Archive for the 'apple' Category

master exit time has arrived! (re: outbound messages stuck on OS X with Postfix)

Thursday, July 21st, 2011

Nerd bulletin! If you’re an OS X user, and you’re using the version of Postfix that came with your operating system, and you are seeing log messages similar to this one once per minute in mail.log:

Jul 21 16:08:39 snowy postfix/master[6565]: daemon started -- version 2.4.3, configuration /etc/postfix
Jul 21 16:08:39 snowy postfix/qmgr[6567]: DE1D92E78E75: from=, size=3602201, nrcpt=9 (queue active)
Jul 21 16:09:39 snowy postfix/master[6565]: master exit time has arrived

… then you’re not alone! Many people are reporting the “master exit time has arrived” messages, which seem to be just unwanted log noise. But if, between “daemon started” and “master exit,” you are seeing the same e-mail message logged over and over, then you and I are partners in digital miscommunication. Outbound e-mail is getting stuck.

Today I suffered from, investigated and solved this problem. Here’s a quick fix you can try:
Read the rest of this entry »

Project Unicorn!

Friday, May 27th, 2011

Hello everybody! Sorry it’s been so quiet over here … I’ve been preoccupied with unicorns.

The last three months have been rainy, indoorish months for me and Portland. Writing books is still my day job, but I’ve also be surprisingly, enjoyably, annoyingly busy with these smart lights. It’s been an educational odyssey: so far it’s required circuit-board fabrication, AVR programming in C and assembler, iPhone hacking, waterjet cutting, lamp design, bicycle maintainence, and lots and lots (lots!) of soldering. I’ve enjoyed it all, but what a time sink! (If only I could flip one of these AVR pins to source time instead of sinking it …)

Something about blinking, glowing light is still compelling to me, but I really do hope that the sun will come out soon and I’ll lose interest in this weak substitute. The goal I’ve set for myself is to have these lights mounted on my tallbike in time for Pedalpalooza, Portland’s three-week bicycling festival. I’ve always wanted ambulance lights on my tallbike, and these should provide the required traffic-shifting pep.
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Free booze from a tree!

Monday, November 9th, 2009

cider in process

I am buzzed to report that our first cider-making efforts have borne fruity booze.  The five-way apple tree I planted nine years ago yielded enough fruit this year to fill a 5-gallon carboy with juice.  Add yeast, secure airlock and stand back!

Hard cider may be the easiest alcoholic beverage there is to make.  Unlike with beer, no boiling or cooling is involved.  The internet is replete with conflicting advice on how best to ferment cider, and almost all of the available instructions seem to give fine results.  Here’s what we did: Read the rest of this entry »

Set my iPhone free!

Friday, January 25th, 2008

Usually, if I can think of some software, the Internet has already written it. So here’s a list of the things an iPhone could do with the right 3rd-party applications — legal and otherwise:

  • Stream music from a computer running iTunes (or any DAAP server), optionally save it to my iPhone.
    • Google’s iPhone Remote can get you to the files & let you stream them, but the interface is crude & the security issues need to be addressed.
    • WeBot is fairly slick for over-the-internet access of music files, though it looks like maybe I must route the music through their servers even if I’m within range of my mac. But it might do the trick for my home song server. Still not really DAAP compatible, tho.
  • Stream music from someone else’s iPhone (a DAAP server), and/or let two iPhone users connect and swap songs manually.
  • Stream music from an iPhone to an AirPort Express via AirTunes.
  • Record audio.
  • Share pictures, audio, or any other kind of file between iPhones.
  • Stream internet radio via playlist files, or any other standard now in use.
    • — Seeqpod does something in this space — they send a quicktime audio file that knocks iPhone Safari into video-playing mode, so you get all the controls. It works, but Seeqpod also does a bunch of other meddling that gets in the way. Even worse, they seem to be missing a lot of the best stations, including many which already netcast. KFJC, KUSF, KPSU, KCMU … college radio, basically, is absent.
    • i’m amazed that Live365 doesn’t have an iPhone version of their site.
    • Other people must be working on this.
  • Remote-control iTunes on a Mac or PC, or some other server software that streams to an AirPort.
    • — Signal does this, although it’s fairly clunky
  • Make internet phone calls over a wi-fi connection for free.
  • Trace the iPhone’s location through the day, and create a time/location map using Google tools.
  • Attach a photo and an audio caption to a pin on a map, and upload that data to an online mapping community.
  • Option to save any web-embedded MP3/AAC/video files I view.
  • Sync via Bluetooth.
  • Use the built-in accellerometer as a pedometer, counting my steps.
  • iChat — free live chat, instead of expensive SMS.
  • Free SMS via internet anyway! End the farce of SMS charges!
  • A calculator with all the math functions, not just the four easy ones.

I’m looking forward to the SDK release in February.

You need to restart your comptuer.

Thursday, November 8th, 2007

An irksome and aggravating linguistic trend, a popular mistake, has now spread so wide through English-speaking culture that it’s included in the firmware of my MacBook Pro.

“You need to restart your computer.”

Whether you are a programmer explaining how I should cope with your system’s collapse, or a bureaucrat describing how best I should waddle through the maze of your forms, or anyone else attempting to enforce petty personal rules, one thing is certain: I don’t need this. I don’t need to fill out your form 2319-A. I don’t need to put down my video camera in your store. And I definitely do not need to restart the computer that moments ago held my unsaved work.

These needs are your needs. Not mine. I’m not the needy person in this relationship. My needs are simple: for things to work, for people to speak English correctly, and for certain individuals — really, just a handful of them — to fuck off. And those off-fucking people have needs too, I’m sure. I don’t think it would be healthy for me to project my off-fucking needs onto them, when they are so needy already. They don’t need to fuck off and die. I need for them to fuck off and die, and decompose, and be forgotten, and perhaps implode. That’s different.

The correct phrasing therefore is: “Your computer needs you to restart it.”