Tag: OS X

Is mobile data usage a productivity deterrent?

Or is it just that productivity is a mobile data usage deterrent?

The following graph shows my mobile data usage by month over the last year…

mobile data usage

I’ve never been a data hog, but recently I made a change – I dumped my Blackberry for an old Nokia flip phone. It was a simple decision. RIM has had more than a year to update their drivers for 64-bit OS X, and when I made the switch recently I found the Blackberry would no longer sync. And there were no drivers available. It seems RIM is too busy fiddling with their half-fast attempt at a tablet computer (and walking out of interviews), because, you know, there is no need to pay attention to existing customers when you have a new product flop coming down the pike.

Nevertheless, when I dumped the Blackberry I also dumped my data plan (yep, the carrier loses too). But before I did, I checked to see how much data I was actually using – a little due diligence just to be sure I was making the right decision. Interestingly, I found that the more work I had on the plate, the less data I used. I’m almost in over my head – in a few more weeks I’ll be drowning – and [would have been] using virtually no data at all.

Funny thing is…none of my colleagues are complaining about any lack of communication either.


MG signing off (wondering when I’ll feel like I need a mobile data plan again)

Cleaning up problems with NMAP on Mac OS X

NMAP, security softwareLet us first make one point crystal clear – every person on the planet running the Apple Mac OS X operating system must have the finest open source network security scanner, NMAP, installed on their machine. The previous statement isn’t entirely true, but I’m inclined to plug exceptional work. And NMAP is exceptional work. As well as available for most operating systems too.

If you don’t know what the program does, just run along right now. But if you’ve been using this impeccable chunk of code, and are now having problems getting it running (say after updating to Snow Leopard and/or updating NMAP itself), read on.

I was having this problem, and a few simple steps solved it. With the latest version, 5.50, I did the following to get the GUI interface running again:

1) Unhide your otherwise hidden files. If you don’t know how to do this, it is once again time to move on.

2) Under /usr/local/bin/ delete ncat, ndiff, nmap, and nping.

3) Under /usr/local/share/ delete the ncat and nmap directories.

4) Under /Applications delete the Zenmap application icon.

5) Empty your trash. If you don’t know how to empty your trash, skidoodle out of here (after tossing your Mac out of the port side window of a boat floating over the Mariana Trench).

6) Open the latest download of NMAP (i.e. the dmg file) and run the executable.

If you’ve cleaned up properly, you can now click on the Zenmap icon and run NMAP just fine.

Or at least performing the above worked for me.

MG signing off (to figure out what this NMAP thing does)

Getting Wireshark running on OS X Snow Leopard 10.6

WiresharkWireshark is every fly fisher who’s missing the fall brown run’s ubergeek’s favorite network protocol analyzer, both because it kicks main butt, and it’s free. With the recent upgrade to Snow Leopard, I finally found a need to upgrade. Then the trouble started (i.e. Wireshark didn’t work anymore). After doing a little research and scanning the support boards, I’ve got it running error free. But as the tips I used to get it that way are spread across the interwebs, I’m assembling the step-by-step here for the rest of you streamer-obsessed knuckleheads who are breaking fly rods over their knees as we speak Wireshark/Snow Leopard users who have just as little time on their hands as I do right now.


Snow Leopard upgrade notes (UPDATED)

I upgraded yesterday. Here’s what happened…

The MacBook Pro was a Tiger install upgraded to Leopard. I deactivated and removed Photoshop CS2, Illustrator CS2, and Acrobat 7 as I knew they wouldn’t run afterward (and really ran kind of lame beforehand too). I had 51.77 GB on the drive, which I then backed up with Carbon Copy Cloner to an external drive. Immediately post-install I had 64.99 GB of drive space. I don’t know how much of that pickup is attributable to the base 10 change, but 13 gigs is quite a difference. I think it probably had more to do with cleaning up the two previous installs.

