It's all about perception...

Apr 132014

First of, a BIG thank you to my friend Luca Ferrarotti who inspired, actively contributed and helped me with this HowTo.

Then, something I wanted to write since a very long time. Other articles in this blog instruct about how to use OS X or iOS to build a native client to site IPSec VPN terminated on McAfee (formerly Stonesoft) Next Generation Firewall. Since I joined Stonesoft many years ago, lots of people enquired me and Support and my SE colleagues about how to build this configuration… here you are. Your voice has been listened!

I wrote this article using McAfee Next Generation Firewall version 5.5.6 and McAfee Security Management Center 5.7.0, while on client side I am on Ubuntu 12.04.4 LTS. Continue reading »

Apr 132014

Hello world of little greeny robots!AndroidBot

Your voice has been listened, therefore I’m posting working instructions about how to make a client-to-site VPN with a McAfee Next Generation Firewall using a Samsung Galaxy S3 running Android version 4.

The firewall configuration is similar to the one used in my previous post about iOS VPN, so you can take the gateway configuration from there as well as the instructions to generate digital certificates.

Concerning the client side configuration, here we go!

Continue reading »

Mar 082014

Tried endlessly for a day with disk utility and did not succeed.

When my good friend Quasidot helped me to find the way, I’ve promised to write it here. And I do 🙂

sudo hdiutil makehybrid -iso -o <nameoftheimage>.iso <path_where_the_files_you_want_in_the_image_are>

The command above will end with an ISO you can mount on pretty much every decent OS.

Mar 082014

apple-bananaQuickly sharing with you all what happened to a good friend of mine, hoping that similar cases will find the solution he applied useful.

It’s out of doubt that OS X has much less issues than its “colleague OSes”, and when it does  the issues are often caused by 3rd party apps…

However there are some considerations which should remain valid, like the one saying that a decent operating system should never allow a 3rd party app to block its basic operations.
And I think and hope that Apple will strengthen OS X over time against these odd situations.

Back to my friend running Mavericks 10.9.2, here’s what he wrote on Facebook:
I rebooted my Mac to clear a small problem. Came up fine. Logged in. It did not go to the expected desktop, but to a *second* login screen. That one won’t accept any password I can think of. Cleared NVRAM, booted to diagnostics, booted to recovery and checked all disk permissions and issues. Everything checks out. Still no love.

Time went by, and some hours later a comforting comment appeared on the post…
It’s all fixed. Seems the latest Dropbox was the culprit. Recovery was pretty straightforward, and I’m right back to my desktop, all settings, data, preferences, etc. intact.

1. Boot Mac with Command-Option-P-R to clear NVRAM.

2. Boot Mac with Command-R to enter Recovery mode; run Disk Utility. Repair Permissions/Repair Disk

3. Reboot with D, run hardware diagnostics

4. Reboot with T, connected via Thunderbolt to iMac and make another backup copy of all personal data; and then

5. Reboot with Command-R again and do a Reinstall OS X. (It’s non-destructive.)

One last reboot to clean it all up, login and get back to work. Right where I left off.

I think sharing these bits is useful, do you agree? Please use comments to let me know your opinions and to add precious knowledge and experience to help apples and bananas to stay always on different trees 😉

Jan 092014

macsingLots of people claim that the Mac can talk… sure, cool, yeah.

But did you know your Mac can sing?

Yes, and with a very simple process.

First, locate your Terminal app, normally hidden among the utilities or in the Other group in the LaunchPad:

The Other Group


Then, in your Terminal, copy and paste the following commands:

say -v Good “da da da da da di du di du di di di du du du di du du di du di du di du di du”

…or if you’re not in a good mood

say -v Bad “da da da da da di du di du di di di du du du di du du di du di du di du di du”

Or, if you’re in your melodic day:

say -v Cellos “da da da da da di du di du di di di du du du di du du di du di du di du di du”

Have fun, with your “sing-a-mac session”.



Dec 312013

tux-tmIt took me quite a lot and quite long time of experimenting before finding the proper way to do this, especially considering that Mavericks is a bit different from the previous felines… and that I was using Debian Squeeze…

I’ve finally been able to achieve it (and testing with file restore also), hence I’ve decided to document here my configuration hoping it will be of some benefit for others.

To be clear: this is a document to build a backup system “à la Time Machine” for your Mac based on Mavericks OS X 10.9.1 using a file share on Debian Linux and AFP protocol.

