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Reduce spinning beach ball delays on network drives Network
Having finally suffered one too many Spinning Beach Balls of Death, I have switched to using SFTP to move, rename and delete files on remote drives.

Rather than mounting the networked drive to the Finder, I simply use SSH and SFTP functionality that is built into OS X (enable in System Preferences' Sharing tab; check Remote Login) along with an FTP client (Interarchy, Panic, CyberDuck) to deal with remote file management.

Obviously, if you need to open the file from the Network Drive then you are stuck using the Finder, but, at least in my case, the vast majority of the time I am just looking to move, rename and delete files across the Network and SFTP does the trick.
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Fix a potential issue with NETGEAR routers and Bonjour Network
Short version: To rid Bonjour printing (and other Bonjourish?) problems from your NETGEAR router, turn off IPv6 under System Preferences » Network » AirPort » TCP/IP tab » Configure IPv6 (the button at the bottom of the window).

Long: I have sometimes had problems with printers not working over Bonjour for certain computers, despite the fact that every setting seemed to be correct. It took me some time to realize that it was always a NETGEAR router (the one I specifically have in front of me is a WGR614v5), and I finally realized it was when trying to use Bonjour printing between a wired and a wireless computer.

Using Bonjour Browser, I saw that the printer was registered on the host's IPv6 address, which I guess the NETGEAR router can't route when converting between wireless and wired. Turning IPv6 off and doing the usual reboots brings the amour of Bonjour back.
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Make remote tech support as simple as possible Network
I help out a fair few people with computer problems, and there are times when long explanations over the phone of what is going on with the other person's computer can just get too tiresome. VNC is great, free, and fast (if a little limited compared to ARD or Timbuktu), and a sweet way of seeing and/or controlling the other party's screen. Trouble is, with most people behind a NAT router nowadays, getting the tech-challenged to configure a router to allow port forwarding from their side is not for the faint hearted or short tempered.

Even though there have been tales of screen sharing coming in Leopard with iChat, for those of us who need it now (and free), here is a method which you can use to automate the connection from the other person's computer, overcoming any and all router issues from their side (something iChat hasn't yet completely conquered yet), and making the connection a one-click process. Even better, as this solution uses an AppleScript, you will see that we can automate the whole process so that no user intervention is required, as long as the other computer has Mail running.

A somewhat related hint has been posted here before, but it required physical access to the machine you wished to control to complete the setup, or that too long talk-through of the router setup (assuming you even know what the router type is!)

Once you have completed this hint for one person, and thus have everything set up, the next person will be connected to you in around 30 seconds to a minute tops, from scratch, which is pretty good in my books. Once the zip file is expanded, all the user has to do is double-click a file. For today's cookery lesson, you will need:
  • A copy of the free Schnitz Remote Lite
  • The free Chicken of the VNC (CotVNC from here on)
  • Script Editor (for the juicy automation parts), found in /Applications » AppleScript
  • Working knowledge of your router, and how to effect port forwarding on it, or at the very least, temporarily put your computer in the DMZ.
Read on for the detailed instructions...
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10.4: Share a Bluetooth GPRS connection with Parallels Network
Here's how to share a Bluetooth GPRS connection in OS X with your Parallels sessions.

In the Sharing System Preferences panel, click on the Internet tab. Set the Share your connection from pop-up menu to Bluetooth, then check any Ethernet ports listed in the To computers using section below.

You should now be able to use your GPRS connection in Parallels.
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10.4: Securely copy resource forked files between Macs Network
I was recently trying to do a secure copy of a text clipping from one Mac to another Mac. When I first performed this with this command...
scp joe_blow@ ~/Desktop/
...only the filename transfered over to the Mac, but the content was empty. That's because the text clipping keeps the actual text in the resource fork of the file.

So to solve this problem, I simply use the -E option in scp, and both the filename and resource forks are preserved. According to man scp, this only works if both Macs have 10.4 or later installed on their machines. You must also make sure you have ssh enabled. So this would look like the following:
scp -E joe_blow@ ~/Desktop/
The :Desktop after the IP address means that Desktop is relative to the home user's account. For an absolute path use :/, followed by the path name. If you want to preserve the modification and access times as well as the content, then in addition use the -p option:
scp -Ep user@hostname:path path
Of course, these options can also be applied if you are sending a file using scp to a remote machine.
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Use Connect to Server to connect to anywhere Network
For years I had thought that the Finder's Go » Connect To Server (Command-K) feature only worked on the local network. I discovered, almost by accident, that if I know the IP address and user password of a Mac anywhere in the world, I can connect to it (assuming it has sharing enabled) using Connect to Server, and transfer files to/from to my heart's content.

