Alex Kaloostian

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

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Apple as overhauled two-factor authentication…

…And its kind of crazy confusing. But its worth it in the long run, because the new format is much better, and much faster. It looks like I’m not the only one who had trouble setting it up in the first place. But if you use AppleID for Education, VPP, ApplePay or you’re just concerned about better security, you should read this and be prepared to support your users.

Unlocking a Mac with an Apple Watch requires two-factor, not two-step, iCloud protection—what?


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What are all these hidden items on my Mac? Part 1

If you open the root of your Mac’s hard drive, you’ll see four very neatly organized folders: Applications, Library, System, and Users. But there is much, much more hidden from you, that your Mac needs to do what it does. Do you need to know what any of them are? Absolutely not. But you’re a geek, and you’re curious, so lets find out anyway. Continue reading

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Mandatory Reading for Mac Geeks

In classes I often mention a couple articles from John Siracusa of, but it can be difficult to find them. I’m finally compiling them here for my own convenience, and yours. Warning: these articles are deep and technical, but very good reading if you want a deeper understanding and respect of OS X.

Metdata, the Mac, and you

John’s in-depth review of OS X 10.4 Tiger, or jump directly to the page about Extensible metadata & uniform type creators

OS X 10.9 Mavericks: The Ars Technica Review, especially the section about Mavericks’ energy saving features.

Edit: Mr. Siracusa would like me to remind you you can find ALL of his writing here:

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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:

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


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

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Command Line 11 – switching users

In past lessons, we talked about logging into the command line, and using sudo. When you open the terminal or otherwise access the command line, the Terminal app will automatically log you in as the person you are currently logged into your Mac as. In other words, if you’re logged into your Mac as John, when you open the Terminal, you’ll be logged into the command line as John. The prompt will tell you what computer you’re on, and who you’re logged in as:

Here you can see that my computer name is Dora, I’m currently in my home folder (that’s what the ~ is for) and I’m logged in as overstim.

But sometimes you want to log in as a different user. Continue reading

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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.

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?


Ten Things To Do With The Option Key

If you use a Mac, the Command key is your go-to key. Your star. It does it all: Command-spacebar will open the Spotlight search box, Command-Q will quit Warcraft when the boss comes around the corner, and Command-P will print copies of your resumé if you need to find a new job because you didn’t hit Command-Q quick enough.

But today I want to send some love to the humble Option key, the little brother, forever sitting in Command’s shadow. Maybe you are cheap thrifty and use a PC keyboard on your Mac, and you call it the ALT key. If you use a Das Keyboard, then you just call it the ”   ” key. But if you use one of those bad boys, you’re way too bad-ass to be reading my blog, anyway.

Here are ten cool and little-known tricks you can perform with the Option key.


1. Hide an app.

If you hold down the option key while switching to an app, it will hide the current app you are in. This works whether you are using the Application Switcher (command-option-tab instead of just command-tab) or option-clicking an app in the dock. Or simply option-clicking an open window in an already-running application Also, if you hold down option when double-clicking an app in the Applications window, the window will close when the app launches.

2. Change audio inputs.

Clicking the speaker icon in the menu bar will allow you to change the volume of your speakers, but option-clicking will reveal a hidden menu where you can switch inputs and outputs without having to stop what you’re doing and go to the Sound System Preference.

3. View detailed info about your wifi network.

Option-click the wifi icon in the menu bar to view detailed information about your wifi network, like channel, band, and security method.

4. Select multiple items.

This one isn’t universal, but you can often option-click an item in a list to select or deselect every item. Works in places like the Sharing System Preference, the Layers panel in Photoshop and tracks in Final Cut.

5. Copy or move.

If you drag a file or a folder from one place to another on the same disk, it will move the item, but drag a file or folder to another disk and it will make a copy. Hold down the option key when you drag to do the opposite. In fact, option-drag will make a copy of an item in a whole variety of places, from tracks in iTunes to layers in Photoshop to slides in Powerpoint.

