Mar 3 0 My new Roundcube theme

If you like dark colors, a simple interface and iCloud’s new redesign, my own personal RoundCube webmail interface skin you will probably appreciate my newly redesigned RoundCube skin.

From the GitHub Repo:

This is my personal skin for roundcube. I’m bad at naming stuff, so I just called it “fredsted”.

I wrote it to be a little darker than the normal theme, more flatter and more like icloud.com.

It’s based on the theme roundcube comes with, and I’ve made lots of modifications, so basically some of it is a whole new skin. You can see a demo at https://mail.fredsted.me/

Here’s a screenshot of the login window and the inbox view (click to see a larger version):

RoundCube login skinLogin Page


Inbox view
Inbox view

Fork or download on Github.

 

Dec 18 0 Monitoring the progress of ’dd’ on Mac OS X

On Linux, to view the progress of the file/disk copy tool dd, you could send the USR1 signal to get a progress output. This apparently doesn’t work on Apple’s OS.

However, with Activity Monitor, it’s easy to see the progress of dd when, for example, copying an operating system image onto a USB (which can take a while…). Simply compare the size of the image with the “bytes written” column to get a good idea of how much progress it has done:

dd progress with Activity Monitor

If you need to view more detailed progress, or use dd lot, you can try installing pv, a utility which echoes the amount of data piped through it. One would use it with dd like this:

dd if=/file/image | pv | of=/dev/disk8

That would render something like this, letting you know the progress:

1,38MiB 0:00:08 [  144kiB/s]

Also, with pv, you could specify the –size parameter to get an estimation of the time it will take to finish. pv can be installed with, for example, Homebrew.

 

Oct 29 0 Can’t Install or Launch NetBeans on OS X Mavericks?

After installing OS X 10.9 Mavericks, NetBeans 7.3.1 stopped launching. I tried upgrading to NetBeans 7.4.

As it turns out, after upgrading to Mavericks, you need to update your JDK as well. Just download the latest version here.

After doing so, you will at least be able to install NetBeans 7.4 and launch it.

 

Oct 24 0 Airport Utility 5.6 Dies with Mavericks

As all good things must come to an end, the older, more feature-rich version of the Apple’s wireless router management software has stopped working under Apple’s new operating system software update, OS X 10.9 Mavericks.

I occasionally use the older version of the tool to configure my AirPort router from Apple, and now I’m forced to use the new now which doesn’t do as much.

Error message when launching the utility on Mavericks.

Error message when launching the utility on Mavericks.

So if you like to use some of the more advanced features of your AirPort, you’ll have to keep a version of Mountain Lion around for now.

Until we find a fix.

Update: And here’s the fix. It’s a lot to go through to view your router logs. Also see this.

 

Sep 24 0 Getting rid of automatic update notifications in OS X

500x1000px-LL-ea60b2f3_ScreenShot2013-06-19at10.14.00PMTo put it bluntly, automatic update notifications in Mac OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion right now are a pain in the butt. Apple really wants you to update your stuff, understandably. But the way it’s done is annoying. Adding to the damage, that little notification doesn’t ever go away by itself, and it’s hard to turn off properly.

So here’s a few methods to help you deal with this annoyance.

The annoying: Swipe the notification to the right 74 times a day.

Drag and swipe the notification to the left with your mouse. It’ll disappear, but it’ll be right back in a few minutes.

The insecure: Just disable automatic updates.

Doing it this way is kind of like going to the root of the problem. But unless you remember checking for updates manually, it can be a bit insecure if you forget installing a critical security update. To disable update checking, just go to System Preferences ➞ Software update and remove the check from “Automatically check for updates”.

Another way to make sure update checking is completely disabled is to, yep, block it in the firewall. To do this, navigate to System Preferences ➞ Security and Privacy ➞ Firewall (click the lock at the bottom) ➞ Firewall Options (you might have to turn your firewall on, which you should have anyway) ➞ + ➞ AppStore.

Clicking the arrow on the right reveals a drop down where selecting “block all incoming connections” will block App Store from checking updates. Keep it like this until you feel like updating. Maybe put an event in your Calendar so you don’t forget it.

The temporary: Hide a specific update.

To hide an update, right click on it and click Hide Update.

Hiding a Mac App Store software update

 

The little less temporary: Disable Notification Center for a day

A little known feature, scrolling up in Notification Center reveals a hidden button. From here, you can enable the Mac equivalent of Do Not Disturb mode (“Show Alerts and Banners”). It only disables it for 24 hours, though, so you’ll have to do it the next day.

How to disable notiication center temporarily

 

Tip: you can also ⌥ (alt)-click the Notification Center icon to do the same thing.

