Archive for category: Odds and Ends

Quick Tip – Changing ComputerName Before DeployStudio Finalize

If you are in an AD environment and computer names come from somewhere else in your organization, it may be inconvenient when trying to quickly prepare a new machine. DeployStudio has a form workflow step to set some information you’d like customized for the computer, including the local name(for Bonjour) and […]

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When Yosemite has Fallen, and it Can’t Get Up

When Yosemite has Fallen, and it Can’t Get Up

UPDATE January 20, 2015 – Some are reporting an opendirectoryd-related fix, featuring the very cool-looking darwinup. Let’s hope it makes it into .2, and we’re not all chomping at the bit for 10.10.3! People are noticing a symptom, branded LoginLockout (credit @andrewrose), where Yosemite seemingly freezes during startup. The keyboard shows […]

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Undocumented Options

After some undocumented options were found in the asr tool, Greg Neagle started digging around some other commands to see if he could find any other hidden options. The result of this interest has lead to some methods for finding hidden options in any command, although his specific example involves softwareupdate. […]

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Open Source OS X Tools released by Twocanoes Software

Open Source OS X Tools released by Twocanoes Software

Twocanoes Software has released some really cool utilities today as open source software.  So far, they have released an app called Salute that lets you lock your screen using Control-Command-Delete, one called Audit that lets you configure and read OpenBSM logs and Debug which lets you enable and disabled debug logging from […]

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A Field Guide to IRC

Author’s Note: When I started to write this, I thought about calling it a Beginner’s Guide to IRC, but that’s not what this is. This is a Field Guide to IRC designed for those who remember IRC from the early 90s as well as those who’ve never set foot in […]

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Management,Odds and Ends,OS X,Tips Comments are Disabled

New 10.8 Unix Commands

With OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion came some new Unix commands that are very handy.  Among them is pgrep and pkill, which rolls grep into the ps command so you no longer have to pipe ps to grep in order to find a running process.  pkill does the same thing, […]

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LABMAN 2010 June 7-9


Labman will be celebrating it's 11th Year at Northampton Community College on June 7th – 9th, 2010

Labman continues to be a low-key, inexpensive, and friendly conference intended for persons who are involved in the maintenance of computing labs in higher education, K–12, or library facilities. We are looking forward to the continued enhancement of the content shared an presented each year by fellow lab managers.

Please see for more information.  We have some great events lined up and look forward to seeing old and new faces this year.

I will quickly note that I have attended 8 LabMan conferences over the years and hosted 1 of them.  I have found them to be both enjoyable and useful while being a fairly "cheap date" – even the one I got to stress out about while hosting :-) .  I encourage folks to seriously consider going, especially if you are out on the East Coast.  

Tom "Macintosh Doctor" Johnson

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Creating a shadow hash file

When creating an image, you typically have user creation as part of the build process. If you're doing this as part of a install and capture (aka the "Old Way") you simply create the user as part of the Setup Assistant, or use SysPrefs after the install to set it up.

Under Leopard, we have the very intriguing possibility of simply creating a series of files in the /var/db/dslocal folder structure that is very friendly for reproducing. This is especially handy for a package based, non-interactive imaging process like our friend InstaDMG. The problem is creating the password. You obviously can't run the passwd(1) command since that will change passwords on the existing machine. You need to create a shadow hash file that contains the password. In leopard and tiger, this file contains possibly quite a few password types, but the standard type is a salted SHA1 digest of the password (the salt is a random 4 byte integer).

Most people in the past have simply created a new account with the associated password, and saved the resuling hash file in the folder. This is nice, but can result in a shadow file that is consistant for all times. Since the hash is salted with a random integer, we can generate a new hash anytime we want, but will still have the same password. This way, over time, even if the passwords are the same, the hashes will be different. This is why if you compare a hash file with the same password, you still may get very different hashes.

I have created a simple PHP script that takes 1 parameter, a string password. It will then output a string that is suitable to be saved as a password hash file to standard output. The resulting string could be redirected to a file whose name is the GUID of the user who's password you wish to save. This hash file is valid for 10.4 and 10.5

In the future, I plan on making a script that automates the creation of this directory structure so it is suitable for packaging/automation with a non-booted volume. Obviously if this was a
booted volume, you'd just use dscl/passwd and be done with it.

Check out the script here

Comments/suggestions welcome.

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Tokyo Server & Xsan training sessions

On Feb 29th, two free Mac OS X Server and Xsan related training sessions in Tokyo are available for sign-up. Please feel free to login and sign-up while seats are still available.

Details are at

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Toronto OS X Integrators Birds of a Feather Gathering

Sponsored by IronGate Server Management & Consulting, in association with Digital Transitions the next OS X Integrators Birds of a Feather gathering is taking place at MaRS Discovery District on College St. at University Ave., Toronto, Canada on Wednesday February 6th from 7:00PM-9:00PM.

In this session Steve Hayman will be talking about the state of scripting in Mac OS X 10.5, including recent changes to Applescript, Automator, and other scripting tools. Among other things we'll show off some of the ways that scripting lets you extend Apple Remote Desktop to simplify some common tasks. Why wait for Apple to add the features you need when you can script many of them yourself? 

Registration and more details of the event are available on Apple's Seminar Website 

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