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The end of software engineering and the last methodologist

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The end of software engineering and the last methodologist

Copy from Bertrand Meyer’s technology+ blog

(Reposted from the CACM blog [*].)

Software engineering was never a popular subject. It started out as “programming methodology”, evoking the image of bearded middle-aged men telling you with a Dutch, Swiss-German or Oxford accent to repent and mend your ways. Consumed (to paraphrase Mark Twain) by the haunting fear that someone, somewhere, might actually enjoy coding.

That was long ago. With a few exceptions including one mentioned below, to the extent that anyone still studies programming methodology, it’s in the agile world, where the decisive argument is often “I always say…”. (Example from a consultant’s page:  “I always tell teams: `I’d like a [user] story to be small, to fit in one iteration but that isn’t always the way.’“) Dijkstra did appeal to gut feeling but he backed it through strong conceptual arguments.

The field of software engineering, of which programming methodology is today just a small part, has enormously expanded in both depth and width. Conferences such as ICSE and ESEC still attract a good crowd, the journals are buzzing, the researchers are as enthusiastic as ever about their work, but… am I the only one to sense frustration? It is not clear that anyone outside of the community is interested. The world seems to view software engineering as something that everyone in IT knows because we all develop software or manage people who develop software. In the 2017 survey of CS faculty hiring in the U.S., software engineering accounted, in top-100 Ph.D.-granting universities, for 3% of hires! (In schools that stop at the master’s level, the figure is 6%; not insignificant, but not impressive either given that these institutions largely train future software engineers.) From an academic career perspective, the place to go is obviously  “Artificial Intelligence, Data Mining, and Machine Learning”, which in those top-100 universities got 23% of hires.

Nothing against our AI colleagues; I always felt “AI winter” was an over-reaction [1], and they are entitled to their spring. Does it mean software engineering now has to go into a winter of its own? That is crazy. Software engineering is more important than ever. The recent Atlantic  “software apocalypse” article (stronger on problems than solutions) is just the latest alarm-sounding survey. Or, for just one recent example, see the satellite loss in Russia [2] (juicy quote, which you can use the next time you teach a class about the challenges of software testing: this revealed a hidden problem in the algorithm, which was not uncovered in decades of successful launches of the Soyuz-Frigate bundle).

Such cases, by the way, illustrate what I would call the software professor’s dilemma, much more interesting in my opinion than the bizarre ethical brain-teasers (you see what I mean, trolley levers and the like) on which people in philosophy departments spend their days: is it ethical for a professor of software engineering, every morning upon waking up, to go to in the hope that a major software-induced disaster has occurred,  finally legitimizing the profession? The answer is simple: no, that is not ethical. Still, if you have witnessed the actual state of ordinary software development, it is scary to think about (although not to wish for) all the catastrophes-in-waiting that you suspect are lying out there just waiting for the right circumstances .

So yes, software engineering is more relevant than ever, and so is programming methodology. (Personal disclosure: I think of myself as the very model of a modern methodologist [3], without a beard or a Dutch accent, but trying to carry, on today’s IT scene, the torch of the seminal work of the 1970s and 80s.)

What counts, though, is not what the world needs; it is what the world believes it needs. The world does not seem to think it needs much software engineering. Even when software causes a catastrophe, we see headlines for a day or two, and then nothing. Radio silence. I have argued to the point of nausea, including at least four times in this blog (five now), for a simple rule that would require a public auditing of any such event; to quote myself: airline transportation did not become safer by accident but by accidents. Such admonitions fall on deaf ears. As another sign of waning interest, many people including me learned much of what they understand of software engineering through the ACM Risks Forum, long a unique source of technical information on software troubles. The Forum still thrives, and still occasionally reports about software engineering issues, but most of the traffic is about privacy and security (with a particular fondness for libertarian rants against any reasonable privacy rule that the EU passes). Important topics indeed, but where do we go for in-depth information about what goes wrong with software?

Yet another case in point is the evolution of programming languages. Language creation is abuzz again with all kinds of fancy new entrants. I can think of one example (TypeScript) in which the driving force is a software engineering goal: making Web programs safer, more scalable and more manageable by bringing some discipline into the JavaScript world. But that is the exception. The arguments for many of the new languages tend to be how clever they are and what expressive new constructs they introduce. Great. We need new ideas. They would be even more convincing if they addressed the old, boring problems of software engineering: correctness, robustness, extendibility, reusability.

