Category Archives: Mac

Useful Mac Shortcuts

Taking screenshots

Command-Shift-3:                    Take a screenshot of the screen, and save it as a file on the desktop
Command-Shift-4,                    then select an area: Take a screenshot of an area and save it as a file on the desktop
Command-Shift-4,                    then space, then click a window: Take a screenshot of a window and save it as a file on the desktop
Command-Control-Shift-3:    Take a screenshot of the screen, and save it to the clipboard
Command-Control-Shift-4,    then select an area: Take a screenshot of an area and save it to the clipboard
Command-Control-Shift-4,    then space, then click a window: Take a screenshot of a window and save it to the clipboard

Will add more as I discover them 😉

Changing Safari’s Default Search Option

I have recently brought a new mac and am loving if so far 😉 . However, there is already something that has suprised me?? It is the fact that there is only the one option for searching in the safari browser and it is not changable :O . The reason it surprises me, is because so much junk criticism is thrown the way of Microsoft for making the default search their own and yet here I am looking at the coolest OS and wondering what is so different with this “unchangeable” google search? At least with Microsoft’s Internet Explorer you could change the search within a few clicks.

Well, enough with the winging 😉 because it only took me a few mins to find a solution called Inquisitor . This is a pretty cool app considering it adds functionality like Opera where you get the auto complete search popup as you type. It also gives you the ability to edit the default search engine in the advanced preferences of safari, and you will notice the difference.

Vpn setup using PPTP

A client I have been working on recently asked me to setup a Vpn for them to work remotely and still maintain security. Now I knew the definition of Vpn connections but had never needed to implement one. What I did know was that there are two main configurations: Microsofts PPTP and IpSec but that was about as far as it went 😛 . So I did some reading and it turns out that the fastest and most used is PPTP for remote connections. However, IpSec seems to be the obvious choice for bridging locations such as office_1 to office_2. The security features of PPTP are not that strong, due to the high level of abstraction before the encryption takes place. IpSec is a much lower and “raw” layer which has much stronger security features, but suffers on speed because of this.

In this case I will be only using remote connections, so PPTP “seems” the way to go?? Anyway, it seemed a sinch to setup the user connections on the “Billion 7404 Vgp(M)” having only to select username, pass and some default configuration settings like: Encryption type; session mode and timeout. At this stage I was thinking how easy 😉 . To my suprise it was not this easy!

In this case I was not connecting to the vpn using Win pc’s but Mac’s instead. Mac’s have a built in Vpn client that supports PPTP and IpSec connections under “Internet Connections”. This made it a lot easier since I did not have to install a client. So I opened the vpn client and tried to connect to the network and found that it would not connect?? This is due to a bug in the mac vpn client which does not support “statefull” connections ( Bug ID# 4581573).

So with this new info i went back to the configuration settings for the vpn and made sure the settings were :

  • Encryption Enabled
  • Force 128bit
  • Force Stateless

When I tried the connection again all was good and I was connected. However, there still remains some strange behavior. Once connected I cannot access the internet using the Vpn and I also cannot connect to the servers using names, but only IP’s. This is not a show stopper but it is a little annoying as the clients will only be able to do work without accessing the internet. To me this looks like a simple dns problem but I have no idea how to correct it. I have submitted a post to the billion forum and hope they will resolve the problem for me, but I will keep playing in the meantime to see what is going on.

I am also wondering if this is the same problem that I am having with my linux box? I can make the connection to the vpn network and ping/connect to the server, but I have no access to anything else on the network. I cannot ping any machines and connect to the smb shares. So basically I can do nothing when connected unless i use a mac. I have not had a chance to try a pc but will see if i can have a go next week to see what happens?

So my current status is: I got the vpn setup relativly easy and can connect using my mac but not my linux box; when connected I can access the shares using the mac but cannot access the internet and the linux box cannot do anything. So, hopefully billion lends a hand and tells me what I need to do to get this working sweet?

Mac’s serving Windows software

Recently I was asked to set up and network using OSX Server. This sounded like a fun challange considering I have never administered, and barely used mac’s before :).

Just to clear up the situation, the mac is file serving the quicken data file. The clients are using pc’s and the client install for Quickbooks to connect to the mac share.

Anyway, I will try to stick to the topic! I wanted to talk about something which appeared yesterday, when the Quickbooks Premier install/file share sitting on the mac server started to give the customer headaches. It started with the Quickbooks clients locking up and not allowing the users to log. Well, I went about checking the perms on the data file and access rights on the clients but could find nothing wrong. So, I started googling, then discovered that Quickbooks uses the client “service” to manage user connections. This meant that I would have to install Quickbooks on the mac server :(.. At first I thought that was bullshit/sucked but then I had the idea to try “VmWare Fusion”.

What I ended up doing was installing vmware fusion on the server and a fully patched install of xpsp2. It was set up in bridged mode to allow the pc’s in the workgroup to see shares and connect to it via ip/name. Then I just preceded to move the quickbooks data files to the vmware instance of xp and created sim links on the server, so the clients would be transparently redirected to the new vmware files. Then somthing amazing happened.. it actually worked…weee

Well, now that has enlightened me to other prospects that you could use this same methodology on any non windows server for any software. The only downside would be a little performance lag, but that is better than not working at all 😉