Map of Borgholms Castle

Points of Interest

I’ve always been interested in the stories behind designs, and one particular point of interest is in the development of the original Apple Macintosh computer, well chronicled in the website, and eventually collected in the book Revolution in the Valley.

Susan Kare, designer of the original Macintosh icons, says she based the design of the “command” symbol (⌘) on a Swedish campground sign:

We tried many, many things that were trying to be metaphors for control— I think we tried a badge— and they all seemed too harsh, and nothing seemed to work. So I said, “Let’s try something abstract.” So I was poring through books of symbols, and I thought it was a sign on Swedish campgrounds that meant “interesting feature,” or something to look at that was interesting. So that seemed to fit.

Working on the Macintosh, from Interview with Susan Kare, 8 September 2000.

The ⌘ symbol itself may have originally been meant to invoke the image of a square castle with four turrets, much like Borgholm Castle, on the Island of Oland, Sweden (outlined in the OpenStreetMap map above).

When I’m traveling, I always look for ideas of interesting sites to stop at along the way, and I’ve found these websites to be particularly helpful and interesting:

How do you like to find points of interest?

The Future Tornadoes Want: Twister

Jo and Bill approach an F5 twister in Jo’s truck.

When Jan de Bont released Twister in May of 1996, he probably thought he was being sneaky. He probably didn’t expect anyone to figure out that he’d made a horror film in which the monster represents the death of heteronormativity in the American nuclear family structure. He probably thought he got away with it. Well, I’ve got bad news for you, Jan…

Twister is one of my all-time favourite comfort food disaster movies, and I absolutely love Sarah Gailey’s take on it.

Source: The Future Tornadoes Want: Twister

What do I like about horror?

I’ve been doing a sort of movie scavenger hunt the past month called HoopTober, which has several “quick easy” rules; different categories and directors and such that you have to find horror films to fit into. The event is named after Tobe Hooper, probably most well known as director of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, but also the nominal director of Poltergeist, and the director of one of my (non-)guilty pleasures, Lifeforce, a.k.a. “Space Vampires.”

As I’ve made my way through the month of horror movies, I’ve been disappointed to find myself enjoying far fewer movies than I didn’t. So, I’ve been trying to sort out what it is that I like about horror. I feel like most of the stuff is a hyphenate. Comedy-horror, sci-fi-horror, adventure-horror (Is that a thing? I think it is.). Most of the good stuff has to have a sense of humor, even if it’s not a comedy, per se. Monsters are great. Supernatural stuff is pretty good. But I don’t like slashers, people hurting each other, hunting people, torture porn.

I like stories that make sense, that have a solid internal logic. This is kinda like why I don’t like much of fantasy, where it likes to change its rules in mid-stream, because “magic”. Okay fine, magic works in your world, but it still has to have rules, right? Let’s set some rules at the outset and stick with them. Same for any supernatural horror. You can’t just give your monster (or protagonist) crazy new powers in the middle of the film without making me feel like they’ve earned it.

Out of my ★★★★★ rated horror films (there’s only 22 of them), what do I like? Let me try to figure this out.

Ghost Stories

  • The Conjuring 2 is a straight up old fashioned ghost story and it scared the bejesus out of me, but even then it has a sense of humor, if a very subtle one.
  • What Lies Beneath surprised me at the time with Harrison Ford playing against type, and I just like Zemeckis’ aesthetic in general. I might not rate it as high these days, and Crimson Peak is climbing up my list, so that’s probably a good replacement. Either film is a ghost story that is beautiful and surprising; even touching.
  • The Devil’s Backbone is another GDT ghost story, complex and surprising and touching. Sympathy for the monsters is a big thing in my horror love.


  • Bram Stoker’s Dracula is one where I’m just drawn in by the beauty of it. Definitely a recurring factor.
  • Let the Right One In is yet again beautiful, and one where you’re made to have sympathy for the monsters.

Other Supernatural / Demon / Monsters

  • The Mill at Calder’s End is a short film, made with intricate and beautiful puppets. It feels like a Poe short story, and maybe the historical drama aspect of it draws me in.
  • The Descent is almost a slasher, but the creatures in the cave aren’t really human so it feels more ok?
  • Jaws is a monster alright, but it’s getting to know the characters in the town, and more so, the characters in the boat, that make it such an incredible watch.


Most of these are monsters of some sort, but the comedy outshines the actual horror aspect of the film. If I can laugh at the monsters, or along with the protagonists, I’m usually on board.

  • The Cabin in the Woods
  • Shaun of the Dead
  • Gremlins
  • Deep Rising
  • Tremors
  • Slither
  • Army of Darkness


  • Alien is probably the first serious horror I ever saw, and getting to know the characters is again the thing that completely sells the concept here, even if they do get picked off one by one. Something that so many horror movies skip is getting you invested in the people that they’re going to off later in the film. If I don’t care about the people, I’m not going to care about what happens to them.
  • Aliens is really a military film with sci-fi and horror aspects, but once again, it’s the characters that sell everything.
  • The Thing (1982) is one where I feel like I don’t get to know the individual characters especially well, but the sci-fi concept is so good, and gives so many opportunities for inventive moments of suspense and body horror that I’d never imagined before, that it really takes a lot to top this for me.

I don’t know, what is this?

  • 28 Days Later is a movie that apparently I need to re-watch, because even thought I gave it five stars, I don’t remember hardly anything about it.


