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Tiny Deathstars of Foulness

Love interviewing this guy! Who wants to be next?

May 8th, 2015

Posted In: Articles and Books, public speaking

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I’ve long been an attendee and supporter of MinneBar, a Barcamp in Minneapolis. This year, I’ll be doing a presentation on publishing in the tech world. If you live here in town, I’d love to see you there!

http://sessions.minnestar.org/sessions/187

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Also, JAMF Software is a sponsor, so if you’d like to talk JAMF or Bushel, I’m of course always excited to discuss both!

April 9th, 2015

Posted In: Articles and Books, public speaking

The latest book, Learning iOS Security is now available on Amazon, Packt, etc. One of my better writing experiences, so thanks to all for making it so! Buy it here, if you’re into iOS Security and all that kind of fun stuff.

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March 3rd, 2015

Posted In: Articles and Books, iPhone

As an author of technical books, I’ve been very interested in the comings and goings of technical books for a long time. This new Instagram feed is an expedition into what once was and how quickly the times change. Feed is embedded into a page on krypted to make it easier to see. Curious how many of my books are now “Dead Tech Books”…

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February 1st, 2015

Posted In: Articles and Books, public speaking

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MacWorld is kinda’ dead. Long live MacWorld (I cry nightly over this). But MacIT, alive and well and awesome (I hadn’t really spent any time on the floor for a long time anyway)! Here’s the email announcing the MacIT dates, which will be July 14th through 16th in Santa Clara! I’m super-stoked! :)

MacIT_logo_emailDear MacIT constituents,

Mark your calendars for MacIT 2015!

I’m pleased to announce that we have secured dates for the MacIT 2015 Conference. This year’s event will be held July 14-16 at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Silicon Valley (Santa Clara, CA). Our team is hard at work to ensure the first “stand alone” MacIT is a must-attend event for enterprise professionals. The program committee is currently vetting themes and topics for the conference and our call for presenters is currently posted on our website – http://www.macitconf.com. Our returning sponsors, JAMF, Code42, ESET, Parallels, and CoSoSys are ready to preview their iOS and OS X solutions at MacIT 2015, and our sponsor recruitment team is in discussions with many of the manufacturers you have requested access to.

The world of enterprise integration for iOS and OS X continues to evolve at an exciting pace and MacIT continues to be a unique meeting and marketplace for the enterprise professional. MacIT will continue to focus on all things “Apple in the Enterprise” – technology and standards tutorials, realistic product and solution chain evaluations, candid analysis, case studies, peer problem solving, access to key vendors, and insights to help you assess Apple’s role in the enterprise technology world, and how these tools can best be put to work in your organization. Our goal is always to provide you the best (quantity and quality) content, presenters, manufacturers, and professional networking access to make you a success in your deployment projects.

I look forward to keeping in touch with you via email and social media with event updates and announcements over the coming months, and hope to see you at MacIT 2015.

Best Regards,

Paul Kent Conference Chairman, MacIT

MacIT on Twitter: https://twitter.com/MacITConf #MacIT2015

MacIT on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/MacIT/151684994917868

January 23rd, 2015

Posted In: Articles and Books, Mac OS X, Mac OS X Server, Mac Security, Mass Deployment, Network Printing, public speaking

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When I put a computer in my daughters room, I soon realized I could no longer watch over her shoulder as she worked away at school games, Minecraft and of course Civilization (after all, that was my first game). So much as I wrote an article a long time ago about child-proofing an iPad, now I’m writing about child-proofing a Mac.

For me, I find that child-proofing is a bit like taking my kid to McDonald’s. I said never ever ever ever would I do this and then… Well, peer pressure, ya’ll… So if I have to do it, I figure someone else might. So here’s a quick and dirty guide to doing so. The gist of this guide is to continue using the same admin account that was created when you setup the computer initially. But to also create another account for the child, one that has some restrictions to keep them in a customized user experience. This might be to keep them out of things they try to do on purpose, keep them from accidentally finding some things they shouldn’t or maybe just to customize the user experience to make the computer easier to use (after all, if they can’t remove Minecraft from the Dock, they can’t come crying when they can’t find it.

Create a Managed Account

Most of the work that needs to be done, can be done within the System Preferences. This is available under the Apple menu as System Preferences…

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Once open, click on the Users & Groups System Preference.

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At the Users & Groups System Preference pane, click on the plus sign (+).

