Nutritious Blue Spray

Part XXXVI of Fear

The Twelve Days of Christmas
spargelkohl
Yesterday we rang in the holiday season with "Jingle Bells." Today let's listen to "The Twelve Days of Christmas."
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Jingle Bells
spargelkohl
With Christmas just being a few weeks away, it's definitely time to enjoy some classic holiday songs.  Let's start with The Singing Dogs and their timeless rendition of "Jingle Bells."
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Updated ramfs script for OS X
spargelkohl

It has come to my attention that it's been a very long time since I've posted anything here. Let me do something about that...

Just over 4 years ago I posted "ramfs script for MacOS X" which was probably of little interest except to me.  Over the years I've made several improvements to the script, including error handling, naming the volume after the user (instead of the Julian day number), and making the volume private by enabling owners.  In order to enable owners I resorted to running sudo, but maybe all I really need to do is detach the parition and reattach it with "-owners on"--that will be an investigation for another day.


#!/bin/bash

# This script creates a RAMFS disk with an HFS+ partition on it and
# mounts it so it is visible in the OS X filesystem (including the
# Finder).

PATH=/sbin:/usr/sbin:/bin:/usr/bin:/opt/local/bin:$HOME/bin
umask 077

prog="${0##*/}"

if [ "$(uname -s)" != Darwin ]; then
  echo "$prog: must be run under OS X" 1>&2
  exit 1
fi

# The volume name will be based on the string "RAMFS" and the username.
VOLNAME="RAMFS-${LOGNAME:-$USER}"
mountpoint=/Volumes/${VOLNAME}
if [ -d "$mountpoint" ]; then
  echo "$prog: $mountpoint already mounted." 1>&2
  exit 1
fi

# Do not check for sudo access until after the script has determined
# that there is no existing volume mounted.
if ! sudo -v; then
  echo "$prog: must be able to run sudo" 1>&2
  exit 1
fi

# The size of the RAMFS disk (in 512K blocks)
NUMBLOCKS=128000

# Use hdiutil to create the raw RAMDISK
mydev=$(hdiutil attach -mount suppressed ram://${NUMBLOCKS})
if [[ "$mydev" =~ [[:space:]] ]]; then
  # hdiutil returned device with whitespace; trim it...
  mydev="${mydev//[[:space:]]/}"
fi
case $mydev in
  /dev/disk*)
    ;;
  *)
    echo "$prog: hdiutil returned device '"$mydev"', but this script expected something like /dev/disk*" 1>&2
    exit 1
esac

# do this in a trap so the user sees it even if there's an error 
trap "echo run \\\"hdiutil detach ${mydev}\\\" when done or use Finder to eject partition \\\"${VOLNAME}\\\"" 0 EXIT

# Use diskutil to partition the RAMDISK and create an HFS+ filesystem
# on the only partition.  Get the partition name so we can enable
# ownership on it.
mypart=$(diskutil quiet partitionDisk ${mydev##*/} 1 HFS+ "${VOLNAME}" "100%" | awk '/'"$VOLNAME"'/ {print $NF}')
if [[ "$mypart" =~ [[:space:]] ]]; then
  # hdiutil returned partition with whitespace; trim it...
  mypart="${mypart//[[:space:]]/}"
fi
case $mypart in
  ${mydev##*/}s*)
    ;;
  *)
    echo "$prog: diskutil returned partition '"$mypart"' for volume '"$VOLNAME"', but this script expected something like ${mydev##*/}s*" 1>&2
    exit 1
esac

## not usually needed--disk is automatically attached after
## partitioning, but we want the device to be available to run the next
## command on it...
#hdiutil attach -owners on "${mydev}"

# Use diskutil enable ownership (requires sudo; attaching with
# "-owners on" has no effect)
sudo diskutil quiet enableOwnership "${mypart}"
if (($? != 0)); then
  echo "$prog: there was a problem enabling ownership on partition '"$mypart"'." 1>&2
  exit 1
fi

# Make the mounted filesystem private.  (Any other ACLs to munge?)
# (Can we get the mount point some reliable way?)
chmod 0700 "${mountpoint}"
if (($? != 0)); then
  echo "$prog: there was a problem setting the mode to 0700 on the mountpoint '"$mountpoint"'." 1>&2
  exit 1
fi

echo "$prog: volume has been mounted at '"$mountpoint"' (with ownership enabled)." 1>&2
exit 0
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Good Investment #4
spargelkohl

I bought a pair of Dunham sandals in 2005 and have worn them to St. Lucia (see the picture above and pay attention to the sandals, not the Diamond Falls!), Playa del Carmen, hiking in the woods, and really everywhere else I've been during sandal season (which sometimes extends beyond the summer).

I have replacements (Keens--not so open and probably better for hiking and wet activities) but will probably keep the Dunhams around.  They were such a good investment (6 years for sandals!) I can't toss them just yet.


