Smooth Skin and Other Tutorials

While reading the Strobist today I ran across this great site that has a lot of free Photoshop tutorials. The one mentioned that particularly caught my eye was Smooth Skin. It walks you through the steps for smooth the skin tones in a picture. The site also has a bunch more so I strongly recommend that you stop by and see what you can learn.

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It’s good to be back

It’s been a crazy couple of days. I brought the new iMac home on Wednesday night, and started hooking it up in the office. In the process of hooking everything up, I had to move by web and mail server (the old Dell laptop). This ended up not being a good thing. Not good at all. After getting the iMac all hooked up and working, I tried to connect to the server, and I couldn’t. So I pulled the laptop out, opened it up, and … a screen full of error messages. I must have bumped it pretty hard when moving and the hard drive went “whacky” on me.

I had been planning to move my web and mail to the new iMac, but just not this soon. Also, even thought I’ve talked about backing the unit up, I never found the right solution and hadn’t gotten around to it yet. To top it all off, we’re still having problems with our Internet connection at the house, and that night when I could connect, I was getting slower than dialup speed. I tried to download some tools to rescue the data, but couldn’t. (I placed a call to Comcast and a technician will be out on Saturday). I was up really late trying to get the Mac as ready as possible.

I got up really early on Thursday morning and took the dead laptop to the office in hopes of recovering the data there. After downloading a System Rescue CD which worked but wouldn’t see my PCMCIA network card, and a copy of Knoppix, a live Linux CD, I was able to copy most of the data off the drive. I’m not really sure what was lost, but I was able to recover the database that powers this blog, as well as the templates. I was also able to recover all of my old emails too.

When I got home, I started the rest of the process to build the iMac into the server machine I needed. Even though Mac OS X comes with a lot of the things necessary to run right out of the box, I either needed newer versions or additional software. In particular, I needed MySQL, Apache2, PHP, Postfix, an IMAP server, and BIND.

There are a number of ways to add and update UNIX software on a Mac. In addition to compling the software from source, there are Fink and DarwinPorts which provide linux and bsd style updating mechanisms. Both other some usesful features, but I needed to get things running quickly. So I chose to use some installers from Server Logistics. They offer a series of “complete” installs for Apache2, PHP, and MySQL with all the options that I needed. So I installed them and got my webserver back in action. After a quick install of phpMyAdmin I was able to recover my database, and then in short order get the blog up and going again.

For email, I needed to get an IMAP server installed as well as Postfix configed and running. Again after some searching, I used the Postfix Enabler, from Cutedge. This installed and configured an IMAP server as well as providing an interface to configure and start Postfix. So now I had email again (albeit without any spam filtering) and called it a night at roughly 12:30.