Tiny Deathstars of Foulness

Previously we looked at installing Git on Mac OS X. Now let’s take a look at using it. The first step is to add a new local git repository that looks to a remote repository. In the following example I’m going to add a local repository called custom-safari based on the git repository at packages/custom-safari on
git remote add custom-safari git://
Next make sure you’re using the latest from the repository:
git pull
Then checkout from the master git branch:
git checkout -b custom-safari/master
Now pull the files you’ve checked out:
git pull custom-safari master
Now you can do your work. Edit the files, wok on them and when you’re done we’ll look at putting them back in the repository. Before all commits, make sure to know which files are the most recent:
git status
Commit your changes:
git commit -a
Finally, push your changes back to your master:
git push
Once you’ve started working with git you may find that you would like to customize a few of the settings to make life a little easier. For these, check out the,, and, which can be really helpful. Add colors:
git config –global color.ui auto
If you screw up and want to reset your local repository:
git checkout -f
Figure out what changed:
git diff

November 22nd, 2009

Posted In: Mac OS X, Mac OS X Server, Mac Security, Ubuntu, Unix

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NAS (Network Attached Storage) devices are a popular alternative to providing centralized file services to smaller environments. This includes devices such as the Seagate BlackArmor, the DroboShare NAS and theĀ Netgear ReadyNAS Pro. These are inexpensive as compared to an actual server, they require less management and they often come with some pretty compelling features. But one of the primary reasons to buy a NAS can end up being a potential pain point as well: they require less management than a server because they can’t do as much as a server can. For example, theĀ option to replicate between two of them. Most have NAS to NAS replication built in. However, that replication ends up being dependent on having two of them. But what if you just have a machine on the other side of the replication, want to back it up remotely compressed or want to back up to a cloud environment. Well, if it’s not the same daemon then you’re typically stuck with CIFS, NFS, HTTPS (WebDAV) or FTP. The devices don’t typically give you the option to push directly from it nor to run a daemon that non-proprietary device can connect to directly, so you’d have to use a client to do the offsite sync. One example of how to do this would be to use JungleDisk and an Amazon S3 account. JungleDisk would mount the AmazonS3 storage and the NAS storage (all share points). You would then use a tool such as ChronoSync, Retrospect (Duplicate scripts not backup scripts btw) or even rsync to backup the device over CIFS. It’s not pretty, it’s extra latency and management, but it would work. The reason you would do synchronization is that if you attempt to backup (a la Retrospect Backup Scripts) then you’d send big, monolithic files over the wire. The smaller increments of data you can send over the wire the better. Another tool that can do that type of sync is File Replication Pro. That would actually do blocks instead of files, pushing an even smaller increment of data over the wire. There are certainly other services. You could even open up the firewall (for just the specific ports/IP addresses requiring connectivity, which is always a potential security risk) and have a remote backup service come in and pull the data sync over FTP, CIFS or WebDAV (if you want to stick with a cloud backup solution), but those types of services are a bit more difficult to find. The same is pretty much the same for cloud based storage. With the exception that instead of a built-in feature you’re either looking for a built-in feature or an API that allows you to develop your own. The moral of this story, if you use a NAS or a cloud-based solution and you want to back your data up, then your options are limited. Keep this in mind when you decide to purchase a NAS rather than, let’s say, a Mac OS X Server running on a Mac Mini with some Direct Attached Storage (DAS) connected to it.

October 27th, 2009

Posted In: Network Infrastructure

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For those that have not yet used it, the App Store has a little application called Keynote Remote, which can be used to control a slide deck that you’re going through. Once you’ve installed the application on your iPhone simply open it and click on the New Keynote Link… dialog (also in the Settings pane of the app on the iPhone). You’ll see a Passcode. Open Keynote, from the Keynote menu, click Properties, then click on the Remote icon in the Keynote Preferences toolbar. Then click on the check box to Enable iPhone and iPod touch Remotes, click on the remote you will be pairing to your Keynote installation and then click on the Link button. Once the link is successful open up a slideshow on your computer and then click on Control Slideshow on the iPhone. You’ll then be able to swipe the slides to the left in order to page forward through your slide deck. Overall, this reduces the number of devices that we travel with by one for those of us who present and typically travel with remotes just for the purpose of freeing up our hands to wildly gesticulate while speaking (often knocking microphones and Dr. Peppers across the room onto poor unsuspecting and sleeping parties).

October 5th, 2009

Posted In: Mac OS X, public speaking

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Sizzling Keys is a free application for Mac OS X that allows you to assign hot keys for use with iTunes. But you can already do that, right? Well, if you switch out of iTunes then the hot keys don’t work. But with Sizzling you can have keystrokes that work to control the basic features of iTunes no matter what application you are in. I have not found an exact equivalent for Windows, although if you click on the Advanced tab of the iTunes preferences for Windows you’ll see the Show iTunes icon in System Tray, which will place it down in the lower right hand corner of your screen. Finally, there’s the whole iPod Touch/iPhone control over iPhone. There are a number of tools that allow you to do this, most notably Apple’s Remote application, one of the first applications to be made available on the iTunes store. In addition there is the simplistic Rowmote, which doesn’t have as many features, but which can be used to control an AppleTV as well.

May 25th, 2009

Posted In: Mac OS X

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