OTP codes from Mac not working due to Mac clock running fast

I’m a fan of Time-based One-time Password, aka TOTP, as a means of Two-factor authentication. I’m also a fan of the 1password password manager, which I have set up to sync between my various devices: a laptop Mac, an Android phone, and an iPad. A nice feature of 1password is that it will act as an OTP authenticator, if you store the TOTP secret (either copy-pasted as text, or scanned as a QR code that decodes to a URL containing the same text) alongside your password info. So if I’m lying in bed with only my iPad nearby and I need an OTP code to log into something, I don’t have to get up and grab my phone to get it from Google Authenticator. (I do also have the OTPs in Google Authenticator though.) More importantly, this means that none of my devices is a single point of failure; if my phone is stolen or dies, I can still get into stuff because I have the secrets synced to multiple devices, encrypted in transit and at rest by the password manager.

But, this all stops working when your Time-based OTP is generated on a Mac with a clock running over a minute fast!

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Favorite monospaced coding fonts as of late 2018

As a professional software developer, looking at source code has been a huge part of my job for a couple of decades now. It’s really, really important that the display I’m looking at is sharp and properly color-calibrated for appropriate contrast, and that the font I’m using is clear not only when reading letters, but also when displaying various special characters that are commonly seen in source code (so that things like { and } are obviously different from ( and ) and [ and ], and so that @ is clearly different from & or * or %.).

For this reason, every few years I check out the latest and greatest “programmer fonts” and see which one will let me make the type really small while still being clearly legible, so I can get lots of source code on the screen at once.

Read on to see my current favorite programmer’s font, and the ones that I think are almost as good.

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Solving macOS Error -69784, “Unable to create Core Storage Logical Volume Group”

FileVault’s full disk encryption is a really nice feature of macOS, and making a bootable full-disk daily backup of your Mac’s internal hard disk or SSD using Carbon Copy Cloner or SuperDuper! is a great way to avoid downtime if your internal hard disk dies. You just reboot from the backup drive and get back to work, having lost at most 1 day of work.

However, you may encounter trouble when trying to create an encrypted bootable volume on your external backup drive. I had no trouble finding helpful articles to tell me how to reformat the external drive as encrypted, or even to convert the disk non-destructively to an encrypted volume, but none of them actually worked. In every case, the UI was happy to say it was gonna encrypt the drive and even gave me a recovery code and took a passphrase for the encryption, but then failed with the following message:

Unable to create Core Storage Logical Volume Group.

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Making macOS High Sierra 10.13.1 work with 2 displays again

I have a Mac Mini (“Late 2014″) hooked up to an Asus PB278Q 27” display and a Dell 2405FPW display. This setup has served me well for two years, but today the Mac stopped talking to the Asus monitor for some reason. After some fiddling, I was able to fix it.

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Fixing a Mac Fusion Drive that Disk Utility can’t erase

My Mac Mini w/ Fusion Drive (that’s a hard disk and an SSD pretending to be a single volume for better performance) froze and wouldn’t boot. Nothing would make it boot normally again. Recovery mode was OK but couldn’t erase the boot volume nor mount it via Disk Utility (I just got “Unable to delete the core storage logical volume”), so reinstalling seemed impossible.

Fortunately, I figured out how to do it, using some help from a StackExchange post I found. See below for the details.

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