The Permanent, but Insecure (updated)

The last possibility to get that little annoying notification out of your way is to simply turn automatic updates off. To do so, open your System Preferences, click on “App Store” (4th row), and un-check “Automatically check for updates”.

You’ll need to check for updates manually by going to the App Store app. Maybe add a repeating event in your calendar to remember?

How to Disable Automatic Updates in Mac OS X

 

Apr 28 2 Fixing slow FTP login with ProFTPd on your Virtualmin server

Recently a few users on a Virtualmin server have experienced issues with slow FTP logins. It took a long time to login and often wouldn’t log in at all.

To correect this, first log on to the Webmin interface on http://yourserver:10000. At the top left, click Webmin.

A bit further down, under Servers, select ProFTPD Server.

Under Global Configuration, select the Networking icon.

 networking

Then you’ll see a screen with a whole bunch of settings. Set the following options to No:

  1. Set Lookup remote Ident username?
  2. Do reverse DNS lookups of client addresses?

options

Now click save, and on the ProFTPd page press Apply settings on the bottom. Your logins should now be instant.

 

Apr 5 1 My Essential Software

A list of software I install on new computers that I’ve jotted down so I don’t forget. I’ll keep it updated.

General

  • TextMate – general text editor
  • Textual – IRC Client
  • Droplr – one-click sharing of files & screenshots by dragging to an icon
  • Twitter
  • VLC – Media Player
  • XBMC – Media Center
  • uTorrent
  • HomeBrew – Mac software repository
  • Dropbox
  • KeePass – Password management

Development

  • OS X Server – Web server got removed in Mountain Lion
  • XCode – for dev tools and iOS dev
  • Coda – PHP, HTML, CSS development
  • SQLite Professional

Benchmarking

  • BlackMagic Disk Test – Great for testing if your SSD if working properly.
  • GeekBench – Good for testing if your processor is overclocking properly, and comparing with other similar computers.

Design

  • Pixelmator – Image editor

Fun

  • Steam – Games!
 

Feb 26 6 Finally, there’s a native KeePass app for Mac (Almost)

Password storage is incredibly important to me. Since I began seeing friends and others get their identities and online lives taken away because of reusing and/or using weak passwords, I started taking password security extremely seriously.

When I chose the utility to use for this, I had a couple basic requirements.

  1. It had to be open source, for obvious reasons
  2. I had to be able to access my passwords on all my devices (iPad, iPhone, MacBook, workstation)

Things like 1Password and Lastpass didn’t fullfill the first requirement, although very handy because of browser integration and the mobile apps. So I ended up choosing a combination of the KeePass framework and Safari+Mac OS X keychain for my password storage needs, with KeePassX for my client, along with a mobile app, MiniKeePass, that syncs my KeePass database using Dropbox. As an added bonus, the iOS mobile app is open source as well.

I use KeePass as my primary password storage database, and Safari’s password saving feature for sites I access often, like my blog and reddit account.

I’m very happy with this solution, but unfortunately the Mac KeePassX currently has a very ugly, un-Mac-like user interface. I’ve been waiting for something which incorporates the native Mac user interface controls.

And, finally, today stumbled across this KeePass Mac client developed by Michael Starke from Hick’n'Hack Software. It seems like it’s in very early alpha, but it can load KeePass files and display their contents, so the basis functionality is almost done. It seems like it’s using the MiniKeePass framework library for its backend functionality. I cloned and ran it immediately as I’ve been wanting this ever since I started using KeePass for storing my passwords.

Unfortunately I can’t seem to be able to copy passwords yet, and there’s no detail dialog when you click on a password entry.

But since, as of writing, the last commit is 13 hours ago I’m sure this functionality will be added soon. I’m just so happy someone is making this. This definitely makes me want to learn Objective C properly so I can contribute to this project! If you know ObjC, you should definitely go add some pull requests!

 

Here’s a screenshot from the release I just built:

Screen Shot 2013-02-26 at 5.59.35 PM

Compare this to the current KeePass:

Screen Shot 2013-02-26 at 6.20.28 PM

 

Feb 23 2 Sync your SSH config across your machines using Dropbox

Here’s a little time-saving tip for Mac OS X/Linux users: if you work with lots of different Macs and servers daily, store your SSH configuration file in dropbox, and create a symbolic link to it so you can sync it across your computers.

With this, once I add a new machine to my SSH config, it’s immediately available across all of my computers, my workstation, laptop, work machine, etc. I’m terrible at remembering hostnames and IP-addresses, so this comes in handy as I acquire control over more and more servers.

Also, you can of course extend this method to sync other types of configuration files, like your git config or bash profile. Dropbox is a neat tool!

