Thursday, September 29, 2005

X11 though ssh in Tiger

Today, I had ssh'd into a a server and I tried to launch a X11 program, and I got this error message:

X Error of failed request: BadAtom (invalid Atom parameter)

It looks like that Mac OS X 10.4 includes version 3.8 of OpenSSH.  This new version defaults to using untrusted cookies for X11-Forarding.  This can be worked around by using 'ssh -Y' instead of 'ssh -X'.

[via macosxhints Forums]

Technorati Tags: ,

New print server

Last night I was very frustrated.  I just realized that I wasn't able to print.  I had this working before, where I had cups installed and was able to print to two printers connected to my server.

This was working until I upgraded to cups version 1.1.23.  The packages were built for Fedora Core 4 on the 9th of August.  This is very frustration since other software doesn't have this compatibility problem when upgrading.  For example, my configuration has not broken when I update my apache http server versions.

I decided that I didn't want to do deal with the configuration issues with running cups on my server, so I decided to get a consumer print server.  I bought the Linksys PSUS4, as it also has a 4 port switch.  The only problem with this is that Mac compatible right out of the box.

Monday, September 26, 2005

fixing problems with Cisco VPN client

Sometimes when I switch networks, the Cisco VPN client doesn't initialize properly.  The only way that I had gotten this to work, was to disable and renable my network ports.

These commands were sent around a while ago, so I wanted to post them here.

sudo /System/Library/StartupItems/CiscoVPN/CiscoVPN restart

This has fixed all of the problems that I have had since.

Technorati Tags:

Workaround for problem installing Firefox extension

I have been having a problem installing some Firefox extensions.  When I attempt to install a new extension, I get the following message:

Firefox could not download the file at <url, including extension.xpi> because: Download error

I finally found this page that has a solution.  All that you need to do is download the plugin to the disk.  Then you can drag the file into a browser window.  Then Firefox will offer to install it from the disk.

Technorati Tags:

Friday, September 23, 2005

Google Video

Now this is cool.  Google Video now makes the videos available in flash, instead of the modified VLC video player.

Technorati Tags:

Thursday, September 22, 2005

problem transcoding AAC files to mp3

I am having a problem getting AAC files to work with Jinzora. By default, Jinzora attempts to transcode all AAC files into MP3 files. (Which I think is reasonable, as not many players can support AAC.

The command that it attempts to use to transcode the file is:

/usr/bin/mplayer -ao pcm:file=/dev/stdout "/data/music/Daft Punk/Discovery/Daft Punk-Discovery-10 - Voyager.m4a" | /usr/local/bin/lame -S --silent --quiet -h -m j -b 128 -f - > /tmp/test.mp3

This puts noise in the resulting mp3 file. Here is the first 100KB of the file that has the noise in it.

But if I do the two commands seperately, the resulting sound file sounds great. These commands work great:

/usr/bin/mplayer -ao pcm:file=/dev/stdout "/data/music/Daft Punk/Discovery/Daft Punk-Discovery-10 - Voyager.m4a" > /tmp/test.wav
/usr/local/bin/lame -S --silent --quiet -h -m j -b 128 -f /tmp/test.wav > /tmp/test.mp3

Here a sample of the transcode that worked perfectly

I haven't been able to find a solution for this, but I will keep looking

Technorati Tags: ,

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

syntax for exec with find

I can never remeber the syntax for exectuing a command when running find, so I am writing it here.

find . -name "._*.mp3" -exec rm -f {} \;

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Delicious Library plugin for Backup 3

This is pretty cool.  Delicious has released a Backup 3 plugin for Delicious Library.  This allows users to automatically backup the files that are created by Library, without having to know the fill paths to the files.

[via TUAW]

Technorati Tags: , ,

Bug with new .Mac iDisk

I have paid for 1Gb of space on my iDisk before the upgrade of everyone to have 1GB of space.  I was a little worried that I would be credited for the extra money that I paid for the space.  When I checked the .Mac preference pane, It said that I only had 1GB of space available.

When I went on to the .Mac page, and viewed my Storage settings, it had additional options to allow up to 2GB of space available.  (Unfortunately, the current selection was on the option that gave the greatest space to my iDisk.)  I easily fixed that problem, by selecting a different setting, and then reselecting the largest setting.

