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Tue, Feb 26, 2019 9:28 pm

Monitoring directory changes with fswatch on OS X/macOS

If you want to monitor file changes in a directory on an Apple OS X/macOS system, one way to do so is using fswatch, a cross-platform file change monitor. The utility will allow you to monitor which files in the directory have been changed, though it doesn't report on the particular changes made to the content of the files. You can track the addition and deletion of files or whether files in the monitored directory are modified. On a Mac OS X system, you can install the software using the Homebrew package management system - see Installing Homebrew on Mac OS X for instructions on installing the software. Once Homebrew is installed, you can install fswatch using the command brew install fswatch in a Terminal window, which provides a command-line interface (CLI). The program will be installed in /usr/local/bin. Once it is installed, you can view help information by typing fswatch -h at a Terminal window shell prompt.

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Fri, Jul 27, 2018 11:07 pm

Determining if the system is connected to a VPN from the command line under OS X

I connect to a work Virtual Private Network (VPN) from home using a MacBook Pro laptop running OS X El Capitan (10.11.6) and was curious if there was a way that I could determine whether the system was connected to the VPN or disconnected from a VPN using a command-line interface (CLI), i.e., a Terminal window, other than by checking the IP address that external systems see for the system, e.g., by visiting At How can I tell if OS X is connected to a VPN network from the command line?, I found someone suggesting using the scutil command scutil --nc list and piping the output to the grep command looking for the word "Connected", i.e., scutil --nc list | grep Connected. However, that didn't work when I attempted to discern whether the laptop was connected to the VPN via that method, since the scutil command always produced the following output whether or not the system was connected to the VPN:

$ scutil --nc list 
Available network connection services in the current set (*=enabled):

However, I was able to determine if the system was connected to the VPN by using the method listed in the post by the person who posed the question. I.e., I could use the ifconfig command and count the number of occurences of "utun0," since the count was zero if the system was not connected to the VPN and one if it was connected to the VPN. E.g., if the system was not connected to the VPN, I would see the following output.

$ ifconfig | grep utun0
$ ifconfig | grep -c utun0 

When the system was connected to the VPN, I would see the following output:

$ ifconfig | grep utun0
utun0: flags=8051<UP,POINTOPOINT,RUNNING,MULTICAST> mtu 1400
$ ifconfig | grep -c utun0

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Wed, Jun 13, 2018 11:21 pm

Screen goes black with only mouse pointer visible on MacBook Pro laptop

I've been experiencing an intermittent issue on my MacBook Pro laptop, which is running OS X El Capitan, where I find a black screen with only the mouse pointer visible after I return to it from being away from it for some time. I can move the pointer by moving my finger about on the touchpad, but I get no visible response to hitting any keys. I've tried hitting lots of different key combinations to try to get the desktop to reappear or at least get a login prompt, but none have worked. If I had music playing through the headphones from iTunes , I can hear it still playing if I put the headphones back on, but when I hit any key or keys I simply hear a "bonk" sound and see no response from the system. Initially, when I encountered the problem the only way I could gain access to the system again was to reboot, which might lead to a loss of unsaved work. I have found, though, that if I simply close the lid of the laptop as I might if I wanted to put it to sleep, wait about a minute, then reopen the lid and hit a key that most of the times I've tried that, instead of rebooting, when the problem has occurred, that I could get a login prompt allowing me to log back into the system with everything apparently running as it was before I encountered the problem.

[/os/os-x] permanent link

Thu, May 24, 2018 11:10 pm

Using sox to record audio on OS X

I wanted to record a talk this week so I took my MacBook Pro laptop with me to the auditorium where the talk was being held. I normally use the QuickTime Player to record audio in such cases. But this time when I attempted to use the QuickTime Player, it wouldn't actually start recording. The presenters had started talking when I attempted to begin recording their presentation, so I opted to install Sound eXchange (SoX), which provides a command-line interface (CLI) for recording and editing audio on a variety of operating systems, including Microsoft Windows, Linux, and OS X. Since I had previously installed Homebrew on OS X on the system, I opened a Terminal window and used it to install SoX.

