mac

SSH into a Raspberry Pi with only a network cable using OS X's 'Internet Sharing'

Recently, I found myself in a situation where I had to connect to a Raspberry Pi to set it up for a presentation, but I did not have:

  • A keyboard and/or other input device to use to type anything into the Pi
  • An HDMI cable to connect the Pi to a display so I could view anything on the Pi
  • A microSD card reader so I could modify the contents of the Pi's microSD card

Because of this, none of the standard methods of setting a static IP address, reconfiguring the Pi's WiFi configuration, or logging in on the Pi itself to find it's IP address or set things up so I could connect over a local network would work.

I remembered that Mac OS X handily includes an 'Internet Sharing' feature, which sets up a bridged network interface so your Mac is effectively a router and DHCP server to any devices connected to the shared interface.

Mounting a Raspberry Pi's ext4 SD card on Ubuntu 14.04 inside VirtualBox on Mac OS X

Since I'm running a Mac, and don't have a spare linux-running machine that can mount ext4-formatted partitions (like those used by default for official Raspberry Pi distributions like Raspbian on SD cards), I don't have a simple way to mount the boot partition on my Mac to tweak files on the Pi; this is a necessity if, for example, you break some critical configuration and the Pi no longer boots cleanly.

To mount an ext4-formatted SD or microSD card on a Mac, the easiest option is to use VirtualBox (and, in my case, Vagrant with one of Midwestern Mac's Ubuntu boxes). Boot a new linux VM (any kind will do, as long as it's modern enough to support ext4), shut it down, go into Settings for the VM inside VirtualBox and enable USB, then reboot.

Follow these steps once the VM is booted, to mount the flash drive:

Sync a Shared Google Calendar with OS X or iOS (iPhone, iPad)

Someone shared a Google Calendar with me recently, and it showed up at calendar.google.com just fine. However, I could not see the shared events on my Mac (using Calendar) or on my iPhone or iPad (using the Calendar app).

To fix this, I had to visit https://www.google.com/calendar/syncselect directly, and check the shared calendar, then save the settings.

I'm posting this here because after spending an hour or so digging around all the Google Calendar settings online and settings on my Mac and iPhone, I finally found that link in some random forum post (nowhere to be found in Google's help docs!), and I don't want to forget how to manage shared calendar sync! Even using the iCal feed for the shared calendar didn't work.

Remove Tower's .git folder association in Mac OS X's Finder

I use Tower from time to time to do some git operations that require a little more attention or a better visual overview than what I can get via the CLI and built-in tools. However, I noticed that Tower likes to take over any folder with .git, and make Mac OS X's finder turn it into a 'Tower' package, so double-clicking the folder (which now behaves like a mini app or file) opens Tower.

I don't like that behavior, because I have some [example].git folders that I want to browse in the Finder or in other Mac apps without having to 'Show Package Contents'. Apparently GitX has the same issue, and I'm not the only one annoyed by this behavior.

The fix, for me, was simple:

Ansible Playbooks for Drupal 8 Testing and Mac Dev

Lately, I've been working a lot with Ansible, a simple but powerful infrastructure management platform. I now use Ansible playbooks and ad-hoc commands to manage all of Midwestern Mac's infrastructure (this site, Hosted Apache Solr, Server Check.in, and many ancillary servers), and as a result, I've started using Ansible for pretty much any kind of work I need to do in development—including configuring my own Mac, and developing with Drupal 8.

Meet Ansible

Ansible Logo - Black transparent

For those who haven't heard of Ansible before, it's often described as being a little like Puppet or Chef, used for configuration management. You define the configuration of a server, and Ansible makes sure the server is configured as defined. But Ansible goes quite a bit further—it's also great for deploying applications (especially in tandem with tools like Jenkins), running commands on servers, and day-to-day management of a few, hundreds, or even thousands, of servers—it's an end-to-end configuration management tool. Ansible also has a great, and rapidly-growing community, building it up and making it markedly better every release.

Ansible uses YAML to define configuration (just like Drupal 8!), and is relatively easy to pick up, especially if you already have some experience on the command line. You can read more about it in a book I'm writing, Ansible for DevOps, and hopefully, I'll be able to tell you more about Ansible in person at DrupalCon Austin—I've submitted a session titled DevOps for Humans: Ansible for Drupal Deployment Victory! (please leave a comment and let me know what you want to hear!).

