Setting up a BJU Harddrive with a Mac using Parallels

appleWe have been homeschooling our oldest for two years now. My wife and I decided on using BJU as the homeschool curriculum which has been great. They have three options for accessing the teaching content: DVD, Harddrive and online. Each progressively getting less expensive. The first year we used the DVDs which were easy to use but they were prone to skipping and we had one that would not even play. When you have multiple lessons on one DVD it can set you back a few days until you can get a new one in. So this past year we decided to save a few dollars and go with the Harddrive option. Only one problem they do not work on a Mac (OSX). Windows only and we only have mac laptops in the house! Well nothing like that ever stopped me. So we made sure to get the unit early in case we had to return it and go to back to the DVDs. I was able to get things working so we could use the BJU Harddrive on a Mac and I wanted to document the process I went through here for others to follow.

  • First you will need a way of running windows on your mac. I used Parallels Desktop but I would imagine you could use VMware Fusion, Virtual Box (free!) or the software built into the mac called Bootcamp. However bootcamp requires you to repartition the harddrive and take dedicated space away from OSX.
  • Next you will need to install a copy of windows. I used Windows 7 64bit but any supported BJU OS will suffice (XP, Vista or 7). Installing is as easy as putting the Windows 7 disc into your computer and selecting the option to install from a disc under Parallels. It does the rest. Easy! (can take a little while to finish depending on your hardware specs)
  • Then you will need to plug in the BJU Harddrive and select that USB ATA Bridge under the Devices->USB menu under Parallels (or equivalent program). You need to tell windows to take over the USB device from the Mac.
  • Now we can install the software as explained in the install instructions (See the getting started guide on the Harddrive page) The drive should show up as E: if you don’t have additional drives plugged into your Mac.
  • That’s it!

You should now have a working BJU grade installed on the desktop all under a virtual windows on your mac. BJU harddrive uses a custom vlc player and portable firefox to access DRM’s files on the harddrive. So if you are used to using vlc player then it will be pretty straight forward.


  • If you plug in and install the software on a 32bit operating system. Such as 32bit XP you will not be able to run it on a 64bit OS and vise versa. However the BJU technical team was more than happy to help me. After I called them I was instructed to email them a file which they converted and sent back. They walked me through the whole process. Just make sure you plan on installing it on the machine it will be used on first. You can however move from 32bit to 32bit machine and 64bit to 64bit machine without incident.
  • The volume on a MacBook Pro can be low and hard to hear some of the lessons. I used the Boom app to increase the Mac’s volume which has worked out really well. It can get very loud now.

If anyone has any questions on any of the steps please feel free to comment or email me. Thanks.

1&1 tightens up Email spam rules

I use 1and1 for my personal and business websites as well as for our clients. We’ve had a client recently that was not receiving emails from one of their colleagues and of course the other company’s IT person said it was our problem. Having been an email administrator for many years I always like to look into the bounced back messages, smtp connection info, email headers, and more to track down a problem. This particular issue was perplexing because there where not many posts on the net about it. When someone was trying to send an email to a domain hosted at 1and1 it sent this error after the RCPT TO line:

421 invalid sender domain, possibly misconfigured

I tested at (which is a great site btw) to get test the error.

So I sent an email to 1and1 support to see if they could help. This was the very speedy response:

The circumstances you have just described is caused by a RFC-non-compliant configuration of the despatcher-domain. The MX-Server
of the domain has no registered A-record, but merely a CNAME-record this is why the e-mail is rejected by our e-mail servers.

You can find some general information about this topic here:

To provide the e-mail delivery as fast as possible again, we kindly advise you to inscribe the target domain of the CNAME-record as MX-record. For further information, please contact the provider of the despatcher-domain.

Looks like the 1and1 is blocking any non RFC compliant domains. In the rfc spec above it says:

10.3. MX and NS records

The domain name used as the value of a NS resource record, or part of
the value of a MX resource record must not be an alias.

Additional section processing does not include CNAME records, let alone the address records that may be associated with the canonical name derived from the alias.

So if you are a DNS admin or setup DNS for clients make sure to have the MX record for your domains be A records (they directly resolve to an ip) not CNAME records. So far I have had to email a couple of hosting companies related to this issue. I applaud 1and1 for locking down their email servers even more to thwart spam, but it would have been nice to have had a link or faq on their site explaining what was going on. Thus the reason for this lengthy blog post.

Some other posts on the web about this issues:

Useful links to test out DNS and MX records:

My Wife Thinks I’m Stealing My Blog Posts!!

My wife likes me

I wrote a blog post yesterday about daylight savings. Check it out if you haven’t read it yet. So my wife reads the posts laughs at a few of the items in the list (especially the spending time with the special someone since she knows I’m referring to her) and then proceeds to ask me (for the second time mind you) if I came up with this list myself! Preposterous I tell you!!! Well I guess I should be flattered since she meant well and it was supposed to be a compliment. So I’ll take it as such, but it was funny that she did it almost twice in a row (She didn’t think I wrote this one either). I love you wife!

High gas prices and the financial crisis? Get cash back!

Wouldn’t it be nice if there was an easy way to get a few extra dollars in your pocket each month to help with high gas prices for your car, truck or suv? Well if you haven’t yet gotten a Discover Card now is the time to do so.

Just this month I have gotten over $60 cash back from just using it for our everyday family purchases (diapers and formula are expensive!)

Now the most important part when getting a cash back credit card is not to spend the cash back! They try and get you to purchase more things which means you spend more money instead of just getting the cash back. Now if those items you purchase are necessary items then by all means go for it, but most of the retailers that they list you could do without.

So if I can’t spend it what do I do with it? Redeem the cash back into your discover account and now you have those extra few dollars for those high gas prices!

You can also get a Discover card called the Open Road card that gives you more cash back for gas and auto purchases than the other Discover cards.

So if you spend money (and who doesn’t) or your a small business owner and want to get a few dollars back for doing what you would do anyway click on one of the links above to get your very own card today.

An Afternoon of Photography: Janell and Caleb

This afternoon was an extended photo session! I was able to take photos of Janell and Caleb all within two hours time. You can see the photos of Caleb on my photography site and pictures of Janell will be coming soon. But I couldn’t help but put together a quick collage of an idea that Janell and I had about shoes.
Janell Shoe Collage

Caleb Sheats

Beach Day and Father’s Day

Yesterday we went to the beach with the kids. The Upper Ferry Rd ferry was running so we were able to go over that. Aliza thought going on the “boat” was neat. We then visited a little beach in Nanticoke, MD down Nanticoke Rd. Its a great beach for other kids as the water is warm and shallow with small waves. By the end Aliza was laying in the wake and jumping all around. Here is a video of the day from my wifes blog:

Today is Father’s Day and it was just as good as yesterday but without the kids. Carla and I left the kids after church with the grandparents, went to lunch, took a nap at home (lol), went to the mall, and stopped for starbucks. ALl in all a great day with the wife. Looking forward to a great week this week.