None of this makes software engineering less important, or diminishes in the least the passion of those of us who have devoted our careers to the field. But it is time to don our coats and hats: winter is upon us.


[1] AI was my first love, thanks to Jean-Claude Simon at Polytechnique/Paris VI and John McCarthy at Stanford.

[2] Thanks to Nikolay Shilov for alerting me to this information. The text is in Russian but running it through a Web translation engine (maybe this link will work) will give the essentials.

[3] This time borrowing a phrase from James Noble.

[*] I am reposting these CACM blog articles rather than just putting a link, even though as a software engineer I do not like copy-paste. This is my practice so far, and it might change since it raises obvious criticism, but here are the reasons: (A) The audiences for the two blogs are, as experience shows, largely disjoint. (B) I like this site to contain a record of all my blog articles, regardless of what happens to other sites. (C) I can use my preferred style conventions.


Written by youryblog

January 25, 2018 at 4:01 PM

5 Steve Jobs quotes that will make you reevaluate your life choices

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Written by Workopolis,  Posted on October 5, 2016|B2C|NetworkNews|20161006|EN|C21005F20C793EB8068154D63A8A0D79|1

By all accounts, Steve Jobs was a difficult person to work with. He was, after all, the man that said, “my job is not to be easy on people. My job is to make them better.”

For all his faults (and perhaps because of them), Steve Jobs was someone that truly did help change the way the world works. To mark the 5th anniversary of his death, we’ve compiled some wise words from the man himself.

Here are 5 Steve Jobs quotes that will make you reevaluate your life choices:

“Have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow know what you truly want to become.”
Deep down, we all know what we’d really like to be doing. Sure, it’s probably not possible for you to become the Blue Jays’ starting shortstop, but ask yourself, is there something in that fantasy (aside from the money and fame) that can point you towards a job that you’ll truly love?

More importantly, what does that desire tell you about your current job? Do you wake up dreading going into the office? Your heart is telling you something – listen to it and have the courage to follow its lead.

“That’s been one of my mantras — focus and simplicity. Simple can be harder than complex; you have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple.”
Ever hear of the KISS Principle? KISS is an acronym for “Keep it simple, stupid,” which is a reminder that things tend to work best if they are kept simple.

KISS acronym

This principle runs through Jobs’ career and the design ethos he encouraged, but as he said, it’s also the more challenging approach to take. The thing is, it’s usually also the most rewarding.

Life tends to get more cluttered as we get older, but the more you can focus in on what’s important, to make things simple, the better off you’ll be.

“My model for business is The Beatles. They were four guys who kept each other’s kind of negative tendencies in check. They balanced each other, and the total was greater than the sum of the parts. That’s how I see business: Great things in business are never done by one person, they’re done by a team of people.”
When it comes to climbing the corporate ladder, you might feel as if you’re in this alone, but that isn’t always the best way to approach things. Even someone as successful as Steve Jobs was adamant that his success was built on the collaboration of many different people.

If you don’t have this kind of work environment, look for ways to better collaborate with colleagues and superiors. Propose new meetings and brainstorming sessions, and seek out feedback and opinions. Not only will this give your work the benefit of outside points of view, it will also open the door for future collaboration. If this really isn’t possible at your current job, maybe it’s time to look for something new? It might not be that hard to find. After all, as Drake and Rihanna have shown, this is the collaboration generation.

“I’m convinced that about half of what separates successful entrepreneurs from the non-successful ones is pure perseverance.”
Jobs was so dogged and determined, author Joshua Kendall believes he had obsessive-compulsive personality disorder. We’re not suggesting that you need to take things that far, but clearly, setting goals and chipping away at them over time is a good recipe for success. As Jobs himself showed, mistakes will happen over the course of a career. The important thing is to keep pushing ahead.

