TweetFollow Us on Twitter

A Mac Mgrs Sampler

Volume Number: 15 (1999)
Issue Number: 8
Column Tag: Systems

A Mac-Mgrs Sampler

by Chuck Goolsbee

Selected posts from the Macintosh Managers mailing list

What is Mac-Mgrs and How Does it Work?

The Macintosh Managers (mac-mgrs) mailing list is a virtual community made up of professional network managers working in Macintosh environments serving as a troubleshooting tool when all other forms of support fail. It is meant to assist the Macintosh Manager and be a quick source of information for system management problems that are of a time-critical nature. It is not a "Mac-only" group since cross-platform issues are nearly impossible to escape, but questions without at least some connection to the Macintosh world are considered off-topic. The list is very focussed on being a troubleshooting tool. We do not allow on-list discussion, or tolerate topic-drift of any sort. We're really there as your last-ditch resource, when all others have failed. We provide a website http://www.mac-mgrs.org which has links to both our list archives and virtually every troubleshooting resource for Macintosh Managers on the web. Users are expected to use these tools to search for answers to their problems and only post a question to the list if their answer can't be found. List members reply to the questioner directly and when a solution is discovered the a "Summary" is sent to the entire list describing the steps taken to correct the problem. Despite the focussed nature of the list itself the community of subscribers has grown and thrived into a global group of "net friends" of the best sort. Most of the interaction happens "off-line" but people do get to know each other and expertise is shared every day. The list has been credited with saving jobs and maintaining network manager sanity when all seems lost. We even have started to arrange face to face meetings at trade shows such as Macworld Expo, using buttons to find each other in the sea of faces. The buttons have a slogan which sums up the nature of the list: "You save my ass, I'll save yours." I invite you to join and participate with mac-mgrs. If what you read here is useful or informative in your day to day job then you'll find the list invaluable.

A Sampler

Our first plan was to run a "best of mac-mgrs" but after I considered it for a while I could not really come up with a definition of what would be "best" in the context of the list. What I might think "best" would probably be an outrageously esoteric question to most of the world, so I decided to take a "sampler" approach. I'll pick a couple of posts from the list based more on their broad usefulness or application. I'll contact the original questioner and get some more info about them, their network and any other info about the question or problem and present them here.

Mission-Critical Mac Support

A subscriber is looking for options of having a higher level of hardware support for his Macintosh computers, similar to what he has with his UNIX workstations. His name is Richard Noonan and he is a Network Engineer for Net Daemons Associates (NDA) currently supporting the Berkeley Drosophila Genome Group (BDGP) at Lawrence Berkeley Labs. NDA is a national consulting and out source group. BDGP is a cutting edge genetics sequencing lab using Macintosh systems as the sequencer device hosts as well as on the desktop. Drosophila, is 'drosophila melanogaster' AKA 'fruitfly'. If you're really interested, read all about the project at: http://www.sfweekly.com/1999/current/feature1-1.html

The original post to the list

I need advice on how to better support my Macs which are in a mission critical environment. I've been supporting Macs for several years and in production environments, but here at the lab we're using Macs in very mission critical scenarios. The failure of one system can bring our process to a crawl if not a stand still. Our environment is Sun Sparc/Solaris and Apple Mac's. We pay Sun a fair amount of money each year to ensure a minimum of downtime on their systems. If the hardware fails, they send me the part. If it still doesn't work, they send me an engineer to help. It's all handle with perfect efficiency and worth every penny. When I have a special request, there's always someone willing to hear me out and, more often than not, honor that request.

Recently, it took over 2 months to get a DOA Mac G3 repaired. Apple won't send parts to me, but they sent me a mentally disabled technician who repeatedly broke the system as he attempted to repair it (it still has a snapped kickstand). I have multiple dead Apple monitors just out of warranty. My local sources have said flatly that we will have to pay for the repairs ($600+, nearly 1/2 the cost of a 1 year old unit!). On the advice of listers here, I contacted Apple directly on the matter. The initial response sounded positive, but I just don't have 2 hours of every day to sit on hold and people who have said they would call me back are not calling me back.