  • Psycho is the only slasher on my list. I often feel like the reason I watch horror is to get the chance for humans to come together and defeat an “other,” and feel some sense of catharsis at the end. (This may not actually be true — please see every other note for films in this list.) Pitting human against human in a film just makes me feel worse about the whole human race. Somehow, Psycho is an exception, again, mainly because we get such a good chance to know the characters, and it’s not just a bunch of people we don’t care about getting offed one-by-one for no discernible reason (hello, Friday the 13th).

So, looking back at these notes about why I liked each one, it seems like the real reason is they’re well-made films that I would like if they were any other genre. Good characters, beautiful sets and costumes, deep stories with sympathetic villains. It seems like a lot of horror fans forgive a lot in a flick if it has a good dash of gore or something else salacious, but I guess I am not so forgiving.

SSL Certificates in Python 3.6

Note to self: After installing Python 3.6 on your Mac, run /Applications/Python 3.6/Install Certificates.command so your SLL connections don’t fail.

The error you might get, when this is the case, is:


Python 3.6 no longer links to the macOS-supplied SSL libraries and now includes its own copy of OpenSSL, but it doesn’t automatically install the root certificates needed to validate connections. It seems the Python 3.6 installer warns you about this during the install, but it’s easy to miss. It’s also in the README, and there’s a behavior bug for Python suggesting that it get installed automatically. Thanks to this Stack Overflow post for the help.

A snippet of the macOS Server documentation about web apps

Reverse Proxy with macOS Server

Visualize this outcome:

  1. -> my single public IP -> Port forwarding 80 and 443 to LAN, a Mac mini running Apple macOS Server 5.3 on macOS 10.12 Sierra.
  2. -> my single public IP -> LAN -> reverse proxy? -> :80 and :443 on LAN, another Mac mini running GitLab CE on Ubuntu 16.04.

This is on a network where I have no option of adding another public IP.

#1 is already up and running fine.

#2 is the hard part, mainly because I’m running macOS on #1, and the proxy setup does not seem to be the relatively straight-forward Apache one. Server has the Apache config files in odd places, and it likes to overwrite them with new changes made in the GUI, so it’s taken me a while to figure out the “right” way to do this under

Enter Web Apps

I first had this question two years ago, and a friend of mine suggested there might be a way to do it with OS X Server’s webappctl command and writing an appropriate webapp.plist, though the Work with web apps section of the OS X Server docs contains almost no detail. The docs have been updated to cover Server 5.3, but the web app documentation is still very sparse.

This new answer below is written as of macOS Server 5.3. Server 5 overhauls things in that every service in Server is now behind one master reverse proxy, so these instructions will not work with Server 4.1. However, these instructions are adapted and clarified from the instructions found at’s R.A.I.S page (scroll down to the “macOS Server 5 Reverse Proxy” tutorial link). Their tutorial also includes historical instructions for doing this with Server 4.1. However, since their tutorial focuses more on running multiple services from the same Mac instead of proxying to a separate machine, I’ve re-written the instructions to clarify that below.

Configuration Files

Note that in all of the files, you will need to replace the LAN IP addresses, and site2 and the other example domain and file names with the names of your own proxied domain. There are several occurrences within each configuration file.

Make a web app configuration file on the macOS Server machine, in /Library/Server/Web/Config/apache2/httpd_site2webapp.conf, pointing at the IP address of the site2 server.


Then in /Library/Server/Web/Config/apache2/webapps/com.example.site2webapp.plist, add the following, referencing the location of the .conf file above:


If you will also need SSL, put the following in /Library/Server/Web/Config/apache2/httpd_site2SSLwebapp.conf. The config differs in that LAN traffic between the servers will be unencrypted by default (this config essentially tells Server not to check if there is a valid cert), but the WAN traffic will be encrypted. I believe you can install a self-signed certificate on the site2 server for encrypted local traffic, but this config will still enable the reverse proxy without having to have matching certificates. (I grant there is likely a more correct way to secure the local traffic, but this worked for me.)


And the corresponding SSL web app plist, /Library/Server/Web/Config/apache2/webapps/com.example.site2SSLwebapp.plist, much the same as above:


For each of these four files, the permissions need to be owner: root and group: wheel, 644:


Setting up

Add the web app to Websites

  • In the Websites tab of the interface, click the + below the Websites listing to add a new site
  • Enter for Domain Name
  • Leave everything else at the default settings
  • Click Edit Advanced Settings…
  • Under the section “Make these web apps available on this website:” check Enable for site2WebApp
  • Click OK
  • Click Create


If you need SSL on the WAN, install a certificate in Server that covers the new domain. I used Let’s Encrypt to create a single certificate that was good for both my site1 and site2 domains. (Here’s my Let’s Encrypt instructions for getting a cert while using

  • In the Certificates tab of, click the + at the bottom of the window, then Import a Certificate Identity…
  • Drag-and-drop the .pem files you got back from Let’s Encrypt (or whatever certificate files you have), and click Import
  • In the Websites tab, create the new site almost the same as before, except change the Port to 443 and under SSL Certificate, pick the cert you just imported
  • Under Edit Advanced Settings…, instead check Enable for site2SSLWebApp

It just works!1

  1. Finally. 

Installing a Let’s Encrypt Certificate on macOS Server

I have had a hell of a time finding a way to install a Let’s Encrypt certificate on macOS Server the Right Way™, due to how Server customizes the Apache config in weird and annoying ways.

For the moment, I am going to use this way to “trick” certbot into issuing the cert to a different server temporarily running on the same machine. Adapted from the very helpful instructions at Denis Gladkikh’s blog.