Free VPN!

Finally I had the opportunity/need/inspiration/circumstances to look for a free VPN server that would run on a server with a static IP on a LAN. 
Turns out Mac OS X has one built in! It’s an open-source UNIX deal called vpnd, and it’s the same one on OS X Server and configured through the GUI. It’s no surprise that Apple left a VPN GUI out of OS X client — Server costs either $499 or $999 — but a very nice developer named Alex Jones came up with the free iVPN, and after a little port forwarding on the router, and 30 seconds of config of iVPN, we had ourselves a legit L2TP VPN tunnel.
It was important to me that the VPN be accessible by the client built-in to OS X — found in Internet Connect in Tiger or earlier, and in Network System Preferences in Leopard. I have become bored with downloading and config’ing standalone software: too many checkboxes, not enough stability.
So…. whoop! Very easy, very free. 
Now, one thing about most VPN connections that has always bugged me is that, even if the client connects to a network resource, say a server, via its local Bonjour hostname, e.g. server.local, when a connection is attempted over the VPN it fails, and the user has to revert to using the IP address. Which is sort of fine, but a turn off to the less technically minded. So I just found this article on about editing the /etc/hosts file:
I haven’t tried it yet, but it makes sense to me. 

Creating a web gallery for artwork

What is the best place for me to do a website for my artwork?

As usual, there's free…

Post images to a photo site like Flickr

There are multiple benefits to this approach: easy slideshows, easy "tagging" (e.g. ceramics, painting, installation)

… or cheap…

Apple has the .Mac service for $99/year. You can look at all the features — it's pretty useful, especially when you get a laptop, but just for example, here's one of my web galleries, and one in a different style.

One posts all the images straight out of iPhoto.

You can also point your domain name (e.g. to .Mac, so people won't see that the real URL is

Also, you can design your own site with a program like RapidWeaver. Hosting a web site can be as cheap as $4/month. I have yet to find a reason to go somewhere besides GoDaddy.

… not cheap: hire a web designer …

This is doable, but in most artists' case, let's just say a cost/benefit analysis would favor this approach.

I know that, many times, a gallery who represents you will post the work that you have given them. Finesilver, for example, has some nice-looking pages. 
Finally, I would suggest googling a bunch of artists you dig, see whose web sites you like, and asking them how they did it. FWIW, I just looked up Lloyd Walsh off the top of my head, and he used .Mac for at least a few images.

Leopard Server: file names are screwed up when connecting over SMB

Apple is all too aware of the chronic Apple File Protocol authentication issues with 10.5 Server. Some people have fixed this with a cron task that restarts AFP, say, every night. In my experience, this starts to corrupt file sharing altogether, to the point that, eventually, nobody can log in over AFP.

So I‘ve been switching people to using SMB (Windows file sharing), which sucks just on principle, but it also cuts out Time Machine backups. I am also nervous about it losing Apple-specific file resources.
Anyhoo, at one site where I’ve asked everyone to connect over SMB, several on the server appeared with weird random file names, such as “_GNEWM~A” or “4UI5WM~7”. Didn’t matter which machine or which user account I was using to connect.
After some poking around, I figured out that folders and files with odd characters in their path, and especially with spaces at the ends of their names, were the culprits. Extra long names, too.
I don’t know if this is an historic problem with OS X Server, and I just never ran into it because most of my clients use Macs, or whether this is specific to 10.5. Regardless, right now OS X Server is hurting my schedule really bad, and I can’t believe I’m having to be wary of proferring it as a recommendation.

Re: Space Question

I’ve been receiving messages that I don’t have enough space on my computer for this and that.  Most recently it had to do with optimized albums and syncing to my iPhone.  Last it was about my startup disk.

Yeah, that’s a pretty definitive indication. A modern rocketship MacBook Pro will quickly turn into a land tortoise when it doesn’t have enough hard drive space to do the do. Common wisdom has been spread that the Mac needs about 10% of its hard drive to function properly.

Besides moving files over to my external drive or to the trash, is there something I can do to open up space?

There is a lovely utility called WhatSize that I have long used to discover what’s taking up room on a drive. But since HDs have gotten so big, the culprits are no longer system-level items — 2 or 3 gigabytes in the GarageBand Audio Loops and WorldBook Encyclopedia data are now kind of small potatoes — and thus we’re faced with delving into our user data and figuring out what we don’t need constant access to.
So, we can use WhatSize or its more free cousin, Disk Inventory X, to find the 300-pound gorillas, usually our music and movies, and pull them off to an external hard drive. Or, in fact, to TWO external hard drives, because we have to remember that a digital file doesn’t exist unless it exists in two places.
One can burn CDs or DVDs, but I find these cumbersome, time-intensive, untrustworthy, and hard to store. A second external hard drive is the way to go.