Archive for November, 2006 Webcast on Apple’s new Intel Xserve

The next webcast, Apple’s new Intel Xserve, will take place on Thursday, November 30th 2006. Join Alex Grossman, Sr. Director Server and Storage Hardware at Apple. He will lead a discussion about the new 64-bit Intel Xeon-based Apple Xserve.

See the Webcasts section for more information.

Go to the live feed 5-10 minutes prior to the webcast start time.
The webcast id is “Xserve” and the passcode for November 2006 is 114637.

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Mount Network Homes Easily

Here is a freebie application that mounts network home directories in an Open Directory environment. The program does a quick LDAP lookup and mounts the Volume. It also lets you specify a second mount volume for shared files.

This application is useful for environments that don’t have many MCX clients, yet want to be able to conveniently mount home directories. This is especially suited to elementary schools where student proficiency is still low and IT support is minimal.

Find it here.

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PaperCut on Mac Servers

After a six month testing program, PaperCut Software have released their final version of PaperCut NG for Mac OS X Server. The Mac version has all the functionally of the popular Windows edition including, print quota, print monitoring, shared accounts, release station and rule based filtering of print jobs. The system works by hooking into CUPS. More information is available here.

The developers also recently presented at the Mac Managers meeting at the University of Utah and the presentation is available online in PDF and QuickTime format.

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Join the AFP548 IRC Channel

If you ever feel the need to chat with your fellow OS X Server enthusiasts in real time, then drop on by the AFP548 "official" IRC channel. The channel name is #afp548 and You'll find it on the FreeNode network (

If you're new to IRC (or haven't used it in years!), then the two popular freeware IRC clients are X-Chat Aqua and Colloquy. The only commands you have to remember are /server and /join #afp548.

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"divorce" AD password expiration checking from the login process

In 10.3 and later, Macs bound to and and autheticating against AD kindly warn you when your password has expired and allow you to change it at the login screen. If you're like me and would rather have more control over that process — in other words, you'd like to choose the time, manner, and place in which your users are warned about approaching password expirations — then the default behavior leaves much to be desired.

Googling for other admins' solutions to this "feature deficit" didn't reveal what I was looking for, so I decided to write my own password expiration warning script and make it as universal as I could. By universal, I mean you shouldn't have to change a single thing in the script to get it to work at your site. It looks up everything it needs using various command line utilities.

Read on for more…

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Making the iChat server work with MSN

As many probably already know, the iChat server introduced in 10.4 is based on Jabber and uses the XMPP protocol. This makes it possbible for the server to act not only as a standalone instant messaging server, but also as a gateway between many different protocols.

In this 9 page howto article (450kB PDF), you can find out more about how it all works with specific instructions on making the iChat server work with arguably the most popular IM network, MSN.

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Charting Spam

One of the big features of Tiger Server's mail server was the addition of spam filtering. It was a bit bumpy in the beginning, but once you fix the bayesian filtering things work quite nicely.

A question that always gets asked is, "How much spam am I blocking?" and there are several ways to tell. You can use a number of OSS monitoring solutions, comb the logs, or forward spam to a spam account. Reader filipp has submitted a nice solution to the problem that quickly creates a HTML chart of the spam totals. This way you can just glance at a web page and see how much you are blocking.

Read on for more…

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Make Your Own pidof Utility

It's often required to know the ID number of a certain process. In many *NIX distributions, this is done using the "pidof" utility which OS X lacks. While we have "killall" which is useful for sending signals to processes by name, what if we just need the ID number? To get it, simply add this line to you ~/.bash_profile file:

pidof () { ps -Ac | egrep -i $@ | awk '{print $1}'; }

Then calling "pidof procname" will give you the PID(s) of the processes whose names contain "procname" (ignoring case). You can also use it to quickly check if a process is running.

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AFP548 Kick-Off Session at Macworld

We love questions. All kinds. Questions about love, the meaning of life, and directory services to name but a few. Dust off your brain and get your best questions ready ’cause we’re taking them to Macworld. The Wednesday MacIT kick-off session will not be one speaker this year, but a leader-lead discussion on how Mac OS X and Mac OS X Server are faring in the real world.

Topics will include-but not limited to organizational polices surrounding Macs and how to deal with them, best case and worst case scenarios when deploying Mac OS X, technical and training issues, political strategies for increasing the number of Macs, and a general potpourri of mixed bag questions. The panel will consist of me (Schoun Regan), MacTroll, Josh Wisenbaker, Philip Rhinehart of MacEnterprise, and some very special surprise guests.

Questions will be taken during the session and in advance, with some of the best pre-Macworld questions answered during the session. When Macworld goes dark for yet another year, all the questions (and possibly the answers) will be posted here. Send your questions to [email protected]. We look forward to seeing everyone there!

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Secrets of the GPT

In the move from the Apple Partition Map (APM), to the new GUID partition table (GPT) there’s a lot of questions around why, how and what does it mean to me. We’ve discovered a wonderful Technical Note on Apple’s Developer website answering all of these questions – Technical Note TN2166

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