Tuesday, December 6, 2011

How do I su to root on OSX

So you are tired of typing sudo before ever command and you would like root shell running bash.  In OSX like Ubuntu the password for root is locked and you can not “su” or “sux” to root.  The way you get around this is to first “sudo bash” to get a root bash shell and then “passwd” to set the root password.  Make sure you set a really strong password for root if you are going to go this route.  And if you allow inbound SSH, you should probably change the sshd_config to not allow root to SSH in.  Make users SSH as a non-privileged user first and then su to root. 

Once you have this done you will probably want to set the shell that root uses by default.  Unfortunately you can not just edit /etc/passwd like in Linux.  OSX uses OpenDirectory to store all of this.  What I had to do is reboot/logout and then log back in as root.  You can then use the actual GUI tools (System Preferences ->  Users and Groups -> Control-Click the root user in the list and select advanced options) to change the shell for the root user.   

Monday, December 5, 2011

Taking a screen shot with Mac OSX

With OSX Lion, screens shots can be done a few ways:

Take screen shot of complete desktop and save to desktop
  • Command-Shift-3: Save to desktop
  • Command-Control-Shift-3: Save to clipboard

Take screen shot of a specific window or selection. With this option, if you press space after the key combo below instead of dragging your mouse while pressing the mouse button, it will select the entire window/object that the mouse is currently over. After selecting the entire window with the space bar, you will still need to press the mouse button/left mouse button to take the picture.
  • Command-Shift-4: Save to desktop
  • Command-Control-Shift-4: Save to clipboard

How to make the Mac terminal less painful

So coming from the Linux world, I love my terminal/shell and find it so much easier and faster to do so many things. The problem is, the Mac OSX default settings are really quite painful if you are used to a GNOME or KDE terminal. Here is some pointers to help you out. In the Terminal -> Preferences you can change all of the color and window size settings. You can also specify which terminal theme is to be used by default. One setting that I high recommend you set is the "Use option as meta key" in the Keyboard sub-menu of the Preferences. This will make the Apple Option key work like you would expect.

Another thing I like to do is add/edit the ~/.bash_profile file. This is my .bashrc file from Linux that I have changed to work on OSX.

# ----------------------------------------
# Prompt
# ----------------------------------------
#     \[     Start a sequence of non-printing characters
#     \]     Ends the non-printing characters sequence
#     \e     An ASCII escape character, older systems use \033 (octal)
#     ]0;    xterm new icon name and title (icon name is for AfterStep 
#            Window Maker)
#     ]1;    xterm new icon name only
#     ]2;    xterm escape sequence for the title
#     \a     End xterm escape sequence

#     \h     Hostname
#     \w     Current directory
#     \u     Username

# Foreground Colors
#   Black = 30, Red = 31, Green = 32, Yellow\Orange = 33, Blue = 34
#   Magenta = 35, Cyan = 36, Light Gray\Black = 37, Default = 39
# Background Colors
#   Black = 40, Red = 41, Green = 42, Yellow\Orange = 43, Blue = 44
#   Magenta = 45, Cyan = 46, Light Gray\Black = 47, Default = 49


# ----------------------------------------
# Check to see if we are root.  If so
# change background color to red
# ----------------------------------------
if [ $UID == 0 ]; then

# ----------------------------------------
# Check to see if we have a fancy Xterm if
# not do not display title and window bar
# changes.
# ----------------------------------------
case "$TERM" in
    PS1="\[\e]2;\u@\h:\w\a\]\n[$TIME_COLOR\t$COLOR_END] \h\n[$USERNAME_COLORu$COLOR_END]:\w-> "
    PS1='\h[\u]:\w-> '

export PS1

# enable color support of ls and also add handy aliases
if [ "$TERM" != "dumb" ]; then
alias ls='ls -G'
alias ll='ls -l -a'
#    export CLICOLOR=1
#    export LSCOLORS=ExFxCxDxBxegedabagacad

export PATH=/usr/local/bin:/opt/local/bin:/opt/local/sbin:$PATH

Where can I find my LInux software on my Mac

So you have made the switch from Linux to Mac OSX and you realize that owning a Mac is not just about cool software it is about some of the greatest hardware you will ever use. Things like back-lit keyboards, soft flat keys, and the general touch and feel is not something you can find in the PC world. Oh and the high-res glossy screen is wonderful. Yes, Apple is a furniture company and yes OSX is a prison, but it is the NICEST prison you will ever be in. Another point of full disclosure, I am not an Apple fan boy and I am not pro Apple (as noted that I used Linux as day to day OS for 6 years), I am just anti-Windows.

