Category Archives: Software

How to set an animated background in Microsoft Teams without third-party software

You probably already tried to add a new background with a .mp4 or .gif extension, but soon realized that Microsoft Teams will only allow you to select from .jpg, .jpeg, .png, and .bmp files.

I thought to myself: what if I uploaded a .mp4 or .gif to wherever Microsoft Teams stores those custom uploaded backgrounds?

A quick search lead me to ~/Library/Application Support/Microsoft/Teams/Backgrounds. I copied an animated.gif and an animated_thumb.jpg to match, and while I could select the thumbnail, the background was not applied.

My last hope was to rename animated.gif to animated.jpg, and low and behold, after selecting the thumbnail, the GIF actually played in the background.

Animated Microsoft Teams background

So if you have a MP4, just convert it to a GIF, because MP4s won’t work.

Volume grayed out in Finder on Mac

Every now and then I’ll be connected to a server on my Mac with a very specific volume mounted, but then it doesn’t appear anywhere in Finder. When I try to reconnect to it, it’s grayed out, as if I was connected after all.

For a while, the only way I knew how to fix it was to restart, but that’s obviously most inconvenient.

Turns out, there is quite a simple solution, and that is to unmount the volume via the command line.

Open up Terminal and type in the following:

sudo umount -f "/Volumes/NameOfVolume"

Replacing “NameOfVolume” with your volume’s name. After you hit ENTER, type in your Mac’s password when prompted.

Once that’s done, reconnect to the server in Finder (COMMAND + K), select the volume that was previously grayed out, mount it, and now it’ll be in Finder again for you to browse.

Unable to set permissions within shared folder using Vagrant and VirtualBox

I recently started experimenting with Vagrant (v1.5.1), Puppet (v3.5.1) and VirtualBox (v4.3.10) to replace my MAMP environment. I used the config.vm.synced_folder method in Vagrant to share a folder of websites with the virtual machine.

Since a few directories, like caching and user uploads, need to be writable by Apache, I figured I’d use Puppet to set those permissions, but regardless of where I specified that requirement, it never took effect — and Puppet did try:

Notice: /Stage[main]/Ryse_apache/File[/var/www/domains/]/owner: owner changed 'vagrant' to 'apache'
Notice: /Stage[main]/Ryse_apache/File[/var/www/domains/]/group: group changed 'vagrant' to 'apache'

I found out that this was a limitation with VirtualBox and how it shares folders.

Now, Vagrant does have additional options that can be set when sharing a folder that allow you to specify the owner and group, but the problem is that Puppet installs Apache, and since the folders are shared before the Puppet provisioner runs, the Apache user does not yet exist.

This is the error you get:

Failed to mount folders in Linux guest. This is usually because
the "vboxsf" file system is not available. Please verify that
the guest additions are properly installed in the guest and
can work properly. The command attempted was:

mount -t vboxsf -o uid=`id -u apache`,gid=`getent group apache | cut -d: -f3` /var/www/domains /var/www/domains
mount -t vboxsf -o uid=`id -u apache`,gid=`id -g apache` /var/www/domains /var/www/domains

Let’s look at a few solutions on how to allow Apache to write to the folders it needs to, and which solution I ended up implementing. If you have a different permissions problem, you might still be able to tweak one of the solutions below, since they broadly cover an array of issues.

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Increase space on fixed VirtualBox VDI disk containing Windows 7 on Mac

I use VirtualBox on my Mac to have other operating systems at my disposal. One of my appliances contains a copy of Windows 7 with a fixed, 25GB disk. I’ve run out space and was looking for an easy way to increase it.

I came across the modifyhd command, which in theory let’s you increase the disk space, but it only works on dynamic disks. I opted for performance (fixed disk) when I set up the appliance, and this minor inconvenience is the price.

There are several tutorials out there, but many of them require third-party applications, either on the Mac or in Windows side. The thing is, even without those utilities, it’s fairly easy to increase your disk space.

What we’ll do is create a bigger disk, clone the contents from the small disk to the big disk, and then increase our Windows partition.

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