Tiny Deathstars of Foulness

Back when I worked with Xsan a lot more than I do now, one of the things we spent a lot of time doing was working with metadata and journal data on Xsan volumes. You can also view journal data for non-Xsan volumes. The hfs.util binary is used to view journal data about volumes. In this example, we’ll look at the journal size and location the boot volume of our system:

/System/Library/Filesystems/hfs.fs/Contents/Resources/hfs.util -I /Volumes/Macintosh\ HD

The output shows the size of the journal and the location, as follows:

/Volumes/Macintosh HD : journal size 40960 k at offset 0x1a38b000

November 25th, 2015

Posted In: Mac OS X, Mass Deployment

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The hostinfo command displays information about your host; namely your kernel version, the number of processors the kernel is configured for, the number of physical processors active, the number of logical processors active, the type of those processors, which ones are active, the amount of memory available, tasks, threads, and average load.

Run hosting without any arguments or options:


The output would be as follows (ymmv per system):

Mach kernel version:
Darwin Kernel Version 15.0.0: Wed Aug 26 19:41:34 PDT 2015; root:xnu-3247.1.106~5/RELEASE_X86_64
Kernel configured for up to 4 processors.
2 processors are physically available.
4 processors are logically available.
Processor type: x86_64h (Intel x86-64h Haswell)
Processors active: 0 1 2 3
Primary memory available: 16.00 gigabytes
Default processor set: 395 tasks, 1711 threads, 4 processors
Load average: 1.78, Mach factor: 2.21

There are a bunch of other commands that can provide far more detailed information about your system. However, hostinfo has remained basically unchanged for 13 years, so if I can get something there, I can trust it’s fairly future-proofed in my scripts.

November 23rd, 2015

Posted In: Mac OS X

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Repair permissions was unceremoniously removed from OS X in El Capitan. This staple of the Mac gurus toolkit disappeared. There was no 21 gun salute, there was no flaming casket sent out to sea and there was no sweet, sweet wake to get drunk at. Instead, there was pain. There was pain, because when the button disappeared, the need did not. Need proof? If you haven’t yet run it, let’s check your system to verify the permissions of the standard packages:

sudo /usr/libexec/repair_packages --verify --standard-pkgs --volume /

In the above command, we used the repair_packages binary, which has not changed in awhile. We then feed that the –verify option and the –standard-pkgs option, finally providing the volume of the current boot volume using –volume followed by the /. Pretty straight forward. Assuming there’s something to repair, the below will actually run that repair operation:

sudo /usr/libexec/repair_packages --repair --standard-pkgs --volume /

Where’s the sweet, sweet button? The rest of the screen is so darn lonely without it.

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And now that you know the command, feel free to throw it in your self service. That way users can do it without opening terminal or using an admin password!

November 22nd, 2015

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

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I was going through Red Cross training recently, and one thing that was mentioned was whether we have Medical IDs setup on our iPhones. I do. I didn’t realize it at the time, but I’d set it up a long time ago. I then asked around and no one else had one setup. So I grabbed my testing iPhone and decided to write it up.

To get started setting up your Medical ID on your iPhone, open the Health app. From the Health app, tap on Medical ID and then tap on Create Medical ID.


At the Medical ID screen, enter allergies, medications you are on, add emergency contacts, provide your blood type, define if you wish to be an organ donor, and add your weight. Viola, you’ve now given all this information to first responders and medical professionals should they need it.


To then access a Medical ID on an iPhone, swipe to unlock the phone. From there, tap on Emergency in the lower left corner of the screen.


At the Emergency Call screen, you’ll see Medical ID. Tap here to see the information provided earlier, even when your phone is locked.


November 20th, 2015

Posted In: iPhone

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You know how in Notification Center, how you see a banner for awhile? You can customize how long that lasts. To do so, use defaults to write a bannerTime key into They should be an integer that shows the number of seconds for the banner to display, For example, to set the banner to 10 seconds:

defaults write bannerTime 10

Or 2 seconds:

defaults write bannerTime 2

Once you set the time, log out and log back in (or reboot) for the change to take effect. Enjoy

November 17th, 2015

Posted In: Mac OS X

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Honored to have gotten to hang out with @chuckjoiner @jmartellaro and @donmcallister on @macvoices this past Sunday. It was a blast and I look forward to doing more of these!

