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.

 
AAPL
$100.57
Apple Inc.
+0.00
MSFT
$44.95
Microsoft Corpora
+0.00
GOOG
$584.49
Google Inc.
+0.00

MacTech Search:
Community Search:

Software Updates via MacUpdate

Picasa 3.9.138 - Organize, edit, and sha...
Picasa and Picasa Web Albums allows you to organize, edit, and upload your photos to the Web from your computer in quick, simple steps. Arrange your photos into folders and albums and erase their... Read more
Tidy Up 3.0.15.0 - Find duplicate files...
Tidy Up is a complete duplicate finder and disk-tidiness utility. With Tidy Up you can search for duplicate files and packages by the owner application, content, type, creator, extension, time... Read more
Parallels Desktop 10.0 - Run Windows app...
Parallels Desktop is simply the world's bestselling, top-rated, and most trusted solution for running Windows applications on your Mac. With Parallels Desktop for Mac, you can seamlessly run both... Read more
Apple Final Cut Pro X 10.1.3 - Professio...
Apple Final Cut Pro X is a professional video editing solution.Completely redesigned from the ground up, Final Cut Pro adds extraordinary speed, quality, and flexibility to every part of the post-... Read more
Apple Compressor 4.1.3 - Adds power and...
Compressor adds power and flexibility to Final Cut Pro X export. Customize output settings, work faster with distributed encoding, and tap into a comprehensive set of delivery features. Powerful... Read more
Chromium 36.0.1985.143 - Fast and stable...
Chromium is an open-source browser project that aims to build a safer, faster, and more stable way for all Internet users to experience the web. FreeSMUG-Free OpenSource Mac User Group build is... Read more
Macgo Blu-ray Player 2.10.6.1691 - Blu-r...
Macgo Mac Blu-ray Player can bring you the most unforgettable Blu-ray experience on your Mac. Overview Macgo Mac Blu-ray Player can satisfy just about every need you could possibly have in a Blu-ray... Read more
Apple Motion 5.1.2 - Create and customiz...
Apple Motion is designed for video editors, Motion 5 lets you customize Final Cut Pro titles, transitions, and effects. Or create your own dazzling animations in 2D or 3D space, with real-time... Read more
A Better Finder Rename 9.39 - File, phot...
A Better Finder Rename is the most complete renaming solution available on the market today. That's why, since 1996, tens of thousands of hobbyists, professionals and businesses depend on A Better... Read more
PopChar X 6.6 - Floating window shows av...
PopChar X helps you get the most out of your font collection. With its crystal-clear interface, PopChar X provides a frustration-free way to access any font's special characters. Expanded... Read more

Latest Forum Discussions

See All

Forks Over Knives Review
Forks Over Knives Review By Jennifer Allen on August 21st, 2014 Our Rating: :: TASTY AND HEALTHYUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad Want some tasty new recipe ideas but want to keep it healthy? Forks Over Knives is the... | Read more »
Invaders! From Outer Space (Games)
Invaders! From Outer Space 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $1.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: | Read more »
Dementia: Book of the Dead (Games)
Dementia: Book of the Dead 1.00 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $2.99, Version: 1.00 (iTunes) Description: EXCLUSIVE CONTENT ONLY ON THE APP STORE. Medieval England. Times of knights, witches and hunters. What other... | Read more »
Wan Nyan Slash (Games)
Wan Nyan Slash 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: Wan Nyan Slash is an infinite adorable demon slaying slashing action game! Play as the wandering samurai Wan and Nyan as they... | Read more »
Fallin Love - The Game of Love (Games)
Fallin Love - The Game of Love 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: GRAVITATE AROUND LOVE | Read more »
Ancient Battle: Hannibal (Games)
Ancient Battle: Hannibal 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: | Read more »
Cubic Castles Review
Cubic Castles Review By Rob Thomas on August 20th, 2014 Our Rating: :: CASTLE CRAFTINGiPad Only App - Designed for the iPad Some ridiculously frustrating camera issues aside, Cubic Castles is a pretty neat, voxel-based crafting... | Read more »
Space Colors – Tips, Tricks, Strategies,...
Hello Cadets: Want to know what we thought about this hectic space combat/roguelike? Check out our Space Colors review! Space Colors is a cool shooter/roguelike from Team Chaos. You travel from planet to planet across a huge galaxy and complete a... | Read more »
Tap Sports Baseball – Tips, Tricks, and...
Tap Sports Baseball is a pretty simple game to learn, but that doesn’t mean it’s an easy game to master, by any means. To start your batting career off well, we thought we’d give you the heads up on some handy tips and tricks. Hey Batter-Batter:... | Read more »
Tap Sports Baseball Review
Tap Sports Baseball Review By Jennifer Allen on August 20th, 2014 Our Rating: :: LET'S PLAY BALLUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad Tap Sports Baseball is briefly fun but lacks some important features.   | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

