Screen Locking in Mac OS X

On Windows and Linux, it is simple to set up one’s workstation to have the screen locked when one steps away from the console.  On the Mac however, there is no explicit way to achieve that.  The following site has some good pointers: Quickly lock your screen

One of the best methods from the article is to “show the login window, without actually logging out. You can do this by
enabling fast user switching in the Accounts System Preferences panel.
Click the Login Options button (you’ll probably have to enter your
administrator password to do this), and then select the Enable Fast
User Switching option. Once you have fast user switching enabled,
you’ll see either an icon or a name in your menubar, depending on what
option you chose on the Login Options screen. Click on your name or
icon in the menubar and select Login Window from the drop-down menu.
The login window will appear. When you return to your Mac, login as you
usually do. All your applications will be just as your left them–even
your iTunes music will start up again where it stopped playing, even if
that means mid-song.”

Keyboard Remapping on Mac OS X 1.5

I’m trying to map my Mac iBooks keyboard to mimic the Happy Hacking keyboard (CapsLock = Control, Fn + Tab = CapsLock, and swap delete and ).  While this was trivial to accomplish on Windows Vista, I’m having a hard time on the Mac.  So far the closest reference I found is Keyboard Remapping in Mac OS X (10.4) but it doesn’t include a list of keys and the hex numbers that are associated with them.  Until I find that list, I’ll just be content with the CapsLock be mapped as Control, which cna be done in the System Preferences under Keyboard and Mice.

Grep Exclude

Ever wondered how to exclude a string from grep?  Last week I decided to dig until I find the answer, as I had to find a “lost” DB2 script in a pile of archives.  It turns out that grep has a feature called “grep for all except”.  Finally found that on a mailing list archive of COLUG.  Here is how it works:

grep pattern1 file | grep -v pattern2

VoIP Trouble Shooting with tcpdump

I got a couple of WiFi VoIP phone to test with.  The Linksys WIP330 and the DLink DPH-540.  Both phones are a pain to set up, and they are not ready for prime time.  However, for someone that travels and wants to stay connected, they still seem to be the only available option.  For the record: I had much better luck with the DLink DHP-540.

In order to get the phones running, some troubl shooting was necessery with the VOIP provider.  To inspect the VOIP packets, I had to use deep inspection with tcpdump.  Here is how:

tcpdump -nnvvXSs 1514 -i sis0 host

You need to replace “sis0” with the interface on which your VOIP packets are going through.  Beware, this will generate a lot of output.

DB2 Epoch Conversion

As we have progresses with our move from PostgreSQL to DB2, we discovered that DB2 doesn’t have internal Epoch functions to deal with the epoch time format.  Luckily, we are running DB2 on AIX, and most Unix tools are readily available.  We tried many different variations, including writing internal Epoch conversion in SQL.  Most appeared too slow, so we ended up preprocessing the data externally.  The most useful page I found to work with Epoch was Epoch Time Converter.   There are perl specific examples here: Perl Epoch Routines

Here is how to create a DB2 compatible timestamp in Perl:

use DateTime;
sub epoch_to_db2 {
($tsp) = @_; # receive one parameter: the epoch time
$dt = DateTime->from_epoch( epoch => $tsp );
$ymd = $dt->ymd; # 1974-11-30
$hms = $dt->hms('.'); # 13.30.00
$tsp = "$ymd-$hms"; # DB2 format
return $tsp;

Here are the key paragraphs from the referenced pages:

  • What is epoch time?
    The Unix epoch (or Unix time or POSIX time or Unix timestamp) is the number of seconds that have elapsed since January 1, 1970 (midnight UTC/GMT), not counting leap seconds.
    The epoch timestamp 0 can be written in ISO 8601 format as: 1970-01-01T00:00:00Z. One epoch hour is 3600 seconds, one epoch day is 86400 seconds long, leap seconds are not calculated.
    Many Unix systems store epoch dates as a signed 32-bit integer, which might cause problems on January 19, 2038 (known as the Year 2038 problem or Y2038).

    Human readable time Seconds
    1 minute 60 seconds
    1 hour 3600 seconds
    1 day 86400 seconds
    1 week 604800 seconds
    1 month (30.44 days) 2629743 seconds
    1 year (365.24 days) 31556926 seconds
  • How to get the current epoch time in …