Childproof_Managed_Account

 

At the new account screen, choose “Managed with Parental Controls” in the New Account field. Then provide the child’s name in the Full Name field and an Account Name will be automatically created (note that I shortened the name in this example to make it easier for the child to log in).

Assuming your child doesn’t have their own iCloud account, set the password to “Use separate password” and then type it in. Once you’re happy with these settings, create the new account, which can be managed with Parental Controls by clicking on the Create User button.

Childproof_User

Restrict Applications and The Dock

Once the account is created, click on the “Enable parental controls” checkbox and then on the Open Parental Controls… button.

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At the Parental Controls System Preference pane, you’ll have a few options.

  • Check the Use Simple Finder box if you’d like the user to have a limited user experience (no command keys, only certain windows open, etc). I would usually only recommend doing this if you have very small children (like maybe pre-school age). I usually like them to be able to do as much as possible to foster the whole hacker mentality nice and young!
  • Check the box for Limit Applications if you’d only like certain apps to open. This is right up front on the main screen because it’s kinda’ important. Use the Allowed Apps section to select which apps can and can’t be opened (if there’s a checkbox beside the app name it can be opened by the user).
  • Use the Allow App Store Apps drop-down list to to set an age ranking minimum. These are available in 4+, 9+, 12+, 17+ and All (which basically disables restrictions).
  • Check the box for “Prevent the Dock from being modified” if you would like to restrict the new account from being able to edit the Dock. I usually wait for this, as I like to customize the Dock by putting the apps I want the child to open into the Dock. To do so, skip now, log in as the new user, log out and then customize the Dock. Once you’re done, log out, log in as an administrative user and then check the box.

Web Restrictions

Next, click on the Web tab. Here, you’ll effectively have 3 options: don’t restrict any content, let Apple try and block inappropriate content and build a whitelist of allowed content (with all other content blocked). Now, it’s worth mentioning that there can be an annoying element here, which is that if a site needs to be opened up for access, a child might come bugging you. But I like that, so I’m configuring this.

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Options include:

  • Allow unrestricted access to websites: Don’t block any content. Allow unfettered access to all websites ever.
  • Try to limit access to adult websites automatically: Click on the Customize button to add white and blacklisted sites, or sites that were accidentally restricted or allowed that maybe shouldn’t of. Or, if you want to restrict access to a specific web-based game that has become problematic.Screen Shot 2014-12-26 at 5.46.23 PM
  • Allow access to only these websites: This option allows access to only the websites you allow access to. A word of warning here, a lot of sites pull content from other sites, which can be kinda’ annoying…

Note: It’s worth mentioning that I discovered a few websites I’d of never tried to use in the allow list, so worth checking them out to see if your child will dig on some of these sites!

Once you’re satisfied with the options you’ve configured, click on the People tab.

Configure Who Your Child Can Communicate With

At the People screen, you can configure who the person using the Managed Account can communicate with. Here, restrict access to Game Center, restrict who the account can send and receive mail with and of course, who the account can use the Messages app with.

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The above options include the following:

  • Allow joining Game Center multiplayer games: Uncheck this box to restrict the user from playing any multiplayer games that use Game Center to connect people. If the user is using a game that doesn’t integrate with Game Center then they would still be able to use that game to enter into a multi-player game.
  • Allow adding Game Center friends: Uncheck this box to keep the user with the Managed Account from adding any new friends in Game Center.
  • Limit Mail to allowed contacts: Only allow people in the Allowed Contacts section to exchange emails with the user of the account.
  • Send requests to: Define an email address that can receive a contact request and approve it. I use this so that when my daughter needs something she can let me know.
  • Limit Messages to allowed contacts: Only allow people in the Allowed Contacts section to message with the user of the account.
  • Allowed Contacts: Use the plus sign at the bottom of this section of the screen to add new contacts and the minus button to remove contacts.

Note: Apple rarely uses the word restrict. Instead, they prefer to allow things to happen by default and then let you disallow these features. Basically the same thing, but keep this in mind when you’re configuring accounts as sometimes you can accidentally click the wrong thing if you’re not accustomed to such double-negativery. 

Once you have configured who the user of this account can communicate with, click on the Time Limits tab.