I know there's some other lab support people on here and I know there's even more of you using Macs in heavy media production situations. How do you get the support you need??? I love Macs, still use one at home, but if I had my way, I'd throw away every single Apple product here simply because I can't get the type of support required for a mission critical operation. Please lend me your advice on this. Did I miss some special support program we could join? Is there a reasonable way to get Apple support authorized and have access to proper parts and support? How are the rest of you dealing with this?

Sorry if this took on the tone of a rant. Wasn't my intent. I really am in need of some advice on this.

The Summary

Suggestions broke down into 3 general approaches:

  1. Stockpile hardware to swap in when something fails - this has worked for Richard in the past, but just isn't the proper solution with a site the size of Lawrence Berkeley Labs.
  2. Get cozy with a local authorized service provider - this too has worked for Richard in the past and is a good fallback in the event that 3) doesn't work out. His problem with this is just the usual time and effort that has to be gone through when seeking a new vendor and trying to establish a "special" relationship. Harder too because LBL has already done the bulk of their purchasing for this fiscal year. Bringing another contractor in on site has it's problems too, but it just doesn't provide the right "feel" for the type of service Richard is trying to provide LBL.
  3. Become a "self-servicing" site - now this is what Richard was hoping for. This would allow the same privileges as a dealer/repair shop, but without the expectation that they're selling Macintosh computers.

Information on the "Self Servicing Account Program" :
Requirements:

  • installed base of 300 Apple CPU's

OR

  • geographically remote from an auth. service provider

OR

  • other special circumstances approved by Area Support Service Manager

AND

  • train and certify each technician

AND

  • keep a current subscription to req'd CD's, diagnostics, and training updates

The rest the features and benefits of the program amounts to being warranty service authorized, access to the online Apple Order program (immediate order fulfillment info and overnight shipping by Airborne), access to training materials, and access to tech support (Richard assumed this would be escalated support and not the "SOSAPPL bozos"). Basically, it gives you access to the same resources an Apple auth. shop has.

It appears that the program itself does not cost money. You simply have to be approved for it. One of the requirements of being in the program, however, is maintaining a "subscription to req'd CD's, diagnostics, and training updates." The stated cost of the subscription is $1495 for startup and $1000 for annual renewal. There's also a note requiring the site to "train and certify each technician."

For more info on the program, contact your Apple rep.

Richard added:
"In all fairness to Apple, I should mention that some of the problems I've been encountering have as much to do with the institutional bureaucracy I'm buried under here as they do with Apple directly. To those who wonder why I don't go to the Lab's internal Apple shop: it was dissolved just after I started working here and the only internal mechanism for resolving Apple repair issues is a guy who sends everything out to CompUSA or some other such retail place. As you might imagine, they are not very helpful and really don't care about my problems."

Printing to Apple LaserWriters from Windows

A list subscriber needs a way to print to several existing Apple LaserWriters from several hundred new Windows machines being added to his network. He is Steve Klein, 'Technology Support Specialist' for Detroit Country Day School <http://www.dcds.edu/>, a private school in Beverly Hills, Michigan. They have about 1500 students from pre-K to 12th grade, spread out across four campuses. Each campus has at least one computer lab, many classrooms have computers, and most of the 6th - 12th grade teachers have their own laptops.

The original post to the list

We have hundreds of Macs, and a few dozen LaserWriters. We've recently added about 150 Windows machines and plan to add about 900 more next year.

I'm looking for a good solution for Windows printing to our Apple LaserWriters. COPSTalk seems to work well, but the price is too high. Our servers are running ASIP 6, we don't need COPSTalk's file sharing features. In other words, COPSTalk is overkill.

Apple has something called the Apple Port Monitor for TCP/IP. It comes on the LaserWriter 8500 installer disk. It seems to work okay, but it only supports the 8500. Other LaserWriters, even if they have an IP address, aren't supported and don't work.

