General mac tech

MAMP or pre-installed Apache

For local WordPress fun, I might install this package:

Although Apache is already available.

The pre-installed Apache can be accessed like this:

  • Go to System Preferences > Internet and Network > Sharing
  • Select Personal Web Sharing or click Start.
  • Copy & paste the URL listed in the lower part of the dialog box into a browser. The corresponding HTML and image files are located in Sites.
General mac tech

Installing Tomcat on a MacBook

Today I installed Tomcat on my MacBook. In order to run a website with Java servlets locally.

Here are my non-developer notes, for my own future reference.

To check if Java is installed, open Terminal and type:
javac -version

In a previous session, I had already installed the Apple developer tools, which includes JDK 1.5.

Note: you’ll need to list the location where Java can be found:
export JAVA_HOME=/usr

Download and unpack the Tomcat zip files to a directory.
Open conf/tomcat-users.xml and change the user and password settings.

Go to your Tomcat directory and type ./bin/

Open a browser and type http://localhost:8080 to see a Tomcat welcome screen.

In the final step, I modified conf/server.xml. Luckily I had my Windows setup to refer back to, or I would have been really lost at this stage…


mac tech wordpress

White Space

(half-geek plans)

Maybe I’ll try out this WordPress theme over the weekend:
Whitespace WordPress Theme

And I’ve still got to figure out how to install and configure a Tomcat on a Mac.

And I still want to install MacFuse and MacFusion

General Photos

close up of my running shoes

africa General Malawi-related tech

Bush League

Interesting read:

Cy on his Malawi experiences

The contrast between rural and urban areas in Malawi is huge. I remember an article I read (probably The Nation or The Daily Times) during my last stay, on how people in a remote village in the northern region near Rumphi can get reception for their mobile phones if they climb a certain ant hill. There was a photo of a group of people with a solar panel. And somebody was quoted as saying how this is improving communication with family members all over the world.

(BTW, if anybody in Malawi remembers this article and has access to the archives, I’d appreciate a digital copy. Should be an issue in Feb or March 2007… i’m asking for the impossible)


Embedding Google Video and Autoplay

quick note:
If you’re embedding a Google Video and you don’t want the video to start automatically, check the embed code for flashvars="autoPlay=true" and delete it…

General on MacBook

when it was still new and pristine…

blogger blogging LIFT07 tech

Not new

At Lift 07 there was a panel on technological overload. The video of the panel is available here.

Update: Since Google Video is no more, the video can be viewed on Vimeo

Panel Discussion:Dealing with technological overload (Lift07 EN) from Lift Conference on Vimeo.

Fellow blogger Mlle. A. pointed out that this kind of discussion isn’t new.

A couple of days ago she sent in an article by Ann Blair on “Reading Strategies for Coping with Information Overload ca. 1550-1700” published in 2003 in the Journal of the History of Ideas.

As more and more books were published, academics worried about keeping up: they discussed the effects of reading manuals and encyclopedias or reading “only in parts”. And discussed strategies to classify information, added indexes and used cut and paste to arrange the information they received.

Blogging isn’t new either:

“Reading is useless, vain and silly when no writing is involved, unless you are reading (devotionally) Thomas a Kempis or some such. Although I would not want even that kind of reading to be devoid of all note taking.”

Interesting stuff.

General sports

Running blues


Running didn’t go well today. I was totally demotivated. Although I’ve been training regularly all summer, I was slow and running behind the group. After about 45 or 50 minutes I slumped in a deep dark “not motivated” hole. And knowing the route didn’t help much either, ‘cos it demotivated me even further.

blogging CDs

Blogging fatigue

In case you haven’t heard:
There seems to be an outbreak of blogging fatigue

Is it similar to battle fatigue?

General mac tech

GIMP and GraphicConverter and more

The newness of my MacBook is decreasing rapidly. I’ve installed GIMP (works nice and zippy), GraphicConverter (useful for quick resizing of images), TextWrangler (an editor), MS Office 2004 (although I’m considering to install NeoOffice and use MS Office via Parallels only).

I had a look at the websites of Scribus and Inkscape, but I think I’ll wait before installing them.

I’ve installed the Subversion command line client and a little plugin (aargh, can’t remember the name) that allows you to upload and commit files from the finder. I didn’t like SvnX much.

I like the size of my MacBook. Much easier to lug around. Quicksilver is very useful.

(update) The SVN plugin is called SCPlugin.


Monday fun

smiling at this comic:
What the Duck

africa Malawi-related

Chinese Business in Africa

Howard French, senior writer at the New York Times on:

New Power in Africa: Entrepreneurs From China Flourish in Africa


Business operating costs in Malawi

The Malawi Investment Private Agency (MIPA) lists various costs associated with setting up a business.

Unfortunately I don’t see a date so it’s hard to say if these figures are up-to-date or not.

mac tech

CVS and CVL and others

Here are some quick notes on installing a CVS client on my MacBook (for my own future reference):

  1. Install CVS, if you haven’t done so already. It’s part of the Apple developer tools on Mac OS X Install Disc 1 called XcodeTools. To test if it’s installed, open Terminal and type cvs to get a typical Unix app welcome screen.
  2. Install a GUI for CVS. I’m trying out CVL which is available for download here.
  3. Select Tools > Repositories. Click New… and add your CVS repository details.
  4. Click Modules to see all CVS modules available to you.
  5. Click Checkout… to get a local copy of the CVS files.

ਠvoila. A console window shows the files being checked out to your hard disk. Work Area shows you an overview of the new or modified files.

