Basic Open Source Collaboration on Github

A couple of weeks ago I encouraged a college student to make his project open source and post it on Github (or Gitlab or Bitbucket or whatever). What had not occurred to me is that this person had never had to collaborate with other coders professionally or privately. He did not understand the implications or the process of pushing code to Github. The following is adapted from an email I wrote to this gent to explain the ins and outs, whys and wherefores of collaborating on Github.

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Quick Tip: Little Snitch first-run

I finally got around to purchasing and installing Little Snitch today. I should have expected this, but upon first launch (after rebooting the computer) Little Snitch went crazy with the snitchin’. A couple of quick tips to make this go a little more smoothly:

  • You are going to have to choose to approve or disapprove many background processes, many of which request some pretty shady-sounding URLs. If you only approve them “Until Quit,” they will go into a list of “Temporary Approvals.” At this point, you can go through that list at your leisure, making the rules permanent, leaving them temporary, or denying them permanently as you see fit.
  • Although Little Snitch comes with reasonable defaults for Safari and Mail, it does not come with anything for Chrome or Firefox. If your web browser of choice is launched on startup, create the same rules for it as already exist for Safari; this will save you a lot of clicking. Additionally, Mail does not come pre-approved for ports 80 or 443. When it tries to render HTML messages, you will see popups. If you already are OK with HTML messages, might as well copy those rules (open port 80, 443) from Safari over to Mail as well.

Hopefully this saves you some time and clicking.

A Better Python strftime / strptime Table

I present two tables that reformat the Python strptime, strftime documentation. The first is a short table with the most useful directives, the second is a longer table with all of the directives. This is easier for me to scan than the native docs. Hopefully it will help others as well.

YEAR%Y4-digit1970, 1988, 2001, 2013
MONTH%mDecimal zero-padded01, 02, ..., 12
DAY%dDecimal zero-padded01, 02, ..., 31
HOUR%H24-hour clock, zero-padded00, 01, ..., 23
MINUTE%MDecimal zero-padded00, 01, ..., 59
SECOND%SDecimal zero-padded00, 01, ..., 59
TIMEZONE%zUTC offset(empty), +0000, -0400, +1030
ISO format%Y-%m-%dT%H:%M:%S%z

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Good Old Disk Utility

If you have been sadly struggling with the new Apple Disk Utility software, I can confirm the instructions on this page work to restore the old Disk Utility. I can make no claims as to the reliability of running the old Disk Utility on El Cap, however.

speedtest-easy released!

Want to see if your ISP is providing the service they promised and don’t care about “scientific methodology?” Use speedtest-easy!
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Replacing drives with mdadm

Simple, but very helpful.

SATA hotswap drive in mdadm RAID array.

I usually am just swapping out failed drives, which is pretty simple when you are running a spare. However, to increase the size of the array I need to swap out otherwise healthy, running drives. An easy but nerve-wracking procedure.

Twitter Embedded Timelines on self-hosted WordPress

Quick tip for hosting Twitter embedded timelines on a self-hosted WordPress. You will need a mere two links:

The Jetpack plugin brings an array of cool features to self-hosted that was previous only available via It was non-obvious why I could not simply follow the instructions in the guide, and searching the plugins for “Twitter Timeline” does not bring up much useful information.

Enjoy your new embedded Twitter timeline!

Remote linux-based Time Machine using netatalk instead of smb

Update 2015-12-12: The info in this post is no longer correct; you can now simply follow the instructions on this thread, particularly this post on Dae’s blog to get Time Machine up-and-running. 😄

If you previously followed my instructions, to back out of the home-built netatalk, you can try the following:

sudo apt-get remove netatalk
cd /usr/local/src/netatalk
make uninstall

Then follow the instructions posted above.

My large file server once was able to act as a Time Machine provider over-the-air, back before Apple disabled the ability to use Samba shares as Time Machine disks. However, following a few simple instructions from these helpful folks below, I was able to make OTA Time Machine backups happen again.

Thanks, Daniel and Pepijn!

VMware Fusion Networking Tips and Tricks


VMware Fusion’s networking configuration is a bit obscure and it is difficult to find information about it on the ‘net. I usually only need to achieve the following bits of config change, and they really only serve my need to tightly control all the things. I am posting this information here so that I never forget again.

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A Clean, Usable Facebook

Updated Dec 10, 2013 – Facebook completely re-vamped their design about six months ago and the new look and feel is actually manageable for me without the hacks listed below. I still know people using them, but I have not maintained these settings for the new Facebook.

Updated Aug 19, 2012 – Re-enabled header, removed groups photos specifically
Updated Aug 16, 2012 – removed “Pages and Ads” section
Updated Aug 8, 2012 – liberate tuteme ex inferis – added javascript

I am not a fan of Facebook’s user experience. Although I deactivated my account for a couple months and felt a state of blissful peace, I was eventually drawn back to it for social reasons. However navigating the super-busy UI felt like that scene from Event Horizon where the guy rips his own eyes out in the horror of his surroundings.

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