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Since Playing With Wire switched to WordPress, we’ve had categories. Two months have passed since then and we now have a couple of ideas about how to make our categories work better for you readers.

So today’s we’re introducing these two changes:

Fewer Categories
We want our categories to be like ‘channels’. If you want, you can tune in on our ‘Business channel’ for all the Business related stuff we do. Or you can check out the latest we’ve got on Open Source. But when you thought about it this way the question that immediately came up was: why do we have three channels with unspecified content? We didn’t know either so we’ve taken ‘Other’, ‘Generic’ and ‘Uncategorized’ and combined all of them into a single section: Other.

New How To’s Category
After removing two channels, we decided to go ahead and add one too. Turns out we’ve written quite a few guides about this and that. Now you can read them all by heading over to our How To’s and Guides category. Enjoy!

Introducing YippieMove '09. Easy email transfers. Now open for all destinations.

What is Samba?

For all you new users out there, I just want to let you know that Samba is great piece of Open Source software. It solves many issues for both sysadmins and ordinary users. What it does is to give UNIX users the ability to share files and printers with Windows users. Since Samba is available on most modern platforms, it’s also a great way to share files in a multi-platform environment. Samba can even act PDC (Primary Domain Controller), and BDC (Backup Domain Controller) to handle domain logins from Windows clients. PDCs and BDCs were something that used to required a purchase of a Windows NT or Windows 2000/2003 Server license, but they can now be done fairly simple with Samba under UNIX or Linux.

Now that you know a bit about Samba, lets get started.

Adding a public share to Samba

One of the things I miss as a default feature in OS X is the ability to share folders with Samba. The default configuration of Samba only shares the users’ home directories after authorization. However, since I wanted to share my files with non-Mac users, I simply made some changes to smb.conf (the Samba config-file). After running Samba in various *nix-environment for years, this was a simple modification to do.

First open the Terminal, and type in the following commands:

$ sudo nano /private/etc/smb.conf

Now you’re in a text editor called Nano. A simple, but useful editor. Scroll down to the end of the first part, under the [global] section, and type in the following:

security = share
workgroup = whatever-your-workgroup-is-called
netbios name = Your-computers-name

Note that under Tiger (might be under other versions too), the line “workgroup” already exists. If that is the case, then just replace whatever it was previously set to with your workgroup of choice.

That was the first part. Now you’ve made it possible for everybody to access you public shares.
By default though, Samba isn’t configured to have any public shares. Don’t worry, we’ll take care of that next.

Now it’s time to add the actual sharing to the list of public shares. This is done by adding the following lines to your Samba file. There are different ways to configure a share in Samba, but this is a pretty straight-forward and simple way. At the end of the file, add the following lines (still under the [global] section):

path = /path/to/the/share
public = yes
only guest = yes
writable = no
printable = no


Where [public] can be set to whatever name you want for your share, and the path is equal to the path to
the directory you want to share.

Note that you can add as many shares as you’d like. Also, pay attention to the line that says writable: that line determines whether you clients will be able to write files to your share or not. If you want your share to be writable, you want this to say “writable = yes”.

Make sure that there are no typos, and that everything looks proper. Exit Nano and save changes to the file by pressing “ctrl + x” followed by “y” and Enter.

Now we need to set the proper permission to the shared folder. The simplest way to do this is to just type the following command:

$ chmod -R a+rx /path/to/the/share

Note that if you decided to allow write-access to the share, use the command $ chmod -R a+rwx /path/to/share instead of the above command

To verify that your smb.conf is properly configured, we use a command called ‘testparm’. In the Terminal, type:

$ testparm


Look at the output. If you observe something that doesn’t look right, back up and fix the error in smb.conf.

If everything did work out fine, you’re just one step from getting your share visible. The last step is to fire up samba (or restart it if you already had it running). This is can be done either through the System Preferences, or trough the console. I prefer the latter, and here are the commands:

$ sudo service smbd stop
$ sudo service nmbd stop
$ sudo service smbd start
$ sudo service nmbd start

Connecting to the share(s)

Now you’re supposed to be up and running. The most simple way to test if everything worked is to mount your share locally. Here is how it’s done:

In Finder, go to the menu “Go” and click at “Connect to Server” and type in:


You will most likely be prompted for username and password now, but just hit “ok” without entering anything. Since it’s a public share, anyone is able to access it without authorization.

If everything went well, you will find your share mapped in Finder. Now all Windows machines and *nix-machines should be able to browse your files.

This is the beauty with OS X: you are running a commercial desktop OS, but still have all the benefits that a UNIX-environment brings. Running UNIX-programs (as Samba) is done painlessly.

Since Samba is a part of Mac OS X out-of-the-box, Apple has already done half the work for you. The possibilities are many: theoretically, you could make your Mac act as a PDC and replace an entire Windows NT or Windows 2000/2003 Server. I’m not sure about what modifications Apple has done to the source, but if you compile the source code from scratch yourself, it shouldn’t be too hard. Samba simply gives UNIX-users the ability to share files and printers with Windows users.

Please give us feedback if something didn’t work for you.

For further information about Samba, please visit

If you have the possibility, please donate to the Samba-team. These guys work for free, and contribute with a lovely piece of software to the Open Source-world. However, they are in need of your donations to be able to invest in new hardware needed to improve Samba further.

