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Tiny Deathstars of Foulness

Smallbizdaily posted an article I did for Bushel about the top 8 new features in iOS 9 that help small businesses. Find it here, if you so choose: http://www.smallbizdaily.com/22820/top-8-new-features-ios-9-help-small-business/ Screen Shot 2015-10-07 at 9.17.49 PM

October 7th, 2015

Posted In: Articles and Books, Interviewing, iPhone

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I’ve had my Watch for eighteen days now. Everyday I learn something new, and everyday the Watch becomes more apart of my everyday life. It keeps me on time for my meetings, has me connect to my friends on a more personal level, and it made me realize I need to cut out the large amount of caffeine I rely on. We put together a list of 18 features we have found to be useful that maybe you haven’t seen before! To Read The Rest Of The 18 Days and 18 Features of the Watch Article, Click Here

April 14th, 2015

Posted In: Apple Watch, Bushel

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You get requests for features. Lots of requests. What do you pick? Why? Sure, vote up, vote down, statistics, choosing people you respect, looking at potential new customers, and tons of other attributes go into this, but at the end of the day, there’s a judgement call. And some people hate what you pick. But sometimes, everyone is into it. Yup.

November 11th, 2014

Posted In: Product Management

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November 8th, 2014

Posted In: Product Management

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Out of the box a Windows Server 2012 isn’t really that helpful. But luckily, it has these things called Roles. Roles are things like Hyper-V, File Sharing, Windows Update Services, Web Server, etc. Each role then has a collection of services that it can run as well, within the Role. Roles include (borrowing from Microsoft here):
  • Active Directory Certificate Services Overview This content provides an overview of Active Directory Certificate Services (AD CS) in Windows Server 2012. AD CS is the server role that allows you to build a public key infrastructure (PKI) and provide public key cryptography, digital certificates, and digital signature capabilities for your organization.
  • Active Directory Domain Services Overview By using the Active Directory Domain Services (AD DS) server role, you can create a scalable, secure, and manageable infrastructure for user and resource management, and provide support for directory-enabled applications such as Microsoft Exchange Server.
  • Active Directory Federation Services Overview This topic provides an overview of Active Directory Federation Services (AD FS) in Windows Server 2012.
  • Active Directory Lightweight Directory Services Overview Active Directory Lightweight Directory Services (AD LDS) is a Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP) directory service that provides flexible support for directory-enabled applications, without the dependencies and domain-related restrictions of AD DS.
  • Active Directory Rights Management Services Overview This document provides an overview of Active Directory Rights Management Services (AD RMS) in Windows Server 2012. AD RMS is the server role that provides you with management and development tools that work with industry security technologies—including encryption, certificates, and authentication—to help organizations create reliable information protection solutions.
  • Application Server Overview Application Server provides an integrated environment for deploying and running custom, server-based business applications.
  • Failover Clustering Overview This topic describes the Failover Clustering feature and provides links to additional guidance about creating, configuring, and managing failover clusters on up to 4,000 virtual machines or up to 64 physical nodes.
  • File and Storage Services Overview This topic discusses the File and Storage Services server role in Windows Server 2012, including what’s new, a list of role services, and where to find evaluation and deployment information.
  • Group Policy Overview This topic describes the Group Policy feature in Windows Server 2012 and Windows 8. Use this topic to find the documentation resources and other technical information you need to accomplish key Group Policy tasks, new or updated functionality in this version compared to previous versions of Group Policy, and ways to automate common Group Policy tasks using Windows PowerShell.
  • Hyper-V Overview This topic describes the Hyper-V role in Windows Server 2012—practical uses for the role, the most significant new or updated functionality in this version compared to previous versions of Hyper-V, hardware requirements, and a list of operating systems (known as guest operating systems) supported for use in a Hyper-V virtual machine.
  • Networking Overview This section contains detailed information about networking products and features for the IT professional to design, deploy, and maintain Windows Server 2012.
  • Network Load Balancing Overview By managing two or more servers as a single virtual cluster, Network Load Balancing (NLB) enhances the availability and scalability of Internet server applications such as those used on web, FTP, firewall, proxy, virtual private network (VPN), and other mission-critical servers. This topic describes the NLB feature and provides links to additional guidance about creating, configuring, and managing NLB clusters.
