fink install gimp2, but using gimp with ratpoison has never been fun.

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June 2009

my mac os x setup

posted to writings on jun 30th, 2009 with tags ipv6, mac, macbook, nerd, and openbsd, last updated on jul 8th, 2009

3 years ago, i was using mac os x as my full-time workstation operating system on a 12" aluminum g4 powerbook. i eventually got annoyed at some hardware issues with the powerbook and some software issues with mac os x, which prompted me to switch back to a new thinkpad x40 running openbsd (and then to a thinkpad x200, then random netbooks running openbsd).

a few weeks ago, i purchased a new 13" macbook pro and immediately tried to put openbsd on it; not so much because i'm an openbsd zealot, but more so because i'm so much more productive in it than in anything else and i quickly get fed up when i can't get something done (and can't fix it).

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January 2009

syncing itunes music with the android g1

posted to writings on jan 26th, 2009 with tags android, g1, mac, nerd, and ruby

i finally got around to putting music on my g1 and wanted a simple way of synchronizing an itunes playlist with a directory on the g1's sd card while it was connected over usb, just like my iphone used to once it was docked.

i found synctunes which is free (though not available on the author's site anymore for some reason) but it didn't preserve any directory structure on the destination and just lumped all of the files into one big directory.

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September 2008

rescuing a lacie "big disk extreme with triple interface" usb drive

posted to writings on sep 4th, 2008 with tags mac and nerd, last updated on sep 4th, 2008

i've been using a lacie 500gb "big disk extreme with triple interface" on the mac mini hooked up to my tv to hold all of my movies. it died the other day and wouldn't attach to the mac. since it was out of warranty anyway, i opened it up to see what was happening.

it's a big unit since it has two 250gb drives in it that are concatenated as one 500gb drive to the operating system. when plugging it in, the drives would whirr up very faintly but nowhere near full speed. the blue light on the enclosure would blink and then go solid for a second, then keep blinking as if it was continuously trying to read from the drives to attach to the mac.

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