November 16th, 2015

Posted In: iPhone

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This is my 3,000th post on The past 3,000 posts have primarily been about OS X Server, Mac automation, Mac deployment, scripting, iOS deployments, troubleshooting, Xsan, Windows Servers, Exchange Server, Powershell, security, and other technical things that I have done in my career. I started the site in response to a request from my first publisher. But it took on a mind of its own. And I’m happy with the way it’s turned out.

My life has changed a lot over these past 11 years. I got married and then I got divorced. I now have a wonderful daughter. I became a partner and the Chief Technology Officer of 318 and helped to shape it into what was the largest provider of Apple services, I left Los Angeles and moved to Minnesota, left 318 to help start up a new MDM for small businesses at JAMF Software called Bushel, and now I have become the Consulting Engineering Manager at JAMF. In these 11 years, I have made a lot of friends along the way. Friends who helped me so much. I have written 14 more books, spoken at over a hundred conferences, watched the Apple community flourish, and watched the emergence of the Post-PC era.

In these 11 years, a lot has happened. Twitter and Facebook have emerged. Microsoft has hit hard times. Apple has risen like a phoenix from those dark ashes. Unix has proved a constant. Open Source has come into the Mac world. The Linux gurus are still waiting for Linux on the desktop to take over the world. Apps. iOS. iPad. Mobility. Android. Wearables. Less certifications. More admins. And you can see these trends in the traffic for the site. For example, the top post I’ve ever written is now a list of Fitbit badges. The second top post is a list of crosh commands. My list of my favorite hacking movies is the third top post. None of these have to do with scripting, Apple, or any of the articles that I’ve spent the most time writing.

That’s the first 3,000 posts. What’s next? 3,000 more posts? Documenting the unfolding of the Post-PC era? Documenting the rise and fall of more technologies? I will keep writing, that’s for sure. I will continue doing everything I can to help build out the Apple community. And I will enjoy it. I’ve learned a lot about writing along this path. But I have a lot more to learn.


The past 3,000 posts have mostly been technical in nature. I’ve shown few of my opinions, choosing to keep things how-to oriented and very technical. Sure, there’s the occasional movie trailer when I have a “squee” moment. But pretty technical, overall. I’ve been lucky to have been honored to speak at many conferences around the world. One thing I’ve noticed over the past few years is that when people ask me to speak at conferences, they ask me to speak about broader topics. They don’t want me doing a technical deep dive. People use the term thought leader. And while I don’t necessarily agree, maybe it’s time I step up and write more of those kinds of articles here and there.

I’ve learned so much from you these 11 years. But I feel like I’ve barely scratched the surface. I look forward to learning together over the course of the next 3,000 posts! Thank you for your support. Without it, I’d have probably stopped at 10 articles!

November 16th, 2015

Posted In: 318, Apps, Articles and Books, Bushel, Business, certifications, Mac OS X, Mac OS X Server, Mac Security, Mass Deployment, Microsoft Exchange Server, Minneapolis

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One of the tasks you’ll need to perform in Apple Configurator 2, is to assign Profiles to iOS devices in order to set them up with features or restrict the device from using certain features. I cover creating a profile here. To get started applying a profile to a device, bring up the Blueprints screen.

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Choose a Blueprint and right-click on it. Choose Profiles…

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Browse to the profile and then click on Add Profile.

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The profile is then applied to any devices that the Blueprint is applied to. For more on Blueprints, view this article.

November 15th, 2015

Posted In: Apple Configurator, iPhone, Mass Deployment

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Apple Configurator 2 is a great new evolution in iOS initial and configuration management. And there are lots of great options. And to help you wrap your head around all this new fun stuff, I’ve written up a quick and dirty guide for using Apple Configurator 2.

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It’s not completely done, but it will be shortly. Hope this help someone. Enjoy!

November 14th, 2015

Posted In: Apple Configurator, iPhone, Mass Deployment

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Financial services is an interesting business when it comes to what you need to do to meet your regulatory requirements. With so much data and the services that enable you to access data moving to the cloud, it can be hard to keep up with how solutions meet any regulatory requirements you might have. At the end of the day, you’re primarily concerned about customer data leaking out of your environment and making sure that you can report on every single thing that happened in an environment. Whatever help we can provide in this article, make sure that you vet anything against what the individuals that review your regulatory requirements say.

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November 13th, 2015

Posted In: Bushel

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