TweetFollow Us on Twitter

5 Leopard Features To Make Your Sys Admin Happier

Volume Number: 23 (2007)
Issue Number: 11
Column Tag: Systems administration

5 Leopard Features To Make Your Sys Admin Happier

Here are a few features that will make your life as a systems administrator easier

by Ben Greisler

Life as a Sys Admin

Being a systems administrator is hectic and stressful. Lucky for us sometimes we get a bit of help to make life a tad easier. With the introduction of Leopard, we have been given some tools that will help out just the little bit that makes a difference to our daily work.

Here are 5 features that are included in Leopard that while aren't earth shaking, will just help out. Some of these features have been available using third party software or simply by some home brew scripting, but they are now built-in and this means Apple has been listening.

Terminal 2

The two new features in Terminal 2 that I see as the most useful are tabs and window groups. Tabs fall into the "It's about time" category. As handy as tabs are in a browser, they are just as handy in Terminal.

After spending time setting up terminal windows just exactly the way that we want, it is now nice to be able to save all that work in multiple windows as window groups. A simple click brings those windows back to us.

Check out Ed Marczak's "Mac In The Shell" column this month on Terminal 2 in this issue for more information.

Screen Sharing

Sure you say, "I already have ARD. Why do I need Leopard's screen sharing?" The way that I see it, you are wandering around the office floor working with users and you need to check something else on another machine. Bingo! You just fire off screen sharing and off you go. It is as simple as clicking on the Share Screen button in a Finder window. This is a convenience feature that I am sure sys admin's will find great use for as time goes on. Screen sharing is based on VNC so plan accordingly.


Fig. 1. Screen sharing is now a standard OSX feature

Instruments

Instruments is billed as a code-debugging tool with the power of Dtrace, but I see it as much more. Designed to allow a developer to view various aspects of the system while an application is running, this is just what a sys admin needs when troubleshooting issues.

Instruments is part of the Developer Tools package and lives in the Applications folder within Developer folder. It has an interface that will be familiar to any Mac user and visualizes what happens when during the use of an application.

Please see Greg Miller's DTrace article and Dave Dribin's "Road to Code" column in this issue for more information.


Fig. 2. Instruments allows powerful inspection of applications while they run

Spaces

Another member of "It's about time" features is Spaces. A window manager similar to those available on any standard Linux install, you get to associate applications with virtual desktops. I don't know about you, but I never thought that Expose was a real answer to screen real estate issues, so I am happy to have Spaces as a standard part of the OS.

Life becomes more organized when you can dedicate a screen to a specific purpose. Combine Spaces with a tabbed terminal and you get a very manageable work environment. Combine that with a pair of 30 inch Cinema displays and you have quite the effective administration system.


Fig. 3. Configuring Spaces to give each app its own place to live

Server Admin Notifications

While we don't have as comprehensive notifications as I would like, the one simple notification for disk space is a great boon to those situation where wider ranging monitoring isn't in place. Sys admins/school librarians who are in charge of OSX servers will love this simple feature that will avoid filled drives that are all too common.

This feature is part of Server Admin in the Notifications tab within Settings. It is limited to sending an email when the free space falls under a defined amount and at this point it doesn't allow you to specify which drives to monitor, but it is a step in the right direction. The File Sharing pane in Server Admin makes a quick job of scanning disk space with the bar graphs and I hope they allow finer grained monitoring in the future. There is also a Server Admin widget for those who find Widgets useful.


Fig. 4. Enabling notifications for disk usage in Server Admin


Fig. 5. Monitoring disk space with Widgets

Conclusion

The release of Leopard shows us that Apple has been listening and is trying to give us tools that make managing OSX and OSX Server easier. Leopard is new and I am sure we will discover new features as Apple releases them. This is just a short list of items for the system administrator, but there is much more goodness in Leopard that isn't specific to the sys admin.

Items like external home directories can change the way we handle user data along with Time Machine. New versions of directory services, changes to launchd, collaboration software, clustering for VPN services, wide are Bonjour and improved Spotlight are all things that will positively impact our work and the user experience.

As I wrote this article I found more and more little items that I can see as being helpful down the road. It will take some time to find them all and see just how useful they will be, but I am liking what I see. The jury is still out on the simple setup feature of OSX Server, but I don't think too many sys admin's will be using it.


Ben has been everything from a Mac user to CTO of one of the leading Macintosh professional services firms. Besides writing an occasional article for MacTech, you can find him presenting at Macworld (including a session called "DNS: Demystified, co-presented with Doug Hanley) or consulting with clients around the world. You can reach him at ben@greisler.org.

