Tiny Deathstars of Foulness

I usually don’t like to discuss books (except in person with friends/colleagues) very much until I have an ISBN number. Well, here it is! My next book is going to address what I consider the most important challenge to Apple Server nerds like myself: can a server really be installed off the app store with no technical skills? I also tackle the meaning of life (somewhere on page 42) in this book, but that’s not nearly as interesting a topic… I am about 80 percent done with it and it should be out within the next 5 to 6 weeks. One of the things that really impresses me about O’Reilly is how fast they can turn my work around, due to their automated publishing environment (if you’ve never written a book in DocBook/XML, you might want to try a chapter or two before you sign a contract as it is nothing like writing in Word or Pages!). Now that it has an ISBN, the book can now be found on Amazon using the link below. Again, it won’t be out for a few weeks, but it will be fully updated to 10.7.2 and will cover Profile Manager/MDM, the new Podcast Producer and of course Time Machine Server. I go into round tripping WebDAV data w/ iPad/Pages and other oddities specific to iOS as well. Oh, and I added a special appendix on FTP for those still living in the 90s (complete with flannel and greasy hair)!

BTW, the animal is not a Lion, ’cause it was taken…

October 28th, 2011

Posted In: Articles and Books, iPhone, Mac OS X, Mac OS X Server, Mac Security, Mass Deployment

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As a reader, we’ve arranged for you to get a special discount … on us … for this year’s event.  Just a couple of weeks away, MacTech Conference 2011 is November 2-4 at the Sheraton Universal in Los Angeles.  This is an amazing event that is very well regarded in our industry not just for the content, but also for the opportunities to meet and interact with others.
The hotel block is almost full, and there’s a limited number of discounts that we have available, so you need to act quickly to get the $799 deal (Save $500 off the onsite registration price).
Simply use this link to register:
Want to know more about the event?  Here’s some additional details and links to event web site.
MacTech Conference Highlights World-Class Speakers with world-class content: Literally and figuratively.  As an international event, we have over 40 speakers from half a dozen countries — the true leaders in the industry — with content specifically designed for IT Pros, Enterprise, and developers.  See for yourself all the speakers and sessions descriptions at
Built to interact.  From beginning to end, MacTech Conference is built to help you network with peers, and meet new contacts.  The atmosphere MacTech builds around breaks, meals, and evening activities (which include a tour of Hollywood’s most famous backlot on the iconic tram and conference party) is designed to make it easy for you to network.
Lion, iOS 5, and iCloud.  As the first major industry event after all these have actually shipped, MacTech Conference is a great opportunity for you to find how others are dealing with deployment, migration and support of these new technologies. Start Off Right.  Industry legend Guy Kawasaki will kick off the event with the keynote speech at MacTech Conference 2011.  Guy Kawasaki is the author of the New York Times bestseller Enchantment: The Art of Changing Hearts, Minds, and Actions, and the former chief evangelist of Apple.  See Designed for Attendees.  Attendees of the 2010 event loved it.  Their highest compliment when surveyed is that 100% would recommend the conference … that’s right, 100%!  What are MacTech Conference 2011 registered attendees saying? See for yourself at
Packed Schedule. Morning ’til Night.  MacTech is known for packing in value. As an immersive conference, we’ll have you busy from morning until night. On the first evening of the event, the iconic Universal Studios Tram will pick up conference attendees at the hotel to begin this private adventure.  We’ll go behind-the-scenes on the legendary Studio Tour to explore Hollywood’s most famous backlot in the world’s largest working movie studio. Then, Paul Cuoco, Universal’s Technical Manager responsible for show theatrical systems and media integration will be on hand to talk to attendees about some of the behind the scenes technology that creates the magic.  And, on the second evening, we’ll take a walk from the hotel down Universal’s CityWalk to Jillian’s. At Jillian’s, we’ll enjoy all that Jillian’s has to offer (bowling, Guitar Hero room, arcade, billiards and more).  See
Hand-picked Sponsors.  MacTech Conference invites the sponsors that we believe our attendees are interested in seeing.  These are people not only with solutions that you can use, but that give you ways to do more or increase revenue.  Often, you get the opportunity to talk to the core personnel from these organizations and get real answers, and give real feedback.
MacTech Select Awards.  As a developer, it’s hard to get recognition for products.  At MacTech Conference, attendees can submit their products for a vote by Conference attendees for their favorite technologies.  See
Special Presentation by Code 42. Right after the conference ends on Friday, Code 42 will be making a special presentation.  In this special two-hour event, Code 42 Software and IT thought leaders from two of the world’s leading technology companies will discuss the challenges of protecting data in an ever more mobile and platform diverse world. (We can’t publicize the names of the companies, but trust us, you know them.)  As an added bonus, Code 42’s CEO, Matthew Dornquast will be presenting an advance look at the upcoming major upgrade to their flagship product, CrashPlan PROe.  And, as if that wasn’t enough, there will be free lunch, and every attendee will get a free five-seat license to CrashPlan PROe. See
Get Apple Certified.  The new Lion exams are out, and after the event ends, you have the opportunity to update your Apple Certifications.  You can take any Apple Certification Exam that is currently available at the time of testing (2 hour exams only).  See
All Meals Included.  Space is Limited.  MacTech Conference is priced economically including food, a MacTech Magazine subscription, a schedule packed full of sessions, exclusive entertainment, and more.  And, the hotel block is nearly sold out, so you need to act fast.
Why Should You Attend? Simply put:       The Content.        The People.        The Experience.
MacTech Conference
November 2-4, 2011
Sheraton Universal – Los Angeles

