Mac: re-creating a Mac Mini Fusion drive

Mac: re-creating a Mac Mini Fusion drive

Somehow my Mac Mini fusion drive ‘split’ into two parts, the SSD part and the normal hard drive part.  I noticed it when I was installing macOS High Sierra on my Mac Mini to (hopefully) turn it into a Mac server on my home network to manage users, and help deploy software updates to the family’s multiple macOS and iOS devices.

This article tells you how to put them back together – How to create your own fusion drive

Now my Mac Min’s drive is back in one piece, so far so good and the new installation of macOS High Sierra is running very well.  Next step is to install macOS Server but that will have to wait for another weekend 😀





MacOS: using emoji in your messages and emails

MacOS: using emoji in your messages and emails

On my iPhone its so easy to use emoji in my emails and messages, I have an emoji keyboard that I just access whenever I need to insert an emoji into an email or a message to emphasise the emotional content of the message but on my my Mac I have always struggled to do it as easily

One day in frustration I finally decided to reasearch how to do it easily on my Mac and found out its even easier than on my iPhone – just press Control + Command and press the Space bar and hey presto an emoji character view appears, just double-click on the emoji (or any other character you want to insert) and it appears in your message

Hopefully this will help someone else too 😀 👍 😎 🤓

iPad issues: can receive but not send emails … it could be your modem settings

iPad issues: can receive but not send emails … it could be your modem settings

I hope this post will help someone else overcome this issue. It stumped me for a while but I’m thinking the solution might be common to a few people, even though they may not be using exactly the same internet service provider (ISP) as me.

Cutting to the chase – the problem was the ’email abuse’ (read spam) settings on the modem/router.  To prevent email abuse/spam, my modem/router has a setting to only use nominated outgoing email servers.  There is a settings file that is updated by the ISP and options to add new servers to the list.

It seems (or my theory is) that apple changed its secure SMTP server settings recently and the settings file from my ISP is taking a while to catch up.  The base smtp server is in the list ( and some of the many alternatives starting with p[99]- where [99] is some sort of sequence number.  My ISP’s settings file went up to p24- but my iPad’s mail app was trying to send things on p62-…



The reason the problem was so hard to diagnose was that my iPad just kept trying to send the mail…. and it never finished sending, no error messages, no hint as to why it could not send.  I tried all sorts of trouble shooting tips as per the articles Google suggested when I went looking for ‘iPad cant send emails’.

What also made it hard was other devices were able to send, just not one iPad in the family.  Then, it was 2, then 3 devices… it seems the iPad was just the first to notice the problem and so I went looking for a common reason and started with the modem/router and that is when I found the ‘E-mail abuse detection’ settings (see above).

When I toggled the ‘Use E-mail abuse detection’ setting, an error message popped up on my iPad and told me that an SMTP server starting with p62-… could not be used for some reason and this gave me the clue I needed.

Turning the setting off completely means I can use any outgoing SMTP server which is great but I guess it leaves me open to email abuse (??? – I guess).  Turning it on means I either have to:

  • configure my iPad’s email app to use a specific SMTP server (one in the list), or
  • add my own SMTP servers to the list (and keep the list up to date), or
  • rely on my ISP to keep the list up to date.

I decided on a combo solution:

  • add a specific SMTP server to my iPad’s email settings (as a sort of fall back), and
  • rely on my ISP to keep the list up to date (eventually).

That way when Apple give me an SMTP server to use that is not in the list, my mail app will use the fall back server. Otherwise, it will find the SMTP server in the list and I am also protected from email abuse 🙂 win-win

Dark Tower: 8 books to 1 film?

Dark Tower: 8 books to 1 film?

Credits: all images courtesy of Sony.

On the side of a bus the other day, I saw an ad for the upcoming film The Dark Tower. For the Stephen King fans out there I do not need to explain what The Dark Tower series is but just in case you do need to know, its one of King’s masterpieces.

But then it hit me, I found myself asking, how can they compress 8 wonderful books into a film? as did the author of this blog .  A similar thought occurred to me when I saw that there were to be 3 Lord of the Rings films but hey, 3 books, 3 films and Jackson did a wonderful job of making each one fit.  … but 8 books into 1 film? I’m intreagued as to how that will be done and I cant wait to see the film.