I lost quite a few apps, but by choice. Anything that required Rosetta was deleted, and I don’t think the machine is any worse for wear. After cleanup I was sitting on just over 70GB of free space. There were some [geeky] quirks too:

  • Little Snitch still runs, but when messing with settings System Preferences reverts to 32-bit mode.
  • I had to re-pair the Nokia with the computer, bluetooth-wise. My AT&T service still isn’t any better.
  • MySQL ceased operation, and I believe it had something to do with symlinks from the startup module. I upgraded to 5.1.39, the 64-bit version, and all is good again. I also ran Marc Liyanage’s script for removing MySQL, and it found an old version 4 lying around. It never harmed anything before (I was previously running like 5.1.10), but freeing up even more drive space was a blessing in disguise.
  • Home grown OpenSSL certificates got wiped out. Now I get to follow my own instructions for re-creation. I found this out when Apache wouldn’t start, and thought it strange that the upgrade would delete the certs while the httpd.conf file was left untouched.
  • GD is included in the PHP build, which is now 5.3.0. No need to plug that in anymore.
  • mcrypt was not included in the new PHP build. And that problem has already been solved.
  • My hosts file doesn’t seem to work anymore. Still haven’t figured out what the issue is there.

It was a sum total six or so hours of work. Still well worth the hassles, as I picked up roughly 18GB of drive space and the machine is now noticeable snappier.

MG signing off (while keeping his fingers crossed he didn’t overlook anything)

UPDATE: Also, I’ve taken to GIMP as the go-to photo editing tool, at least until I work up the courage to plunk down the dough for CS4 (or is that CS5). The universal binary, version 2.6.7 for Leopard, works just fine here.

Plugging mcrypt into PHP, on Mac OS X Snow Leopard 10.6.1

First mcrypt on Leopard, and now we ready for the winter cat. Additionally, special thanks goes out in advance to commenter Yvan Barthelemy (a.k.a. ybart) for cluing me in here. The procedure is almost exactly like the previous…almost. So pay attention.

The following instructions cater to those who a) are developing on OS X Snow Leopard 10.6.1, b) need the capabilities provided by mcrypt during their PHP development, and c) do not want to completely recompile PHP to get there. You’ll get mcrypt loading dynamically for use in PHP with this method.


Plugging GD into PHP, on Leopard 10.5.7

Every Mac web developer will at some time in their lives have to deal with images. Unfortunately, the PHP installation on the Leopard OS (5.2.8 as of OS X 10.5.7) doesn’t have GD compiled in by default. If you’ve tried testing web components like CAPTCHA on your Mac, and can’t render the images, that’s the reason.

First and foremost, I try to make things easy around here. Before you begin the somewhat arduous task of compiling GD (and the pre-reqs) for your Leopard-powered Mac, there is a simpler solution: the Entropy PHP Apache module from Mark Liyanage. I used Mark’s work extensively when on Tiger, and both his compilations and instructions are what I consider the gold standard in simplicity and efficiency. Unless you have XCode tools handy and are really comfortable with the terminal window, I highly recommend going that route instead. When I compiled mcrypt for dynamic loading the Entropy package wasn’t available yet, but it is now and includes mcrypt too.

For those who don’t want an additional PHP install floating around on their machine and/or like everything updated when Apple says so, here’s how you get GD running with PHP on Leopard 10.5.7…


Plugging mcrypt into PHP, on Leopard 10.5.6

mcrypt on Fedora Core easy – on Leopard with PHP 5.2.6 not so much.

The instructions below cater to those folks who a) are developing on OS X Leopard 10.5.6, b) need the capabilities provided by mcrypt during their PHP development, and c) do not want to completely recompile PHP to get there. You’ll get mcrypt loading dynamically for use in PHP with this method.

First, you are going to need a few things…

1) libmcrypt-2.5.8, which you can pick up here;

2) PHP 5.2.6 source, which you grab here; and

3) Xcode 3 tools (dig through your sock drawer to find your Leopard disk).

Next, create a directory at root called ‘SourceCache’ and dump the files from #1 and #2 in there and unwrap.

