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.

Drush on 1and1 Shared Hosting php cgi

I’ve had to search for setting this up so many times I figure I should write my own howto on setting up drush on 1and1 hosting packages. Because 1and1 only has php-cgi and not php-cli we will have to force the drush.php file to behave differently.

NOTE: This only works on 1and1 packages with ssh.

Syncing Keyboard Shortcuts from one iOS to another using ssh (needs jailbreak)

!!DISCLAIMER!! This process could potentially brick your phone if done improperly. Follow these steps at your own risk.

I have created many keyboard shortcuts on my iPhone 4S after learning about the new feature for iOS 5. They make filling out forms and logging into sites so much easier when you can type eml instead of your full email address. You can check out how to setup keyboard shortcuts in iOS at lifehacker or by seaching google for iOS keyboard shortcuts. Many good resources are out there. However the problem that I found myself with was also using my iPad for signing in and other tasks that required filling in forms. I googled around and could not find any methods of copying shortcuts from my iPhone to my iPad other than to restore the iPad from the iPhones backup. Less than an ideal solution. So I have come up with a way that depends on both devices being jailbroken. Since iOS 5.0.1 has recently been jailbroken I downloaded and applied Absinthe on my 4S and redsn0w on my original iPad. I installed openssh on both devices and copied my Keyboard info from one device to the other (remember to change the root and mobile user passwords if you install openssh!)

Here are the full steps I took for getting all my shortcuts assuming both devices are jailbroken:

  • Make an iTunes backup of each device in case something goes wrong!
  • Install openssh on both iOS devices using Cydia (check out the “OpenSSH Access How-To” on the ront page of the Cydia app)
  • ssh in to each device and change the password of root and mobile
  • ssh copy to the device that has all your keyboard shortcuts and copy the contents of /User/Library/Keyboard to your PC or Mac (ie ssh mobile@ ~/Desktop/keyboardshortcuts/)
  • ssh the contents of the /User/Library/Keyboard directory from your Mac or PC to the device you want the keyboard shortcuts copied to (ie ssh ~/Desktop/keyboardshortcuts/* mobile@ the dynamic-text.dat is optional
  • Reboot the device you just copied the Keyboard contents to.
  • Enjoy your awesome keyboard shortcuts!

If you know ssh well you could technically copy from one device to another directly, but I liked the idea of having a backup of all my shortcuts on my Mac.

This is the way I came up with. I would love for Apple to support this feature with iCloud or some other method of keeping them in sync. For now this will do even though it involves jailbreaking. Anyone else have an idea of how to do this differently?

Nerd info:
– I checked the contents of dynamic-text.dat and it doesn’t need to be copied
– The contents of UserDictionary.sqlite is what creates UserDictionaryWordKeyPairs.plist as just copying over UserDictionaryWordKeyPairs.plist does not do the job. I checked with sqlite command line the UserDictionary.sqlite file and it looks to only contain the keyboard shortcut data. Thus I feel this is a safe hack and shouldn’t mess up anything.
– I used mobile user above since the original files were owned by mobile and copied via root could mess up permissions.

My Review of SeV Travel Boxers

Originally submitted at SCOTTEVEST, Inc.

We spent months developing the perfect travel boxers with features no other brand has! Although not intended as shorts or swimwear, they offer enough coverage to be worn as shorts in a pinch (Just be mindful of the open fly!). Pocket for your iPhone� or anything else you desire – fits an iPhone�, D…

Comfortable and free

By Jeremy the Geek from Eden, MD on 1/4/2011


5out of 5

Sizing: Feels true to size

Pros: Well Made, Comfortable, Wrinkle Resistant, Quality Materials

Best Uses: Casual Wear, Wear to School, Date Night/Night Out, Special Occasions, Wear To Work, Travel, Golf

Describe Yourself: Casual Dresser

Comfort vs Style: Comfort Driven

These are probably the most comfortable boxers I have owned. The don’t bunch up, the breath well like cotton and they feel like silk without being clingy. These were one of the best gifts I got for Christmas this year!


Tips on adding PECL uploadprogress to your PHP scripts

I’ve been working on adding PECL Uploadprogress support to the drupal viddler module to give the user a better indication of how long the upload process will take. In this process I ran into a few gotchas that I thought I would pass along.

  • Make sure to have the UPLOAD_IDENTIFIER hidden element before your file input element. Otherwise it won’t be able to find your uploaded file to monitor.
  • Use the example code provided to make sure your uploadprogress extension in php is actually working. Since moving to Snow Leopard which is an 64bit OS the module would load, but not work properly. I had to download the latest version for php and put it in the php extensions folder.
  • If you do anything else after the upload that holds up the form from posting (ie http post to another server) expect the timing for the upload progress to only show the upload to the server’s local disk not the remote call.

