10.7.4 has a spring loose

Whilst imaging the Mac minis, I’ve discovered a rather annoying bug in Lion’s 10.7.4 update that makes the URL icons in the dock disappear.  Instead of being a natty ‘@’ spring, they now just appear as a blank space.  We make use of the fact you can put URLs into the dock via Workgroup Manager to allow children to automatically log into Purple Mash, and so this is rather annoying.  It’s also annoying because I’ve imaged several Macs already and don’t want to have to go and fix them.  Some people have suggested a fix for the problem, but I’ll probably just wait until an official fix comes through Software Update.

Imaging Mac minis

Today I had the fun job of unpacking a key stage of Mac minis. They’re to replace ageing PCs running smartboards and will, once installed, pretty much complete the replacement of PCs with Macs in the school. Hurrah!

In preparation for reimaging the rest of the machines to Lion in the summer, I built a fresh image from scratch. As nearly all settings are managed by the Mac Server and so it’s just involved lots of installing of software. I’m trying out the new Notebook 11 as well, though haven’t had much chance to play with it.

I won’t try using the Mac server to image machines until we get gigabit switches installed though…

Fresh Install

The other week it was suggested to me that if/when we upgrade our Macs at school to Lion, building a fresh system image and then rolling that out is a good idea as it ensures computers are as stable as possible. It sounds like a bit of a job, and definitely a Summer Holiday job, but it does make sense as all manner of cruft can collect on a system image when it gets upgraded and then copied from one computer to another.

In anticipation of this, I decided to completely reinstall my new personal MacBook Air. I had been copying my accounts between machines since a 2004 12″ PowerBook (via a Black and then Aluminium MacBooks), and doing in-place upgrades from 10.3 to 10.7 (Panther, Tiger, Leopard, Snow Leopard, Lion!) so there undoubtedly was a lot of cruft!

Once I’d figured out how, doing a fresh install with Lion wasn’t too hard. Simply hold command+R when booting up to access the recovery partition, use Disk Utility to wipe the hard drive and then click the download and reinstall Lion button. Simples!

The Mac App Store then provided me with most of my software and all the iLife 11 titles and my Time Machine backup gave me back all my files. This second part wasn’t quite as easy as expected as restoring documents kept resulting in permissions errors. The solution to this was to use Migration Assistant to copy my old account onto the Mac under a new temporary name, log onto it and then move all the required files onto /Users/Shared. I could then log in onto my new account, copy the files across from shared and then delete the temporary account.

The upshot of all this is that I have regained an extra 30GB of space on my hard drive! Not bad… It also answers my question of where iLife apps that have been downloaded from the App Store keep their loops/audio samples. It seems that iPhoto and iMovie now keep everything within the application bundle, whereas GarageBand downloads 1GB of loops into /Library when you first open it if they’re not already there.

So hopefully all this will come in handy when creating a master image at school!

Updating to iLife 11

Due to some training I did today that made use of the ‘Trailers’ feature of iMovie 11, we needed to finally upgrade our iMac suite to iLife 11.  I hadn’t fancied buying 18 retail boxes of iLife discs when the upgrade first came out and was instead waiting to see what volume licensing Apple offered.  The educational price is about 2/3rds of the App Store price, which is nice, but still requires an App Store download code for each seat.  However, Apple do suggest that you just download it on one machine and then use Apple Remote Desktop to copy the app to the required machines. This seems to work fine!

I was slightly concerned that I would have to copy across any iLife related files in /Library etc., but it seems that all the sound effects and loops now live within the app itself (I hope!).

The advantage of doing it this way is that the apps now update themselves using Software Update rather than through the App Store, which makes managing them using Munki much easier.  I’m not quite sure what will happen come Mountain Lion though, as Software Update is being folded into the App Store.  Hmm… we shall see!

LGfL Staff Mail on OSX and iOS

WordPress is wonderful because it tells me all kinds of fascinating information, such as what people were searching for when they ended up on this site. And one quite frequent enquiry is regarding LGfL’s Staff Mail settings on a Mac. It’s really easy to set up and here’s how…

  1. You need to be running Snow Leopard (10.6) or higher.
  2. Open up Mail and add an email account. Enter your name and email address etc.
  3. On the next screen, select ‘Exchange 2007’ as the type of server.
  4. Put in mail.lgflmail.org as the server. Then put in your USO username and password.
  5. It’ll ask you about adding contacts and calendar for the account. These can be handy for auto completing addresses of your colleagues
  6. All done!

The settings are pretty similar for iOS. You just need to select ‘Exchange’ as the type of account when adding it in Settings > Mail, Contacts & Calendars. The domain is lgflmail. Easy!

Do post a comment if my instructions don’t make sense…

SMART Notebook 11

Whilst I am not the greatest fan of Smartboards, they certainly do have good customer service! After sending an email to them in Canada, asking of OSX 10.7 Lion would ever really be supported, they emailed me back to inform me of a soon-to-arrive Notebook 11 software. Amongst its other features, it has full Lion support (yay!). Hopefully they will still support 500 series Smartboards too, but that may just be wishful thinking on my part.

Sarbanes–Oxley Act and Lion

Ok, take that back.

Apple probably do have to charge for Mountain Lion because of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, which basically means you can’t add additional functionality to something you’ve already sold.  They get around this with iOS devices because Apple account for them over 2 years in a subscription model – you get free updates because Apple treat it as if you’re still paying for it!  The Mac isn’t accounted for like this so thus they can’t do free updates.

Rats. Maybe it’ll just be a token cost?