Category Archives: mac

>Upgrading to Mac OS-X 10.5 "Leopard"


Last night I upgraded to Leopard. I was a little frightened, because you know, things don’t always go as planned. Especially if you consider that I use my MacBook Pro for music production, in addition to software development in two languages (java and ruby).

So how did it go?

I opted for an “Upgrade” option because the thought of re-installing 200Gb of Native Instruments plug-ins and sample libraries was not very appealing as you might imagine. NI web site suggested not to upgrade until they verify all applications by December, but I decided to bite the bullet and go for it anyway. Someone’s gotta do it 🙂

So far – I must admit, I haven’t seen a single hitch. Upgrade took about an hour (even though Installer at first reported it will take 4!!), and things seem to be running smoothly.

Here’s a list of applications I have verified to work on my system:

  • Eclipse IDE, Aptana IDE, IntelliJ IDEA (7.0.1 and 6.0.5), TextMate
  • Fetch, PostgreSQL, Resin 3
  • ruby 1.8.6 (my previous installation in /usr/local/ruby-1.8.6), ruby 1.8.6 (installed with Leopard in /usr/bin/ruby)
  • Photoshop CS, Acrobat Reader, Omni Graffle, MS Office 2004
  • Audium, Twitterific, iChat
  • Firefox, Safari (obviously), Opera
  • QuickTime, iPhoto, iPhotoLibrary, AddresBook, Toast 8
  • Logic Pro 7, Live Lite 6, Reason 3.0.5
  • Native Instruments Komplete 4 (Kontakt, Reaktor, Absynth, FM8)

My hardware:

  • MacBook Pro (Intel) 2.4Ghz with 2Gb of RAM

I’ll add more to the list as I am going through and discovering things, but so far I am pretty pleased with how smooth this upgrade was.

What was your experience – especially if you did an upgrade?

Update, November 10th 2007

I’ve been using Leopard since the upgrade, everything is running smoothly, even my Native Instruments and Waves plugins. All of my Logic projects opened up as they did before. Yay!

I love the Stacks feature, which actually is a really nice way to unclutter your Desktop. I’ve been long waiting for a clean way to access folders efficiently from the Dock, and this totally hits the bill. I drag folders containing other folders, and it turns into a nice little menu.

Spaces seems cool, but I never remember to use it. Maybe once I get used to it…


Posted by on October 31, 2007 in mac, Technology


>Mac OS-X tips: How to run SSHD on an alternative port


This tip falls into one of those “I had to spend more than 10 minutes looking for an answer” category, so it’s a worthwhile subject for a quick blog post.

Why Run SSH?

Running SSH on Mac OS-X allows you to login to your machine remotely, and also copy file securely via SCP command to and from your Mac OS-X host.

But I am behind my own $50 router/firewall. Can I still connect to my computer from outiside?

Yes. Most off the shelf routers and firewalls will allow you to do two things that are needed for this:

  1. Assign a permanent IP address to your Mac on a local network (see your router documentation for more details)
  2. Create a port forwarding rule on your router. Eg – any request to port 22 on your external IP (provided by your router) can be routed to the specific IP address of your Mac. Exact specifics on this configuration are once again available in your router documentation. Most off the shelf routers support this, including basic Netgear and D-Link.

So let’s assume you’ve set this whole thing up and you are now able to connect from outside to port 22 of your external IP address on your firewall, which is then routed to your Mac port 22. This is great, since now you copy files via SCP from the internet to your computer, connect to it from your work office, etc, etc.

But why would you want to run SSH on alternative port, and not 22?

Simple answer is that port 22 is probably the most obvious port to “probe” from outside. Hackers typically run automated port scans of publicly visible IP addresses, but running it for all 64K ports takes a long time, so typically those scans are just for a small subset of ports. Port 22 is a clear indication of a server system which makes it a likely candidate for an attack. Turn of port 22 and to the outside world your system appears a lot more boring. Boring is good. So I still want to use my SSH connection, but would rather not do it on the default port. More expensive firewalls and routers will allow you to route eg. port 33333 from the outside to port 22 on the inside. But none of the cheap off-the-shelf routers I’ve seen allow you to do that. They just take input port, and destination IP which means the outside port and inside port must be the same. That’s a silly limitation and a small bummer. So to make this work with my cheap a$$ router I have to change the listening port on my Mac. Frankly, this isn’t a bad idea either, since whenever you connect your laptop to a public wi-fi network anyone can directly connect to your Mac and probe the open ports. So keeping port 22 open on your Mac is not that great of an idea. So. In order to change the port on Mac OS-X for your SSH daemon, follow the following steps:

  1. Open Terminal and as edit the file /etc/services (as root)
  2. Add a line at the bottom: secret-ssh 43539/tcp # secret SSH port
  3. Edit file /System/Library/LaunchDaemons/ssh.plist and replace the code:
    <key>SockServiceName </key>
    <string>ssh </string>


    <key>SockServiceName </key>
    <string>secret-ssh </string>
  4. Change your port forwarding configuration on your firewall to route port 43539 instead
  5. Open “Sharing” control panel and ensure that “Remote Login” is checked off (if not uncheck it). Then check it again to start with the new configuration.

Now you should be able to run SSH command to your external IP as follows: ssh -p 43539 ip_address_of_your_server -l username To copy files from remote hosts to your Mac desktop, run the following command:

scp -P 43539 local_file.txt username@ip_address_of_your_server:~/Desktop

Note that “scp” command requires an upper case “P”, while regular “ssh” wants a lower case “p” to declare remote server’s port. That’s it, hope it helps! 🙂


Posted by on August 27, 2007 in mac, Technology


>New laptop and it’s a showoff: G5 vs Intel

>As I left my most recent permanent job for a private gig, I had to get myself my own new laptop. Of course the machine had to be a Mac, but which one? A laptop? Desktop? I decided on laptop since it’s so much more portable and I do contracting. But then – 17″ or 15″ and what specs, and should I shell out for a brand new model, or get the older one cheaper?

To cut the long story short I went for the top of the line, most recently upgraded model of 17″ MacBook Pro, with 2.4Ghz Intel Core Duo processor, 7200RPM 160Gb drive, 2Gb of RAM and a hi-resolution 1920×1200 screen. This machine on Apple store costs $3800 (with tax and apple care), but I managed to save more than a third by buying it from a dude on Craigslist.

My first impression – wow! The screen is so incredible, there are so many pixels that a window dragged when onto my older SyncMaster 23″ screen looks twice as large! That’s because 23″ screen has only 1600×1200 resolution, but the laptop packs 1920×1200 in a 17″ screen. Even upgrading to 1920 pixel wide screen would still not be adequate since each pixel would be larger than on a macbook. Gotta get used to this zooming effect 🙂

That minor inconvenience aside, I decided to run some basic tests on my older PowerMac Dual 2Hgz G5, with 1.5Gb of RAM and thought it’d be fun to share it here:

Test #1: Compile ruby interpreter from scratch:

  • 17″ MacBook Pro 2.4Ghz Intel Core Duo:
    real    1m3.398s
    user    0m45.229s
    sys     0m15.373s
  • PowerMac Dual 2Ghz G5:
    real    2m0.422s
    user    1m28.266s
    sys     0m29.412s

I’ll add more tests as I run them, but to see an almost 2x difference between 2 year old PowerMac and a new MacBook is simply amazing. Can’t wait to start using the laptop for music!

Meanwhile, PowerMac is available for sale for $1000 🙂


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Posted by on July 2, 2007 in mac, Technology