Move your OS X Server Documents out of /Library and backup with Backblaze [solved]

As a web developer, the easiest thing for me to develop on my mac was to work from /Library/WebServer/Documents, which is the default directory for OS X’s apache. There are two problems with this: First, the permissions are all root. I found it easiest to change Documents’ owner to my user, but then running a permissions repair would automatically change these back. Second, Backblaze automatically excludes your /Library directory, so none of my web work was getting automatically backed up. I contacted backblaze about including only this directory and got this response:

I am sorry but there is not a way to back up this data.
Backblaze does not back up the system files or the system library. The /Library and all subdirectories are excluded.

My solution was to create a new directory, webdocs, in my home folder, and to move everything that was in /Library/WebServer/Documents into it. Then, I edited /etc/apache2/httpd.conf with root privileges (in terminal: sudo nano /etc/apache2/httpd.conf or sudo edit /etc/apache2/httpd.conf or sudo subl /etc/apache2/httpd.conf depending on your text editor of choice), and replaced all instances of /Library/WebServer/Documents with /Users/jordan/webdocs. Then I ran sudo apachectl restart to restart apache. Now all of my web work will get backed up automatically by backblaze.

ReFit hangs on windows logo [Solved]

My ReFit was hanging on the windows logo on my macbook pro when I would boot into windows.

I was having problems with windows explorer crashing every 5 seconds anyway so I plugged in my boot thumbdrive and reset (reformatted) windows.

However, refit would STILL hang on the windows logo even after a clean install. If I held down option when booting I could use Apple’s menu to get to Windows, but not via Refit.

Finally, I tried unplugging everything from my macbook, including the external mouse, SD card, and external monitor.

Now it boots fine! Hopefully this saves someone from reformatting like I did when it was just a hardware conflict. I have read other reports of USB hubs and other peripherals also causing refit to hang.

Free Create Shadow Action in Photoshop

I have created a Photoshop action to automatically generate a shadow for a given png. I recommend extending the canvas right 10 or so pixels first. It expects the file to have a single layer with transparency. It duplicates the layer, adds a black color overlay, rasterizes the layer effect, squishes the layer with free transform, skews it to the right, puts the layer below the first one, sets the opacity to 57%, and hides the first layer.
This is useful for generating custom pin shadows for leaflet, google maps or bing.
Create Shadow.atn
On mac you can place this in: ~/Library/Application Support/Adobe/Adobe Photoshop CS6/Presets/Actions/

Deploy data files only to new website with rsync [solved]

I wanted to copy everything from my git repo to production except images and media. This tutorial helped me out. This command will copy all js, php, html, and css files and directory structure without copying images or other media:

rsync -av --include='*/' --include='*.php' --include='*.html' --include='*.js' --include='*.css' --exclude='*' source/ destination/

This will work in linux, unix, or os x.

Disable OS X Lion’s “is an Application Downloaded from the Internet. Are you sure you want to open it?” message with Onyx [solved]

What a Vista-like message. Apple warns you every time you open almost any kind of file that was downloaded from the internet, which is MOST files these days. There doesn’t seem to be any way to turn it off. It happens with applications, php files, even HTML and jpg files. As a PHP programmer, I can’t stand seeing this message every time I open files that I coded MYSELF. It severely interrupts my workflow.

The commonly suggested method of using terminal to write to defaults does NOT work for me:
defaults write LSQuarantine -bool NO

There is another method of manually removing the quarantine flag of the files that you download each time you download them, but this would take more time than just clicking ok in the stupid dialog.

What did work for me was downloading the latest version of Onyx and unchecking the internet warning checkbox. Thank you, Titanium Software!

Note that this does make your computer more susceptible to viruses and trojans if you visit risky sites or blindly open unknown applications. For users like me, this is preferable to the condescending, interrupting workflow Apple has been increasingly favoring lately.

Cancel or Allow?

Logic Beachballs on EXS 24 Instrument Selection [Solved]

I’ve recently been experiencing never-ending beachballs (crashes) when trying to load instruments in EXS 24 in Logic Pro 9.1.6 in both 32-bit and 64-bit.

