Friday, November 7, 2008 Tutorial

The Mac OS X operating system comes with several key components of an open-source server already installed. Mac OS X (10.4) came with the open-source Apache (1.X), MySQL (version 4.1.14) and PHP (4.X) already installed. They just need to be configured and activated.

The problem with enabling the built-in open-source environment on Mac OS X is that it is not up-to-date, and inevitably one updates a module (say php 5 instead of the default php4 for example), or installs other custom open-source software, only to find on the next Mac OS X Important Securituy Update that the environment has been compromised - either downgraded, obliterated or otherwise fatally modified.

Fortunately there are solutions. The first of these to be offered was the Fink environment, which installs a complete DAMP (Darwin/Apache/MySQL/PHP after LAMP for Linux) environment in its own root directory (/sw/). Apple promises to leave this directory alone with all system software updates, and Fink promises to keep that directory up to date. The drawback with Fink is that it has very few packages available, and the user tends to find a need to either create a package of their own, or install from source code - not a welcome idea when there are so many excellent DAMP packages out there.

The solution preferred and promoted by this website is MacPorts. Apple very wisely based Mac OS X on FreeBSD, which has its own Ports package management system claiming some 17,576 packages available. MacPorts is the migration of FreeBSD Ports to Mac OS X. You will find (nearly) all the packages you need are available, and installation and maintenance of a comprehensive up-to-date DAMP environment is now feasible. is a comprehensive tutorial that guides you through the installation of MacPorts, and its use to install and configure the open-source packages that change the Mac into an industrial-strength open-source server. Included are MacPorts installation and configuration tutorials for any or all of the following open-source components:
... you can use just the applications you want or install the whole open-source plethora.  Also included within is information on how to implement Porticus - a must-have tool for MacPorts users wanting to remain within the Mac OS X graphical user interface.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

PGP Encryption

In these days of communications that are just too easy for unintended people to intercept and divert, I feel it is essential to secure communications with encryption.  I am amazed daily how many people (including good friends that know better) inadvertently share with the public their private files and communications.

Fortunately Pretty Good Privacy (PGP) was originally created by Philip Zimmermann in 1991 as a public-key cryptography system.  You can keep private things private while assuring that you are in fact communicating with who you think you are communicating. These days you can either buy PGP management tools from PGP Corporation or obtain them open-source (for free) from GnuPG (GNU Privacy Guard is the GNU project's complete and free implementation of the OpenPGP standard).  Take a read of the GNU Privacy Handbook.

Implementations of PGP for Windows can be found on GnuPG. Mac GNU Privacy Guard (Mac GPG for short) is, after a fashion, the Mac OS X port of GnuPG. You can install it from Sourceforge here. There are some really useful instructions on how to configure GnuPG for Mac OS X here, including a GUI Key Management tool called GPG Keychain Access, GPGFileTool (used toEncrypt/Sign/Decrypt/Verify with a GUI) and GPGDropThing (Quickly use GnuPG on text via GUI).

You may find a link to my public key both at the header of this blog and also here.

Monday, August 25, 2008

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A selection of sites with the ‘stevenjgarner’ author tag: - Send out FREE bulk HTML emails - or subscribe to Premium services to save your sent emails, and drafts, and create and manage multiple bulk email lists. Great for marketing campaigns, holiday mail, or bulk emailing of any kind. is a FREE online tool for extracting a list of email addresses from any text source. Copy the text you want to extract from, paste it into email extract and click extract. - Lowest price domain names. Register your .com, .net and .org domains. Bulk pricing and private domain name registration options. Web hosting and email accounts available - Hedquist Productions helps you craft compelling marketing stories in the form of radio, music, media sound tracks and audio marketing to engage your clients' imaginations to entertain, educate, train, motivate and sell. is a comprehensive MacPorts tutorial site to transform a Mac into an open-source server.

. . . also a number of personal family web sites such as