#414 Secure Mail Tutorials, DAR fm to Record Radio, Taming the Terminal

This week I’ll talk about a new set of tutorials I created to give you step by step instructions on how to do the email signing/encrypting that Bart walked us through a few weeks ago, we’ll get a better answer on how to record radio stations, I’ll talk about my quest to find an easy, reliable way to broadcast a live demo and my lovely face at the same time. Then we’ve got a rather mammoth episode of Chit Chat Across the Pond with Security light, a dumb question from Ran about what you can do with VPNs, and then Bart starts a segment called Taming the Terminal – part 1 of n.

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Hi this is Allison Sheridan of the NosillaCast Mac Podcast, hosted at Podfeet.com, a technology geek podcast with an EVER so slight Macintosh bias. Today is Sunday April 14, 2013 and this is show number 414. This week I’ll talk about a new set of tutorials I created to give you step by step instructions on how to do the email signing/encrypting done that Bart walked us through a few weeks ago, we’ll get a better answer on how to record radio stations, I’ll talk about my quest to find an easy, reliable way to broadcast a live demo and my lovely face at the same time. Then we’ve got a rather mammoth episode of Chit Chat Across the Pond with Security light, a dumb question from Ran about what you can do with VPNs, and then Bart starts a segment called Taming the Terminal – part 1 of n. Let’s dig in.

Mac Roundtable

This week Steve Stanger, Chuck Joiner and I recorded episode 214 of the Mac Roundtable. We discussed such topics as

  • What is Adobe afraid of and why did they give away free copies of Premiere Pro at NAB?
  • Will we buy the Facebook One phone?
  • Will there every be an end to the “Apple is Dying” stories?
  • What do the Ambrosia Software layoffs mean for this stalwart of the Mac community?
  • Do we want/need another music stream service from Apple? (I slept through this part)

I hope you’ll go over to macroundtable.com and check out this fun episode and maybe even subscribe!

How to Set Up Signed and Encrypted Email

Back on Episode 412 two weeks ago, Bart taught us how to set up signed and encrypted emails from Mail.app. We’ve both been delighted by the number of people who gave it a shot. We had a lot of traffic on the blog about it, a few problems here and there but we’ve both noticed a lot of emails coming to us signed since then. When we first talked through it, I tried to make a Clarify document to make it easy for even more people to do it, but I got confused partway through on some of the steps and never finished the document. I did have Steve try to run through my document, and I’d gotten some steps out of order so that was good to get his help.

Bart and I got together on Skype yesterday and walked through all the screenshots I’d taken and decided we really should break it up into three parts:

  • The first tutorial walks you through how to obtain the certificate and generate your private key, which also lets you immediately send signed emails and then encrypt them between two parties.
  • The second tutorial is pretty short, it walks you through how to export your .p12 file containing the certificate and the private key so that you can use it on other Macs, other mail applications or on iOS devices
  • The third and final tutorial walks you through how to import the certificate and private key into iOS, which will allow you to read encrypted email you receive, and to send signed emails. Unfortunately as Bart will explain in Chit Chat Across the Pond, it’s just too darn hard to send encrypted email from iOS.

I took all three of these tutorials and put them in a single page under Tutorials over on podfeet.com entitled How to Set Up Signed and Encrypted Email. I hope if you haven’t tried it yet, you’ll go through the tutorials and get secure in your email.

Recording Radio Stations – Part 2

Back on show #410, Steve Mandala asked for help recording his favorite radio show on WFAN. I suggested using Audio Hijack Pro to get the job done. This week Kevin from Connecticut wrote in with a really cool solution I had never heard of before:

Anyway – I have a better solution than the one you suggested. DAR.fm is perfect for recording many radio programs, basically those that offer online streaming without the need to buy any locally installed software. DAR is a freemium service and while paid option would be great for pure radio buffs, the free one is good enough for me. The gratis option allows you to record one radio stream at a time and store 2 GB of data on their servers. There is a specific link for WFAN for this castaway . Francesa’s show is available.
dar.fm/submit_user_search.php?user_search=WFAN

I forwarded Kevin’s idea on to Steve and he wrote back,

Thank you for giving me ideas on recording my favorite sports talk radio show. But the solution from Kevin in Connecticut is fantastic! This is web based, I can store up to 2 gig for free, which is no problem since I’ll listen to the show and delete it. This site lets you edit how long you want to record the show for. I could record the whole 5 hour show if I wanted to. I edited the show to the first 25 minutes which is the show opening and I’m all set.

