Fastest and Easiest Way to Sync Sites in FileZilla on your Mac via Dropbox

FileZilla So I’ve been a long time user of FileZilla and awhile back I looked into how to share my site list across multiple machines and one method many people were doing was storing their application settings on Dropbox by modifying their fzdefaults.xml to point to a location under your Dropbox folder.

I’ve been using that method for quite some time and it generally works well. I do hit into a couple issues.

  • Besides syncing just my sites, it also synced other application settings (e.g. window size, last location) and when you have monitors with different resolutions, it starts to become annoying.
  • I ended up with a file conflicts whenever I had FileZilla running on multiple machines at the same time. Typically it was filezilla.xml and queue.sqlite3 that would end up having conflicts.
  • Because fzdefaults.xml was stored in the Application (/Application/FileZilla/Contents/SharedSupport/) and not in the user settings (~/.filezilla/), whenever I upgraded FileZilla to the newest version, it would overwrite my fzdefaults.xml file and I would have to go and fix it every time.

What I decided to do instead was create symbolic links to the files I want to sync. The only 2 files I think that matter are bookmarks.xml and sitemanager.xml.

  1. Quit FileZilla.
  2. If you’ve created/modified fzdefaults.xml in the past, back up and delete that file.
  3. Create a folder inside your Dropbox folder to save your FileZilla settings to (e.g. ~/Dropbox/FileZilla/).
  4. Move your existing bookmarks.xml and sitemanager.xml that you want to share from ~/.filezilla/ to ~/Dropbox/FileZilla/. You may need to do this inside a terminal.
  5. Create symbolic links for those 2 files:
    ln -s ~/Dropbox/FileZilla/bookmarks.xml ~/.filezilla/bookmarks.xml
    ln -s ~/Dropbox/FileZilla/sitemanager.xml ~/.filezilla/sitemanager.xml
    Once again, you’ll need to do this inside a terminal.
  6. Start FileZilla and make sure everything is working.
  7. Create symbolic links similarly for the rest of your computers.

Twitter Weekly Updates for 2011-11-27

Twitter Weekly Updates for 2011-11-20

No Simple Solution To Convert Analog Computer Speakers to Accept Optical / Digital Input

Logitech X-530 Speakers

After switching to the Mac mini, I haven’t been fully utilizing my 5.1 speakers. The Mac mini only supports stereo mini and optical outputs and my Logitech X-530s are analog computer speakers. Currently, only the L/R speakers are enabled and I wanted to remedy that.

First I tried looking for some cheap surround sound optical speakers, but hardly anyone seems to make them these days. Back in the day, there were Creative Soundworks, Klipsch, and Logitech. The only one I found was the Logitech Z-906, which many reviews are saying aren’t as good as its predecessor, the Logitech Z-5500. Either way, the Logitech Z-906 costs ~$300 and for that price, I might as well go for a real receiver.

Second, I tried to see if there was any device that would take optical input and output surround sound. Apparently these devices aren’t exactly that popular. I did find 2:

They cost about $60-80 and are made from brands I’ve never heard of. The build quality from the pictures also look rather crappy.

If I were indeed going to get a receiver, I wondered if I’d be able to reuse my existing speakers. Was there something that would convert 3.5mm stereo mini / RCA to regular speaker wires. Apparently a quick search showed me how stupid I was for thinking that. I forget the terminology they used, but it had something to do with computer speakers being powered and you may end up damaging your hardware if you ever mix them.

I wonder if a home theater setup for my computer will be overkill… Then again, I sit in front of my computer multiple magnitudes more than I sit in front of my TV. Hmmmmm… I don’t really need something that fancy. I’m currently looking at the Onkyo HT-S3400 (Newegg / Amazon), both which have it for $260 and appear to be the lowest it’s been (price comparison).

Getting Around Incorrect Password When Trying to Enable SMB on Mac OSX

So with my files halfway transferred, I began to setup file sharing on Mac OSX Lion. Things were pretty straight forward. Go to Sharing; enable File Sharing; add the directory I want to share; modify the access rights. To enable SAMBA, I just had to go into Options… and check Share files and folders using SMB (Windows) and select the Windows account(s) I want to have access to the file shares.

My HTPC uses a different login and I wanted to add a sharing only account to the access list. Simple enough. Click the + button and set the username and password and also enable it for SMB. But then I kept getting this error:

Mac OSX SMB Incorrect Password

To enable file sharing using SMB for “login”, enter the password password for that account.

Incorrect password

I’ve double checked to make sure I had the right password and even tried deleting the account and creating a new one, but couldn’t understand why it kept thinking my password was incorrect. One thought was maybe sharing only accounts couldn’t have SMB access? So I started searching for a solution online. A couple people seem to have hit into this issue, but no one seemed to have found a solution.

Solution:

To fix this, instead of creating the new account inside the Sharing window, go to Users & Groups and create a new Sharing Only account there. It requires the same fields, but when you try to enable SMB for that account, you won’t get the “incorrect password” message anymore.

Hope this helps!

Project Get Rid of PCs

So Project Get Rid of PCs is officially underway! I decided I had too many computers running in my house and 2 of them are just fancy file servers. Now that I switched to a Mac mini, my Windows desktop has become nothing more than my video encoder / Quicken host, which I plan on converting to a VM.

Unofficially, this is also called Project Conserve Energy (for those who might not share my opinion on Mac OSX, you must at least agree conserving energy is good). I’ll be able to power down 3 full computers (hosting a total of 12 HDDs running 24/7) and replace them with 4 power-saving external USB drives.

I was initially planning to start this project during holidays, but with the floods in Thailand and the expected hard drive shortages, I decided to get them before the price was blown out of proportion. Costco had a coupon where the Western Digital 3TB drives would be $20 off and when SlickDeals reported the final price was $110, I decided to bite.

Even though Costco’s coupon showed a limit of 5 per customer, they had a sign up that said limit 2 due to the flooding in Thailand. SlickDeals did report you can actually bypass the limit as long as it’s only 2 per transaction.

Anyway, I pulled Derek along since these hard drives were going to come out of HD-Trailers.net’s budget, but was sad to find out that Issaquah was sold out of them. Their computer showed 6 in stock, but probably in people’s cart. The told us that Kirkland still had ~30 in stock and Derek was cool enough to take a side trip to Kirkland Costco. We each picked up 2 and my original estimation of ~$500 came pretty close. I had altered my estimated cost to ~$600 after I heard about the flooding in Thailand.

Western Digital My Book Essential 3TB External USB Drives

The plan was to have 2 sets of mirrored drives (RAID 1) and as Ryan has painfully found out, it’s impossible to use the Apple software to raid 3TBs. I went ahead and installed SoftRAID and setting up the arrays was really easy.

External USB Drive Setup

Now comes the long part of moving all the crap off my existing file servers onto these external USB drives.

Google Testing Out New YouTube on Chrome?

To back up the story a bit on why I was using Chrome, Derek has convinced me to abandon Adobe Flash a long while back and so far it’s worked out pretty well. I use Firefox as my main browser, but in the small chance that I need to use Flash (e.g. a particular YouTube video that doesn’t have HTML5/webm support yet), I switch over to Chrome, which comes with Flash support built-in.

So last night I noticed a big change in YouTube’s UI:

YouTube on Chrome

But was shocked to find out they reverted back today:

YouTube on Firefox

Turns out if you’re using Chrome, you get their new shiny unified (Google Plus) interface, but if you’re using any other browser (so far I’ve tested Firefox and Safari), you get their old look.