How NOT to provide tech support (you listening, Ubiquiti?)

I won’t get into the details of installing the Ubiquiti access point hardware. There are plenty of videos and how-tos on the web for that. Instead, this article is about the troubles I had installing this hardware. I finally got it working, no thanks to Ubiquiti’s crack tech support channel. My Unifi purchases: Security Gateway

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Bye, Drupal

For many years, since version 4, I was an evangelist for the Drupal content management system. I built a lot of PHP modules for it and considered myself fairly expert with it.  One Drupal site I built ran 90% on a custom module I’d built called FeedBuddy. It was an RSS aggregator of third party

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Slow downloads for Apple App Store updates? Try this.

I discovered a nifty trick for those excruciatingly slow Apple Update downloads. My friend left his broken 2008 Mac Pro with me last week. It turned out that he just neglected to plug in the display power supply. The computer has been down for a year(!) because of that. Since the machine hadn’t run since

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Setting up a hybrid Google Apps mail account

I’ve run my own mail server since, well, the UUCP days. I used to host a lot of mailiing lists so over the past 20+ years I’ve run Sendmail, Exim, Qmail and Postfix. They’re all different but they share one thing in common: unless running mail servers is your hobby, they’re not fire-and-forget applications, especially

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SSH Tunnel for PostgreSQL Connection on AWS EC2

AWS has become a fairly ubiquitous hosting option for small companies.  But developers typically work on local dev setups outside the host and occasionally need access to the main dev and staging databases located on AWS.  How do you do this and still run in a secure environment?  One thing you don’t do is poke a hole in AWS‘ firewall and run PostgreSQL’s port

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SMB+SSH: Ubuntu server and OSX client

The title above is pretty close to the Google search query I used in vain to find a recipe for tunneling an OSX Samba client to an Ubuntu 14.04 server. Hopefully this post will save someone the hours I spent trying to set this up. In the end, like so many Unix projects, the answer turned out

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Optimizing a Result Set Pager

It’s ubiquitous on data driven web sites: the result set pager.  We’ve all used them whether we built them from scratch or used one provided by the framework. Pagers are by nature performance suckers because we’re asking the database to re-run the same query for each “page”, slicing off just one set of contiguous rows

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Remote SSH Filesystems on OSX

Developers, particularly web developers, have a need to work on external computers, often not within their local networks.  Over the years I’ve employed everything from FTP to SFTP/SCP to Samba to NFS to VPNs to cranky Novell networks.  All have their downsides, particularly with regard to security. I have a MacPro and originally ran NFS to connect to machines on my LAN.  But as

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Did your wallpaper suddenly turn grey?

This can occasionally happen when OSX recovers from a deep sleep, particularly on dual-monitor systems where there already issues with the cabling. The fix: Open up Terminal and type the following: sudo killall Dock That should restore the wallpaper for both terminals. I ran into another problem with my Viewsonic secondary monitor related to recovering

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Database Meets Revision Control

Any developer who has worked with HIPAA compliancy knows that the law is murky at best and the fed doesn’t publish a programmers’ guide to make your life any easier.  However, one of the cardinal rules is the requirement to keep track of who sees HIPAA data, who modifies it and when this was done. 

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