Compression utilities on my Mac

In the end of semester flurry of activity, having to move and exchange files requires compression to save space or to reduce multiple files into a single archive for transfer and security.

As I receive data, some file formats defy OSX’s built-in Archive Utility which is otherwise conjured up with a double-click. Happily there are plenty of free utilities each time I look. I appear to have kept just these two updated all this while – The Unarchiver, and StuffIt Expander (originally Raymond Lau’s 1987 pre-OSX utility).

Windows users who send me secure compressions tend to use 7-Zip, which produces 7z file formats. As a Mac user, I need something like Keka to open those files.


Gotta love the logo!

There are always new options – I have just started using Infinit, which seems lovely, as it can sends large files and folders to a Windows PC, iPhone, Android phone and other Macs, of course. Infinit promises secure encryption and transfers too.

It might just be the best thing since Wetransfer.

Skitched 20151125 233006

Encrypting a file for transfer means providing the password to your recipient. You should use a different avenue from your transfer, e.g. if you emailed a link or file, then use a message app for the password. Some apps reportedly have better security options that What’sApp or LINE, such as Telegram or Signal.

I’ve not examined security in detail since I have only a low volume of local transfers to make for exam matters. So I stick to old school methods – keep relevant files offline and encrypted on disk images, and transfer files by handing over a USB thumb drive.

NUS VPN on OS X EL Capitan? Install Pulse Secure (version 5.1.6)

I was getting repeated prompts for Keychain passwords on my Mac, and repairing Keychain Access, which Red Sweater had promoted me to try earlier (04 Nov 2015), wasn’t working anymore. I even tried resetting Keychain but no joy either.

I sniffed around and fingered the culprit as Juniper Pulse, my VPN for NUS access as the culprit. Indeed it had beach-balled when I tried to initiate a connection.

Earlier, I had updated Juniper Pulse to what was now Pulse Secure version 5.1 (04 Nov 2015) from the installer on the NUS Comcen link. This worked on OS X El Capitan (10.11). I had to take the additional step of delete the existing NUS VPN profile, restarting my mac, and adding a new profile.

Early this morning (14 Nov 2015), the installer on NUS Comcen was now Pulse Secure version 5.1.revision6 build 61491 (5.1r6.0-b61491). Aha – a new version! So I installed it and replaced the profile, and my problems with Keychain were over.

What are the UN’s Global Goals for sustainable development?

World’s Largest Lesson – ‘Global Goals for Sustainable Development are 17 goals to achieve three extraordinary things in the next 15 years – End extreme poverty. Fight inequality and injustice. Fix climate change. If every school in the world teaches children about these goals, we will help them become the generation that changed the world.’

UN News Centre, 25 Sep 2015 – UN adopts new Global Goals, charting sustainable development for people and planet by 2030 [link]

“The 193-Member United Nations General Assembly today formally adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, along with a set of bold new Global Goals, which Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon hailed as a universal, integrated and transformative vision for a better world.

“The new agenda is a promise by leaders to all people everywhere. It is an agenda for people, to end poverty in all its forms – an agenda for the planet, our common home,” declared Mr. Ban as he opened the UN Sustainable Development Summit which kicked off today and wraps up Sunday.

The UN chief’s address came ahead of the Assembly’s formal adoption of the new framework, Transforming Our World: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which is composed of 17 goals and 169 targets to wipe out poverty, fight inequality and tackle climate change over the next 15 years.

The Goals aim to build on the work of the historic Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which in September 2000, rallied the world around a common 15-year agenda to tackle the indignity of poverty.”

Singapore’s Sustainable Development Programme was announced by Minister of the Environment and Water Resources Vivian Balakrishnan at this summit:

“Singapore will partner UN agencies, such as the UN Development Programme (UNDP), to provide technical assistance and capacity building to developing countries in the areas of leadership and governance, sustainable cities, and water and sanitation solutions.”