One of the first questions you will ask yourself after you convert to OSX is where are all of the neat programs and tools we were used to in the Linux world. I never realized how many of them I used on a daily basis and how many of them I took for granted. What I have found is:

1) Not all Linux tools are available natively on OSX
2) There is no native apt-get like solution for OSX
3) Not all tools have a native OSX binary versions that you can download
4) You have to have xcode installed in order to get gcc and glibc to even try building the code form source
5) A lot of source code will not easily compile on OSX and if it does, you find yourself in dependency hell really fast

There are a few solutions that help ease a lot of this pain for us. One is called Homebrew (http://mxcl.github.com/homebrew/) and another is Mac Ports (http://www.macports.org/). I prefer Homebrew as it tries to use the native system as much as possible. Mac Ports is more of a Linux subsystem drop in, in the /opt/local directory. Once you have these packages installed, they will work a lot like apt-get or other package management solutions we are used to in Linux. Example:

> brew search minicom
> brew install minicom

The thing to keep in mind is that Homebrew uses /usr/local and Mac Ports use /opt/local by default. If you use Mac Ports and try to compile something that needs a library you installed by Mac Ports you need to make sure you tell ./configure where to find it. Example:
> ./configure -I /opt/local/includes -L/opt/local/libs

Homebrew and Mac Ports will really help ease a lot of the initial pain as you go looking for your favorite tools.

Converting to Mac OSX from Linux

I recently made the day to day switch from Linux to Mac OSX running Lion. For the most part this transition has been painless, although there is just enough different for a Linux user to scratch his head and say "huh, Apple what were you thinking?". Now for completeness and full disclosure, I made the change from MS Windows to Linux over 6 years ago and only use Windows when I have to and only via VMWare Workstation (http://www.vmware.com), so these posts are not about how to do things from a Windows world because I have not lived in that world for a very long time and I will never go back. It is like once you drive a German car, it is really hard to drive anything else.

I hope you will find these random posts helpful if you are migrating from Linux to Mac OSX.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Puff Pastry

Finished product - cheese
My first real experience with eating puff pastry came years ago while traveling in Europe. One day while going about my business I happened across a quaint little pastry shop that beckoned me in while it stretched forth invisible permanent tentacles ensnarling my senses.

That day changed me and opened my eyes, nose, taste buds, and pallet to a new way of looking at food.  Before that point I had mostly viewed food as just something you ate to keep you from being hungry, not something that should be enjoyed.  This little shop taught me to start enjoying food in new ways. Food should be good, good for you, but it should also look and smell wonderful and have excellent texture. 
Finished product - jam

So how does puff pastry fit in to all of this? Well puff pastry dough is a light and flaky dough that can be used for both pastries as well as main dishes.  This dough gives a depth of complexity to the flavors and pallet that can not be easily replaced. On top of this, you can do amazing dough art with puff pastry.  So why do more people not cook with it?  On the surface it appears to be difficult and complex to make, however, neither is true. The key to puff pastry is technique and a little bit of patience, plain and simple.

You can do a lot of neat artsy things with puff pastry to make your creations beautiful.  This first post is to work through the basics of the dough and I will be building some simple puff pastry turnovers, nothing ornate just simple wonderful things to eat. 

