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

TotalFinder 1.12.2 - 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. Features... Read more
Duet 2.3.0.3 - Use your iPad as an exter...
Duet is the first app that allows you to use your iDevice as an extra display for your Mac using the Lightning or 30-pin cable. Note: This app requires a $9.99 iOS companion app. Version 2.3.0.3:... Read more
FileMaker Pro Advanced 18.0.3 - Powerful...
FileMaker Pro Advanced is the tool you use to create a custom app. You also use FileMaker Pro Advanced to access your app on a computer. Start by importing data from a spreadsheet or using a built-in... Read more
OsiriX Lite 10.0.6 - 3D medical image pr...
OsiriX Lite is an image processing software dedicated to DICOM images (".dcm" / ".DCM" extension) produced by medical equipment (MRI, CT, PET, PET-CT, ...) and confocal microscopy (LSM and BioRAD-PIC... Read more
Ableton Live 10.1.5 - Record music using...
Ableton Live lets you create and record music on your Mac. Use digital instruments, pre-recorded sounds, and sampled loops to arrange, produce, and perform your music like never before. Ableton Live... Read more
Burn 2.7.8 - Easily burn data, audio, vi...
Burn... There are a lot of ways to approach burning discs. Burn keeps it simple, but still offers a lot of advanced options. Create data discs with advanced data settings like, file permissions, the... Read more
Malwarebytes 4.0.30.3073 - Adware remova...
Malwarebytes (was AdwareMedic) helps you get your Mac experience back. Malwarebytes scans for and removes code that degrades system performance or attacks your system. Making your Mac once again your... Read more
Acorn 6.5.3 - Bitmap image editor.
Acorn is a new image editor built with one goal in mind - simplicity. Fast, easy, and fluid, Acorn provides the options you'll need without any overhead. Acorn feels right, and won't drain your bank... Read more
Fantastical 2.5.13 - Create calendar eve...
Fantastical is the Mac calendar you'll actually enjoy using. Creating an event with Fantastical is quick, easy, and fun: Open Fantastical with a single click or keystroke Type in your event... Read more
A Better Finder Rename 11.05 - File, pho...
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

Latest Forum Discussions

See All

Eternal Warfare is a new idle clicker fo...
Idle games are a popular genre on mobile, they might not be to everyone's taste but they're made with such regularity and receive a lot of downloads, so it's hard to argue it's not big business. Eternal Warfare is set to join the sea of idle games... | Read more »
New heroes and balance updates set to ar...
It feels like Hearthstone: Battlegrounds only launched yesterday, and already the auto batter addition to Blizzard's megahit card game is set to receive new heroes and balance updates. [Read more] | Read more »
Pre-register for Hello Kitty AR: Kawaii...
Hello Kitty — the cute cat that launched a multi-billion-pound franchise — has been brought to life… sort of. Sanrio has teamed up with the Bublar Group to create a new mobile game that uses AR tech to turn the real world into Hello Kitty’s... | Read more »
Gorgeous and tranquil puzzler Spring Fal...
One-man indie studio SPARSE//GameDev has now launched its tranquil puzzler, Spring Falls. It's described as "a peaceful puzzle game about water, erosion, and watching things grow". [Read more] | Read more »
Black Desert Mobile gets an official rel...
Pearl Abyss has just announced that its highly-anticipated MMO, Black Desert Mobile, will launch globally for iOS and Android on December 11th. [Read more] | Read more »
Another Eden receives new a episode, cha...
Another Eden, WFS' popular RPG, has received another update that brings new story content to the game alongside a few new heroes to discover. [Read more] | Read more »
Overdox guide - Tips and tricks for begi...
Overdox is a clever battle royale that changes things up by adding MOBA mechanics and melee combat to the mix. This new hybrid game can be quite a bit to take in at first, so we’ve put together a list of tips to help you get a leg up on the... | Read more »
Roterra Extreme - Great Escape is a pers...
Roterra Extreme – Great Escape has been described by developers Dig-It Games as a mini-sequel to their acclaimed title Roterra: Flip the Fairytale. It continues that game's tradition of messing with which way is up, tasking you with solving... | Read more »
Hearthstone: Battlegrounds open beta lau...
Remember earlier this year when auto battlers were the latest hotness? We had Auto Chess, DOTA Underlords, Chess Rush, and more all gunning for our attention. They all had their own reasons to play, but, at least from where I'm standing, most... | Read more »
The House of Da Vinci 2 gets a new gamep...
The House of Da Vinci launched all the way back in 2017. Now, developer Blue Brain Games is gearing up to deliver a second dose of The Room-inspired puzzling. Some fresh details have now emerged, alongside the game's first official trailer. [Read... | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