Now it appears that I have the whole 2GB available.  There a small cosmetic bug though.  In the .Mac Preference Pane, it shows the maximum space as 1GB, even though the middle of the bar represents 1016 MB.

Idisk Bug

Technorati Tags: ,

Bad domain advertising

I use GoDaddy to register my domains.  I got an email from them stating that they are having a sale on .name domains, for $5.95 per year.  In their form email, they state:

Now you can put On the ‛Net

Westbrook Name Offer

I thought that it would be cool to get that domain, so I went on their site to attempt to register it.  When I tried, I got a message stating that the domain is already been taken.

Backup 3

Backup3 Logo-1Apple just updated the .Mac, as well as the version of Backup.  I have just run the new version of Backup, and I like the the changes that they made.

Now Backup 3, has backup plans for more types of files, like purchased music, and other iLife files.  Also now when you backup files to your iDisk, Backup creates a local disk image, and then it copies the files to this mounted disk image.  Then it compresses the image, and uploads this to your iDisk.

This improves the time that backup takes, as it only has to copy one compressed file, instead of tons of uncompressed files.  The one downside of this mechanism is that if the disk image gets corrupt on the iDisk, most likely all of the files will be unrecoverable.

Technorati Tags: , ,

Monday, September 19, 2005

Portable Firefox

Firefox-LogoThis is pretty cool.  This page has a post for a Mac & PC Cross-platform Portable Firefox.  I have installed this on my iPod Shuffle.  And I am able to launch Firefox on my PowerBook and my Windows PC, with the same settings.

I do wonder about a couple of things:

  1. How will upgrades of Firefox work?  Will it be possible to install just the binary, and not loose the settings?

  2. I need to find a way that I can sync my settings from my Firefox install on my PowerBook.  I do not want to always run Firefox from a thumb drive, when I wouldn't need to .

[via MacSlash, TUAW]

Technorati Tags:

Bug with Auto-Locking keychain

I think that there is a bug with auto-locking my keychain in Mac OS X 10.4.  I wanted to automatically lock my keychain, so my laptop would ask for my authorization in order to get a password out of the keychain.  This is in addition to my current setting where I get asked for my password when the screen saver dismisses.

When I enable it, I do get asked for my authorization when an application wants to get a password from the keychain.  The problem is when the screen saver is activated on my laptop.  When I try to wake my computer up from the screen saver, the password dialog doesn't appear.  I have to restart the computer in order to use it. 

This problem goes away when I disable the auto-locking of my keychain.

Technorati Tags:

script to upgrade clamAV

I wrote this script to automatically upgrade my ClamAV installation. I have to run some hoops, as I run clamAV though amavisd-new.

tar -zxvf clamav-*.tar.gz
rm clamav-*.tar.gz
cd clamav-*
make check
sudo /etc/init.d/amavisd stop
sudo make install
sudo chown -R amavisd:amavisd /usr/local/share/clamav
sudo /usr/local/bin/freshclam -l /var/log/clam-update.log
sudo /etc/init.d/amavisd start
rm -rf clamav-*

Technorati Tags:

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Bluetooth headset

B00069Iqg0.01. Sclzzzzzzz Now that I have the Motorola E815, I wanted to get a Bluetooth headset, so I don't have to use a wired headset when I drive.  I got the Logitech Mobile Freedom Bluetooth Headset.  The main reasons that I got this one was because it had good reviews, and it looked like it would be pretty comfortable.

It took me a while to get used to it.  I hadn't used a headset before that attached to outside of my ear, but I had used the Jabra Classic EarSet in-ear headsets.  Once I got used to it, I don't mind it at all.  Also the sound quality is pretty good, even when I got out of the car.  (This was something that the Jabra headset didn't hadn't that well.)

Technorati Tags:

Downloadable TurboTax

A while ago, I wrote about how I wished that you were able to download TurboTax or any other software that you have purchased again. I just got my notice for my TurboTax® Automatic Renewal Plan. 

They have a new option for receiving the main TurboTax program.  Now you can opt in to download the program from their website when it becomes available.  Also, they state that the software will remain in your account, so you can re-download it, if your computer crashes or you get a new PC.

I am going to sign up for this but I do wonder a few things.

  1. When they say that the software will be available for re-download, how long will it be availible?  Will I be able to re-download it if I want to amend my return next year?

