Tarsnap: Online backups for the truly paranoid

Tarsnap is a secure online backup service for BSD, Linux, OS X, Solaris, Cygwin, and can probably be compiled on many other UNIX-like operating systems. The Tarsnap client code provides a flexible and powerful command-line interface which can be used directly or via shell scripts.

The design of Tarsnap was guided by the following four principles:
Security: Backups should be secure against attackers ranging from “script kiddies” up to major world governments, even if they can compromise the systems on which the backups are being stored. Backups are supposed to be a tool for mitigating damage — not a potential vulnerability to worry about!
Flexibility: Backups should be flexible and convenient. When you decide you want to create an archive, you should be able to store in it whatever files you want; if you decide that you want to delete an archive, you should be able to do it whenever you want, without impacting other archives; and there should be no arbitrary limits on how many archives you have stored, how often you can create new archives, or how long you can keep them for.
Efficiency: Backups should be efficient, using a minimal amount of storage and bandwidth. If you archive the same file twice, it should still only be uploaded and stored once; likewise, if you move, rename, copy, or make small changes to a file (e.g., adding a small amount of new data to the end of a log file or mail spool) you should never need to re-upload the entire file.
Utility: Backups should be provided as a utility, with linear (i.e., per-GB) pricing. Forcing people to figure out ahead of time how much data they want to back up so that they can sign up for the right “plan” is dumb, and having some customers subsidize other customers is inherently unfair.

tarsnap website
Looks like an interesting service.

Mounting a Sparseimage with Automator in OS X

I use Carbon Copy Cloner to backup the Mini to an encrypted sparse image. OS X 10.6 used to mount the image automatically but quit doing so and I can’t figure out why. In lieu of that I built an Automator script to mount the share so that CCC could mount the image. That worked until upgrading to 10.7.
My final solution was to add a final step to the script asking the user to mount the sparse image manually.
This site showed how to do so like this:

tell application "Finder" to display dialog "Empty Trash" with icon 2

Pandoc A Universal File Markup Language Converter

If you need to convert files from one markup format into another, pandoc is your swiss-army knife. Need to generate a man page from a markdown file? No problem. LaTeX to Docbook? Sure. HTML to MediaWiki? Yes, that too. Pandoc can read markdown and (subsets of) reStructuredText, textile, HTML, and LaTeX, and it can write plain text, markdown, reStructuredText, HTML, LaTeX, ConTeXt, PDF, RTF, DocBook XML, OpenDocument XML, ODT, GNU Texinfo, MediaWiki markup, textile, groff man pages, Emacs org-mode, EPUB ebooks, and S5 and Slidy HTML slide shows. PDF output (via LaTeX) is also supported with the included markdown2pdf wrapper script.

Pandoc understands a number of useful markdown syntax extensions, including document metadata (title, author, date); footnotes; tables; definition lists; superscript and subscript; strikeout; enhanced ordered lists (start number and numbering style are significant); delimited code blocks; markdown inside HTML blocks; and TeX math. Other options include “smart” punctuation, syntax highlighting, automatically generated tables of contents, and automatically generated citations (using citeproc-hs). If strict markdown compatibility is desired, all of these extensions can be turned off with a command-line flag.

(via pandoc)

Managing bibliography references with JabRef

JabRef is an open source bibliography reference manager. The native file format used by JabRef is BibTeX, the standard LaTeX bibliography format. JabRef runs on the Java VM (version 1.5 or newer), and should work equally well on Windows, Linux and Mac OS X.

Addendum: 2019-09-24

JabRef continues to be an excellent bibliography manager.

Using BibTeX as the master database and JabRef to populate, manage, and export from it has been really nice. The key has been letting Emacs manage the keys and sorting.