First of, some statements about false/deviating info I’ve found on other sites:

  • You cannot use AFP with Mavericks, since it defaults to SMB2 ==> not true. I have a working configuration using AFP
  • You can use whatever Debian/Ubuntu version, at worst you just tune your config ==> not true. At least not for me. It all started working when I moved from the previous Squeeze Debian (6.0) to the latest greatest Wheezy (7.0)
  • It’s hard to configure the stuff, requires programming/scripting. Not true. Sure, you need to modify some configuration files on your Linux box… but if you are not able to vi some files, maybe you should think to have another operating system.

As said, please ensure your Debian Linux is at version 7.0 (Wheezy). If not, you should really consider to upgrade. It’s free, well documented, easy and it will save you tons of days and headaches trying to make bits behave 🙂

Continue reading »

Nov 042013

Few months ago I bought a tool which is just… plain… incredible.
It’s a tiny cheap piece of hardware that will unleash your creativity in a way that I never thought possible.
With a funny name: Makey Makey
The original invention comes from a very special place: MIT, Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
It’s hard to describe or even try to give makey makey a classification.
Basically it is a board able to transform anything into a… sort of keyboard!
And mouse clicks.
One video speaks one thousand words: look at my son!

[youtuber youtube=’’]

Warning! Once you own a makey makey you are in a tunnel, full of infinite possibilities!

If you wanna scratch the surface of what’s possible with this, check out this TED talk about it.

Are you a happy owner of a Makey Makey? Share your happiness using the comments of this blog!

Nov 022013

A couple of weeks ago I was at a customer site and saw a marvel of technology: a hard disk drive enclosure. A very special one. ZM-VE400 Drive Enclosure. Few shouts after, I ordered one. And I’m spreading the word spontaneously about this great product.

Of course it is a USB 3.0 HDD enclosure, but what makes it absolutely special is its ability to serve ISO images as… virtual CD/DVD to systems able to boot from USB connected DVD readers.

Useless to say that this precious tool made my life simpler by several magnitude orders 😉

I have installed a 500GB SATA disk, more than enough for the few ISO images I carry around when I visit customer sites. Custom Linux distro, rescue DVDs images, all the way up to DMG images of Mac software.

And when I need one of them, I just recall the image name on the convenient LCD display of the enclosure, press 5 to mount it and… voilà: the Zelman VE400 will behave like I just burnt the DVD fresh 🙂

But the great features of this awesome idea are not over: it can simulate a mighty “dual mode”. That is, mount an ISO (for example, a live Linux DVD) and once the ISO is booted mount the hard disk part of itself to save (again, for example) data from the system you’re not able to boot anymore.

Finally, you can protect your whole data with a PIN and encrypt the content of your hard disk… but be warned: you’d better do it before putting your data, or the operation will erase any existing data to prepare the encrypted hard disk.

Allo in all, so far this nice tool provided me a helping value comparable to several times its approx 60 euros price.




Nov 012013

Despite what it might seems at a first look, this is NOT a complicated thing.

The advantages are enormous… especially if you own a developer account: it would allows you to test the evolution of this awesome OS blended with great benefits of virtualization such as snapshotting.

Whatever is the reason why you wanna install Mavericks on your ESXi box, you’ll find here detailed instructions which have been tested and found working by me 😉

First of all, you need an important piece of software… and no, this software is not illegal, nor it could ruin your precious ESXi 5.1 installation. I’m talking about the mighty Unlocker for VMware by Donk, available from InsanelyMac (free registration).

This is a bunch of bytes which will enable your ESXi to boot a valid Mavericks image.

Continue reading »

Oct 302013

I’ve been struggling with VirtualBox 3.0 since I’ve upgraded my MacBook Pro to Mavericks one week ago.

The problem was that launching the software and Virtual Machines led to kernel errors like “Kernel Driver not loaded” and “Failed to load VMMR0.r0”

Googling leads to VirtualBox Forums and Apple Support Community posts stating to reinstall VirtualBox on top of existing installation, but this fixes the issue only temporarily since at reboot the issue will be still there.

Likewise, dragdropping VirtualBox to the Trash Bin and reinstalling seems not to help.

Even using the uninstal tool provided with VirtualBox does not seem to help.



The final trick is to modify the Mavericks security settings (Security & Privacy – General tab) for the time needed for the reinstallation, configuring the parameter “Allow apps downloaded from:” to Anywhere as shown below:


Then confirm, proceed to install VirtualBox 3.0 and change back the setting to previous safer configuration.

Once completed, you can enjoy a “reboot-safe, error-free” VirtualBox environment.