Is there any other cheap (or free?) utility that will get our Win 95 boxes talking to the LaserWriters? TCP/IP and/or AppleTalk support would be nice. Most of our LaserWriters support TCP/IP, so lack of AppleTalk support wouldn't be a big problem (but it would be nice...)

Again, I don't care about file sharing, just printing via ethernet. Any ideas?

The Summary - But wait, there's more...

Frequently more information will come in after a summary is posted to the list. In this case some details about the solutions provided above as well as an interesting variation, and a new solution previously thought impossible. In this case Steve Klein posted two summaries when several list members pointed out possibilities...

Steve was looking for a TCP/IP or an AppleTalk solution for printing from Windows to Apple LaserWriters. For TCP/IP, the solution is "ACITS LPR Remote Printing for Windows 95/98 and NT 4.0" available from http://shadowland.hf.utexas.edu/acitslpr.htm

The ACITS software allows printing to those LaserWriters that support the TCP/IP protocol. At first glance that includes the school's LaserWriter 8500's and 16/600 PSs, but not their LaserWriter Pro 630, and a other older LaserWriters. But MM listmember Kevin Worth wrote:

"I have ACITS printing to LW 630s, via a queue on my AppleShareIP 6.x server." Steve comments "I set up a queue and tested it. It works well. The Print Server in ASIP connect to AppleTalk and IP printers, and serve queue as AppleTalk, IP, or both. I made an "IP" only queue, and used the ACITS software on my Win95 box to print to that queue."

Charles Soto came up with a solution for AppleTalk-only printers.

"For AppleTalk printing, you can install Services For Macintosh on an NT Server, set up a print queue to this printer (don't capture it), then share that queue with the 95 boxes. " Steve came up with an even simpler solution that does not require the full SFM install: "First, from the Network control panel I added the AppleTalk protocol. Then I used the "Add Port" function to add an "AppleTalk Printer" port. That brought up a dialog to select the printer to which this port would connect. Next, I used the "Add Printer" command to create a new printer icon using my new port. Finally, I shared that printer (without capturing it). Now all the Win95/98 boxes see the printer as a shared printer on the NT box, while the Macs talk to the printer directly, just as they always did."

Nobody suggested anything cheap/free that supports direct printing over AppleTalk. COPSTalk is a good commercial solution that adds the AppleTalk protocol to Windows, and supports both printing and File Server access. But at $160 each, it's way overpriced for Steve's limited budget. Steve said "Even at half that price, it would be too much." But then Thomas A Manderfield reminded Steve that AppleShare 5 came with a license for COPSTalk. The school does have a copy of AS5, and Steve needs to check out the license agreement, but that may be the way to go. http://www.copstalk.com/

So it's ACITS for the printers that support TCP/IP, and the "Soto Solution" (NT queues) for the rest.

Until Next Time...

I hope these samples have been informative for you, and have provided a taste of what the mac-mgrs list provides on a hourly basis. If so consider subscribing. I have always felt that the best support comes from our peers. Very few of us went to school to be Network Managers and most of what we know comes from our own personal on-the-job-training. In and of itself that is not a well-rounded education in network management. By combining the experiences of thousands of individuals around the globe the mac-mgrs list provides a method of extending our knowledge and experiences to a whole community on a daily, ongoing basis.


Chuck Goolsbee (goolsbee@forest.net) has been the "List Mom" for the mac-mgrs mailing list since late 1996. He has a real job, too, and has been managing Macintosh (and UNIX & NT) networks for about ten years, including stops in London and Munich, but the majority has been in and around Seattle, Washington. He has honed and developed many relevant list-management skills as an Ice Hockey Referee in the US, Canada, and Europe.

