Archive for the ‘General’ Category

Urban Farming 2008

May 5, 2008

I finally got the garden planted for the year. My wife bought me a copy of the Square Foot Gardening book. Here is a shot of the freshly planted garden.

Nothing fancy, from right to left the front row has two basil, one rosemary and one oregano. There is bell pepper, mint, and a small pickling cucumber in the next row. In the back row is a cherry tomato and better boy tomato. It it weren’t for the awful drought we had last summer our harvest would have been great. I hope this year is a good deal better.


A Walk in the Woods

April 7, 2008

While visiting my grandparents recently, my little family went off for a walk. In the Florida woods you have to be careful of what crosses the road.

“Red touch yellow, kill a fellow; red touch black, friend of Jack.” Yep, that is the bad one. Walk away walk away…

Interesting Crema

February 26, 2008

I have a pound of local roast going right now for my morning espresso. This particular roast is creating a pretty interesting looking crema. Admittedly, I can’t tell you if this is good or bad. It tastes quite good so I guess it isn’t all bad.

Easy AFP Automount on OS X 10.5

February 9, 2008

I have been working on the home network in an effort to attain seamless integration with the Macs. I use a ReadyNAS NV+ with 4x 500GB drives as the network backup/media/storage device. Media sharing is done via a Mac mini to the Xbox 360, Squeezebox and the Mac laptops. When I was running on Tiger I configured automount AFP shares using the NetInfo Manager application. Well, as of the upgrade to Leopard, this application is gone.

I was digging around a bit this morning on how to go about a proper automount under Leopard. I wasn’t interested in any sort of kludgey AppleScript that would be setup as some sort of login or startup item. AppleScript will work of course but it wasn’t good enough, this *is* UNIX right? A couple of queries into Google and I found a great blog article detailing autofs in Leopard. There are lots of different options, but I was primarily concerned with AFP automounts. This is detailed in part two of the referenced article.

Here is what I ended up with and it works great, as of 10.5.1 that is. I dropped the net option as I wanted a more direct way to access the mounts from the Finder. I created /etc/fstab and added the following.

A Gift of Meat

December 13, 2007

The previous owners of our home here in Nashville are session musicians. Specifically, contributing to Reba McEntire’s music. Tis the season, cause FedEx pulled a stealth delivery and left a box from Lobels’ of New York on our front porch today.

The box was clearly labeled as perishable and was addressed to our home’s previous owners. We looked up their new number and left a message re: said gift box. Due to the nature of the contents, I decided to open it up and get the meat in the freezer until such a time as we could arrange for a proper delivery. What do we have here? Two boneless strip steaks, two porterhouse steaks and two filet mignons courtesy of Narvel and Reba. All said around $250 worth of aged steaks which sure beats a holiday ham I think.

What we secretly hope is that we never make the connection and Reba sends us steaks every year. Oh, did I not mentioned this happened last year but we were able to catch the FedEx guy and have them returned? I give them until January 1 to call back, if not I fire up the grill. Happy Holidays right back at you Narvel and Reba!


We met one of the previous owners last night around 10 PM. She was coming home from playing a show and stopped by. It was actually really nice to met her, incredibly nice woman and we chatted for a while about the neighborhood and such. Turns out they did get their steaks last year after FedEx got them to Reba’s office. This is a yearly gift for playing and touring with Reba, quite cool. I mean, if you like steaks, which I do. Apparently one of the other band members had his steaks delivered to his next door neighbor. Before he could go and get them, the neighbor had eaten them. Not really in the spirit of the holidays! I assume that the address confusion will get worked out, but we won’t know until next year.

Grilled Thanksgiving Turkey

December 3, 2007

This year for Thanksgiving I tried a new method of turkey preparation, grilled! I used a simple dry rub that consisted of salt, black pepper, cayenne pepper and sugar. It was grilled over indirect heat for about an hour and forty five minutes. I am not saying it was barbecued since I was using propane and that can be a touchy subject.





