Fortnite for multiple users on macOS

FortniteMy kids love playing Fortnite – but one of them has to play on my Mac when the other is on the Nintendo Switch.  They each have a macOS account, which has Parental Controls set for it, so they can’t play all night long.

An issue I found with Fortnite on the Mac was that the Epic Launcher required download of all the Fortnite files for each user, even though it stores those files in the /Users/Shared folder which is, you know, Shared. Fortnite is huge, and I don’t want to waste drive space.  I figured out how to fix it, with some help from a similar post on the Unreal Engine forum.

Here is how to get it working.

Warning

If you have games other than Fortnite installed through the Epic Launcher, things might break. You might need to copy only some of the folders from Application Support. Be careful in case you overwrite saves from other games!

Part 1 – fix permissions on Shared binaries

  1. Install Fortnite via Epic Launcher on one player’s macos account.
  2. Go to /Users/Shared/ in Finder
  3. Right click on Epic Games folder and select Get Info
  4. Change permission for Everyone to Read & Write
  5. Click padlock at bottom right and authenticate as a user with Admin rights
  6. Click the drop down next to the cog and select Apply to enclosed items.

I haven’t checked this yet, but it should allow any user to do updates in future. I’ll update if I find this isn’t the case.

Part 2 – allow launch from each users Epic Launcher

  1. While logged into the first user account, go to \~/Library/Application Support in finder
  2. Locate the Epic Folder – right click it and select Copy “Epic”
  3. Go to /Users/Shared and create a new folder called Temp – go into it
  4. Paste the Epic folder in here
  5. Log out of this account (makes sure Epic Launcher is closed
  6. Log in as one of the other users and start Epic Launcher – note that Fortnite still requires Installation – exit Epic Launcher
  7. Open Finder windows for both /Users/Shared/Temp and \~/Library/Application Support
  8. Copy the Epic folder from /Users/Shared/Temp
  9. Paste it into \~/Library/Application Support – any time it asks you to Replace or Merge, select Replace

Now when you start Epic Launcher from this user account, you no longer need to Install Fortnite – you can Launch it and it will work fine.

I did a bit more poking around, and it looks like all that is needed in Part 2 is to copy item files from the ~/Library/Application Support/Epic/EpicGamesLauncher/Data/Manifests folder.

There will be a .item file starting with a random string of characters for each game that is installed. You need to open each file in TextEdit to identify which game it relates to.

You can then copy this file from the Manifests folder in one account into that of another. The next time that Epic Launcher is opened in the other account, the game will appear as already installed. I’ve tested this for The Witness and Subnautica after getting Fortnite working as above.

Making kimchi

I’ve made my second batch of kimchi. Here is the recipe I used, adapted from a couple from Maangchi’s site. I liked the look of the ingredients from her whole cabbage recipe (fermented shrimp rather than raw squid), but wanted to use elements from her easy kimchi one (chopped cabbage), and also the quantities were on the large size since I’m just starting out in my kimchi journey. I’m just going to provide ingredients – follow the steps on Maangchi’s site for Easy Kimchi but use these quantities.

Equipment

  • 2 large mixing bowls
  • Collander
  • Glass jar – I have used both Korken and 365 jar with lid from IKEA, but anything holding a litre should work
  • Cup measures

I spotted some special kimchi jars with pressure release valves on sale in Lakeland plastics, but they are a bit small and expensive. The IKEA ones seem fine and very cheap.

Ingredients

  • 1 Chinese cabbage from my local Chinese food store
  • About 2 inches of daikon radish cut into match sticks
  • A medium carrot cut into match sticks
  • 4 green onions
  • 8 cloves of garlic or an entire small bulb
  • A couple inches of fresh ginger, minced
  • 8 teaspoons fish sauce
  • 4 teaspoons fermented shrimps and brine (had to go to Korean store on Tottenham Court Road for this)
  • ⅔ cup hot pepper flakes

Porridge ingredients

You actually need about ½ cup porridge. You can freeze what is left over for future kimchi or practical jokes. It isn’t easy to get frozen cubes of porridge out of ice trays so I’d suggest freezing measured ½ cups in freezer bags instead.

