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Frustratingly, it seems when you sign up for HBO Now on the Apple TV, it just associates it with your iTunes account, and that’s it. No email confirmation. No password to sign in to HBO Now on other iOS devices or on the web.

I appears the best answer is to sign up on your iOS device first, but if you’ve already signed up on the Apple TV, here’s the workaround:

  1. Log into your iTunes account on your Mac or PC.
  2. Go to Account > View Account. You will be asked for your iTunes password again.hbonow-01-itunes-account
  3. Scroll down to the Settings section. You will see Subscriptions: on the left, and on the right side next to that, click Manage.hbonow-02-settings
  4. If you have many subscriptions, you might need to scroll down. Next to HBO Now, select Edit.hbonow-03-subscriptions
  5. Under Automatic Renewal select Off and then click Done. You may need to confirm in another dialog box, because iTunes really wants you to be sure.hbonow-04-edit-subscription
  6. Download the HBO Now app for your iOS device (iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch) that uses the same iTunes account for purchases as your Apple TV. At the launch screen, select Start Your Free Trail With iTunes,hbonow-05-ios-trial then register with an email address and password. It seems that it doesn’t need to be the same email you use for iTunes, as the purchase goes through iTunes, so it’s automatically linked to the same iTunes account.
  7. Repeat steps 1–4, but then this time you won’t see Automatic Renewal in the Edit page, but Renewal Options. Click the button to Subscribe, and it will ask you to confirm. Once you do, the Automatic Renewal option will reappear, with On already selected.hbonow-08-auto-renew
  8. Enjoy HBO Now on all of your devices! If you want to log in to hbonow.com, use the email and password that you entered in step 6. Assuming both your iOS device and your Apple TV use the same iTunes account, it does not seem necessary to log out of HBO Now on your Apple TV.hbonow-07-start-watching

Some steps came via this Apple Support Communities post.

When we moved out to Seattle two years ago, we knew that earthquakes might be a thing we’d have to worry about, but it hadn’t really sunk in how real of a danger that might be. A recent New Yorker article got my office buzzing about the possibility of a Really Big One occurring on the Cascadia fault, which runs right under Seattle. So, for my own edification, here are some facts, and what we can do to prepare:

The original New Yorker piece

  • The Really Big One” by Kathryn Schulz — a dramatic look at what could happen, if (apparently) a bit hyperbolic

Some facts

  • We are earthquake experts. Ask us anything about The Really Big One coming for the Pacific Northwest. (AMA) — with questions answered by John Vidale, director of the Pacific Northwest Seismic Network, Debbie Goetz of Seattle’s Emergency Management Office, and Sandi Doughton, science writer at The Seattle Times and author of Full Rip 9.0: The Next Big Earthquake in the Pacific Northwest
  • Cascadia’s recurrence interval — the average time between subduction-zone earthquakes — is 243 years. We are currently 315 years since the last major Cascadia earthquake (M9.0) at 9pm, January 26, 1700.1
  • “Overdue” seems a bit of a fear-mongering word to use here. The pressure in the fault is still slowly building, but thanks to how complex the probabilities are, that could mean any number of things. The current thinking is, “For the M9 [earthquake] along the coast, the best estimate is 10 to 15% chance per 50 years, or 1 in 300 each year.2
  • There is also a chance that when “the big one” happens, only part of the fault will slip at first, increasing chances that there will be another major earthquake soon after to relieve pressure on the rest of the fault,3 in addition to expected aftershocks.
  • The shaking will be much more devastating to Seattle than any risk of tsunami related to this event. “The tsunami won’t really be a factor in Seattle or Puget Sound. By the time the swell gets here, it will be pretty small.4” In my neighborhood specifically, “You might see a little coastal swell in Ballard, but the tsunami will not be a major factor there.5
  • There is an early warning system in testing, and John Vidale (and a neighbor of mine that works for him) said testers have it on their phones right now.6 However, it needs more work to be tuned to our region’s specific seismic activity so it doesn’t give false alarms to the public.7
  • Sandi Doughton says, “I live here, and I personally wouldn’t advise anyone to stay away from this beautiful region because of earthquake risks. Some things you might consider […], make emergency kits for home, work and car, and a plan for contacting family members (designate an out of state contact everyone can check in with). My philosophy is be prepared, not paranoid – and enjoy the spectacular landscape provided to us by tectonic forces.8
  • The Seattle Times has an article with more links, and the first chapter excerpted from the Full Rip 9.0 book