“We don’t get a chance to do that many things, and every one should be really excellent. Because this is our life. Life is brief, and then you die, you know? And we’ve all chosen to do this with our lives. So it better be damn good. It better be worth it.”
Maybe it’s dark to be constantly reminded of death. But sometimes, that’s exactly the kick in the pants we need. Life really is brief (Jobs died at the age of 56), and the things we do on a daily basis should be excellent. They should be worthy of our limited time.

Can you say that about your current career? If not, it’s time to make a change. It’s never too late, until it is.

Written by youryblog

October 6, 2016 at 9:59 PM

Ubuntu16/Windows2012/CentOS7 cheat-sheet (started 23 May 2016)

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  1. VMWare tools prereq: yum install perl gcc make kernel-headers kernel-devel -y
  2. aborted yum transactions should be cleaned up: yum-complete-transaction –cleanup-only
  3. How to reboot headless server with passphrase? here there are 2 of the best ones I’ve managed to found so far (after spending lots of hours trying out multiple impossible configurations ¬¬):

    After configuring the servers that way, one can decrypt the LUKS partition via SSH (using password or rsa-key) or an USB flash drive and let the system boot as usual. Quite useful in my case.


Ubuntu 16_04 64bit

  1. Static IP is not updated. Must restart server.

Windows 2012 R2 DC

  1. Firewall must be updated explicitly for the 3389 port to get remote desktop work.

Written by youryblog

May 23, 2016 at 10:11 PM

Posted in IT, UNIX/Linux tricks

The value of university

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 And the winners are…

Four-year non-vocational American colleges, ranked by alumni earnings above expectation

Our first-ever college rankings Oct 29th 2015, 15:41 BY D.R.


Rank▲ %ile College State Expected earnings Median earnings Over/Under
1 99 Washington and Lee University VA
2 99 Babson College MA
3 99 Villanova University PA
4 99 Harvard University MA
5 99 Bentley University MA
6 99 Otis College of Art and Design CA
7 99 Lehigh University PA
8 99 Alderson Broaddus University WV
9 99 Texas A & M International University TX
10 99 California State University-Bakersfield CA
11 99 Holy Family University PA
12 99 University of the Pacific CA
13 99 University of Saint Joseph CT
14 99 Bucknell University PA
15 98 University of Pennsylvania PA
16 98 Georgetown University DC
17 98 Drake University IA
18 98 Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute NY
19 98 California Lutheran University CA
20 98 California State University-Stanislaus CA
Sources: US Department of Education; The Economist

AMERICAN universities claim to hate the simplistic, reductive college rankings published by magazines like US News, which wield ever-growing influence over where students attend. Many have even called for an information boycott against the authors of such ratings. Among the well-founded criticisms of these popular league tables is that they do not measure how much universities help their students, but rather what type of students choose to attend each college. A well-known economics paper by Stacy Dale and Alan Krueger found that people who attended elite colleges do not make more money than do workers who were accepted to the same institutions but chose less selective ones instead—suggesting that former attendees and graduates of Harvard tend to be rich because they were already intelligent and hard-working before they entered college, not because of the education or opportunities the university provided.

On September 12th America’s Department of Education unveiled a “college scorecard” website containing a cornucopia of data about universities. The government generated the numbers by matching individuals’ student-loan applications to their subsequent tax returns, making it possible to compare pupils’ qualifications and demographic characteristics when they entered college with their salaries ten years later. That information offers the potential to disentangle student merit from university contributions, and thus to determine which colleges deliver the greatest return and why.

The Economist’s first-ever college rankings are based on a simple, if debatable, premise: the economic value of a university is equal to the gap between how much money its students subsequently earn, and how much they might have made had they studied elsewhere. Thanks to the scorecard, the first number is easily accessible. The second, however, can only be estimated. To calculate this figure, we ran the scorecard’s earnings data through a multiple regression analysis, a common method of measuring the relationships between variables.

