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Tiny Deathstars of Foulness

When using Apple Configurator, you can assign an existing supervision identity to be used with devices you place into supervision. To do so, first open Apple Configurator and click on Organizations.

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From Organizations, click on the plus sign (“+”).

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From the Create an Organization screen, click Next.

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When prompted to provide information about your organization, provide the name, phone, email, and/or address of the organization.

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If you are importing an identity, select “Choose an existing supervision identity” and click on Next.

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When prompted, click Choose to select the identity to use (e.g. exported from another instance of Apple Configurator or from Profile Manager).

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Click Choose when you’ve highlighted the appropriate certificate.

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Click Done.

August 23rd, 2016

Posted In: Apple Configurator, iPhone

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Namespace conflicts can be interesting. Especially with multiple local domains. To grab the path of a directory domain of a currently logged in user (when running as the user) using a script, you can run the following:

dscl . -read /Users/`whoami` | grep AppleMetaNodeLocation | awk '{print $2}'

You can then replace the string we’re using with grep if you’d like to pull a different attribute from the user record, you’d use the following:

dscl . -read /Users/`whoami` | grep UniqueID | awk '{print $2}'

August 22nd, 2016

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

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We’ve all got a box sitting around somewhere, full of cables and devices that used to blink away at us until we snuffed the life out of it all by replacing it. Some of us have 10 of those, full of tangled cables that maybe went to that one camera that we lost in 2009. Many of us remember the exact price we paid for each device in those boxes, such as that $699.99 firewall. It can be challenging to replace that device with one that costs 10% of that price, even though it’s more than ample to meet our needs. And we have a hard time imagining that after only using the thing for 6 years that it’s now out-of-date. After all, don’t I still have that one sweater I bought during my freshman year of college? Won’t I need that laptop I replaced 3 years ago?

Chances are that you should burn that sweater and send the firewall and old laptop off for recycling. Of course, always make sure that you won’t be losing some data and have a backup of anything you’re getting rid of (that stored files), but chances are that some of that old stuff is completely incompatible with modern systems. Some things you should also consider throwing out:

  • That old tape drive that has the backups from your server from 10 years ago.
  • All those cables with pins in them. These days, HDMI, Lightning, USB, and Thunderbolt has completely replaced cables that have pins that get bent. They were great when the industry was young, but if you’re tossing things out, get rid of those old things…
  • Old monitors. Yes, that 15-inch LCD cost you $500. No, you don’t have any devices that use the kind of cable that connects it to a computer.
  • Old hubs, switches, cable modems, wireless access points, and firewalls. These days, most things are wireless. If you have a bunch of old devices that connected various Ethernet-based systems sitting around, toss ‘em. If you need to buy a new one, it will be super-cheap, and putting an old one on your network is likely to cause poor performance, network-wide. Old network appliances can also conflict with the addressing used on newer devices, and can cause outages.
  • Old printers and scanners. These days, you might go months without printing, and like old cars that haven’t been driven in forever, they might require a mechanic to get working. Printers are $50 at Target. Ink costs more these days. When a printer has a problem, give it a good clean, and if the problem persists, recycle!
  • Apps that charge you a recurring fee. Yup, these don’t fit in that plastic bin with the wires, but they cost you money. Likely every month. Everything from cloud services you tested to in app purchases that are billing monthly should be reviewed and cancelled if no longer needed.

Just toss all of it out. It will feel liberating to do so, and you’ll free up those plastic bins for other more useful stuff, like those VHS tapes of the Golden Girls!

August 10th, 2016

Posted In: Articles and Books

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Apple has defined some best practices to be taken when using Profiles. Obviously these don’t cover every situation, but they cover all but edge cases and lay out a pretty good description of why you should do the things we’ve mostly figured out to do by trial and error thus far. Great job to the OS X Server documentation team! https://help.apple.com/profilemanager/mac/5.1.5/#/apdE3493-C50A-4E9E-A1B6-CBCBC8C73507

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August 2nd, 2016

Posted In: Mac OS X Server

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One of my favorite options in the latest round of home automationry is the ability to voice control all the things. The Wink has a pretty substantial list of supported home automation devices. The Alexa can control the Wink. Therefore, the Alexa can do all the things, even though integrations with Alexa were not built for most of those devices by Amazon.

The beauty here lies in the ubiquity of APIs these days. Alexa has a recipe-style option called a Skill (further humanizing her). Basically, you add the Wink skill, then scan for devices that are connected through the Wink, then viola, tell Alexa to do something to them. To get started, open the Alexa app and tap on Skills. Search for Wink and then tap on Enable.

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At the Wink screen, enter the username and password for your Wink account and then tap on Sign In.

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Provided all goes well, you’ll then be told that Alexa linked with Wink (there’s a joke there… anyone?).

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Alexa doesn’t know about your devices that are connected through Wink yet. So now tap on Discover Devices.

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The app then shows all the devices connected. Mine will have about 20, but I’ve only got two setup for now.

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From the Wink app, let’s add another device.

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Then let’s tap Discover Devices again from the Alexa app.

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Any new devices are then displayed.

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Different devices have different voice commands. For example, a thermostat can change the temperature whereas a light switch can turn on and off, a dimmer can be set to a certain percentage of power, or a garage door opener can open a garage door. Now, if I can only find the dip-switch controlled coffee pot and hook it up to an automated receptacle so Alexa can make me a cup of coffee…

July 7th, 2016

Posted In: Alexa, Home Automation

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I’ve worked with a lot of organizations switching between Mobile Device Management (MDM) solutions in my career. And I’ve seen the migration projects go both really, really well, and really, really poorly. In most cases, the migration is somewhat painful no matter what you do. But in this (my first) article on the JAMF blog, I try and organize my thoughts around a few things to look out for when migrating between MDMs/MAMs, and some context/experience around those.

https://www.jamfsoftware.com/blog/10-things-to-consider-when-switching-between-mobile-device-management-solutions/

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June 23rd, 2016

Posted In: Articles and Books, iPhone, JAMF, Mac OS X

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The seventh episode of the MacAdmins podcast is now available! This is my first time sitting out an episode, which might explain why it’s the best episode so far!

June 21st, 2016

Posted In: MacAdmins Podcast

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Been awhile since I contributed any content to the wonderful Bushel team, so provided an article on accounting concepts that every small business owner should know. A sample:

To be a successful small business owner, you don’t need to be an accounting expert; you can outsource that. But you do need a solid grasp of basic accounting concepts. As a small business owner, you need more than an intuitive feel for the performance of your business. Understanding a few basic Accounting 101 concepts goes a long way towards keeping the goals for your company in alignment with your performance. Here are 5 accounting concepts to get you started:

Read More at http://blog.bushel.com/2016/06/5-accounting-concepts-small-business-owner-needs-know/

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June 18th, 2016

Posted In: Articles and Books, iPhone, Mac OS X

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I’m a bit late in posting this, but better late than never! In this episode, we interview the venerable Arek Dreyer about his upcoming book, and learn a little of his origin story! More on that in issues to come I’m sure!

June 15th, 2016

Posted In: Mac OS X, Mac OS X Server

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Wrote an article awhile back that got edited by and is now posted at http://www.smallbizdaily.com/hiring-the-best-it-support-for-your-smb-to-make-the-most-of-your-investment/.

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If it’s your kinda’ thing, hope you enjoy!

June 9th, 2016

Posted In: Articles and Books

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