Step 1

Create a folder in your Dropbox to store files like these.

mkdir ~/Dropbox/configs

Step 2

Move your ssh config to this folder. I just call it ssh-config.txt instead of simply config for easier access and as to not mix it up with other configuration files.

mv ~/.ssh/config ~/Dropbox/configs/ssh-config.txt

Step 3

Create a symbolic link to the new configuration file.

ln -s ~/Dropbox/configs/ssh-config.txt ~/.ssh/config
 

Feb 21 0 Google’s new Chromebook Pixel: Impressive, but who is it for?

Google just announced the Chromebook Pixel. It’s a $1,300 laptop with a an extremely high pixel density, limited local storage and made of machined metal (probably aluminium).

There’s a few problems, though.

You can’t install apps

The core idea of the Chromebooks is that they’re entirely web-based. You run all your apps through a browser. That means no high performance applications like Photoshop and 3D games.

If you want to edit photos using that high resolution screen, you’ll have to use web apps with limited functionality.

The other meaningful tasks you might want to do with a machine with specs like these, development, gaming, design, simply isn’t possible. While you can run webbased IDEs like Cloud 9 in your browser, you can’t install a real IDE like Netbeans, Eclipse, etc. Not to mention virtual machines and multiple browsers.

Only 32 or 64 GB storage and only 4 GB RAM

Usually, I’m not the one to complain about specs. I’m of the opinion that upgrading your laptop is largely passé. However, for a laptop with this price tag and resolution, I’d say 4GB is the bare minimum, especially when working with large documents in Google Docs which seems to get ridiculously slow when working with large documents.

Google does a lot to emphasise the free 1 terabyte free cloud storage you get with the laptop (only for 3 years though).

If you’re in a place that has no internet, you can’t put a couple HD movies on there. There’s imply no room.

It’s expensive

The Retina 13″ MacBook pro is only $200 more. Compared to all the extra functionality you get with a Mac, the chromebook feels too expensive.

Google’s other ARM based Chromebooks are much cheaper – think $6-700 less, and that price makes sense. For the price, the Pixel feels like a vanity product for rich people.

You need to be connected 24/7

Since the Pixel is cloud based, you really need to have a reliable internet connection available whenever you’re going to use it. That comes with a price, though. The HD moves you would want to watch would consume even the biggest LTE data plans quickly, or you would have to make do with the slow internet connections in McDonalds or Starbucks. For a mobile device, this is a big problem.

But it’s not all bad

The Chromebook Pixel is an interesting device. It’s certainly a beautiful device. While obviously designed to be a competitor to the Retina MacBook Pro, there’s still some upsides to it:

You’ll probably be able to install Linux, like many do with the existing chromebooks. This lets you install applications on your machine, making it not totally cloud-dependent.

I’m also hoping there’s a way to upgrade the storage. 32GB or 64GB is simply way too little, even with 1 TB cloud storage. For now, this is basically a $1300 Web browser with a puzzling target group.

 

Apr 13 10 InstaDJ – YouTube playlists on the go

I made a website that lets you create YouTube playlists easily – and share them, too.

Everybody is online nowadays. Nobody uses CDs anymore. So at parties it’s common to see a laptop hooked up to a stereo where people go up and select songs on YouTube during the night. It kinda sucks though:

  • Music starts and stops randomly as people get drunk and start searching for songs while another is playing.
  • You need to get up and change the track when it stops.
  • It’s too hard to make a playlist on YouTube. You can’t really make one on the fly.
  • What’s more, you have to be logged in with your Google ID to make playlists. I don’t want random people to mess with my account (e.g. Gmail), especially drunk people.

Sure, there’s Grooveshark. But people who aren’t nerds can’t figure out how to use Grooveshark and will just go to YouTube instead. It’s too easy to interrupt a playlist, especially when you’re drunk. The add to playlist button is easily missed.

Grooveshark is also missing many songs due to silly record companies.

Other sites exist, I know. But no matter which one you use, people will inevitably go to YouTube because it’s got all the content and it’s what people know and love.

Even other “Youtube DJ” sites exist. I’ve been through a few. They either a) require login, b) are hard to use, c) can’t autoplay, d) don’t work.

So I got fed up with all this and made InstaDJ. It’s a dead-simple Web site where you can add YouTube videos to a playlist on the fly. Even drunk people get it.

InstaDJ allows you to search and queue YouTube videos, using a simple interface everybody understands, in a way which doesn’t interrupt the music.

What it does

  • Search YouTube videos
  • View user uploads and favorites
  • Queue YouTube videos
  • Auto-selects HD video if available
  • Generate URL to playlists
  • Share playlist
  • It’s free and there’s no ads
  • Easy to use, minimalist interface

I even find myself just using InstaDJ instead of playing music from my iTunes library.