I’m glad the NosillaCastaways are there to help each other (I still thought my answer was slick thoughโ€ฆ) Anyway I just noticed something else cool. In Downcast (my favorite iOS podcatching client), under add podcasts it says “Download any AM/FM radio show as a podcast at DAR.fm”. The DAR.fm is a link and it opens a tiny web browser to that site and you can subscribe from there. How cool is that?

How to Show me and Demo at SVMUG

I’ve been asked to give a presentation at the Silicon Valley Mac Users Group, but remotely instead of in person. Lynda Gousha has asked me to this event. She’s a good friend of Donald Burr, and she was one of my fun dance companions at Cirque de Mac this year. If that isn’t enough of an endorsement I don’t know what is. Anyway, we got to talking about how to do a remote presentation. She said that they’ve done this successfully before, simply using the Apple Messages app. I would share my screen and hear my voice through Messages.

I thought it would be more entertaining to take it up a notch though. I like to have people see how animated I am waving my arms around with excitement and laughing at my own jokes. I also like to flip between boring old presentation mode (even if it IS in Keynote, it’s still boring to me) and move into a live demo mode. So I wanted something that would let me present, do a demo and have picture in picture of my lovely face.

I posted the question over in the NosillaCast Google Plus community (podfeet.com/googleplus) and got a few good ideas and one great idea. Kirschen suggested a webex type tool, but I’m too cheap to pay for anything like that. David Gerlits pointed me towards an article by Adam Engst on TidBITS that describes how to do it on Google Plus using two computers and two separate accounts. I will probably check that out at some point because it sounds confusing and complicated and geeky. Definitely my kind of thing to play with.

While we were going back and forth I realized that I actually have the tool to solve the problem. Every Sunday night at 5pm Pacific time I launch Wirecast Studio, and pipe in a video source of my screen plus a picture in picture of me! Of course I add all kinds of other complications to the mess to make it harder and more fraught with danger, but I think I could created a modified scenario that would work. I have to play with this still to see if I could pipe the Wirecast output as a camera into Messages or another tool like that. So far I only know how to make it go to Justin.tv or other sources like that. If we did it through Justin other people could watch it too but we’d lose the interactivity with the folks at SVMUG; they couldn’t ask questions or interrupt me during the talk.

Then back in the G+ community Nik Lal came up with a great idea. He suggested screensharing in Messages, but to bring up a Facetime window on the screen at the same time. He reminded me that when you bring up FaceTime and haven’t yet called anyone, it shows a live video of YOU. I think this is a brilliant solution! I asked whether maybe I could use Photobooth in the same way because it has the advantages of being able to add silly effects while I’m talking. Nik said he’d tried that and for him anyway, Photobooth comes out a bit granier than FaceTime. I’ll probably play around with both.

Kirschen jumped back into the G+ discussion and pointed me towards a post over on Smalldog on how to actually drop a Keynote presentation into a Messages session and share it out from there. Unfortunately for the life of me I can’t get any kind of sharing to work using Messages. In my poking around and reading articles on Macworld by the venerable Lex Friedman, I did finally figure out what the difference is between Messages and iMessage. iMessage is a protocol, Messages is an application. So with Messages you can send someone a message using iMessage as the protocol, but you can also send the message using the Google Talk protocol or Jabber or even AIM. In reading the help files I discovered something interesting about that. You CANNOT share your screen with someone using Messages IF you’re using the iMessage protocol. What the heck??? This is so convoluted. So I have to use Messages to share my screen (Unless they have Skype which is way way way simpler), but I can’t contact them using iMessage with Messages. My head hurts! So I’ll leave this for another day.