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[/os/os-x/audio] permanent link

Thu, May 17, 2018 11:15 pm

Identifying Apple systems on the network

If you need to determine whether a system on the network is an Apple system, there are a number of means you can use to help identify whether the system is, or is at least likely to be, manufactured by Apple. E.g., if the system is on the same local area network (LAN) as a system from which you can ping it, you can check the media access control (MAC) address associated with the IP address you just pinged using the Address Resolution Protocol (ARP), since the first 6 hexadecimal digits of the MAC address can be used to identify the manufacturer of the network interface controller (NIC) in the device pinged. This technique won't work if there is an intervening router between the device from which the ping is sent and the receiving device, though, since the arp address you will see when there are intervening network hops is the one of the first hop device. You can see the number of hops between the source and destination hosts using the traceroute command (tracert is the equivalent command on Microsoft Windows systems). E.g., in the example below, I issued a ping command from a Terminal window on my MacBook Pro laptop running OS X El Capitan (10.11.6). When I then peformed a reverse DNS lookup on the IP address using nslookup, the fully qualified domain name (FQDN) identified the device as an iPad. The FQDN usually won't identify the type of device so clearly, but a check of the MAC address may indicate the device was manufacturered by Apple. You can get the MAC address using the arp command.

$ ping -c 1
PING ( 56 data bytes
64 bytes from icmp_seq=0 ttl=64 time=45.140 ms

--- ping statistics ---
1 packets transmitted, 1 packets received, 0.0% packet loss
round-trip min/avg/max/stddev = 45.140/45.140/45.140/0.000 ms
$ nslookup
Address:	name =

$ arp ( at 78:7b:8a:55:bb:35 on en0 ifscope [ethernet]

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Tue, Feb 27, 2018 11:10 pm

Error message "You don't have permission to access / on this server."

I had been running an Apache webserver under OS X El Capitan on my MacBook Pro laptop. After an upgrade on the laptop, now running OS X El Capitan (10.11.6), when I tried accessing the site via http://localhost, I saw a page with the title "403 Forbidden" and the following text displayed on the page:


You don't have permission to access / on this server.

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[/os/os-x/apache] permanent link

Thu, Feb 22, 2018 11:01 pm

Installing GIMP on OS X

To install the GNU Image Manipulation Program (GIMP) on OS X systems, take the following steps:
  1. Download the GIMP installation file from GIMP - Downloads. The file is an Apple Disk Image .dmg file.
  2. Double-click on the downloaded file to start the installation process.
  3. When the GIMP installation window opens, you will see "" in the window that opens. Click on "" and drag it over into a Finder window with the Applications folder displayed to complete the installation of the GIMP application into that folder.

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Wed, Jan 17, 2018 11:01 pm

Renewing a DHCP lease under OS X

If you wish to renew a Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP) lease on a Mac OS X system, you can do so by clicking on the Apple icon in the upper, left-hand corner of the screen, selecting System Preferences, and then Network , and then the relevant network interface, e.g., Wi-Fi. Then click on the Advanced button and then the TCP/IP tab. You can then click on the Renew DHCP Lease button to have the system attempt to renew its DHCP lease.

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Wed, Oct 25, 2017 10:36 pm

Viewing the fonts used in a PDF document on a Mac OS X system

To view the list of documents contained in a PDF document with Adobe Acrobat Reader DC on a Mac OS X system, with the file open in Acrobat Reader DC, click on File then select Properties and then click on the Fonts tab.

Adobe Acrobat Reader DC fonts list

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Sun, Oct 08, 2017 10:57 pm

Calculating file checksums on an OS X system

If you need to calculate a checksum, aka cryptographic hash value or digital fingerprint, on a Mac OS X system, you can use the md5 command to calculate a MD5 checksum, which is equivalent to the md5sum utility on Linux systems, and the shasum command to calculate Secure Hash Algorithms (SHA). The default value for shasum, if no algorithm is specified, is Secure Hash Algorithm 1 (SHA-1), but you can specify other algorithms, such as Secure Hash Algorithm 2 (SHA-2), e.g. SHA-256, using the -a option. E.g. -a 256 for SHA-256.

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