Tiny Deathstars of Foulness

Take Control is here to support you! So through August 24th, you can add any number of our books to your Take Control library for 50% off the cover price. All our books are DRM-free and available in PDF, EPUB, and Mobipocket (Kindle) formats, so you can read wherever, whenever, and on whatever device you like. Use this link to pick the titles you need to stay up to date:

(We expect everything to work properly, but if our newly redesigned site is overloaded by sale traffic, try again later in the day when things have settled down.)

Remember, there’s no need to read a Take Control title from front to back; instead, each book has a Quick Start that helps you jump instantly to the information you need.

We have books that will help with numerous Apple-related technology tasks and projects, including:

* Converting from iPhoto to Photos
* Figuring out what the heck iTunes 12 is up to
* Maintaining an AirPort-based Wi-Fi network
* Installing and running OS X Server
* Syncing and sharing files with Dropbox
* Enjoying your Apple Watch

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For those new to Take Control and looking for a quick fix, we have a few instant-purchase bundles, also 50% off:

* iWork explained: Apple’s iWork suite — Pages, Numbers, and Keynote — now comes free with every new Mac, and offers a level of power that compares well with the heavyweight Microsoft Office. The three books in our iWork trilogy provide 750 pages of comprehensive documentation. Normally the three books would cost $55, but for this week, they’re only $27.50 — perfect for college papers and projects.

* Automation for everyone: Macs have fabulous time-saving tools that can turn anyone into a power user. This bundle of “Take Control of Automating Your Mac,” “Take Control of LaunchBar,” “Take Control of TextExpander,” and “Take Control of the Mac Command Line with Terminal” would normally cost $50, but is only $25 in the sale.

* Safe computing: Today’s Internet is unfortunately an insecure place, with hackers, malware, and bots threatening your privacy and security. With calm, friendly advice, Joe Kissell explains how you can stay safe in “Take Control of Security for Mac Users,” “Take Control of Your Online Privacy,” “Take Control of Your Passwords,” and “Take Control of FileVault.” Together they’re normally $50, but if you’ve been meaning to lock down your Mac and improve your passwords, you can now pick them up for only $25.

We also have books about Yosemite, iOS 8, Apple Mail, iCloud, Audio Hijack, PDFpen, Scrivener, DEVONthink, Apple TV, and more. So stock your Take Control library today with the titles that you’ve been wanting to read or that might be useful in the future!

Thanks so much for your continued support, and the many useful questions and kind comments you’ve sent over the years. Please do us a quick favor, and spread the word about this sale to your friends and colleagues — it’s the perfect way to introduce someone to the series or to get your mother to switch over to using Photos.


August 18th, 2015

Posted In: Articles and Books, sites

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Wow, seems like just yesterday I took down the old static page that was just a bunch of links I used to find stuff and went with a full-on WordPress site and published my first article. Doesn’t seem like I’ve been writing that long. But when I look at the over 2,500 posts on this site and the fact that I hit over 210,000 uniques last month, I guess it must be true. I’m so thankful that people want to read this stuff. And I’m really glad that I’ve been able to help a few people over the years. I hope the next 10 years are even better than the last 10! And thank you for coming back here and there, when you need to.


Oh, and Happy New Year!


December 30th, 2014

Posted In: Consulting, iPhone, Mac OS X, Mac OS X Server, Mac Security, Mass Deployment, personal, public speaking, sites

If you go to the official Macworld Expo site, you’ll notice that the conference has, like the Blues Brothers before the movie, been disbanded. MacIT lives on, but Macworld Expo does not, for now. Shouldn’t be a surprise at this point, given the fact that the Macworld magazine has gone through some substantial changes as well, recently. But it is a surprise nonetheless.

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I have many great memories from Macworld, including striking up friendships with young gurus named Bartosh, Dreyer, Regan, Wisenbaker, Rennich, Welch and many, many others back when Apple was an afterthought. Special thanks to Paul, Kathy and many others for their massive contributions towards making the Apple community what it is today. Much respect. Dedication:

And Macworld, hopefully I’ll be dedicating this one to you in 2016 when you get the band back together!

October 14th, 2014

Posted In: Articles and Books, public speaking, sites

Tags: , , ,

OS X Server supports running a traditional bind implementation of DNS. You can define a record for most any name, including,,, etc. You can use this to redirect subdomains. In this example, we’ll create an A Record to point to without breaking other subdomains. To get started, let’s use the DNS service in the Server app to create The reason for this is that OS X will then create a zone file for If we created instead, then OS X would automatically create, which would break the other subdomains. To do so, open Server app and click on the DNS Service. Then click on the plus sign to create a new record.

