Macintosh Tech People

The place for Macintosh sysadmins and support folks


Welcome to Macintosh Tech People



This site has been created to provide a single spot for people involved in Macintosh system administration and tech support to get news, assistance and information. We welcome contributions from everyone.

This blog is designed to give you news about new and updated tools you might find useful in your work. If you know of a new tool then drop a line to and we will feature it here.

You can visit our forum to ask for help, provide answers and make suggestions on improving the site.

The wiki is the place to go to share information on methods and procedures you find useful. You will find a growing number of useful tips and tutorials for troubleshooting and managing Mac systems with room for you to add your own or expand on one of the existing pages.

We look forward to your membership and contributions to a vibrant and informative community.

Gutenprint gets an upgrade

Gutenprint is about to get a new version. They have a release candidate of 5.2.0 available and it offers another  huge leap in the number of printers supported and some new features supported in older drivers, principally Epson ones.

For those not keeping up Gutenprint is the new name (since version 5) of Gimp-Print. Gimp-Print started out as some printer drivers for Gimp, the open source graphics program, but outgrew Gimp and became the principal source of drivers for GhostScript, the open source PostScript clone. It then started supporting CUPS which meant it was easily used by Mac OS X.

You will notice when you look at the list of print drivers while adding printers that OS X 10.5.5 uses Gutenprint 5.1.3, though not the full list of supported printers. A new version of Gutenprint is therefore big news for those with out of the ordinary printers. The new version also has a completely rewritten and much improved PostScript driver, improved support of high resolution printing in some apps, most notable Office and improvements to custom paper size support.

Keep an eye on this and if Apple don’t roll it into the next system update you might consider adding it yourself. It’s an easy upgrade on the Mac.

A slew of releases from Apple and others

I poked my head up from three days of working hard on dual boot problems to discover a slew of updates had been released by Apple and others.

The big news is the release of 10.5.5, with a bunch of bug fixes. At the same time there was a security update for 10.4.

Apple Remote Desktop also got a version bump with some bug fixes.

VMWare have also released Version 2.0 of Fusion. Given the speed they released it after the release candidate it wouldn’t surprise me if we see a bug fix release or two from them in the near future, though the release candidate seemed solid to me.

Reading and writing from Excel

Hackszine has a short piece that points to some useful resources for reading and writing to Excel files from Perl and PHP.

Given that spreadsheets and graphs make management happy this might be useful.

Fusion Goes Release Candidate

VMWare have made my day with a release candidate for Fusion 2.0.

I’ve been using Fusion 2 on my secondary Mac for a while and have just (last week) put it on my daily computer. I’ve run into a couple of minor bugs and wrinkles but no real show stoppers. I’m looking forward to putting RC1 through it’s paces.

A New Tutorial in the Wiki

I’ve posted a new tutorial, “Safe, Secure Image Serving with Mac OS X Server.”

It details the method I’ve developed for using NetBoot and NetRestore to allow imaging Macs across a wide campus by a number of different groups while limiting access to the core setup of your Server. Hope you find it useful.

Prism Comes to the Mac

Recently I mentioned Fluid, an application built on the same WebKit as Safari, which turns any web page into a stand alone application.

The Mozilla folks have been working on Prism, a similar (in fact it inspired Fluid) application based on the Mozilla engine under Firefox. The last time I looked they did not offer a Mac version but that has now been corrected with version 0.9

I’ve not used it much but, while it is similar, I like Fluid better, if for no other reasons than when you create a web applicaiton with Fluid the application name is the name you give the app whie in Prism it remains “Prism”. It also appears that you cannot “upgrade” the application you have created in Prism as you can with Fluid.

If, however, you have a web page that doesn’t work in Fluid it might be worth a try in Prism. I’d also keep an eye on both projects as I’m sure they will improve.

Security white paper for Leopard

Corsaire, who seem to be an IT security firm based in the UK, have released a white paper on improving the already good security of Leopard. It can be found on their page of technical white papers. Essential reading if you have Macs visible to the wild and woolly internet.

They wrote incredibly helpful white papers on securing Tiger and Panther, I found them to be essential when securing OS X Server for a public facing web and mail server. If you are still an OS version or two behind then these are also available at the link above.

I guess we might find it amusing that they have yet to release a white paper on securing either Windows XP or Vista but I am too polite to make the obvious jokes.

Emailchemy has a new version out

This is getting a little tedious but every time I see one of these neat utilities get a version bump I am reminded of how useful I have found it at some stage.

Emailchemy is one of them. If you never need it consider yourself lucky, but if you are attempting to shift a number of users off disparate email clients to a new standard then Emailchemy is a huge friend. Since I last used it this utility has only improved. It can read from a huge number of email clients and write the results out in a number of useful formats. It even includes an IMAP server so you can get the mail into a new system easily.

What utilities have you found useful for converting mailboxes and address books?

Fluid adds userstyles in 0.9.3

Fluid, the webkit based app that turns any web page into a stand alone application has had a minor version bump.

If you’ve never come across Fluid before let me recommend it for adding site specific browsers to your arsenal when building images. It is trivially easy to use and the applications you build will even update themselves to new version of Fluid when available.

The minor bump does add a great new feature - “userstyles.” This allows you to specify CSS style information for any page using wildcards. Visit the Fluid blog for details, including a nice screencast showing the userstyles feature.

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