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Mr. Dan F. Barrett theblahman Melbourne Victoria Australia profile photo

Mac NetBoot Bash Scripts

Recently I’ve been working on some bash scripts for a NetBoot system we have at work for diagnosis and troubleshooting Macs.

Currently the collection only includes a script for the command-line utility memtest, and a simple CPU workhorse yes. Also included is a few bash aliases you can add to your bash profile.

To view the collection, or fork et al, visit GitHub now!

Adventures of a Macintosh Engineer

My friend and colleague Jedda has set up a new blog where he writes about Mac OS X Server management and other software relating to OS X Server.

Jedda is a really switched on guy when it comes to OS X Server so I’ll be keeping my eye on his blog for some interesting articles in the future!

Please check it out and drop him a line, you might learn something new.

My newest project, was released last night. This was a great project, as working with the band members was loads of fun and they allowed for lots of creative freedom.

The original site was made with Flash, and all text within were images so links to external websites such as Facebook and twitter were un-copyable – you had to memorise the URI.

Here is the original website:

The site was out of date, not viewable in MobileSafari and most of all – hard for the band to update content by themselves.

My goal for the site was to enable the band members to easily add gigs and other content themselves. My immediate thought was to use WordPress – I know and use WordPress for this site, plus it’s easy to theme.

The website was made in 4 weeks of casual work, according to I clocked 26 hours during design and development phase.

Below is a list of all software and code used to create the site:





If you have any questions or comments regarding my work, please see the contact page for my details.

10.7.3 Server Update and VPN Woes

After having issues with Apache when upgrading to 10.7.3 Server I thought hopefully I’d have no more problems. A few days later I tried VPN-ing using L2TP. After the connection timing out and me getting errors I checked out the system.log in and I saw the following:

pppd: DSAuth plugin: Failed to retrieve MPPE encryption keys from the password server

A quick bit of searching pointed me towards an article on Configuring and enabling PPTP. Even though I wasn’t using PPTP to VPN into my server, I thought I’d give it a shot. After entering the terminal command and restarting the VPN service, I can now VPN in with no problems!

10.7.3 Server Update and Apache Woes

I, like many others, update my server from Lion 10.7.2 to 10.7.3. After backing up the server (always a wise move), I performed the update. After rebooting I noticed iCal and Address Book Server wouldn’t turn on, and no errors being written to either error.log. I rebooted once again and still the issue persisted.

Upon checking system.log I saw that httpd was looping over and over with this error:

(org.apache.httpd) Exited with exit code: 1
(org.apache.httpd) Throttling respawn: Will start in 10 seconds

There’s not a huge amount of evidence as to exactly what the issue is, but simply put, Apache was fucked. Jumping over to the Web section in listed the following beautiful error:
Error Reading Settings

My first idea was to jump over to the Lion Server: Advanced Administration guide to see if there was any way of repairing httpd.conf. After a bit of research, I found a great little article with the title Restore the default web configuration. Because I had no custom sites or any wikis I knew there would be almost no problems with restoring Web to its default settings. Simply pumping in the following command restored Web services to the factory settings:
sudo serveradmin command web:command=restoreFactorySettings

A couple of seconds later, I jumped over to iCal and successfully started the iCal Server. Success!

In short, the collaboration services (iCal and Address Book) require httpd to be running in order to start.

ACMT 10.7 Recertification Tips

Software Recertification Exam

  • FileVault 2 – the exam devotes a good 10-15% of the exam to FileVault 2 alone.
  • Read the page Lion: What’s New, there’s quite a few questions on the new features of Lion.

Hardware Recertification Exam

  • Have manuals open for the 2011 Mac mini, iMac and MacBook Pro – there’s a ton of questions relating to certain steps of deep dives.
  • Know your tools – this seems obvious but make sure you know the names of the tools you use.

Good luck!

2011 was the year…

  • I turned 21
  • I became an Apple Certified Macintosh Technician
  • I discovered Tool and found myself
  • I got 2 more tattoos (here and here)
  • Other stuff happened

What a year it was. Here’s to the next one!

Film Sack reaches 100 “sacks”!

My favourite podcast, Film Sack, which I listen to most nights has just reached their 100th episode! Through listening to Film Sack I’ve discovered a ton of new films that I otherwise would have never seen.

I’d like to throw my 2 cents in to say congratulations to Scott, Brian, Randy, Brian and Scott for teaming up to create the best podcast ever.

Thanks, Film Sack!

Oh, How It Differs

Upgrading Snow Leopard to Lion on a MacBook Air: flawless.

Upgrading Snow Leopard Server to Lion Server: completely and utterly flawed.

For the record, my Lion Server installation lasted a good 6 hours before being shitcanned and a Time Machine Restore saved the day!

Removing Crap From Launchpad

So, Lion’s out! Woo hoo! If you’re like me, you saw a ton of crappy apps in Launchpad and was very disappointed to see that there’s no way to remove apps from Launchpad without having to delete them from your system.

Locating the Launchpad would have been a painful task, but thankfully the clever cookies at HaiTeq found the Launchpad SQLite database. To locate this SQLite database, navigate to:

~/Library/Application Support/Dock

In there, you’ll find a file with the name something similar to this:


This file, as mentioned earlier, is a SQLite database file, and can be opened in any SQLite editor. I’m a huge fan of Base, I recommend you use it! Once you’ve opened the database file, select the apps table.

Inside the apps table, you’ll find all your applications listed in a nice list. I found it completely un-necessary to have a number of apps, like, Image, Time etc. To remove the app from the Launchpad database, just select the appropriate app from the list and hit the delete button!

Now, if you open Launchpad straight away you won’t see the changes. To fix that, open and type in:

killall Dock

This restarts the Dock process, of which Launchpad is a child of. Now, open Launchpad and see the changes!

I managed to condense Launchpad from 3 pages, to one page of apps I actually want to have in Launchpad for quick access.


If you accidentally delete the wrong app, I have not been able to figure out exactly how to re-add an app. So, make sure you delete the right app!