I’m looking forward to this fermenting and will report back in a couple of days how it tastes, and if the jars exploded.

Update

After a couple of days the kimchi was nicely fermenting, making a pop when ever I opened the jar. I transferred it to the IKEA jar which fits in the fridge better.

The kimchi is absolutely delicious. Way more firey than what you might buy, but also a much more sophisticated flavour. After 18 days it is almost all gone, so I am off to the local Chinese grocery to pick up some more cabbage and daikon for the next batch. Looking forward to using cubes of frozen porridge for a much quicker assembly.

The above is now my go to recipe for Kimchi until I figure out any further tweaks!

Not sure how long the fermented squid keeps for – it defrosted on the way back from the Korean store…

Super easy bread recipe

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I’ve been baking bread for a few years based on a very popular no knead recipe. I’ve adjusted it to make it even easier, and create less washing up. It takes a little planning, but won’t take you more than 10 minutes prep, then 45 minutes baking time.

Tools

  • The key to this recipe is a casserole with a lid to bake the bread in. This keeps the steam in which makes the bread really moist. Remember to take the lid off for the last 15 minutes of baking to get a good crisp crust. Any cast iron or ceramic casserole will do. 25-30 cm diameter is good for the quantities below. If you get into this, treat yourself to a new or used Le Creuset casserole.
  • Also helpful are some US measuring cups and spoons – these are much faster and tidier to use than scales.
  • Mixing bowl – I use a pyrex one
  • Silicon spatula for getting all the dough out
  • Butter knife for mixing the dough (easier to clean than a wooden spoon)
  • Cling film
  • Tea towel
  • Cooling rack – optional

Ingredients

  • Yeast – I use Dove Quick yeast. You can use fresh yeast – just add to some water
  • Flour – you can mix and match different kinds of flour and experiment with ratios
  • Seeds – sesame, flax, pumpkin, sunflower, linseeds – whatever you like to eat
  • Salt – any will do
  • Water – from the tap

Attitude

Experiment with this recipe, and see if you can cut any further corners to make it easier.

Share what you find with others.

Recipe

  • 1/4 teaspoon yeast
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon salt – or more or less whatever you like.
  • 3 cups flour – whatever ratio you like
  • 1 tablespoon seeds (or more or less)
  • 13 fl oz water
  1. Mix dry ingredients with knife
  2. Pour in water and mix to dough – it will be quite loose and moist
  3. Cover with clingfilm to rise over night or through the work day – it’ll still be sticky and loose
  4. Take the cling film off and give the dough a stir to “knock it back” – you can be more violent than this if you want
  5. Cover with a tea towl to rise through workday or overnight – still loose and moist
  6. When ready to bake, put the casserole in the oven without the lid, and heat oven and casserole to 210 deg C/410 deg F
  7. When heated, sprinkle some flour on the bottom of the casserole to stop the dough sticking – don’t go crazy
  8. Pour the dough into the casserole, and give it a shake to even it out – use the spatula to get any dough stuck to the sides
  9. Put the lid on, then put in the oven for 30 minutes to bake
  10. After 30 minutes take the lid off and bake for a further 15 minutes – you can even turn the oven up a bit to make the crust even crustier.
  11. Turn out the bread and cool on the rack – or just slice some off and enjoy with fresh butter.

I hope you enjoy. This method is so easy, memorable and quick that you can bake every couple of days and experiment till you discover the best bread you’ve ever tasted.

Google Keyboard accents and other special characters

I’m starting a new job. My new boss is from an East European country, and has accented characters in her name (ž to be exact). I would like to be able to use the correct diacritics when writing her name. Easy on my Mac (long key press to show all diacritics for a letter), but less so on my Android phone.

While the android language setting is set to English (UK) this character isn’t available via a long press (as it would be for è, â and ç). To make it available, I need to add a language that includes it (Croatian for example).