  2. They also say that the software is the same as what is available on the CD.  The CD normally contains videos explaining different areas of the tax code.  Will those be part of it?  (I doubt it, as the download is only supposed to be 51.8MB)  So will the CD not contain these videos?  Or are they claiming that the videos are not part of the software?

Technorati Tags:

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

.Mac backup for Quicken 2006

I was looking through my flagged articles in NewsFire, and I saw this post mentioned that Quicken 2006 has support for backing up the data file to .Mac.  Since I just installed Quicken 2006, I enabled this feature.

The first time that your data file is backed up, it asks for a password.  Then what it does is it creates an encrypted disk image with that password, and copies the data file into it.  Then it copies the disk image to your iDisk.

This is pretty cool, as you get the automatic off-site backup, as well as the security of the encryption built into the disk image format.

Technorati Tags: ,

Bluetooth head unit

2139247581412336.JpgThis post on Engadget mentions the kind of head unit that I want to get.  It looks like Parrot is going to come out with a head unit that integrates a bluetooth hands free unit into it.

I wonder how much this will cost.  Also will this be able to control a XM receiver?

Technorati Tags:


I just found this Xterminator.  This allows you to change the configuration of X11 in Mac OS X.  The options are:

  • Start X11 at login

  • Start xterm when X11 starts

  • Remove the Quit alert from X11

  • Make X11 Dockless and Menuless

  • Setup the DISPLAY variable for X11 use

Technorati Tags: ,


I saw this post that mentions AquaticPrime.  This is a cool little module that gives application developers a secure way to create and validate registration codes.  It uses RSA encryption to generate the validate the keys.

Cocoa, Carbon and PHP implementations are available.  I would assume that it would be pretty easy to port this to other platforms.

Technorati Tags:

BluePhoneElite and iSync

I have been playing with BluePhoneElite for a while, and I think that I have decided not to pay for it, or continue using it.  I did like the proximity features, but I don't think that I would use it enough.

Also I encountered some problems while trying to use it.

  1. Since it keeps a Bluetooth connection open to my phone open, I am not able to connect to my phone with my headset, until the connection is stopped.

  2. I am not able to sync my phone with iSync while BluePhoneElite has this connection open.

I am not sure if this only a problem with BluePhoneElite.  It may also be a problem for Romeo and Sailing Clicker.

Technorati Tags: ,

Posting torrents in ecto

The next version of ecto will have support to automatically post files at torrents.  This will make it easier for people to share larger files.

Prodigem has created a Web API that allows developers to allow applications to post file, and have a tracker and seed created.

Technorati Tags: , ,

Amazing recounting of NOLA experience

I am amazed about what has been happening in New Orleans, that hasn't been covered in the media.

This post on the Junket 415 podcast has a recounting of two San Francisco paramedics stranded in New Orleans. As my wife says Callous, Inept, and Racist.

[via Boing Boing]

Technorati Tags: ,

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Strange urls from Gigabot

I am seeing these strange urls from Gigabot.  It looks like they are duplication the path part of the url. - - [13/Sep/2005:16:56:25 -0700] "GET /archives/1949/10/
9805792824624335.JPG.jpg"..." HTTP/1.0" 200 20143 "-" "Gigabot/3.0"

From looking at the date, it appears that I had some strange urls in 1949.

Monday, September 12, 2005

New remotes

Logitech Harmony

These two posts (1, 2) on Gizmodo mention the new versions of the Harmony and Pronto remotes.  The new Harmony 890 Pro remote is the next version of the Harmony Remote line.  It seems like it is just like the Harmony 880, but it uses RF and not IR.  It looks like Logitech is planning on users using this remote with their RF to IR relaying tranceiver.  I would hope that it would work out of the box with devices that have built-in RF support.  I thought that they had listed this remote on the product page, but it is not listed there now.

Philips Pronto RemoteThen the Pronto TSU7500  and the TSU3500 are the new version of the Pronto remotes.  When used with the RFX6500 RF module it will tunnel IR over RF.

As universal remotes go, I think that the Harmony is a better remote than the Pronto.  When I owned a Pronto TSU2000, it was hard to use with my TiVo.  I think that you need hard buttons on a remote that you can use without looking at it. With the Pronto, you had to look at the remote when you wanted to stop fast forwarding.

Technorati Tags: ,

MP3 player for VW

9805792824624335.JpgI saw this post on Engadget.  It looks like VW is going to install a USB connector into their cars.  This connector will allow USB drives to be connected, and the mp3 files will be played from the media.

