#HOWTO

Creating a Multiboot USB Stick under macOS

Here’s a quick article about how to make a multiboot USB stick under macOS. These are useful in a lot of situations - such as for doing system installs or system rescues - because you can boot a wide variety of live OSs from a single stick. There are a lot of guides out there for doing this on Linux, and a lot of software for automating it on Windows, but not a lot of guides for doing it on macOS. Fortunately, it is pretty straightforward as the instructions will be broadly similar to doing it on Linux.

Extending ngResource To Access Metadata

AngularJS’s built-in ngResource is a great tool for natively supporting REST APIs in your Angular application. But what happens when you need to support something besides a simple call that retrieves a list of JSON objects? You quickly run into the limits of ngResource. Here’s a great case where you might need to do something more complex: paging. Say you want to get a list of objects, and there’s 10,000 or so of them. You don’t want to send 10,000 objects to your frontend app. You want to send a portion of them, but you still need to indicate to the app that there are more. Surprisingly, considering how widespread this pattern is in web development, there does not seem to be a native way to accomplish this. But you can extend ngResource. Here’s how I did it.

Multiple Calibre Servers under Mac OS X

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

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: http://172.16.104.4:32400/web/index.html Twitch.

Securely Signing PHP Phar Files With OpenSSL

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.

Scheduled Throttling with pfSense

Apple has launched a new Photos App for OS X, along with the ability to upload your entire library to iCloud. And with prices that are so cheap, there’s almost no reason not to. $3.99 a month is cheap insurance to know that every photo I’ve ever taken of my family won’t be wiped out in a tornado. But with this comes a problem - namely, how do you upload a 150 gigabytes of photos over a 5 megabit network connection? Well, you wait a really long time for it to upload. Which is fine, really, because I’m not in any particular hurry to finish. But, once I started the upload, I noticed that surfing the web became pretty much impossible because the upload to iCloud was saturating my upstream bandwidth.

Responsive CSS3 Columns with Sass and Bootstrap

Impatient? Scroll to the bottom to download. So I recently was working on a site and wanted to use CSS3 columns. But I really like how the grid system works in Bootstrap, and wanted to be able to define columns in a similar way (i.e. have different number of columns depending on the screen size). Not finding any pre-cooked versions, I decided to write my own. Strictly speaking, you don’t need Bootstrap for this to work. But I did re-use Bootstrap’s grid variables so that it breaks along the same lines that Bootstrap’s grid does. It’s also worth noting that, natively, the columns will collapse on their own if you specify a width. This method just gives you a bit more control.

Installing the Ubiquiti UniFi Controller Software on pfSense 2.2

Note: I am leaving this here for the reference and posterity, but for a variety of reasons, I no longer recommend doing this. It is a neat hack, but tends to be a bit of a pain to live with as you end up having to troubleshoot or reinstall it every time you update pfSense or Unifi. When you can install it on a Raspberry Pi for less than $50, there’s really no need to do this. I personally have switched to running this on a stock Ubuntu system that runs a few other network services in my house. This is a short tutorial on how to install the Ubiquiti Networks’ UniFi Enterprise Wifi controller software on pfSense 2.2. These directions are derived from these directions for 2.1-RC, but have been updated to work on 2.2. Note that this is a somewhat advanced tutorial. If you are not comfortable working in a Unix command line or editing system files, this is probably not the best thing you could do. But I’m putting it out here in case it will help others.