Wednesday, April 25, 2012

How to set up Lion Server via Screen Sharing (VNC)

We just set up our first Mac mini with Lion (Mac OS X 10.7) Server preinstalled. Being a server, it will have no keyboard, mouse, or screen attached to it. We needed to go through its initial configuration remotely.
Apple theoretically makes this easy for you. If you download their Server Admin Tools 10.7, it has a feature which will let you configure the server over the network.
Which is great if you happen to be running Mac OS X 10.7, but I still haven’t installed Lion on my chronically-short-of-space MacBook Air 11″, and Snow Leopard won’t run the newest Lion Server Admin Tools. Joy. I just wanted to remote control the server via Screen Sharing without having to fuss with the Admin Tools.
Well, Apple sure doesn’t tell you how to do that, so it was time to dig in and puzzle it out. Like so many things, it’s fairly easy once you know how, but I haven’t yet seen this info all in once place. So here it is.
1. Figure out the Mac mini’s IP address. Most routers, including AirPorts, have a DHCP log which shows what IP addresses are assigned to what computers. Find the Ethernet ID on the Mac mini box or the exterior of the computer itself, and match it to the list of MAC (network ID, not Macintosh) addresses in your router’s DHCP log.
2. In Lion Server’s freshly started state, the Screen Sharing service isn’t running, but SSH is. Type:
ssh root@ip.address
(where “ip.address” is the ip address of the mini). If it asks you about whether it’s ok to connect, answer yes. When prompted for password, enter the entire serial number (not just the first eight digits, for those familiar with earlier server software), in all caps. It’s also on both the box and the Mac mini itself.
3. Now you have to start the screen sharing service, as explained in this Apple knowledge base article(this command is bullet point 1). Type:
/System/Library/CoreServices/RemoteManagement/ -activate -configure -access -on -restart -agent -privs -all
After a few seconds it should say ARDAgent is running.
4. Now you should be able to type vnc://ip.address into Safari (again, where “ip.address” is the mini’s IP address) and Screen Sharing will ask you to log in. Leave the user name empty, and enter the entire serial number of the Mac mini (all caps).
5. You should now have control of the mini as though you had a screen, keyboard and mouse attached. After you go through the server setup process, you’ll be on the Lion desktop.
6. At this point, even though you’re still remote controlling the mini, you will not be able to log in again. (I found this out the hard way.) Remote Login (SSH) is turned off. Screen Sharing (VNC) is still enabled, but you can no longer log in with the serial number, and the administrator user you created does not have permission to access the Remote Management service.
7. So the first thing you should do is go to System Preferences, and click on Remote Management. (By default All Users is selected, but you can change it to just the administrator if you don’t want other users to have screen sharing access.) Then click on Options, and ensure that the “Observe” and “Control” checkboxes are set. Now try logging in from another Mac, if possible, to make sure it works.
8. You may also want to also temporarily install a free web-based remote control service, such as LogMeIn, as a fallback, because not being able to log back in means you have to find a screeen, display, and keyboard to plug into.
That’s the whole thing — not too bad. It would be nice if Apple made this kind of install easier, but then there wouldn’t be the satisfaction of figuring it out.
Update: Just found this blog post, which lays out a very similar process. The major difference in Lion Server appears to be that the entire serial number of the computer is required, not just the first eight digits.
Update: Expanded step 6 for clarity.


Saturday, April 14, 2012

Mac Mini Hosting from $29.99

Mac Mini Hosting $29.99
Port Speed: 100 mbps
Bandwidth: 250GB
Access: Remote Power Control & Reboot
IPs: 1

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Fast-growing Flashback Botnet Includes Over 600,000 Macs, Malware Experts Say

More than 600,000 Macs have been infected with a new version of the Flashback Trojan horse that's being installed on people's computers with the help of Java exploits, security researchers from Russian antivirus vendor Doctor Web said on Wednesday.

Flashback is a family of Mac OS malware that appeared in September 2011. Older Flashback versions relied on social engineering tricks to infect computers, but the latest variants are distributed via Java exploits that don't require user interaction.

On Tuesday, Apple released a Java update in order to address a critical vulnerability that's being exploited to infect Mac computers with the Flashback Trojan horse.