I recently installed a Blu-Ray player. As soon as I ejected the disc, Logic stopped beachballing and loaded the sample fine. It must have been trying to search the Blu-Ray drive for the audio files and gotten stuck somehow.

I’ve also read that turning off the spotlight index for any Windows partitions helps. I would suggest unmounting any network drives as well if you’re experiencing this issue.

Don’t Run Two Instances of TextWrangler at Once [Solved]

Update:Barebones support got back to me and explained why this wasn’t working, this method broke their codesigning. But they had a solution: Simply go to File > New > FTP/SFTP Browser. Thanks Barebones!

Edit: Darn, I’m getting this error when trying to open remote documents: (MacOS Error code: -25293)

When I’m working on two projects at once, or want to grab a remote file from FTP when I already have one FTP site open, it would be nice to run two instances of TextWrangler at once, since it only supports having one FTP site open at a time.

I figured out how:

-Go to Applications/ and right click on TextWrangler and select Duplicate.
-Rename Textwrangler copy to Textwrangler2
-Right click on Textwrangler and choose “Show Package Contents”
-Open info.plist inside the Contents folder
-Change the data from




Now you can open both TextWrangler apps.

Optionally, grab this snazzy textwrangler alternative icon from this page:
Right click and choose "copy image". Then get info on TextWrangler2, click on the small icon in the top right, and hit command-V to paste. That way it's easy to tell the two instances apart in the Dock and switching between applications.

How to update Jailbroken iPhone to 4.3.3 [solved]

After having some problems with my home button, I tried taking my iPhone to the Apple store, who told me it would cost $200 to replace the hardware button on my iPhone. They also mentioned there were some home button issues with 4.3.1, the version of my iPhone OS, and to try updating. (They also said they had to mention the jailbreak could be my problem and to remove it).

I went home, determined to either fix the home button myself (they cost $5 online) or try a software update. I tried updating to 4.3.3 first, the latest untethered jailbreak. This is trickier now that 4.3.5 is out.

First, I ran AptBackup, a package you can find in Cydia to save all of your jailbroken apps for restoring later. (Edit: AptBackup deleted all my AppStore apps, people recommend PkgBackup instead.) I also saved my SHSH blobs in Cydia (important) when it prompted me, so that I could upgrade or downgrade my iOS freely.

I downloaded iOS 4.3.3 from here and tried option-updating or option-restoring in Itunes, but it gave me the error “The device isn’t eligible for the requested build.” I learned this is because Apple stopped signing iOS 4.3.3 in an effort to prevent jailbreaking.

I followed Saurik’s old guide, adding the line “” to my /etc/hosts file to have Saurik’s Cydia server spoof apple’s verification servers. This bypasses the “eligible” error in iTunes, but as described, at the end of the restore I got the error message The iPhone “iPhone” could not be restored. An unknown error occured (1015)” Saurik writes that you should restore twice, but that you will get this message both times and get stuck in recovery mode, and then you should jailbreak.

Then, I tried using the latest version of RedSn0w to jailbreak. RedSn0w requires you to enter DFU mode by turning off the phone, but in recovery mode the phone turns on automatically when it’s plugged into USB. Regardless, I was able to enter DFU mode by holding down power for 2 seconds, pressing the power and home button for 10 seconds, and then releasing the power button and holding home for 10 seconds. Then, the phone hung on the “Installing Activation Bundles” screen and then rebooted and was stuck on the recovery screen.

I tried the application “fixrecovery43” but it didn’t work. (I got the error: libusb:error [darwin_transfer_status] transfer error: timed out)

What did work for me was installing TinyUmbrella and clicking the “Exit Recovery” option. TinyUmbrella crashed a few times on me, I think because of conflicts with Apple’s httpd server. I had to disable websharing and type “sudo killall httpd” in Terminal first. Then I clicked TinyUmbrella’s “Start TSS Server” and then it ran better. Open up /Applications/Utilities/ for more details on what’s happening if you’re having trouble with TinyUmbrella. Evidentially you can use their TSS servers to restore the phone via iTunes as well but it didn’t work for me (I got a “could not connect to apple servers” error in iTunes).

