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Tiny Deathstars of Foulness

I’ve seen a few instances where an upgrade caused Final Cut to run kinda’ strangely. To resolve, I’ve just been doing a quick reinstall of Final Cut. To do so:
  • First move the Final Cut application to the trash (it’s in the /Applications folder).
  • From your home folder, go to ~/Library/Application Support and move the Final Cut folder in there into the trash.
  • From Library/Preferences in your home folder, put com.apple.FinalCut.plist, com.apple.FinalCut.LSSharedFileList and com.apple.FinalCut.UserDestinations.plist in the trash.
  • Finally, trash com.apple.FinalCut directory from ~/Library/Caches.
Once done, go back to the Mac App Store and reinstall Final Cut and open it. Those folders you just tossed out will get re-created. Your toolbars and other customizations are likely to be gone, so you’ll have to spend a few minutes getting your workspace back to the way you had it, but if Final Cut was acting oddly it should be back to normal. Good luck!

January 21st, 2015

Posted In: Final Cut Server, Mac OS X

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The software patching configuration built into most operating systems is configured so all that a user has to do is open a box at home, join the network and start using the computer right away. As environments grow from homes to small offices and then small offices grow into enterprises, at some point software updates and patches need to be managed centrally. Yosemite Server (OS X Server 3), as with its OS X Server predecessors has a Software Update service. The service in the Server app is known as Software Update and from the command line is known as swupdate. The Software Update service, by default, stores each update in the /var/db/swupd directory. The Software Update servie is actually comprised of three components. The first is an Apache server, invoked by the /Applications/Server.app/Contents/ServerRoot/System/Library/LaunchDaemons/com.apple.swupdate.host.plist LaunchDaemon. This LaunchDaemon invokes a httpd process and clients access updates from the server based on a manifest of updates available in the sucatalog. These are synchronized with Apple Software Updates via /Applications/Server.app/Contents/ServerRoot/usr/sbin/swupd_syncd, the LaunchDaemon for swupdate at /Applications/Server.app/Contents/ServerRoot/System/Library/LaunchDaemons/com.apple.swupdate.sync.plist. The Apache version is now Apache/2.2.22. Clients can be pointed at the server then via a Profile or using the defaults command to edit the /Library/Preferences/com.apple.SoftwareUpdate.plist file. The contents of this file can be read using the following command: defaults read /Library/Preferences/com.apple.SoftwareUpdate.plist To point a client to a server via the command line, use a command such as the following: sudo defaults write /Library/Preferences/com.apple.SoftwareUpdate CatalogURL http://yosemitesamserver.pretendco.lan:8088/index.sucatalog But first, you’ll need to configure and start the Software Update service. Lucky you, it’s quick (although quick in a hurry up and wait kind of way). To get started, open the Server app and then click on the Software Update service. SoftwareUpdate1 By default, updates are set to simply mirror the Apple servers, by default, enabling each update that Apple publishes, effectively proxying updates. You can use the Manual button if you would like to configure updates to either manually be approved and manually synchronized or just manually approved but automatically copied from Apple. Otherwise click on the ON button and wait for the updates to cache to simply mirror the Apple servers. If you would like to manually configure updates, click on the Manual option and then click on the Updates tab. The first item in the Updates tab is the “Automatically download new updates” checkbox. This option downloads all of the updates but does not enable them. The Updates tab also displays all available updates. click on one and then click on the cog-wheel icon towards the bottom of the screen to configure its behavior (Download, Enable, Disable, Remove and View Update). Note: The only option for updates in an Automatic configuration environment is disable. The service can be managed using serveradmin. To start Software Update, use the start option, followed by the swupdate service identifier: sudo serveradmin start swupdate To stop the service, replace start with stop: sudo serveradmin stop swupdate To see the status of the service, including the location of updates, the paths to log files, when the service was started and the number of updates running, use the fullstatus option: sudo serveradmin fullstatus swupdate The output of which appears as follows: swupdate:state = "RUNNING"
swupdate:lastChecktime = 2014-10-07 01:25:05 +0000
swupdate:syncStatus = "INPROGRESS"
swupdate:syncServiceState = "RUNNING"
swupdate:setStateVersion = 1
swupdate:lastProductsUpdate = 2013-10-06 04:02:16 +0000
swupdate:logPaths:swupdateAccessLog = "/var/log/swupd/swupd_access_log"
swupdate:logPaths:swupdateErrorLog = "/var/log/swupd/swupd_error_log"
swupdate:logPaths:swupdateServiceLog = "/var/log/swupd/swupd_syncd_log"
swupdate:readWriteSettingsVersion = 1
swupdate:pluginVers = "10.10.99 (99)"
swupdate:checkError = no swupdate:updatesDocRoot = "/Library/Server/Software Update/Data/"
swupdate:hostServiceState = "RUNNING"
swupdate:autoMirror = no
swupdate:numOfEnabledPkg = 0
swupdate:servicePortsAreRestricted = "NO"
swupdate:numOfMirroredPkg = 0
swupdate:autoMirrorOnlyNew = no
swupdate:startTime = 2013-10-07 01:25:05 +0000
swupdate:autoEnable = no There are also a number of options available using the serveradmin settings that aren’t exposed to the Server app. These include a feature I used to use a lot in the beginning of deployments with poor bandwidth, only mirroring new updates, which is available to swupdate via the autoMirrorOnlyNew option. To configure: sudo serveradmin settings swupdate:autoMirrorOnlyNew = yes Also, the service can throttle bandwidth for clients. To use this option, run the following command: sudo serveradmin settings swupdate:limitBandwidth = yes And configure bandwidth using the syncBandwidth option, as follows: sudo serveradmin settings swupdate:syncBandwidth = 10 To automatically sync updates but not enable them (as the checkboxes allow for in the Server app, use the following command: sudo serveradmin settings swupdate:autoEnable = no The port (by default 8088) can be managed using the portToUse option, here being used to set it to 80 (clients need this in their catalog URL from here on out): sudo serveradmin settings swupdate:portToUse = 80 Finally, administrators can purge old packages that are no longer needed using the PurgeUnused option: sudo serveradmin swupdate:PurgeUnused = yes One of the biggest drawbacks of the Software Update service in OS X Yosemite Server in my opinion is the fact that it does not allow for serving 3rd party packages, from vendors such as Microsoft or Adobe. To provide those vendors with a manifest file and a quick little path option to add those manifest files, a nice middle ground could be found between the Mac App Store and the built in software update options in OS X. But then, we wouldn’t want to make it too easy. Another issue many have had is that users need administrative passwords to run updates and don’t have them (technically this isn’t a problem with the OS X Server part of the stack, but it’s related). While many options have come up for this, one is to just run the softwareupdate command for clients via ARD or a similar tool. Many environments have used these issues to look at tools such as Reposado or third party patch management tools such as JAMF Software’s the Casper Suite (JAMF also makes a reposado-based VM that mimics the swupdate options), FileWave, Absolute Manage and others. Overall, the update service in Yosemite Server is easily configured, easily managed and easily deployed to clients. It is what it needs to be for a large percentage of OS X Yosemite (10.10) Server administrators. This makes it a very viable option and if you’ve already got a Mountain Lion computer sitting around with clients not yet using a centralized update server, well worth enabling.

