The deadline is approaching – on 30 June 2012 Apple is closing down the MobileMe service, including any webpages you have published at homepage.mac.com.

Below are listed the steps I’ve figured out to allow you to move your whole homepage.mac.com website to another server and have it continue working as it has until now with the same designs and themes. This follows on from an earlier post  – http://lisaandroger.com/2010/11/fixing-your-mac-homepage-sites/ describing how to keep them working after Apple made the Pictures folder go away. Hopefully the following steps are in time to help someone else:

  1. Open your iDisk folder on your Mac. This will help you plan what needs to be done.

    iDisk Folder Contents

    Contents of iDisk Folder

  2. Continue reading »
 

A bit over a month ago, Apple’s MobileMe users were sent this message

Letter From Apple

The letter from Apple that announced the "death" of our current .Mac HomePage pages

that said in effect “despite what we told you, and what you’re paying $99 a year for, we’re going to stop fully supporting your old .Mac HomePage web sites on 8 November” – in particular images, movies and files that were shared on the site would no longer be displayed.

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Preamble

The arrival of Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard meant the end of support for AppleTalk (see my previous article on some other aspects of Upgrading to Mac OS X 10.6 “Snow Leopard”), and so the ability to print from computers running Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard directly to printers that used AppleTalk. In my case, for many years I have been using my HP LaserJet 4MP (it’s now into its 17th year!!!!) connected to an AsanteTalk box so that the printer could be seen on our home network by any/all computers on the network.

But after I installed Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard on my MacBook, that computer could no longer print to the LaserJet. The workaround was to set up another computer (my FileMaker Server eMac) running Mac OS X 10.4.11 (or one running Mac OS X 10.5.x would have worked too) to share the LaserJet 4MP using Printer Sharing.

But eventually as I upgraded our other computers to Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard this wasn’t going to continue working. So after some digging around online I learned that using an HP JetDirect Print Server should allow me to keep the trusty LaserJet 4MP, and get to use the 3 spare $100+ toner cartridges I have on hand for it.

HP JetDirect 300x Print Server

I purchased an HP JetDirect 300x Print Server on Ebay – not for the $250 that the HP page says they cost, but for $5 plus $8 postage to me. For that I got the print server, and a short parallel printer cable. I didn’t get a power supply with it, so fortunately in the collection of about 100 various power bricks I’ve accumulated over the years I had one that had the right connector on it (see below).

HP JetDirect 300x Front View

Front of JetDirect 300x shows the two indicator lights "Status" and "Activity" and the "Test" button between the 2 lights.

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I decided recently to upgrade the storage in my Mac Pro. Currently it had 3 hard drives in it

  • 320 GB – the one that came with the computer. This is little changed from when I got the computer as I immediately added a 500 GB and 750 GB to the machine as soon as I got it
  • 750 GB – this is my startup volume, and has all the applications and documents on it. 90 GB free. It contained 1,803,033 files using 608.5 GB (653,331,116,032 Bytes).
  • 1000 GB – this is my Time Machine volume, and has Time Machine backups going back 16 months to October 2008. 135 GB free. It contained 16,765,985 files using 787.6 GB (845,667,311,616 Bytes).

So for the upgrade – the plan was to add a 2 TB drive into the last empty drive bay in the Mac Pro to become the Time Machine volume, then clone the 750 GB drive to the 1000 GB drive, then use the 750 GB drive as a network backup volume perhaps.

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I had occasion recently to try and figure out how to use the Firewall built into Mac OS X to prevent a very bad mannered “bot” from hitting one of my sites – at times at the rate of 10 hits per second, and 2 seconds later another 8-10 hits!!! So I needed to be able to block certain IP numbers, or ranges of IP numbers. Mac OS X comes with the FreeBSD firewall programme called IPFW. This is a very powerful feature that can be accessed from Terminal.

Some Googling later I came up with several helpful sites that got me up and running with this.

First, using the Apache server logs identify the IP number, or range of IP numbers you want to block. I used TextWrangler to open the log file and do some preliminary editing, and then imported that into FileMaker Pro to get only the log lines applicable to PiplBot (BAD ROBOT!!!!). Over the course of about 5 hours it used 84 different IP numbers as it hit away at one of my sites over 19,000 times.

So once I had a list of these numbers, I was able to break them down into a number of shorter lists that had the first 2 or 3 octets of the IP number the same. With this done, this site http://www.mikero.com/misc/ipcalc/ provides a VERY handy calculator that will take the starting and ending IP numbers in a range, and convert it to a range in the CIDR notation (very technical explanation here) which takes a range of numbers like

67.228.42.161, 67.228.42.162, 67.228.42.169, 67.228.42.174

which potentially covers 14 different numbers and converts it to 67.228.42.160/28 which represents 16 numbers without the need to list them all out. And simlarly the range from 208.43.23.227 to 208.43.33.238 covers 2,572 addresses, and is represented by 208.43.0.0/18 – a range of 16,384 addresses.

So, armed with this knowledge and ability, I’m now able to understand the instructions on this page http://www.dancatts.com/articles/dealing-with-bad-bots-at-the-firewall-level.php and this page http://www.ibiblio.org/macsupport/ipfw/ which in their simplest form are saying that you can use Terminal with this instruction

sudo /sbin/ipfw add 02010 deny ip from 67.228.42.160/28 to any in

to add a block into the Firewall for the range of numbers 67.228.42.160/28. You can see the current status of your ipfw with this Terminal command

sudo /sbin/ipfw list

which will return a list in this form

02010 deny ip from 74.86.25.192/28 to any in
02020 deny ip from 67.228.42.160/27 to any in
02030 deny ip from 74.86.0.0/16 to any in
02040 deny ip from 75.126.0.0/16 to any in
02050 deny ip from 174.36.22.0/24 to any in
65535 allow ip from any to any

Changes made by Terminal only last as long as your Macintosh is running – they are not saved to be used on a Restart unless you write a startup script to do this. This site http://www.ibiblio.org/macsupport/ipfw/ provide details on this, including a number of sample scripts, but frankly this was way over my head, so I turned to MacUpdate to see if there was an application that would do this via a GUI (Graphical User Interface). I found several, and settled on WaterRoof by Hany El Imam. This allows you to define the rules you want to implement, and then takes care of creating the script that will activate these rules each time your Macintosh is started up.

WaterRoof Screen Shot

WaterRoof Screen Shot

This seems much easier to deal with 🙂

So for now PiplBot is banned, even though they seem to be honouring their statement that they would remove all of my sites from their list of sites to crawl.

I hope this helps someone else – I’ve written it partly to help me remember what I did, but also to help others.

 

After waiting almost patiently most of yesterday (Friday 28 August) I received my copy of “Snow Leopard” about 4:45 PM.

Being the cautious type I knew that I would first upgrade the MacBook, and see what out of PHP, MySQL and Apache didn’t work afterward before embarking on upgrading my Mac Pro which does full time duty as a webserver for a number of domains that use PHP and MySQL.

The install of Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard went about as easily as advertised, and an hour after starting the MacBook was back running again. There was a notice that I had some now unsupported applications, but I didn’t see a list of them. I tried to open Parallels and was told that it wouldn’t work with Mac OS X 10.6 – I had Parallels 3. But no worries – I have VMWare Fusion 2 and that works, so upgrade the Parallels Virtual Machine to work with VMWare Fusion and delete Parallels.

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