Category Archives: Mac

Useful Resources for IT Professionals

Conferences for IT Professionals

Online Mailing Lists for IT Professionals
Mac Client System Administration:

Mac Server Administration:
(less so)

Package Making:
(quite advanced)

Apple Desktops Compared

Mac Mini (updated June 2010):
Storage: Up to 500GB (slower – 5200rpm)
Graphics: NVidia, 256MB VRAM, OpenGL, Dual Display (Mini DisplayPort+HDMI or MiniDisplay Port+DVI through the included HDMI-to-DVI adapter). VGA output requires a separate HDMI-to-VGA adapter. No big deal, at all.
Memory: Up to 8GB.
Processor: Dual core – Up to 2.66 GHz.
Parts that LIS can replace: RAM. No built-in display, though.
Very environmentally friendly – minimal parts/packaging, no built-in display. Uses 10W of power when idle or at most 85W – compare this with other Mac desktops that use 263W!
Note: The need for a separate power supply has been eliminated. The Mac gets power through a simple power cord (no “brick”).
Note 2: Goshen College replaces all computers with Mac Minis.

Storage: Up to 2TB
Graphics: NVidia or ATI, Up to 512MB VRAM, OpenGL, Dual Display (Built-in LCD+Mini DisplayPort)
Memory: Up to 16GB.
Processor: Dual or Quad core – Up to 3.33 GHz.
Parts that LIS can replace: RAM. Built-in display cannot be reused easily.
Least environmentally friendly due to large all-in-one design that includes a built-in display. Cannot easily be disassembled into parts. Uses up to 60.7W of power when idle^.

Mac Pro
Storage: Up to 8TB
Graphics: Can support multiple graphics cards including one double-wide. Up to 512MB VRAM. Support for up to 8 displays, DVI, including a single Mini DisplayPort.
Memory: Up to 32GB.
Processor: Quad or 8 core – Up to 3.33 GHz.
Parts that LIS can replace: RAM, Storage, Graphics Cards. No built-in display.
Fairly environmentally friendly (no built-in display, lots of reusable parts). However, uses up to 115W of power when idle^.

All current Apple desktop models have: Superdrive (CD+DVD+RW+DL), Firewire 800, USB, Mini DisplayPort, I/O Audio Ports including built-in speakers, Wired Ethernet, Wireless Card (optional on Mac Pro).

All current Apple desktop models are compatible with high-end multimedia software:
– Final Cut Pro Suite
– Adobe CS1-CS5 Suites


^ Can go up to 263W, depending on the software that’s being used.

Insomnia in Macs

*** Research in progress ***
It seems that labstats is preventing our Mac clients from going to sleep (power save). We haven’t had the time to test this on our Windows clients.

We do NOT use juicepress, faronics powersave or any other 2nd/3rd party power management. We only use the Energy Saver preference pane that’s built into Mac OS X.

We’ve tested this on a dozen computers running 10.5.8 (vanilla install from install DVD and only Apple Updates). For example:
– we set the power settings so the computers go to sleep after 10 mins. Without labstats, the computers go to sleep (completely) after 10 mins of inactivity.
– we install labstats on each computer, reboot, check the power settings — set to go to sleep after 10 mins of inactivity. However, the computers never go to sleep. We tested it with multiple reboot/shutdown rounds and varying the idle time from 2 minutes to 3 hours in various increments. None of that helped – the computers have insomnia.
– as soon as we remove labstats and reboot, the computers honor the power settings and go to sleep as configured.

Note that the monitor/display DOES go to sleep, with or without labstats, as configured. However the hard disk does not, and the rest of the system does not go to sleep when labstats is installed.

We are running version 4.4.6 .

All In One Management Solution for PCs, Dells, Macs

There’s a variety of management solutions that can help with managing Mac systems. Apple’s recommendations for Mac management are outlined in their series of whitepapers and seminars.

  1. Apple’s Best Practices for Mac OS X Client Management Seminar is free and available online. It does an excellent job at summarizing your options for system management.
  2. An extended transcript from the online seminar is available as a PDF file: Best Practices for Managing Mac Systems
  3. Whitepapers:

In one of Apple’s documents, it briefly references KACE. Dell offers the KACE appliances or virtual machines as all in one management solutions for PCs, Dells, Macs. More at the KACE website. Given our current relationship with Dell, this may be a small investment with large benefits.

Other solutions for managing Macs (some mentioned in Apple’s whitepapers and others not) include:

  • Altiris – multiplatform.
  • Casper – ?
  • BigFix – multiplatform.
  • Puppet – multiplatform.
  • cfengine
  • DeployStudio – multiplatform?.
  • LANDesk – multiplatform.
  • Open Directory with Workgroup Manager, ARD – not multiplatform.
  • Munki – (specifically for pushing OS updates and software packages)
  • Extending existing Active Directory Schema.