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Tiny Deathstars of Foulness

By default, OS X now updates apps that are distributed through the Mac App Store (MAS). Server running on macOS Sierra is really just the Server app, sitting on the App Store, installed on a standard Mac. If the Server app is upgraded automatically, you will potentially experience some adverse side effects, especially if the app is running on a Metadata Controller for Xsan, runs Open Directory, or a major release of the Server app ships. Additionally, if you are prompted to install a beta version on a production system, you could end up with issues. Therefore, in this article we’re going to disable these otherwise sweet features of OS X.

To get started, first open the System Preferences. From there, click on the App Store System Preference pane.

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From the App Store System Preference pane, uncheck the following boxes:

  • Automatically Check For Updates: Unchecking this box disables the download in the background option and the installation of app updates.
  • Automatically Download Apps Purchased on Other Macs: If you buy an upgrade, you could accidentally install that upgrade on production servers you don’t intend to install the upgrade on.

Once disabled, you’ll need to keep on top of updates in the App Store manually. My recommendation is still to create an image of your server before each update.

If you see the field, click Change for “Your computer is set to receive beta software updates” and then click

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You can also set these from the command line. To disable automatic app store updates:

defaults write /Library/Preferences/com.apple.commerce AutoUpdate -bool FALSE

To disable automatic macOS updates:

defaults write /Library/Preferences/com.apple.commerce AutoUpdateRestartRequired -bool FALSE

And to disable automatic Software Update update checks:

defaults write /Library/Preferences/com.apple.SoftwareUpdate AutomaticCheckEnabled -bool FALSE

Overall, be careful with automatic updates. I like leaving checking enabled so when I sit down at the console of a server I get prompted to update; however, I don’t want servers updating and restarting unless I tell them to, after I’ve performed a comprehensive regression test on the updates.

September 29th, 2016

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

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Installing OS X has never been easier than it got in Yosemite, when the installers were moved to the App Store. And since then it’s just gotten easier, and easier. In this article, we’ll upgrade a Mac from OS X 10.11 (El Capitan) to macOS Sierra (10.12), the latest and greatest. The first thing you should do is clone your system (especially if you’re upgrading a server). The second thing you should do is make sure you have a good backup. The third thing you should do is make sure you can swap back to the clone should you need to do so and that your data will remain functional on the backup. The fourth thing you should do is test that clone again…

Once you’re sure that you have a fallback plan, let’s get started by downloading “Install macOS Sierra” from the App Store. Once downloaded, you’ll see Install macOS Sierra sitting in LaunchPad, as well as in the /Applications folder.

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Open the app and click Continue (provided of course that you are ready to restart the computer and install Sierra).

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At the licensing agreement, click Agree (or don’t and there will be no Sierra for you).

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At the pop-up click Agree again, unless you’ve changed your mind about the license agreement in the past couple of seconds (I’m sure it happens).

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At the Install screen, click Install and the computer will reboot.

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And you’re done. Now for the fun stuff!

September 28th, 2016

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

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Just a quick one-liner. Enjoy.

profiles -Cv | grep Enrollment | awk '{ s = ""; for (i = 5; i <= NF; i++) s = s $i " "; print s }'

August 20th, 2016

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

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An hour into my first Reddit AMA with some super-excellent JAMFs!

AMA w/ Charles Edge and the Apple management experts at JAMF Software from macsysadmin

June 24th, 2016

Posted In: Apple Configurator, Articles and Books, Business, iPhone, JAMF, Mac OS X, Mac OS X Server, Mac Security, Mass Deployment

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Episode 5: SSO & Puppies, Two Tales of Adoption with Tom Bridge, Pepijn Bruienne, Marcus Ransom, and I is now available at http://podcast.macadmins.org or using the embed below. Hope you enjoy!

And a special thanks to Andrew Seago, Miles Leacy, and Mikey Paul for joining us!

June 7th, 2016

Posted In: Mac OS X, Mac Security, MacAdmins Podcast, Mass Deployment

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Hey Devops peeps! Got this, so just quoting and posting:

Just a reminder that the Early Bird rate for the MacDeployment Conference ends on Monday (May 16) at 23:59 MT. This applies both to the Conference day (June 16, CAD $75) as well as the Conference + Workshop days package (June 16 + 17, CAD $275). While the conference is meant to serve (and further build) the Mac Admins community in Alberta (Canada), it is open to all. Speakers include Tom Bridge, Luis Giraldo, Tim Sutton, and Teri Grossheim. For further information, visit macdeployment.ca.

You should go.

May 16th, 2016

Posted In: Consulting, Mac OS X, Mac OS X Server, Mac Security, MacAdmins Podcast, Mass Deployment

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One of my favorite things to do every year is head to Gothenburg to see Tycho, Patrik, and the rest of the wonderful country of Sweden (and city of Gothenburg). It’s a great city and Tycho does a great job to curate MacSysAdmin into an informative conference. And, the site is now live to buy your tickets for the 2016 event!

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It’s one of those conferences that sells out, so don’t wait too long to pick up your ticket! 🙂

May 10th, 2016

Posted In: Mac OS X, Mac OS X Server, Mac Security, MacAdmins Podcast, Mass Deployment

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My presentation from MacADUK from the fall is now available at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tRq6rCKSHko. This was a rapid fire look at a lot of the tools available for Mac and MDM management.

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Thanks again to everyone at Amsys for putting on such a wonderful conference and for inviting me to be involved. And for making the videos available to anyone!

May 9th, 2016

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

A number of systems require you to use complex characters in passwords and passcodes. Here is a list of characters that can be used, along with the name and the associated unicode:

  •    (Space) U+0020
  • ! (Exclamation) U+0021
  • ” (Double quotes) U+0022
  • # (Number sign) U+0023
  • $ (Dollar sign) U+0024
  • % (Percent) U+0025
  • & (Ampersand) U+0026
  • ‘  (Single quotes) U+0027
  • ( (Left parenthesis) U+0028
  • ) (Right parenthesis) U+0029
  • * (Asterisk) U+002A
  • + (Plus) U+002B
  • , (Comma) U+002C
  • – (Minus sign) U+002D
  • . (Period) U+002E
  • / (Slash) U+002F
  • : (Colon) U+003A
  • ; (Semicolon) U+003B
  • < (Less than sign) U+003C (not allowed in all systems)
  • = (Equal sign) U+003D
  • > (Greater than sign) U+003E (not allowed in all systems)
  • ? (Question) U+003F
  • @ (At sign) U+0040
  • [ (Left bracket) U+005B
  • \ (Backslash) U+005C
  • ] (Right bracket) U+005D
  • ^ (Caret) U+005E
  • _ (Underscore) U+005F
  • ` (Backtick) U+0060
  • { (Left curly bracket/brace) U+007B
  • | (Vertical bar) U+007C
  • } (Right curly bracket/brace) U+007D
  • ~ (Tilde) U+007E

April 29th, 2016

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

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I do a lot of testing on MacBook Airs and the latest MacBooks. Neither have a built-in Ethernet port and I try not to travel with one. But, when you enable the Caching Server service in OS X on a machine without an active Ethernet connection, the AssetCache will report an error of the following:

Wireless portable computer not supported

The cause is pretty obvious, but bypassable because of how the sanity check was built. Simply run the following:

sudo serveradmin settings caching:Interface = en0

Now try again. Enjoy.

PS: Since people always jump on the article where I talk about how to do things that shouldn’t be done in production, I mostly use this for testing. Don’t do it in production… And if you enjoy being judgmental about things, please feel free to find something constructive to do with your time, like write up how to do something that everyone else can judge you harshly for…

April 23rd, 2016

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

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