 
AAPL
$105.22
Apple Inc.
+0.39
MSFT
$46.13
Microsoft Corpora
+1.11
GOOG
$539.78
Google Inc.
-4.20

MacTech Search:
Community Search:

Software Updates via MacUpdate

f.lux 34.0 - Adjusts the color of your d...
f.lux makes the color of your computer's display adapt to the time of day, warm at night and like sunlight during the day. Ever notice how people texting at night have that eerie blue glow? Or wake... Read more
Ember 1.8.2 - Versatile digital scrapboo...
Ember (formerly LittleSnapper) is your digital scrapbook of things that inspire you: websites, photos, apps or other things. Just drag in images that you want to keep, organize them into relevant... Read more
Tonality Pro 1.1.2 - Professional-grade...
Tonality Pro gives you the power to create stunning and dramatic black & white images. This is a complete monochrome image editor with more than 150 one-click style presets, totally unique... Read more
VueScan 9.4.49 - Scanner software with a...
VueScan is a scanning program that works with most high-quality flatbed and film scanners to produce scans that have excellent color fidelity and color balance. VueScan is easy to use, and has... Read more
OS X Server 4.0 - For OS X 10.10 Yosemit...
Designed for OS X and iOS devices, OS X Server makes it easy to share files, schedule meetings, synchronize contacts, develop software, host your own website, publish wikis, configure Mac, iPhone,... Read more
TotalFinder 1.6.12 - Adds tabs, hotkeys,...
TotalFinder is a universally acclaimed navigational companion for your Mac. Enhance your Mac's Finder with features so smart and convenient, you won't believe you ever lived without them. Tab-based... Read more
BusyCal 2.6.3 - Powerful calendar app wi...
BusyCal is an award-winning desktop calendar that combines personal productivity features for individuals with powerful calendar sharing capabilities for families and workgroups. BusyCal's unique... Read more
calibre 2.7 - Complete e-library managem...
Calibre is a complete e-book library manager. Organize your collection, convert your books to multiple formats, and sync with all of your devices. Let Calibre be your multi-tasking digital... Read more
Skitch 2.7.3 - Take screenshots, annotat...
With Skitch, taking, annotating, and sharing screenshots or images is as fun as it is simple.Communicate and collaborate with images using Skitch and its intuitive, engaging drawing and annotating... Read more
Delicious Library 3.3.2 - Import, browse...
Delicious Library allows you to import, browse, and share all your books, movies, music, and video games with Delicious Library. Run your very own library from your home or office using our... Read more

Latest Forum Discussions

See All

Rami Ismail Opens Up distribute​() for D...
Rami Ismail Opens Up distribute​() for Developers Posted by Jessica Fisher on October 24th, 2014 [ permalink ] Rami Ismail, Chief Executive of Business and Development at indie game studio | Read more »
Great Hitman GO Goes on Sale and Gets Ne...
Great Hitman GO Goes on Sale and Gets New Update – Say That Three Times Fast Posted by Jessica Fisher on October 24th, 2014 [ permalink ] | Read more »
Rival Stars Basketball Review
Rival Stars Basketball Review By Jennifer Allen on October 24th, 2014 Our Rating: :: RESTRICTIVE BUT FUNUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad Rival Stars Basketball is a fun mixture of basketball and card collecting but its... | Read more »
Rubicon Development Makes Over a Dozen o...
Rubicon Development Makes Over a Dozen of Their Games Free For This Weekend Only Posted by Jessica Fisher on October 24th, 2014 [ permalink ] | Read more »
I Am Dolphin Review
I Am Dolphin Review By Jennifer Allen on October 24th, 2014 Our Rating: :: NEARLY FIN-TASTICUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad Swim around and eat nearly everything that moves in I Am Dolphin, a fun Ecco-ish kind of game... | Read more »
nPlayer looks to be the ultimate choice...
Developed by Newin Inc, nPlayer may seem like your standard video player – but is aiming to be the best in its field by providing high quality video play performance and support for a huge number of video formats and codecs. User reviews include... | Read more »
Fighting Fantasy: Caverns of the Snow Wi...
Fighting Fantasy: Caverns of the Snow Witch Review By Jennifer Allen on October 24th, 2014 Our Rating: :: CLASSY STORYTELLINGUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad Fighting Fantasy: Caverns of the Snow Witch is a sterling... | Read more »
A Few Days Left (Games)
A Few Days Left 1.01 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $3.99, Version: 1.01 (iTunes) Description: Screenshots are in compliance to App Store's 4+ age rating! Please see App Preview for real game play! **Important: Make... | Read more »
Toca Boo (Education)
Toca Boo 1.0.2 Device: iOS Universal Category: Education Price: $2.99, Version: 1.0.2 (iTunes) Description: BOO! Did I scare you!? My name is Bonnie and my family loves to spook! Do you want to scare them back? Follow me and I'll... | Read more »
Intuon (Games)
Intuon 1.1 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $.99, Version: 1.1 (iTunes) Description: Join the battle with your intuition in a new hardcore game Intuon! How well do you trust your intuition? Can you find a needle in a... | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

