How to bypass Mac OS X’s Gatekepeer and run arbitrary programs as a non-admin user

Gatekeeper is Apple’s name for a feature in Mac OS X that prevents a user from opening certain programs based on a few different security preferences. (Under the hood, it’s actually part of Mac OS X’s security assessment policy subsystem, which you can manipulate from the command line with the spctl command if you have […]

HowTo: Make an archival copy of every page, image, video, and audio file on an entire website using wget

I recently announced that my blog archives will no longer be publicly available for long: Let me repeat that: while I am still “on Tumblr” and so on for now, my archives will not remain available for very long. If you find something of mine useful, you will need to make a copy of it […]

HowTo: Download movies, games, books, and other digital media freely and anonymously using BitTorrent with public proxies

Note: This guide assumes you never used BitTorrent before, and that you want to start learning about it with a safety focus from the outset, but it does assume you understand basic computer and Web lingo like “website address” and “downloading.” If you’re new to BitTorrent and don’t care about staying private, then LifeHacker’s “A […]

How to: Securely configure Mac OS X for network packet sniffing with Wireshark

If you’re anything like me, you often run into a computer problem or five that could be diagnosed more quickly by taking a peek at activity on the network. The best general purpose tool for inspecting network activity has gotta be Wireshark. It’s an industry-standard, open source packet sniffer that you can use for fun and profit. But on many Mac OS X builds, the default configuration for packet capturing is less secure than it ought to be. Here’s how to fix that on your Mac.

How to use Tumblr as a web host for a blog you FULLY control, without paying anything

If you’re not a computer nerd, buying web hosting can feel like buying a house. Or, worse, like buying a car. Or, even worse than that, a new computer.

It doesn’t have to be painful. In fact, most people who want a simple blog or website don’t even need to buy web hosting in the first place. And, this is the kicker, if you do end up buying web hosting, sooner or later you’ll realize that you’ve invested your whole identity, or your business, or whatever’s important to you, in a place that you don’t actually have any control over, and can’t easily leave. Backups will become important, but they’re gonna be a massive headache. You may find yourself hitting resource quotas, or your credit card will be charged for hidden and contract “renewal” fees or some such bullshit like that, none of which you were told about when you signed up. And, worst of all, you could find yourself digitally gagged, censored, or even outright banned just because someone else on the same “shared server” you were assigned was behaving badly.

Fuck. That. Shit. And, more to the point, why on God’s green Earth would you pay to be subjected to such bullshit?

With just a little bit of patience, enough computer know-how to understand how to click a few download links and move files from one folder to another, and a willingness to read this post, you can avoid every single one of those frustrating web host experiences, all while ending up with seamless, automatic backups of your entire blog, the ability to legally dodge shitty censorship and corporate contracts alike, and the ability to easily participate in the ever-expanding social media frenzy without spending hours managing all your different accounts manually. And did I mention it’s free?

Read the full post, it’s worth it.

WP-SeedBank plugin: a mini user’s guide

With the recent release of version 0.3 of the WordPress SeedBank plugin, and following PermacultureNews’s feature article about the WP-SeedBank plugin, I’ve been getting a lot of the same questions from people who describe themselves as not very savvy with technology but who would nonetheless like to use the plugin on their WordPress-powered websites. Rather […]

One Minute Mac Tip: Open multiple Tor circuits in the new TorBrowserBundle 3.5 for Mac OS X

Earlier this month, the Tor Project released a new version of the Tor Browser Bundle, an easy-to-use anonymity-enhancing Web browser. In a previous post, I discussed how to use the Tor Browser Bundle (TBB) for other applications on your computer, such as Safari and even Mail.app. This post has updated instructions for doing some of […]

HowTo: Use Rules to Automatically Manage Email in Apple Mail

After recently moving to San Francisco, I joined the San Francisco Freecyclers’ Network. Freecycle is a really cool set of local groups who prefer to give away items to people who want them instead of throwing them away into the trash. The group uses email to connect people who offer items and those who want […]

How To Use Git-SVN as the Only Subversion Client You’ll Need

I’ve been using git as my favorite version control tool for quite a while now. One of its numerous distinguishing features is an optional component called git-svn, which serves as a bi-directional “bridge” that enables native git repositories to interact with a Subversion repository, performing all the normal operations you would need to use svn […]

How To Start Contributing To Open Source Projects

If you’re anything like me, then you’ve been using open source projects for years. You love them, you know them, and you want to help them. But you aren’t the fastest programmer, or the smartest, and you’ve finally gotten to a point in your life where you’re okay that someone, somewhere, is going to be […]