Merging KeePassX 1 Databases

passwordsOne of the things I love most about the Internet is the great diversity of websites and services available at our fingertips. But with these websites and services comes the need for authentication. Passwords. And ID’s. And with each website, we need to remember the site’s URL, the ID we used, and the password we assigned it. That’s a LOT of information. So, it’s helpful to have software to keep track of it all.

I use an open source program called KeePassX. It’s available for Mac, Linux and Windows. But it’s a desktop application, rather than a website; and that becomes a problem as I move between my work computer, and my home machine. I have two copies of KeePassX, and, inevitably, they become out of sync.

Yesterday I spent quite some time merging the two databases, and I’m documenting it here for the next time I may need it, and for others who may run into the same issue.

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How to Connect to Your Vagrant’s MySQL Using Sequel Pro

Screen Shot 2016-07-03 at 12.07.51

This was a lot less straightforward than I expected. So I’m posting the incantations here in hopes it’ll save others some time.

Sequel Pro is a very capable Mac-based, open source, MySQL client. One of these many capabilities is to tunnel via SSH to another server. In this case, we’re going from your host machine (an OSX desktop), to your Vagrant guest machine, to access the MySQL database server there. If you don’t currently have a Vagrant machine on hand, try

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Connecting External Services With Your Local WordPress

ngrok header graphic

For years I’ve eschewed using services such as HTML validators, because I was developing on my local machine, or even on a Virtual Machine inside my local machine; and external services couldn’t get to my website while it was under development. Worse yet, involving a webhook, a callback from a web based service, to your own website, was a chore because you had to deploy your site to a public-facing server before you could test it.

Until now. (Insert maniacal laugh here.)

I’ve recently started using a clever service called ngrok, which exposes your local development site to the Internet. Even if you’re behind a firewall.

(Quick aside. I believe it’s pronounced “en-grok”, rather than “n. g. rok”. Adherents of AngularJS will have to force themselves to conform.) Continue reading

I Feel Pretty. Oh. So. Pretty.

Photo credit: Mike Parker, 2015

Photo credit: Mike Parker, 2015

Where to start?

My friend Laurie lives in an artist’s co-op, and every once in a while she puts together these shows in their gallery space. It was at one of these I met Mike Parker, who went to the same high school as Laurie and I.

OK, got all that?

So I reach out to Mike on Facebook, and every now and again he puts something up, and I put something up. It seems we have similar political views.

Years go by.

Then, in August, he puts up this pretty cool pic, of a girl, nude, in a cardboard box.

She had braided hair, and you could see a couple of tattoos on her forearms. (I only mention the braids for layout purposes. 🙂 )

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Passing Wind: 10 Ways to Improve Wind Mobile

wind-mobile-biglogoOn the face of it, Wind is the best deal we have here in Toronto. For $45 I get unlimited everything: talk, text and data. But there’s a long list of deficiencies which need to be addressed. Hopefully this post will be one more incentive for Wind to actually do something about their execrable service. At the very least it should give prospective customers pause.

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Cracking Into Your VirtualBox Windows 7 VM When You’ve Forgotten the Password

As I mentioned in a previous post, I’m now working with someone who has a couple of NFL handicapping programs. These are written in APL and only run on Windows machines. I have to install these programs, so I can see how they work. But I don’t currently have a running Windows machine. But I do have a Windows 7 virtual machine which runs on VirtualBox.

Great! But, oh, wait, I haven’t used this VM in ages, and I don’t remember the password. So a little googling for “windows 7 virtualbox password” brings me to Don’t get all excited, now. It’s a dud.
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What’s Been Happening – Feb 2015 Edition

TorStarSendOff-1024For the past 15 months I’ve had the tremendous pleasure of working at an institution I respect enormously: The Toronto Star. My job was to support the property, where hard working editors constantly maintain an up to date list of things to do, attractions, restaurants and events such as concerts and plays, in our wonderful city.

And along the way, I got to work with an awesome team of software professionals, tasked with supporting, maintaining and enhancing the digital version of Canada’s largest newspaper.

But, sadly, all things come to an end. The powers that be decided to move the site off the WordPress platform, and onto Adobe’s CQ5 content management system. So my job was disappearing. I was advised of this decision well in advance, so I started my job search early. But truth be told, I was kind of hoping something would materialize at TorStar.

It didn’t.
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PhotoQ Be Gone

I was recently contacted by Dave Wilson of Dave had been using the PhotoQ WordPress plugin for his photoblog. It allowed him to schedule the release of posts with a given image. It would additionally extract and display the image’s EXIF data. This was before WordPress could schedule posts on its own, and saved Dave all kinds of time. He could spend a few hours loading up pictures and posts, and he’d be set for a month of daily posts.

But nothing lasts forever, and Dave’s happy setup was disturbed as his host’s PHP engine was upgraded, while PhotoQ, now no longer supported, was not. The front end of the site still worked fine, but the admin side had issues.
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HotDocs, Aaron Swartz and Cory Doctorow

Cory and me

My friend Mariann has been an avid promoter and attendee of Toronto’s HotDocs festival, lo these many years. So it was no surprise when she called to recruit me to be part of her entourage while attending said festival. I had, in fact, discussed one of this year’s selections with colleagues at my new place of employment (well, perhaps not so new any longer: I’ve been there about six months now; but more on that another time), and was keen to attend a screening of The Internet’s Own Boy: Aaron Swartz. But not just any screening: one of the several screenings was to feature a panel discussion with Cory Doctorow, Lawrence Lessig, Gabriella Coleman and the director, Brian Knappenberger.
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Learning the Radio Alphabet


Last year I was taken with a sudden and feverish desire to master what some call the NATO Phonetic Alphabet. You know: Alpha, Bravo, Charlie, for ABC.

Except a phonetic alphabet is, in fact, something else; it’s a notational standard for the representation of a language. It’s about how to pronounce the language.

By contrast, the radio alphabet, allows you to accurately transcribe letters by assigning a word for each letter. Handily, the words assigned start with the letter they’re assigned to. So, Alpha for A, Bravo for B, and so on. It’s about reading it out to someone across, say, a radio, and being reasonably certain they won’t mistake a P for a T.

OK, so that’s the What. Continue reading