The price of a working computer on the "free" Windows 10? Two hours out of your life and storing all of your files on Microsoft's servers.
We've recently upgraded our computer stock with a bunch of new (old) Mac Pros. These are the last computers which Apple built which can be upgraded (storage, memory, GPU, CPU in order of complexity). So I've updated our guide on deploying new Macs. I've often been asked about our special sauce for securing Macs and deploying them quickly so I've publishing this as a starting point for others.
Despite the title stating that this covers how to set up a Mac securely on OS X, it hasn't really been possible to secure a Mac since the App Store came into being (OS X 10.6.6 I believe). OS X 10.5.8 may be the last really secure full version of OS X ever created. Coincidentally Apple joined Prism in 2012.
Still one can make a good effort to make one's computer far less chatty. If you really want to be secure, don't use the app store at all and download your OS X updates. If you want to be a little bit secure, you have to avoid iCloud completely. Just ask the beautiful Jennifer Lawrence how iCloud turned out for her (I had no idea she was so sexy until those pics showed up).
Anyone who owns more than two Macs know it's a real convenience to be able to use target mode for transferring files. You just restart your MacBook Pro and hold T down and you're in Target Mode. This lets you copy files on and off the target computer as if the disks inside it were external drives.
The issue lately though is that MacBook Pro's when in Target Mode make a terrific amount of noise:
I have a new Santa Rosa MacBook and when started in Firewire target disk mode, the fan runs at a high rate all of the time. This is even when there is no disk activity. Is this normal?
We've been slowly removing American cloud services from Foliovision, as the extent of American duplicity about privacy and industrial espionage becomes apparent. One of the services with which it was relatively difficult to part was Dropbox.
Regardless, with international state terrorist and Bush security czarina Condoleeza Rice on the Board of Directors, Dropbox had to go. To the Dropbox founders credit, the requirement to openly appoint Condoleeze Rice on the Board of Directors suggests someone felt that founders Drew Houston and Arash Ferdowsi needed very close supervision. I would love to have been inside those meetings, before and after. "Remain professional everyone. We all have a job to do."
Everyone knows that I hate iPhones (built-in spyware, no swappable battery, no keyboard, constant and forced software upgrades, hideous iTunes integration). I don't like iPads much either (touch is only for content consumption, not creation). On the other hand, occasionally something so cool comes out which takes full advantage of the tablet format. One just happened today.
Releases by 500px screenshot type of release
500px has released a free model release app called Releases by 500px. This ingenious little one trick pony allows you to create instant legally binding release forms when in the field. Very cleverly Releases covers both models and properties (I'm not sure when you need property release forms but I'm sure sometimes you do).
Foliovision is in the web design business. Often enough we have to shoot a full length screenshot of a website. There are three utilities we normally use in order.
- Layers. More for fancy documentation, the full page webpage screenshot functionality is great and works with Safari, Firefox and some other browsers (not Chromium though).
- Netfixer. From ShinyFrog, neglected, badly named but quite brilliant software.
- Paparazzi. First on the scene, disappeared for a long time without regular maintenance. Back with a glistening new icon and sharing cookies and webkit with Safari.
All of the above work on OS X versions at least as far back 10.6.8
Apple's OS has built in internet sharing. Normally people use it to share out an ethernet connection to their smart phones or to share their smart phone connection with another set of hardware (imagine your main internet connection goes dead for example but you still have mobile: you can get your whole network back up again via internet sharing).
OS X internet sharing is a fantastic feature but doesn't seem to be compatible with VPN. When you add a VPN in to you won't be able to use the internet sharing and the DHCP server will go dead. In fact, sharing between two ethernet ports seems a bit trickier as well but isn't really. You just have to allow the receiving device to give what would normally be an error message. "Unable to obtain network address. Self-obtained network address." I've never had a successful connection with that message up but when sharing between two ethernet ports, that's the right message. You don't want to be generating additional network ID's.
The challenge: keeping my IP address up to date
I recently wanted to find a way to keep dynamic DNS updated for a smart DNS service at home (to keep MOG, Pandora and LastFM running without using the hassle of a VPN). It turns out my home DSL router's IP address changes all the time and I was updating my DNS mapping service multiple times per day.
It was a bit of a hunt to find a suitable dynamic DNS solution as dyndys.org went (expensive) paid at $25/year recently. After looking at some of the competitors, I finally chose DNSmadeeasy to avoid creating managing more logins. We already have work accounts and DNSmadeeasy includes dynamic DNS with every name in your account (fabulous value if you need a lot of dynamic DNS). If you are looking for free dynamic DNS, the amusingly named http://afraid.org appears to be the last good free solution operating.
While on Afraid.org's site, I found a nice quick Bash script which could be customised for DNSmadeasy. Unfortunately I couldn't get Curl to work well in bash, with DNSmadeeasy's update command failing (personal data removed) even with -d data variables or with a simple http command:
I’ve just spent an hour helping a client get set up with secondary addresses in Gmail within Apple Mail. She’s tried and failed to get Apple Mail to work reliably enough for her taste on vanilla IMAP. Our own four full articles on the idiosyncracies of Apple Mail IMAP support her point:
- Apple Mail: Migrating from POP to IMAP Smoothly for Power Users
- Apple Mail, IMAP, IDLE and Smart Mailboxes don’t mix well, spike CPU
- Apple Mail: Getting rid of multiple draft messages in IMAP
- Apple Mail: Fixing Broken IMAP accounts after a server move
- Apple Mail IMAP: Sent Mail Showing up in wrong folder on second computer
Just as we got to the goal line, B. asked me about setting up Mail on the iPad to work with secondary addresses in Gmail.