Preparedness

  • Make It Through (local) and Ready.gov (national) have information on making an evacuation plan, a communications plan, and lists for what should be in your disaster kit.
  • While preparing a kit with 3 days of food/water/etc. is the usual recommendation, Debbie Goetz said in the AMA, “We recommend people prepare themselves for 7 to 10 days vs. three. For a major quake, life won’t be back to ‘normal’ after just three days. I’ve got enough at home to make it through a week, and also keep a stash of stuff in my car as well as at work. Beyond supplies, I always encourage people to talk about their plans — especially around communication, which we know will be affected. Where will they be? How can they get back together? Where could they meet if not at home?9
  • Seattle Disaster Readiness and Response Plans
  • The Great Washington ShakeOut — a state-wide drill to learn how to drop, cover, and hold on, instead of heading for a doorway

  1. The Really Big One” by Kathryn Schulz, in The New Yorker July 20, 2015 Issue (retrieved from web 2015-07-13) 
  2. John Vidale, 2015-07-14, Reddit AMA 
  3. Sandi Daughton, 2015-07-14 Reddit AMA 
  4. Sandi Daughton, 2015-07-14 Reddit AMA 
  5. Sandi Daughton, 2015-07-14 Reddit AMA 
  6. John Vidale, 2015-07-14, Reddit AMA 
  7. John Vidale, 2015-07-14, Reddit AMA 
  8. Sandi Daughton, 2015-07-14 Reddit AMA 
  9. Debbie Goetz, 2015-07-14, Reddit AMA 

Funny how once you become focused on a thing, you start to notice occurrences of it everywhere. This week, a bit of serendipity came in the form of this letter from Nick Disabato, talking about how he’s been learning to discard things, and being more intentional about the things he chooses to be part of his life. If you’ve been struggling with how to get rid of things, like I have, I highly encourage you to give that a read.

I’ve been trying really hard to make strides in discarding lately, so that letter gave me another boost of confidence that I’m heading in the right direction. We got rid of a ton of stuff two years ago when I moved my family from Maryland to Seattle (and I’m talking rent-a-dumpster levels of stuff), but as we unpacked, and ever since, I’ve been thinking that I still didn’t get rid of enough. As I recently wrote, that thinking has extended to my email as well. I have started to realize that the root of the problem is that I’m letting too many things into my life that serve no real purpose.

Just this weekend, I finished reading The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo. While it is — like many self-help books — about a page and a half of decent tips expanded to book form, there were three big takeaways for me:

  1. Everything that we have trouble getting rid of has a reason that’s based in either attachment to the past or fear of the future. How will I remember this great event/person in my life? What if I need this weird adapter cable or book sometime in the future? Chances are you’ll be just fine without it, and if you do need it… maybe asking a friend to borrow one is the answer.
  2. Take the perspective of determining what you love, and keeping those things, instead of focusing on what to get rid of. It’s a lot easier to tell whether or not you love something, or as Marie Kondo puts it, whether it “sparks joy.”
  3. Take each item in your hands, actually touching it, to decide if you really love it. There are a number of “out there” ideas in Kondo’s book — anthropomorphizing your belongings and talking to them, for example — but I found that touching the objects really did give me a more immediate and visceral feeling as to whether I loved them or not.

Using those methods, I cleaned my bedroom and sorted through all of my clothes this weekend, and it made a big difference. I got rid of nearly half of my clothes — mostly things that I had just been hanging onto because I was afraid that I might need them again someday. Now, all of my clothes fit inside my tiny Ikea wardrobe, with room to breathe. I feel much better about looking inside it, able to find something and pull it out without having to pry it away from all of the other things jammed in there.