We wanted to know how a wide range of factors would affect the median earnings in 2011 of a college’s former students. Most of the data were available directly from the scorecard: for the entering class of 2001, we used average SAT scores, sex ratio, race breakdown, college size, whether a university was public or private, and the mix of subjects students chose to study. There were 1,275 four-year, non-vocational colleges in the scorecard database with available figures in all of these categories. We complemented these inputs with information from other sources: whether a college is affiliated with the Catholic Church or a Protestant Christian denomination; the wealth of its state (using a weighted average of Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia for Washington) and prevailing wages in its city (with a flat value for colleges in rural areas); whether it has a ranked undergraduate business school (and is thus likely to attract business-minded students); the percentage of its students who receive federal Pell grantsgiven to working-class students (a measure of family income); and whether it is a liberal-arts college. Finally, to avoid penalising universities that tend to attract students who are disinclined to pursue lucrative careers, we created a “Marx and Marley index”, based on colleges’ appearances during the past 15 years on the Princeton Review’s top-20 lists for political leftism and “reefer madness”. (For technically minded readers, all of these variables were statistically significant at the 1% level, and the overall r-squared was .8538, meaning that 85% of the variation in graduate salaries between colleges was explained by these factors. We also tested the model using 2009 earnings figures rather than 2011, and for the entering class of 2003 rather than 2001, and got virtually identical results.)

After feeding this information into the regression, our statistical software produced an estimate for each college based exclusively on these factors of how much money its former students would make. Its upper tiers are dominated by colleges that emphasise engineering (such as Worcester Polytechnic) and attract students with high SAT scores (like Stanford). The lower extreme is populated by religious and art-focused colleges, particularly those in the south and Midwest. This number represents the benchmark against which we subsequently compare each college’s earnings figure to produce the rankings. The bar is set extremely high for universities like Caltech, which are selective, close to prosperous cities and teach mainly lucrative subjects. If their students didn’t go on to extremely high-paying careers, the college would probably be doing something gravely wrong. Conversely, a southern art school with low-scoring, working-class students, such as the Memphis College of Art, might actually be giving its pupils a modest economic boost even though they earn a paltry $26,700 a year a decade after enrolment: workers who attended a typical college with its profile would make about $1,000 less.

The sortable table above lists the key figures for all 1,275 institutions in our study that remain open. The first column contains the median post-enrolment salary that our model predicts for each college, the second its actual median earnings, and the third its over- or under-performance. Clicking on a university pops up a window that shows the three factors with the biggest effect on the model’s expectation. For example, Caltech’s forecast earnings increase by $27,114 as a result of its best-in-the-country incoming SAT scores, another $9,234 thanks to its students’ propensity to choose subjects like engineering, and a further $2,819 for its proximity to desirable employers in the Los Angeles area.

In an unexpected coincidence, it has come to our attention that the Brookings Institution, a think-tank in Washington, happens to have published its own “value-added” rankingsusing the scorecard data on the exact same day that we did (October 29th). Although their approach was broadly similar to ours, they looked at a much larger group of universities (including two-year colleges and vocational schools), and they appear to have used a very different set of variables. Above all, the Brookings numbers regard a college’s curriculum as a significant part of its “value add”, causing the top of its rankings to be dominated by engineering schools, and the bottom by art and religious institutions. In contrast, we treated fields of study as a reflection of student preferences, and tried to identify the colleges that offer the best odds of earning a decent living for people who do want to become artists or study in a Christian environment. Similarly, the Brookings rankings do not appear to weight SAT scores nearly as heavily as ours do, if they count them at all: colleges like Caltech and Yale, whose students subsequently earn far more money than those of an average university but significantly less than their elite test results would indicate, sit at the very bottom of The Economist’s list, whereas Brookings puts them close to the top.

It is important to clarify how our rankings should be interpreted. First, the scorecard data suffer from limitations. They only include individuals who applied for federal financial aid, restricting the sample to a highly unrepresentative subset of students that leaves out the children of most well-off parents. And they only track students’ salaries for ten years after they start college, cutting off their trajectory at an age when many eventual high earners are still in graduate school and thus excluded from the sample of incomes. A college that produces hordes of future doctors will have far lower listed earnings in the database than one that generates throngs of, say, financial advisors, even though the two groups’ incomes are likely to converge in their 30s.

Second, although we hope that our numbers do in fact represent the economic value added by each institution, there is no guarantee that this is true. Colleges whose earnings results differ vastly from the model’s expectations might be benefiting or suffering from some other characteristic of their students that we neglected to include in our regression: for example, Gallaudet University, which ranks third-to-last, is a college for the deaf (which is why we excluded it from our table in print). It is also possible that highly ranked colleges simply got lucky, and that their future students are unlikely to make as much money as the entering class of 2001 did.