First impression: It’s more like WinCVS and less like TortoiseCVS.

Disclaimer: I’m a low and humble content developer and use CVS and Subversion for versioning at my day job. If I get something very wrong or if you have useful tips, please leave a comment. I’m moving from Windows to Mac and documenting my experience.

Regarding version control:
I used an older version of Visual Sourcesafe a couple of years ago and IMHO, CVS and Subversion are easier to use once you’ve got past the install hurdle. Subversion’s next on my install list.

SSH is pre-installed on the Mac: Open Terminal and type ssh followed by your username@hostname.

As you can see I’m having a lot of fun.

language Malawi-related

Most People Are Multilingual

Here’s my comment I submitted a couple of minutes ago at Climb to the Stars on Most People Are Multilingual (cos I’m not sure if my comment wasn’t gobbled):

In southern Africa (Zambia, Zimbabwe, Malawi, SA) most people are multi-lingual with varying levels of language competency in at least 3 languages.

For example in Malawi, children learn English and Chichewa from the first class onwards. Their mother tongue being Chitumbuka or Chisena or Chilomwe. At secondary school level, nearly all subjects are taught in English.

mac tech

Mon Mac à  moi

My new MacBook arrived last Monday. And I’ve started installing software and exploring. Slowly. A new laptop is like getting a new exercise book at school. An empty book equals an empty hard disk. And a new operating system is a new learning experience.

Software installed so far:

  • Firefox and Thunderbird
  • The latest version of Safari
  • Quicksilver – looks like a really powerful tool. There’s a whole series of articles at Lifehacker.
  • Cyberduck
  • Parallels and MS Office 2000 for Windows
  • Skype
  • Canon digicam software – ImageBrowser, EOS Utility, CameraWindow
  • Flickr Uploadr – I’m missing some kind of integration into a file viewer and the possibility to rotate imgs before uploading them. Any tips regarding a photo viewer with integrated Flickr upload functionality? Would be cool if I could use Flickr upload functions in an image browser. What are you using?

And here’s the list that I’ll still need to add:

  • Subversion and CVS tools
  • GraphicConverter (by Lemke Software)
  • MAMP or XAMP for Mac (see also this thread at
  • Tomcat
  • GIMP
  • TextWrangler
  • TextMate (maybe)
  • NeoOffice (maybe)

I found some useful articles at Tao of Mac, which I’d like to share:

BTW, I’m planning to set up an Ubuntu laptop soon… on a separate machine.

Photo credit


Radio show on the web: Daybreak Malawi

Capital FM is uploading its daily morning show to the web:
The only early morning radio show in Malawi with a complete range of the latest news, views and interviews from across the country. You can now listen to daily recordings of Daybreak Malawi Online and keep abreast with what is going on in Malawi.

General marketing tech

Content drives action


I started reading “The new rules of Marketing and PR” yesterday, and I like it. I’m at Chapter 3, and so far it’s a good summary of things I’ve discovered. Reinforcing experiences which I’ve been calling Low Budget Internet Marketing.

A couple of notes:

  • Today’s search engine setup means you can reach buyers directly.
  • One-way interruption advertising is over.
  • Good content will help buyers decide. There’s people like you and me that do their own research and consider a decision over a period of time before buying.
  • There’s a “long tail” effect for news announcements as well.
  • The lines between PR and marketing are blurry.

Meerman’s right about the way consumers and buyers do their own research, ignoring the advertising to a large extent. And evaluating on their own. Take me as an example: I’m in the marketplace looking for an entry-level DSLR and I’m reading review sites, asking questions, watching the news and prices.

(Yes. My evaluation process is long. And I overdo it sometimes. But then I’ve been working in IT for the past 9-10 years. 6 months minimum.)

The Learning Effect of Blogging:
There’s one effect I’d like to highlight: by setting up my own blog, posting short tumble blog-like entries, and keeping track of a couple of marketing bloggers, the new rules aren’t that new to me. Blogging is a great way to learn. Instead of watching from the sidelines, my advice is to dive in.

I’ll try to post a summary as I go along… Mlle. A. is reading the same book. Between the two of us, we’ll get some two-way discussion going. Feel free to join us.


Twitter Clients

Drinking coffee and listening to Scoble’s video on Twitter.

For future reference ( or never 😉 cos I don’t feel like installing any of these now):
There’s a desktop client for Twitter called Spaz. Downside: you need to download 9 megs of Adobe AIR beforehand.

adobe_air lists a long list of Twitter apps.

Here’s a description how to set up TwitterVision as your Windows XP desktop.


Login and password nightmare

Just a note to say that we need to find a better solution for this login and password nightmare called Web 2.0.

I can’t say how many times I’ve left a website without leaving a comment ‘cos I had to login to leave a comment…

And another Web 2.0 feature request: please offer some kind of Delete my account option.


Somewhat related:
One of the reasons I don’t like Facebook: Walls. And tonnes of dialog boxes asking me to confirm my choices. All the time.

(update) there’s a post about Facebook’s walled gardens.

flickr General

Ipernity Q and A

Via Flickr mail I asked somebody who seems to be on the Ipernity payroll:

Thanks for leaving a comment in my photostream.
I was wondering if you could answer my question regarding Ipernity’s funding.

Who are the investors?
Is it independent? Is it funded by venture capital? Or does it belong to another company?

See my blog post: The most interesting pictures

Here’s the answer I received via Flickr mail:

ipernity is french company totally independent and self-funded.

Well. I still think it looks a bit like Sixapart’s Vox.