 

Community Search:
MacTech Search:

Software Updates via MacUpdate

Tor Browser Bundle 7.0.7 - Anonymize Web...
The Tor Browser Bundle is an easy-to-use portable package of Tor, Vidalia, Torbutton, and a Firefox fork preconfigured to work together out of the box. It contains a modified copy of Firefox that... Read more
Data Rescue 5.0.1 - Powerful hard drive...
Data Rescue’s new and improved features let you scan, search, and recover your files faster than ever before. We have modernized the file-preview capabilities, added new files types to the recovery... Read more
Alfred 3.5.1 - Quick launcher for apps a...
Alfred is an award-winning productivity application for OS X. Alfred saves you time when you search for files online or on your Mac. Be more productive with hotkeys, keywords, and file actions at... Read more
Tunnelblick 3.7.3 - GUI for OpenVPN.
Tunnelblick is a free, open source graphic user interface for OpenVPN on OS X. It provides easy control of OpenVPN client and/or server connections. It comes as a ready-to-use application with all... Read more
DEVONthink Pro 2.9.16 - Knowledge base,...
Save 10% with our exclusive coupon code: MACUPDATE10 DEVONthink Pro is your essential assistant for today's world, where almost everything is digital. From shopping receipts to important research... Read more
AirRadar 4.0 - $9.95
With AirRadar, scanning for wireless networks is now easier and more personalized! It allows you to scan for open networks and tag them as favourites or filter them out. View detailed network... Read more
ForkLift 3.0.8 Beta - Powerful file mana...
ForkLift is a powerful file manager and ferociously fast FTP client clothed in a clean and versatile UI that offers the combination of absolute simplicity and raw power expected from a well-executed... Read more
Opera 48.0.2685.50 - High-performance We...
Opera is a fast and secure browser trusted by millions of users. With the intuitive interface, Speed Dial and visual bookmarks for organizing favorite sites, news feature with fresh, relevant content... Read more
FotoMagico 5.5 - Powerful slideshow crea...
FotoMagico lets you create professional slideshows from your photos and music with just a few, simple mouse clicks. It sports a very clean and intuitive yet powerful user interface. High image... Read more
Adobe Audition CC 2018 11.0.0 - Professi...
Audition CC 2018 is available as part of Adobe Creative Cloud for as little as $19.99/month (or $9.99/month if you're a previous Audition customer). Adobe Audition CC 2018 empowers you to create and... Read more

Wheels of Aurelia (Games)
Wheels of Aurelia 1.0.1 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $3.99, Version: 1.0.1 (iTunes) Description: | Read more »
Halcyon 6: Starbase Commander guide - ti...
Halcyon 6 is a well-loved indie RPG with stellar tactical combat and some pretty good writing, too. It's now landed on the App Store, so mobile fans, if you're itching for a good intergalactic adventure, here's your game. Being a strategy RPG, the... | Read more »
Game of Thrones: Conquest guide - how to...
Fans of base building games might be excited to know that yet another entry in the genre has materialized - Game of Thrones: Conquest. Yes, you can now join the many kingdoms of the famed book series, or create your own, as you try to conquer... | Read more »
Halcyon 6: Starbase Commander (Games)
Halcyon 6: Starbase Commander 1.4.2.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $6.99, Version: 1.4.2.0 (iTunes) Description: An epic space strategy RPG with base building, deep tactical combat, crew management, alien diplomacy,... | Read more »
Legacy of Discord celebrates its 1 year...
It’s been a thrilling first year for fans of Legacy of Discord, the stunning PvP dungeon-crawling ARPG from YOOZOO Games, and now it’s time to celebrate the game’s first anniversary. The developers are amping up the festivities with some exciting... | Read more »
3 reasons to play Thunder Armada - the n...
The bygone days of the Battleship board game might have past, but naval combat simulators still find an audience on mobile. Thunder Armada is Chinese developer Chyogames latest entry into the genre, drawing inspiration from the explosive exchanges... | Read more »
Experience a full 3D fantasy MMORPG, as...
Those hoping to sink their teeth into a meaty hack and slash RPG that encourages you to fight with others might want to check out EZFun’s new Eternity Guardians. Available to download for iOS and Android, Eternity Guardians is an MMORPG that lets... | Read more »
Warhammer Quest 2 (Games)
Warhammer Quest 2 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $4.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: Dungeon adventures in the Warhammer World are back! | Read more »
4 of the best Halloween updates for mobi...
Halloween is certainly one of our favorite times for mobile game updates. Many popular titles celebrate this spooky season with fun festivities that can stretch from one week to even the whole month. As we draw closer and closer to Halloween, we'... | Read more »
Fire Rides guide - how to swing to succe...
It's another day, which means another Voodoo game has come to glue our hands to our mobile phones. Yes, it's been an especially prolific month for this particular mobile publisher, but we're certainly not complaining. Fire Rides is yet another... | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

