Friday, August 29, 2008

New Tutorial at Macintosh Tech People

I’ve posted a new tutorial in the Macintosh Tech People wiki, “Safe, Secure Image Serving with Mac OS X Server.”

It details the method I’ve developed for using NetBoot and NetRestore to allow imaging Macs across a wide campus by a number of different groups while limiting access to the core setup of your Server. Hope you find it useful.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Andy speaks!

Ok, excuse me for a moment while I go a little weak at the knees.

Andy Hertzfeld has been interviewed by James Turner over at O'Reilly. The Mac at 25 discusses some interesting stuff about the Mac. Since Andy doesn't speak too often I'm going to have to read every word three times. It's a great interview. Andy Hertzfeld is up there with Brian Kernighan, Dennis Ritchie and Bill Atkinson in my pantheon. (Yes, I know - Larry Tesler, Bruce Horn, Bill Joy, Aho and others were major influences on my favourite OSes but those four are the rock stars.)

I'd forgotten he was now working a Google. I knew there was a reason I liked Google . Go and read the interview immediately and then buy Andy's book "Revolution in the Valley".

Disclaimer: O'Reilly like me almost as much as I like them.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Oh no, Apple's grabbed my TV

On Friday a colleague returned after lunch with an Apple TV - a local electrical retailer was selling them for half price.

Well considering that it's running OS X under all that GUI goodness it was too hard to resist. I went and bought one for myself with a HDMI cable so I could hook it up to my HD TV.

Oh joy, oh rapture. The quality of the picture and the ease of use are phenomenal. My one complaint is that there is no fast forward or reverse using the Apple remote. I may have to see abou hacking the software to fix that. I've also discovered instructions for replacing the hard drive with a larger one though the current 40GB drive would seem to be fine at the moment - I have a lot of music and photos on there along with a dozen music clips and five movies without even half filling it.

My one problem is that I am quickly running out of HD inputs on the TV. When I get a Blu-Ray player (I'm thinking a Playstation 3 for Xmas if Santa is kind) I'll have to get a switch box I fear.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Mac Tech People launches (sort of)

Recently I sent out the following email to a number of people. I thought I'd repost it here. If you're interested in building a first class resource for Macintosh support and tech folk join me.


I've recently been thinking about the gathering places for Mac technical people in the net – what is available and what is missing. So what is missing?

I've wanted a good blog that gives me just the news on tools for administering and supporting Macs.

I've wanted a wiki with well written articles telling me what I need to know to deploy or support Mac systems, particularly in the middle of a Windows centred world, or that I can point desktop support staff to when they need answers. Good answers that link to further information when they need it.

I've wanted a discussion forum to get together with my peers to talk about possible solutions to some of the harder problems.

I want to do this in a place uncluttered by discussion of the best way to replace the Dock or the best application for running "Getting Things Done".

At work we have a wiki that is starting to contain some good quality how-to articles. Problem is you need to be senior IT staff to read it. No junior staff and certainly no one outside the organisation can read it, so what's the point? I'd prefer to contribute to somewhere I can send less skilled support staff.

Where can you find it?

I've been looking for a website that included a technical wiki as well as a forum and news. Most of the sites with forums are pitched at mid level Mac users operating on their own computer or there are a few that cater to the huge organisation looking after hundreds of Macs where infrastructure can be devoted to supporting them. Where are the places for people supporting anything from a dozen to a several hundred Macs, often in the middle of a larger Windows infrastructure? Most of the news sites offer more rumour and gossip than solid news about the tools we use.

I've started the task!

I've come up with a concept for a website designed to fill the void. I've built a site that uses WordPress with SimpleForum integrated with Dokuwiki. I even have single sign on tieing both together. I've also registered a domain name – .

What am I offering you? I'm offering you the opportunity to help shape the final concept and design of the site – how to break up the forums into topics, how to break up the wiki into topics, what sort of membership we might want to invite or attract.

You will also gain a place on the net to share your technical knowledge with the right people and get the right answers to our shared problems.

Come help build it!

In return I'd like your assistance in populating the wiki with some good reference material. I'd like your help in fashioning a good discussion forum.

I will provide the place for you to do it. You don't even have to be a great writer – since this is a wiki we can all help each other improve the quality – personally I have more than a decade's experience writing and editing documentation and magazines. If you provide the information I can help with writing skills.

At the moment I'm limiting this offer to a small number of people who will become moderators of the site. Get in on the ground floor and create something useful for yourself and others.

Register now

At the moment I'm keeping the site quiet so go to and register. You will then receive an email from me telling you of your acceptance into the beta program once I upgrade you to moderator. You can have a look at the design, see some of my articles in the wiki and post your thoughts in the forum.

While you're waiting for that email you might think of one or two people you know who'd also benefit from joining the beta program, perhaps you feel you can't contribute. Feel free to pass this offer along to – just make sure you've registered first. You wouldn't want them to take the last spot offered ahead of you.


Tony Williams

Monday, August 4, 2008

Looking for Mac sysadmins and support people for new project

I've been working away on a new project that will give something back to the Macntosh community. I'm currently looking fo other Mac sysadmins and support people who would like to be involved.

I'm excited about the idea and the few people I have shared my idea with share my enthusiasm. I don't want to say too much until we are ready to launch on the world but it is a way of sharing information and expertise that I believe is unique in the field.

If you are currently supporting Macs then this is a project I believe you will want to be a part of.

I'm also looking for someone who has more expertise than me in web design and CSS. I don't have that much expertise so if you have a little and want a project to expand your knowledge then this might be the one for you.

I hope you want to take part. If you do the drop me a line or add a comment to this post and you can be part of the team. You can reach me at tonyw at honestpuck dot com