Finally, maximising earnings is not the only goal of a college, and probably not even the primary one. In fact, you could easily argue that “underperforming” universities like Yale and Swarthmore are actually making a far greater contribution to American society than overperformers like Washington & Lee, if they tend to channel their supremely talented graduates towards public service rather than Wall Street. For students who want to know which colleges are likely to boost their future salaries by the greatest amount, given their qualifications and preferences regarding career and location, we hope these rankings prove helpful. They should not be used for any other purpose.

CORRECTION: An eagle-eyed commenter has alerted us that all 20 listed campuses of Pennsylvania State University appeared with the same median earnings. Other keen observers have noted irregularities regarding a handful of colleges with similar names in different states. In response, we have reviewed the scorecard database, consolidated all colleges with multiple campuses but a single listed salary figure, identified and distinguished universities with overlapping names, re-run the regression, and revised the rankings and the text of this blog post. As a result, the top and bottom ten colleges published in our print issue no longer exactly match the ones in these updated rankings. However, the vast majority of universities moved by no more than a handful of places. Additionally, we have removed references to “graduates” and “alumni”, to reflect the fact that the scorecard’s income data do not distinguish between graduates and students who enrolled but did not graduate.

Written by youryblog

April 5, 2016 at 10:35 PM

Useful: Move Your Apple Mail to a New Mac or a Clean Install Of OS X

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Published: 11/10/2009

Updated: 1/19/2015

Worked for me, but didn’t get accounts in System Preferences. Had to add email accounts manually to get calendars, but email accounts was not updated. As a temporary solution this is good enough.

Move Your Apple Mail to a New Mac or a Clean Install Of OS X

Setting up Mail again from scratch is a waste of time. Instead, migrate your Mail from a previous Mac.

Moving your Apple Mail to a new Mac, or to a new, clean install of the OS, may seem like a difficult task but it actually only requires saving three items and moving them to the new destination.

There are a few ways to perform the move. By far the easiest, and the most often suggested method is to use Apple’s Migration Assistant. This method works well in most cases, but there’s one drawback to the Migration Assistant.

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Its approach is mostly all-or-nothing when it comes to moving data. You can select some basic categories, such as applications or user data, or just support files, and most of the time it works fine.

Where you can run into problems is when there’s something wrong with your Mac. You’re not sure what it is, maybe a corrupt preference file or a system component that’s a little whacky, and causes problems now and then. The last thing you want to do is copy a bad file to your new Mac or new install of OS X. But starting over completely doesn’t make sense, either. You may have years of data stored on your Mac. While some of it may be fluff, other pieces of information are important enough to keep on hand.

While it may be easy to recreate your mail accounts on a new system, it’s not easy to start off fresh, with none of your older email available, your Mail rules gone, and Mail always asking for passwords that you may have long since forgotten.

With that in mind, here’s a simple way to move just the data Apple Mail needs to a new location.

When you’re done, you should be able to fire up Mail on your new system and have all your emails, accounts, and rules working just the way they did before the move.

What You Need to Move Mail

  • A way to transfer files to the new location. You can transfer your files over a network, burn them to a CD or DVD, copy them to a USB flash drive, or, if the new system is on the same Mac, copy them from one hard drive partition to another. We won’t discuss the actual mechanism you use to perform the transfer, only which source files need to be copied, and where they need to be stored in your new installation.
  • Administrative access to your data. You may need to change the file privileges, although for most users, this will probably not be necessary.

If you’re all set, then let’s get started.


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Back Up Before Moving Mail Data

If you’re using Time Machine for backups, be sure to add the Time Machine status item to your menu bar.

Before you start moving files around, make sure you have a current backup of your mail.

Back Up Data Using Time Machine

Select the ‘Back Up Now’ item from the ‘Time Machine’ icon in the menu bar or right-click the ‘Time Machine’ icon in the Dock and select ‘Back Up Now’ from the pop-up menu. If you don’t have the Time Machine menu bar item, you can install it by doing the following:

  1. Launch System Preferences by clicking the ‘System Preferences’ icon in the Dock, or selecting ‘System Preferences’ from the Apple menu.
  1. Select the ‘Time Machine’ preference pane in the System Preferences window.
  2. Place a check mark next to ‘Show Time Machine status in the menu bar.’
  3. Close System Preferences.

