Apple Internet

Cincinnati Bell FiOptics Gigabit

Just a quick note about Cincinnati Bell FiOptics Gigabit service, it’s pretty much fantastic. I ran this tonight (2014-10-06 23:16:45 EDT), and although I’ve had the download a bit faster (as much as 850 Mbps), this is still amazingly fast internet.


But one thing I think that’s worth mentioning, and something Cincinnati Bell does at least a decent job of doing themselves, is that you will not be able to achieve these speeds without hardware to support gigabit internet. Without actually looking it up, I would guess that most Macs built within the past 5 years (or so) have a gigabit Ethernet port. More recent PCs probably have this as well. But what will really trip you up is your network hardware. In my household we have a number of Apple Airport Extreme’s which have gigabit ports, both on the LAN and WAN ports. What I discovered, however, is that converting a WAN input (from the FiOptics 1 Gbps service) to a useable 1 Gbps LAN output is not as simple as making sure the WAN and LAN ports are the gigabit variety. The best my Apple hardware could muster is about 250 Mbps. I ended up referencing the following WAN to LAN chart in order to find a router capable of converting WAN to LAN at the full 1 Gbps. As you can see via my results above, accounting for overhead and some network congestion, I’m pulling (more or less) the 1000 / 250 Mbps connection I was told I could receive. I say “could” because they only guarantee 300 Mbps down … I’m not sure what an acceptable upload speed is.

In summary, the speed is fantastic.

2014-10-07 Update

I found a server in Chicago (Comcast, ironically) that would allow me to test at 1 Gbps.

2015-04-07 Update

Speeds are as good, if not better, 6 months later. I see fiber lines going up (or already up) all over the city. If you can get FiOptics Gigabit service, I highly recommend it!


2015-10-27 Update

While speeds are still good, depending on the server you hit, you never see these speeds in real-world usage. Even big companies like Apple or Microsoft that use CDNs don’t allow (or cannot provide due to capacity constraints) much more than 100 – 150 Mbps. That said, most places will let you upload at almost full speed (~ 200 Mbps), which when compared to typical upload speeds of < 10 Mbps almost makes it worth it.

2016-03-05 Update

Download and upload speeds still seem to be just as high as ever, though as noted before, one rarely sees these kinds of speeds unless downloading from multiple sources at once. During peak hours, I may still be able to pull over 500+ Mbps on a bandwidth test but have Netflix or iTunes on the Apple TV essentially have to buffer the content before I can view it.

Something I’m interested to see pan out is comparing my 1000 / 250 Mbps service at home with my 100 / 50 Mbps service at the office. So far I haven’t been able to tell a big difference between the two speeds, but it is noticeable, especially when OS X or iOS updates are released and all the devices in the office are updating at once and the office connection becomes saturated.

2016-07-14 Update

More of the same, which is certainly good news!

2016-12-28 Update

No matter how when I try, I don’t seem to be able to pull anything close the the above speeds using Even from Cincinnati Bell’s own speedtest page, I get about 550 / 200 Mbps and no more. I just so happened to wander over to DSLReports and ran their speedtest and was happier with those results. I’ll likely continue to use them instead of anything else, though I feel like I’m fishing for a speedtest that shows me what I want to see. Anyway, here is what I was able to get tonight:

The C rating for Top Speed is based on my own value of 1000 Mbps, though clearly I wasn’t, nor ever will, get anything near that speed in real-world scenarios.

2017-07-09 Update

Per my last update, tests hadn’t been coming close to anything I used to get, however, today I ran one just for fun and received the following:

That’s inline with what I had been receiving, so I’m glad to see those sorts of results. FiOptics continues to be fast overall, though I’m still disappointed that some major providers cannot (or will not) transmit data more than about 100 Mbps. Services like Netflix are still essentially instant. The part I’m most used to day-to-day is that we can have many devices streaming or downloading (or uploading; backups) and no single device is ever affected by any another.

For anyone that might be interested, when you take two FiOptics locations with similar speeds (my office being the other location; 500 / 125 Mbps) and connect them via a VPN tunnel, it feels as if everything is on the same local network. I have Ubiquti UniFi products installed at these two locations, so creating a VPN connection between locations is very easy. With that connection in place I can remotely control devices and have the same (lag) experience as if I were onsite. It’s an unexpected benefit that has proven very useful.

