WordPress Plugins To Use

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Here are a few WordPress plugins that I like and suggest to my friends:

  • Wordfence Security
  • UpDraftPlus – Backup/Restore
  • Yoast SEO
  • Google Analytics by Yoast
  • Disable Comments

I also often use these:

  • W3 Total Cache – faster pages.
  • Advanced Access Manager – manage access control.
  • Advanced Image Styles
  • Bootstrap 3 Shortcodes
  • Customizer
  • Enhanced Text Widget
  • Jetpack by WordPress.com – security, performance, stats, tools, mobiletheme, 
  • Ketchup Shortcodes Pack
  • Perfect Quotes
  • Quick Page/Post Redirect Plugin
  • Relative URL
  • Simple Custom CSS
  • WP Image Borders
  • WP RagAdjust
  • YouTube

MacDevOps Videos 2015

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These vids should be on every MacAdmin’s watchlist: http://www.macdevops.ca

Gatekeeper ignores Anywhere setting – solution OS X

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Setting “Allow apps downloaded from:” to ‘Anywhere’ doesn’t always work as expected, on OS X.

Try this in your CLI:

% sudo xattr -d com.apple.quarantine /Applications/[APPNAME]

BRU backup

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BRU-Server is the network backup-solution that I’ve been managing for a lab at UNIL for several years; It backs-up an Xsan filesystem (OS X) involving about 7TB of data sent to a Tandberg robotic tape-library. We occasionally get thrown a curve-ball while keeping it humming….

NOK1: Despite the scheduled backups succeeding, we’ve stopped receiving emails of the backup-successes.  – Outbound emails are being rejected with a “Sending mail to mx.unil.ch. 550 Sender verify failed” error. This changed, at one point, to “550, ‘Verification failed for <bru-server@macsrv1.local> Unrouteable address Sender verify failed’.

SOLUTION: Ensure that your server machine has a FQHN set.
ie. % sudo scutil –set HostName machinename.domain.countrycode

The BRU Server daemon contains a built-in MTA so doesn’t require any email, nor SMTP server running on the BRU Server server system. But it needs to know how to find the destination mail server and also to be able to identify itself using a standard domain name (DNS) via DNS or /etc/hosts. Having a perfectly fine Postfix installation that allows CLI mails to reach their endpoints has little influence on BRU’s MTA success in sending emails out.

Callback verification, aka callout-verification or Sender-Address Verification, is a technique used by SMTP software to validate e-mail addresses. The most common target is the sender address from the message envelope (the address specified during the SMTP dialogue as “MAIL FROM”). [ed: Other techniques involve seeing if the remote server does not respond, or signals that it does not accept bounces, auto-replies, or receipt-confirmations][ed: Callback verification can still work if rejecting all bounces happens at the DATA stage instead of the earlier MAIL FROM stage, while rejecting invalid e-mail addresses remains at the RCPT TO stage instead of also being moved to the DATA stage.] It is mostly used as an anti-spam measure. [wikipedia]

BRU’s MTA looks up the MX records in our domain’s DNS zone, and so contacts mx.unil.ch. OS X defaults to naming a computer using “computername.local” instead of a Fully Qualified Domain Name (FQDN) like “computer name.domain.code.

The following strategies had failed to solve the problem, but may help you.

  • Create a real local user named “bru-server” so that Sender Verify succeeds.
  • Add to /etc/hosts an entry for ‘mail’ specifying our mail server
  • Tell BRU to email [email protected] – NOK: results in ‘Sending mail to localhost Error sending mail: Connection unexpectedly closed’ despite having a working mail server and CLI mail succeeding fine.

Read more in these helpful posts:

  • Sender Verification, 2008 – link
  • BRU Primer, 2008 – link
  • Sender Address Verification: Still a Bad Idea – link
  • Limitations of address verification – link
  • Troubleshooting the MTA – link
  • Enabling postfix (sendmail) on Mac OS X – link
  • My BRU Server system seems to have problems communicating, why? – link

p.s. You might also check that A-Record (in the global internet DNS) points to the same server that the MX-Record points to.  If they differ, you should be aware of it and perhaps need to deal with that.
Also: Our BRU server was 2.0.2 so your results with other versions may differ.

Airplay server on iOS – on your iPhone/iPad

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I want to be able to send airplay video out TO another iOS device .

Apple currently does NOT natively allow this obvious functionality on their devices. arghh.

In my case, I have an older iPhone connected directly to a television; From the safety of my sofa, I want to beam video&photos wirelessly to that phone. Yes, I know I could just purchase another ATV but why not repurpose/reuse my old device? Also, with such a solution, while travelling with other iOS club members we can use&abuse each others’ phones in this way!

Solutions:

  • AIRSERVER: not for DRM protected content, requires Cydia (JailbrokenPhone).  http://www.iphoneheat.com/2011/06/airserver-turn-your-iphone-ipad-ipod-touch-into-an-airplay-receiver/
    – AirServer is compatible with a wide variety of AirPlay enabled third party applications. Vevo, PBS, StreamToMe, AirVideo, YouTube.
  • AIRVIEWonly does audio airplay BUT doesn’t require Cydia!
    http://www.iphoneheat.com/2011/01/turn-your-iphoneipadipod-touch-into-an-airplay-receiver-with-airview/
    – AirView is compatible with stock Music apps, Spotify, Pandora, etc.
  • AIRTUNER: no longer available – http://www.macstories.net/reviews/airtuner-turns-iphones-and-ipads-into-airplay-receivers/
  • AIRFLOAT – implementation of AirPlay-Audio (RAOP (Remote Audio Output Protocol)): src is on GitHub.
    http://ios.wonderhowto.com/how-to/turn-any-ipad-iphone-ipod-touch-into-airplay-receiver-without-jailbreaking-0156869/. Requires sideloading into Emu4iOS which you can get from emu4ios.net (uses certificate-based Enterprise distribution… which now fails due to their certificate being revoked and the date-rollback hack not working anymore)(try installing from src if you are a developer).
  • GBA4iIOS – another emulator approch that no longer installs. ReadHere
  • Give up and purchase an ATV, Raspberry Pi via Raspbmc, etc.