You can also create a backup using one of many third-party applications. Once you back up your data, you’re ready to continue.

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When Moving Apple Mail Copy Your Keychain Data

Before copying your Keychain files, make sure they are in good shape by running Keychain First Aid.

There are two folders and a file that need to be copied to your new Mac or your new system. You will actually be copying data for both Apple Mail and Apple’s Keychain application. The Keychain data you copy will allow Apple Mail to operate without asking you to supply all of your account passwords. If you only have one or two accounts in Mail, then you can probably skip this step, but if you have many Mail accounts, this will make using the new Mac or system easier.

Before you copy the Keychain files, it’s a good idea to repair the files to ensure the data within them is intact.

Repair Your Keychain Files

  1. Launch Keychain Access, located in /Applications/Utilities.
  2. Select ‘Keychain First Aid’ from the Keychain Access menu.
  3. Enter the User Name and Password for the user account you are currently logged in with.
  4. You can perform just a ‘Verify’ to see if anything is wrong, or you can select the ‘Repair’ option to verify the data and repair any problems. Since you have already backed up your data (you did back up your data, right?), select ‘Repair’ and click the ‘Start’ button.
  5. When the process is complete, close the Keychain First Aid window, and then quit Keychain Access.

Copy the Keychain Files to the New Location

OS X Lion and later, hides the users Library. You can make the username/Library folder visible by following the guide OS X Lion Is Hiding Your Library Folder.

  1. Open a Finder window by clicking the ‘Finder’ icon in the Dock.
  2. Navigate to username/Library/, where ‘username’ is the name of your home directory.
  1. Copy the Keychain folder to the same location on your new Mac or in your new system.


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Copying Your Apple Mail Folder and Preferences To a New Mac

The file contains your Mail accounts and preferences.

Moving your Apple Mail data is a pretty simple task, but before you do, you may want to take a bit of time to clean up your current Mail setup.

Apple Mail Cleanup

  1. Launch Apple Mail by clicking the ‘Mail’ icon in the Dock.
  2. Click the ‘Junk’ icon, and verify that all of the messages in the Junk folder are indeed junk messages.
  3. Right-click the ‘Junk’ icon and select ‘Erase Junk Mail’ from the pop-up menu.

Apple Mail Rebuild

Rebuilding your mailboxes forces Mail to re-index each message and update the message list to accurately reflect the messages actually stored on your Mac. The message index and the actual messages can sometimes get out of sync, usually as the result of a Mail crash or an unintended shutdown. The rebuild process will correct any underlying issues with your mailboxes.

If you use IMAP (Internet Message Access Protocol), the rebuild process will delete any locally cached messages and attachments, and then download fresh copies from the mail server. This can take quite a while; you may decide to forgo the rebuild process for IMAP accounts.

  1. Select a mailbox by clicking once on its icon.
  2. Select ‘Rebuild’ from the Mailbox menu.
  3. Once the rebuild is done, repeat the process for each mailbox.

Copy Your Mail Files

OS X Lion and later, hides the users Library. You can make the username/Library folder visible by following the guide OS X Lion Is Hiding Your Library Folder.

  1. Quit Apple Mail if the application is running.
  1. Open a Finder window by clicking the ‘Finder’ icon in the Dock.
  2. Navigate to username/Library/, where ‘username’ is the name of your home directory.
  3. Copy the Mail folder to the same location on your new Mac or in your new system.

Copy Your Mail Preferences

  1. Quit Apple Mail if the application is running.
  2. Open a Finder window by clicking the ‘Finder’ icon in the Dock.
  3. Navigate to username/Library/Preferences, where ‘username’ is the name of your home directory.
  4. Copy the ‘’ file to the same location on your new Mac or in your new system.

That’s it. With all the necessary files copied to the new Mac or system, you should be able to launch Apple Mail and have all of your emails in place, your Mail rules functioning, and all Mail accounts working.