I continue to recommend this service to anyone who is OK paying the price premium — it has been a solid decision thus far.

2017-11-25 Update

Recently I’ve been testing out some new networking firmware, but ended up needing to revert to their stable codebase. Just to make sure things were working correctly, I performed a random test and received the following:

This is an a holiday weekend, so I’m guessing the tubes are light this afternoon (12:34 eastern), but I felt the result was pretty superb considering I have Spotify streaming, and the TV is streaming PBS in the other room.

I also realized that I’ve had gigabit service for three years now, and my only real complaint is that I assumed it would be cheaper now. At my location, I essentially have zero downtime, and I never notice any services being sluggish — though sometimes Netflix can take an extra second during the prime TV viewing hours.

FiOptics gigabit is still something I would recommend!

2018-04-24 Update

2019-11-28 Update

2020-08-09 Update

2021-12-07 Update

Apple macOS

AirPort Utility 6.x “Flash on Activity”

The other day I updated the AirPort Extremes in my house, resetting them to their default settings. When I had everything up and running again, I noticed they no longer flashed with activity. I searched through the AirPort Utility 6.x (6.3.2) installed on Mavericks and could not find this setting. I searched DuckDuckGo and found a lot of other people longing for this option, too. Since you cannot install (can you?) AirPort Utility 5.x onto Mavericks, I ended up installing 5.x onto my Windows 7 VM. There I was able to find the setting, make the change, and was happy again.

But what if you don’t have a Windows VM? What if all you have is Mavericks? Well, I have an easy enough solution for you. In AirPort Utility 6.x, export your AirPort configuration file and save it to your desktop. Open this file with a text editor (such as Sublime or vim) and search for “leAC” (lower case L).


Change this to:


Save the file, go back into AirPort Utility 6.x and import this configuration file. Don’t change anything else in your file, just the 1 into a 2. This tells your AirPort that you’d like it to “Flash on Activity”. Let the AirPort restart and take note and the wonder that is a flashing green LED.

2014-10-06 Update

It seems this trick does not work on the latest Airport Extremes with 802.11ac. Even with the above set, the LED on the front of this device does not flash.


Linode So Far

I’ve been using Linode now for a few months, and I basically could not be more pleased with the service. Linode recently moved to newer and faster CPUs, as well as moving over to 100% SSDs. I never thought my Linode was slow before, but it certainly seems faster now. I’ve not run any benchmarks myself, but there are those that have, and the improvements are not small. It’s just been rock solid thus far.

I moved some old websites running Perl code over to the new Linode instance. To my surprise, I rediscovered that this code is about 10 years old. I’m amazed it still works. And that’s the beauty of my Linode, or more specifically, Debian running on my Linode. I simply installed Perl and a handful of perlmods, and the sites sprang back to life. I don’t ever remember Linux being this easy to use.

And so I have nothing but great things to say about Linode. While there have been a few outages I’m not pleased with, Linode posted regular status updates and was honest about what was happening. Otherwise, response times are down by 25% over the Mac mini server I moved from … and immensely faster for the sites I moved from DreamHost.

If you’re looking for a VPS, Linode should be your final stop!


Switching to Linode

After testing out Linode for the past week, I took some time this evening to migrate the bulk of my sites to my linode (what Linode calls their VPS instances). Using Linode this past week has been amazingly painless. Their management portal, while basic in appearance, has been adequately powerful for my needs. Creating an VPS instance, a linode, is super easy. Best of all is their help section, dubbed the Library. I was able to follow the basic steps to set up my linode with a new user account, locked it down, set up LAMP and had my first website up and running within probably 15 – 30 minutes of signup up.

So, over the next few days (or maybe weeks), I’ll try and detail:

  • how easy Linode is to use, and why you should (perhaps) use it too
  • how I set up Apache to handle multiple sites using HTTPS via SNI
  • setting up SFTP for other users, but only allow them to access their website documents
  • anything I come across along the way
Development macOS

Upgrade MySQL 5.5 to 5.6 on OS X Mavericks

I needed to upgrade MySQL from 5.5.x to 5.6.x on my OS X server running OS X Mavericks (10.9) and I found a site that basically made it super painless. Nothing jumped out on my from Google regarding Mavericks, so this is really for that random person like me who was unsure how it should work.

