Archive for ‘October, 2007’
Posted on 21:40, October 31st, 2007 by Many Ayromlou
Okay as much as I like OSX and apple I have to admit, Leopard is not quite ready for consumption. Not unless you’re willing to do a “Erase Install”. After the weekend fun session of “Archive installing” 5 machines, I have found another bug/feature/headache. Here is how it happens:
Well, not quite. It might seem like everything is transfered, until you start wondering about WINS Servers and Windows WORKGROUP/Domain settings. You see under Tiger these two were stored under directory utility, but under Leopard they’ve tried to pack everything under Advanced Network settings (Preferences/Network/Advanced…). The problem is that if you’ve had your Network locations transfered from tiger, the advanced WINS panel will NOT let you enter/add new WINS servers or change the WORKGROUP field. You can try and change them, but as soon as you press OK followed by Apply on the next screen, the fields reset to blank.
Try it and you’ll see if you go back the field wil be blank. The only way to fix this is to create “New” Locations and re-set them up, then you can fill in the WINS and WORKGROUP entries and they’ll stick. Apple are you listening, not only are the Network panels a mess — just compare the 3 different widgets used under Network settings……must be some new Leopard crack they’re sniffing……consistency people — but the network configuration screens refuse to take into effect the changes you put in if you’ve done a “Upgrade” or “Archive” install. This only wasted three hours today, I’m sure someone in Cupertino is having a good laugh.
Just noticed that if you place your dock on either side of the screen you get a flat dock, instead of that floating 3d look. As much as I like the 3D look, I liked the flat look even more, so after poking around I found out how to disable the 3D look. Open a Terminal window and type in the following two commands:
Like many of you, I picked up Leopard Family pack last night. You see I have 4 mac’s and for $199 the family pack allows me to install leopard on up to 5 machines (in the same household). Anyways I did run into some troubles so I figured I’ll let you guys know about the gotchas:
- I “Upgraded” a 10.4.10 MBP 17″ and everything more or less worked, about the only thing I couldn’t get working was istat menu gadget. That Blue screen thing after the first reboot scared me to death, since your machine literally churns away for a good 5 minutes before the desktop loads. This only happens on the first boot after install. Some people have reported this screen followed by a what sounds like a lockup, but that did not happen to me. Strangely little snitch version 1.x worked fine after the upgrade (It’s not supposed to).
- I the proceeded to “Upgrade” a hoped-up Mac G4 Cube (Dual 1.5 Ghz w/ 1.5 GB of Ram and Nvidia Geforce 2 gfx) that was running 10.4.10 Server edition and low behold…..the installation worked fine but when I rebooted the boot device (startup disk) was not there anymore. I ended up having to do a “Erase/Fresh install” which is working but I lost some apps (no biggie, I have most of them on the MBP).
- Third came the G4 12″ PowerBook. I “Upgraded” it from 10.4.10 and everything went fine through the install, but when I rebooted all I got was the white screen with the apple logo and the spinner thing. The spinner kept spinning for at least 60-70 minutes and nothing (you could hear faint HD access one in a while). I rebooted a couple more times, tried single user mode, safe mode and verbose boot but nothing worked just the spinner. I did a re-”Upgrade” and the same results again. Then thought, why not try the “Archive System Install” option and low and behold everything worked. The system actually grabbed all my 10.4.10 Apps and installed them in the right place. My account was also transfered and everything came back just like before. The only problem on this machine (which I have to admit does not have much installed on it) was Little Snitch. I ended up having to upgrade to the 2.x beta family pack, downloaded the new installer and everything is happy again.