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Moving Apple Mail – Troubleshooting Keychain Issues

The Keychain list shows which Keychains are being shared. If a Keychain is shared, you may not be able to replace it.

If something can go wrong, it usually will, and moving Keychains around can cause a problem. Luckily, it is easy to correct.

Problems With Keychain

When you try to copy the Keychain file to its new location on your new Mac or system, the copy may fail with a warning that one or more Keychain files is in use. This can happen if you have already used your new Mac or system, and in the process, it created its own Keychain files.

To work around the problem, try the following:

  1. Launch Keychain Access, located in /Applications/Utilities, on your new Mac or system.
  2. Select ‘Keychain List’ from the Edit menu.
  3. Make a note of which Keychain files in the list have a check mark next to their name.
  4. Uncheck any checked Keychain files.
  5. Repeat the instructions on Page 3 to copy the Keychain files to your new Mac or system.
  6. Reset the check marks in the Keychain list to the state you noted above.


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Moving Apple Mail – Troubleshooting Mail Issues

Your Mail files should list you as having ‘Read & Write’ privileges.

Moving mail files between systems can cause permission problems. Fortunately, these problems are easy to correct.

Problems With Copying Mail Files

Occasionally, you may run into a problem when you first launch Apple Mail on your new Mac or system. The error message will usually tell you that Mail does not have permission to access a file. The usual culprit is username/Library/Mail/Envelope Index. Make a note of which file is listed in the error message, then do the following.

  1. Quit Apple Mail, if it’s running.
  2. Open a Finder window by clicking the ‘Finder’ icon in the Dock.
  3. Navigate to the file mentioned in the error message.
  4. Right-click the file in the Finder window and select ‘Get Info’ from the pop-up menu.
  5. In the Get Info window, expand the ‘Sharing & Permissions’ item.
  6. Your username should be listed as having Read & Write access. You may find that, because the account IDs between your old Mac and the new system are different, instead of seeing your username listed, you see ‘unknown.’ To change the permissions, do the following:
  7. Click the lock icon in the bottom right corner of the Get Info window.
  8. Enter your administrator username and password, and click ‘OK.’
  9. Click the ‘+’ (plus) button.
  10. The ‘Select a New User or Group’ window will open.
  11. From the list of users, click your account, and click ‘Select.’
  12. The selected account will be added to the Sharing & Permissions section.
  13. Select the ‘Privileges’ item for the account you added in the Get Info window.
  14. From the Privileges dropdown menu, select ‘Read & Write.’
  1. If there is an entry with the name ‘unknown,’ select it, and click the ‘-’ (minus) sign to delete the entry.
  2. Close the Get Info window.

That should correct the problem. If Apple Mail reports a similar error with another file, you may want to just add your username to every file in the Mail folder using the Propagate command.

Propagating Your Privileges

  1. Right-click the Mail folder, located at username/Library/.
  2. Using the instructions above, add your username to the Permissions list, and set your permissions to ‘Read & Write.’
  3. Click the gear icon at the bottom of the Get Info window.
  4. Select ‘Apply to enclosed items.’
  5. Close the Get Info window and try launching Apple Mail again.

You can also try reseting user permissions, if all else fails.

That’s it. You should be ready to go with Apple Mail.

Published: 11/10/2009

Updated: 1/19/2015

Written by youryblog

July 11, 2015 at 9:07 PM

Posted in MacOS

Home Row Computing on Macs from

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It can be interested for the mac lovers:

It can be interested for the mac lovers:

Home Row Computing on Macs Nov 24th, 2014

For a number of years I’ve configured my desktops so that most tasks can be done using only home row keys on the keyboard, a technique I call home row computing. It takes the Vi idea of staying on the home row to every app, all the time, but without using modes so things are simpler.

I’ve described an implementation for Windows, but I have since moved to Macs and back to a qwerty keyboard (away from Dvorak). The current setup is described in this post. It uses familiar Vi key bindings and is far more suitable. It’s fairly painless to configure on the Mac and has never given me any problems, thanks to Takayama Fumihiko’s awesome keyboard apps.

Using this is a joy. It’s really fast, easy on the hands, and makes you feel like a geek god. If you don’t use Vim, you’ll now have one of its benefits in your favorite editor and in other apps, plus a weapon against smug Vimmers. If you already use Vim, your cherished hjkl keys become universal and pressing Esc gets a hell of a lot easier.

