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Blog archives for May 2008

The Meerkat is loose!

After many months of development, I'm pleased to announce that Meerkat is ready! As the tag line goes, UNIX power, Mac style: SSH tunnels made easy. Meerkat is an easy to use SSH tunnel manager built specifically for the Mac. A lot of blood, sweat, and tears has gone into this release and I'm happy (and relieved) to get to this point.

If you're reading this on the actual site, you may also notice that I've redesigned the website. I hope that it makes more information available, while staying uncluttered and more easily manageable.

Lastly, I've also moved from WordPress to Drupal as my content management system. There are many reasons why, and I hope to blog about them in the near future, but for now, please do drop me a line if anything seems to be out of place.

And now, go get Meerkat! :-)

SSH tunnels for the common man (and woman)

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Thanks to the fine folks at TUAW, I've been alerted to an interesting start to a series at Apple Matters called Using SSH: Secure Tunnels for the Common Man. There's a nice bit of explanation on the need for and the basic concepts behind SSH tunneling.

Of course I'd be remiss to not mention Meerkat, Code Sorcery Workshop's next application, built specifically to address the need for easy and feature-rich management of SSH tunnels. Even for folks like me who know the Terminal commands for SSH and the concepts behind rather arcane uses such as dynamic forwarding as a SOCKS proxy, it's very useful to have menu bar access, Growl integration, Bonjour capability, and other Mac-like features for a classic UNIX tool like SSH.

However, I think that even with a tool like Meerkat, it's important to have some sort of forum or knowledge base for various uses of SSH, which is something that I hope to start when Meerkat launches. It's tricky because part of an SSH tunnel is inherently personal (e.g., your account details), but the basic concept can be shared for other people -- whether it's tunneling to your home iTunes collection, accessing your colocated Mac server securely via screen sharing, or securely browsing the web while on guest networks.

Anyway, give the article a look. I look forward to the upcoming installments -- SSH is a dark art to many and it's good to shed some light on it!

Posting issue resolved

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I'm happy to report that a rather longstanding issue with posting in Pukka has been resolved -- on the side of things. That is to say, the version of Pukka that you are using right now will now work properly with no action required on your part.

I had been getting some reports from users of periods of inability to post for a few months now, but only very occasionally. Users would get a message like this when trying to post:

This would happen many times in a row in a short period, but then eventually go away after a few minutes. It turns out that the resolution may have been due to users finally getting a different backend server, one without the problem, but without knowing otherwise on the frontend of things.

Unfortunately, the condition that was producing the posting problem was indistinguishable at a network level from being offline when trying to post (which would obviously fail). So it was difficult to determine if this was a sporadic networking problem on the user side or something deeper. However, in the last week or so, the frequency of folks seeing this problem went up, so I began to hand out some debugging builds of Pukka that could supply me with more information about what exactly was happening.

Once I had this info, I posted to the developer Yahoo! group about the problem and within a day or two, they were able to track it down to a problem in their system.

So in review, I'm happy that this is resolved, but by all means, please do let me know if you continue to see it, especially if you are using Ma.gnolia or another service as I have never had a report of a problem under those conditions.

I'd also like to extend an apology to users of Pukka who have been dealing with this for a couple months. As I've mentioned before, it can be difficult when core functionality of your application relies on a third-party, network-based service, so it's important that if you are having a problem that seems to be related to the service to let the developer know so that they can get to the bottom of things as quickly as possible. More votes means more time with my eyes on the problem and hopefully a speedy resolution!