Open a port in OSX Mavericks’ Firewall

Saturday 2014-05-10

FirewallThe new firewall in Mavericks is great. For the common user. For a developer, not so much. If you are a Java developer like me, and you just need to open one port (say, 8080) so that the web application you’re working on is accessable from another computer, you can’t. I disabled the Firewall altogether for a few days, but it didn’t feel right.

I googled around and to make a long story short, here’s how to open port 8080 on any interface to any application on your OSX Mavericks installation in 3 steps:

sudo vim /etc/pf.conf

Then add the following lines at the end of the file:

# Open port 8080 for TCP on all interfaces
pass in proto tcp from any to any port 8080

Test (and, according to the documentation, load) your edits with:

sudo pfctl -vnf /etc/pf.conf

Reboot.

(I have found at least 5 pieces of voodoo to make the Firewall restart and reload, but none of them seemed to work reliably, so pardon the reboot)

You can close it by commenting out the lines in pf.conf and reboot again. If anybody knows of an easier way to do this, preferably in one terminal command, and without rebooting, let me know.

Hope this helps.


There’s life without Google. Or iCloud. Or Facebook.

Saturday 2014-03-08

Threema, the secure Whatsapp alternativeRegular readers of this blog already know that I am not using dropbox, and I was an Evernote user, but recently decided it became to dangerous and replaced it with my own scripts. I had an interesting discussion on Twitter which made me decide to show you how I run my digital life without the help of Google, Facebook, Dropbox, Whatsapp or iCloud, and still be able to have all the functionality these services offer.

The search was hard and sometimes I need to reconsider some of the choices, but the last few years the selection of products was very stable and the setup has worked flawlessly. Searching for a secure replacement for Whatsapp or Google? It’s in here.
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iOS7 hidden features

Saturday 2013-09-28

ios-7-logoIf you’ve just installed iOS7 and like it as much as I do, you are probably interested in all the new features of it, and where to find them. On behalf of Apple, I’ll be happy to point out where all those neat new features are, and share my happiness about this wonderful new magical market-leading mobile OS.

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How big is 5 Zettabyte?

Sunday 2013-06-23

Spy vs SpySince the interview of Edward Snowden with the Guardian, the discussion about privacy and companies storing and sharing unencrypted private data is picking up. Particularly Americans are worried about what it does for their National security and their private data. But that’s actually a naive thought, given the NSA stores worldwide data.

In a recent coverage on theblaze.com (a rather tabloid-looking news station in the U.S.), the interviewers are shocked to see that the NSA spies on “every American”.

This is a limited view of the world and failing to see the importance of spying on people outside the U.S., but lets start with technical side of things first. What data are they storing and how big is their hard-disk?

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Open letter to Keith Lang about Skitch

Thursday 2013-01-03

Skitch 1.0.2Dear Keith,

I read your letter about Skitch and would like to respond to all that has happened from my end-user perspective.

I am a long-time Evernote user and fan. Evernote changed note taking by being truly searchable. I can confidently drop all the websites, receipts, todos and ideas in there, and clear my mind of the “I must remember that” burden. The OCR of Evernote works beautifully on photos of whiteboards, making even my whiteboard notes searchable.

In 2010, I discovered Skitch. The simplicity and razor sharp focus on anotating a screencapture and share the anotated image by dragging it anywhere was sheer brilliance. My daily work includes making annotated screenhots and mailing them to team members to discuss improvements. Skitch changed this ugly capture-save-edit-save-attach-send cycle to pure poetry in motion. Dragging images into Evernote even made my screenshots searchable. It instantly became second nature and my go-to image tool.

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Make your buildserver talk

Sunday 2012-12-16

Jenkins talkingHave you ever started a shell script which takes a while and you keep monitoring that window because you really need those results? If you are working on a Mac, you can use the Mac’s power of speech to tell you a command is finished. Here’s how:

./yourreallyslowbuild.sh; say "really long build is finished"

With a little curl and shell scripting magic, I told my Mac to constantly monitor our Jenkins buildserver, and bug everybody in the office when the hourly build is failing:

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Why developers are never on time

Thursday 2012-06-28

If you have worked in IT as long as I do, you probably have noticed that developers have a tendency to not be on time. They are late for meetings, late for lunch, and on other days they are in at 6am or (and) they work until 3am the next morning. If you ever wondered why this is, I might have some answers for you.

You might also find this post interesting if you are trying to figure out why you can’t get your time zones working in MySQL.

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