Read more about Sideloading & open-source here.

iPhone/iPad Backup Trouble-shooting

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I’d expect that if I made a backup,.. success would mean that if I ever need to get back to the same state (info, apps, data) I could. Right?
When people select “Backup”, they expect it all to be backed up.
Nope. Your phone might not be as backed-up as you would hope.

  • no music is backed up (playlists are)
  • no apps are backed up (app icons are)(app prefs. are)(some app data is)
  • not all data from individual apps gets backed up automatically.
  • photos from your computer, are not backed up
  • wifi passwords are not backed up
  • auto-brightness, click, sound, location-services configuration is not backed up
  • passcode lock is not backed up
  • iCloud find-my-phone configuration is not backed up
  • SMS’s, iMessage do not always get backed up (in my case)
  • WhatsApp, Telegram messages do not get backed up (but it doesn’t seem to matter)

And some, might not even get that far.
Here are some things to remember when ‘backing up’ your iOS device (or restoring your iPhone backup):

  • Automatically backing up to iCloud does not save everything.
    The current version of iTunes says it,.. “Back(s) up the ‘most important’ data on your iPhone to iCloud”.
    What’s meant by ‘most important’?
  • Automatically backing up to “This Computer”… doesn’t always, exactly.
    The current version of iTunes says a “full” backup of your iPhone will be stored on the computer.
    Nope.
  • Manually Back up.. .doesn’t always.
    It’s Dec.4,2014. I just hit “Back up now”. Which completed successfully. But now finished, I am told that the latest backup was 14.08.14. So there was no backup?
    The date on my computer is correct.
    Reclicking ‘Backup now’ asks *again* about the apps on my iPhone that are not in my iTunes library, so I’m thinking my backup failed.
    And yet Library/Application Support/MobileSync/Backup seems populated with a new entry.
  • Backup encryption isn’t a guarantee to your privacy.
    This may be a good thing, if you’ve forgotten your own encryption key but need access.
    See’iOS: Troubleshooting encrypted backups’ : link.
  • Discover what’s inside a backup…Use iExplorer.

Think to try the following:

  • Update your iTunes to the latest version.
  • Move away the folder ~/Library/ApplicationSupport/MobileSync/Backup/ (ie. into BackupOLD)
  • Use a different usb port to connect the cable.
  • Use a different cable to connect to the usb port.
  • If you’re doing cable backup, then uncheck the Sync with Wifi option.
  • Delete your iCloud account, sync using iTunes, reconfigure for iCloud.
  • Reset your phone to factory settings, and then don’t jailbreak it. 🙂

Install OS X from a Disk Image – issues and solutions

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You want to restore an OS X installation & Data on a hard-disk from a disk image, but are hitting some snags. Here are some that I’ve had to deal with.

  • NOK: Unable to scan Macintosh HD (Resource busy)
    The solution is to be very careful about the order of your actions in Disk Utility.
    1. Select Image as Source
    2. Set the Destination
    3. Ensure that you see the source-image on the list at the left.
    4. Click RESTORE, Scan.. The scanning should now succeed.
  • NOK: Booting into ‘Target Mode’ (using the ‘t’ key) fails.
    I wanted to connect the laptop in question through Firewire and have it appear as an external drive. But the shortcut had no effect on the boot sequence.
    1. Ensure the cable is fine.
    2. Ensure there are no other FW devices attached.
    3. If this is not a laptop, ensure your keyboard is connected directly and not through a hub.
    4. Ensure that no Open Firmware Password has not been enabled.
    Try using the Option-key (aka. ‘ alt’ ), entering the firmware password and then quickly hold the ‘t’ key down.
    Try using the Option-key during the startup to see if there are other disk partitions available.

Disk Encryption on OS X

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Wishing to reformat/reinstall a laptop, we were confront with an encrypted drive and challenges restoring the image file. Here are some useful tidbits:

  • CLI> diskutil corestorage list

See also

  • Using Disk Utility to unlock or decrypt your FileVault 2-encrypted boot drive – link
  • Unlock or decrypt your FileVault 2-encrypted boot drive from the command line – link

Mavericks to Yosemite – upgrade issues

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Upgrading to Yosemite (OS X 10.10) from Mavericks (10.9.5) is *not* necessarily problem-free.
This is my 2nd post on the topic, and I will use it to gather multiple issues.

  • Filevault related issue: The Filevault unlock screen appears and user input is aok. but nothing shows up in the password-field when typing.

 

 

 

Website editing on OS X

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I’m often asked to do basic web maintenance (and sometimes full-on redevelopment) of PHP-based websites (some WordPress, some Django) for labs at the EPFL, UNIL and some friends. The sites are hosted on OS X or Linux and use a lot of jQuery.

keys: CODA2.5 + GIT + Mamp-Pro

My current projects involve limited CMS editing properties (with Postgres backend) to a PHP site,.. and updating an older website to the newer googleMaps and Fusion Tables APIs.

/shawn
p.s. I don’t use Jekyll, but find it intriguing (listen here on OverTired?). JQuery adaptive backgrounds.

Things to look into:
Duo packageManager, iPhoneResolutions, Dimensions and XScope, UIcloud searchEngine, ddmnet HTML/JSON parser, EricChiang/pup HTML cli parser, ViewFlux prototyper, TermsFeed legalAgreements,..

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