Now before we get started there are a few key things to always remember.  Heat in the form of room temperature or from friction/viscosity (from working with the dough) is EVIL.  Do not get impatient, this will take several short blocks of time and can be spread over the course of a day or two days.  Follow the technique outlined below; if you try to improvise it will fail. If at all possible work your dough on a marble slab as it will help keep the dough cooler.  When working with the dough and butter, you want to minimize the amount of time it is out of the refrigerator therefore move quick and do not let the dough sit idle. 
Ascorbic Acid powder

Ingredients – Dough
  • 180 ml of cold water
  • 300 grams of sifted all-purpose white flour
  • 4 grams of salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon of ascorbic acid powder
  • 170 grams (~1 and ½ sticks) of cold not frozen unsalted butter
  • Sugar-in-the-raw and cinnamon

Ingredients – Egg Wash
  • 1 egg beaten (umbilical cord removed)
  • 10 ml of cold water

Dough out of food processor
- Add 180 ml of cold water, sifted flour, salt, and ascorbic acid powder to your food processor to mix.  Make sure you are using the dough blade and have the food processor set for mixing dough. Do not try to use a stand mixer with a dough hook it will not mix it well enough.

Dough ball
- Mix in the food processor for about 15 seconds or so.  Then scrape the bowl and mix for another 30 seconds or until a nice dough ball is formed. 

- Remove the dough and place on a lightly floured stab of marble and knead by hand until you can form a nice round ball.  Wrap the ball in plastic wrap and place in the back of your refrigerator for 30 minutes

Butter sliced
- Take the 170 grams of butter and cut in half length wise.  Arrange these on a piece of plastic wrap so that they form a rectangle.  Cover the butter with plastic wrap and roll out with a rolling pin (using a push down with a ¼ turn method).  (What you are trying to do here is fuse the thinner pieces of butter back together so that they represent a single piece.)

- Place the butter in the back of the refrigerator for 30 minutes or until nice and firm.

- Take dough ball out of the refrigerator and roll out a cross with a “mound” in the middle.

- Place the butter on top of the mound and then fold up the sides of the dough to cover.

Dough cross with mound
Butter all wrapped up
Wrapping butter

- With your rolling pin, push down and roll to form a nice rectangle.  Fold this in thirds, turn the dough 90 degrees, and push down and roll once again in to a nice rectangle.  Fold it back together in thirds, wrap in plastic and put in the back of your refrigerator for at least one hour.

Rolled and ready to be folded
Dough folded - first turn
What you just did was perform one set of two turns out of the three sets that you need to do.  You will be rolling and folding a total of 6 times before you roll out to cut.  Between each set you need to let the dough rest for at least one hour in the refrigerator.

 - After you are finished with all of your turns, cool the dough one last time for an hour.  Then cut in half, put half back in the refrigerator (wrapped in plastic as always) and then roll out the remaining dough so you can cut it in to the desired shapes, in our case large squares.

- Wet the inside edges of each square with a little bit of water, this will help it stick together once you put the pieces on top of each other.  Place your desired filling in the middle and cover. (If you do not plan on using a filling that just use one square, do not double them up without a filling). Use a fork to press and seal the seam and carefully spear the top with the fork to provide a vent.

Cut and filled
- Place turnovers on a cookie sheet, brush the tops with the egg wash, and dust with some sugar in the raw (Depending on the filling I also like to sprinkle some cinnamon on top of these simple puff pastry turnovers).

- Bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Update records in Salesforce in mass

Recently I was tasked with a side project to clean up some of our data in Salesforce. The first major task I had was to update thousands of Opportunity records. Given that Salesforce will only allow you to update 100 records at a time I needed to find a way around this. Here is a neat trick to make quick automated work of this problem.

For this example I need to copy the data from a field called Invoice to a field called Accounting. I only want to grab Opportunities where there is data in the Invoice field and I only want to update the Accounting field if there is nothing in it yet. Basically I do not want to clobber existing data.

My example will use APEX code and insert and update triggers to repeat the query over and over.

Step 1:
Create a custom object in SF called updateData (this can be called ANYTHING you want). This object should have 1 number (integer) field called “number”. Technically this is not needed, but my code uses this so I can see how many records were updated. Once you have this created, map it to a Tab so you can find it.