Note: TinyUmbrella edits your hosts file and deletes everything except the line. If you have other lines in your hosts file I suggest backing it up.

First I tried DFU mode, but the “fix restore” button didn’t work (the phone got stuck on a greenpois0n screen with the message “unable to find gbdevlist” and “unable to find fs_mount”). What worked for me was leaving the iPhone in recovery mode (iPhone screen on, usb cable icon pointing to iTunes icon), and then it shows up in the list of devices in recovery mode. Then I simply clicked on “exit recovery” and my phone booted normally into 4.3.3. Whew!

Finally, I reinstalled AptBackup and clicked “restore”, which restored all of my Cydia apps, but deleted all of my appstore apps. None of the suggested online fixes (installing an appstore app, resyncing with iTunes, turning on and off restrictions) worked. People online recommend PkgBackup instead of AptBackup, note to self. Anyway I restored my apps and settings from backup again using my old backup in iTunes and all is good. So far so good with the home button. If your iPhone 4 home button is still on the fritz, there are some good voodoo tricks in the comments here.

Control Headphone and Speaker Volume Independently on a MOTU [solved]

I have successfully extended the life of my MOTU 896 audio interface. This solution required buying a new product, but I am so happy with the result that I wanted to post about it anyway.

I had two problems with the MOTU. One was that the volume knob is on the unit which I had to keep nearby my seat at all times, which even with a custom rack makes my room layout cluttered and makes me reach awkwardly for it to adjust the volume. The pot was also dirty and created scratching noise when I turned the knob.

The other problem was that if I wanted to record microphone audio with headphones, the volume knob would control both the headphone levels and the active monitors, and I would have to turn off my speakers in order to set the levels in the headphones to prevent track bleeding and feedback. This was a major pain.

I found a solution by getting the TC Electronic Level Pilot. At $80 it’s fairly pricey but it’s much cheaper than getting a new audio interface or outboard mixer, and I’m quite happy with it. It’s a high-resolution analog volume control with two XLR inputs and two XLR outputs.

The speakers are still going through MAIN OUT, but the signal runs through this new volume knob first. I switched the rocker switch next to the volume knob from “Main Out & Phones” to “Phones Only”. This causes you to have no volume control through your speakers and a line level signal blaring through them, but now with the Level Pilot I can set the level on the phones with one volume knob and the speaker levels with the pilot.

The knob sits happily next to my keyboard for easy control, and I’ve rearranged my whole studio now that the MOTU rack doesn’t have to sit right next to me. I’m very happy with the Level Pilot. It feels very durable and I have a much finer control of audio levels. My only complaint is that sometimes the base pivots on some surfaces making it harder to control. Placing it on a wood surface or putting some double stick tape underneath it solves this problem.

Create an encrypted folder with OS X Disk Utility [Solved]

I run several servers on my mac, and worry about getting hacked or accidentally sharing sensitive files. In addition, I worry about sensitive files when I take the computer in for tech support, or when others use my computer. Documents such as my tax files contain my social security number.

I don’t have to worry any longer (until AES is cracked, anyway), because it is easy to create an encrypted disk image on OS X. I followed the instructions here:

I chose a 2.5 GB image, which automatically suggested a CD/DVD type partition. I’m not sure what partition type to use but don’t think it matters. These were the settings I used:

This will create a .sparseimage file. Sparse images are nice because they don’t actually take up their entire hard drive space until they’re filled with contents.

Note that after you drag the files in, you still have to delete the originals. Then when you eject the encrypted image, they are protected. When you double click on the image again, it will ask you for your password. Don’t forget this password, because it is impossible to recover!

I used spotlight to search my computer for files containing my passwords or social security number. If they were necessary, I dragged them in here, otherwise I deleted them.

Next »