B&H offers $100 discounts on 4-Core and 6...
B&H Photo has new 4-Core and 6-Core Mac minis in stock and on sale today for $100 off Apple’s MSRP. Prices start at $699. Overnight shipping is free to many addresses in the US: – 3.6GHz Quad-... Read more
Save $200 today on a 2019 13″ MacBook Air wit...
Apple has a full line of Certified Refurbished 2019 13″ MacBook Airs available starting at only $929 and up to $200 off the cost of new Airs. Each MacBook features a new outer case, comes with a... Read more
New Verizon Pre-Black Friday 2019 deal: Buy o...
Buy one new Apple iPhone 11 model or 2018 iPhone XS model at Verizon and get a second one for free. One new line of service required. Offer is valid from November 21, 2019 to November 27, 2019. Here... Read more
AirPods with Wireless Charging Case on sale t...
Abt Electronics has 2019 AirPods with the Wireless Charging Case on sale today for $163 shipped. Their price is $36 off Apple’s MSRP, and it’s currently the cheapest price for these AirPods from any... Read more
Apple continues to offer 2017 13″ Dual-Core n...
Apple has Certified Refurbished 2017 13″ 2.3GHz Dual-Core non-Touch Bar MacBook Pros still available starting at $1019. An standard Apple one-year warranty is included with each model, outer cases... Read more
Save up to $120 on the new 16″ MacBook Pro at...
Apple’s resellers are starting to receive stock of new 16″ MacBook Pros, and the first set of sales & deals are now available: (1) Amazon 16″ MacBook Pros start on sale for $100-$116 off Apple’s... Read more
Apple Watch Series 3 models on sale at Amazon...
Amazon has Apple Watch Series 3 GPS models on sale for $30 off MSRP, starting at only $169. There prices are the lowest we’ve ever seen for these models from any Apple reseller. Choose Amazon as the... Read more
The ‘Mac Potpourri’ Mailbag: Edition #1- Info...
COMMENTARY: 11.20.19- Welcome to the inaugural edition of the “Mac Potpourri” Mailbag where we take a look at correspondence received from readers of this column from all over the world who write in... Read more
13″ 2.4GHz MacBook Pros available for up to $...
Apple has a full line of Certified Refurbished 2019 13″ 2.4GHz 4-Core Touch Bar MacBook Pros available starting at $1529 and up to $300 off MSRP. Apple’s one-year warranty is included, shipping is... Read more
New at T-Mobile: Switch to T-Mobile, and get...
T-Mobile is offering a free 64GB iPhone 8 for new customers who switch to T-Mobile and open a new line of service. Eligible trade-in required, and discount applied over a 24 month period. The fine... Read more

Jobs Board

Best Buy *Apple* Computing Master - Best Bu...
**747303BR** **Job Title:** Best Buy Apple Computing Master **Job Category:** Sales **Store NUmber or Department:** 001413-Cypress-Store **Job Description:** **What Read more
*Apple* Mobility Pro - Best Buy (United Stat...
**743221BR** **Job Title:** Apple Mobility Pro **Job Category:** Store Associates **Store NUmber or Department:** 000230-Greenwood-Store **Job Description:** At Best Read more
*Apple* Mobility Pro - Best Buy (United Stat...
**747338BR** **Job Title:** Apple Mobility Pro **Job Category:** Store Associates **Store NUmber or Department:** 000254-Superstition Springs-Store **Job Read more
Best Buy *Apple* Computing Master - Best Bu...
**745516BR** **Job Title:** Best Buy Apple Computing Master **Job Category:** Store Associates **Store NUmber or Department:** 001101-Manhattan-Store **Job Read more
Best Buy *Apple* Computing Master - Best Bu...
**746655BR** **Job Title:** Best Buy Apple Computing Master **Job Category:** Sales **Store NUmber or Department:** 002518-Atlantic Center-Store **Job Description:** Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.