Computer Nerdery

SSH Key Creation

Now that you know that SSH keys are about authentication and not session encryption, and that they let you disable password logins on your server, you may be excited about getting to work using SSH keys with your server. There are just two things that can stop you:

  1. You have no SSH keys.
  2. Your server doesn’t know your (as of yet non-existent) public key.

Fortunately, we can solve both of these problems without too much suffering. Today we’ll solve problem one and generate ourselves some SSH keys.

As always, I am writing from the perspective of a person using a Mac or iOS device, and working on Linux servers. If you are running Windows or Linux on your local computer, you’ll have to google elsewhere. Today I’m just going to show how to generate keys on the Mac. Later sometime I’ll show you some iOS and iPadOS apps that can generate or transfer keys for you. …

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SSH Key Theory – A Simple Primer

Time is a fluid concept these days, but approximately 25 years or one week ago, I wrote about SSH and what is it good for. The bottom line is that SSH itself is very simple, and there’s not a lot of exciting dramatization that can be produced around its actual use unless you’re really into weird incantations like “ss -pant | grep ‘ESTAB’”. And let’s face it, no one is. You do have to enjoy the fact that we can shove the word “pant” into a perfectly valid Unix command though.

However, there is something directly related to SSH that we should talk about, primarily because it will give me an excuse to write exactly 255 posts about it, and that is the topic of SSH keys.

When you think of a key, you probably think of something that unlocks something else, and that’s exactly what SSH keys are used for. Although SSH keys …

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SSH Basics

There’s an adage about how the Cloud is just someone else’s computer, which is just a humorous way of pointing out some of the inherent insecurities of using the Cloud for all your data storage.

But it also expresses the fact that whenever we need to work on files located on a server, we’re just using someone else’s computer from a distance, and we need a reliable, secure method of doing so. SSH is a protocol for securely accessing remote systems, and it’s integral to the functioning of the internet.

SSH – What Is It Even?

SSH stands for “Secure Shell”. The shell part of it means it is a command line interface. When you connect via SSH, you’re harkening back to the days when everyone typed commands into their computers instead of clicking on buttons with a mouse. For many tasks in administering or configuring computers, the command line is still indispensable. It also lends …

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Super Nova

Nova is here, and it’s every bit as super as you’d expect software from Panic to be.

What is it? It’s a Mac-native text editor for programmers that seems like has been under development forever, but in reality it’s only been something like 14 months since Panic first announced that Nova was the future of Panic text editors, replacing Code Editor, née Coda.

Nova’s got style and it’s got features with style. Local and remote servers, local and remote terminals, git support, hierarchical element support, multi-language syntax and highlighting support, tabs, built-in preview browser with inspector tools, and much, much more.

Nova editor and preview browser

Nova git tool pane

Nova document hierarchy view

I’ll be interested to see how Panic does with this in the face of competition from the likes of Visual Studio Code and Atom, which are both very full-featured, support …

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Level Up Your Zsh Terminal Prompt in macOS

Scott Hanselman is one of the good people in tech, and his YouTube channel is full of great tech topics explained in his clear, instructive fashion. While watching one of his git videos, I noticed his nice Windows terminal prompts that even indicate git status for him when he’s in a repo directory. You can see his terminal setup in his blog post How to make a pretty prompt in Windows Terminal with Powerline, Nerd Fonts, Cascadia Code, WSL, and oh-my-posh.

Obviously the first thing I did upon seeing this was pause the video and go in search of a way to make my Mac terminal do that crazy prompt thing. As I discovered, it’s easy if you use Zsh, which I already do.

Note: All this below assumes you’re already using Zsh as your shell.

You can see for yourself whether you’re using Bash or Zsh with the echo $SHELL command. You’ll …

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