  • Network Policy and Access Services Overview This topic provides an overview of Network Policy and Access Services in Windows Server 2012, including the specific role services of Network Policy Server (NPS), Health Registration Authority (HRA), and Host Credential Authorization Protocol (HCAP). Use the Network Policy and Access Services server role to deploy and configure Network Access Protection (NAP), secure wired and wireless access points, and RADIUS servers and proxies.
  • Print and Document Services Overview This is an overview of Print and Document Services, including Print Server, Distributed Scan Server, and Fax Server in Windows Server 2012.
  • Remote Desktop Services Overview Remote Desktop Services accelerates and extends desktop and application deployments to any device, improving remote worker efficiency, while helping to keep critical intellectual property secure and simplify regulatory compliance. Remote Desktop Services enables both a virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) and session-based desktops, allowing users to work anywhere.
  • Security and Protection Overview The table on this page provides links to available information for the IT pro about security technologies and features for Windows Server 2012 and Windows 8.
  • Telemetry Overview Find out about Windows Feedback Forwarder—a service that enables you to automatically send feedback to Microsoft by deploying a Group Policy setting to one or more organizational units. Windows Feedback Forwarder is available on all editions of Windows Server 2012.
  • Volume Activation Overview This technical overview for the IT pro describes the volume activation technologies in Windows Server 2012 and how your organization can benefit from using these technologies to deploy and manage volume licenses for a medium to large number of computers.
  • Web Server (IIS) Overview This document introduces the Web Server (IIS) role of Windows Server 2012, describes new IIS 8 features, and links to additional Microsoft and community information about IIS.
  • Windows Deployment Services Overview Windows Deployment Services enables you to deploy Windows operating systems over the network, which means that you do not have to install each operating system directly from a CD or DVD.
  • Windows Server Backup Feature Overview This section provides an overview of the Windows Server Backup feature and lists the new features in Windows Server 2012.
  • Windows Server Update Services Overview Windows Server Update Services (WSUS) enables information technology administrators to deploy the latest Microsoft product updates. By using WSUS, administrators can fully manage the distribution of updates that are released through Microsoft Update to computers in their network. In Windows Server 2012, this feature is integrated with the operating system as a server role. This topic provides an overview of this server role and more information about how to deploy and maintain WSUS.
  • Windows System Resource Manager Overview With Windows System Resource Manager for the Windows Server 2012 operating system, you can manage server processor and memory usage with standard or custom resource policies. Managing your resources can help ensure that all the services provided by a single server are available on an equal basis or that your resources will always be available to high-priority applications, services, or users.
To add a Role is a pretty straight forward process. To get started, open Server Manager and click on the Dashboard. From the Dashboard, click on the Manage menu and click on Add Roles and Features. Screen Shot 2013-06-04 at 3.17.44 PM At the Add Roles and Features Wizard click on Next at the Before You Begin Screen. Screen Shot 2013-06-04 at 3.19.47 PM At the Installation Type screen, click on Role-based or Feature-based Installation, unless you are installing Remote Desktop Services (formerly called Terminal Services), then click on that radio button instead. Screen Shot 2013-06-04 at 3.20.00 PM At the Server Selection screen, click on the server you’d like to install the role on and then click on Next. Screen Shot 2013-06-04 at 3.22.17 PM At the Add Roles or Features screen, choose the role you’d like to install. Screen Shot 2013-06-04 at 3.23.41 PM If there are any requirements to use the service, you’ll then be notified that those requirements exist. I usually leave the Include management tools (if applicable) box checked the first time I install a role and click on Add Features. Screen Shot 2013-06-04 at 3.25.52 PM If any issues are encountered, you’ll then be alerted that there was a problem. If you’d like to correct the issue, click cancel, correct the issue and then rerun the tool. Or if you’d like to proceed anyway, click Continue. Screen Shot 2013-06-04 at 3.27.07 PM Back at the Server Roles screen, the box will then be checked. Click on Next. At the Features screen, you can add a feature, although in this case we won’t be doing so. Then, click Next. Screen Shot 2013-06-04 at 3.30.43 PM At the screen for the role you just selected, read the information, then click Next. Screen Shot 2013-06-04 at 3.32.04 PM At the Confirmation screen, click Install. Optionally, you can also choose whether to reboot the server when the service is finished installing. Screen Shot 2013-06-04 at 3.37.36 PM Once installed, click Close. Also, at this screen, you can export the configuration settings for the service for future use. That’s it. You’ve now installed DNS services in Windows Server (or whatever service you are setting up). The services still need to be configured, but the initial install should now be complete!

