Posts Tagged ‘mac’


October 31, 2011 Leave a comment

A couple of weeks ago the Mac App Store featured a calendar app I had not seen before: BusyCal. It’s the gorgeous, customizable and very usable desktop calendar that iCal should have always been. Highly recommended.

Categories: macos, miniblog Tags: , ,

TimeMachine and Logged Out Users

January 5, 2011 Leave a comment

With the deployment of the MacMini3,1 as an important box, I wanted to have timely backups and easy recovery, and that is one thing Snow Leopard does rather well with TimeMachine. Attach a disk, configure as a TimeMachine destination, and done, right? Not exactly: I noticed that TimeMachine was only backing up the system if there was a user logged in, something that’s rather rare on this box (in fact, there is generally no display or keyboard attached to it).

It turns out that this is normal behavior, as the system unmounts all external volumes when a user logs out, including TimeMachine volumes (this does not apply to network volumes, just volumes physically attached to the system). There are some edge cases that affect somewhat this behavior (such us when FileVault is in use), but it can be completely disabled:

defaults write /Library/Preferences/SystemConfiguration/autodiskmount \
     AutomountDisksWithoutUserLogin -bool true

I went ahead and rebooted the system. TimeMachine now works even when users are not logged in.

Categories: macos, sysadmin Tags: , , ,

Macmini3,1 and PowerBook5,8

January 4, 2011 Leave a comment


A few months ago the aging Early 2009 Mac Mini in the living room was replaced with a 2010 model. The old one was having a hard time keeping up with HD content (mainly in terms of performance but also flat out refusing to display iTunes HD content after the upgrade to Snow Leopard) and the 1080p display over the DVI to HDMI adapter over-scanning issues were rather tiresome. The 2010 model did away with all that: faster CPU, more memory and native HDMI took care of those issues, which left a perfectly functional Macmini3,1 searching for a mission in life, a mission I had found even before I pulled the trigger on the new model.

A small server in the office that I use to store backup copies of precious data away from my main desktop system, such as music and photos, is also the authoritative repository of software that gets pushed to all the other systems I use or care for. Additionally, it runs a small mail setup (mx + imap) for two personal domains and other bits of useful software, such as a personal wiki. It was been working flawlessly for quite some time, but I have been wanting to reduce the office’s power footprint, especially while I travel, which was challenging given the system needed to be up all the time.

Thus, the mission is defined: the Mac Mini needs to take over the services that run continuously so the other system can be powered off at will.

The migration is nearly complete: mail is flowing and the software repository is up to date. The wiki bits are still a work in progress, but those are not as critical, primarily because Evernote has largely replaced (and enhanced) the wiki use. None of this would have been possible without the MacPorts Project community, at least not as fast and seamlessly as it has been. So there is happiness in the living room and there is happiness in the office.

On other related news, the aging PowerBook5,8 is finally headed for retirement. It has been a good 5+ years run, but in the end, it was entirely too slow now that its last user had embraced digital photography and was using quite heavily. I’m not sure what I will do with it: the recycling center should be its final destination, but there is an emotional link to that laptop that keeps me from doing it. It was the first laptop I bought at Ning (before we actually purchased Apple products at the office) and it has served us very well.
Categories: macos, sysadmin Tags: , , ,

Safari 5 Reader Mode

Safari 5 Reader it’s the shitznutz! I love it.

Categories: macos, miniblog Tags: , , ,

Finder Error -10810

March 22, 2010 Leave a comment

I don’t normally curse (ok, ok, when writing) but fuck!

Update: I ended up nuking and paving the laptop after grabbing data via target mode. The effort late last year to finally organize my apps, data, and such is paying off. The FileVault image works, and I was able to mount it elsewhere (so I expect to drop it back in the laptop after I finish reinstalling). Eating my own sysadmin dog food: anytime!

Update: Really, a little thinking about the chain of events that may have caused this. Just before the Finder bent itself into oblivion, I just attached my video camera and (gasp!) poked around its file system from the CLI. I had attached the camera before without problems (but this was the first time I sniffed around). I’m not sure this has anything to do, other than folks seem to think this issue is related to external disks.

Categories: miniblog Tags: ,

Mac SVN clients: Versions vs Cornerstone

January 20, 2010 Leave a comment

Although I am not a full-time developer, I do deal with a fair amount of information that benefits from the joys of versioning (including software I write). A lot of that work today happens in an IDE (Xcode), but a lot of it happens in other contexts, so having a pretty (and above all, useful) tool to navigate a repository is quite useful. I have been using Versions for the Mac since it was beta, and it has proven to be a worthy helper. Recently, I ran into Cornerstone, and I decided to try it out of curiosity. Both are solid apps, and either one will service your SVN needs nicely. Hopefully Git will get one in the near future.

Categories: computing, macos, sysadmin Tags: , , ,

Snow Leopard: Exchange Support Rocks

December 24, 2009 Leave a comment

Exchange support in Snow Leopard has so far worked really well, including iPhone syncing with MobileMe. Good-bye Outlook running under VMware. Really, good-bye to about the only reason I ran some flavor of Windows anymore.

Categories: miniblog Tags: , , ,

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