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Mantra: backup backup backup backup

Someone sent me an email which asked what to do since:

one of my external hard drives, the one with EVERYTHING I REALLY, REALLY WANT on it has died

Fixed iChat AV thru OpenBSD PF Firewall

This has been bugging me for ages, but the fix is so simple.
I use OpenBSD for my router, and have PF (Packet Filter) running the firewall and NAT rules.

I have previously setup the port forwarding, etc. according to Apple, but never could get a successful connection using video or audio (or screen sharing).

After reading a post on the OpenBSD misc mailing list I went back and read the OpenBSD 4.5 pf.conf man page.

There is a section of the man page that states (my emphasis):

fragment reassemble
Using scrub rules, fragments can be reassembled by normalization.
In this case, fragments are buffered until they form a complete
packet, and only the completed packet is passed on to the filter.
The advantage is that filter rules have to deal only with complete
packets, and can ignore fragments. The drawback of caching frag-
ments is the additional memory cost. But the full reassembly
method is the only method that currently works with NAT.
This is
the default behavior of a scrub rule if no fragmentation modifier
is supplied.

My scrub settings were such that I was filtering not complete packets, but fragments. The moment I changed the scrub settings to this:

scrub in on $ext_if all fragment reassemble

All worked perfect. I can initiate iChat calls and receive them too. Desktop sharing now works as well. All using Google talk (jabber) in iChat.

Note that in OpenBSD 4.6 or current there have been PF changes, so the wording of the scrub rule may be different. Always read the pf.conf man page for the release you are on.

Server Migration Complete

Thanks for your patience whilst I’ve been offline, and stick around!
I’ve moved off a vm infrastructure back to a real server that I’m in control of.

Translation for the Mac by Kavasoft

About 24 months ago I purchased a version of KavaSoft’s Translation Service application for the Mac. With the recent move from my old Powerbook to my new MacBookPro the application stopped working. Apparently the licence is tied not just to your purchase but to the computer you installed it on.

As I had used the Apple migration tool to move everything across to the new laptop, Translation Service stopped working. I dropped an email to the developer and literally got an email response 60 minutes later with an updated licence.

Now that’s customer service! There is nothing like a Mac application developer to renew your faith in customer service. After dealing with so many large companies for other IT support issues (Telstra I’m looking at you) – it is very refreshing to get such a favourable response. I’m a happy user and can still translate the odd French or Italian comments on flickr photo-streams I look at.

There is an updated version of Translation Services called KavaServices which sells for $20 and it does a whole lot of other conversion as well. I’m nothing more than a happy customer. The application is perfect for quick on the fly internet based language translation, and even translate right in the browser. Seen here are before/after shots from a flickr photo page.

Before Translation
Before Translation
After Translationdirectly in the browser!
After Translation

Thanks Kavasoft for the enjoyable support experience.

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