Reporting on Bluetooth Mouse/Keyboard battery status

Posted April 23, 2014 by GregN
Categories: General, OS X, Scripting

On the MacEnterprise list (http://lists.psu.edu/archives/macenterprise.html), Michael Edwards posed an interesting question:

Anyone know of a handy way to monitor the status of bluetooth keyboard/trackpad battery levels on remote machines? We have several Mac Mini’s that use them, that are machines with no primary individual user – so it would be handy to get notified (email or similar) when the batteries need to be changed.

So I thought it might be fun to figure out how to answer this.
Read the rest of this post »

OS X Beta Seed Program

Posted April 22, 2014 by GregN
Categories: Deployment, General, Mavericks, OS X

Mavericks

I’ve always advocated that Mac admins join the Mac Developer Program in order to get early access to OS X builds for testing and deployment planning.

I still think that’s a good idea. But if for whatever reason you can’t, Apple has a new program of interest:

OS X Beta Seed Program

I think it’s unlikely this will get you access to early builds of 10.10 (or whatever it’s numbered), but you can test 10.9.3…

MacTech Conference 2013

Posted November 5, 2013 by GregN
Categories: General, Mavericks, OS X, Python, Scripting

MacTech_Conference_2013-Gradient-logo-200x073My colleague, Matt Schnittker, and I will be leading a workshop on “Python for Systems Administrators” on Wednesday at MacTech Conference 2013.

If you are planning on participating in the workshop, please visit here first to get your class materials: http://gregneagle.github.io/mtc2013_python/

Hope to see you there!

Mavericks and Multiple Displays

Posted November 3, 2013 by GregN
Categories: Mavericks, MCX, OS X

In OS X 10.9 Mavericks, Apple changed multiple display behavior in the most dramatic way since 1987. By default, each display now has its own menu bar. Windows can be dragged from one display to another, but they cannot span displays. And putting an application into full screen mode affects only one display. You can use other displays, either with multiple applications, or with other full-screen applications. Apple describes this behavior as “Displays have separate Spaces”, and indeed the effect is almost like having multiple Macs connected to a single keyboard and mouse. I find that I like the new behavior, as I tend to put different applications on different displays.

This is a very different way of working with multiple displays, and might cause some confusion and annoyance for your users and support staff if they aren’t aware of the change, or if it affects their workflows. If you or your users prefer the “old” pre-Mavericks behavior, it’s simple to revert. Open the Mission Control preference pane in System Preferences, and uncheck “Displays have separate Spaces”. A logout is required to effect the change.

If you think you need to manage this for your users, to revert to pre-Mavericks behavior, set “spans-displays” in the “com.apple.spaces” preferences domain to TRUE.


% defaults write com.apple.spaces spans-displays -bool TRUE

You could probably use MCX or a configuration profile to manage this as well.

VPN menu in Mavericks

Posted November 3, 2013 by GregN
Categories: Mavericks, MCX, OS X

If you use Apple’s built-in VPN and rely on the VPN menu bar item, you might have noticed that that in Mavericks the menu item no longer shows the connection time by default.

That can lead people to believe the VPN connection has not been established, or for users to forget they are connected. It’s quite easy to turn the feature back on: just select “Show Time Connected” from the VPN menu item.

If you want to manage this for your users, the preference is stored in the “com.apple.networkConnect” domain as a boolean value under “VPNShowTime”:

% defaults read com.apple.networkConnect
{
VPNShowTime = 1;
}

You could almost certainly set this with MCX or a configuration profile.

AutoDMG

Posted October 22, 2013 by GregN
Categories: Deployment, Imaging, OS X, Python

If you’ve been using InstaDMG to create compiled modular deployment images, you may find it takes some work to get it to work with Mavericks.

Might I suggest a look at AutoDMG?

Works great to build Mountain Lion and Mavericks modular images; comes with a GUI(!) but usable from the command-line as well if you want to automate it!

Congratulations to MagerValp (Per Olofsson) on an excellent tool. It’s still in early development, but is shaping up very quickly.

Mavericks day

Posted October 22, 2013 by GregN
Categories: Deployment, Imaging, OS X, Packaging, Python

Mavericks
Apple released OS X Mavericks today. What does that mean for some of your favorite open source tools?

The Munki preview release here is Mavericks-ready.

createOSXInstallPkg here supports packaging a Mavericks install.

And Reposado can replicate Apple Software Updates for Tiger through Mavericks.


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