wanting to fling a Macbook
Wednesday, October 14 2015
Since I would be going into town today, I thought it might be a good day to buy myself the ability to drink alcohol. So I painted a small greyscale-only painting of Celeste the Cat. I would tinker with it later tonight, after which it would look like the image below. [The next day I would tinker a little with the eyes using a small paintbrush; the painting as shown here is 2.5 by 3.75 inches and it was painted entirely with a 7/16ths-inch-wide flat brush and black & white acrylic.]
Before leaving for town, I gathered today's 138 pound load of firewood from that tree I've been cutting up about 80 feet downhill from the north end of the Gullies Trail. The wood is so hard that the saw tends to stall when I'm cutting it.
I'd arranged to meet with my Lightroom-webapp client at Outdated in Uptown Kingston. I was a little late in getting there, partly because parking in Uptown isn't easy in the middle of a workday. When I arrived, my 50-something client was bobbing rudderlessly in a sea of hip Millennials. In such conditions, it's hard to figure out what is and what is not imposing on the personal space of other people, since a lot of the seating is at large tables, though many of the people at those tables are evidently all by themselves. So I claimed a spot next to a female Bard student and across from a skinny young many completely absorbed by his iPad Mini. Today's task was to install the Lightroom-webapp on my client's Macintosh laptop so that he could use it entirely offline. The idea was that he could showcase the app at an upcoming photographers' convention without having to pay $2000 for internet access (yes, believe it or not, that was what the convention would be charging for it).
In theory, installing the webapp should have been easy. All I needed was a local LAMP stack and an FTP server, and then I could duplicate all the services of a distant web server. I'd recently gotten this working just fine on my main Windows machine using WAMP and the FileZilla FTP server. It turns out that Macintoshes have most of a LAMP stack already built into their Unix-derived operating system, and it wasn't long before I had Apache and PHP working (that's the "A" and "P" of "LAMP"). The initial problem was MySQL, which I couldn't find or otherwise get working. So I tried downloading both MAMP (the Macintosh one-stop shop for a LAMP stack) and a MySQL installation. But at that point I ran into another problem. There was so much activity on the Outdated WiFi network that I was only getting download speeds of ten to fifteen kilobytes per second, which is only three or four times faster than a dialup connection. At that rate, even the smaller of the downloads (the 160 megabyte .dmg file for installing MySQL) would take an hour. So I tried a variety of other things, none of which worked. At that point, my client ordered me a vegan tempeh reuben and went off to the bank to deal with his mortgage payment. I scarfed that sandwich down in record time; it was even better than I'd remembered it.
Eventually I told my client he should leave his laptop with me overnight so I could work on it at a more leisurely pace with a better internet connection.
My next task in town was to go shopping at the Hannaford. Gretchen's course of antibiotics is still wreaking havoc on her appetite, and there are still only a few kinds of food she can eat. So at the Hannaford I bought several packages of Annie Chung's sprouted brown sticky rice, three cans of Del Monte Sliced Lite Peaches, and a bottle of Bolthouse Farms Stone Fruit juice. I also bought some of my basic staples: Mr & Mrs T's Spicy Bloody Mary Mix, Naked's Mighty Mango smoothie, a twelve pack of Genesee Cream Ale, a six pack of Lagunitas Little Sumpin' Sumpin' Ale, two jars of generic antacids, a jar of generic ibuprofen, and a box of generic benadryl (diphenhydramine).
I drove home all the way to Hurley Mountain Road via Wynkoop before I realized that I should have gone to the Barnyard to buy cans of cat wetfood, and since it seemed best to maximize Gretchen's alone time, I busted a right onto Hurley Mountain Road and drove out to Route 28 and then over to the Barnyard. Since I was nearby, next I decided to go to the Tibetan Center, which has a big thrift store in its basement (Ray introduced me to it some years ago). I didn't know what I was looking for, but when I saw an old robot toy, I knew I had to have it. It was a SmartLab Recon, which is a sensorless robot that can be programmed using a simple LCD-based UI to execute a series of movements. It looked like it had a powerful tank-tread-style propulsion system that could possibly be used to make a better robot (one with sensors), so the $10 price didn't seem too bad. Also, it was for a good (if utterly doomed) cause.
Back at the house, I worked for the next several hours on that damn Macintosh laptop. Unfortunately, my doofus client had neglected to bring his power adapter, and so I was in a race against the slowly-discharging battery. This particular model of Mac has a long battery life, but I had a lot of work to do, much of it trial and error. Nothing I did could get MySQL working. I kept getting errors about pid files and what not, and Google searches weren't proving helpful. So I abandoned all that and installed a fresh copy of MAMP, which actually seemed to work right away. After that, the only thing I needed to do was get an FTP server working. But FTP is considered a insecure legacy profile, and Apple has made it difficult to get it working in recent versions of OSX. Still, it can be made to work, and I got it to work. Now my only problem was setting up an FTP user and (very important) making it so that user was directed immediately to a specific place in the directory structure. This was because that user would actually be Lightroom itself uploading thumbnails from an image catalog.
I'd been frustrated with the Macintosh all through getting the LAMP stack working, but it was creating an FTP user that really threw me into a rage. To create any user on a Mac, one is expected to use the Users & Groups control panel. I created a user specifically for this one application, making him into a "share only" user. I then tried to configure him to default to the proper place in the directory structure using the Sharing control panel. Everything looked like it should just work, but the Macintosh refused to allow this new user to FTP. Just to confirm that FTP itself was working, I managed to log in just fine using the 50-something client's credentials. Clearly something was wrong with this new user I had made. I tried researching the matter using Google, but all I found was page after page of people duplicating the same basic info about turning on FTP on a Mac, with no information whatsoever about configuring FTP users on a Mac.
After rebooting the computer, I went to the Users & Groups control panel and found that the new user I'd created was no longer listed there. Where had he gone? He was still in the system somewhere, because the Mac wouldn't allow me to create another user with that same name. But there was no way to change his configuration or even delete him. What kind of shitty user interface would allow that to happen? So I was forced to create another user with a different name and change the Lightroom plugin so that it would use that one instead. This time, I was careful not to configure the new user to be "sharing only," and happily I was able to FTP using his credentials. Strangely, there didn't seem to be any way to set the default directory for this new user using anything in the Macintosh GUI. Instead, I had to use a terminal window and nano to edit ftpd.conf and a file named ftpusers. After much pleading with, yelling at, and many urges to fling the computer, I got the Lightroom-webapp working offline. By then I only had 5% of the battery left.
After that, I unwound by watching nearly all of the last game of the WNBA season finals with Gretchen. Minnesota was playing Indiana for the season championship, and both were playing terribly, as though they were badly hungover. But Indiana was playing significantly worse, and were down by over 20 points several times in the third quarter. Spoiler alert, in the end they lost. By the end there, Gretchen, who had been rooting slightly for Indiana (she likes both teams), had set a realistic goal of Indiana only losing by ten points or less. But even that hope was dashed; Indiana lost by 17.
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