misc tidbits

So, when you are at a conference – and the hotel blocks port 25 – the best thing in the world, is that old standby – ssh port forwarding.

alias mailshell=’ssh -L 5525:mymailserver.edu:25 username@myserver-with-smtp-access-to-mymailserver.edu’

And then configure my mail client to send to

Or use Gmail – whatever floats your boat

Of course, you then might run into the fact that the hotel’s NAT seems to timeout your SSH sessions something awful. That’s when adding:

Host * ServerAliveInterval 120

to your .ssh/config file comes in really handy

bonus tidbit. Sometimes you have to create a set of symlinks for a whole directory. Yay for for loops!

prompt% for file in ls -A /webserverconfigurationfiles > do > fullfile=/webserverconfigurationfiles/$file > ln -s $fullfile $file > done

p.s. Hilton-UF in-room ethernet rocks.

Well that was bad

My Macintosh at home did a rare thing this morning and locked up. Spinning beach ball on each application, no hope but to hit the power button.

Yeah, that made things really unhappy. Macintosh reboots, goes trough the verbose startup messages(*) and never shows a login prompt or logs in (my Macintosh at home was set to autologin).

(* I am a unix geek – so I like watching the verbose startup messages: sudo nvram boot-args='-v' )

Uh-oh. Do the power button salute again, maybe it’s just a transient thing. Again, no login – and I can’t get in via ssh.

So I boot into single user mode (Command+S as it boots) – run fsck per the instructions. fsck fixes something, and I run it again, everything’s kosher.

Reboot. No login.

Power off, boot into single user – mount the drive. Take a look at /var/log/system.log and /var/log/asl.log

Well, there’s the culprit:

DirectoryService[50]: Failed Authentication return is being delayed due to over five recent auth failures for username: jayoung.

[Sender SecurityAgent] [PID 78] [Message Autologin user authenticated.] [Sender com.apple.SecurityServer] [PID -1] [Message authinternal failed to authenticate user jayoung.]

Somehow, the thing is completely foobar’d trying to autologin. (You’d think it’d fall back to a login screen – maybe it does eventually – I gave the thing several minutes on one of the reboots, but alas, no prompt).

I finally figured out how to delete the autologin preference from the command line in single-user mode

defaults delete /Library/Preferences/com.apple.loginwindow autoLoginUser rm (or better, srm) /etc/kcpassword

voila! finally a login prompt.

I’m still figuring out how to justify to myself that I can use this as an excuse to go buy a new Macintosh. It’s a very, very, very good thing that I have two conference presentations to finish and no time to go to the Apple Store and buy and install a new Macintosh before I leave for the conference.

Conformity is not my strong suit

You know. I am all for consistent identity. If you have a team – and you are trying to acheive a certain common look and feel to your presentations, or your web pages, or common information that everyone needs to provide. Well, I think that’s great. I’m all for it. You step up, show leadership, and rally the troops to believe in the common mantra, incorporate a common logo, make sure that everyone has their email or IM listed. And then, THEN you encourage them to get creative. To build on that base, and run with it. Make it “eye-popping” or funny or “WOW!”.

Oh Well. There hasn’t been much the push for conformity at all. Until, of course THREE (BUSINESS) DAYS BEFORE WE START PRESENTING, the COMMON TEMPLATE appears – no creative license encouraged.

Well, I’m not much the comformist. So I’ll do my own thing. But don’t worry, it has a disclaimer.


(thankfully my boss says “Your Call” and encourages creativity. And even a little Jeffersonian rebellion. I wouldn’t be there if he didn’t.)