Why use a Mac Mini in a Datacenter environment, even without Mac OS X?

I recently changed from having Dedicated Servers to renting co-location rackspace directly in a datacenter. What this meant was that the “density” of CPU:Power ratio was important. Say for example you rent 1U of rackspace, that will come with some amount of power, measured in FLOOR(0.9*(AMPS=(WATTS / VOLTS)) during “peak” or “boot” power usage… with a total allocation of say 0.4 amps, along with bandwidth etc.

So why a Mac Mini for this purpose? Take for example a Dell Poweredge 1U Server… fits perfectly in the 1U of space provided and can consume a lot of power, 0.5+ so really, you can only squeeze 1 of these in without paying over-ages… at a push. What it does give you over a Mac Mini though, is the possibility to have 128GB RAM and 4 HDD bays in a single chassis, but at a much higher power cost. Lets take for example the Mac Mini… I’m colocating 4 Late 2012, Core i7 Mac Mini’s with 16GB RAM and 2TB hard drive space in EACH. Due to the way in which the Mac Mini was engineered, these consume around 0.19 AMPS each. Making the “density” increase, so in my 0.4 allocation, I can place 2 Mac Mini’s without incurring additional charges… thats 8 Physical Core i7 Cores… 32GB RAM and 4TB Hard drive space… in a piece of metal that is easily and readily available/replaceable and modular…

Those datacenter savvy people amoung you will now be thinking… ah, what about cooling, what about remote reboots etc… well there are solutions to all of that also, see my guide on Ubuntu 12.04 and 12.10 on a Late 2012 Mac Mini for a detailed howto.

The end result, you’re reading this blog post on a Centos VM hosted on a Debian KVM Based Hypervisor running on a Late 2012 Mac Mini! all setup and configured to be at a lower cost than any competitor and offering a really high density in a datacenter environment.

Wanna discuss, tweet me @italoarmstrong


How to turn off Auto Layout Automagically on Xcode 4 post iOS 6

I’m sure i’m not the only one who is annoyed at the fact that, even though my project Deployment Target is set as iOS 5.0… Xcode finds it neccesary to enable Auto Layout on all newly created XIB’s regardless… causing Runtime exceptions that can be pesky and hard to find if not testing looking. So I started thinking how to disable this once and for all…

After monitoring the state of my disk, before and after ticking the infallable box in IB, I realised that Xcode is actually using some xml files to enable/disable this feature, however, there are a few locations and its a little pesky… i’d document it all here, but I don’t have it to hand and can’t remember… so maybe later… but until then, here is a little tool I made that performs a simple regexp on some of your Xcode installation files to make sure Auto Layout is disabled 🙂 NOTE: You’ll have to re-run this tool if you update/re-install Xcode.

Download: AutoLayoutAnnoysMe.zip



How to generate max CPU Load (stress test your CPU)

It’s a bit of a random thing you’d think, but recently I had an issue where one of my servers would keep dieing when under abnormal load… So I thought, how can i replicate this in a lab environment… So I wrote a tiny bash script (that you can just paste into a terminal) that will max out each “thread” of the CPU until you kill the processes or reboot… Useful for stress-testing or burning in a CPU…



How to Unlock almost any iPhone without any jailbreak or accessory

So… some of you may have already seen this, if you didn’t then, here it is 🙂 its pretty cool, it works… but has one caveat… Its a TEMPORARY unlock… i.e. it will unlock your phone sure, but once your TMSI (Temporary Mobile Subscriber Identity) is refreshed, you will have to repeat the process again… in the UK and US i think this happens when you switch the phone on/off or travel over a large geographic area… however it could potentially happen whenever…

Instructions on how to unlock are after the break 🙂

  1. Grab your iPhone
  2. Insert a supported Sim Card… so, if your phone is locked to Tmobile, put a Tmobile sim in there … 

Custom IDN’s and TLD’s Using Punycode and BIND

I’ve been playing around with some IDN’s and TLD’s and DNS etc…. i’ve realised you can create IDN (punycode) subdomains to any existing domain, in addition, i’ve created my own TLD, and setup a DNS server that works for this purpose. If anyone would like an IDN or a custom TLD, get in touch!

From anywhere in the WWW:

Set your DNS to: in order to take advantage of the new ком TLD. (note: this is just a bit of fun, and is not official).


Google Translate BeatBox’s for everyone!

Who knew translating from German > German would be so fun!?

I recently reminded myself of a great “google hack” during a lecture today on International Computing. (hello to anyone from there who is reading this!) In honour of internationalisation Google seem to have taken it upon themselves to make the CPU voices beatbox for us all! Just follow this link and click on listen to see what i’m talking about!

Also anyone noticed how google defaults translations to masculine and the voices to feminine… *TBC


Samsung F4 EcoGreen F4EG Firmware Bug Patch

Many people already know that the Samsung green drives have a bug in the firmware that may cause data loss, Samsung have created a patch that you need to create a bootable floppy disk along and drag in their file, if like me you don’t have a floppy disk drive & don’t want to mess around with USB booting and creation of a drive or just cannot boot from USB then you’ll need another solution, i’ve put together a quick bootable CDROM ISO that contains freedos and the patch, simply boot and type F4EG and hit enter, the patch will automatically detect your drives and update them. I hope this helps people out as it did me. As quoted from the original site:

“If identify commmand is issued from host during NCQ write command in the condition of PC ,
write condition is unstable.

So It can make the loss of written data.”
(Model : F4EG HD204UI, HD204UI/Z4, HD204UI/UZ4, HD155UI, HD155UI/Z4, HD155UI/UZ4)

Samsung Article regarding firmware and affected drives

CaptainGeek Bootable ISO: DOWNLOAD


Amazon Support Store

Hi everyone! I keep getting lots of emails from people asking where they can buy xyz to complete the tutorials and try out some of the things listed on CaptainGeek, well after I kept emailing people the same links i had a thought, why not setup an amazon affiliate store. Basically, i’ve setup a small amazon site with a small selection of products (only those used for the tutorials on this site + related ones), purchases and payments are handled by amazon, however a small percentage of the sale goes to helping fund the server this website is hosted on AT NO EXTRA COST TO YOU 🙂 so its a win win situation, please use the links whenever you can.

Our Amazon Store


Sharing iTunes Libraries over the Internet, Bypassing Bonjour Restrictions

Ever wanted to be able to access the shared libraries from your home… when you are away from home? I do, since I started to use FreeNAS with Firefly iTunes/DAAP media server this is exactly what i want… I’m often away from home, and always wanting to access my media library from within iTunes…

Bonjour (mDNS) is what the iTunes / Firefly DAAP server uses to advertise a “beacon” of your iTunes shared library to your local subnet (LAN), however this is restricted (due to industry pressure (RIAA)) to local area only, and not wide area (the Internet) as it once was… However its still easy to circumvent and work around this issue so you can listen to your shared libraries on the go!

This tutorial is aimed at Mac users, but the concept is possible on every OS using the appropriate tools…

Tools needed:

Once you have all of these it becomes easy, this is the general process of how it works …