When connected, the head unit will treat 6 folders as cds in a cd changer.  Then the cd controls will change the mp3 tracks.  So it seems that the head unit has support for probably the ISO 9660 file system, as well as a mp3 decoder.

The Rap Cover Show

A while ago, I mentioned the Coverville podcast.  Last week, the Rap Cover Show was posted, and I loved it.  I played it for my wife, and she loved it as well.  I thought that it was very interesting how Tori Amos covers Eminem.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Free Quicken 2006

Earlier this week, I received a package from Intuit that contained a free version of Quicken 2006.  I was intending on upgrading, but I hadn't gotten around to it.  They sent it to us, because we are a Quicken Bill Pay customers.

It looks like they are changing the communication for this, so they are requiring people to upgrade.  I am glad they they gave people the required software, as opposed to saying that your payments would stop working after a certain date.  It is not a hardship for Intuit, since I am paying a monthly fee for using Quicken Bill Pay.  In fact, they should send every new version of Quicken to these customers, even if isn't required.

Technorati Tags:

eclipse for Mac OS X

Apple has a good developer article on Eclipse for Mac OS X.  I downloaded it, and  the integration is pretty nice.  The Mac version is actually a Carbon app, that access the java plugins.  I wonder if they did it this way to make the app look more "Mac like" or if it was for performance.

Apple's XCode IDE will allow java development, but supporting a standard IDE is probably appealing to many developers.

Technorati Tags: ,

Securing Mac OS X Tiger

Slashdot has a post that links to a good document that talks about ways to secure Mac OS X Tiger.  I didn't realize that Apple enabled encryption of virtual memory swap files.  I am now looking into installing Tripwire, Radmind or HenWen on my laptop.

This document is definitely geared towards corporate users.  There are some things that I think are missing from this document.  It does go into describing creating ipfw rules, which will overwrite the UI settings.  But I think that it should go into the new settings that are in the UI.  For example, in 10.4, now the firewall can:

  • Block all UDP traffic

  • Enable firewall logging

  • Enable stealth mode

Here is a screen shot of the new options

Advanced Firewall Settings

Technorati Tags: ,

Friday, September 9, 2005

"hacked" E815


I just "hacked" my Motorola E815 to enable the File Exchange Bluetooth profile.  Now I can transfer the pictures directly off of the phone, without going through Verizon's network.

SuperJason, pointed me to this post that described the steps to get this to work.  The instructions worked perfectly for me.  I did have a couple of annoyances:

  1. When I was upgrading the Motorola Phone Tools, the upgrader needed to reboot my computer multiple times

  2. In step 5, I didn't realize that I had to install additional drivers.  It looks like when the Motorola Phone Service Tool application runs, it registers more "devices" on the phone.  Until I actually installed the drivers for those devices, nothing worked.

Technorati Tags: ,

Red Cross link

If you have JavaScript enabled, you will see a badge in the upper right corner of this page that links to the Red Cross, so you can make a donation for Katrina relief.  This post on The Brian Alvey Weblog has information on setting this up your self.

[via geek ramblings]

Technorati Tags:


I have decided to try BluePhoneElite, that I mentioned previously.  I don't really want to use the SMS features, which it looks like is this applications main function.  I am mainly interested in the proximity features. I just don't know if it is worth paying $20 for just this feature.

When I leave my desk, I want iTunes to pause, the status of Proteus to change to away, and my screen saver to activate.  The iTunes and screen saver integration is built into BluePhoneElite.  I wrote some AppleScripts to do the Proteus integration.

Thursday, September 8, 2005

list of files that applications use

I was interested in getting a list of files that a Mac OS X application attempted to access.  One of my friends gave me the hint that I could use the fs_usage command line tool.  I was able to get this to work, with these commands

sudo fs_usage |grep appName

I run this command before launching the application, and then you can get a complete list of the files.

Wednesday, September 7, 2005

Descent for Free

I just saw that Descent is now available as an open source game, that is available on OSX, Windows and Linux.  I spent a lot of time in the past playing this game.

[via TUAW]

Technorati Tags:

Sharing Address Book limitations

I got a response from Apple today, from my question about sharing address books:

Dear Paul,

You can not share the Address Book with an email-only account.

Thank you for contacting Apple.

It would be great if this was called out in the help text of either Address Book itself, or of .Mac.

