Category Name: mac

Transmit iOS and EC2

posted on: October 3rd, 2014

Panic Inc. has a well-deserved reputation for creating a very speedy, robust and easy-to-use ftp client app for the Mac. I have used the Transmit app for many years and it is everything a Mac app should be: intuitive, elegant, and fast.

Recently, Panic released an iOS version of Transmit that can be used on iPhones and iPads. This is a great thing for users that want to easily add content or edit a website while away from their primary ‘serious’ computer. As evidenced by some of my previous posts, I am now hosting my website on an Amazon EC2 instance, and getting sFTP service up and running can be a little bit of a twitchy process. The following is a very brief outline of the approach to take to enable the Transmit iOS app to access an Amazon EC2-based website.

What you will need

  1. A Dropbox account with the iOS app downloaded to the iOS device on which you are going to install Transmit iOS. Dropbox should be usable on both your OSX computer and your iOS device.
  2. The Transmit iOS app downloaded to your iOS device
  3. Your Amazon EC2 .pem file somewhere on your computer
  4. Optionally, a licensed copy of Transmit running on your OSX based Macintosh computer

First: optional Import Favorites from existing OSX Transmit version

This step is optional, but I assume that most users who are interested in downloading the Transmit iOS app will likely have the OSX version running on their computer.

  1. Start the Transmit app, and click on Favorites->Export.. in the menu. You will be presented with an export dialog box. Create a folder in your Dropbox account and name it something like ‘EC2’, and then save the file TransmitFavorites.exportedFavorites to this folder.

  2. On your iOS device, open the dropbox app and navigate to the file you just saved, and then tap the ‘upload’ icon, and a window will pop up with some options. Choose the Open in.. option: Upload from Dropbox to Transmit Another window will appear, and in this one, tap on the Transmit icon: Upload from Dropbox to Transmit 2nd dialog The iOS device will then switch to Transmit, and here you will select the file that appears and then tap on the Import… selection: Upload from Dropbox to Transmit 3rd dialog Transmit will then ask if you want to import Favorites, and then you should respond affirmatively.

Second: Add your EC2 .pem certificate to Transmit iOS

This is the part that feels a little more involved to me. Essentially, the .pem SSL certificate needs to be available inside the Transmit app. The approach recommended on the Panic website is to use iTunes to transfer this file to the ‘keys’ area of the app.

Using a USB connector, connect the iOS device to your computer (iTunes should be running). The iOS device should appear in iTunes. Click on the device name at the top of the iTunes app windows (iPad, iPhone or whatever), and then click on the Apps tab. Scroll down to the File Sharing section on the left-hand pane and locate the Transmit app. Select the Transmit app, and then click the Add.. button at the right hand bottom part of the right-side pane. Navigate to the .pem file and then import it into the Transmit app.

Third: Open Transmit iOS and configure sFTP access

Note: This assumes you have not imported your EC2 server setup in Step 1. If you have, skip down to step 3

  1. On your iOS device, open the Transmit app, and on the servers tab, tap the ‘+’ icon, and add a server setup. Select an SFTP server.
  2. Fill in all the information in the server setup. Give this ftp server a nickname, such as My EC2 Site or something equally as vacuous. The Address field will be your domain name such as yourdomain.com . Port 22 is the default sfTP port. Username should be EC2-user. The root path will be whatever you want. If you are primarily using this to upload content to your web server, then the path would be /var/www/html if you have your site configured in a typical fashion. If the iOS app will be used for poking around on your server, for instance, editing unix configuration files, you may want to set the root path to / .
  3. Tap on the key icon and choose the .pem key imported above: Add .pem file to Transmit
  4. Tap on Save and test your connection. If everything has been configured properly, it will connect to your server.

categories:  mac, ios   tags:  ec2, ftp, sftp, ios

Mac OSX 10.9 Migration Pain

posted on: September 3rd, 2014

A quick note on a discovery I had this morning. I decided to bite the bullet and upgrade my old Quicken for Mac 2007 installation to the newish Quicken for Mac 2015. Paid for it, downloaded and installed it per the instructions. But as soon as I clicked on it, it would crash with an error message indicating that I did not have permission to create a folder in the Application Support directory.

Hmmm. This is strange. This is part of my user directory. Why the heck would I not have permission?

I’ll backtrack here. Early in the year, I migrated my whole system from a Retina MacBook Pro to my current MacPro 2015 desktop. I used Apple’s Migration Assistant to move all my applications and user files from the old system to the new. And I noticed that there were a handful of applications that no longer worked. One of them was CodeRunner, which is a great little program to try out little code snippets in a variety of programming languages. Anyhoo - it was annoying, but not something I had time to really track down and figure out.

So this morning’s experience with the new Quicken 2015 provided the impetus to figure out what the hell is going on.

The average Mac OSX user probably is not familiar with a lot of the directory structure of OSX. One confusing aspect of this is that there are multiple Library directories (folders). There is the system Library directory and the user Library folder. And the error message I was getting from Quicken seemed to indicate a problem with the user Library folder.

I opened a terminal window, and typed the following command:

cd ~/Library

The tilde (~) is a shorthand for the user’s home directory.

I then typed in

ls -ald App*

And to my surprise, this unix command listed the owner of my Application Support directory as wheel! The owner of this directory should have been my user id, not wheel.

The fix at this point was obvious - I needed to establish my user id as the correct owner of the Application Support directory.

I was already in the ~/Library directory, so all I had to do was use the unix chown command to change the owner of this directory to my user id.

sudo chown -R myuserid Application\ Support

And Quicken 2015 would finally launch. The side benefit to this was that now all my other balky apps began to work as well!

I guess the moral of this tale is that Migration Assistant can occasionally do some stupid things to ownerships and permissions during the migration process. If problems arise, the ~/Library directory a good place to begin looking for problems.

categories:  mac, mac osx, system configuration   tags:  10.9, mac osx, configuration