With LGfL, they are quite strict on what devices on their networks send email. However, they are happy for you to make use of Google’s SMTP server.
Things like Profile Manager make use of email for inviting users onto the Managed Distribution programme, so I wanted to setup our Mac server to be able to send emails like that. After a bit of searching, I came across this brilliant explanation of how to send mails from localhost. And it seems to have done the trick!
We run our SMARTBoards in school from Mac minis, some of which are old enough to have DVD drives and so which make use of Super Drives. Anyway, since Mavericks there has been an issue where the DVD player will crash upon loading. Annoying.
After trying out things like resetting the PRAM and the SMC, it turned out that the issue was due to the second display. The machines have two displays: a monitor connected via DVI and a projector via VGA (which are mirrored). I tried changing which screen the display was optimised for (in System Preferences > Displays) and this seemed to do the trick. Yay.
As part of Mr Gove’s wonderful new Computing Curriculum in Primary schools, we’ve invested in some LEGO WeDo kit to teach some simple robotics stuff to KS2. It’s basically a USB hub which connects to a computer, into which you can plug a motor, a distance sensor or a tilt sensor. You can then program these sensors using LEGO’s own WeDo software (or MIT’s Scratch!) to build cool stuff like a spinning top, an aeroplane or an automatic goalie.
So far so good.
Then I came to trying to install the software on all the Macs in the school using Munki. I love Munki as it means I can remotely install and update stuff on all the Macs in the school really quickly. But it does rely on software coming in a reasonably decently packaged form. Which LEGO WeDo does not. Rather than using a sensible .pkg file, it instead has an Installer App (I know!) which then asks you to choose a language, which then opens up a meta package (.mpkg) which runs 6 different installers, each with various pre and post-flight scripts that liberally sprinkle files across various parts of your system.
Having used Pacifist to look inside the meta-package to see what was being installed, I tried using Munki to install each of these packages remotely. Except this didn’t work – the App icon for WeDo stopped working and you couldn’t view all the build instructions (leaving the dreaded greyed-out LEGO head).
So I tried a different tack. I downloaded Packages, a brilliant package-builder for Mac, and decided to build my own package for the software. The LEGO installer handily gave a list of all the files to delete to uninstall it, so I just added those to my package. And this worked. Kinda, only the LEGO head was stilled greyed out.
[Incidently, making changes to a package and changing the version number of the package, makes it keep testing an installation on Munki. Because Munki checks package receipts, it won’t reinstall a package it’s already installed. But it will install a package with a higher version number.]
Having spent far to much time on this problem already, I decided to give LEGO support a call. They were quite helpful, and suggested I try log in with an administrator account and see if that worked. Lo and behold, it did. They then suggested I tweak permissions on different files and folders to see if that helped. I basically gave write permissions to anyone on all files and that seemed to fix it. Not ideal really.
At WWDC, iOS 7 and OSX Mavericks were announced and September 10th is the date when the new iPhones get revealed, so I’m guessing that the release of the aforementioned software won’t be long after that. Here is what I’m looking forward to in those releases:
- Automatic software updates for iOS. No more stomping around the school with a big sync case updating iPads. Or at least I hope.
- SMB as the default for file sharing on Mavericks. This should hopefully mean that using a Windows file server will be less painful.
- A better Profile Manager on Mavericks Server that can actually manage ‘Often’ preferences on a Mac.