Shin

Mountain Lion sneak peek


Out of nowhere Apple has posted a sneak peek at the next version of their operating system, dubbed Mountain Lion.
For those who have been following the development over the years there aren’t any real surprises, it’s just a very well orchestrated part of the whole master plan. I love iCloud and this is very much bringing all the pieces of the puzzle together in a way only Apple can. iCloud isn’t some hard drive in the sky, it’s an invisible (mostly) and yet integral part of the whole Mac experience. So now the Mac gets Messages, Reminders, Notes & Game Center apps working just the way they do on your iPhone and iPad and syncing through the cloud. A notification center that looks yummy and means I can do away with Growl. AirPlay Mirroring for those of us with big screen tv’s to watch our movies and stuff on.
One announcement that made me chuckle is Gatekeeper. I didn’t see that one coming but it’s a stroke of genius. How to permanently shut up all the idiots who think any day now OSX will get hacked and flooded with viruses? Simple, give the OS a setting that only AppStore approved software can be installed and run, no matter where you downloaded it from. 1-0 for Apple.

So yeah, looking forward to it, no word yet on pricing but I’m guessing another $29.95 release. Or they could give it away for free being the new overlords of the world. Oh, and Mountain Lion is coming this summer. Keep blurring the line Apple.

Speaking of which, I so hope Apple would start their own cel network. They’d pwn.

Custom message OsX login screen

Add a custom message to Your Mac OS X Login Screen to help people contact you if your Mac is lost. Useful if you have a portable Mac.

Day-O

Day-O, a free and simple menu bar clock replacement for Lion.

Time Machine saves the day

Again. In case you were wondering why the site was down last week, the hard drive of my Mac Mini that runs the site died. Completely and irreparably. So I had to wait until the next day before I could go out, buy a new drive, install it in the Mini, pop in the Snow Leopard DVD and do a full restore from Time Machine (the Mac’s standard backup program). It’s a godsend.

MailServe Snow

How good is it? Good enough to warrant the upgrade to Snow Leopard. That might be a bit of a bold statement but if, like me, you have a site that’s been online since the dark ages you’re undoubtedly bombarded with spam, in the thousands per day. MailServe Snow finally brings bayesian spam filtering to the table and it’s a sigh of relief. Combining the new spam filter options with an RBL like Spamhaus and my inbox finally feels calm again, for lack of better words. And I don’t need to keep mail.app open at all times to try and filter the junk out. It’s finally all taken care of server side, as it should.

How easy was it to upgrade from MailServe Pro for Leopard? Dead easy. Download, install. Launch the old one, save the config and select deinstall from the menu. Start the new one, load the config and you’re up and running.

I rarely rave about software, but if you have a Mac and want to use it as a mailserver you have to get this. I bought it for Tiger, for Leopard and for Snow Leopard and it’s by far the biggest bang for your buck you can get as you’ll have a fully fledged mailserver up and running in literally minutes.

Snow Leopard upgrade

Finally took the jump and upgraded both Macs from Leopard to Snow Leopard.
On the iMac, which is used as our every day computer, it couldn’t be more simple. Plop in the disk and go and at the end everything was upgraded and everything worked, we didn’t have a single app that was borked. Beautiful. And indeed, Snow Leopard is noticeably faster, which by itself is worth the upgrade.

The Mac Mini however… not so nice. Not really Apple’s fault but that one is used as my webserver/mailserver/database server/ftp server and after the upgrade…. well nothing worked. At all. It took me a good day to figure out every single little thing as some problems just didn’t make any sense whatsoever.
First and foremost, it’s a stupidly simple thing to fix once you’ve figured it out, but before you do it can take a while; if you see parts of your site failing without any proper error, with apache processes crashing left right and center (with messages in your Apache error log like “[notice] child pid 7362 exit signal Bus error (10)”), look for mysql_close() in your php scripts and remove it. Simple huh? Apparently it’s no longer supported in PHP 5.3 which is default in Snow Leopard and using mysql_close() makes your page halt wherever its called and the Apache process fall over and die a horrible death. This was during my upgrade the last glitch to fix, but it also took by far the most time to track down as I thought it was simply crapping out due to misconfiguration.
The rest was pretty simple, just make sure you make a backup of your Apache config files prior to upgrade as these get replaced, so you can easily get things like your vhost settings back. You may also have to recreate the symbolic link to mysql depending on which package you were using. As for my mail, that was simply a matter of buying the new MailServe Snow to replace the old Leopard Pro version.

So overall, yay for Snow Leopard. Just make sure you have a good backup if you’re using yours as a server as well.

OS X 10.5.8 update

mac_osx_10.5.8

Probably the last update before Snow Leopard is upon us, really looking forward to that.
Hmm, looking at the screenshot reminds me I still need to bump that 1GB of RAM up to 2GB, 1 really isn’t enough for OS X.

OS X 10.5.7 update

OsX update 10.5.7

And just as I was about to update this post caught my eye in my newsfeed.
Apparently even on a Mac it’s good to wait a few days before installing a major operating system upgrade.

EDIT: Never mind, 10 minutes after posting this I get a message from my iMac saying it’s already downloaded the update and asking me if I want to install it.
2 clicks and 5 minutes later and here we are, all is right in the world.
Now I hope it’ll go as smoothly on the Mini, seeing as that’s a bit more critical.

Turning your Mac into a webserver

Here’s how to turn your Mac into a web/mail/ftp server with all the trimmings.
Apache is included and works just fine, just turn on web sharing in you preferences.
If you intend on hosting multiple sites, here’s a rundown on how to configure virtual hosts.
PHP comes included with Leopard but is disabled by default. You could enable it, however, it’s rather limited as a lot of extras aren’t included which can be rather useful on a webserver, such as GD support. It’s therefor better to download and install Entropy’s PHP package.
MySQL, just download and install the official build from here. I might make a followup post covering MySQL’s post install tasks such as setting the root password, creating users and databases from the command line.
Mail. By far the easiest and least hair pulling way to set up a full mailserver is by ploinking down $25 for MailServe Pro (or $15 for MailServe if you don’t care about Dovecot. I do because it’s faster and supports multilevel folder creation). You’ll have your mailserver up and running in under 5 minutes, well worth the money.
FTP, this can be useful if you use a different computer as your client machine, or if you want to allow other people access to your mac for their own sites. For this I use the excellent PureFTPd Manager.
And finally, seeing as you’ll undoubtedly be editing a lot of textfiles and the Mac’s TextEdit can mess them up, get TextWrangler for all your editing needs, it even integrates in your command line.

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