Two years ago, I moved to Salt Lake City for work. After looking around a bit for a rental property close to my new work, it became clear that I would be better off trying to buy a new home than renting if I could afford to do so. At the time the interest rates and property values in Salt Lake City were very low, so monthly mortgage payments were often cheaper than rental prices.Screen Shot 2015-04-25 at 9.22.15 AM

Sitting at the Salt Lake Roasting Company after we first moved here, we found a really nice real estate agent (Jaral Ferwerda).  I worked with him diligently to find a home while my lovely wife was buttoning up our home in California.

After a while, I started to find it very difficult to keep track of all the homes I was seeing. They started to blur together, and I wasn’t really able to figure out which one I liked best.

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Screen Shot 2014-09-27 at 12.18.14 PMI was updating my network to use a different subnet and realized that the last time I did that, my HP printer stopped working because a lot of the network drivers set the IP address into the printer settings.

So I figured that maybe I would need to update the printer’s IP address on my Mac. I looked at the printer settings and didn’t see anything that might work.

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If your organization is like most, they will have sites that use a self-signed (or untrusted authority) certificate.

From Wikipedia:

In cryptography and computer security, a self-signed certificate is an identity certificate that is signed by the same entity whose identity it certifies. This term has nothing to do with the identity of the person or organization that actually performed the signing procedure. In technical terms a self-signed certificate is one signed with its own private key.

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I was helping out whose web site was down.
The server was being unresponsive, and Larry Van Cantfort (the Director of Operations for PMI SFBAC) sent me this clue:
It appears that httpd has a lot of running processes and when I try to kill them I am unable to. THis is causing the server to sloooow way down. There are also error messages from mysqld with a corrupt table:

I couldn’t even get into the control panel to get things going, so the cleanest approach was to simply rebuild the server.
So I shut down the database and started to try and get it backed up so we’d at least save all the hard work of the volunteers.
So I tried to run the dump, with the following command that I got from the Parallels support site:

But that gave me the same error:

A quick Google search and I found the “fix” for this is to run a repair on the tables:

That fixed the issue, and I was able to create the “dumpall.sql”.

Once I had ALL of the tables fixed, I simply rebuilt the server and migrated it into a new database as described in the Parallels KB article mentioned above (a lot more steps to make sure the backup was good, but once it was the newly imaged server was able to run without incident).

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I decided I’d walk through creating a new app to replace one I’ve used for years on my iPhone that no longer appears to be maintained. The app in question is called GasBag which as near as I can tell stopped being updated in 2009 (see:


I could just write a quick and dirty web app to store my mileage, but I figured I’d approach this as an exercise in building an iOS application with a design first approach.


At a high level, what I want is an app that easily captures my mileage, and allows me to save that information somewhere that won’t get destroyed. There are a number of features that GasBag had that I liked (for instance being able to send an email with my mileage information), and a number that it doesn’t have that would be nice (like allowing me to use it for multiple cars, or to do some data capture from a gas station receipt).


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After moving from a hosted Exchange service to GMail, you need to set up your email client on the iPhone so that it will receive the push notices.

To do this, you need to add a new Exchange service on the device. There’s a nice step by step of this at

Alternatively, you can use the standard GMail settings, on the iPhone, but my favorite approach is to actually use the GMail app from Google in the App Store. The reason I like that app over the standard iOS mail app is that it is much more of a true mobile client that takes advantage of the platform.

First get the App from

GMail in the App Store


You can do this either from your iPhone/iPad directly, or using the iTunes store on your Mac/PC.

Once you have the app installed, you need to set up your GMail accounts. Either tap “open” from the App Store page about GMail, or find the GMail icon and launch it.

On launch the app will prompt you to log into your account. For a Google Apps account, this will be the email your administrator assigned you like, and the password that you’ve set up previously by going to login

Launching the App the first time takes you to the login page, where you can type in your email address and password. Note that this is the same whether you are logging in to a GMail account or a Google Apps account, to Google they are just different users as far as mail goes.

Once you log in, you will be shown the inbox for that account, and be able to read your email pretty easily. To navigate the folders (like sent, draft, etc), you tap on the little icon in the upper left corner that looks like a box with stacked bars.

This will cause the folders and settings pane to slide out from the left and reveal your email structure so that you can choose. Clicking on a particular folder will display that list in the same fashion as you saw with the inbox.


Additionally from this screen, you can add other email accounts by tapping on the profile area at the top of the pane, which slides the list of accounts down and changes the direction of the panel indicator at the top of the pane.

If you’ve already done this, you will see the list of accounts, and each one will be badged with the number of unread messages. Adding a new account is as simple as tapping the large plus icon and logging in. Tapping on a profile picture will switch you to that account once you are logged in.

AccountsThe little gear icon in the upper right of this corner brings up settings for you email where you can set a few things (such as vacation responder, signature, etc).

Loading new account

Once you log into the new account, you will again see the loading page, this time with the image from the new account’s name and profile image

The next time that you go to the account selection page, you’ll see a list of accounts with the icon for each badged with the number of unread messages showing so that you can easily see what needs your attention at the moment.

Google apps on the iPhone are a mixed bag, with some being native, and others not, so it’s also a good idea to set up the Apple “Mail, Contacts, Calendars” for synchronization of those things (which can use the Exchange push in the same way as an actual Exchange server).

Multiple accountsThe best way to do this is to follow the instructions at

First go to your settings (normally you can find this by clicking the home button on and looking for the gear icon that says “Settings”.

Adding an account to your iPhone

If you’ve previously added accounts, the “Add Account …” will appear below the existing account settings list (in my case I actually have to scroll in order to get to this button.

Tap on the add account button and you’ll be presented with the choice of types of account that you want to use. You can use GMail here, but I prefer to use Exchange simply because it pushes the information to the phone asynchronously

Exchange account iPhone

Once you tap on the Exchange button, you’ll get a new page that prompts you for the authentication information. This uses Microsoft’s autodiscover method to figure out how the account should be configured.

Account login

Type in the user name and password for your account here, and give it a description. Typically I use the name of the company that has the domain that I’m adding (for example PMI-SFBAC for my address).

Then click the “Next” button which should bring up the Domain screen. The only thing you need to make sure of is that the server ends up being, and that you still have the right username and password. To continue,  tap “Next”.

Domain Settings

The final step is to choose what you want to be pushed to your phone. Generally the important ones are the contacts and calendars, since those are business related.

Choose what to push

It really doesn’t hurt to have Mail turned on as well, since that keeps your inbox in the iOS Mail app up to date, but if you’re worried about your data plan, just set up the contacts and calendars, since that is the part that the GMail app won’t really be as helpful with.