BlueMango Learning

As I mentioned at the beginning of the show, Bart and I reworked the tutorials I’d tried to make explaining signed and encrypted emails. I think this is a great example of where Clarify (and also ScreenSteps) both shine. I had taken the screenshots in Clarify but I had some ideas out of order. We were able to name each step and in the side panel simply drag the steps up and down to get them in the right order. Note that it was because I didn’t actually know what I was doing, not any fault of Clarify that they were disordered.

Anyway, when we got the idea to break it up into three lessons, we just assumed that it would work like the old fashioned tools, we’d duplicate the file, delete all the steps after and before a certain point and then save the two lessons. After we did all that work for the first document, I sort of accidentally right clicked when I had the steps I wanted to move selected, and right there was a selection called Create New Document Using Selected Steps.

I think that shows off the strength of both of these tools – they don’t assume you’ll completely understand what your finished product is when you start, instead they make it easy to reorder steps, create new lessons from the giant one, retake screenshots if you decide the one you have doesn’t convey what you wanted. Once we realized where we wanted to go, it was super easy to cut the one tutorial up into three and we were on our way. If you haven’t checked out Clarify yet, it’s $30 in the Mac App Store, or you can give it a 30 day trial run over at BlueMangoLearning.com for Mac OR Windows.

Chit Chat Across the Pond

Email Security Followup:

I think the last segment was the most popular segment we’ve ever done on CCATP!

In hind-sight, I tried to do too much in one segment – it should have been two segments, so we didn’t get to go into as much detail as we should have on some things.

While signing has no negative side effects, you need to be careful with encryption because there is a price to pay for the extra privacy. You shouldn’t just blindly encrypt everything because you can. Remember the side-effects:

  • Encrypted email can only be read on a computer that has your cert installed. Free certs only last one year, so to be able to read your old encrypted emails for ever, you will have to keep ALL your 1-year certs installed on your computer. Even if you pay for three-year certs, you only reduce the problem by a third.
  • Most webmail providers, including GMail lack support for S/MIME encryption, so your encrypted email probably won’t be readable on your webmail client.
  • While iOS makes it easy to get your cert installed so you can read encrypted emails, other than that it’s S/MIME support leaves a lot to be desired. To use S/MIME on iOS for more than just reading encrypted email you have to turn it on in the advanced settings of your mail account in the iOS Settings app. You can turn on S/MIME signing in there, and that works, but you can also turn on encrypting there, which I would urge against. Also, unlike in Mail.app on the Mac, iOS Mail does not automatically save people’s S/MIME certs, so you have to manually add each person’s cert before you can send them encrypted email.

Security Light

Important Security Updates:

Important Security News:

Suggested Reading:

VPN Dumb Q

Listener Ran writes:

Hi Allison:

Long time listener, really enjoy the show.

So I trudged through your tutorial on getting a VPN set up on my home iMac. After a few attempts, I was successful. Learned something too.

I managed to get VPN connectivity between my iPad and iMac. How cool. One problem, now what do I do with this connection? Seems like I need some kind of app on the iPad in order to make use of this wonderful secured connection. I’ve looked in the app store but all their solutions either were for connecting to Windows (ugh) or one ends up using another type of connection (VNR, I think).

Any suggestions on the right app to use on my iPad/iPhone to actually USE my iMac remotely?

Thanks, and keep up the great work.

Ran

The most common reason people use a VPN is to protect themselves while they are on public wifi, and for that you don’t need any apps at all. For most people, VPNs are not about using their Macs back home.

It’s very hard to answer an abstract question like this, because the best app to use will depend entirely on the actual problem you are trying to solve. I guess the most general kind of way you could use your Mac remotely would be using some sort of screen-sharing app. You can use iOS VNC clients like Mocha VNC (https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/mocha-vnc/id284981670?mt=8) to connect to Macs which have Screen Sharing turned on in the Sharing pref pane. Really though, I think the first step in finding the right app is figuring what problem you are trying to solve.

BTW – inspired by Donald’s segment, I tested out the OpenVPN iOS app – WOW – VPN support on iOS really has come a very very long way since I last looked at it a few years ago!