- At this point I got kinda bold and did a “Archive System Install” on my MacBook 2.0Ghz straight from 10.4.10 to 10.5 and I have to say wow….the archive option is a lot less hassle and moves (almost) all your apps and accounts/settings over. Adobe CS3 works fine and even Final Cut Studio is fully functional after the Archive install. Some things didn’t work here and required reinstalls, but no major breakdowns. The main ones were:
- At last I got really adventurous and went back to my “Upgraded” 10.5 MBP and did a “Archive System Install” on it. Everything went okay, Apps and settings got transfered properly, but in addition to the 5 breakdowns above I had to reinstall the following:
Now everything is happy (I think). I’m doing my second time machine backup. The machine feels faster than before. I have left Spotlight running for now, to see if it’s tendency to go nuts once in a while has been fixed. Not everything has gone as planned, but for the most part I have to say that “Archive” install option is your friend. I would avoid the “Upgrade” option on PPC machines since I’ve had two bad (back-to-back) experiences.
OSX Webmaster special: Shared webserver, bad umask settings, group permissions and filenames with spaces…
Posted on 12:20, October 24th, 2007 by Many Ayromlou
Okay so this all started with our users not being able to share files on our webserver. We use SSH only for upload/download and interactive access (ie: no ftp). Through trial and error we found out that the default umask (under OSX Server) for sftp uploaded files are 0033 (ie: rwxr–r–) and directories are 0022 (ie: rwxr-xr-x). This creates a problem when one user uploads a file and another user downloads/modifies and tries to re-upload it — they simply can’t because the group permissions are wrong.
If we were using ftp (which we are not) there are some solutions on the net that allow you to modify the startup parameters for the ftp server so that the default umask for all files is 0013 — which would allow a group of people to share/overwrite each others files — but we are using ssh only.
So we came up with two other solutions — a shared upload account and/or a cron job that would modify the group permissions on the website directory to allow group sharing. We went with the second solution and that’s where I ran into so many problems that I decided to create this post. You see normally Unix users know that spaces (and strange characters) in filenames are a no-no. Well that’s not true for Windows and Mac users, they use spaces and other odd characters in their filenames/folders all the time.
I started writing — what I thought was — a simple “for loop” script to go through the website folder and change the group permissions. Of course on the first try things didn’t work nicely because of spaces, so I started compensating for that and came up with:
Finally after a latenight RTFM session (and lots of cursing), I think I’ve found the ultimate file handling loop statement:
After trimming and optimizing the script a bit, here is the final product:
Well today’s been full of good news for developers and users alike. Steve J. announced that the Ipod/Iphone SDK will be released in February 2008 and if that wasn’t enough Nokia announced their next generation Internet Tablet….the N810. It’s basically the N800 on steroids, a slider keyboard plus builtin GPS…..wohoo :-). From the Press Release….
The Nokia N810 is powered by maemo Linux based OS2008, updatable also on the Nokia N800, the previous internet tablet generation hardware. The Nokia N810 features a highly customizable user interface and contains various novelties such as a Mozilla based browser with Ajax and Adobe flash 9, Bluetooth headset support as well as enhanced video and audio features. The refreshed Video Gizmo, Skype and Rhapsody highlight some most popular downloads available while Boingo Wireless, Earthlink and The Cloud enable Wi-Fi connectivity, across thousands of different locations globally.
The Nokia N810 has an integrated GPS receiver which allows you to pinpoint your position and find a wide variety of points-of-interests using the pre-loaded maps. Upgrade to Wayfinder’s voice-guided navigation for turn-by-turn directions and explore the world on foot or in the car.
Posted on 15:54, October 15th, 2007 by Many Ayromlou
This one has been bugging me for so long that once I figured it out today I had to let other know as well. If you’ve been using Windows on your mac using bootcamp you’d know how frustrating it is not to have the right mouse button — you can remedy this with a mouse of course — and no DEL key. This makes deleting files/directories a pain in the ‘nads, let alone trying to right click with the single button on the pad.
I think I’ve found the solution. It’s a windows utility called AutoHotKey and it’s free. Grab it, reboot into WinXP (or whatever Windows) natively and continue on with the tutorial below:
1) Okay so assuming you’re in windows and have AutoHotKey downloaded, go ahead and install the application.
