Latest posts

iMessage and Google Talk not working on macOS High Sierra (10.13)

I recently upgraded my computer to macOS 10.13 and found that my iMessage (in Messages.app) wasn’t working entirely and that Google Talk in the same app would only receive messages and not send.

Starting with the Google Talk issue, that’s an easy one. Apple has removed “official” support for Google Talk from Messages.app but they’ve clearly left the code in place that allows your old account to login, connect and actually receive messages, but helpfully added a dialog that says “Your message could not be sent. Support for the targeted service Google Talk has ...

Static sites, continuous deployment and HTTPS with Netlify

I’ve been doing a variety of things pertaining to web security in recent weeks and one thing that’s been gnawing at my brain is the fact that my blog could still only use insecure http:// because of GitHub Pages. My blog’s content was using GitHub Pages for its serving and gh-pages really hasn’t been seeing a lot of love - that I know of - since its inception a few years back, especially since the development of concepts like Let’s Encrypt with free SSL certs for the web.

I felt I probably should have taken a more ...

Creating a macOS Recovery Partition without reinstalling OSX or re-running your installer

Restoring from a Time Machine backup - at least for me - won’t furnish you with a Recovery partition. This is bad news because the only official way of getting a recovery partition is to reinstall macOS. This seems a little counter-intuitive because isn’t the point of backing up your computer so you don’t have to reinstall your OS? Anyway, let’s get to creating your recovery partition without a reinstall or without 3rd party tools. It’s easier than you think!

Note that this process worked for me on macOS Sierra (10.12). I give no warranties that ...

Tips for the USA: Car Rental, Navigation and SIM Cards

I’ve travelled to the USA a few times over the past years and typically start the trip from California. The United States is a big country with that comes complexity and a lot to learn as a visitor. This short guide covers a few key things that an Australian in the States needs to know. If you’re from another country, it’ll probably help you too but just keep in mind that things are geared to Australians.

All info is correct at the time of writing. Also, it goes without saying that all information is offered without any ...

Adding a Vim modeline in a Markdown document

A short tip: Markdown doesn’t have any form of official or non-printable markup in its language definition (that I could ascertain) so adding a Vim modeline into a document needs a little bit of massaging. You could include the modeline inside a HTML comment, but the better option that I found was to do this at the end of the document:

[modeline]: # ( vim: set fenc=utf-8 spell spl=en: )

This uses the link label syntax to establish a link called modeline, point that at the URL of #, and then use the title of that fake link to set our ...

Configuring L2TP over IPSec VPN for iOS on Billion 7800DOX Router

This will almost certainly be my last Billion router. They have awful support and refuse to respond to simple questions about failing hardware, but for now, I’m persevering with the Billion 7800VDOX modem/router because that’s what I have.

The O series of routers comes with a VPN server built in (either PPTP or L2TP), but since PPTP is inherently insecure now, I’m setting up L2TP over IPSec and having this work with my iOS device. I’d managed to find a PDF provided by Billion about this a while back, but could no longer find it ...

Configuring rEFInd boot manager as your startup disk on a Mac

So I’ve installed Ubuntu on the metal of my MacBook Pro Retina (13 inch, if you must know) and in order to dual-boot the machine, I use the rEFInd Boot Manager.

It works really well and was simple to configure, but I found that after upgrading to Yosemite (10.10), Mac OS X became the default boot OS, whereas rEFInd was booting by default originally.

Originally, this was fine, I dealt with just holding the Option key down during boot to bring up the Startup Manager and selecting EFI Boot in order to get into Linux. I wasn’t ...

Project ‘Green’ House #2: LED replacement lighting for straight T5 tubes

In my previous post, I talked about replacing the various circular fluorescent tubes in my house over to LEDs. In this post, I’ll cover the replacement of short, straight T5 fluorescent tubes and discuss the interesting results I had in this space.

Before - T5 tube present After - LED board replacement

In my house, I have a total of just two of these T5 tubes, both positioned above the sinks in my respective bathrooms. They’re positioned inside a housing that essentially acts as recessed lighting, reflecting light from the tube out in all directions.

Replacement lights

  • 2 x 16W straight LED panels: Cost $10.00 US each ...

Project ‘Green’ House #1: LED replacement lighting for circular fluorescent tubes

This is the first in a series of ways I’m looking to reduce my environmental impact at home, and save a significant amount of money at the same time. Over the course of my Project ‘Green’ House posts, I aim to look at extremely cost-effective ways of reducing your carbon footprint, improving your power bill, and generally making life easier at home. Feel free to adopt any of my ideas for your own uses - I’d love to hear if this has helped you.

This first post is about my aim to replace all the lights in my house ...

Project ‘Green’ House #1: LED replacement lighting for round CFLs

This is the first in a series of ways I’m looking to reduce my environmental impact at home, and save a significant amount of money at the same time. Over the course of my Project ‘Green’ House posts, I aim to look at extremely cost-effective ways of reducing your carbon footprint, improving your power bill, and generally making life easier at home. Feel free to adopt any of my ideas for your own uses - I’d love to hear if this has helped you.

This first post is about my aim to replace all the lights in my house ...