June 6th, 2013

Posted In: Windows Server

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Mountain Lion Server is now available on the OS X App Store and as with the last few updates there are some things missing that you might be expecting and depending on. First up, three major services are gone: Podcast Producer, RADIUS and dhcp. You can still do dhcp as you always did with OS X client as those features work on OS X Server, but the more granular controls available in OS X Server are now gone. The biggest impact of dhcp is probably in testing NetBoot services when there are network issues and you need to prove to network admins that it’s the network and not your server… I had written an article before about FTP still being in OS X Server from the command line, but now it’s back in the GUI, which should make many an administrator happy. NAT is also gone from the GUI, but natd and natutil are still available from the command line. Might as well just use the Sharing System Preference pane for such things though… Server Admin is now gone (long live Server Admin!) and Workgroup Manager is now a download to be performed and installed following installation. Support for Managed Preferences is gone, even though most manifests technically still work. Many services also got some pretty nice updates. These include:
  • Calendar – There are a few updates on the client side, but not on the server side. Most notably, the option to publish calendars is now gone. If you used that, it’s time to get used to manually exporting, copying to a share and then distributing links. This is going to likely cause more use of the Calendar server itself, to some degree. Also, it’s not iCal or iCal Server, it’s now Calendar and Calendar server. Seems to me that this isn’t obviously an Apple-centric naming structure as with most other things they do, but sometimes you’re gonna’ have that…
  • Contacts – Nope, it’s not called Address Book server, it’s the Contacts service. Same with the client side application.
  • DNS – DNS management is moved into the Server application. You can also now restrict who you do lookups for in the GUI. Under the hood very little changes.
  • File Sharing – Nothing really changes with file sharing, except the wiki integration described in the Wiki section in a little bit.
  • Firewall – The firewall option is gone, as is the ipfilter at the command line, but pf is easy to configure from the command line.
  • FTP – It’s a quick and easy single share solution from the GUI. Using the sharing command there’s still tons available to administrators.
  • Mail – Authentication mechanisms and domains are in the GUI, but very little changes otherwise.
  • Messages – The service name has changed from iChat to Messages in the GUI but is still jabber from the command line. The big change with this service is that the client side is now able to leverage iCloud to instant message mobile devices as well. Therefore, the text messaging component is client-side and has no impact on the jabber service itself.
  • NetInstall – The “NetInstall” service is NetBoot. It can host NetRestore or NetInstall images, but the heavy lifting for that stuff is done in System Image Utility. And the output of the SIU commands are now more scriptable through the automator command line interface. The NetInstall screen is now in Server app and is a good port from Server Admin in that it’s similar in look and feel to the NetBoot screen in Server Admin. A feature that isn’t in the GUI is diskless NetBoot, which is fine because I documented how to do it when I realized it would be an issue for a few customers.
  • Open Directory – Given that Server Admin is gone, something had to happen with Open Directory. The Open Directory screens have been moved to Server app where it’s fast to setup and tear down Open Directory. Open Directory based Users and Groups are also created through the Server App, although Workgroup Manager can be downloaded and used still. Immediately following upgrades, the add and remove users buttons are gone for previously stand-alone hosts. Also the Manage Network Accounts option is now gone from Server app, replaced with the traditional ON button supplied by Apple for other services.
  • Profile Manager – This deserves its own post, which is in the queue, but suffice it to say that while you can’t tell when looking in Server app, there are a number of upgrades to Profile Manager.
  • Software Update – Management of the service is moved from Server Admin to Server app. There are now fewer options in the GUI, but the same in the command line. Cascading is a little different.
  • Time Machine – Time Machine server is the same… The versions option from the Time Machine Server preference pane is gone and the layout is a little changed, but the server component is identical in functionality as well as look and feel.
  • VPN – Unless you add another supported VPN protocol there’s not much to do after fixing most issues in 10.7.4. Except fixing the last issue with search bases, seemingly resolved as it’s working for me pretty well.
  • Websites – There are more options in the GUI for new sites. The default site appears twice (once for 80 and once for 443), but there are more options, such as the Web App functionality that comes with a default Python “Hello World” app. Also the server is still called web from the serveradmin command line, but is now called Websites through the GUI.
  • Wiki – The wiki has themes again, although they’re just color schemes. And you can create your own custom banners and upload, which brings back two of the most common feature requests from people that hack the look and feel of the wiki in versions previous to Lion. But the most substantial aspect of the Wiki to change to me is the document management options, available to users in WebDAV or through the portal. This allows for a very mobile-friendly file management tool. Blogs and wikis for the most part stay the same and have a very clean upgrade process from Lion. The command line tools also feature some new options for indexing, etc., which many will find helpful.
  • Xsan – cvadmin, cvlabel, cvversions, etc are now stored in /System/Library/Filesystems/acfs.fs/Contents/bin/ and Xsan has its own entry in the Server app. Despite hearing people question its future, I’ve never seen as many questions flying around about how to do things with Xsan than I do now. Storage sales are up, monkey chatter on the web is up, deployments are being booked and Xsan looks here to stay. The Server app only really shows you a status of things, but the Xsan Admin app is now embedded in the Server app and available through the Server app Tools directory.

Configuring Websites in Server app

The Alerts options are much more robust in Mountain Lion than they were previously. You  can now get alerts on a myriad of things, incuding certs, disks, space, storage quotas, virus detection, network changes and software updates.

