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Fixed Poor Netflix Performance with pfSense June 3, 2016

Posted by Robert Harder in Uncategorized.
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I was having terrible Netflix performance when connecting through my pfSense 2.3 router (running on XenServer 6.5), but Netflix was fine when I bypassed pfSense altogether or when I connected to Netflix through my StrongVPN connection passing through pfSense.

After much research, investigations, and Wiresharking, I made the following three configuration changes that seem to have fixed the problem.
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Run iMovie HD (and maybe other older applications) in Yosemite (and now El Capitan) January 23, 2015

Posted by Robert Harder in Uncategorized.
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98 comments

I was disappointed to see that I could no longer run iMovie HD (available here) after upgrading to Mac OS X 10.10 Yosemite. The Finder gave me an error saying, You can’t use this version of the application “iMovie HD” with this version of OS X. You have “iMovie HD” 6.0.3. I was delighted to discover a workaround that works, well, for now. Here’s how.

UPDATE, Sept 2015: Looks like this trick works in El Capitan too.

UPDATE, Nov 2015: Skip straight to Rolando’s comment below for the best solution yet.

iMovie HD error message on Yosemite
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Searching GZipped Log Files March 18, 2014

Posted by Robert Harder in Utility.
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2 comments

I have a few handy scripts for searching through log files, especially monitoring SSH login attempts. I cannot just grep through log files however, because the log files get “rolled”: compressed, and archived.

rob@kanga:/var/log $ ls -lh system.log*
-rw-r-----@ 1 root  admin   289K Mar 18 17:16 system.log
-rw-r-----  1 root  admin    79K Mar 18 00:00 system.log.0.gz
-rw-r-----  1 root  admin    39K Mar 17 00:02 system.log.1.gz
-rw-r-----  1 root  admin    36K Mar 16 00:02 system.log.2.gz
-rw-r-----  1 root  admin    35K Mar 15 00:02 system.log.3.gz
-rw-r-----  1 root  admin    25K Mar 14 00:01 system.log.4.gz
-rw-r-----  1 root  admin    69K Mar 13 00:01 system.log.5.gz
-rw-r-----  1 root  admin    68K Mar 12 00:01 system.log.6.gz
rob@kanga:/var/log $

Suppose you want to grep through your log files for SSH login activity, you can do it like this:

rob@kanga:/var/log $ { cat /private/var/log/system.log ; gunzip -c /private/var/log/system.*.gz ; } | grep sshd | wc -l
   11364
rob@kanga:/var/log $

The magic happens in the curly braces, which concatenates the standard output of all enclosed commands. Be sure to include a semicolon after the last command, right before the closing curly brace.

An even shorter example:

rob@kanga:/var/log $ { echo hello ; echo world ; } | cat -n
     1	hello
     2	world
rob@kanga:/var/log $

Apple IIgs Emulator August 18, 2011

Posted by Robert Harder in Review.
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6 comments

oldcomputers.net

We all have our own bits of nostalgia when it comes to computers “back in the day.” OK, maybe you don’t, but I do. I have many fond memories of my Apple IIgs and all of its glory. I had a Woz edition with a TransWarp GS, the Hard Disk 20SC, and the good ol’ ImageWriter II. Why let the past go, when you can run old programs on your screaming fast modern hardware with an emulator? On the Mac, the best Apple IIgs emulator is Sweet16, which is still in active development (2011). It even supports printing (to the Mac’s Preview.app). (more…)

Writing Finder Comments from the Command Line August 7, 2011

Posted by Robert Harder in Utility.
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3 comments

I had some old (we’re talking Apple IIGS era old) files that I wanted to keep around, and I wanted Spotlight to show them if there was a valid hit. Many of the file formats I cannot read anymore, but even a raw dump of the file could at least reveal the information I needed. What I could not find online was a way to write Spotlight-findable data from the command line. My idea was to run the strings command and embed that as a comment. I finally figured it out on my own, and it involves embedding AppleScript in a shell script via osascript. (more…)

Run Snow Leopard in Virtual Machine to retain PowerPC Applications July 25, 2011

Posted by Robert Harder in Utility.
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33 comments

I finally discovered how to run Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard in a virtual machine after I was caught off guard that Mac OS X 10.7 Lion no longer supports Rosetta, Apple’s technology for seamlessly running PowerPC applications on Intel processors. I have enough PowerPC applications (like The Print Shop, my old copy of PhotoShop, and my scanner driver) that I was not going to upgrade to Lion on my home computer, but since I have successfully installed Snow Leopard in a virtual machine, I think I will take the plunge after all (and thanks to this Front Row hack also). (more…)

Check for PowerPC Programs Before Upgrading to Lion July 24, 2011

Posted by Robert Harder in Utility.
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6 comments

I discovered too late that Mac OS X 10.7 Lion does not support PowerPC executables as Snow Leopard did with Rosetta. I cannot say how long that would have kept me away from Lion, but I definitely would have done some more homework before taking the plunge. If you have not already upgraded, you might want to do a check to see what you might be losing: old printer drivers, scanners, obscure utilities. I have finally lost my scanner, which required a PPC driver in an old copy of Photoshop. Run one of these scripts to generate a list of all PPC-only executables on your system. (more…)

“Ultrafast” video compression with x264 July 19, 2011

Posted by Robert Harder in Utility.
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3 comments

The fastest video compression I have seen so far is using the x264 command line tool with its “ultrafast” preset. The resulting file has no audio, so it requires an extra step with QuickTime to finish the process. I recently review the compression software Elgato Turbo.264 HD Software Edition, and it was indeed faster than iTunes and QuickTime Player when converting to iPhone-compatible videos, but I noticed that x264 was faster still. Here are the steps you can take for “ultrafast” video compression.
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Deleting Yourself with Mac Directory Services dscl . -delete July 12, 2011

Posted by Robert Harder in Utility.
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1 comment so far

In case it ever crossed your mind, when you are at the command line, never type

sudo dscl . -delete /Users/rob

when you mean to type

sudo dscl . -delete /Users/proxy

It will slow down your productivity. (more…)

Timeline 3D is Addicting April 29, 2011

Posted by Robert Harder in Review.
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I reviewed Timeline 3D at SvenOnTech.com, and let me tell you: that’s addicting. I’m building all these beautiful timelines, and I’m not really sure what I’m going to do with them. Maybe I can work one into school somehow.

Here’s a timeline of America’s Involvement in Wars, starting with King Philip’s War in 1675 (from about.com), rendered in 3D and exported directly to YouTube: (more…)