Main Topic – Taming the Terminal – Part 1of n

bartbusschots.ie/blog/?p=2413

===============
After Bart and I got off of Skype I tried out using Bart’s advice on how to play around inside my network when on my new shiny home VPN. I went into my Airport Extreme, and gave Steve’s Macbook Air a static IP. Then I got on the Mifi so I was outside the network, used Viscosity to connect into my home VPN. Then I simply went to Go in the Finder menu bar and selected connect to server and entered ftp:// followed by the static IP for the Macbook Air. Boom. or should I say booooom after ages I was able to navigate his hard drive after entering his credentials. Then I figured out that I could also screenshare into his Macbook Air by typing in vnc:// and his iP address. Again it wasn’t wicked fast, but if I had to do something on his Mac, this would be a viable solution. So thanks Ran for the question (and to several others who asked the same question) and to Bart for helping us to noodle through this.

That’s going to wind this up for this week, many thanks to our sponsor for helping to pay the bills, Blue Mango Learning at bluemangolearning.com makers of ScreenSteps and Clarify. Don’t forget to send in your Dumb Questions, comments and suggestions by emailing me at allison@podfeet.com, follow me on twitter at @podfeet. Check out the NosillaCast Google Plus Community too – lots of fun over there! If you want to join in the fun of the live show, head on over to podfeet.com/live on Sunday nights at 5pm Pacific Time and join the friendly and enthusiastic NosillaCastaways. Thanks for listening, and stay subscribed.

9 thoughts on “#414 Secure Mail Tutorials, DAR fm to Record Radio, Taming the Terminal

  1. Donald Burr - April 14, 2013

    Good answer Bart ๐Ÿ™‚ I’m glad my VPN tutorial

    VNC is a great way to use your Mac remotely over a VPN. My personal preference for VPN clients is Edovia’s Screens (https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/screens-vnc-control-your-computer/id446107677?mt=12). It is a fantastic VNC client and has the best UI of the bunch IMHO. You can also use Air Login (http://avatron.com/apps/air-login). I don’t have very much experience with this, having only heard of it recently. But it supposedly has some sort of trickery to make using a Mac remotely on a small iPad screen much easier: like it does some weird scaling of the menu bar, etc. so that it it is still visible (and more importantly, tappable), etc. The cool part about this solution is that normally Air Login is free only for accessing machines over a local network (you can pay a monthly fee to access your Mac remotely)… BUT since you are connected up to your Mac via VPN, you appear to it (and to Air Login) as if you’re on the local network! I have no idea if Avatron plans on addressing this hack/workaround, but my plan is to enjoy it while it lasts. ๐Ÿ™‚

    The problem with this is that your Mac must be on for you to be able to talk to it. If you like to sleep your Mac, you’ll need some way of waking it up remotely. Fortunately Macs have this built in, called Wake on LAN. To enable it, go to the Energy Saver system preference pane, and make sure the “Wake for network access” checkbox is ticked.

    The problem, however, is that the so-called “magic packets” that Wake on LAN requests use are one of those unroutable protocols that Bart talked about, and so normally there’s no way to send a Wake on LAN request across a VPN. The way I got around this was, as it turns out, my router, which runs DD-WRT, has built in to it the ability to send Wake on LAN “magic packets.” So I just open a web page to my router’s setup page (which I *can* access through the VPN), click over to the Wake on LAN page, then I can send a Wake on LAN request to any of the machines on my home network.

  2. Donald Burr - April 14, 2013

    Gah, brain fart, what I meant to say in that first sentence was something like “I’m glad people (including you) found my VPN tutorial interesting/useful/etc.”

  3. Donald Burr - April 14, 2013

    The analogy I like to use for the whole CLI vs GUI thing is how, when you’re traveling in a foreign country, you have two choices. You can either learn the language of the country where you’re going (either learning the language wholesale, or even just getting a good phrase book). OR you can buy one of those picture books, those books that have pictures of things that you point to to convey a message. For many cases, the picture books work well enough (Where is the nearest bathroom? Where is the nearest ATM? Where can I get my money converted? etc.) But past a certain point, it becomes harder to convey your message with the picture books, and eventually you need to resort to a phrase book, find someone who understands your native language and have them translate, etc.