Weekend sale: 13-inch 128GB MacBook Air for $...
Best Buy has the 2014 13-inch 1.4GHz 128GB MacBook Air on sale for $849.99, or $150 off MSRP, on their online store. Choose free home shipping or free local store pickup (if available). Price valid... Read more
Nimbus Note Cross=Platform Notes Utility
Nimbus Note will make sure you never forget or lose your valuable data again. Create and edit notes, save web pages, screenshots and any other type of data – and share it all with your friends and... Read more
NewerTech’s Snuglet Makes MagSafe 2 Power Con...
NewerTech has introduced the Snuglet, a precision-manufactured ring designed to sit inside your MagSafe 2 connector port, providing a more snug fit to prevent your power cable from unintentional... Read more
Apple Planning To Sacrifice Gross Margins To...
Digitimes Research’s Jim Hsiao says its analysts believe Apple is planning to sacrifice its gross margins to save its tablet business, which has recently fallen into decline. They project that Apple’... Read more
Who’s On Now? – First Instant-Connect Search...
It’s nighttime and your car has broken down on the side of the highway. You need a tow truck right away, so you open an app on your iPhone, search for the closest tow truck and send an instant... Read more
13-inch 2.5GHz MacBook Pro on sale for $949,...
Best Buy has the 13″ 2.5GHz MacBook Pro available for $949.99 on their online store. Choose free shipping or free instant local store pickup (if available). Their price is $150 off MSRP. Price is... Read more
Save up to $125 on Retina MacBook Pros
B&H Photo has the new 2014 13″ and 15″ Retina MacBook Pros on sale for up to $125 off MSRP. Shipping is free, and B&H charges NY sales tax only. They’ll also include free copies of Parallels... Read more
Apple refurbished Time Capsules available sta...
The Apple Store has certified refurbished Time Capsules available for up to $60 off MSRP. Apple’s one-year warranty is included with each Time Capsule, and shipping is free: - 2TB Time Capsule: $255... Read more
Textilus New Word, Notes and PDF Processor fo...
Textilus is new word-crunching, notes, and PDF processor designed exclusively for the iPad. I haven’t had time to thoroughly check it out yet, but it looks great and early reviews are positive.... Read more
WD My Passport Pro Bus-Powered Thunderbolt RA...
WD’s My Passport Pro RAID solution is powered by an integrated Thunderbolt cable for true portability and speeds as high as 233 MB/s. HighlightsOverviewSpecifications Transfer, Back Up And Edit In... Read more

Jobs Board

*Apple* Solutions Consultant - Apple Inc. (U...
…important role that the ASC serves is that of providing an excellent Apple Customer Experience. Responsibilities include: * Promoting Apple products and solutions Read more
*Apple* Solutions Consultant - Apple Inc. (U...
…important role that the ASC serves is that of providing an excellent Apple Customer Experience. Responsibilities include: * Promoting Apple products and solutions Read more
Senior Event Manager, *Apple* Retail Market...
…This senior level position is responsible for leading and imagining the Apple Retail Team's global event strategy. Delivering an overarching brand story; in-store, Read more
*Apple* Solutions Consultant (ASC) - Apple (...
**Job Summary** The ASC is an Apple employee who serves as an Apple brand ambassador and influencer in a Reseller's store. The ASC's role is to grow Apple Read more
Project Manager / Business Analyst, WW *Appl...
…a senior project manager / business analyst to work within our Worldwide Apple Fulfillment Operations and the Business Process Re-engineering team. This role will work Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.