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Introducing YippieMove '09. Easy email transfers. Now open for all destinations.

The record and movie industry has expressed a lot of concern about copyright infringement lately. In the ideal world, these organizations would argue, anything ever made by any of their members would be forever copyrighted. Since they own this information, or ‘intellectual property’, nobody should be allowed to reproduce it without their explicit permission.

I have to say I agree absolutely. Without this form of protection, there would be no culture at all. Copyright is an essential part of society. What does distress me though is the laissez-faire attitude even these organizations have when it comes to enforcing this fundamental right of artists and creators in the world. While RIAA and MPAA have a lot of opinions they do not seem to walk the walk. In particular, there is a special copyright infringement technique through which perpetrators are virtually unhindered to reproduce materials without paying for this privilege. To any reasonable person it must be obvious that this is an unmaintainable situation. If I write a book, a blog entry, create a piece of music, or design a game, I should be allowed to reap the benefits of the hard work I put into these pursuits. If anyone coming into contact with this information product would be allowed to copy, retain and spread my product, they would be depriving me of a basic right to my own work. They would in fact be stealing my work.

In many cases these organizations do protect us artists. They will prosecute thieves of physical goods; they will sue criminals engaging in blatant copyright infringement online and elsewhere. But for some reason which I cannot fathom, they let one of the most commonly used techniques for copyright infringement today go unpunished.

What I am referring to is of course the theft of intellectual property by people with eyesight.

Without any enforcement whatsoever of applicable laws, these individuals are unhindered to make unlimited copies of any material they come across by using the technology of ‘bio copying’ – also known as ‘remembering things’ in layman terms. Even now as you read this, there are less scrupulous people also reading this very blog entry. And as opposed to you, dear reader, these users are at the same time storing the data for later reproduction using extremely sophisticated neural networking technology. At a later time these ‘pirates’, as they are known, will be able to freely reproduce important concepts, ideas or industrial secrets expressed in this entry.

And to my amazement nobody goes after them. “But it’s too hard to suppress this behavior,” it is argued. This statement holds no water with me. We can lock down computers with Digital Restrictions Management (DRM). We can shut down whole companies for producing software or hardware which enable copyright infringement. We can spend millions of tax payer dollars on hunting down illegal information trading. We can even impose economical sanctions on countries with too liberal copyright laws.

Surely this one problem should then be easy to resolve. A small modification of today’s neural networking systems should suffice; perhaps a little chip in the bio copying devices. The chip would prevent access to Stored Intellectual Property – also sloppily referred to as ‘memories’ – without proper authorization and correct dues paid. If that doesn’t work, we can just go after the producers (colloquially called ‘pregnant women’) of this technology. Strict laws, lawsuits and legal enforcement will stem this crime wave at the root.

Support culture – don’t remember illegally.

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Introducing YippieMove '09. Easy email transfers. Now open for all destinations.

Ever tried to write a web page and make it work in all major browsers?

In this video I make a change to Cuzimatter. Then I test it in Safari, Firefox, Internet Explorer 7 and Internet Explorer 6 in a row. Warning: trying this at home may melt your RAM chips. And your brain.

What’re we looking at?

It’s the fix of a spelling error in our Cuzimatter, which by the way is written using symfony. The software used is TextMate to edit, Virtue Desktop to do virtual desktops, and two instances of Parallels – one running Windows XP and the other running Windows Vista in Coherence mode.

We wrote a slightly negative article about Parallels last week, but we gotta hand it to them. They write some pretty solid virtualization software.

Music is Marooned by Zale. This video is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License.

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Introducing YippieMove '09. Easy email transfers. Now open for all destinations.

Ryan Paul over at Ars Technica wrote a very interesting article today regarding the rumors about whether or not Dell will put Linux on their desktop machines.

We would gladly see more diversification, and less dominance on the PC desktop market, but do we have to sacrifice something from our beloved Linux in order for it to hit the big market? As we all know, the power in Linux lays in the its ability to customize for our needs. But how will this affect the support? In order for a vendor such as Dell to sell a computer, they need to fully be able to support it, both the hardware and the software. Mr. Paul writes that “[f]or Dell to provide cost-effective Linux support for desktop users on a large scale, the company would have to limit its Linux pre-installation to very specific components, limiting user flexibility and ultimately defeating one of the biggest advantages of Linux, which is freedom of choice.”

Mr. Paul points out something very interesting here, that most of us forget since we’re tech-savvy power-users. For us support is most often solved through various online forums (see our article “Support is for old people“). However, for the majority of the PC users, the vendor’s support is where they turn for help.

Gnome, KDE, XFCE, Afterstep…the list of window managers can go on forever, which makes commercial support very expensive. All of these window managers uses their own way to configure things. Even if we just narrow things down to KDE and Gnome, which are the biggest ones, it can still be expensive. Both KDE and Gnome tend to evolve quite rapidly, and different versions behave differently and settings are not necessary located at the same place.

Linux means less support, right? Well, you might argue that “Linux is rock solid” and “things just work.” To some extent this is actually true, once a Linux machine is properly installed (and no new updates are installed), the machine tend to be rock solid. If you take that into the equation, it might actually not be more expensive to support Linux machines, once the initial competence is acquired.

I’d strongly recommend you to read Mr. Paul’s article over at Ars Technica. He brings up some very interesting points that many of us simply never thought of.

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