Shin

Back from the dead

mountain lion server

The server is dead, long live the server. Well my trusty old Mac Mini decided to retire to the great beyond and kicked the bucket after 7 years. May it rust in peace. Unfortunately this meant my websites were down, as was my mail. The latter being slightly more important at the moment as I’m still looking for a job. Back in the previous decade I decided against getting the official OsX server software because back then it cost quite a lot (for home users anyway, dirt cheap compared to windows licensing) at $500 for 10 users and $1000 for unlimited users. Fast forward to 2013 and now it’s only $20 for unlimited users for Mountain Lion Server, so I decided to give it a try on my iMac to at least get a working mail server up. Which I did. Neat, and for less money than I’d previously paid for MailServe. Spamassassin, ClamAV, RBL, the works. Still some todo’s in that area, like setting up training for Spamassassin, but nice overall.
So I figured why stop there, let’s see what this puppy can do. Activated the web server, downloaded and installed MySQL which is not included, tweaked PHP a bit (apc is missing from the standard php setup, something I love to boost performance. I had to compile that from source to add it, I should make a follow up post for that) and here we are; back online and faster than before.
I’m sure there’s still a lot b0rked around the site, but so far so good.
Emphasis on the temporary solution as I still need a dedicated server for the lot but at least it’s all running for now.

100 best Mac apps of 2012

A nice roundup of the 100 best Mac apps of 2012, according to Addictive Tips. I’m not sure if they’re the best, but it certainly is a nice list of apps released over the year, with some nice finds in there.

USB drive disconnect when the Mac goes to sleep

Jettison Mac

If you bought a nice USB hard drive for your Mac but it gets disconnected every time your Mac goes to sleep, and it won’t reconnect upon wake, there’s a simple solution for that. I had the same problem with my 2TB Samsung drive and found this neat little program on the App Store called Jettison, which for €1.79 will automatically dismount any drives (and network connection, mounted disks and what not if you so desire) AND remount them again when the computer wakes up. Originally intended for people with portable Macs who quickly need to pack up and go it also works perfectly for people with stubborn USB drives. The app itself is small and unobtrusive, it just adds a little icon to your menubar (and even that can be disabled) and does its work in the background.
Jettison is available through the App Store or directly from the developer’s site.

Hmm, and a little update the next day: while Jettison is perfectly capable of remounting the drive after the Mac’s gone to sleep for a bit, it seems incapable of waking the drive up after a longer nap of a few hours. :/

Use Android apps on your Mac

Android Quality

I have to admit, I fail to see a use for this other than satisfying a mild curiosity, but it’s now possible to run Android apps on your Mac through BlueStacks’ App Player (they also have a version for Windows). I just gave the beta a spin and eh, it works. Kinda. It’s slow, sluggish, the controls are iffy to the point of making games not playable and the graphics are glitchy, but other than that it works. Seeing as I’m not the biggest fan of Android to begin with and haven’t touched it in years I don’t know if it’s the app’s fault or just normal Android behavior…

It’s still a beta so I hope the graphic glitches and accuracy will improve over time, but for me to try it more it needs the controls fixed a.s.a.p. as single clicks are often registered as multiple clicks, making me lose in the 2 games I tried. I don’t like losing.

BlueStacks App Selection Android Drag Racing Android Bunny Shooter

Mac Desktop Customization

Mac Desktop Customization

GeekTool is THE coolest app to tweak and customize your Mac desktop. It’s sort of the Mac equivalent of Samurize for Windows.
And just like Samurize it can be a bit overwhelming at first. Here however is a nice roundup of so called Geeklets, which can be easily added to GeekTool to make it look great.

Make animated gifs loop on the Mac

gimp animated gif
If you want to make some animated gifs on the Mac and want to make them loop there are a few program you can come across while searching the web. However GIFfun and GIFsicle didn’t work for me and several other suggestions are outdated and no longer work under Mountain Lion.
Gimp for Mac did the trick for me, it lets you set the loop and compile your own animated gifs from individual frames if you so like.

Gimp for Mac

Easy Remote Desktop

Easy Remote DesktopI needed an easy way to control my Mini from my iMac, and Easy Remote Desktop is as easy as it gets.
– Buy Easy Remote Desktop for €0.89,
– on the computer you wish to control enable Remote Management in the Sharing pane of the System Preferences,
– launch Easy Remote Desktop,
– enter the ip or network name of the computer you want to control and away you go.
Unobtrusive, reliable, small footprint and cheap.

Small tip; if like me you go full screen and don’t know how to get out of it again; double click on the menu bar at the top of the computer you’re controlling.

Installing AMP on Mountain Lion

VLC Mac anime player settings

For some reason lots of anime these days comes with the primary audio set to english, with a secondary japanese audio track. For people like me who think that’s blasphemy it means having to switch audio tracks and enable subtitles on every episode we watch. This can get annoying after a while.
In VLC this is easy to remedy.
Go to Preferences > Audio and put this is in the ‘Preferred Audio language’ field:
JP,Japanese,Jap,392,any
This will automagically select the japanese audio track in anything you want to watch and fall back to ‘any’ if it can’t find any tracks matching JP, Japanese, Jap or 392.
Then go to the Subtitles & OSD tab and enter ‘any’ in ‘Preferred Subtitle Language’.
This will turn on and display any subtitles found in the show you’re trying to watch. Of course this could be narrowed down more specifically to certain languages but it works for me.

 

Work in progress... not home!
Trying to get all/most of the new code working before I start on the eyecandy.