Screen Shot 2014-09-23 at 10.55.58 AM

Now, if you restart dns and ping you should see the referenced IP. To then change, we’d edit the zone file stored at /Library/Server/named/ This file will look like this when you first open it: 10800 IN SOA (
2014092301 ; serial
3600 ; refresh (1 hour)
900 ; retry (15 minutes)
1209600 ; expire (2 weeks)
86400 ; minimum (1 day)
10800 IN NS 10800 IN A

We’ll add an a record for 10801 IN A

Now, to change the apex record, you’d just replace the name you’ve been using with an @:

@ 10801 IN A

Good luck!

September 23rd, 2014

Posted In: Mac OS X, Mac OS X Server, Mac Security, Mass Deployment, Network Infrastructure, sites, Ubuntu, Unix

Tags: , , , , , , , , is now 9 years old. Thanks to all of the support over the years. I look forward to many more to come!


January 4th, 2014

Posted In: sites

Aaaannnndddd, some krypted articles coming at ya’ in French, courtesy of Nausica Media at!

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November 10th, 2013

Posted In: Mac OS X Server, personal, sites

When you enable permalinks in WordPress, you’re basically converting a link to an article you’ve written from something like to something like Doing so makes Google like the page more (supposedly). After my site moved, the permalinks were broken, so I turned them off until I could find time to fix them. I never did. But thanks to the glory that is @sacrilicious the permalinks were magically fixed one day.

So do permalinks matter to drive traffic to a site? Well, nothing else changed, same length of articles, same frequency, etc. But when permalinks were turned back on, the answer was in my Site Stats, courtesy of  JetPack:

Screen Shot 2013-10-04 at 10.52.16 PM


Thanks again, Banks!

October 6th, 2013

Posted In: sites

Tags: , ,

Wait, did I say control, I meant query… Sorry to disappoint!

I am a home automation nerd. Recently I’ve noticed that as it gets closer to warmer or cooler extremes that it takes longer for my hvac system to bring my house to the temperature I want. I’ve also noticed that NEST claims to automatically learn these factors. Not to be outdone by the Griswolds, I decided to look at building this into my system.

I had been experimenting with using the site to pull this data but then someone pointed out that NOAA (the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) actually publishes this information on their site. I was able to access a simple-to-parse dump of information for the Minneapolis airport, which is pretty close to my house. The URLs are based on ICAO codes. You can find the code for your airport on the ICAO code wikipedia page. The URL to look at for information is or for Minneapolis (or for Blaine which is actually closer to me). You can actually just curl this straight with nothing special to view the text file:


The output is basically as follows:

Oct 01, 2013 - 10:53 AM EDT / 2013.10.01 1453 UTC
Wind: from the WNW (290 degrees) at 13 MPH (11 KT) gusting to 24 MPH (21 KT):0
Visibility: 10 mile(s):0
Sky conditions: mostly clear
Temperature: 68.0 F (20.0 C)
Dew Point: 48.9 F (9.4 C)
Relative Humidity: 50%
Pressure (altimeter): 29.82 in. Hg (1009 hPa)
Pressure tendency: 0.14 inches (4.6 hPa) higher than three hours ago
ob: KMSP 011453Z 29011G21KT 10SM FEW150 20/09 A2982 RMK AO2 SLP094 T02000094 51046
cycle: 15

I subtracted or added the difference in temperature to my desired temperature and am experimenting with how much more quickly I need to fire things up based on that (for my hvac system seems to be about a minute per 10 degrees of delta), but there are definitely plenty of ways to go about such number nerdery. Either way, I can now control the temperature based on the weather using curl, which is basically controlling the weather in my house, so not as untrue a title as with most front-page newspaper articles…

Finally, there’s also a REST API, available from NOAA at

October 2nd, 2013

Posted In: Home Automation, Mac OS X, Minneapolis, sites

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

While DNS is propagating I figure I might as well go ahead and post that the site has been moved to the machine that’s been waiting for me to direct traffic at it for months in the colo. All the graphics, pages and menus should be fixed. The plugins should all be working as well. The last thing I’m working on right now is figuring out why the permalinks aren’t all correct. However, the site loads, works, etc. Sorry for any inconvenience during propagation and the fixes for permalinks. Now that it’s moved I should be able to get back to posting and research projects that have otherwise consumed my time.



June 25th, 2013

Posted In: sites

curl -L | bash


Tip of the ‘ole hat to Erin for April fools fun for that one…

April 1st, 2013

Posted In: Active Directory, Articles and Books, Consulting, iPhone, Mac OS X, Mac OS X Server, Mac Security, Mass Deployment, Network Infrastructure, Network Printing, On the Road, personal, public speaking, sites, Social Networking, Ubuntu, Unix, Xsan

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