Archive for the ‘Applications’ Category

Flash Drive Showing 200MB on Windows

Well, I have 4GB USB Stick and decided to format as FAT32 using Disk Utility to use this flash disk both on Mac & Windows. Everything works fine on Mac, but not on Windows. When I insert the flash drive on a Windows computer, Windows (XP, Vista..etc) sees the USB Stick as removable media and will not let me open the flash drive to view the contents, it only forces me to format the stick at 200MB only. The stick is already formatted on Mac OS X and working fine on OS X with correct size.
Why ? When you format your flash drive using Disk Utility, it creates a 200 MB protective partition in front of the main partition. OS X ignores this partition and will see the entire flash drive as one partition.
You need to reformat the flash drive using additional tools. There are plenty of them like GParted (Gnome Partition Edior). But if you want a quick solution without any trouble, I recommend you HP USB Disk Storage Format Tool. This small application runs on Windows and all kinds of flash drives. When you format your flash drive using these utilities, you can use your stick on multiple platforms without any problem.

Securely Erase Your Dard Disk

When you format your hard drive, files are usually not erased in any way but are just deleted from the directory listings. Means that your files are still in your hard disk after formatting. This is a big privacy issue if you want to sell your computer (hard disk) to someone who’re not your friend. If you are a Mac OS X or Linux user, you have a chance to securely erase your hard disk. Mac OS X’s “Disk Utility” gives this options when you are formatting your hard drive; secure deletion of free space or disk using a “zero out” data, a 7-pass DOD 5520-22 M standard, or a 35-pass Gutmann algorithm. Most of the Linux distributions also have this Gutmann algorithim for erasing data.
But what if you are using Windows. The free software called DBAN (Darik’s Boot And Nuke), comes to our help. DBAN (Darik’s Boot and Nuke) is a self-contained boot disk that securely wipes the hard disks of most computers. DBAN will automatically and completely delete the contents of any hard disk that it can detect, which makes it an appropriate utility for bulk or emergency data destruction. The usage of DBAN is really so simple. Just burn it to a CD/DVD and reboot your computer.
A few weeks ago, I gave my old iBook to a friend of mine who wants to use this iBook as a router. So I decided to format my Mac. If I had a Mac OS X installation DVD/Cd’s nearby, it would be easy to securely erase my data but I couldn’t find any. I started to search a program and found DBAN, tested and used it. Really great application to securely erase your hard disk.

Installing MySQL on OS X

Unfortunately OS X doesn’t comes with MySQL installed. To create your lamp stack on OS X, first you need to get the MySql database from MySQL AB. Installation is straight forward. But don’t forget to install the Mysql.pref which adds a preferences pane to System preferences for starting and stopping the server.

After installation to test your configuration open up a terminal and type

/usr/local/mysql/bin/mysql -u root

If you get prompt like the following. You got your Mysql database running.

$ /usr/local/mysql/bin/mysql -u root
Welcome to the MySQL monitor.  Commands end with ; or \g.
Your MySQL connection id is 4
Server version: 5.0.51b MySQL Community Server (GPL)

Type 'help;' or '\h' for help. Type '\c' to clear the buffer.


Enabling PHP in Mac OS X

Mac OS X comes with everything a web developer needs. Php, Perl, Ruby, Apache. But they are not activated by default to get your Apache to play nice with default PHP install of OS X. Follow these steps.

Open file called “httpd.conf” which is located under “/private/etc/apache2/” with your favourite editor.


Or, open up a terminal and type,

sudo vim /private/etc/apache2/httpd.conf

Move to line “around 114″ at the end of LoadModule section it should print

#LoadModule php5_module        libexec/apache2/

Remove the # symbol to uncomment that line.

LoadModule php5_module        libexec/apache2/

Now apache knows about your php module. Go to you System Preferences then sharing and turn on web sharing. To test your installation create a file called hello.php with the following code snippet and place it in /Sites/

Print "Hello, World!";

If everything went fine going to in your browser should print Hello, World!.

Defeating Cooperate Firewalls

When you work at a company that won’t let you browse Facebook or any other itchy site. OS X comes with a utility called SSH (secure shell).

With it you can setup a secure encrypted channel between 2 machines and browse anything you want without IT department knowing about it.

What you need is a machine with SSH and a valid user account (Your home Mac ). Fire up a terminal on your work machine and enter.

ssh -ND 9999 -v

This will setup the secure channel between your work machine and home machine. Anything you send to port 9999 on your local machine will be encrypted and forwarded to your home machine, from there it will travel unhindered to its destination.

Effectively by passing any Firewall or blocking rules your IT department migth have.

Now you have your secure channel things will not work magically. You need to set your browser to use the proxy you just setup.

Go to your browsers proxy settings


Preferences -> Advanced -> Proxy -> Change  Settings -> Socks proxy


Preferences -> Advanced -> Network  -> Connection settings -> Socks proxy

Set your proxy ip to and port 9999

You are set now, any thing your IT department will see is garbage going to/from your machine at home and machine at work.

For Firefox users there is a plugin called FoxyProxy which will let you use the proxy only when connecting to blacked list sites. Since proxy is a little bit slower than your local network it will speed up your overall browsing exprience.