What I use: 2016

By · Published · apple, mac, osx

Since it's been awhile since I wrote a post about what I use in regards to software, hardware, etc. Perhaps it's time that I did that again. So here's a list of what I'm using in 2016:


Collecting Data From pfSense Using collectd

By · Published · pfsense, networking, php

So I've recently been on a graphing thing, wanting to collect all kind of data from my home network. And collectd seems to be a good candidate for doing that. With a huge number of plugins, it can collect and send just about anything you can think of to a time series database (I'm using InfluxDB for this).

But, there's a significant hole in my data collection: my pfSense firewall. Well, not anymore!


Finding Multi-byte Characters in MySQL Fields

By · Published · mysql

So I was recently helping a client with an issue in MySQL where a migration failed to transfer the full contents of some fields. This amounted to a little over 1% of the total messages transferred. In doing some research, we discovered that the one thing every message had in common was the presence of multi-byte (high unicode) characters. In many cases, this was due to a user pasting some text from Microsoft Word.


Why I'm (Almost) Quitting Facebook

By · Published · facebook, social media

So this is something I've been meaning to write for awhile now.

It's time we had a talk about Facebook.

I was an early adopter of Facebook. Not as early as some, but before it was open to everyone. Back when it was a social network for college students and you needed a .edu address to join. Back when you still had to choose a "network" (I think I'm still technically in the Auburn network somewhere buried down in my settings somewhere). I've been on Facebook probably more than 10 years at this point.

But now, I've finally decided to call it (mostly) quits on Facebook.


Multiple Calibre Servers under Mac OS X

By · Published · mac, osx, apple, apache, ebooks, calibre, howto

So there's this program out there called Calibre which, despite it's pretty terrible UI, is pretty much the gold standard for managing eBooks. Seriously, it's such a great program whose only fault is its terrible engineer UI.

One of the nice things that Calibre includes is a built-in web server that can serve books via OPDS. If you have an OPDS-compatible reader (I use Marvin), you can browse and download from your library directly on your device, basically creating your own private eBook cloud.

But, this presents a little bit of an issue. Namely, I don't want all of my books to be publicly available, while still providing a subset of my library for visitors to browse and use. But I still want to be able to access them myself from my "private reserve collection."

Fortunately, with a little bit of work, you can do that under Calibre.


Pretty URLs - Serving Plex from behind a proxy using mod_proxy and Apache

By · Published · apache, networking, plex, howto

I'm obsessed with pretty URLs. I admit it. I love looking at a properly formatted URL that just looks nice.

I'm slowly converting our internal media library over to Plex now that it is available on the new AppleTV. In doing that, I noticed that the Plex web interface serves, by default, serves from port 32400. So the URL ends up looking somthing like this:



Securely Signing PHP Phar Files With OpenSSL

By · Published · php, security, phar, openssl, howto

PHP's PHAR archives (PHp ARchives, get it?) are a neat development. They're a way to distribute an entire PHP application as a single archived file that can be executed directly by the PHP intepreter without unarchving them before execution. They're broadly equivalent to Java's JAR files and they're super useful for writing small utilities in PHP.