First, go download the 64-bit DMG of MySQL from here. Don’t worry that it says 10.7, it will work just fine with 10.9.

Then go here and read this page … I’ll wait, but don’t follow all the steps until you read my next part.

While performing the steps above, you’ll reach a step that reads:


At this step, instead of the above, try this instead:

/usr/local/mysql/bin/mysql_upgrade -u root -p

This will prompt you for your root password, but it will also allow the upgrade script to actually run. Otherwise, the directions were perfect and you should really have no problem. If for some reason you don’t have root access to MySQL … you’ll probably want to ask someone who does.


iStat Server and opening port 5109 on OS X Mavericks

After upgrading to OS X Mavericks (10.9), iStat on my iPhone was no longer able to connect to iStat Server on Mavericks. I had vaguely recalled seeing the OS X Server installer tell me that ipfw should be disabled, so I disabled it. I didn’t really think of it at the time, but I had a firewall rule set to allow TCP port 5109 be opened for iStat Server … because simply adding it via the Firewall settings is System Preferences did absolutely nothing … for some reason.

So I recalled the installer mentioning pf and told me to use pfctl. That took me on a journey the OS X man page regarding pfctl and about an hour later I finally figured out how to make it all work … and here it is:

sudo vim /etc/pf.conf

Add this line to the config file (after the anchor is fine) where en0 is your ethernet adapter and port 5109 is the port you’re using in iStat Server:

pass in on en0 proto tcp from any to any port 5109

This allows TCP data on port 5109 to pass into your machine via en0. This allows it from any IP address, but you could have changed the first mention of “any” to an IP address in order to only allow from a single IP address.

If you aren’t using a wired connection, you can change en0 to en1, or if you’re uncertain which adapter you’re using, run the following command to see which is active on your setup, noting which has a status of “active”:


This should yield something like the following. Note how en0 is “active”.

en0: flags=[redacted]
	ether [redacted]
	inet6 [redacted]
	inet [redacted]
	nd6 options=[redacted]
	media: [redacted]
	status: active
en1: flags=[redacted]
	ether [redacted]
	nd6 options=[redacted]
	media: [redacted]
	status: inactive

Save the config file and run the following to reload the config file, and verify using verbose:

sudo pfctl -vnf pf.conf

I also ran this, just in case:

sudo pfctl -Rf pf.conf

That’s all I needed and I was able to make my way into my machine. But, it wasn’t until I turned off SSL that I was actually able to connect to iStat Server. I’m hoping SSL is remedied soon! SSL now works once again!

Development macOS


Tonight I decided to move from XAMPP to MAMP.

About a year (or so) ago my team transitioned from PC to Mac and when we went looking for an easy, self-contained Apache install, XAMPP was the answer.  Now we have OS X 10.7 Lion and well, I’m annoyed that XAMPP for OS X has not been updated since early March, 2010.  That’s right, over a year ago.

The reason I even began looking for a XAMPP alternative was that after upgrading to Lion, XAMPP just seemed to load pages slower than before, specifically on sites using databases that weren’t local to my machine.  Enter MAMP 2.0.  Newly released (literally yesterday) and plenty of people online giving it a thumbs up, I decided to give it a shot.

Because XAMPP for Mac (the Windows version has been updated much more recently) is over a year old, pretty much all the included applications are out of date as well.  XAMPP was on Apache 2.2.14 and although it wasn’t a necessity to have the latest Apache, it just seemed like I should be able to get it.

MAMP comes with 2.2.17 included (as of this writing, the current version of Apache is 2.2.19), which is at least newer than XAMPP.  Honestly, not a huge deal, right?

I guess what made me keep MAMP in the end is at least a decent GUI (non-Pro version) with some useful preferences (auto start servers) as well as phpMyAdmin built in.  Yes, I had phpMyAdmin installed with XAMPP (though it did not come with XAMPP), MAMP’s GUI makes it easy enough to get to these built in features that I actually find myself using them.

For reference, about 95% of my XAMPP Apache conf files made it into MAMP’s, save for SSL.  There are plenty of help online about MAMP and SSL, but basically you create your own certificate and uncomment a line in the main Apache conf file.

MAMP, a solution to a problem that didn’t really exist, but a solution nonetheless.


Hello world!

Every site needs one of these, right?

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