    Perl time
    PHP time()
    Ruby (or To display the epoch:
    Python import time first, then time.time()
    Java long epoch = System.currentTimeMillis()/1000;
    Microsoft .NET C# epoch = (DateTime.Now.ToUniversalTime().Ticks - 621355968000000000) / 10000000;
    VBScript/ASP DateDiff("s", "01/01/1970 00:00:00", Now())
    MySQL SELECT unix_timestamp(now()) More information
    PostgreSQL SELECT extract(epoch FROM now());
    SQL Server SELECT DATEDIFF(s, '19700101', GETDATE())
    JavaScript Math.round(new Date().getTime()/1000.0) getTime() returns time in milliseconds.
    Unix/Linux date +%s
    Other OS’s Command line: perl -e "print time" (If Perl is installed on your system)
  • Convert from human readable date to epoch
    Perl Use these Perl Epoch routines
    PHP mktime(hour, minute, second, month, day, year) More information
    Ruby Time.local(year, month, day, hour, minute, second, usec ) (or for GMT/UTC input). To display add .to_i
    Python import time first, then int(time.mktime(time.strptime('2000-01-01 12:34:00', '%Y-%m-%d %H:%M:%S')))
    Java long epoch = new java.text.SimpleDateFormat ("dd/MM/yyyy HH:mm:ss").parse("01/01/1970 01:00:00");
    VBScript/ASP DateDiff("s", "01/01/1970 00:00:00", time field) More information
    MySQL SELECT unix_timestamp(time) Time format: YYYY-MM-DD HH:MM:SS or YYMMDD or YYYYMMDD
    More on using Epoch timestamps with MySQL
    PostgreSQL SELECT extract(epoch FROM date('2000-01-01 12:34'));
    With timestamp: SELECT EXTRACT(EPOCH FROM TIMESTAMP WITH TIME ZONE '2001-02-16 20:38:40-08');
    With interval: SELECT EXTRACT(EPOCH FROM INTERVAL '5 days 3 hours');
    SQL Server SELECT DATEDIFF(s, '19700101', time field)
    JavaScript use the JavaScript Date object
    Unix/Linux date +%s -d"Jan 1, 1980 00:00:01"
  • Convert from epoch to human readable date
    Perl Use these Perl Epoch routines
    PHP date(output format, epoch); Output format example: ‘r’ = RFC 2822 date More information
    Python import time first, then time.gmtime(epoch) time is an array of year, month, day, hour, min, sec, day of week, day of year, DST More information
    Java String date = new java.text.SimpleDateFormat("dd/MM/yyyy HH:mm:ss").format(new java.util.Date (epoch*1000));
    VBScript/ASP DateAdd("s", epoch, "01/01/1970 00:00:00") More information
    PostgreSQL SELECT TIMESTAMP WITH TIME ZONE 'epoch' + epoch * INTERVAL '1 second';
    MySQL from_unixtime(epoch, optional output format) The default output format is YYY-MM-DD HH:MM:SS more …
    SQL Server DATEADD(s, epoch, '19700101')
    Microsoft Excel =(A1 / 86400) + 25569 Format the result cell for date/time, the result will be in GMT time (A1 is the cell with the epoch number). For other timezones: =((A1 +/- timezone adjustment) / 86400) + 25569.
    JavaScript use the JavaScript Date object
    Linux date -d @1190000000 (replace 1190000000 with your epoch, needs newer version of date)
    Other OS’s Command line: perl -e "print scalar(localtime(epoch))" (If Perl is installed) Replace ‘localtime’ with ‘gmtime’ for GMT/UTC time.
  • Converting from epoch to normal date in Perl
    Using the internal localtime or gmtime functions,
    localtime and gmtime return an array:

    my $time = time;	# or any other epoch timestamp
    my @months = ("Jan","Feb","Mar","Apr","May","Jun","Jul","Aug","Sep","Oct","Nov","Dec");
    my ($sec, $min, $hour, $day,$month,$year) = (localtime($time))[0,1,2,3,4,5,6];
    # You can use 'gmtime' for GMT/UTC dates instead of 'localtime'
    print "Unix time ".$time." converts to ".$months[$month]." ".$day.", ".($year+1900);
    print " ".$hour.":".$min.":".$sec."n";

    But you can also use the scalar function to display your date with far less code:
    print scalar localtime(946684800);
    returns Sat Jan 1 01:00:00 2000 (in my timezone).

    For more advanced date manipulation, try using the DataTime module:

    use DateTime;
    $dt = DateTime->from_epoch( epoch => $epoch );
    $year   = $dt->year;
    $month  = $dt->month; # 1-12 - also mon
    $day    = $dt->day; # 1-31 - also day_of_month, mday
    $dow    = $dt->day_of_week; # 1-7 (Monday is 1) - also dow, wday
    $hour   = $dt->hour; # 0-23
    $minute = $dt->minute; # 0-59 - also min
    $second = $dt->second; # 0-61 (leap seconds!) - also sec
    $doy    = $dt->day_of_year; # 1-366 (leap years) - also doy
    $doq    = $dt->day_of_quarter; # 1.. - also doq
    $qtr    = $dt->quarter; # 1-4
    $ymd    = $dt->ymd; # 1974-11-30
    $ymd    = $dt->ymd('/'); # 1974/11/30 - also date
    $hms    = $dt->hms; # 13:30:00
    $hms    = $dt->hms('|'); # 13!30!00 - also time

BillMax Nextusagedate is ‘0000-00-00’

When entering new services, I was having this error, and I couldn’t figure out why:

Checking Table 'service'
   ERROR: 10813...service(number=XXXXXXX): Nextusagedate is '0000-00-00'

BillMax support promptly acknowledged that it is a bug that cause this behavior under rare circumstances.  The solution is to run on the billmax database the following SQL:

update service set nextusagedate=invdate where number=<XXXXXXX>;