October 16th, 2011

Posted In: Mac OS X, Mac OS X Server, Mac Security, Mass Deployment, public speaking

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The latest update of Lion for Mac OS X 10.7.2 comes with an interesting new option, where it prompts users to log into iCloud. This setting is stored in in the DidSeeCloudSetup key. Configuring the boolean with a positive value then suppresses the prompt for the user: defaults write /System/Library/User Template/Non_localized/Library/Preferences/ DidSeeCloudSetup -boolean YES If you have configured it and you want to run it again, just revert to NO: defaults write /System/Library/User Template/Non_localized/Library/Preferences/ DidSeeCloudSetup -boolean NO These commands can be sent out through Apple Remote Desktop, or some other patch management system.

October 15th, 2011

Posted In: Mac OS X

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Over dinner one night, Matthew Dornquast, the CEO of CrashPlan, was running something by a few of us sitting around the table. Basically, giving access to files that are backed up in CrashPlan to other systems. I don’t think I fully understood what he was talking about (I mean, you can already restore data on any system you install CrashPlan on, right?) and didn’t pay much mind to it. Then, I heard about the CrashPlan app for iOS (iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch). After downloading the app, I realized it wasn’t just showing me when my machines last backed up (which it does very nicely). It’s more than that. You can actually download files from your CrashPlan backup, view them and then use the clipboard to shuttle them to another program. For example, the keynote that I had been working on last night opened nicely in the Keynote app on my iPad and I was able to view it on my TV at home by mirroring my iPad to the TV. This kind of innovation is what I’ve come to expect from these guys. Their deduplication tech far exceeds you getting what you pay for. Unlimited backup to their cloud for the home version is just awesome. Making the home version free for backing up to other computers is just a nice thing to do. And to top it all off, the PROe stuff far exceeds what anyone else can do in terms of edge, or client backups – and they have a nice mass deployment situation, making it easy to both integrate with LDAP and deploy via packages. You can even backup an Xsan with it (to disk of course), making it amongst the least expensive packages for doing so. Overall, I think what I’m saying is that I think their tech deserves the badass award!

October 14th, 2011

Posted In: Mac OS X, Mac OS X Server, Mac Security, Mass Deployment, Windows XP

I really had a great time at MacSysAdmin 2011 in Gothenburg, Sweden. The videos of the sessions are now available at The Swedes, Danes, Norwegians and even the Finns are great hosts. And getting to meet people from so many countries in one spot is always fun. Tycho and his cohorts at Apoio just do such a great job planning and thinking every detail through. Since my demos were a fail (note: you need Internet access to restore iOS devices), I’ll be publishing an article that outlines each of my demos that weren’t able to be delivered at some point in the near future. Also, congrats to all the other speakers. I can’t think of a single session that wasn’t a pleasure to sit through!

October 13th, 2011

Posted In: Mac OS X, Mac OS X Server, Mac Security, Mass Deployment, public speaking

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Looks like MacTech Advanced Registration is about to close:
Now is the time to register for MacTech Conference, save with advanced registration andjust pay $899. Advance Registration ends October 14th. Register here. Our large initial hotel room block has already sold out for all nights.  We’ve managed to add some more rooms but only a handful of those remain for the main nights. More…
Hope to see you there!

October 11th, 2011

Posted In: public speaking

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Boot holding down the R key and you are placed into Lion’s Recovery Mode. From inside Recovery Mode, you can select a number of options. Many are helpful, especially for road warriors. But in a centralized environment, not everyone should be able to perform potentially dangerous operations. One way to eliminate such an option is to just wipe the Recovery Mode, but what if you actually wanted to leave Recovery Mode… To see the Recovery Partition, check out this article. Once you are in the Recovery Partition, there are lots of nifty little toys. For example, to see the menu of options shown in Recovery Mode, run Mac OS X Utilities in the /Volumes/Mac OS X Base System/System/Installation/CDIS directory (expand the Mac OS X Base System dmg to see it in Volumes). Or to get rid of your dock, run the Lock app in the same directory (gets rid of your dock until you click an app window at least). Or to get rid of the dock and menu, use LCA (again, reappears when you click on another window). Or more to the point of what most want to do, nested within the Contents/Resources/Utilities.plist directory of the Mac OS X Utilities you can edit the items that appear in the directory. You can also add items in, provided they have no dependencies not in the recovery build of OS X (see otool to track dependencies). Editing the graphical interface for Recovery Mode is also done here. Each of the icons and other graphical elements are exposed, for easy replacement (menu and icons). For example, the /Volumes/Mac OS X Base System/System/Installation/CDIS/Mac OS X or TimeMachineIcon.png, Utilities.icns or DFA.icns in the same directory. You can even reformat the informational screens, within each language by going into each lproj. While there are aspects of Recovery Mode that I haven’t figured out yet, overall I think it’s pretty easy to be able to customize as needed, and look forward to seeing just how far it’s taken in the next weeks to come.

October 3rd, 2011

Posted In: Mac OS X, Mac OS X Server, Mass Deployment

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