This has been very useful when I'm working from home and need a file located on my work computer. Of course, that also means anyone else could do the same, which is a good reason to maintain a robust password!
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Repair a crashing Personal File Sharing service Network
For the last couple of weeks, I've had a most annoying problem: Personal File Sharing (in the Sharing System Preferences panel) on my Mac Pro would crash whenever I connected to the machine from another Mac. I could restart file sharing, but it would crash again the next time I tried to connect. To further complicate troubleshooting, connecting as a guest worked perfectly -- it was only when I tried to login as me that file sharing would crash. Needless to say, this made it most difficult to transfer files around the house. After much work with Google, trying to find the right terms to search with, I eventually stumbled onto the solution ... right here on our very own forums! To make the solution a bit easier for others to find, I'm posting it here, without the crash logs and other detail you can find in the linked post above.

The problem turned out to be a missing file,, which is supposed to reside in the top-level /Library » Preferences folder. On my Mac Pro, it was missing (as was /var/db/BRLM.db, another file sharing-related file). The fix? You can copy the file from another Mac. However, it's a simple file, and forum poster voldenuit posted the contents:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<!DOCTYPE plist PUBLIC "-//Apple Computer//DTD PLIST 1.0//EN" "">
<plist version="1.0">

I copied the above code, ran sudo vi (from the /Library » Preferences directory) to open the editor as root, then I pasted the code and saved the changes.

When I restarted Personal File Sharing, it worked perfectly: the BRLM.db file was created automatically, and I could once again login as myself without crashing the server. Hooray!
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10.4: TFTPd configuration and usage Network
Many network devices are able to upload and download firmware and configurations via the TFTP protocol. I have found it useful to use this feature with Netopia ENT routers, as it enables me to make backups of client configurations, and update the firmware directly on my service laptop. OS X comes with tftpd preinstalled. On OS X Server, tftpd is utilized for NetBoot; however, on the standard client, the framework still exists.

In Tiger, most services that were previously configured using xinetd have been migrated to launchd. The new launchd service consults the settings located in /System » Library » LaunchDaemons and /Library » LaunchDaemons directories. By default, Tiger has tftp.plist installed, however, this should be modified to suit your needs.
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10.4: One way to automount SMB network shares Network
Under Windows you can easily assign a drive letter to a network share, so that every time you login to your account you will have ready access to it. There appears to be no such equivalent under OS X. (You can include them in your user's Login Items list, but each share in the list will spawn a Finder window when it connects.)

I have been digging at the problem for quite some time since I switched to OS X, and I can now give you the solution I found to work the best. It is not trivial, but with the help of this screencast, it should prove rather easy.

Method 1: Using Apple Script
  1. Fire up Script Editor.
  2. Type volume mount "smb://server name/share name" for each share you want to automount. For example, volume mount "smb://nas/mp3" in my example.
  3. Test the code.
  4. Save the code as an AppleScript.
  5. Save the code as an application.
  6. Add the application to your System Accounts Login Items.
Read on for a solution using Automator...
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A simple workaround for server issues on a lab network Network
This hint won't apply to most people, but for those of us who work in the classroom with server access it is very handy. We use servers in our technology classes for two simple actions: getting materials that students need for the class onto their machines (sound files, PDF instructions, templates -- which are often created just before class or even on the spot), and for them to hand back assignments using the instructor's drop box account on the server.

Here are three problems that come up regularly (our IT guys are very good, but once or twice a semester we do have problems):
  1. For whatever reason one or two students loose their account access. They just can't log on, or they can log on but can't get to anything. Sometimes it's just a privilege issue.
  2. At the beginning of each semester, with new classes, we don't have access for about a week while the virtual paperwork for applying and creating accounts is done.
  3. Now and again the server goes down just before a class and no one, not even the instructor, can get access to important files.
This usually sends an instructor into panic mode, and my solution to nearly all of these issues has been to pass around jump drives. Then we figured out this obvious temporary solution: Use the instructor's station or instructor's laptop as a server.

Even though we can't get to the server because of account issues or because it is down, the lab is still networked. They can use the Connect to Server dialog and type in the IP address for either the instructor's station or (and I've done both) the instructor's laptop. You don't have to worry about accounts -- just log in as a guest. They will be able to see the Public folder to gather class materials and drop assignments in the drop box. (You can also use the Sites folder and, depending on the preferences or what you put there, have them connect using a browser.)

After one class using this method (where I had access but no one else did, because accounts hadn't been created), and after dragging all the dropped assignments from my local laptop drop box to the server's drop box, I tried creating an alias of the server's drop box (which I can see because I have an account) to the public area of my laptop (which they can see as guests). This worked too, copying all the assignments to the server drop box. Be careful with this, though, because they have the same privileges to the alias drop box as you do.
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