That good feeling gives me confidence that expanding these techniques to other parts of the house will be just as successful. Fingers crossed. :)

I had a conversation with my friend AAl on Twitter:

@bobtiki:
[Regarding 2,051 emails in my inbox:] It’s a stream from which I pluck the occasional tasty salmon. It’s not all Things I Have to Deal With.

@aalgar:
@bobtiki So… it’s like The Den. Filled mostly with stuff you don’t need, but maybe one thing might be useful?

@bobtiki:
@aalgar oh god what have I done

At that moment, it hit me, what I was doing. The Den, as AAl and I have come to call it, is the personification of my clutter; a room in my house that is somehow possessed of a will of its own, compelling me to go out into the world and return with stuff with which to fill it.

It’s funny because it’s true.

I have a real problem discarding things, and I’ve tried so many ways of tricking myself into doing it, and none of them have really worked, long term. (I’m trying yet another one right now!) I certainly come by it honestly — my grandfather died, leaving a basement full to the brim of old junk, unopened mail, cobwebs, and fifty years of National Geographic. My parents rented a dumpster to clear out his house, and I’ve already rented a dumpster to clear out my own house, when we moved from Maryland to Seattle two years ago.

As fascinating as I found his basement when I was a kid, I’ve sworn that I wouldn’t leave a similar heap when I die. However, I don’t seem to really be making headway on that goal. It’s not just The Den — it’s my email and so many other areas in my life where I deal with the parts that I find interesting, and just let the rest of it flow by. The trouble is, it’s not a stream that will harmlessly find its level in the great sea, it’s a giant conveyor belt of crap that takes everything I didn’t pluck out, and dumps it in an enormous pile that someone will have to deal with eventually.

Probably that someone should be me. It is all Things I Have to Deal With.

I don’t really have the perfect solution here, or Ten Amazing Steps To Learn to Throw Crap Away, but envisioning my email inbox as a giant ugly pile of unopened letters, shitty Penny Saver magazines, and half-torn cardboard boxes really helped put things in a new perspective.

mac_mini_servers

Hi! Sorry about that click-bait title. What one person can write an ultimate guide to anything, really? All I can do is tell you about my own experience, and some tools I find useful.

Have some other ideas to add? Hit me up on Twitter or Facebook, and maybe we can actually build an ultimate guide together, as we hold hands and drink Coca-Cola — with crazy straws from a beer hat, obviously, since our hands are busy.

Let’s get started!

Server

For most of these solutions, you’re going to need your own server. How exactly to set one up is a bit outside of the scope of this guide, but here are a couple of recommendations, in case you’re just getting started.

OS X Server

At home, I use OS X Server running on a Mac mini for web pages, wiki, and file sharing for my family, along with easy management and backup of other Macs and iOS devices in the house. Ars Technica has a thorough guide to OS X Server that’s a great place to start learning about its capabilities.

WebFaction

For more public-facing data, I have a hosting account at WebFaction, which has the best price-to-performance ratio I’ve ever had in a hosted server, while still giving you one-click installation of a bunch of common services, and a TON of well-written how-to support articles. Their tagline, “Be a developer not a sysadmin,” really hits the nail on the head. I’m free to be creative and run these self-hosted services (and my own python apps) without getting too bogged down in server minutiae.

File sharing

Often I have the need to share files with others. I feel like I’ve tried every option: emailing files, emailing the person again to see if they actually got the file, emailing the file again, realizing the file is too big for email, sending a link with SendItToMe or Hightail or any number of spammy “free” file sharing services, FTP, SFTP, sharing links from Dropbox, you name it.

Kloudspeaker

Yeah, I don’t know what that means either, but the project’s old name was “Mollify,” so maybe the time of a service’s name actually matching what they do is long since over. They describe it as:

Document management system in your server, customizable to your needs. Access your documents with full featured web UI or mount published folders into desktop via WebDAV.

