Articles by: filipp

Terminal Productivity Tips

There’s no doubt that the Command Line Interface can be a powerful way to control any machine. Many also call it fast, which IMHO isn’t always the case. Mundane tasks like changing directories and performing repetitive commands (as opposed to using keyboard shortcuts) and the lack of Undo/Redo can sometimes be anything but quick. Luckily with a few tricks, we can make the whole experience much more enjoyable…

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iftop Installer Package

iftop is a free network bandwidth analyzer. In the words of it’s creators “iftop is for network usage what top is for CPU usage”. It has many useful features including filtering by protocol and network (f) or an arbitrary regex (l) and is now available as a Universal Binary in installer package format. It’s installed into /usr/local/sbin.

The interface is fairly self-explanatory (the 3 columns on the right are transmission statistics for the last 2, 10 and 40 second intervals) but you might want to check the manpage for a complete explanation. You can also press “h” to get a help screen while it’s running.

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Scheduled maintenance on Feb. 4’th

The website will be down for a few hours due to a scheduled software update on Feb. 4'th, starting at around 10 AM UTC. If you have any ideas on specific improvements or noticed any outstanding issues from the previous update, leave them here or email them to filipp at mac dot com.


Update: The upgrade will be postponed to Sunday, Feb. 11'th 10 AM UTC. Sorry for the false alarm. :-/

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Undoing the Undoable

Ever had to change the IP on a server that's without any local supervision, behind who knows how many firewalls, in another country, with only SSH accesss sticking out of it? Wouldn't it be nice if there was a function similar to the Displays preference pane, in which, if the settings turn out to be incorrect, it automatically reverts to the previous working setup? Well, here's one.

Before any critical conf change, I just re-define the current config into an at command:

$ sudo at now + 15 minute
$ changeip - newip oldip newhost oldhost
$ networksetup -setmanual networkport oldipĀ oldnetmask oldrouter
$ Ctrl -D

Then, make your changes. If all does work out, don't forget to disable the safety harness:

$ sudo at -l
$ sudo at -r jobnumber

I used an IP change as an example here, but I'm sure you can think of other scenarios with potentially tragic consequences.

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Forums Maintenance 08.12.2006

Update: The upgrade will be postponed to the 8'th of december.

The forum software will be upgraded to the latest and greatest version on the 8'th. This means forums will be out of service for about 1 hour starting from 10:00 AM UTC.

The new version is expected to improve performance as well as address a few other pending issues.

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Join the AFP548 IRC Channel

If you ever feel the need to chat with your fellow OS X Server enthusiasts in real time, then drop on by the AFP548 "official" IRC channel. The channel name is #afp548 and You'll find it on the FreeNode network (

If you're new to IRC (or haven't used it in years!), then the two popular freeware IRC clients are X-Chat Aqua and Colloquy. The only commands you have to remember are /server and /join #afp548.

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Making the iChat server work with MSN

As many probably already know, the iChat server introduced in 10.4 is based on Jabber and uses the XMPP protocol. This makes it possbible for the server to act not only as a standalone instant messaging server, but also as a gateway between many different protocols.

In this 9 page howto article (450kB PDF), you can find out more about how it all works with specific instructions on making the iChat server work with arguably the most popular IM network, MSN.

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Charting Spam

One of the big features of Tiger Server's mail server was the addition of spam filtering. It was a bit bumpy in the beginning, but once you fix the bayesian filtering things work quite nicely.

A question that always gets asked is, "How much spam am I blocking?" and there are several ways to tell. You can use a number of OSS monitoring solutions, comb the logs, or forward spam to a spam account. Reader filipp has submitted a nice solution to the problem that quickly creates a HTML chart of the spam totals. This way you can just glance at a web page and see how much you are blocking.

Read on for more…

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Make Your Own pidof Utility

It's often required to know the ID number of a certain process. In many *NIX distributions, this is done using the "pidof" utility which OS X lacks. While we have "killall" which is useful for sending signals to processes by name, what if we just need the ID number? To get it, simply add this line to you ~/.bash_profile file:

pidof () { ps -Ac | egrep -i $@ | awk '{print $1}'; }

Then calling "pidof procname" will give you the PID(s) of the processes whose names contain "procname" (ignoring case). You can also use it to quickly check if a process is running.

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