Apple restocks full line of refurbished 13″ M...
Apple has restocked a full line of Apple Certified Refurbished 2017 13″ MacBook Pros for $200-$300 off MSRP. A standard Apple one-year warranty is included with each MacBook, and shipping is free.... Read more
13″ 3.1GHz/256GB MacBook Pro on sale for $167...
Amazon has the 2017 13″ 3.1GHz/256GB Space Gray MacBook Pro on sale today for $121 off MSRP including free shipping: – 13″ 3.1GHz/256GB Space Gray MacBook Pro (MPXV2LL/A): $1678 $121 off MSRP Keep an... Read more
13″ MacBook Pros on sale for up to $120 off M...
B&H Photo has 2017 13″ MacBook Pros in stock today and on sale for up to $120 off MSRP, each including free shipping plus NY & NJ sales tax only: – 13-inch 2.3GHz/128GB Space Gray MacBook... Read more
15″ MacBook Pros on sale for up to $200 off M...
B&H Photo has 15″ MacBook Pros on sale for up to $200 off MSRP. Shipping is free, and B&H charges sales tax in NY & NJ only: – 15″ 2.8GHz MacBook Pro Space Gray (MPTR2LL/A): $2249, $150... Read more
Roundup of Apple Certified Refurbished iMacs,...
Apple has a full line of Certified Refurbished 2017 21″ and 27″ iMacs available starting at $1019 and ranging up to $350 off original MSRP. Apple’s one-year warranty is standard, and shipping is free... Read more
Sale! 27″ 3.8GHz 5K iMac for $2098, save $201...
Amazon has the 27″ 3.8GHz 5K iMac (MNED2LL/A) on sale today for $2098 including free shipping. Their price is $201 off MSRP, and it’s the lowest price available for this model (Apple’s $1949... Read more
Sale! 10″ Apple WiFi iPad Pros for up to $100...
B&H Photo has 10.5″ WiFi iPad Pros in stock today and on sale for $50-$100 off MSRP. Each iPad includes free shipping, and B&H charges sales tax in NY & NJ only: – 10.5″ 64GB iPad Pro: $... Read more
Apple iMacs on sale for up to $130 off MSRP w...
B&H Photo has 21-inch and 27-inch iMacs in stock and on sale for up to $130 off MSRP including free shipping. B&H charges sales tax in NY & NJ only: – 27″ 3.8GHz iMac (MNED2LL/A): $2179 $... Read more
2017 3.5GHz 6-Core Mac Pro on sale for $2799,...
B&H Photo has the 2017 3.5GHz 6-Core Mac Pro (MD878LL/A) on sale today for $2799 including free shipping plus NY & NJ sales tax only . Their price is $200 off MSRP. Read more
12″ 1.2GHz Space Gray MacBook on sale for $11...
Amazon has the 2017 12″ 1.2GHz Space Gray Retina MacBook on sale for $100 off MSRP. Shipping is free: 12″ 1.2GHz Space Gray MacBook: $1199.99 $100 off MSRP Read more

Jobs Board

Product Manager - *Apple* Pay on the *Appl...
Job Summary Apple is looking for a talented product manager to drive the expansion of Apple Pay on the Apple Online Store. This position includes a unique Read more
*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions - Farmin...
Sales Specialist - Retail Customer Service and Sales Transform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the store, you're also the Read more
Frameworks Engineer, *Apple* Watch - Apple...
Job Summary Join the team that is shaping the future of software development for Apple Watch! As a software engineer on the Apple Watch Frameworks team you will Read more
*Apple* News Product Marketing Mgr., Publish...
Job Summary The Apple News Product Marketing Manager will work closely with a cross-functional group to assist in defining and marketing new features and services. Read more
Fraud Analyst, *Apple* Advertising Platform...
Job Summary Apple Ad Platforms has an opportunity to redefine advertising on mobile devices. Apple reaches hundreds of millions of iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.