You can tweak the script and reload it if you like. The script in the My Documents directory is the default script that gets loaded (you can have others saved in different folders). So now you can add AutoHotKey to your startup folder so it’s started everytime you boot into windows.
Posted on 19:08, October 9th, 2007 by Many Ayromlou
I came across FotoFlexer a couple of months ago and I thought I would do a write-up at some point. Now with the addition of advanced morphing tools and image carving, I think I have to. If you haven’t heard of FotoFlexer go to their site and signup for an account. Trust me you’ll be sorry you didn’t. Their editing application is way up there in terms of advanced functionality and they integrate with pretty much any photo/social site (Facebook, myspace, photobucket, flickr, picassa, yahoo photo and even your own website). Below you’ll find some of the tools available to you when you login:
Well did you know google has been around for 200 years. If you don’t believe me have a look, they’ve got actual footage of it in motion :-).
Posted on 20:26, October 7th, 2007 by Many Ayromlou
So after hearing from people at work how great the “screen” command was (yeah welcome to gnuland boys and girls), I decided to do a short tutorial on screen. This way I can stop telling them to RTFM and instead tell them to RTFB (Blog). Anyways, What is “screen” first of all….From the pages of wikipedia:
Think of screen as a Virtual Machine (I know it’s not but bear with me). Once you run the command, the ‘virtual machine’ takes over and allows you to create multiple interactive command line sessions. In each of those sessions you can run commands that are either interactive (menu based) or serialized. Once you’re done you can disconnect the session — keeping in mind that the session is actually alive and running, including all the programs that were spawned inside that session — go to another computer and ‘restore’ the session with all the programs still running. By far one of the coolest things about screen is that it automatically allows you to nohup your commands, by just disconnecting the session and reconnecting to it later. So without any further due here is screen:
Obviously you need to run it, so first step is to type screen at the command line. When you do that you get a new shell window and the adventure starts. Remember that pretty much all screen commands start with Ctrl-a followed usually by a character (ie: you press Ctrl button and c together, let go, and follow it with the character).
So now you have a new shell, run a command (ie: pine, vi or something). Okay so now we can simulate you leaving your machine and detaching your session.
- To Detach : Ctrl-a d (this will detach the session but your command is still running inside that screens shell….you’ll see)
So now you’ve got the very basics of screen. Detaching allows you to run commands, leave them halfway, detach and go somewhere else and use Re-attach to restore the session.
Now, how about multiple sessions. Yeah you can do that too, one screen process with multiple sessions inside it.
- Use screen -r to reattach to your process (If you haven’t done so already). Note that your program is still running (say vi). If you now want to run lynx for example you can use the Ctrl-a c command to create another session (c for create). So now you have two sessions inside your “screen virtual machine”.
One last thing before I take away the training wheels, to kill your screen process (and all sessions running inside it) use Ctrl-a Ctrl-\.
Okay, so here is a small list of the many screen options and commands:
- Ctrl-a “ : gives you a full screen list of all your sessions and you can scroll down to the one you want to switch to and press Enter (remember to get “ you have to use Shift-’ and ESC gets you out of the list).
Here are a couple of more useful startup screen commands:
- screen -ls : will list all the screen processes running under your userid (yes you can run multiple screen processes with multiple sessions inside each).
As usual screen is controlled via .screenrc file for configuration parameters (there is a system wide file in /etc/screenrc and the personal one in your home directory, under ~/.screenrc). You can add the following commands in your personal .screenrc to make life a bit simpler:
As usual there is a lot more to screen, so once you’ve got the basics nailed, take a peek at the man pages for more goodies and don’t forget…..Command line is your friend :-).
Posted on 22:11, October 1st, 2007 by Many Ayromlou
So here it is, the web2.0 app you’ve all been waiting for. We’d covered Content-Aware Image Resizing before in two of our articles here and here. Now it looks like there is rsizr is actually the working 2.0 app that can do this type of Seam Carving. Try it out…..it’s magic.