Step 2:
Create an APEX trigger. Yes you will need to use APEX code for this and that means you will need to use the Force IDE editor which is basically just a hacked version of Eclipse. You can NOT create, edit, or do anything with APEX without it. Your trigger should look like this:

trigger updateDate on updateData__c (before insert, before update) {

  if (Trigger.isBefore && (Trigger.isInsert || Trigger.isUpdate)) {
    updateData__c[] udata = Trigger.new;

    // Lets grab all of the opportunities that meet our requirements
    // Since we can only update a 100 at a time lets limit our results
    // once again, I only want records where the Invoice field has 
    // something in it and the Accounting field is empty.
    Opportunity[] allOpps = [
      select Id, Name, Accounting__c, Invoice__c
      from Opportunity 
      where Invoice__c <> '' and Accounting__c = ''
      limit 100

    integer count=0;
    for (Opportunity o:allOpps) {
      // Lets first check to make sure the field is empty, 
      // we do not want to clobber any data.
      if (o.Accounting__c == NULL) {
        o.Accounting__c = Invoice__c;
        update o;
    // This just updates the number field with the 
    // number of records that we actually updated
    for (updateData__c d:udata) {
      d.number__c = count;

Step 3:
You will need to create a unit test for this. This unit test just needs to create a single updateData record. So it will look like:

private class Test_updateData {

  static testMethod void myUnitTest() {
    updateData__c uData = new updateData__c();
    uData.number__c = 1;
    insert uData;

Step 4
At this point you can create a new updateData record and press save. It will update 100 Opportunities. If you edit the record and press save, it will update another 100 records. Now if you are like me and you have thousands of records to do, you need to make use of some web browser automation.

Step 5:
Install the iMacros plugin for Firefox.

Step 6:
Record yourself, with iMacros, editing the record that you created in Step 4. When you are done, you can stop the recording and edit the actual script. It should look something like this (I added the wait seconds=5 at the end to just add an extra delay):

URL GOTO=https://xxxxxxx.salesforce.com/yyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy
TAG POS=1 TYPE=INPUT:TEXT FORM=NAME:editPage ATTR=ID:zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz CONTENT=

Step 7:
Now set iMacros to play as a loop for as many times as you need and sit back and watch all of your data get updated. NOTE: you can always use the “sForce Explorer” (a Saleforce QUI SQL tool) to query your data and see how many records you will be needing to touch.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Pineapple Teriyaki Swiss Burgers

Finished Product
This is one of my favorite quick and easy burger recipes. The beautiful thing about these is the fragrance, the presentation, and of course the delicious taste. And no, you do not need to wait for summer to make these. In fact, in a some what cruel and unusual punishment sort of way, I find that the best time to make these is in the middle of January late at night. This way the thermal layers are just right so that the BBQ teriyaki smell gets trapped and the decadent fragrance permeates the entire neighborhood. Talk about messing with the neighbor’s stomachs at 9:00 PM when they are trying to go to bed.

Years upon years ago, I did this for the first time after a late night at work not fully realizing the time. In hind-sight I must have gotten home just after midnight and fired up the grill around 1:00 AM.  By 1:30 AM as I was eating in the quite darkness of the back yard, I noticed kitchen lights flick on in nearly every house in the neighborhood.  Poor things, they were up scouring around their kitchens like little errant mice trying to find something to eat, something to curb their sudden deep thirst for BBQ, without any real knowledge to why they were suddenly so hungry.

Yeah I know it is mean.  But there is something about a nice hot teriyaki burger in the late evening. Now before you get started a few rules of the game.  If you can see through your teriyaki sauce, it is not a sauce but flavored water. If it is not as thick as honey, then it is just flavored water. Now I realize that everyone’s tastes are different, so go hunting for a teriyaki sauce that you like. Try it as a dipping sauce with some chicken or Chinese take out first.  If it is good, then use it else where in your cooking.  Cooking is 30% raw materials, 40% recipe, and 30% technique.  If you do not have good raw ingredients, it will not taste good.