However, a large number of users have already been affected by those attacks, Doctor Web said in a report issued on Wednesday. The company's researchers have managed to hijack a part of the Flashback botnet through a method known in the security community as sinkholing, and counted unique identifiers belonging to more than 550,000 Mac OS X systems infected with the Trojan horse.

Over 300,000 of the Flashback-infected Macs, or 56 percent of the total, are located in United States, while over 100,000 are located in Canada, Doctor Web said. The U.K. and Australia are next, with 68,000 and 32,000 infected Macs, respectively.

The botnet is growing at a rapid rate. Hours after Doctor Web issued its report, Ivan Sorokin, one of the company's malware analysts announced on Twitter that the botnet had grown to over 600,000 infected computers. He also said that 274 Macs infected with the new Flashback variant were located in Cupertino, the U.S. city where Apple has its headquarters.

F-Secure, the antivirus vendor that warned about the new Flashback attacks on Monday, couldn't confirm Doctor Web's estimate of the botnet's size. The company doesn't have good statistics on Mac malware, F-Secure's chief research officer Mikko Hypponen, said Wednesday on Twitter.

Doctor Web recommended that Mac users install the latest Java patch released by Apple, while other security companies went further, advising them to disable the Java plug-in in their browsers altogether if they don't use Java-based Web applications. Uninstalling Java from the system completely is also an option if it is not required for other desktop applications.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Hitachi releases first enterprise-class 4TB hard drive

FRAMINGHAM, MASS. -- Hitachi's former disk-drive division today announced what it said it the first enterprise-class 4TB hard disk drive.

The drive has a greater areal density that offers 33% more capacity in the same 3.5-inch form factor at 24% lower watts-per-gigabyte than its predecessor.

Hitachi Global Storage Technologies (HGST), now owned by Western Digital , introduced the new Ultrastar 7K4000 line, which uses the new 512e Advanced Format.

The industry as a whole is moving to the Advanced Format standard because 4KB sectors on hard drives offer higher capacities and addresses current technological limitations with 512-byte sectors in some OSes, such as Windows XP. Laptop drives, or 2.5-in hard drives, adopted the 512e Advanced Format in 2010.

Advanced Format HDDs, also known as 512e HDDs, will emulate 512-byte SATA, allowing them to maintain backward compatibility. Hitachi's Ultrastar 7K4000 4TB hard drive.

The new Ultrastar 7K4000 drive is the third generation using the Ultrastar design. It has five platters that spin at 7,200rpm. The drive uses a 6Gbps SATA interface and a 64MB cache buffer. It has a 2 million hour mean-time-between-failure rating.

Western Digital is marketing the drive for use in 24x7 enterprise applications such as big data, cloud computing, data warehousing, video-on-demand, disk-to-disk backup and massive scale-out storage implementations.

The predecessor to the 7K4000, the Ultrastar 7K3000 drive, held up to 3TB of data. With the new 4TB model, IT managers can get 2.4 petabytes of capacity in the footprint of a standard 19-inch storage rack by stacking 10 4U (7-in high), 60-bay enclosures.

Using the Advanced Power Management API developed by Intel and Microsoft, the Ultrastar 7K4000 can take advantage of four modes and achieve up to a 59% reduction in power usage, from peak usage to low RPM idle mode. In stand-by or sleep mode, the drive uses just 1 watt of power.

The Ultrastar 7K4000 family is now shipping in limited quantities. Models are available with a native data encryption option.

FileMaker Pro 12 Introduces New Themes, Free iOS Apps

FileMaker Pro 12 is the fastest way to create stunning databases for you and your team. Now you can quickly build solutions that are crisp, clean, and make you more productive than ever. Instantly change the look of your layout by applying one of 40 stunning new themes specifically designed for your iPad, iPhone and desktop. Each theme comes with pre-defined fonts, colors, and object styling. In just a few clicks your layout has a professional, new look. Easily customize a layout to meet your needs by adding gradients, images, and more.

Get new tools to help you more easily tailor your layouts. Use new rulers, grids, and guides to get the design precision you need. Objects are easier to select and re-size and now display interactive states such as hover, pressed, or in focus. Plus, click “Undo" multiple times, so you can experiment with your layouts as much as you'd like.

Converting your existing solutions is straightforward as well. Converted solutions maintain the original look and feel. Or you can apply a new theme if you choose.