Here’s how:

  • Settings > Language and input
  • Virtual keyboard
  • Gboard
  • Languages
  • Turn off use system locale to allow selection of multiple languages
  • Enable your home language and the additional language that has the characters you need.

Now the accented options are available on a long press of the parent letter.

I also noticed that the gboard suggestions now includes the accented characters when before it didn’t.

Fixed.

Bitcoin Experiment

After reading an excellent article about Bitcoin in the London Review of Books, I have become interested in cryptocurrencies.  In order to learn more I decided I needed to get some practical experience, so I bought some Bitcoin.  Here are my experiences and observations, which I hope will save you some time and energy if you are looking to buy a small amount of Bitcoin from the UK.

TL;DR

If you want to get your feet wet with Bitcoin from the UK, use Circle to buy up to £200 a week worth of Bitcoin.

Registration woes

Buying Bitcoin proved to be quite complicated, partially due to banking requirements known as AML/KYC (Anti Money Laundering/Know Your Customer) which means setting up an account with a bitcoin exchange can be quite arduous.  They all require proving your identity, and different exchanges take this to different levels. This can mean you will have to wait up to a week before you can buy any bitcoin.  Even more frustrating is other costs and delays aren’t always apparent until after you have completed the registration process.  You can waste an awful lot of time going through a registration process only to find the exchange isn’t worth using in your circumstances.

Transfer fee woes

When buying a small amount of Bitcoin, you don’t want to lose much in fees when you buy them.  This can occur in a couple of places.  The exchanges may charge transaction fees – usually a small percentage of the transaction value.  In many cases this may not be a problem, since those Exchanges may offer a better exchange rate – depending on your volume this difference may more than make up for a fee.  Do your maths!

A bigger obstacle is that a number of exchanges no longer operate UK based bank accounts and don’t accept debit cards in GBP.  This means using international bank transfers.  Even within Europe this is going to mean your bank charges you for SWIFT or SEPA transfers – Nationwide charge £20 for this.  So buying £100 of Bitcoin this way is going to cost you £120.

If you are buying a small amount of bitcoin avoid exhanges that don’t accept credit cards.

Bitcoin exchange rates

The website bittybot.co gives relatively up to date rates for most exchanges and marketplaces, as well as other information including which places accept UK bank transfers or credit cards.

Summary

The following table summarises my experience with different exchanges.

Exchange Registration difficulty Transfer fees Transaction fees
Kraken Straightforward – upload scan of ID and proof of address  SEPA or SWIFT transfer only  Yes
ANX Lengthy.  Registration isn’t too bad, but they send a code by mail to confirm address which means up to a week before you can buy. SEPA or SWIFT transfer only, and conversion to CAD or HKD  Yes
Uphold  Relatively straightforward – accept upload of scans or photos of ID documents. SEPA or SWIFT transfer, or credit/debit card with 2.75% fee
Solidi Currently in Beta, so you have to get accepted into the Beta before you can register.  On acceptance simple upload of scanned ID and address docs gets you verified.  No fee  No fee
Circle Very simple upload of scans/photos of ID docs gets you verified in a single session.  UK credit/debit card accepted with no fee  No fee
Coinbase Horrible – they use a video system based in Germany where you video chat with someone who may not speak English who tries to take a clear photo of your passport via a webcam – this failed every time for me, till I gave up.  Their Android app can be used to take a photo of your drivers license, which is better, but you need to disable any screen dimming apps like Twilight for the app to work. However, after going through this it turned out they don’t allow bitcoin purchase from the UK – frustrating!  3% fee for credit or debit card, but unclear if you can use UK debit or credit cards.  Their app says you can’t.

I ended up using Circle for buying my bitcoin.  The registration process was simple and quick, they accept account top-up via UK debit card with no fees from them or my bank up to a limit of £200 per week.

I’m sure there are reasons to use any of the other exchanges listed above – but for experimenting with small amounts of Bitcoin Circle is the one I would recommend.  At some point I may do the maths and figure out what is the most cost effective way to buy Bitcoin for different spending levels.