El Capitan mail, Exchange aliases and accounts.plist

osx-iconI decided to take the plunge on Thursday (1st October 2015) and upgrade OS X to version 10.11 El Capitan. By and large I haven’t noticed much difference and it all seemed to go smoothly.

Alas, there seems to be one particular problem that Apple really need to sort out as a priority. If you use an Exchange server via Apple’s mail app you used to be able to go to Library/Mail/V2/MailData and set up an accounts.plist file so that the ‘From‘ dropdown in OS X Mail would give you a list of email aliases to choose from when sending a message.

The upgrade to El Capitan created a Library/Mail/V3/MailData folder but there was no accounts.plist in there and thus no Exchange mail aliases available via the ‘From‘ dropdown in OSX Mail.

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Find files that have recently been modified on a Linux system

techie-iconTo find recently modified files on a Linux system use:

find . -mtime -2 -ls

In the above example the dot says start at the current directory and looks in that and all directories below it. The -2 tells it to search for files modified in the last two days.

Something like this:

find /home/nobby -mtime -4 -ls

would search /home/nobby and all its subdirectories for files modified in the last 4 days.

Why Amazon’s review system stinks

opinion-iconI used to do a lot of reviews on Amazon. I think genuine customer reviews are a great way to gauge how good a product is. Of course it’s probably best not to take too much notice when there are only two or three reviews for a product, but if a product has 20+ reviews you’re starting to get a decent cross-section of opinion and if the review count is 50+ you really do have something to go on.

I still do the occasional review when I feel like it but I’ve seriously curtailed that practice for two reasons, one of which is Amazon’s fault and one of which isn’t.

Let’s deal with the one that isn’t. It’s the unsurprising fact that a lot of people are stupid. This is hardly a revelation but the way it applies to Amazon reviews is that people don’t understand the concept of a review. A lot of people will flag a review as helpful if they agree with it and flag it as unhelpful if they don’t. Such people have entirely missed the point of a review.

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SVN – resolve conflicts

techie-iconI use Versions to manage SVN for me and in general it’s pretty good. One thing it’s poor at though is resolving conflicts. It allegedly has a facility to allow one to resolve conflicts but the ‘Mark as Resolved’ right-click menu option is always greyed out whenever I want to use it, which makes it all fairly pointless.

That means getting down to the command line to sort things out, which means using Terminal on my OS X system. I presume the following works similarly at the Windows DOS prompt but I haven’t tried it and cannot vouch for it.

Anyway, what I do to resolve conflicts is this:

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IPSET for CPanel/WHM and CSF

techie-iconIf you use CSF (ConfigServer Firewall) on a CPanel/WHM system and you block a lot of IP addresses, performance can degrade on your server.

One way to improve performance is to install IPSET and then plug that into CSF.

It’s a simple two-step process:

1. In WHM, go to Software -> Install an RPM, wait for it to load the package list and then scroll down to find ipset. Highlight ipset and then click on the Install button.

2. Go into CSF, click on Firewall Configuration, page down to General Settings, find the LF_IPSET item and set it to 1. Click the Change button at the bottom of the page and then click the Restart CSF+LFD button.

That’s it. If you have a large IP deny list or you’re doing country bans you should find things move a little quicker on your sever now.

Note: IPSET is not yet supported in Virtuzzo containers. According to this bug report it should be available from OpenVZ 3.10+ kernels.

Can’t open /var/log/clamav/freshclam.log in append mode error

techie-iconIf you’re on a CPanel/WHM system and you start getting errors like:

Can’t open /var/log/clamav/freshclam.log in append mode (check permissions!)

… or …

Problem with internal logger (UpdateLogFile = /var/log/clamav/freshclam.log)

… from your cron.daily Anacron jobs (or any other weird sort of messages from the Clam Antivirus checker) it could be because you have two versions of it installed. On a CPanel/WHM system you only really want the version specific to that installed.

What I did to get it working was uninstall all Clam Antivirus stuff and start again, thusly:

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Should we attempt to contact alien civilisations?

science-iconI note that SETI is considering whether or not now might be a good time to actively try to send a message to alien civilisations (https://m.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-31442952).

I have my doubts.

For starters, the radio transmissions we’ve been leaking out into space for the last 100 years or so don’t particularly get us off to a good start. I can’t imagine any alien civilisation thanking us for such nonsense as ‘Keeping Up With The Kardashians’ or ‘What Peter Andre Did Next’. If I was an alien I’d consider that sort of stuff an act of war.

Then there’s the problem of the human race itself. Our technological advances have far outstripped our social and moral advances. We may well have constructed particle accelerators, orbiting telescopes, moon rockets and toasters but we’re still running around killing one another in wars, letting members of our race starve to death and believing in imaginary gods. I just can’t imagine any reasonably advanced alien race thinking we’re ready to join the galactic community. At best they’d probably want to wait until we grow up a bit. At worst they might think we’re a bunch of dangerous no-hopers who need obliterating.

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OmniFocus 2 – what’s missing?

apps-iconI am very fussy it seems. I can never seem to find applications that do exactly what I want them to. There’s always some functionality I want that’s missing. What’s really annoying is that it’s often just a small thing, but it’s missing nevertheless and quite aggravating.

I love productivity apps. I have no idea why because I’m monumentally lazy and not particularly productive, although that’s my fault rather than the fault of any app.

I thusly like OmniFocus 2. I think this is a great little app. I like the project management bits, the perspectives, the contexts and the whole look and feel of the thing. I also like the way it can sync data smoothly between my MacBook, iPhone and iPad.

So what do I think is missing?

I’ll tell you.

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MySQL FIND_IN_SET function

techie-iconThe MySQL FIND_IN_SET function is a cheeky little number. Essentially what it will do is return the position of a value within a set of comma separated values.

The basic syntax is: FIND_IN_SET(str,strlist)

Where str is the value you want to find and strlist is the set of comma separated values.

So, for example FIND_IN_SET(‘3′,’7,2,8,11,3,5,6’) would return 5 because 3 is the 5th entry in the second parameter list. If the string you’re searching for isn’t in the list at all it will return 0.

This is the sort of thing that would be quite handy for a list of blog tags for example.

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BMW M135i Review (2014 Model)

motoring-iconThe time was up for my 2007 Audi RS4. It had been a great car but at nearly eight years old and 70,000 miles it was starting to get a bit more expensive to keep on the road. I got stung for front brakes at the previous service with two sets of pads, two discs and a caliper setting me back over £3,000 at an Audi main dealer. The rear brakes were on their way out too and, although they were not going to be as expensive as the front ones (Audi estimated £1,300), the car had reached a point where I thought it best to move on. My wallet was beginning to grumble under the strain.

Make no mistake, the RS4 is a fantastic performance vehicle. Its ability to chew up miles is phenomenal and it put a smile on my face every time I drove it. I was sad to see it go but between its age, mileage and Audi’s eye-watering charges I’d decided it was time for us to part company.

So I began my research for a new car. I wanted something that was under 3 years old, under 25,000 miles and a bit more economical to run and maintain but still has some exciting performance. I had a few cars in mind: a Golf GTi or R, an Audi S3, a BMW 640d, a Focus ST, a BMW M135i and a BMW 330d to name a few, so I set about testing some of my target cars.

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