Category: tools

Go backup your stuff. Now.

“But I don’t need to backup anything; I keep everything in the cloud/net/whatever.”

You’re doing it wrong.

Yes, we’re all busy, and your idea sounds like an easy solution on the surface. But what happens if you have total system failure?

You’re advocating a

(x) technical ( ) legislative ( ) market-based ( ) vigilante

approach to fighting data loss. Your idea will not work. Here is why it won't work. 
(One or more of the following may apply to your particular idea, and it may have 
other flaws.)

(x) Your operating system will need to be reinstalled
( ) It will take too long
(x) All your system settings, utilities and the like will be lost
(x) It is defenseless against malware
(x) You don't store everything in the cloud
(x) If the cloud provider loses your data, you're SOL
(x) If you lose your account with, you're SOL
( ) Too much reliance on network speed
(x) You get what you pay for
( ) How can you call a lawyer when you're unable to speak?
(x) No/poor version control
( ) You're not that smart
(x) If you don't care, why should anyone else?

Specifically, your plan fails to account for

(x) Cloud provider downtime
(x) Data loss
(x) Time to recover
( ) The NSA
(x) Using open WIFI without a VPN
( ) Unpopularity of weird new services
( ) BitCoin
( ) DogeCoin
(x) Protection by encryption
( ) Cloud client software
( ) Joe jobs and/or identity theft
(x) Technically illiterate politicians
( ) Extreme stupidity on the part of people who pay for 0-day camshots of movies
(x) "If you're not the customer, you're the product"
( ) Bandwidth costs that are unaffected by client filtering
( ) Darknets

and the following philosophical objections may also apply:

(x) Ideas similar to yours are easy to come up with, yet none have ever
been shown practical
( ) Any scheme based on opt-out is unacceptable
( ) The DMCA sucks
(x) Why should we have to trust you and your servers?
( ) Incompatibility with some file management systems
(x) Feel-good measures do nothing to solve the problem
(x) You only really need it when the fan has been hit

Furthermore, this is what I think about you:

(x) Sorry dude, but I don't think it would work.
(x) This is a stupid idea, and you're a stupid person for suggesting it.
( ) You're more extreme than Big Brother


Bulk process RAW image files

Recently I had to convert about 250 RAW image files to PNGs. For neatness, I wanted to convert the upper-case filenames the camera assigned with a lower-case name.

A little bash script-fu is all it took:

# Extract from SD Card
for i in /Volumes/SDCARD/DCIM/100ND40X/DSC_0*; do
 filename=$(basename "$i")
 lower_file="$(echo $filename | tr '[A-Z]' '[a-z]')"
 # verify it doesn't already exist
 echo -e "Processingnt$i tont$newfile"
 if [[ -e $newfile ]]; then
  echo "****SKIPPING"
  convert "$i" "$newfile"

echo -e "Detoxing..."
find . -iname "*.png" -exec detox "{}" ;

echo "Procedure complete."

(“SDCARD”, etc is the path to the source files)

Once the script was up and running, it took about 1/2 hour to process all the files. Meanwhile, I was off doing something else!

How to prevent duplicate directories in your path

Forest PathWhat happens with the Path

The path is set via a myriad of config files. It is very easy to accidentally add the same directory to the path, and there is no built-in mechanism from preventing this situation.

While it has no impact on performance, it does make reading the path more difficult (for example, when trying to see if a particular directory is in the path).

Easy Fix

When you find your path cluttered up with duplicate directories, it is relatively easy to correct this. Simply use pathmunge to add directories instead of the typical

export PATH=/fizz/buzz:$PATH


First, edit your /etc/bashrc (or equivalent) and add the following function:

pathmunge () {
  if ! [[ $PATH =~ (^|:)$1($|:) ]] ; then
    if [ "$2" = "after" ] ; then

Now you can call this function in your ~/.bashrc, ~/.bash_profile, or wherever you need to add a directory to the path. There are two ways to do this.

Insert at the beginning of the path


pathmunge /path/to/dir

is the functional equivalent of

export PATH=/path/to/dir:$PATH

Append to the end of the path

pathmunge /path/to/dir after

is the functional equivalent of

export PATH=$PATH:/path/to/dir

In either case, the directory won’t be added if it already is in the path, preventing duplicates.

Technique credit: Sam Halicke and Christopher Cashell at Serverfault.

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Installing Internet Explorer on Mac

Edit (2014-07-11): Fixed URLs

When you need to develop/design a solution for the majority of corporate users, you will need to test it on Internet Explorer. If you have a Mac, setting this up on your machine is easy.

The original source for this information was OSXDaily. I cleaned it up and added additional information.

Intended Audience

TerminalIf you’re unfamiliar with using the terminal, these instructions will not help you. The point is to allow you to install Internet Explorer on Mac for the purposes of testing and developing web applications and sites. Ideally, you are one of the following:

  • Web Developer
  • Web Designer
  • QA Tester

If you plan on running Internet Explorer for other purposes (such as working with an IE-only site), then this is probably not the best solution for your needs.

Required software

  1. Oracle VirtualBox
  2. curl (from Mac Ports or other)


Be aware, this process can take HOURS to do, may crash in the middle and cause you to start over, take up inordinate amounts of disk space, etc.

Install IE7 Only

curl -s | env IEVMS_VERSIONS="7" bash

Install IE8 Only

curl -s | env IEVMS_VERSIONS="8" bash

Install IE9 Only

curl -s | env IEVMS_VERSIONS="9" bash

Install IE7, 8 and 9

curl -s | bash


Once you have the virtual machines installed, fire them up, set up the Windows instance (install drivers, etc.), then take a snapshot. This is the one you will always use.

When you get a ‘you must activate’ notice, open a Windows cmd line and run

slmgr –rearm

You can rearm two times before it won’t work anymore. At that point, roll back to your snapshot and you can rearm again when you get the message. Obviously, when you roll back to your snapshot all changes will be discarded (that’s the point), so make sure you save any data on your host’s drive.


Q. Where is the command line on my Mac?
A. It is not recommended that you use these instructions; instead try another solution such as Apple Boot Camp.

Q. How do I install/uninstall Oracle Virtual Box?
A. You can try looking for information on the Oracle Virtual Box website or contact the Genius Bar at your local Apple Store for assistance.

Q. Where are the windows snapshots stored?
A. In ~/.ievms/

Q. The download stalls or crashes.
A. If it stalls, check your internet connection; you may have to restart the install. In the event of a crash, examine the error message to determine the cause of the problem.

Q. Can you just install it for me?
A. Sorry, no.