An easier way to kill processes

I’ve moved on from ps aux | grep -i processname; kill PID. The Mac (along with many other Unix-likes) has two handy utilities: pgrep and pkill. pgrep does a case-insensitive search for processes matching the expression you provide, and returns all matching PIDs, one per line. pkill does the same search, but just kills the matching processes instead of returning the PIDs.

A common use case for me is middleman hanging when I change the config.rb. I could kill it using the following:

kill `pgrep middleman`

pkill middleman

One of the benefits of using pkill is that you can run the command interactively. Handy if you end up searching on the scripting language running the process, rather than something a bit more unique.

Creating ssh keys for password-less sign on to remote systems

Below is the process required for setting up password-free sign in for “user” at a server called “”. I’ve added links to “Explain Shell” throughout so you can see an overview of what the commands and arguments do.

First, create your .ssh directory by issuing the command mkdir -m 700 -p ~/.ssh.

Secondly create the keypair: ssh-keygen -t rsa -b 2048 -f ~/.ssh/ The filename ( can be anything you want, but it’s easiest to use a name that hints at for what server you’ve generated the keys.

You’ll be prompted for a passphrase for the key. This isn’t required, but is recommended. You can generate and store your passphrase in your OS’s keychain manager. The Mac has Keychain. Linux offers KWallet or Seahorse. You can also use a password manager like 1Password. Keep in mind, though, that using a password manager will likely negate the “passwordless” bit of the process unless it has the kind of OS integration the aforementioned keychain managers have.

You’ll now have two key files in ~/.ssh: a private key called and a public key called

Next, you need to add the public key to the remote server to which you’d like to sign in. To do that, use the script ssh-copy-id. If you’re on a Mac, you need to first get that script via homebrew. Install brew, then run brew install ssh-copy-id.

Push the key up to by issuing the command ssh-copy-id -i ~/.ssh/ When prompted for a password, use the password you normally use to sign on to the system, not your key’s passphrase.

The sign into the remote system using the new keypair, use the command ssh -i ~/.ssh/ The first time you do so, your OS will prompt you for the passphrase. Enter it, and allow your OS to save the passphrase to the keychain for passwordless log in.

Once the credentials have been added to the remote system, it’s handy to add the host, user, and key to your ssh config. Detailed instructions can be found on Nerderati.

Archiving Sent Mail with imapfilter

My “sent” folders are a morass. I think that’s true of most folks. I wrote a little script in my imapfilter config.lua to duplicate some handy functionality from the venerable pine. I’m sure it could be cleaned up a bit, but it does the job for me. On the first of the month, it creates a folder called “Sent-Monthname-Year”, and moves everything from sent that’s older than a day to it.

function moveSentMessages()
  -- On the first of the month  --
  -- move all older messages to --
  -- a date marked sent folder  --

  theDate ="*t")

  months = {

  if (theDate["day"] == 1) then
    dateString = "Sent-" .. months[theDate["month"] - 1] .. "-" .. theDate["year"]
    messages = personal["Sent"]:is_older(1) + personal["Sent Messages"]:is_older(1)

Editing the hosts file on Windows

I have to Google this once a week. It doesn’t stick. At least this way, maybe I’ll find my own site when I Google. The easiest thing to do is create a shortcut on the desktop. It should point to

notepad.exe C:\Windows\System32\drivers\etc\hosts

Then run this shortcut as an administrator whenever you need to add a new host.