Configure Time Limits

Time limits are used to restrict what times the user can use the computer as well as how long per day that the user can actually use the computer. The options available include:

  • Limit weekday use to: Define a maximum number of hours that the managed user can use the computer on a given workday between Monday through Friday. This can be anywhere from half an hour to 8 hours of time.
  • Limit weekend use to: Define a maximum number of hours that the managed user can use the computer on a given Saturday or Sunday. This can be anywhere from half an hour to 8 hours of time.
  • School nights: Define the time frames where the computer cannot be used by the Managed User on Sunday through Thursday evenings. For example, the below screen shows that on weeknights, the Emerald Edge user can’t use the computer from 8PM to 6AM.
  • Weekend: Define the time frames where the computer cannot be used by the Managed User on Friday and Saturday nights. For example, the below screen shows that on weeknights, the Emerald Edge user can’t use the computer from 8PM to 6AM.

Screen Shot 2014-12-26 at 5.02.40 PM

Time limits are the only things that matter for some who like to physically sit with a child while they use a computer, as you might just want to keep the child from waking up in the middle of the night and accidentally seeing something that scares them. But for many, time limits won’t be enough, as kids might spend hours gaming or doing homework unmonitored.

More Stuffs

Next, click the Other tab. Here, you’ve got the miscellaneous restrictions that really don’t fit anywhere else in Parental Controls. The options available include the following:

  • Disable built-in camera: Turn off the built-in camera for the user. Note that third party cameras wills till work for the user.
  • Disable Dictation: Turn off Dictation/Speakable Items for the user. Note that apps like Dragon Naturally Speaking can still be used.
  • Hide profanity in Dictionary: Use this option to disable any articles in the Dictionary app that have profanity in them.
  • Limit printer administration: Don’t allow the user to manage printers. Note that if you do this, you’ll want to install any Bonjour printers first.
  • Disable changing the password: Don’t allow the user to change the password.
  • Limit CD and DVD burning: Disable any optical media writing for the Managed Account.

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Note: I know I said earlier that Apple rarely says restrict or disable. They will get around to fixing this screen eventually… 😉

View Logs

Once you have configured parental Controls, click on that Logs button in the lower right corner of the screen. Here, you’ll see the following:

  • Show activity for: Indicate the period of time to show logs for.
  • Websites Visited: A list of the websites accessed by the user of the managed account. Note that no third party web browsers are shown unless they use Apple’s webkit (which is basically not really any).
  • Websites Blocked: A list of any websites that were blocked while attempting to access them.
  • Applications: A list of the applications used by the user of the managed account.
  • Messages: Transcripts of conversations sent and received using the Messages app. Note that any third party chatting apps aren’t logged here.
  • Clear Log: Deletes the log. Use this after you’ve checked the behavior and wish to have the next time you check only show you what’s changed.

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And that’s what you can do with Parental Controls. But there’s more, which we’ll look at shortly. When you click out of a field, the settings are changed in a System Preference, so you should be able to just close the window and have your settings persist.

Conclusion

We’ve gone through creating a new account, restricting access to what that account can do and how and when to use these options. But there’s much, much more than we can cover in this article. There are tons of other restrictions that don’t fit into these basic options, accessed either through what are known as managed preferences or via profiles, which can easily be created by tools like Apple Configurator, Profile Manager and 3rd party mobile device management tools such as Bushel.

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Ultimately, I can pretty much break out of about any managed environment you put me in. And in the age of YouTube, chances are that your child has many the same materials I’ve either presented, written or that others have written. So please don’t consider these options as much more than just a general guideline unless you’re using a Device Enrollment Program-enabled device.

Anyway, good luck, and you’re a good parent for caring.

December 29th, 2014

Posted In: Articles and Books, Bushel, Consulting, Mac OS X, Mac OS X Server, Mac Security, Mass Deployment, personal

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From Take Control:

Apple Mail. It’s hard to get by on a Mac or iOS device without it. But living with Mail can be a recipe for hair-pulling frustration, whether because of connection failures caused by Mail’s mysteriously unreliable automatic settings detection or trying to figure out the difference between long and short swipes in the iOS version. No one knows more about Mail than Joe Kissell, and he has distilled his most important advice into the second edition of “Take Control of Apple Mail,” now completely revised and updated to explain Mail in 10.10 Yosemite and iOS 8. 183 pages of goodness is only $15.

Point others here > http://tid.bl.it/tco-apple-mail

Apple’s Pages word processor built a loyal following because it wasn’t Microsoft Word, but Apple threw us a curveball with the release of Pages 5 for the Mac and Pages 2 for iOS, removing numerous features and shuffling the interface around. Michael Cohen has spent the last year spelunking through the depths of Pages on the Mac, in iOS, and in iCloud to ferret out what has changed, how to accomplish both everyday and complex word processing and layout tasks, and the best ways to work back and forth in all three versions of Pages via iCloud Drive in Yosemite and iOS 8. At 266 pages, “Take Control of Pages” comprehensively documents what you want to do in Pages for $20.

