Alex Kaloostian

Apple Certified Master Trainer | Systems Integrator | Video Editor | Motion Graphics Artist


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Managing FileVault 2 across your company

A lot of people have been asking me about managing FileVault2 on multiple Macs, maybe using the same recovery key for all of them, and even automating the process. Here’s a great document right form Apple that covers a few different methodologies:

http://training.apple.com/pdf/WP_FileVault2.pdf

And here’s a document from Jamf, on integrating FileVault 2 with the Casper Suite:

http://www.jamfsoftware.com/libraries/pdf/white_papers/Administering-FileVault-2-on-OS-X-Mountain-Lion-with-the-Casper-Suite.pdf

EDIT!

I’ve been pointed to another project, this one by Google, called Cauliflower Vest:

http://code.google.com/p/cauliflowervest/


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So your company wants to introduce Macs?

Every week I hear the same thing: “We have been a Windows-only business/school/organization for years, but now we’re letting our employees choose, and a lot of them are choosing Macs.” You’re going to need to know some things. A LOT of things. But here’s the big one:

Everything you know about supporting Windows is going to be flipped upside-down.

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Command Line Basics 6: time savers

I was planning on mentioning these tricks in a later post, but my good friend Hank made me see that this is the perfect time. Today I’ve got one problem, and three shortcuts for you.

Problem: spaces.

Ever notice that email addresses and web sites never have spaces in them? Spaces are a problem in Unix. Let’s say you had a folder called “Important stuff” and you wanted to look inside. You’d probably try typing

Lion-Apps:~ fmcadmin$ ls Important stuff

But you’d get an error:

Lion-Apps:~ fmcadmin$ ls Important stuff
ls: Important: No such file or directory
ls: stuff: No such file or directory

See what happened? It thought that Important and stuff were two different folders, and you wanted to look inside each. This is why “old schoolers” never use spaces in file and folder names. But all is not lost, it’s actually easy to deal with spaces in two different ways: just use quotes, or a black slash.

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Command Line Basics 5 – paths

Where are you? In your cubicle, in an office, in your living room, a public library, on a blimp? Okay, probably not on a  blimp. But you are somewhere right now, as you read this. You can look around and figure it out. And if you opened a window on your Mac, you would know where you were as well, because it would say so at the top of the window, like this:

But where are you when you open the Terminal? Turns out, it’s right there in front of you as well, you just may not have noticed, or known how to read it. Open a new Terminal window and don’t type anything, just look at the text to the left of your cursor. This is called the prompt:

And this is actually a lot of useful information in a little place. The lion-Apps: is the computer you’re on. That might be obvious, I mean, its sitting right there on your desk in front of you, right? But when you start logging into machines remotely, that can be a very helpful reminder. That little squiggle, ~, is called a tilde, and it tells you what folder you’re in. More on that in a second. fmcadmin is the user you’re logged in as. And finally, the $ tells us we are using the bash shell. There are different shells out there, but you really don’t need to worry about that at this point. All Macs use the bash shell by default.

Okay, wait, tilde? Whats that? Well, in order to explain that, we need to take a step back and talk about paths. A path is like a set of directions to get somewhere.

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Command Line Basics 4 – targets

Lesson 1 – The Terminal
Lesson 2 – Command options
Lesson 3 – Man pages

Last time, I showed you how to read a man page for a command by typing man followed by the command. In lesson 2, I showed you how to list files in long format by typing ls followed by a hyphen and an option, like ls -l. Why does one command use a hyphen, and the other not?

It’s all in the difference between options and targets.  Here’s how most commands are entered:

command -options target

The command is the thing you want to do, the option is how you want to do it, and the target is where you want to do it. Some commands need an option, some don’t. Some commands need a target, some don’t. But if you use them, the computer can only tell the difference between an option and a target based on that little hyphen. Imagine it wasn’t there, and you tried typing

ls a

Are you telling the computer to list all items, or list the folder named “a”? The hyphen is how the computer knows you are typing an option or a target. Options have a hyphen before them, targets don’t.

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Command Line Basics – lesson 3 – man pages

Okay, in earlier lessons, I showed you how to use the uptime command, and the ls command, with and without options. But how did I know what those options were? -l, -a, -G, what the what? The answer, my friend is, RTFM!

Every command line command has an instruction manual included FREE, at NO EXTRA CHARGE! its easy, just type man, a space, and the command you want to know about. Like this:

man uptime

And press return. You will see something like this:

UPTIME(1) BSD General Commands Manual UPTIME(1)
NAME
 uptime -- show how long system has been running
SYNOPSIS
 uptime
DESCRIPTION
 The uptime utility displays the current time, the length of time the system has been up, the number of users, and the load average of the system over the last 1, 5,
 and 15 minutes.

And a bit more, but I’ve cut it for space. You get the idea. Exciting, right? That right there is the hottest writing since Twilight. Ahem. This is a basic one- some man pages are hundreds and hundreds of lines long.

Now, you probably have noticed something new. You don’t see the usual prompt, waiting for you to type a new command. And if you DO try a new command, things are going to get wonky. The commands we tried earlier were one-time commands: you run them, they run, and they’re done, nice and easy. A one-night stand, so to speak. But the man command sticks around. It stays open until you’re don’t with it.

How can you quit the man command and get back to the normal prompt? press q. (no period, just the letter q). If you’re ever stuck in some command, the q key will usually get you out. If not the q key, than control-c will do it. Thats a break command. q quits gracefully, control-c is more of a panic switch. And if you ever get REALLY stuck, just close the Terminal window and open a new one.

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More Terminal secrets revealed

Want to change the default time of 1 hour for TimeMachine backups, change the look of your dock, or hide a user account? Many of these hidden “features” can be performed on your Mac with a simple “defaults” command in the Terminal.

There used to be a great shareware app called Secrets to handle these with a click, but it hasn’t been updated for Lion. Now some kind soul has posted a huge lis of these commands on GitHub.

https://github.com/mathiasbynens/dotfiles/blob/master/.osx

Use at your own risk, of course. I recommend simply cutting-and-pasting the command you want into the Terminal, and press return. If you type them wrong it could lead to trouble.


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Preparing for the Apple Certification Exams

There’s a new series of practice tests for the Apple certifications! They are much more thorough and detailed than what you get on Apple’s web site, and the questions are multiple choice like the test, so it is a much more accurate way to prepare. They are iOS apps for iPhone and iPad, and they’re FREE! The only strange thing is, they’re quite hard to find on the iTunes store.

Search for “ReviseIT” or “Amsys” and you’ll find ReviseIT, the Lion 101+201 test. I noticed today they have also released prep tests for the Snow Leopard courses too. For free, why not give them a try?