Category Archives: Mac

iPad 2 – Full Video Mirroring

No more app nonsese – the ipad 2 mirrors the entire screen (other iOS devices will only allow mirroring in certain apps – e.g. Keynote):

I’ve updated our documentation:

iOS Configuration Utility

As we get more and more Apple iDevices (iPhones, iPads, iPod Touches), we may want to consider leveraging the iPhone Configuration Utility (which Apple should really rename).

This utility allows us to create a “perfect” and “recommended” configuration profiles that can be uploaded on a web page or shared via email. When a customer clicks on such a profile, the following tasks (and more) can happen fairly automatically:

  • setup ActiveSync with a pre-defined (correct!) server name. Customer just needs to enter email address, username and password.
  • setup VPN pointing to pre-defined vpn server (but only pptp and cisco protocols supported)
  • setup a predefined wireless (like Midd_standard — can even push a password… Or not…)
  • prompt customer to configure a secure pass code to lock the device

More details:


Running Windows (Applications) on a Mac, or not…

So you’ve switched from a PC to a Mac and you find that an application that has been of use to you on the PC is just not there on the Mac. Moreover, you’ve heard that Macs can run Windows apps, so you’re thinking “Well, maybe I can run this Windows app on my Mac…”

A few words of advice:
1) If you can get away with it, just don’t run Windows apps on a Mac. Few reasons for this:
– The Windows app that you are running may bring with it a few of the things that made you switch away from a PC. Most importantly, it might bring home some malware.
– Whatever process you are using to run the Windows apps on a Mac may decide to not work, break, or get tediously complex. Apple’s focus is on making sure Mac OS X and its apps run well. PC support gets a lower level of importance.
– Find an alternative Mac app that does what the PC app does. It’ll look and feel much more Mac-like, it’ll hopefully integrate well into the Mac system and help you get aquatinted with your new Mac.

2) If you really need to run that Windows app…
– Run it only when you have to.
– Preferably don’t run Bootcamp. By running Bootcamp you have to stop whatever you’re doing on the Mac side and switch to Windows – reboots, key presses, out of date Windows… Even worse – your Mac can get viruses and malware on the Bootcamp side. Also the Bootcamp drivers are far from polished. Your Mac will feel odd (to itself and to you). You still need to maintain and manage the PC side – just as if you had another PC computer to worry about!
– Preferably don’t run Parallels or another virtualization software. Your Mac will slow down whenever the virtualization software is running. You still need to maintain and manage the PC side – just as if you had another PC computer to worry about! The virtualization software may break with system updates. If you lose access to your Mac, you lose access to the PC side, too.

3) Running the application from a terminal server or remote desktop to a virtual machine hosted elsewhere is a decent idea – provided you have network access when you need to use the app. Speak to someone knowledgable about virtualization, cloud computing and such…

4) CrossOver (and its free cousin Wine) are options. They specialize in running an application separate from the Windows OS, which in theory decreases security risks. However the Windows app run through CrossOver may have bugs that it wouldn’t normally have if run on a PC. In addition, CrossOver supports a limited set of Windows applications. On the positive side, it doesn’t slow down your Mac as much as the other options.

Ideally, one day all apps that the Middlebury community needs would be available natively on the Mac. Until that day, the best options are terminal server/cloud computing or VirtualBox.

Disclaimer: I don’t mean to bash Apple, bootcamp or virtualization solutions. I love them all. But like most things in the world, there’s a good side, and little less good side to just about everything.

iOS Updates

  • Apple fixes exchange issues in iOS4 with small update:

BigFix to be purchased by IBM

On the heels of my post regarding systems management, IBM has decided to purchase BigFix — one of the multiplatform systems management options used by many:,289142,sid14_gci1516071,00.html?track=sy160

BigFix has many features, including security/patch management, software deployment, etc.

Virtualizing Mac OS X

The non-Mac world has had VMWare’s bare metal hypervisors for some time now. Not so long ago, Apple made it legally possible to virtualize specific versions of Mac OS X. Around the same time Parallels introduced their own bare metal hypervisor designed specifically for Apple hardware. This would make it possible to turn a single Xserve into a more productive system that can host several independent instances of Mac OS X Server for various purposes (file shares, netboot, open directory masters, software update servers, remote desktop servers, etc).