Blog on iPhone – iPod Touch

Wow.  Today I was doing some housecleaning.  Making sure my mac is imaged and backed up.  Deleting old mail, movies from my itunes library, old applications etc etc.  Typical end of month stuff.  This took me into my blog settings because I want to phase out my old email address.  I had an automatic weekly backup of the database going there.  I noticed the WordPress plug in WPtouch that I use had an update waiting.

Talk about COOL!  I updated to the latest version.  In WordPress 2.6 it is as simple as clicking automatic upgrade.  But if you don’t have the plug in you can find it at

They have added some features that let you make it easy to pull down a menu on the iPhone/iPod screen to view flickr photos, links, a tag cloud of posts etc.  Just awesome!  Check out my site on your iPhone or iPod touch to see what I am talking about.  Click the menu item on the top right and poke around.

iPod – Lighter than Air

I don’t understand all the hostility to the new Macbook Air.  It is definitely aimed at a certain class of users.  With that said.  I sure do not need one.  My iPod touch is turning into a light as air pocket computer.  After that v1.3 firmware update I rarely even turn on my PowerBook around the house anymore.  And nearly as little take my PowerBook with me to the coffee shop any more.  I have my email setup and all using SSL for encryption.  The only concern I have is about twitter and a web based AOL IM client not being encrypted.  So I setup an account on  The iPod Touch added VPN ability like the iPhone with the v1.3 update.  Now just to test that next time I go to the coffee shop.  But once that works and some good native applications come out due to the developer kit I may almost never take my laptop for casual communications again.

iPod – Imaging and Data Recovery

One of the guys from the Nashville Mac Users group asked me about recovering some audio files from an iPod.  A friend of his used an iTalk to record some audio.  About 200MB with of audio file.  For some reason it is not sync’ing from the iPod.  He also has no idea which of his many macs is the master to the iPod.  He would have to let it wipe it out to associate it to a new mac he is sure of as the master.  So I got to playing around.   My iPod is in disk mode.

  1. Open Terminal
  2. df
    This command shows disc usage and what discs are mounted.  Notice below the iPod is shown and it is is disk2s3.  Keep in mind the main disk# can change every time you reboot if you have multiple external drives. 

    /dev/disk2s3                             117013560  93569848  23443712    80%    /Volumes/iPod

  3. I have an external sata with way more free space than my ipod is big. (60GB)
  4. dd bs=512 if=/dev/rdisk2 of=/Volumes/ExtSata/ipodimage.dmg
    This command does a disc image of the raw disk#2 matching up to what we saw in step 2 above.  You want the raw disk (rdisk) since it is faster for making an image.   So we use a block size of 512 (bs) from an input file (if) of /dev/rdisk2 to an output file (of) of /Volumes/ExtSata/ipodimage.dmg
  5. Wait a really long time (was over night) and when the dmg file shows in finder as large as the iPod close terminal, eject the real ipod and try double clicking on the new ipodimage.dmg file.

For me it opened up fine mounting as a disc image.  I could then browse  the contents of the iPod.  Of course I could feed it to one of my forensic tools since it is a disc image and easy to parse with file recovery tools etc.  Now that I know it works.  The question is can I use this to get past any issues on the fellow’s ipod to drag his audio files out of the disc image.  If we encountered any errors I would do the DD command again but add conf=sync,noerror at the end.

The noerror tells DD to keep going and not end if it hits an error.  The sync tells DD to  pad any error spots with null.  That is an attempt to get around any errors on the disc.

Laptop Backup via Rsync + iPod

My previous post talked about using rsync to backup securely to another computer over the Internet. What if you want a local spare backup or do not have Internet?

Here is what I did on my mac powerbook.

Set your iPod so you can use it as a removable drive. iPod has to be set to “Enable Disc Use”.

Create an Encrypted Sparse Disc Image on the iPod. You can just follow the directions over on

hdiutil create -size 5g -encryption -type SPARSE -fs HFS+ Backup

That creates an encrypted sparse image file named Backup that maxes out at 5GB. We open the image once, and rename the Drive name label to EncryptBackup. That will be what shows if we look at the mounted volumes.

Now all you have to do is use a nice rsync command to backup your documents into the mounted encrypted Spare Image.

rsync -avg –exclude “Documents/browseback/” ~/Documents /Volumes/EncryptBackup

That will sync our Documents folder over into the Encrypted Backup image file on the iPod just as if it were its own drive. Note the –exclude option. I have a program called BrowseBack for the Mac. It caches copies of everything I browse there so I can find previous content again via web, send to pdf, email etc. But I don’t want to backup all that cached data.


Modified the script I have on my iPod to mount, backup then dismount the image.

hdiutil attach /Volumes/iPod/Backup/Backup.sparseimage
rsync -avg –exclude “Documents/browseback/” ~/Documents /Volumes/EncryptBackup
hdiutil detach /Volumes/EncryptBackup

Then an Automator saved as an application onto the iPod and its an easy double click. If you save your image’s password in your keychain you won’t have to enter that either.