Turns out that’s it’s pretty difficult:
“people who buy iPhones are image-conscious fad-following idiots”.
The words of Apple pundit John Gruber of Daring Fireball fame, not mine. But a pretty good summary of the situation.
Gruber was complaining about the brilliant Samsung Galaxy S II ad making the rounds. Here is the long version (1m25s) which you might otherwise miss. There's lots of additional clever repartee not in the airplay version: "I guess this is what adultery feels like," says one of the Apple fans in the queue with the Samsung Galaxy in his hands.
long form version of the brilliant Samsung ad
I'm one of the people who moved from iPhone to Android and is really happy about it. Here's why. I owned an iPhone 3GS. After the initial thrill of ownership wore off, I became very tired of:
- being forced to update to the latest version of iTunes every week
- having my mobile phone tied to my credit card and personal account at Apple, sending all the info in my mobile phone to Apple anytime Apple chooses
- fighting with a virtual keyboard which fills most of the screen when you are using it
- really slow network switching (I live on the border between Slovakia and Austria and need to switch networks often), usually requiring turning the iPhone on and off
- having to hack the iPhone to be able to share the internet connection from the iPhone even to a Mac: and then to be worried that any given update could kill my tethering set up
- looking at really lousy photographs, worse than my two year old Nokias
So for non-programmers, here's how to get Textile editing working on BBEdit. Review of other OS X textile solutions.
Trouble with your IMAP after a server move? Here are the setting you need to change in Apple Mail to save messages properly.
This post is a continuation from a recent post about Scientific Management and the Toyota Way.
Something we are working on is some additional capacity in peak periods (as auto manufacturers have additional suppliers they can bring online if a sudden surge in demand appears). Gradually we are getting there. In the meantime, I take great care not to take on more work than we can handle. There's at least a $100,000/month of business which I'm not seeking as we just couldn't maintain quality standards yet. We are working on increasing capacity first and then slowly adding those additional clients.
My girlfriend is shocked and horrified that we are leaving this kind of money on the table. Her shock diminished when I explained that every day Foliovision leaves millions on the table in Slovakia alone:
As mobile devices get better, more visitors are using smart phones to surf. Here's a step by step guide to quickly create a great mobile site.
Google wins our Microsoft embrace, extend, extinguish award of the month for their attack on Safari and other webkit browsers.
Having trouble with draft messages proliferating like rabbits in IMAP in Apple Mail? Here's the solution.
How to protect your privacy when using an Apple computer. The distance between Steve Jobs’s talk about privacy and Apple’s walk. Baked-in privacy invasion.
Everyone who works on the web should have a keylogger. Browsers crash often enough when you are writing into a form or browsers have hot keys (especially forward or back) which will reload the page on you at an unexpected time, just when you are in the middle of a very long post.
I've heard all the privacy arguments against keyloggers but I'm not sold. If you are typing into a computer, particularly one which is near constantly connected to the Internet, you need to accept that there is very limited privacy. For very private writing, it should be done on paper or on an old computer which is no longer capable of being hooked up to the Internet easily or at all (i.e. missing a network card and wifi and/or automatic DHCP).
Yes, everything awful you’ve heard about these adapters is true. They don’t really work right, under Mac OS X. The strange thing is that those who’ve turned their Mac Minis into either Windows XP or Linux rigs do not have trouble with the adapter. So it’s not really hardware related. A bit embarassing that the Apple engineers can’t get their own gear working. Another senior engineer transferred to the iPhone video driver department?
Flicker two or three times a day – GM, Dec. 9
I am a totally MAC fan. I love their stuff. It is always quality. This thing is awful. I depend on my monitor as I do a lot of photo work. I had an older macbook pro which had the DVI output. Ok, so I have buy a 100 adapter now, I am sort of ok with that. Then I find it takes up one of my USB ports as well. A little less happy, but give me a product that works. Now this… Two or three times a day I need to cycle this thing. Very poor. I really hope they fix this.
bad, bad, bad – VC, Dec. 9
This thing is junk. Sadly I have to re boot or put my computer to sleep at least three or four times a day because it goes out and comes back with the dreaded TV Snow we all hated as kids when the cable went out. Apple should have gotten this right by now. As a consumer and big spender on apple product I’m disappointed again. Windows 7 anyone? (Joke) Is Apple listening?
Until recently, Apple had no good inexpensive computer in its lineup. There was the Mac Mini but the graphics were crappy built-in on-board Intel adapters. As an ex Macbook owner, I knew how weak that chip is.
On the other hand, the Mac Mini with the 9400GF is a real computer. A Core2Duo processor at 2 GHz can handle anything except gaming and high end video editing.
I hope to hell my staff are not gaming and I know we aren't doing high end video editing these days. If we decide to start, I'll get a more powerful computer.
I know that when we do go to video editing, there are no audio and video sync issues on Macs (sync issues are the historic bugaboo of video editing on Windows computers).
We've just bought a total of six Mac Minis and Macbooks to switch Foliovision over to being primarily an Apple company. Here's why.