Now one of the readily available commercial sauces I like is the Kikkoman, Terriyaki Sauce from their Takumi Collection.  It has a purplish label and is pretty good, though not wonderful.

Ingredients (2 burgers)

  • 1/2 lb of 80/20 hamburger (no fat, no flavor)
  • 30 ml of Teriyaki sauce (to be mixed in)
  • 30 ml of Teriyaki sauce (to be put on afterwards)
  • 3 grams of Lawry’s seasoned salt
  • 0.5 gram (~1/4 teaspoon) of black pepper
  • 0.5 gram (~1/4 teaspoon) of garlic powder
  • 2 pineapple rings
  • 2 pieces of baby Swiss cheese
  • 2 Kaiser rolls or hamburger buns


- Knead hamburger, Teriyaki sauce, Lawry’s seasoned salt, black pepper, and garlic together and form in to two patties.

- Barbeque your burgers to your normal desired internal temperature, though I would suggest a nice “medium” that is hot throughout but with a nice slightly pink middle.

- Right before the burgers are done, place a pineapple ring on top of each burger and fill the center of ring with an additional 15 ml of Teriyaki sauce.

- Cover the pineapple with a piece of baby Swiss cheese and let it melt down and seal the pineapple ring to the burger

- Place the Kaiser rolls or hamburger buns on the grill for a few seconds to toast and then serve.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Honey Wheat Bread

Finished product
I love to eat good bread and recently I have discovered that I actually enjoy making it too. This all started with a falling out I had with my old standby, Grandma Sycamore’s. I used to love Grandma Sycamore's, both their white and their honey wheat.  However, in the past year or so, the quality of the bread has gone down and like so many things the price has gone up by nearly double.

Given this I started my quest to find a good alternative, something that I could start making, and make a hundred or so times to get just right.  I started combing through my baking text books (who knew you could spend nearly 50 pages discussing flour), reading baking blogs, and reading recipes at my favorite recipe site, allrecipes.com. I finally found on allrecipes.com a recipe that looked like it might be a good place for me to start. Obviously I would need to adjust it and tweak to my liking and make adjustments for high altitude.  What I have come up with is the following, enjoy. NOTE: I have tried this in both my 6 quart stand mixer and my 16 cup food processor and have found that it works best in the stand mixer.  Also my stand mixer says to never go above speed 2 for mixing dough.  If yours is different you will need to adjust.

Ingredients – Yeast Start
  • 120 ml warm water
  • 6 grams of white sugar
  • 12 grams of active dry yeast

Ingredients – Bread
  • 1 can (12 fl oz) of evaporated milk
  • 60 ml water
  • 60 ml of honey
  • 60 ml of shortening (Crisco)
  • 12 grams of salt
  • 300 grams of whole wheat flour
  • 500 grams of white bread flour


- Combine the 120 ml of warm water and sugar in small bowl and mix until sugar is dissolved.

- Add yeast and let stand for 10-15 minutes, or until it is foamy 

- Once the yeast is nearly done, start on the bread mixture

    Yeast just added
    Yeast is ready

    Direction – Bread

    - Melt the shortening in your microwave (less than 60 seconds)

    - Combine 60 ml of water, honey, evaporated milk, melted shortening, salt, and the whole wheat flour in your stand mixer bowl (6 quart)

    - Using the paddle blade, mix this on speed 2 for 30 seconds.

    - Scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl and add the yeast mixture and mix for 30 more seconds on speed 2, once again with the paddle blade.  You should have a mixture that resembles pancake batter consistency.

    - Take the paddle blade off and put the dough hook on

    - Let the mixture rest at room temperature for 10-15 minutes.

    - Add 300 grams of the 500 grams of white bread flour and knead for 1 minute 30 seconds on speed 2

    Dough just about done
    - Continue kneading and add 1 heaping tablespoon of the remaining 200 grams of flour every 5 seconds or so until it is all mixed in.  In this step you will knead for about 4 minutes 30 seconds or for a total of 6 minutes with the dough hook.  NOTE:  If you add the remaining 200 grams of flour to quickly it will make a mess. 