I won’t spoil the story for you but if you need to know anything about the books and the story, read this wonderful blog explaining the film  (and I guess the books as well 😀 ).  It certainly covers the main characters and the essence of the story.

I for one can’t wait to see the movie.  More to add to this blog when I have… its due for its Australian premier on 17 August 2017.  Not sure if I’ll be able to walk the red carpet on the night 😉 but I wont wait too long to see it after it premiers.  Here is a link to the trailer in case you want to get a taste. from the trailer it looks quite different but also familiar … I guess that must be part of the 8 books into 1 film formula.  never the less, I am really looking forward to it…oh boy, oh boy, oh boy…this is going to be great!  :)… [to quote a line from “Animal House”.

Data Modelling: Anchor/Buoy is dead, long live…

Data Modelling: Anchor/Buoy is dead, long live…

I admit it, I’m a data modeller at heart, having been inspired by Graeme Simsion of “Data Modelling Essentials” fame and more recently “The Rose Project” series and “The Best of Adam Sharp”.

Years ago I came across a modelling technique called “Anchor/Buoy” (‘A/B modelling’ for short) on a web site called xxx.  It intregued me and I used the technique on a few personal projects, mostly with Apple’s FileMaker.

Browsing some old research stuff I now find that A/B modelling is “dead” and it’s long live “selector/connector” modelling instead.  The details are in this blog “life after anchor/buoy”.

Most recently I have become very interested in “Data Vault” but this new modelling technique (new to me at least) is very interesting to me.  It has a number of concepts and ideas that really add something to the whole data modelling meta-verse 🙂

If you,like me, are a data modeller at heart, take a look and let me know what you think.


Comment ça va?

Comment ça va?

For this blog I thought I would reminisce about my reasons for wanting to learn French and to talk a little bit about my progress so far.

Years ago a friend took me to see a move, Amelie, with Audrey Tatou.  The movie had English subtitles but the language spoken by the actors was French.  It was really lovely to listen to and it just seemed to flow from the screen like silk.  I was so enchanted by the experience (and Audrey 😉 ) that I decided I would like to learn French.

After a few failed attempts to teach myself with books and CD’s I found Babbel and started studying French (and a few other languages) ousing my iPad and iPhone.  I found ut to be very convenient being able to do it on the bus, having a coffee or whenever I had some ‘spare time’.

But then work got in the way…and moving house… and, and and… and I slipped behind and forgot a lot of what I had learnt.

So, a few weeks ago I started again and repeated the beginner’s course again.  I was surprised that it seemend pretty easy, I must have remembered more than I thought.  now I am most of the way through the 3rd Beginner’s course (there are 6 in all) and I am enjoying it all over again.

I hope to be finished the beginner’s courses before I go on my next holiday and doing the intermediate courses.

For anyone wanting to learn a language I would certainly recommend Babbel.  However, I must also say that I thinking of taking up an external course as well so I can be with other people learing the same language.  Its nice and convenient to learn on Babbel but I also think I need to practice with other people as well.

New Builder addon

New Builder addon

Another short post about an update to a favourite WordPress Addon from – the new Builder addon.  This follows up my previous post on the new slideshow addon (about a week ago).

I use Builder on just about all the WordPress sites I have developed so far, I find it very flexible in terms of its layout options and range of widgets.  I’m aware there are a number of similar addons out there but I like Builder as its ‘built in’ to the themes I use and also allows me to create my own layouts on pages I create.

In a way it reminds me of the Rapidweaver ‘stacks’ I used to use when I started creating web sites with Rapidweaver.

These days most of the stuff I do is in WordPress and I still like the ability to drop widgets into place and create a layout without having to dive into HTML and CSS most of the time and still be able to do this when I need to.

The main features I like in the update are the new, cleaner and simpler ‘front end’ (combined with live preview, to see how I am going as I do my layout) and the increase in the number and options available for widgets in the back end.

If you are new to WordPress, I can recommend for the variety of what they offer as a member.  You may not need it all at first but in my own experience I have used quite a lot over the past few years since I’ve been a member and the membership has paid for itself.