Configuring Alerts in Mountain Lion Server

The Server commands also moved and in fact the whole file and folder structure mostly fit nicely inside of the Server app. There are certain things that haven’t been dealt with in this regard such as NetBoot’s library, but for the most part Apple is getting Server to the point where it’s very self-contained. The ramification of which is that upgrades for future releases (and from Lion to Mountain Lion for that matter) are much simpler. Simply downloading a new version informs administrators that the app has been replaced and is good to go, service data in tact. In real world, this has been a little hit or miss but should prove to make our lives much easier in the future. Reducing scope, aligning with better development practices and all the work to merge all of the remaining services into Server app are huge undertakings. I would fully expect no further support or updates to Workgroup Manager, no more testing of managed preferences in deference to profiles and a few other culture shifts that still need to shake themselves out. Most of us are going to seem underwhelmed (if that’s a word, no it’s not ’cause I looked it up -> awesome video below --> ’cause affection has 2 fs, especially when you’re dealin’ with me). But here’s the thing, with an incremental update, you’re not going to get massive changes. Instead we will get slow and steady updates hopefully continuing to build faster towards a better end goal. What’s important is that the foundation is actually better now, given changes to other parts of OS X and so Server is likely now better positioned than ever for great new features in subsequent releases.
Oh, and did I forget to mention that Xgrid is gone. I guess no one really noticed anyway…

July 26th, 2012

Posted In: Mac OS X Server

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I love Notification Center on my phone. I think it’s great to receive a simple list of items that have changed since the last time I looked at the phone.  I can also quickly dismiss the screen so the fact that there’s often 20 or more items in the list when I’ve been sitting at my computer for 10 minutes and not looking at the phone doesn’t really bum me out much. In Mountain Lion, Notification Center comes to the Mac. What I’ve grown to love on the iPhone, I’m not sold on for OS X. You see, the alerts that pop up on the screen are great for a phone, because if you’re looking at your phone (hopefully not while driving) then you’re likely multitasking. Since most mobile solutions are so great for multi-tasking, many of us have gotten used to multi-tasking on our mobile devices and then plugging into a keyboard when we need to do something that requires focus. Or at least that’s my workflow. By default, Notification Center assumes the same level of multi-tasking is done on desktops as on mobile devices.  But with some tuning, Notification Center can be even more useful. For example, when I’m writing I like to cut down the distractions. Doing so helps me to stay focused. And when I’m trying to keep the distractions down, there are certain things that should still jar me out of my otherwise focused state. By default, Notification Center pops up alerts on my screen that tell me that things have happened with some of my apps, such as I got an email, a calendar event is prompting or there was a tweet about me. But Notification Center allows me to configure what kinds of alerts I want to see. For example, I might want an alert about a Reminder to come through and not have tweets pop up on my screen while I’m writing. To disable one of the applications allowed to pop up an alert on the screen, open the Notifications System Preference pane and find the application in the list provided. Then select None to disable notifications. The default setting for each app is to provide what is known as a Banner. A Banner is a prompt that informs users that an event has occurred with a supported app and then goes away. You can also set each app to provide an Alert, which is a banner that doesn’t go away on its own but must be clicked on to disappear. You can also configure options that make Notifications a little more useful. These are configured per app and include the following:
  • Show in Notification Center: Indicates the number of items for each app that are shown in the Notification Center at a time. The default is 5 and this shows you, for example, the subject, sender and first few lines of emails or the name and sender of Tweets that have information about you.
  • Badge app icon: Removes the red indicator for each app. For example, when unchecked for mail you’ll no longer see how many unread emails you have.
  • Play sound when receiving notifications: Enables an audible alert (ding, ding) that a notification is waiting for you.
Overall, I think it’s really awesome that I now have a feature that is very iOS-centric sitting right here on my Mac. I do think it’s a bit verbose by default, but then, that’s my workflow – the developers are probably targeting the people who feel multi-tasking is healthy on every single computing device you touch. I don’t necessarily agree, but I dig it anyway. So me and my 2 apps that still have notifications enable are going to use this feature, if a bit less verbosely than most!

July 25th, 2012

Posted In: Mac OS X

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Version 3.3 of the KACE 2000 appliance introduces a few enhancements for the Mac OS X operating system. These include the following:
  • International Keyboards are now supported in the KACE NetBoot environment
  • Hardware inventory is now supported
  • Pre-installation tasks now support error handling
  • Post-installation tasks now have ByHost support
Overall, a nice update if you’re invested in the KACE appliances, although the Windows enhancements are far more substantial (understandably), with updates to user profile migration (now hive based), driver harvesting and other features, primarily for the Windows 7 clients in your environments.

December 16th, 2010

Posted In: Mass Deployment

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