Good Investment #3
spargelkohl

Our site, originally uploaded by werejellyfish.

I purchased my GTI in October 1998.  It is really a 2-door Golf with a 2.0L engine rather than a "real" GTI--I think it was branded a GTI because it had a slightly sporty interior.

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But now the GTI needs some repairs that exceed its value too much, so it's about to be sold or donated. It's been replaced.  And unexpectedly I have someone interested in using it as a "project car"--and I very much hope that deal works out, so it's not facing the end of the line just yet.


Good Investment #2
spargelkohl

Good Investment, originally uploaded by werejellyfish.

I purchased this Konica Minolta DiMAGE Z20 camera in August 2005. Just over a year later Konica Minolta stopped making cameras!

I chose this one over other models at the time because of its optics, primarily the 8x zoom. The Z20 has an unusual shape that makes it very easy and natural to hold. It takes hundreds of photos on a single charge of 4 Duracell rechargeable AA batteries.

I usually receive favorable comments about photos taken with this camera--and it's been a true photographic workhorse for us, taking most of our family photos (the ones that weren't taken by camera phones anyway :). Many times my only "trick" is to use "portrait" mode and to zoom in for a nice depth of field. Uh-oh--my secret's out now! :)

The 5-year-old Z20 is limited to using 2 Gbytes of storage and its zoom button is cranky. Still, it remains our camera of choice (when not using a camera phone!)

I bought a small boxy point-n-shoot to "replace" this one, but that's accumulating dust now--it was not a "good investment."


Good Investment #1
spargelkohl

Good Investment, originally uploaded by werejellyfish.

This Motorola RAZR V3xx camera phone was a good investment when I purchased it back in June 2007. It was submerged once in a swimming pool and survived (unlike its more-expensive relative the V9), so naturally it now serves as my backup and "pool phone", sparing my "real" phone from myriad pool perils.

I've used it recently to take pictures at the pool and the spray park. Its 1.3-Mpixel camera is just passable for these activities. It only ever sees use as a camera phone during the summer at this point.

Photo of 3 phones I've dunked (including the V3xx):

http://www.flickr.com/photos/werejellyfish/3844192968/


A Tale of Two Certificate Authorities
spargelkohl
From 2004 through yesterday I was an InstantSSL/Comodo web server SSL certificate customer. I have a small, non-commercial site requiring secure connections and InstantSSL fit the bill 5 years ago.

During the 2007 renewal they had changed their validation requirements such that I had to make a cosmetic change to my domain whois information to match the address exactly on my credit card statement. No biggie.

During this year's round of validation they took my money then sprang their new requirements on me. They no no longer accept credit card statements for address validation. The only things I have that match my whois address are two credit cards (and of course my domain registrations and my 5-year customer history but those don't count either).

I asked whether they had a lower-assurance option with validation requirements I could make but I got no direct answers, just more repeats of their validation rules no matter whether I escalated to my "account manager" or not. I was clear what I wanted it for, that I would not change my whois address, and that I did not have the major utility bills at the whois address that they were requesting.

Finally I tried again with the account manager to start anew, spelling everything out again and asking for help directing me to a product which had been hinted at whose validation requirements I could meet. After a couple of days I got a response that her manager had told her that I should call the validation department again and ask them. Maddening. I had been over the same thing many times by now, but I called last night anyway. Yes, I waited until the night before the certificate was to expire.

Well I apparently missed their business hours. So then I looked for alternatives and quickly found GoDaddy, which had a certificate that works perfectly for me. It was much cheaper and the only validation requirement was confirmation from the admin contact in the whois record. Despite some graylisting delays receiving the confirmation request, the whole process from hitting the GoDaddy web site to installing the certificates on the server took less time than some of my interactions with Comodo/InstantSSL.

So if you are a hobbyist and/or aren't using SSL for business purposes, I suggest checking out GoDaddy. I have about a day under my belt as their customer, but it's been exactly what I expected and I appreciate the total lack of hassle.

Bye-bye, Comodo/InstantSSL. Thanks for wasting my time. Thanks for not valuing me enough as a customer to keep me. I should not have had to battle with you. Oh, and I'll be looking for a prompt refund.

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Happy Trails in Highland Park
spargelkohl
Today I walked a new hiking loop in Highland Park. Yay! That's a big deal around these parts--Highland Park does not have an extensive trail system.  This was part of a 2-hour walking and hiking session with my son in his Baby Björn today.

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Thanks to anyone who has been working on these new trails!

Catching Up with Colin & Mingo
spargelkohl
Colin & Mingo had a new podcast with new "live" recordings last week.  Check it out.

We wrote summaries of more of our older podcasts too.  Those are now all on Colin & Mingo's facebook page (notes):
Please feel free to become a "fan" of Colin & Mingo on Facebook and comment on the podcast summaries!

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