Point others here > http://tid.bl.it/tco-pages-info

Thank you for your support of the Take Control series, and may all your wishes comes true this holiday season!

December 19th, 2014

Posted In: Articles and Books

Tags: , , ,

Hacker Ipsum: http://hackeripsum.com

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Ancient Alien Ipsum: http://idsgn.dropmark.com/107/2204284

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Bluth Ipsum: http://idsgn.dropmark.com/107/1130439

Durden Ipsum: www.durdenipsum.com

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Batman Ipsum: batman-ipsum.com

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Zombie Ipsum: http://www.zombieipsum.com

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Hipster Ipsum: http://hipsteripsum.me

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Whedon Ipsum: http://www.commercekitchen.com/whedon-ipsum

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Pirate Ipsum: http://pirateipsum.me

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Bacon Ipsum: Bacon Ipsum

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Lebowski Ipsum: http://www.lebowskiipsum.com

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Sagan Ipsum: http://saganipsum.com

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Pokemon Ipsum: http://nyarth.net/ipsum

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Riker Ipsum: http://www.rikeripsum.com

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Delorean Ipsum: http://www.deloreanipsum.com

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Heisenberg Ipsum: http://heisenbergipsum.com

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Hillbilly Ipsum: hillbillyipsum.com

Hodor Ipsum: http://hodoripsum.com (cause pasting Hodor 1,000 times will hurt your thumb)

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Samuel L Ipsum: http://slipsum.com

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Beer Ipsum: http://beeripsum.com

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Liquor Ipsum: http://liquoripsum.com

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Star Wars Ipsum: star-wars-ipsum.herokuapp.com

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Charlie Sheen Ipsum: Charlie Sheen Lorem Ipsum

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Game of Thrones Ipsum: www.gameofipsum.com

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IT Crowd Ipsum: www.itcrowdipsum.com (just text, not an actual generator)

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Corporate Buzzwords FTW: www.cipsum.com

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December 3rd, 2014

Posted In: Articles and Books

Tags: ,

Thanks to all the awesome work from Adam and Tanya Engst, Tidbits announced today that my Take Control of OS X Server is now available! To quote some of the Tidbits writeup:

Some projects turn out to be harder than expected, and while Charles Edge’s “Take Control of OS X Server” was one of them, we’re extremely pleased to announce that the full 235-page book is now available in PDF, EPUB, and Mobipocket versions to help anyone in a home or small office environment looking to get started with Apple’s OS X Server.

As you’ll likely remember, we published this book chapter by chapter for TidBITS members, finishing it in early September (see “‘Take Control of OS X Server’ Streaming in TidBITS,” 12 May 2014). Doing so got the information out more quickly, broke up the writing and editing effort, and elicited reader comments that helped us refine the text.

Normally, we would have moved right into final editing and published the book quickly, but from mid-September on, our attention has been focused on OS X 10.10 Yosemite, iOS 8, and our new Take Control Crash Course series. We were working non-stop, and while we wanted to release “Take Control of OS X Server,” we felt it was more important to finish the books about Apple’s new operating systems for the thousands of people who rely on Take Control for technical assistance.

During that time, we had the entire book copyedited by Caroline Rose, who’s best known for writing and editing Inside Macintosh Volumes I through III at Apple and being the editor in chief at NeXT. Plus, we went over the book carefully to ensure that it used consistent terminology and examples, optimized the outline, and improved many of the screenshots.

The main problem with this delay was that Apple has now updated OS X Server from version 3.2.2 (Mavericks Server, which is what we used when writing the book) to 4.0 (Yosemite Server, which is all that works in Yosemite). Updating the book for Yosemite Server would delay it even longer. Luckily for us, veteran system administrators say that you should never upgrade OS X Server on a production machine right away. And even luckier, the changes in Yosemite Server turn out to be extremely minor (a sidebar in the Introduction outlines them), so those who want to get started now can use the instructions in the book with no problem. It’s also still possible to buy Mavericks Server and install it on a Mac running Mavericks, as long as you have the right Mac App Store link from the book. We are planning to update the book for Yosemite Server (which mostly involves retaking screenshots and changing the “mavserver” name used in examples) in early 2015 — it will be a free update for all purchasers.

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You can find out more about the book at http://www.takecontrolbooks.com/osx-server. An update will be due out in early 2015, so stay tuned for more!

November 24th, 2014

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

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