    - Remove the dough from the mixer and place on a lightly floured (white bread flour) table.  Lightly knead by hand (folding out side to center and turning method) for 30 seconds and then make in to a dough ball, spinning the dough in your hands to seal the bottom. 

    Rolled out dough
    - Place dough ball in to a large buttered bowl and lightly cover with plastic warp (do not seal it closed) and set aside in a warm place to rise.  It can take an hour or two or three to rise.

    - Once the dough has visibly doubled, remove from bowl and place on lightly floured table (white bread flour) and cut in half or thirds depending on pan size (see below in cooking time section, large pans cut in half, medium sized pans cut in thirds).  Separate the halves and roll out to the width of your bread pans. 

    Start of second rise
    - Roll the dough in to a log and place in a buttered bread pan with the seam side down.  Lightly cover with plastic wrap and let rise again (the second rise).  This rise usually takes less time. (At this point you could wrap the dough log in plastic wrap and freeze instead of putting it in to the bread pan for the second rise.  If you do this you can then treat it like any other frozen bread dough at a later time)

    Out of the oven
    - Once the dough has visibly doubled and filled the pan you can remove the plastic cover, cut the top, and bake it.

    - Bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes for a large pan (5.5 inch x 9.5 inch x 2.5 inch pan) or 22 minutes for a medium pan (4.5 inch x 8.5 inch x 2.5 inch). I prefer and recommend the large pans.

    - When time is up, remove immediately from pan and place on a cooling rack to cool.  After an hour or so you can put the bread in a bread bag to store. 

      Wednesday, January 19, 2011

      Life is to short to eat crappy food!

      A friend of mine once told me "life is to short to eat crappy food", and I must say I completely agree with him.  I am constantly amazed at how often we as society eat things that are just down right disgusting.  We make attempts to justify the crap we eat and make ourselves feel better by saying it was cheap or it was fast or...?  But it does not matter, it is still crappy food and often not very good for us.

      I wonder, are we as society just apathetic when it comes to what we eat, have we been socialized in to thinking certain foods are good or good for us, or are we just down right lazy and unwilling to either make or eat things that are good?  My guess is that it is a mix of the three.  From my research the general decline in food and the acceptance of crappy food started with the commercial brain washing of the 1950, 60s and 70s.  Do you remember when margarine came with a packet of nuclear yellow dye?  It was sold to us that this was the way of the future.  I also loved the push for "TV Dinners" that were definitely a ploy to get us to spend more time out of the kitchen and in front of the television watching mindless entertainment and making ourselves fat.  When you honestly think about it, none of these prepackaged food back then were good and they surely were not good for us. But we as society were hoodwinked by marketing and the commercialization of "the future" to start eating crappy food.

      Today, I believe that too many people have forgotten or never learned how to cook.  Basic kitchen and cooking techniques are not being learned in the home.  Most recipes, if you can call them that, call for a can of this or a box of that as the main ingredient.  Just as we need to refocus on the family and fix that basic building block, we need to fix what it is we eat and serve in our homes.  People need to really consider what it is they are eating. 

      Over the years I have developed a love of eating and in turn cooking, baking and candy making.  Through this blog I hope to share with you some of my successes and failures I have with the places I eat at and the things I make.  I also hope I can convince you of a simple fact that it is not hard or expensive to eat and cook good food.

      Please note, I am not a tree hugging soil munching druid so I will shop at stores other than Whole Foods (though I love Whole Foods), and yes, I will eat meat with the best of them.  I also have one general snobby rule in my kitchen, it states that if the recipe calls for a can of Campbells anything to be mixed in, that recipe is forthwith given a burning at the stake that would make the Salem witch hunts jealous.

      I hope you enjoy my random posts and find my recipes fun to make.  Please feel free to comment on the recipes with your variations.  Just so you know, all of my recipes are tailored for an elevation of ~1370 meters (4500 feet) above sea level and for a very low humidity climate.  I only use a natural gas range and the oven is NON convection so if your oven is electric, convection, or both, your baking times will be different.