New Discount Bus Service to New York City With WiFi

November 4, 2007 at 1:31 pm

Now there’s an alternative to the Greyhound and Fung Wah bus service between Boston and New York City. Vamoose offers free complimentary WiFi service on the bus!  Limoliner also has WiFi access, but Vamoose is cheaper at $22 one way. They also have guaranteed seating when you call in advance. found via Boston Knows

Since the iPhone still doesn’t let you share it’s EDGE connection with a laptop computer, having WiFi on the bus would be very handy. And even if I were to hack my iPhone share its EDGE connection to get Internet on my Macbook, it would still be much slower than WiFi.

I’ve been meaning to get down to NYC to visit friends, and now I have one more reason to make the trip. I can be connected during the 8-9 hrs spent on the bus!

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Enabling Postfix on MacOSX Tiger

September 22, 2007 at 1:12 pm

I’m doing some testing of a Plone site locally on my Mac, and I want to test the registration process. This requires that I have a mail server such as postfix running on my Mac, listening on port 25. Tiger ships with Postfix but it’s disabled by default. I found these instructions for enabling Postfix, so I can now send emails from this local mail server.

This also comes in handy when you are trying to send email from Mail.app or Thunderbird and the network you are on is blocking traffic to port 25. If you run a local mail server, then you can avoid this problem. But be aware that some anti-spam tools will try to do reverse IP lookup, and if they don’t find a fully qualified domain name for your machine, it’s likely that the message will get flagged as spam.

In this case, you can setup an SSH tunnel over a port that is open, and route your SMTP traffic over the SSH tunnel.

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Apple’s iPhone

January 9, 2007 at 2:49 pm

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I’ve been looking at getting a new mobile phone for the last few months, but all of them seem to be somehow lacking. I was keen on the Nokia E62, but for some reason they crippled this one to not have Wi-Fi, even though the E61 which is sold in Europe and is identical to the E62 except that it has Wi-Fi built-in. Of course, I could buy the unlocked E61 on Amazon but then I have to pay a premium, rather than get the discounted price from Cingular.
Well, today I decided that I live with my aging Sony Ericcson T637, and wait a few more months for the Apple iPhone. Steve Jobs announced it at Macworld, and from looking at the keynote transcript, I have to say that this looks like the most brilliantly designed mobile phone I’ve ever seen. It even appears to have most of the functionality of the Nokia Internet tablet, which I was considering getting for awhile (although not because I needed one, but because it was cool.)

Of course, like the iPod, Apple lust comes at a premium price. The 4GB version is going to cost $499 and the 8GB will be $599. But I figure that it’s worth it to get in one device:

  • music player
  • video player
  • photo browser
  • cell phone
  • web browser
  • camera

Gone are the days of carrying around four devices: iPod, PDA, camera and mobile phone. With the iPhone, you have convergence of these devices with the beautiful Apple design and usability. I want one!

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Authenticity and encryption of email using GnuPG

July 10, 2006 at 3:46 pm

Encrypt mail
On a recent project for a customer, they needed to send me some keys to connect to their company VPN server. Email is not secure by default, and anyone could intercept the keys along the way which could compromise the security of their company intranet.

With the usage of GPG signing and encryption, we can not only verify the sender of the emails, but also encrypt the data so that if it were intercepted, it could not be read. These are the steps I went through to set up GPG with Apple’s Mail.

  1. Installed GNU Privacy Guard
  2. Installed GPG Keychain Access
  3. Launch GPG Keychain Access
  4. Choose to generate a new key – used all the default values
  5. Exported my public key and sent to client as .txt file
  6. Imported public key from client into GPG Keychain Access
  7. Installed GPGMail – plug-in for Apple Mail

For more information about configuring GNUPG for a variety of MacOSX email clients, read this howto: Configuring GNUPG

If you’re using Windows, take a look at GPG4Win (found via Jon Stahl’s blog)

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Windows XP running inside Ubuntu Linux and MacOSX

June 13, 2006 at 12:44 pm

VMWare screenshotI was googling around for a solution to why the fonts on Ubuntu Linux are stretched on my Dell 20″ monitor, and the search words “widescreen fonts stretched ubuntu” brought up this page as the first hit.

Well, J Wynia’s blog post didn’t really solve my problem with the fonts, but it did remind me that VMWare recently made their VMWare Server software available free-of-charge, presumably in response to attention received by the open source Xen virtualization software.Thanks to the free VMWare Player, I had been running Windows XP on my Ubuntu Linux box, but after I recently upgraded to the latest Ubuntu Linux 6.0.6 (codename “Dapper Drake”), the VMWare player stopped working. I decided to try updating to the VMWare Server to see if that would solve the problem.I downloaded the VMWare Server software and installed it using ./vmware-install.pl.