I’m sure there were other things I ran into, but these were the major ones. Good luck and happy coding!

His Needs, Her Needs: Building an Affair-Proof Marriage (Review)

I just finished reading, “His Needs, Her Needs: Building an Affair-Proof Marriage” and I must say I’m impressed. While Carla and I are by no means anywhere close to an affair the book does go over how neglecting key needs in a marriage can deduct from ones “Love Bank” and ultimately end up in an unhealthy marriage (or affair).

After introducing the basic idea of the “Love Bank” and going over the 10 basic needs everyone has the book then alternates chapters between a need for him and a need for her. It was fun to read the chapters speaking to the wife (the guys needs) and thinking in my head “yeah that’s the ticket” then only go over how I have some work to do when going over the wife’s needs.

I’d highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to strengthen their marriage. No matter where you fall on the scale from 1-10 you can learn something from this book. When the author has put in so much time and research in marriage counseling you can tell he knows a thing or two about the needs of a healthy marriage.

Vintage Felt Flowers

It’s been awhile since I’ve blogged, but I’d figure I would start up again for no other reason that I feel like it. So for my first one back I’m going to talk about flowers LOL. Not the typical man topic, but I do photography on the side and thought the flowers at this particular wedding where interesting enough to post a quick blog.

I follow Benfield Photography in google reader and he shot this beautiful shot of the bride and brides maid’s flowers. I had to take a closer look and yes they are felt and buttons! So off the wall and interesting I had to send them to my wife who likes to scrapbook and mess around with different types of paper and crafts.

Apparently the flowers where done by Meghan of Princess Lasertron and there are other examples of the felt and button work on her site. Very interesting indeed. I might have had to talk my wife into them if we were getting married. I’m sure I would have gotten shot down though.

Well thanks for checking in to my annual blog post 🙂 Hopefully I’ll have some more interesting things to say before the year ends.

Adding pdftk to 1and1 shared hosting

UPDATE 2010-09-03: I updated a couple links to reflect newer downloads. Because 1and1 shared hosting is on an older debian (etch) system I had to tweak the steps for using lenny based packages. ENJOY!

There are some cases where you might need a powerful pdf toolkit to use with php. 1and1 does not come with any built in pdf processors or pdf libraries built into php. Here is the process I used to integrate phptk into my 1and1 shared hosting account.

Requirements: 1and1 shared plan that has ssh support

– Download pdftk deb file for debian lenny:


– Extract the pdftk deb file:

ar xv pdftk_1.41-3_i386.deb

– Extract the data.tar.gz file:

tar xvzf data.tar.gz

– Download libgcj deb file for debian lenny:


– Extract the libgcj deb file:

ar xv libgcj7-0_4.1.1-20_i386.deb

– Extract the data.tar.gz file:

tar xvzf data.tar.gz

– Download libstdc++ deb file for debian lenny (backport file


– Extract the libstdc++6 deb file:

ar xv libstdc++6_4.3.4-6~bpo50+1_i386.deb

– Extract the data.tar.gz file:

tar xvzf data.tar.gz

– Create a script to link libgcj and libstdc++6 for pdftk (use nano or vi):


LD_LIBRARY_PATH="usr/lib:$LD_LIBRARY_PATH" usr/bin/pdftk $*

– Chmod the pdftk script so it can run:

chmod 755 pdftk

Now you can run pdftk from your main directory and process files from php or cronjobs.

If you run into any problems try running the pdftk command with some test files. If you have any problems please leave a comment. 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:

Adding PECL Uploadprogress to 1&1 shared hosting for Drupal FileField

Drupal 6.x is the platform we use to build great websites. There are modules FileField and ImageField 3.0 that allow the ability to update a progress meter when uploading a file. This requires installing a PECL extension to PHP called uploadprogress. Here is the process I used to get it working on a hosting package. You will need a hosting package with ssh support currently the Business and Developer packages do.

  • Download PECL uploadaccess to your 1&1 account
  • Extract the package
    tar xvzf uploadprogress-1.0.0.tgz
  • Go into the directory
    cd uploadprogress-1.0.0
  • Run phpize5
  • Change php-config to php-config5 in configure script
    sed -i 's/=php-config/=php-config5/g' configure
  • Run Configure
  • Change include directives in Makefile
    sed -i 's#-I/usr/local/include/php#-I/usr/include/php5#g' Makefile
  • Run make and make test
    make test
  • Make new extensions folder for new extension to go in
    mkdir ~/extensions
  • Copy uploadprogress extension to new folder
    cp .libs/ ~/extensions/
  • Create new php.ini under your main folder (or under a single subfolder for just that application) to add new extension_dir then add this code to the file

That should be it. You should now be able to see the “Upload progress Enabled (PECL uploadprogress)” on the admin/reports/status page in Drupal.

Links that helped me with the above info: