Podcasting What Geeks Really Want To Hear

Monday, March 19, 2007

Yes – Episode 51 is finally up and episode 52 has already been recorded and will be up later this week.

I’d like to thank all of our listeners for being patient – late February and early March were brutal for me. Two photo shoots (still doing editing work!), writing the biggest grant of my life (and doing all the prep work behind showing that the hardware will do what we want it to do) and getting the flu (hey, I work at a university) all took huge chunks out of my time.

Anyways, we’re not dead – I’ve just been super busy. But I’m committed to getting episode 52 out this week as well, so enjoy!

– Nem

posted by Nem W Schlecht at 23:49 in News    
Friday, January 26, 2007

The Google Code MacFuse project has released a new version, along with an sshfs GUI (the main thing being a ‘recent servers’ list. The other release is Spotlight filesystem.

How does this work? Well, the simplest way is to run their SpotlightFS application, which creates the mountpoint, and then you create a directory in that mountpoint for doing a specific search. Their example:

$ mkdir /Volumes/SpotlightFS/Hasselhoff
$ ls -lrt /Volumes/SpotlightFS/Hasselhoff
[… output omitted to avoid embarrassment …]

Basically, it creates a Mac “smart folder”, with the results from Spotlight, instead of just the filesystem.

Also, if you’re big on python, you can try out this blog post on GmailFS for Mac (again, using FUSE).

posted by Nem W Schlecht at 13:00 in News    
Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Following our latest podcast where we mentioned Google’s Mac Blog, I figured I’d give FUSE (Filesystem in User Space) a shot. I downloaded the Mac installable page from here. A couple clicks and a reboot and I’m all set to go.

The Mac package from Google just contains sshfs, but it also contains all the FUSE libraries, so the other interfaces should compile fairly painlessly (I would hope). To mount a filesystem, a user just calls ‘sshfs’ with some mount-like arguments:

mkdir /path/to/mountpoint
sshfs username@somehost:/path/to/dir /path/to/mountpoint

To unmount, you use the OS provided ‘umount’:

umount /path/to/mountpoint

If you’re going for your home directory and have the same username, you can use the usual ‘ssh’ shortcut:

sshfs somehost: /path/to/mountpoint

If you run an ssh-agent and have your authorized_keys file set up on the remote host, it shouldn’t ask you for a password or anything. If not, you’ll get the usual SSH passphrase prompt.

There are a ton of options to sshfs. Half are ssh related, the other half are FUSE related. The only one that’s of practical interest is the ‘-C’ option, to turn on compression. If you like long arguments, you can use “-o compression=true”. This’ll be really helpful if you’re working with text files, but it’ll slow things down if you’re working with images/movies/MP3/etc.

The integration with OS X leaves a bit to be desired. The mount shows up in ‘df’, but the filesystem stats are set to a terabyte, with zero bytes used. The mount doesn’t place nice with the Desktop like other typical mounts, and there’s no integration (yet, I’m hoping) with the Finder “Connect to Server” (Cmd-K) interface. How doesn’t the mount play nice with the Desktop? Well, the mount didn’t show up on the Desktop, but it does if you open it via Finder (enter the command: “open /tmp/testsshfs” in a terminal window). Then it doesn’t go away, even when you unmount it. Later, it did go away when I mounted something new. Weird. Anyways, I wasn’t expecting it to work nice with the Desktop, although you can interact with a mounted volume via the Finder interface, just like any other directory.

I’m still experimenting, but I’ve been brainstorming a few uses:

  • Analyzing web log entries from our remote server on Dreamhost
  • Using the nice Mac Finder icon preview for my digital photos (on my Solaris box)
  • Accessing my large source repository remotely
  • Anything else I need, when I’m going to accessing and moving/copies files around a lot

— Nem



Update: Thursday, January 18th, 2006

There’s a hint today on MacOSXhints about FUSE. Of particular note are the options to the ‘sshfs’ command to get it working nicely with the Desktop (this should be entered on one line):

sshfs username@somehost:/path/to/dir /path/to/mount -o ping_diskarb,volname=SomeName

The ‘ping_diskrab’ command makes OS X recognize that a new volume has been mounted (and puts it on the Desktop). The ‘volname’ command just gives that volume a custom name, other than “FUSE Volume n“.

Works quite nicely nice, actually.

Of note, if you download the Google Code base mentioned here, it does not come with the ‘fusermount’ command. Just use ‘umount’ like I describe here.

posted by Nem W Schlecht at 22:33 in News    
Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Why do geeks have lust for ZFS? (zamwi.com)

Nice blog post that explains some of the “whys” of ZFS. Just how big is a 128-bit filesystem? Well, lets just say we’re not going to run into filesystem limitations anytime soon, since we’d have to convert all the Earth’s oceans into energy in order to store that much data. ZFS Wiki

Here’s the headline rundown:

  • 128-bit filesystem
  • Uses advanced hashing algorithms
  • Supports storage pools
  • Supports intelligent drive mirroring
  • Supports snapshots
  • Is fast!
posted by Nem W Schlecht at 21:33 in News    
Monday, January 1, 2007

Happy New Year, everybody!