6. The Inspector.

Command-I, or the Get Info command will open up a window listing the metadata and permissions for a selected file or folder. But if you want to get info on multiple items, you must open a separate window for each. Until now! Think of the Inspector like an interactive Get Info window: hold down option while choosing Get Info, or hit Command-Option-I, and the inspector will open. It looks just like an ordinary Get Info window, but if you look very closely, the title bar is slightly different. The inspector is interactive: instead of opening a new one every time, just select a different item and the Inspector will automatically refresh. Once you see it, you’ll get it.

7. Instant download.

Option-click a link in most any web browser, and that link will be downloaded to your hard disk. No more clicking through and accepting a dozen confirmations, selecting “are you sure” and choosing a destination folder.

8. Close a dashboard widget or a space.

Hold down the option key in Dashboard, Mission Control or Launchpad, and a small “X” will appear on the top-left of any widget, space (after the first) or application (Only apps which were installed by the App Store). Clicking the X will hide the widget, close the space or uninstall the app.

9. Delete a stubborn file.

If you get a warning that you have locked or in-use items when trying to empty the trash, holding the option key will often override the lock and force the trash to empty anyway.

10. Unmount all.

Have multiple volumes on a disk? Tired of the “Do you want to eject all items” dialog when you try to eject? Hold down option when you eject to automatically eject all mounted volumes for that drive.

Special bonus Lion-only content! (you lucky people!)

11. Show the Library.

As you may or may not have noticed by now, Apple decided to make the user Library folder invisible, so people wouldn’t accidentally wander in and cause havoc. Nice thinking, but I know what I’m doing, and I need to go in there all the time! Instead of fussing with the Go To Folder command, just hold down option when clicking the Finder’s Go menu, and there it is!

12. Quit and close all windows.


Lion has a nifty new feature called Resume, which will automatically re-open any windows you were working on when you re-launch an application or even reboot your whole machine. Which is a great time saver, until that one time you launch an app to get some work done, and you have to wait for 55 windows to re-spawn. or worse, when you are giving a presentation in front of colleagues and some embarrassing files pop up on screen. You can disable this feature permanently in the General System Preference, but if you like the feature, except for certain times, you can quickly close all windows when quitting an app, and they won’t respawn. Just hold option when clicking the application menu, or hit Command-Option-Q


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Apple in the enterprise gets some high profile support

In a bit of a shock, none other than Forrester Research has come out and put their foot down on an important issue of our time. What is it, you may ask? Well, that its finally time for us to to get over their prejudices and support Macs in the enterprise.

If you’re not familiar with Forrester, this is the equivalent of the Republican Party coming out and admitting that global warming is real, banks should be taxed more, and Project Runway is the most fabulous show on TV. Forrester has always been the calm, reliable (stuffy) voice of corporate IT, so you know they carefully considered and reasoned their argument before putting it out there. Maybe this will finally get people to sit up and listen.

“Mac users are drinking furniture polish in back hallways, getting their fix from fellow bootleggers who have blazed the trails around IT’s prohibition,” writes David K. Johnson for Forrester Research in an introduction to their study. “End user computing professionals steeped in two decades of Microsoft management traditions are either prohibiting Macs on the company network or limiting their support to executives only. It’s time to repeal prohibition and take decisive action. This document is the first in a collection in which we’ll introduce you to a new class of Mac users, explain why they matter to the business, and share how other firms successfully managing Macs are doing it. Later, we will explain the management tools available and drill into the specific technology approaches for managing Macs in a PC environment.”

I couldn’t have said it better myself! Unfortunately, the article is $499. Yikes. Save your money, and hire me instead! I consult. 🙂

Okay okay, here’s the article if you really want it: People Are Bringing Macs To Work — It’s Time To Repeal Prohibition

And here is Fortune Magazine’s rather amusing take: Hell Freezes Over: Forrester urges IT to support Mac