Don’t you want to try it out? Just click here to go to InstaDJ.com.

For the technically interested, it’s built with the YouTube API, Twitter Bootstrap and jQuery. Enjoy.

 

Aug 23 28 Mediacenter PC Review: Zotac ZBOX ID41

In this article I’ll be reviewing the Zotac ZBOX ID41, which is an inexpensive mini PC from Zotac that particularly appeals to media center owners and budget-constrained customers.

It doesn’t have a built-in tuner, but ships with the ION 2 chipset that allows it to play Full-HD video, rendering it a great PC for HTPC.

Read the rest of this entry »

 

Jul 20 1 EXC_BAD_ACCESS on the Mac, programs crashing on startup

Recently I’ve had some trouble with a few applications — mostly Premiere CS5.5 and After Effects CS5.5 — crashing on startup, others not. Sometimes it worked after a reboot, but mainly it didn’t.

But now I’ve found the solution: You (probably) have bad RAM.

You can try downloading the Memtest boot cd, burn it with Disk Utility and launch it on boot by holding down the alt key. Memtest is a very sophisticated tool which checks your RAM for errors. As it turned out, it reported that I had over 300.000 errors. I’m not a RAM expert, so I don’t know if that’s a lot (probably is though), but I quickly took them out and replaced them with some old sticks, which Memtest didn’t report any errors with. After that, the programs worked fine.

I didn’t find relevant results on Google for EXC_BAD_ACCESS, so now people can hopefully solve this issue quickly.

 

Jul 2 10 MacBook Pro SSD and Optibay experiences

The MacBook I’ll be using in this article came only came with 2 GB ram and a 120 GB harddrive. By todays standards, that’s painfully little for a professional laptop. To get a little more life out of it, I decided to upgrade it to 8 GB ram, a 1TB HDD for storage and a 60 GB Vertex 2 SSD for OS X and applications.

An optibay

So how do you fit two disk drives in a 13″ laptop? More after the jump.

Read the rest of this entry »

 

May 26 0 Great iOS 5 concept video

iOS is the operating system of Apple’s iPhone and iPad devices. On YouTube and other sites, you can see UI designers coming up with ideas for the next version, iOS 5. However, this one from Swedish firm Color Monkey is probably the best I’ve seen. I really hope Apple incorporates these ideas. They’re seamless, don’t clutter the interface and, most importantly, have the somewhat same style as the existing iPhone interface.

You can tell there’s some talent behind this video. It’s beautifully made, too. The examples are really great and animated in a beautiful, smooth way. I don’t like the “hanging sign” effect they used on the smaller text, but that’s a matter of taste i suppose!

Interested in how iOS 5 might look? Take a look:

 

May 25 0 A spoof of British independent films

Films like those of director Guy Ritche and Green Street Hooligans came to mind when watching this fake trailer spoof the British film industry. I found it really funny! Favorite part: “Why is there so much space over my head?”.

 

May 2 1 How to remove a Facebook question from your profile

It’s simple. Just navigate to the question via your profile and click “Unvote”, per the picture below. Then your answer will disappear from your Facebook “Questions” profile category.

 

Apr 1 2 Google’s Aprils Fools 2011: Helvetica

So, if you search for Helvetica on Google today, this is what you’ll get:

 

Mar 15 0 Video: A Brief History of Title Design

I’m a bit of a typography nut myself, and I thought this clip was just great. It shows short tidbits of how movie titles were made throughout film history, and I definitely think he included the most important movies.

My favorites are probably the titles from Pink Panther, Reservoir Dogs, Seven, Catch Me If You Can and (of course) Enter the Void.

From the author:

Here’s a short film I put together for the opening of the SXSW “Title Design Finalists Screening” – an event that happens tonight in Austin, TX at the Vimeo theater in the convention center.

Very much looking forward to seeing my fellow jurors Jenny Lee (formally of Shadowplay Studios,) Kurt Volk (Troublemaker Studios,) Ron Pippin (Shiny Object,) and Tommy Pallotta (representing for Watch the Titles.)

You can visit the Web site at artoftitle.com.

 

 

Mar 9 1 Review: Behringer MON 800 for HiFi

Why I like Behringer

What do you do when you want a cheap sound system with lots of power that sounds great? You buy studio gear. Not only do you get a great system, but its cheap too. Why? You don’t pay for the brand name, or the design. The German audio firm Behringer is a great example. It designs audio equipment in Germany, produce it in their own factory in China (“Behringer City”) and sells it for the lowest price possible.

About MON 800

Behringer MON 800 MINIMON is a cross between an audio mixer and preamplifier, but much smaller and with many features stripped away. And it’s cheap too. I got mine for DKK 300. That’s $55.

Read the rest of this entry »