Move to the libmcrypt-2.5.8 directory, and punch in this…

MACOSX_DEPLOYMENT_TARGET=10.5 CFLAGS='-O3 -fno-common -arch i386 -arch x86_64 -arch ppc7400 -arch ppc64' LDFLAGS='-O3 -arch i386 -arch x86_64 -arch ppc7400 -arch ppc64' CXXFLAGS='-O3 -fno-common -arch i386 -arch x86_64 -arch ppc7400 -arch ppc64' ./configure --disable-dependency-tracking

and then…

make -j6

and finally…

sudo make install

libmcrypt is ready – now for the PHP extension…

Move back to /SourceCache, then down to php-5.2.6/ext/mcrypt – type…

/usr/bin/phpize (phpize should be in /usr/bin – if not go find it and change the command as appropriate)

Then configure as follows…

MACOSX_DEPLOYMENT_TARGET=10.5 CFLAGS='-O3 -fno-common -arch i386 -arch x86_64 -arch ppc7400 -arch ppc64' LDFLAGS='-O3 -arch i386 -arch x86_64 -arch ppc7400 -arch ppc64' CXXFLAGS='-O3 -fno-common -arch i386 -arch x86_64 -arch ppc7400 -arch ppc64' ./configure --with-php-config=/Developer/SDKs/MacOSX10.5.sdk/usr/bin/php-config

Again make -j6 then sudo make install

Make sure you have php.ini in the /etc directory (it may be php.ini.default to start, so rename it). Ensure that enable_dl = On but do not remove the ; from in front of ;extension_dir = "./". UPDATE: Almost forgot – add one line to the .ini file in the Dynamic Extensions section… ‘extension=mcrypt.so’, without the quotes of course (thanks to Badrul).

Restart Apache – when all’s said and done you should be able to see this with phpinfo():

Special thanks go to salty beagle and Kenior Design for giving me the clues to getting the combination of events right.

MORE: Two commenters noted they had their success with the above after updated Xcode to 3.1.2.

Mac virus warnings: popularity breeds (temporary) insecurity

Warning – Macs need anti-virus protection.

Now you see it. Now you don’t.

Today in computing security non-surprises…

Microsoft privacy guru Kim Cameron fell victim to a blog hacking. Commenters on the site went crazy, at once blaming Microsoft products and playing nutty fanboy over LAMP. Unfortunately for them, Cameron’s blog doesn’t run on an MS backend…it’s FreeBSD cranking WordPress. No surprise…it’s neither Cameron’s or Microsoft’s fault, unless a jury concludes guilt by association is a crime.

In other news, Stan Schroeder pounces…Macs are susceptible to viruses, despite what all the Apple fanboys think. I’m a longtime (but only semi-smug) Mac user, and I’ve previously warned Mac users to stay humble. A history of the OS X security debate via this susceptible-to-hacks blog can be found here.

The curious and contrarian in today’s tech

  • Today Vonage hit new lows as another competitor jumped into the VoIP fray. It’s a new company called Ooma, who is offering free service in exchange for a high-priced phone. Curious – will everyone in Hollywood jump on this since star Ashton Kutcher is involved? Contrarian – the business model is the exact opposite of the cell-phone set (where it seems all the telecomm growth is).
  • Ebay posted some good numbers, but folks are really talking about how their auction business is stagnating. Curious – what is doing well at Ebay, since everyone also seems down on all the acquisitions? Contrarian – a 50% rise in the net is nothing to shrug at, but people are shrugging anyway…I thought the idea of being in business was to make money (but what the hell do I know). Also noted – Ebayers often pay more than fair value for items – please send similar business models my way…please?!
  • A new OS X based worm could soon be on the loose. The anonymous creator said they were tired of hearing about OS X being so secure. Curious – will I soon be sticking my foot in my mouth along with all the other comfy OS X users? Contrarian – if you’re so tired of the cockiness, release the damn thing already (instead of blathering about it).
  • Paul Kedrosky’s new Blackberry has 6 fonts, none of which he likes. Curious – my old Blackberry has 11 fonts…why would Blackberry cut down on fonts? Contrarian – I like BBCasual and I’ll probably never change it…hence I don’t care if it has a memorable name or not.
  • UPDATE: Carlo Longino goes contrarian on Ooma. Meanwhile, I may be waiting a long time for that OS X bug…the “creator” is on the lam.