Some of the important keys that must be moved to home row are the arrow keys, Esc, delete (backspace) and forward delete. Another helpful home row task is moving and resizing windows. The key to all this is remapping Caps Lock to allow combinations of Caps Lock plus a home key to do these tasks. Again, there are no modes involved here, Caps Lock works as a modifier like the cmd and fn keys. Here’s a good start:

I have left several keys unmapped so you can customize your own setup, and we’ll get to window management in a moment. The first step is to set Caps Lock to No Action in System Preferences > Keyboard > Modifier keys:

Now we must remap the Caps Lock key code to something else. To do so, you need a small tool called Seil (open source). You can map Caps Lock to any other key, like cmd or option. So if you don’t want to go all-out home row, you can still benefit from the remapping.

I like to remap Caps Lock into something that guarantees no conflicts ever for our combos. So I use key code 110, which is the Apps key on a Windows keyboard and is safely absent from Apple keyboards:

Now we’re in business, the world – or at least the keyboard – is our oyster. The maker of Seil also makes Karabiner, open as well and an outstanding keyboard customizer for OS X. I have no affiliation with these tools, apart from being a happy user for years. If you end up using them, please donate. So go ahead and install Karabiner, and you’ll see a plethora of keyboard tweak possibilities:

Each of the tweaks can be toggled on and off. There are even native Vi, Vim, and Emacs modes. However, I don’t like the built-in ones, so I built my own config. Go to Misc & Uninstall and click Open private.xml:

In this file, ~/Library/Application Support/Karabiner/private.xml, you can define your own keyboard remapping scheme. I actually symlink that to a Dropbox file to keep the configuration consistent across my machines, but at any rate, here is a file you can use to implement what we have discussed so far. Drop the file in, click ReloadXML and you’ll have this:

Home Row Computing is at the top (prefixed with ! for sorting). Toggle it on, and you’re done. Enjoy your new keyboard layout, do a search on Spotlight and see how fast and smooth it is to choose an option.

Finally, there is window management. That’s an area where you can fumble quite a bit, resizing and moving about clumsily with a mouse. My favorite options to make it fast and homerow-friendly are ShiftIt (open) and Moom (best $10 I ever spent, no affiliation). There are some others, but to me Moom towers above the rest. It has a great two-step usage, where one hot key activates it:

And the following key triggers a command you get to define using window primitives like move, zoom, resize, and change monitors. You can also define shortcuts that run commands directly. Moom has some handy default actions:

Out of box, arrow keys can be used to send a window to the left, right, top, or bottom of the screen, and Moom natively interprets hjkl as arrows making it easy to stay on home row. You can associate keys with various commands and precise window positions:

This is gold for large monitors like Apple Thunderbolts. I remap Caps Lock + M into the global Moom shortcut for painless activation. This allows me to set the shortcut itself to something bizarre that won’t conflict with anything but would be a dog to type. Currently it’s an improbable Fn + Control + Command + M. I also have Caps Lock + N activating a Moom command that cycles a window between my two monitors. Both of these shortcuts are in the keyboard map I provided.

If you have any questions, let me know. I know a number of keyboard nuts out there use this scheme on Windows and Linux, and I hope this makes it easy to do so on Macs.

Written by youryblog

May 15, 2015 at 6:00 PM

Posted in MacOS

How Ben Horowitz Accidentally Invested in a Company Now Worth $2.8 Billion

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I like this example: How Ben Horowitz Accidentally Invested In Slack “On Tuesday at the Milken Institute Global Conference in Los Angeles, Horowitz explained to a packed ballroom how Slack — the company now valued at $2.8 billion that is threatening to replace e-mail — came about after its founder failed to launch another idea. Stewart Butterfield, the founder of Flickr, originally got funding from Horowitz for a multiplayer game he was creating called Glitch. Yet Glitch was built on Flash and soon after the game was funding, Apple’s Steve Jobs and others stopped supporting Flash player. This made it impossible for Glitch to roll out onto mobile. “

Written by youryblog

April 30, 2015 at 3:50 PM

Posted in Business, Interesting