Drupal development VM (Vagrant + Ansible)

I used to use MAMP (a simple-to-install Apache + MySQL + PHP setup for Macs) for all my development, which made adding virtual hosts to Apache relatively simple. However, there are many downsides to developing with MAMP—I could never configure things like drush, APC, the version of PHP, MySQL, or auxiliary tools like XDebug and Solr, exactly how I wanted or needed them.

Connect to IRC via Adium when connected through an LTE hotspot

When I'm on the go, I like to use my iPhone 5s as a hotspot, as I get 10-20 Mbps up and down (much better than any public WiFi I've used), and it's a more secure connection than a public, unsecured hotspot.

However, when I open Adium, I'm greeted with:

Notice -- You need to identify via SASL to use this server

To fix this, I forward port 6667 on my Mac to one of my remote servers using SSH, then tell Adium to use that server's connection with my Mac as a SOCKS5 proxy. If you need to do this, you can do the following:

  1. We need to forward port 6667 from your local Mac to a remote server ('example.com') to which you have SSH access. In Terminal, enter: ssh -D 6667 username@example.com
  2. In Adium, go to the IRC connection settings, and under Proxy, check the 'Connect using proxy' checkbox, choose 'SOCKS5' for Type, enter 'localhost' for Server, and '6667' for Port (see screenshot below).

Adium SOCKS5 proxy settings for IRC tunnel on port 6667

Review: Logos' Verbum Bible Software

Jeff's Rating: 4/5

tl;dr: A great, albeit pricey, resource for expanding anyone's knowledge of sacred scripture. The basic package is an excellent option for most any Catholic.

A few months ago, I was given the opportunity to try out Logos' Verbum, the de facto Bible study software. I tried out Verbum 5 for the Mac, and will share my thoughts on the platform below.

Logos Logo

Initial setup

First, a major caveat: though I go on a bit about my initial impressions being less-than-stellar, please read through to the end of this review—the software itself, once installed and configured, more than makes up for its initial warts.

2013 MacBook Air WiFi Problems (high latency, dropped connections) [Updated]

Update (3/4/14): Mac OS X 10.9.2 seems to fix at least the latency issue—and possibly dropped connections as well, at least for most users I've spoken with... We'll see!

Update 2 (11/25/14): If you're having trouble with iOS 8 and/or Yosemite, it could be related to AirDrop services over WiFi. Please see WiFried: iOS 8 WiFi Issue

For the past few months, I've been battling my 2013 11" MacBook Air's WiFi problems. I've taken the MacBook to the Genius Bar twice, and have attempted dozens of fixes. Judging by the number of individuals who have posted to this thread on Apple's Support Communities forum, among many other similar threads, I'm not the only MacBook Air owner suffering from WiFi issues like high latency, slow throughput, connection dropouts, and other random problems.

Here are some of the symptoms I and others have encountered:

Kerberos authentication on a Mac OS X workstation with Chrome

Kerberos authentication allows your computer to log into certain services automatically without you having to enter (and re-enter) your password (it's a SSO—single sign-on—service). Kerberos v5 is baked into Windows and Internet Explorer and works great with many LDAP-enabled services (for example, Drupal's LDAP module allows includes a submodule for SSO support).

Kerberos is built into Mac OS X as well, but isn't as simple to use and configure with Chrome and FireFox as it is with Explorer on a Windows workstation. You need to do two things before you can use Kerberos for authentication in Chrome/FireFox:

Can't Disable Annoying Chrome Notifications menu bar item on Mac OS X

Update (7/20/14): You can finally disable the notifications icon by selecting "Hide Notifications Icon" from the Chrome menu:

Disable Chrome Notifications on Mac OS X

Original post below.

Today, I received a mysterious notification from one of my Chrome extensions that popped up under a generic alarm bell icon in my Mac OS X menu bar:

Chrome Notifications

No thanks. I have Notification Center (built into Mac OS X), and if I wanted to see spammy notifications from Chrome extensions, I would enable them there. I know I can disable individual (or all) extensions from this Chrome Notification Center, but that doesn't make the icon go away. Nor does the standard trick of holding down the command key and dragging the icon off the menu bar.

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