Tiny Deathstars of Foulness

The directory services options in OS X has quietly been going through some slow changes over the past couple of years. Many of the tools we use to manage accounts look similar on the outside but sometimes work a little differently under the hood. Account information is still stored in the /var/db/dslocal/nodes directory. Here, the local directory service pulls files from within directories recursively when accountsd loads. You can still create a second instance of the local directory service by copying the Default directory. For example, here we’ll copy the Default directory node to a directory node called NEW:

sudo cp -prnv /var/db/dslocal/nodes/Default /var/db/dslocal/nodes/NEW

If you killall accountsd then wait (this is slower than doing a killall of DirectoryService was), you’ll then see and be able to use this new directory node:

sudo killall accountsd

This is one way to go about forklifting large collections of accounts from one system to another. The dsmemberutil account can still be used to obtain certain information from accounts. For example, you can check group membership by feeding in a uid with the -u option (here using the uid of 509) and a gid with the -g (here a gid of 10) option:

dsmemberutil checkmembership -u 509 -g 10

Each account still has a uuid. This can be obtained with -u for a user or -g for a group (ids):

dsmemberutil getuuid -u 509

And, you can use dsmemberutil to flush the directory services cache resolver, using the flushcache verb:

dsmemberutil flushcache

The files that comprise accounts can also be viewed and changed manually. Here, we’re going to just look at an account called charles:

sudo defaults read /var/db/dslocal/nodes/Default/users/charles.plist

If we used a tool like defaults, plistbuddy or plutil to manually augment one of these accounts, we’d also need to kill accountsd as we did earlier.

October 3rd, 2015

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September 16th, 2015

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“But what if…”

It’s one of the most common things you hear when you are trying to bring an innovation to the table. It could be as known a quantity as replacing an ERP system. The innovation could be unique, compelling and clearly alter the trajectory of the organization in so many ways. However, there are always going to be reasons not to do it.

I sat in on a panel at a conference last year and discussed how to get your organization to approve the projects that you as the CTO/Director of IT/IT Manager/Field Tech wanted. The ideas here always start with cost savings. To calculate the financial savings of a change you can just look at factors such as how much payroll will be saved or how much less does it cost to make widgets. And while it’s great to be efficient, you can only get so efficient. And saving people money doesn’t really get you the same level of recognition/pay/whatever motivates you as something far more earth shattering.

Innovation has always been a core part of technology. Perhaps you end up blowing up into a whole new field. Or maybe you just incrementally innovate the field you’re in. But innovation keeps us pushing the envelope forward. But as with all progress, it comes at a cost. When we’re looking at bringing a new innovation into any environment, we must weigh the cost of that innovation against the rewards to be gained. Apple is a great organization to look to for innovation. And the cost to their community continues to be minimal, because they break it to us in parts. As with a Facebook timeline, the constant change can be frustrating but when they’re incremental changes, they’re easier to accept.

September 8th, 2015

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I wore a FuelBand for around two years. I loved my FuelBand. I thought perhaps I would never part ways with it. And then I got my Apple Watch. And when I switched the FuelBand out with my Apple Watch I realized something kinda’ rad. I didn’t loose anything. The reason is that the Nike Fuel app now supports “Phone Tracking” which uses the sensors in the phone instead of the sensors in the FuelBand to track your movements. Obviously you’ll need your phone to use it.

So what did the FuelBand do and what does the watch do? Basically, the FuelBand tracked steps, workouts and other typical activity and then converted steps and active calorie expenditure into a number that took as much information as Nike had available to try and provide you a score on how you did. The FuelBands strengths were that it was a simple bangle that synchronized to your phone and lasted a good week at times between charges. The sync was fast, sometimes happened in the background (sometimes not-so-much) and Nike understands competing, so a huge strength of the solution was the resultant Trophies (gamification, yo) and prodding to always do better.

When I decided to write an article comparing these devices, I didn’t realize I’d be getting rid of my FuelBand. But I clearly don’t need three wearables on my wrists (I still wear my FitBit). But I slowly came to realize more and more that if Nike had wanted to remain in the wearables market, they would have needed to really redesign and make serious improvements to the FuelBand two years ago. The original product was awesome for the time, but there’s so much more that can be done today. This is all just a long way of say that the purpose of this article changed a bit to if you’re thinking about dumping a FuelBand and getting an AppleWatch, here are some things to know:

  • The AppleWatch battery needs to be charged every day.
  • The Apple Watch doesn’t have as many, or as cool of trophies (called Achievements).
  • The Apple Watch monitors your heart rate.
  • The FuelBand isn’t necessary for the Nike Fuel, Nike Training Club or Nike Running apps as they can use your phone for motion tracking.
  • There is a Nike Running app for the Apple Watch.
  • There are apps for any of the little things you might want the Apple Watch to do that it doesn’t do out of the box, such as tracking your food intake (calories out are one thing of course but for many, calories in matter more).
  • The Apple Watch can be used to track exercise without the iPhone present. You can also listen to music from the watch without your phone, if you have a Bluetooth headset.

Everything else is way cooler and better and more awesome on the Apple Watch.


August 8th, 2015

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I don’t get to spend that much time reading other sites. But when I do, here are a few pages/people I might check out. I thought this might help the Younglings of the MacAdmin community. If you have a site that you’d like added to the list, let me know. And no, I won’t judge you if you nominate your own site. In fact, I might learn something new! The final list will be stored at :)

July 17th, 2015

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Feels gooood


June 7th, 2015

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June 1st, 2015

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So looking forward to Paul Rudd as an Avenger…

April 13th, 2015

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$8,782,571 funded from a $10,000 goal. Sweet.

March 1st, 2015

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There are a number of services that rank web sites. I find that I check here and there. So as you employ various techniques to make your site better, you can check back and see the long term impacts of how these efforts impact your ranking.

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You can also see demographics of visitors.

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And you can see geographic data as well.

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There are other better sites, with far more detailed information such as Google Analytics. But a very top-level, upper level view of how your site is performing is something like Nice and simple.

January 1st, 2015

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