21-inch iMacs on sale for up to $150 off MSRP
B&H Photo has 21″ iMacs on sale for up to $150 off MSRP including free shipping plus NY sales tax only. B&H will also include a free copy of Parallels Desktop software: - 21″ 2.7GHz iMac: $... Read more
27-inch 3.2GHz iMac on sale for $1698, save $...
Abt has the 27″ 3.2GHz iMac on sale for $1698 including free shipping. Their price is $101 off MSRP. Read more
Mac Backup Guru 2.0 Drive Backup/Cloneing Uti...
Mac Backup Guru developer MacDaddy has released Mac Backup Guru 2.0, offering new and enhanced advanced features, such as bootable backups, synchronised volumes and folders, and a Snapshot mode that... Read more
Operate GE’s New Free-Standing KItchen Range...
Think you accidentally left the oven on? Switch it off while on the go. The new free-standing Profile™ Series gas and electric ranges are GE’s second cooking appliances, following their wall oven, to... Read more
Parallels Announces Parallels Desktop 10 for...
The no. 1-selling software for running Windows applications on a Mac becomes an even easier choice for millions of consumers and IT professionals worldwide with the launch of the most powerful... Read more
Apple now offering certified refurbished 2014...
 The Apple Store is now offering Apple Certified Refurbished 2014 MacBook Airs for up to $180 off the cost of new models. An Apple one-year warranty is included with each MacBook, and shipping is... Read more
Best Buy’s College Student Deals: $100 off Ma...
Take an additional $100 off all MacBooks and iMacs, $50 off iPad Airs and iPad minis, at Best Buy Online with their College Students Deals Savings, valid through September 6th. Anyone with a valid .... Read more
MacBook Airs on sale for $100 off MSRP, free...
B&H Photo has three 2014 MacBook Airs on sale for $100 off MSRP. Shipping is free, and B&H charges NY sales tax only. They also include free copies of Parallels Desktop and LoJack for Laptops... Read more
Razer Taipan Mouse For Gamers And Non-Gamers...
If you’re a serious gamer on either Mac or Windows PCs, a serious gaming mouse is a necessity for first-tier performance. However, even if like me you’re not much of a gamer, there’s still a strong... Read more
15-inch 2.2GHz MacBook Pro on sale for $1899,...
Adorama has the new 15″ 2.2GHz Retina MacBook Pro on sale for $1899 including free shipping plus NY & NJ sales tax only. Their price is $100 off MSRP, and it’s the lowest price available for this... Read more

Jobs Board

*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions (US) - A...
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
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 - Apple (United...
**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
Position Opening at *Apple* - Apple (United...
**Job Summary** Being a Business Manager at an Apple Store means you're the catalyst for businesses to discover and leverage the power, ease, and flexibility of Apple Read more
Position Opening at *Apple* - Apple (United...
**Job Summary** At the Apple Store, you connect business professionals and entrepreneurs with the tools they need in order to put Apple solutions to work in their Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.