October 17th, 2014

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

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I am almost embarrassed how long this took me to figure out. FaceTime was missing on my iPhone 4. Apparently, if you upgrade from 3 to 4 it doesn’t automatically show up. Instead you need to go to Settings and then tap on the Phone settings. Right there, staring back at you is a screen that says FaceTime and it gives you the ability to turn it ON or OFF. Tap ON and it should reappear in your apps (required me to reboot to show up).

September 30th, 2011

Posted In: iPhone

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Address Book.app stores its preferences in the following property list files in ~/Library/Preferences:
  • com.apple.AddressBook.abd.plist
  • com.apple.AddressBook.plist
The Address Book data itself is stored in ~/Library/Application Support/AddressBook, Here you will find:
  • The SQL Lite database (*.abcddb).
  • Any images associated with addresses are located in the Images folder in that directory
  • Any contacts synchronized (ie – from Address Book services of Mac OS X Server to the local computer are synchronized into the Sources directory (into the .abcddb file located there)
  • Any metadata associated with the contacts in the Metadata directory
  • The MailRecents-v4 file, which contains a cache of the most recently used email addresses
  • A Configuration.plist property list that has the settings for that specific database.
You can interact with the Address Books programatically using sqlite3, which I covered a little while back. You can also interact with it from the API layer.

December 2nd, 2009

Posted In: Mac OS X

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Earlier today I posted on how to activate the screen saver from the command line.  But I hadn’t yet mentioned how to set it up.  Before I do, let’s look at the /System/Library/Screen Savers directory.  Here you should see a number of bundles, such as RSS Visualizer.qtz, Paper Shadow.slideSaver, Flurry.saver, Arabesque.qtz and any third party screen savers you may have installed.  These are the paths to your screen savers. In order to set which screen saver you would like to use from the command line, you’re going to use the defaults command along with the com.apple.screensaver domain.  First let’s read the settings there:
defaults -currentHost read com.apple.screensaver
Which will provide the results:
{askForPassword = 1; moduleName = FDEScreenSaver; modulePath = “/usr/local/ppc-3.0.1-142/share/FDEScreenSaver.slideSaver”;}
When you feed information back in, to choose a new screen saver, the moduleName and modulePath (remember those paths in the first paragraph) will be used to specify a new screen saver.  Now I’m going to change my screen saver to use the iTunes Album artwork:
defaults -currentHost write com.apple.screensaver modulePath -string “/System/Library/Screen Savers/iTunes Artwork.saver”
If you test it, it now works.  For good measure, I’m gonna’ change the moduleName as well, although in my experience I don’t really have to…
defaults -currentHost write com.apple.screensaver moduleName -string “iTunes Artwork”
That askforPassword variable could also be changed.  If it is 0 on your machine then your screen saver doesn’t require a password in order to allow you back into your computer.  If it is a 1 then it does.
And remember you can use that earlier article from today to test them as you’re going (or use a hot corner, which is what I usually do).

June 19th, 2009

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

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Here’s a quick little script you can push out to a system having SideBar issues, to clear the prefs.  Alternately you can throw the rm command itself into ARD as a support mechanism… #!/bin/bash rm ~/Library/Preferences/com.apple.sidebarlists.plist exit 0

September 22nd, 2006

Posted In: Mac OS X

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