I am happy to report it was a rather tasty bird.

I Suck at Espresso

November 20, 2007

Let me clarify, today I got my first home espresso machine so I am a total newbie when it comes to pulling shots. I plan to post some pics of the equipment I picked up in a later post. For now I just wanted to say, one of my worst practice shots was better than 90% of the shots I have had at Starbucks, restaurants, or local coffee shops. I can’t convey how excited I am to be able to perfect pulling shots on my home equipment. I will be taking all my coffee at home now, thanks. is Awesome!

November 19, 2007

I just have to being up how cool SmugMug is, specifically their customer service. I had been a paying customer for two years. Well, while in a state of severe sleep depravation, I decided to cancel my account and either host something myself or move to Flickr. My sleep deprived state was due to the arrival of our first child, so when am I going to have time to work on something hosted locally? After playing around with Flickr some, I found that the feature set at SmugMug is far better. So last night after realizing the error of my ways, I emailed them to ask if they could reinstate my account as it existed before. I fully expected them to direct me to signup again. Much to my pleasure, I got a reply this morning. They restored my account such that I am still listed as a user since 2005 and all my uploaded images are back. It is like I never left. Thanks a lot SmugMug!

Running GlassFish on Mac OS X using launchd

November 6, 2007

I run a Mac Mini as my home server, currently with OS X 10.4. Tonight I dug around and got GlassFish up and running using OS X’s answer to SMF on Solaris, launchd. I am by no means an expert on launchd but I will happily document what worked for me. First off I installed GlassFish v2 to “/usr/local/glassfish” as per the documented instructions.

Once I verified that it all worked, I sought out how to integrate it into launchd. I certainly don’t want it running as root, so I took a look at the available users and groups using the NetInfo Manager application. I found an “appserver” user and associated “appserverusr” group. Seemed a good place to start. I changed the ownership recursively for my install directory to this user and group combination. Once done, I created my launchd plist file and saved it to “/Library/LaunchDaemons/glassfish.plist”.

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<!DOCTYPE plist PUBLIC "-//Apple Computer//DTD PLIST 1.0//EN"
<plist version="1.0">

Similar to SMF you have to load/import the service description. On OS X you use “launchctl load ./glassfish.plist” for this purpose. If all goes well you will have a running instance of GlassFish. If not, you will see rather vague error messaging in the system.log file.

Some drawbacks. It seems that launchd relies on sending a SIGTERM to the process when you attempt to stop it using “launchctl stop com.sun.glassfish”. This doesn’t work for GlassFish. I prefer the ability of SMF to define a appropriate shutdown command. Not a huge deal as I can easily stop GlassFish using asadmin or the admin console when needed. Once the process is stopped you can use “launchctl start com.sun.glassfish” to bring it back up. There is no notion of a restarter if the process dies. I think there is a new KeepAlive element in OS X 10.5 but I haven’t be able to experiment with that version yet. Sounds promising though.

All in all this works pretty well. GlassFish will launch on boot using the recommended subsystem. If anyone has any tips on achieving a tighter integration with launchd let me know.

Extending the Home Wireless Network

September 9, 2007

I recently picked up a Linksys WRT350N to replace my old WRT54G. After getting the new router up and running, my wife noticed a problem with her Powerbook. It would no longer pick up a strong wireless signal in the sun room. I had hoped the new unit would provide increased range throughout the house but this doesn’t seem to be the case.

I decided to put the old WRT54G back into service and set it up in the sun room as a WDS participant. I flashed both of the units with DD-WRT v24 RC2 and more or less followed this guide. So far it is working great. My wife’s Powerbook went from essentially no signal to four bars. The other benefit is that I can now get my Squeezebox back on the network. Since mine is an older model, it doesn’t support WPA which I am now using for wireless security. The WRT54G is parked right next to the Squeezebox so I am able to connect it wired and get music back in the sun room.