  4. Donald Burr - April 14, 2013

    Also, Bart is not entirely correct when he says that the different shells use different languages. Not strictly correct. The basic “building blocks” of UNIX (the commands like ls, cat, etc.) are the same regardless of what shell you’re in. ls will act the same whether you’re in bash, tcsh, or zsh. What changes is the way in which you can string these commands together, and make decisions based on them (logic). This only really matters when you try and do more complex tasks with the shell, such as shell scripting (in essence, stringing lots of fundamental UNIX commands together to do powerful things).

  5. Bart B - April 16, 2013

    Hi Donald – I really like your analogy – I’ll remember that one for the future ๐Ÿ™‚

    As for commands, I really don’t think I said anything to imply that commands were different in different shells – I haven’t even gotten as far as mentioning commands other than to say that all shells are interfaces for running commands. We really were only talking about shells in this first instalment. I’m being exceptionally careful to keep the concepts of commands and shells separate – shells were this week, commands are up next. It’s precisely because it’s so easy to mix the two up that I made the concerted effort to separate the two concepts into two entirely separate shows.

    I also think I made the point that individual commands are only small pieces in a bigger puzzle very strongly in the conclusion of the segment with my lego analogy. I used that analogy to try explain that the role of the shell is to let us built great things from the small building blocks provided by the *nix commands. I also disagree that the shell only matters when you do complex stuff, because most of the time you end up using shell functions like wild substitution or IO redirection of some sort even for simple tasks, like deleting all temp files (rm *.tmp), or finding out how many items there are in a folder (ls -l | wc -l). It is true that all *nix shells I have ever used do wild card substitution and IO redirection in the same way, but those are none-the-less shell features.

    Bart.

  6. Grumpy - April 21, 2013

    Loved this episode and very much looking forward to more of Bart’s Terminal Tutelage (since he has an affinity for alliteration)

    Regards,

    Mike P.

  7. Steve Davidson - April 29, 2013

    Allison, your description of the multiple shells as different “dialects” of UNIX was quite good. The underlying vocabulary is the same; specific usage and “accents” vary.

    I would like to point out that tcsh (“T Shell”), a precursor to bash, also has command completion (ability to hit a tab key to fill in the rest, including directory/file path names), command history, etc. In fact, tcsh was the default shell on Mac OS X through Panther (or some other old feline), and I still use it daily on Mountain Lion (it is available from the user default shell list that Bart described, or can be involved on a session-by-session basis by simply issuing the “tcsh” command — and Migration Assistant retains this setting for me throughout the years). I have been told that bash is newer and therefore has more power. That may be the case; I haven’t run across any situations where I’ve found tcsh wanting. If someone knows of a good compare/contrast document that compares these two shells, I would be very interested..

  8. Bart Busschots - May 1, 2013

    Hi Steve,

    Wikipedia have a nice page comparing the features in lots of different command shells, including bash and tcsh: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparison_of_command_shells

    As you can see from the comparison tables nearer the top of the page, from a user-interaction point of view there are very few differences. The further you go down the page though, the more differences you start to see. Bash is undeniably a more capable scripting language than tcsh.

    If you’re comfortable having tcsh as your command shell, you may as well stick with it. For shell scripting though, I would suggest using bash.

    Hope that helps,

    Bart.

  9. Steve Davidson - May 1, 2013

    Thanks, Bart. Naturally, the answer would be in Wikipedia.

    It has been a very long time since I’ve done any serious scripting. In those days, the Sun SPARCstation 10 and SunMP ruled the roost, and I created and maintained all sorts of scripts for managing the services on those boxes. But by 2003-2006, we replaced them all with Xserves and Macs (and the scripts worked perfectly, after changing some of the directory paths).

    But those days are behind me, and (based on your recommendation), I’ll stick with tcsh.

    Again, thank you.
    Steve

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