This brought up a series of questions to which I replied the default. When I got to the question:

It wouldn’t accept the default response and said:

I googled for that exact text, and this post to the Ubuntu forums came up which described how one must install the headers for the release of the kernel you have installed. (this probably explained why VMWare Player stopped working when I upgraded – the kernel headers had changed).

I typed uname -r to find out what version headers to get, and then just passed this in to avoid typos.

Then when the question about the C header files came up, I typed in the following:

If you are trying this at home, you would substitute 2.6.15-23-386 for whatever version you have installed (output of the uname -r command).

After this, the install proceeded along and the very last step was to move my virtual machine file into the directory /var/lib/vmware/Virtual Machines.

I fired up the VMWare Server console, loaded my virtual machine and behold, Windows XP running inside my Linux box!

MacOSX solutions – Bootcamp and Parallels

My days running WinXP on Linux may be numbered because on thursday I’m expecting to receive a new Macbook which sports the new Core Duo chip. Using Apple’s Bootcamp software, I can run both MacOSX and Windows natively on the same machine.

However, because it’s a drag to have to reboot, I will probably run Windows in a virtual machine using Parallels. With the Core Duo processor, this will be faster than running it with VMWare on Linux.

Boston Macintosh Users Group

I’m looking forward to the BMac users group meeting tomorrow night because the topic is Windows on Intel Macs. Hopefully learn some tips and tricks, and also try to unload some old Mac gear that I’ve been trying to get rid of. Anyone want an Epson Inkjet printer or a Yamaha CD burner?

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Macbook ships three days early

June 12, 2006 at 9:12 am

Fedex Macbook ShipYay, the Macbook shipped 3 days earlier than expected. This means that I should get it before I leave for San Francisco! Now I need to go find out why the RAM and HD haven’t shipped yet.

To prepare for the upgrade, I’m going to clean up my Powerbook 17″ HD and figure out what apps I really need to install on the Macbook. Expect a short list to be posted within the next couple days.

Update: while the Macbook is shipping earlier than expected, it appears that it’s still not scheduled to arrive until June 19, one day after i leave for San Francisco. ๐Ÿ™ Anyone know how to request FedEx to reroute an item, or hold an item?

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Macbook on the way

June 9, 2006 at 3:35 pm

Macbook-1Well, after a week of research and drooling, I finally ordered the Macbook 13″ 2.0ghz. I decided to get the Macbook instead of the Pro because I didn’t really see much value in the dedicated graphics chip, illuminated keyboard and expresscard slot.

I ordered it with the stock 512mb RAM and 60GB HD, and I’m planning to upgrade it myself to 2GB and a 100GB 7200 rpm drive. I’ll repurpose the extra 60GB HD as an external drive for backups.

Apple’s upgrade cost of $500 for 2GB of RAM is just ridiculous when I can get it 2GB for $158 shipped from Omni Technologies, recommended by Alexander Limi and on this thread by several persons.

My only complaint is that the new Macbooks only come with Firewire 400, except for the 17″ which has the Firewire 800. After lugging around a Powerbook 17″ for 3 years, I decided my next laptop would be something more lightweight. For doing large sustained writes (such as audio/video capture), the Firewire 800 will definitely give better performance.

I read several articles and forum threads about the differences between a 5400 and 7200 rpm drive, and decided to go with the Seagate Momentus 100GB drive for $209 at Other World Computing. It won the Tech Report Editor’s choice as the best 2.5″ drive when compared with several other drives.

Even though it’s supposedly a bit slower than the Hitachi Travelstar, there were reports of the Travelstar being noisy, while the Seagate Momentus was described as whisper soft.

LaptopLogic did a full review and face off between the Hitachi 7K100 vs. Seagate 7200.1 and another review of a bunch of 2.5″ drives.

The latest shipping estimates from Apple.com report that the Macbook will be shipped on the 15th and arrive on the 20th. I hope it ships earlier than the 15th because I’m heading to San Francisco on the 18th and really would like to get it before I head out of town.

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Mix n’ match hardware and operating systems

January 16, 2006 at 3:36 pm

With Apple’s decision to use Intel chips for the next line of Macintosh computers, the lines are blurring between which hardware can be used to run which operating system.

It’s reported that you will be able to run Windows XP on the new Intel Macs, and OS X can be dual-booted on a Thinkpad.

So now it’s just a matter of which kind of hardware you like, and you’ll be able to run both Windows XP and OSX on the same machine.

I prefer Apple hardware because it’s very high quality, and I admit, I’m a sucker for the design aesthetic.

However, I’m running Ubuntu Linux on a Dell PowerEdge SC430 server and using VMWare to run Windows XP. This way, I don’t need to reboot to switch to the other OS, and it’s fast too.

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