Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas to everyone from the Nerhood family. I hope you have a wonderful holiday filled with warm thoughts and memories. You probably won’t see any updates until the new year, but you never know.

Ellie drew the picture with TuxPaint, a wonderful open source, cross platform drawing package for kids. Click the picture to view a bigger version.


How to Have Your Widget and Use It Too

So you’re running Mac OS X Panther (10.3) or some flavor of Microsoft Windows and have been drooling over Tiger’s (not so) new Dashboard feature. Well there is no need to drool anymore, because you can have your widgets and use them too. Konfabulator is now free. For those that don’t know, Konfabulator was the original cross platform widget platform from whom some claim Apple appropriated the concept.

Konfabulator was recently purchased by Yahoo! and subsequently released for free. There are thousands of free widgets available at their Widget Gallery. A couple of my favorites, besides the included weather widget, are: TVScaper, Wunder Radar, and ShortStat.

Software for Your Mac

Mike over at JeepinXJ is almost ready to buy a Mac mini. He’s been asking about what software he’ll need to install in order to replace his Linux box. Instead of just sending him an email, I figured I post my list so that other could comment on it as well.

Fink is like yum for macs. It installs linux packages on your Mac. – I used it to install a number of things including wget, mtr, and lynx.

Darwinports is the other package installer for Mac OSX. (I have not used it)

Mike uses the No-IP dynamic DNS service so he’ll need MacOSX client download package. I obviously haven’t tried this one. If you have problems with this one, you could always try downloading the linux one. I use DynDNS for my dynamic DNS and they have a Mac client as well.

A good site with PHP install packages for Mac is Marc Liyanage’s site. This is what I would use if I were doing it again. It works with the out of the box Apache 1.3 on Mac OS or an Apache 2.0 install. (He also has some other stuff as well).

You can now install MySQL directly from a MySQL Mac OS X package on their site. (note it is about 3/4 of the way down the page)

I used the packages from Server Logistics to install Apache2, MySQL, and PHP. I would recommend not using them seeing has how they have not been updated in a long time.

PostfixEnabler, helps gets postfix and IMAP working on your box. Great App It also can setup POP3 and IMAP servers as well.

DNS Enabler helps you configure the box as a dns server (again very handy)

I haven’t tried WebMon, but it looks interesting for installing PHP, Apache and WebDAV support (this allows you to supposedly share iCal information).

A couple of other Mac OS X – Apache, MySQL, PHP server install packages exist. MAMP and XAMPP are two. I haven’t tried any of them, but a little research would be in order. Note the MAMP people do not recommend running as a production server (mostly for security), XAMMP always says that, but they do offer a script to tighten the security down. The nice thing about these two packages is that they come with the PHP eAccelerator already installed (it makes a big difference on PHP performance)

Probably the best Mac news site is MacInTouch, but there are also MacFixIt and MacNN as well for keeping up to date on the latest Mac information.

If you have your favorite, must have Mac OSX application/site please leave a comment.

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.