Believe me, I’ve toyed with the idea of building my own file sharing service with Python and Django, but Kloudspeaker has staved that off for now. It was super easy to set up on my Mac OS X server at home, and easy to give people access to the folders they need without exposing my server’s login credentials or the underlying folder structure on the server.

I had to tweak some PHP settings to allow for very large uploads, but once I did that, it’s been cruising along nicely. My only complaint at this point is that it doesn’t seem possible to create a link that takes you directly to a file.

File Syncing

Dropbox is great, but sometimes you may want something more private.

OmniPresence

Liz Marley reminded me that while OmniPresence works great with Omni Sync Server, it can also be set up to use your own private WebDAV server. Omni has a comprehensive configuration page that explains how to use it this way.

SparkleShare

SparkleShare is sort of a self-hosted clone of Dropbox with encryption, for those files you really want to keep full control of. You can host your own server that everything syncs through, and it’s Git-based at its core, so it also provides for reverting to previous versions of the files, even when being edited by multiple users.

BitTorrent Sync

Sync provides encrypted device-to-device syncing using the BitTorrent protocols (no central host!), but advanced features lyke syncing an unlimited number of folders and on-demand web access to your files are part of their Pro version that’s subscription-based.

OwnCloud

I’ve seen a few recommendations for OwnCloud (though I haven’t used it yet myself). It seems like it might combine file syncing, file sharing, and a bit of workgroup-style contacts and calendars. Very ambitious. Have you used it? Drop me a line. I’d love to hear more reviews. MacMiniColo has a useful article on how to Install OwnCloud on a Mac mini Server.

DVCS / Git

GitLab

Sure, you can set up a bare-bones Git server easy-peasy, but GitHub is so pretty, and has cool stuff like wikis and issue tracking and easy automation hooks for other services. Well, GitLab is your self-hosted GitHub clone with most of those same niceties.

Project Management / Workgroups

I’m still trying to find a good self-hosted replacement for Basecamp, because all of the options that I’ve tried either have horribly shitty interfaces or a ridiculous purchase price for personal use. Duet seems the closest to a useable solution (for a small one-time purchase), but I haven’t had a chance to try it yet. Any other suggestions?

What else?

Huginn

I haven’t tried it yet, but Christopher Harrington recommended it on Twitter. It looks like a self-hosted service similar to IFTTT or Yahoo Pipes (RIP), so you can trigger notifications or events based on other events.

Brian Stucki, owner of MacMiniColo, shared this article: 50 ways to use your server, with a wealth of other ideas for hosting your own data. A lot of it is web service or development-focused, but there are several great options.

I’m sure I’m leaving out some details, or maybe you have some cool tools of your own you’d like to share. Drop me a line, and let’s expand this guide together.

Update 2015-04-20: Added OmniPresence, OwnCloud. Expanded Kloudspeaker details.

Update 2015-04-21: Added MacMiniColo articles.

Update 2015-06-04: Added Huginn.

Header photo courtesy pwnEd365, from original photo on Flickr used under CC BY 2.0. Photo has been cropped and colorized.

IMG_2497_crop

As my birthday gift this year, my good friend AAl took me to see Faith No More — which I think finally makes it all of the bands that I was really into in the 90s that I’ve now seen in person (with the exception of Curve, for whom I am no longer holding out hope that they’ll reunite and tour the US).

paramount0

Anyway, I got deafened in person by one of my favorite bands, got a killer sunburst T-shirt, and had a great time with a great friend. Can’t complain.

Useful Mac recently posted The Screenshot Spectacular, with all of the shortcuts and variations on taking a screenshot on the Mac. Very comprehensive and clear.

My favorite is ⌘⇧4 for taking a crosshair-bounded screenshot, and then pressing space to switch it to a cursor that captures whatever window is under the cursor when you click, and then (and I didn’t know this part before today), ⌥-click to capture the window without the big soft shadow around it.

Anyway, check out the whole post for even more screenshot tips-n-tricks. Thanks to Liz Marley and Joel Page for dropping screenshot knowledge.