So now I have to decide if I want to spend an additional $80 for the Family Pack of .Mac, or find a different solution to let my wife and I share our address books.

Technorati Tags:

Changed LAN subnet

Yesterday, I changed the ip address range of my home LAN from the standard 192.168. to 172.16.  I use VPN to access my work's internal network.  Before I made this change, while connected, I wasn't able to access any of my local network resources.  In addition, with the last update of the Cisco VPN software, I wasn't able to access any public sites either.

This change went smoother than I expected.  I have a few devices that have static IP addresses, and I was thinking that the devices would have made it difficult for me to make this change.  Here are the steps that I went through:

  1. Changed my Apple Airport Extreme base station to use DHCP to get it's ip address.

  2. Logged into the server, and gave it a static IP address in the new ip address range. (This cause the server to become inaccessible at this point)

  3. Connected to the Linksys WRT54GS and changed its internal ip address, and the range of the ip address that the dhcp server gave out to be in this range

  4. Physically connected my laptop to the Vonage ATA to change it's ip address

  5. Logged into the WRT54GS to change the port forwarding.

  6. Changed the Airport Extreme to use a static ip address again.

After doing this, everything pretty much worked.  I did have to modify the configuration for cups, as it was limiting connections to the old subnet.

Technorati Tags:

Monday, September 5, 2005

Sharing Address Books

I just upgraded my wife's computer to Mac OS X 10.4.  I was looking forward to being able to sharing our contacts in each of our address book.  I haven't liked the .Mac synchronization because it makes a complete copy of the address book on both computers.

In Mac OS X 10.4, you are able to share you address book, and have other people subscribe to it.  In addition to that, when you set up the shares, you can allow other people to modify the contacts.  Here is a post on AppleInsider that describes this feature.

launchd problems

In this previous post, I mentioned that I switch several cron jobs to launchd.  I have reverted them back to cron jobs.  I have found several problems with launchd

  1. I only saw the jobs run once, and not daily, as I was expecting them to be run.

  2. The interface shows a list of the installed LaunchAgents, but doesn't show when they are going to be run.  I was hoping to see, at the minimum output like happens with crontab -l.

  3. You can't remove LaunchAgents unless you have the original file that was used to install the agent, or at least a file with the same name. 

I will write up these bugs to Apple, and will post links to them here.

Technorati Tags: , ,

Sunday, September 4, 2005

Usefullness of SiteUptime

In a previous post, I mentioned that I use SiteUptime to monitor some of my servers.  This service is supposed to allow me to be notified when one of my servers goes down.

Over the past few weeks, I have been getting pages stating that one of my servers is down, but when I attempt to log into the server, everything is working fine.

These false positives decrease the usefulness of this service.  I do use WebSitePulse, for monitoring as well, so maybe I will switch to use them.

Technorati Tags:

Spam comments

Today, I got over 150 comment spams, within the span of a couple minutes, from one spammer.  This spammer was not very smart.

  1. All of the posts came from the same host (This will allow further spam messages to be blocked, and be added to dnsbl)

  2. All of the posts have the exact same body and title.  (This will make it VERY easy for the bayesian filter to train on these messages.

Technorati Tags: ,

random password widgets

I just saw this post about a problems with some Dashboard widgets that are supposed to generate random passwords.  It seems that some of these widgets use Javascript's Math.random() function, which does not take a seed.  So when on every reboot, the same passwords will be generated.

[via DashboardWidgets News]

Technorati Tags:

Saturday, September 3, 2005

genaliases problems with mailman

I was moving a mailing list from one virtual domain to another, with the following command:

bin/withlist -l -r fix_url <list> -u <>

And I noticed that the virtual domain tables that had been created were not updated.  I then ran:


from the mailman install directory, and it only recreated the virtual domain aliases for the last domain.

I went through manually and recreated the other entries.

Technorati Tags: ,

"Great" deal

09-01-05 1912I saw this CD for AOL 9.0, and I though that the deal that they are giving to entice new customers is pretty funny.  They are "giving" 1175 hours to use for free within 50 days.  The funny thing about that is that there are only 1200 hours in 50 days.  How did they decide not to give the whole 1200 hours for free?

Seamless Local Control: Integrating WeatherFlow with Home Assistant Across VLANs

I've been pleased with my Home Assistant setup for some time now. One of my main focuses has been achieving local control. This ensures...