2007 looks to be an exciting year, with the release of Microsoft’s Windows Vista, Apple’s Leopard, a ton of ridiculous “iPhone” rumors, net neutrality, more and more Ajax integration into web sites and hopefully, another big year for podcasting.

Thanks to all of our listeners and we hope 2007 is a great year for you!

posted by Nem W Schlecht at 11:11 in News    
Friday, December 15, 2006

MacHeist » Bundle

The Week of the Independent Mac Developer, and in an effort to spread the word about these hidden gems, we’ve put together a collection of some of the best darn software available on the Mac for a steeply discounted $49.

Retail value on this package is just over $350. I bought into it really early on, before NewsFire and TextMate were “unlocked”. I thought it was a great deal then, but I think it’s an awesome deal now. TextMate alone is $50.

What’s also really interesting is the approach that Macheist has been taking to software lately. You may remember them from the “MyDreamApp” competition. This week, they’ve been selling this deeply discounted software bundle and they’re giving 25% of all sales to charity. If nothing else, they’re shaking up the way people think about the products that small developers put out.

posted by Nem W Schlecht at 13:12 in News    
Friday, December 15, 2006

Third Stargate series in development

Prepare to step through the gate all over again! A third television series in the hit Stargate franchise is now in development, GateWorld has learned.

A production source informs GateWorld that the new series is in the concept phase, and is being actively worked on by the Vancouver creatives behind Stargate SG-1 and Stargate Atlantis. No concept for the show has yet been revealed.

Good news! I was pretty upset when I heard Stargate SG-1 was being canceled after so many years, but if the same writers/directors/producers are working on a third ‘gate’ series, it should be a good show. Well, let me take that back, there’s a potential for suckiness, but much less potential than a lot of other shows.

posted by Nem W Schlecht at 13:04 in News    
Thursday, December 14, 2006

eMusic crosses 100M mark – The Digital Music Weblog

Thumbs up to eMusic, who’ve managed to pass the 100 Million download mark (all without DRM!) and congratulations to Michael Brennan, the lucky customer who downloaded that milestone track.

As promised earlier, the Barenaked Ladies will write and record a track all about Michael Brennan, which will then be packaged as a bonus track for the upcoming album, “Barenaked Ladies Are Men.” The track will also be available as a free download for a period in January as part of eMusic’s celebration.

Okay, so they’re nowhere near iTunes’ numbers, but still, not bad at all and there is some proof here that no-DRM music makes sense. If nothing else, Travis should be happy.

I’m very curious as to what a song about a dude who bought a song is going to sound like.

posted by Nem W Schlecht at 12:08 in News    
Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Welcome to the new Geek Muse blog!

We’re done with Simple PHP Blog, although it has served us well over the last year and half. We’re now using WordPress via DreamHost. Things should be much faster and there will hopefully be less blog spam. I’ve moved over a bunch of the old entries; however, comments did not transfer. Speaking of comments, you must now get an account with the Geek Muse blog before you can post comments. It’s fairly painless and will help us keep down on spam.

I’m looking forward to working with the new blog (as I can now use Ecto and other blogging tools) and I hope that our little blog will get a little more use out of us, as well as all of our listeners.

posted by Nem W Schlecht at 14:22 in General,News    
Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Where are the broadband price wars? (Ars Technica)

What is clear is that US broadband isn’t so hot when compared to what’s available in other countries. In Japan, symmetrical 100Mbps connections can be had for under $35 per month, while South Koreans can get fast fiber optic connections for $32. Burstein notes that in France, “twice the speed, 60 channels of TV, and free international calls have settled at about €30, or $40. The French package was closer to $30 when introduced—half the American price without TV, and less than a third of the U.S. ‘triple play’ price.”

I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately.  I just “upgraded” my DSL services from 1.5Mb down/1.0Mb up to 3.0Mb down/640k up.  So far, I’m pretty unhappy.  I’m paying more for something that seems worse (or at least near equal) to me so far.  The thing is, somebody else in my area may be paying the same amount and be getting 7.0Mb down and 900k up.  WTF?  If my line can’t handle that speed they should either charge me less or upgrade my line. I’m most likely going to be giving my provider a call tomorrow!

Even so, I’m not getting anywhere near 100Mbps for my $40+/month.  Something seriously needs to happen in the U.S. to address DSL service.

posted by Nem W Schlecht at 02:35 in News    
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