The option button can be used to reveal hidden options and information in various places around Mac OS. One example of this is if you option-click the Wi-Fi icon in the menu bar, you will be presented with additional information about the network you are currently connected to, including the type of the Wi-Fi you’re using, the base station’s MAC address, the frequency channel you’re on, and the strength of the connection, among other details. In addition, there is an additional option to open Wireless Diagnostics which might be able to help you with Wi-Fi issues (however, in my experience it doesn’t really give useful information).
An additional tool to help debug network connections is a neat little utility called “Network Utility” that comes bundled with Mac OS X. You can find it in the Utilities subfolder in the Applications folder, or just use Spotlight to find it.
This utility provides a friendly interface for many tools that are commonly used on the command line for network debugging, such as ping, nslookup, traceroute, whois, and finger. An interesting tool though is the last tab: Port Scan. Yes, Mac OS comes with a port scanner bundled with it. Obviously one would hope that the port scanner be used for diagnostic purposes and not malicious purposes.
Most of the answers are geared towards managers in companies, in particular, tech companies. However, as managers are leaders, I think that some points can also be extrapolated out as tips for leaders in general.
In the past few weeks, I’ve been involved in ramping up the volunteer council of the YLM program this year, and I was able to spend some time reflecting on different leadership styles. Based on my personal experience in different roles at work and the groups that I volunteer with, the following points from the article resonated with me in particular. I think are easily applicable, but not limited to, a volunteer setting. (These generally correspond with the order of points in the first answer in the article in case you want to read in more detail)
routinely giving constructive feedback and affirming team members in a timely manner
recognizing team members that perform well
knowing the strengths (and weaknesses) of your team members, and what their expectations are
push team members to further develop themselves
create opportunities, and actively seeking people that would fit
optimizing processes (lowering the time doing overhead and administrivia, increasing time doing productive work of value)
ability to say ‘no’ if the team cannot handle it
giving credit to the team members
taking blame for the team
Obviously this is not a comprehensive list of what leaders should do, but just a summary of points from the Quora answer that resonate with me. In fact, I don’t think that any of the above points relate to the core task of a leader (guiding a team to accomplish a goal), but instead are things that differentiate a leader that just gets the job done with one that develops the team itself.
If you have any other thoughts about this list or leadership qualities in general, let me know in the comments.
Since I built my home server back in 2012, I’ve had a FreeNAS virtual machine running on it as the file server of my home network. For the past two years, I’ve been using it for the simplest of tasks (serving files). But over the past week, I’ve started looking deeper at some of the cool things FreeNAS and ZFS can do. The descriptions of each of these are going to be brief; they can probably be expanded to a full blog post, which I may do if I have time. However, until then, if your interest has been piqued, you will have to do some additional research on your own.
First, let me briefly introduce what FreeNAS is. FreeNAS is a system based on FreeBSD that primarily provides a network-attached storage (NAS) service for your network. It uses the ZFS file system, which as you’ll see in a bit has quite a number of interesting features. FreeNAS comes with a web interface where you can easily configure everything.
So with that introduction out of the way, let’s get into FreeNAS and ZFS!
CIFS, AFP, and NFS
In English, FreeNAS supports file sharing with Windows, Mac, and *nix computers. That was a pro for me because I have all flavours of operating systems on my computers at home.
The support for AFP (Apple Filing Protocol) includes Time Machine endpoints, which is something worth discussing in its own section below.
Networked Time Machine backups
It’s easy to setup Time Machine on your Mac using an external hard drive. However, unless you actually plug the drive in, there’s no backup opportunity. For me, sometimes I use my computer in my living room, other times in my bedroom. Sometimes my backup drive isn’t where I am working and I’m too lazy to go get it. There must be a better solution.
If you’re willing to spend a couple hundred dollars for an AirPort Time Capsule, it will allow you to make backups over the network, even over Wi-Fi. I actually bought one to try, but I returned it within a week because what it did really didn’t justify the cost.
Fortunately, FreeNAS has the option of enabling Time Machine endpoint functionality on AFP shares. Now, whenever I’m at home within Wi-Fi range, my Mac will automatically make Time Machine backups. Hands-free backups! Awesome! And with multiple Time Machine targets in OS X Mountain Lion, I’m able to have a backup to the NAS as well as a backup to an external drive whenever I get that plugged in.
One note is that networked backups are somewhat more finicky. The backup target gets corrupted more often than the one on the external drive. However, I’ve noticed using OS X Mavericks and the latest FreeNAS builds that generally it is a lot more stable than when I first configured it. Mostly, remembering to stop any current backups before turning off the computer will reduce the chance of corruption.
For more information about this, check out the following links:
Now let’s talk about some of the features of ZFS, which FreeNAS nicely gives us access to through the web configuration.
At some point in time you may want to ensure that your data on the NAS is backed up at a remote location (because even the most complex RAID setups won’t save you in the case of a fire or flood). This is where snapshots and replication comes into play.
ZFS snapshots are light weight and only store changed blocks. This means that they are fast (don’t require downtime) and don’t take up much extra space on the disk. Then, snapshots can be sent to another host with a ZFS volume over SSH.
FreeNAS’s web interface makes setting up automatic snapshots and replication very easy. In addition, the replication target is quite flexible because all that is required is a host that has ZFS and SSH. That means, it’s not necessary to be locked in to using a FreeNAS system as a replication target. In fact, using packages from ZFS on Linux, most 64-bit Linux distributions can be used as replication targets. I went with Debian as that was the easiest to setup for my particular case.
For more information about this, check out the following links:
I came across the plugins last week when I was diving a bit deeper into FreeNAS. I haven’t explored this fully yet.
FreeNAS is primarily a file server. However, as it’s a computer that’s almost always running, it makes sense to have other services run off of it so that a separate application server isn’t necessary. This is where plugins come in.
The plugins that I’m interested in are btsync (BitTorrent Sync), owncloud, and the media plugins. Right now, I have a separate virtual machine that serves these applications while storing the data on the NAS. Using plugins, this extra virtual machine may not be necessary!
If you take a look at Wikipedia article on ZFS, there are a lot of interesting features in ZFS. It supports its own type of software RAID to protect against drive failures. It’s possible to encrypt and compress data sets as well. This is just scratching the surface on what ZFS can do.
ZFS is a robust, reliable, and practical file system to be used as network-attached storage. Combined with the web interface provided by FreeNAS, this functionality is able to be unleashed for usage in diverse environments.
Are you using FreeNAS or ZFS in an interesting configuration? Have other tips for other users? Post your ideas in the comments!
If you have a MacBook with an infrared receiver, did you know your Mac could be open to other people controlling your computer? By default, Mac OS will recognize the signal of any Apple Remote. Although the effect is relatively harmless (they will probably be able to randomly play some tracks on iTunes), it can range from being annoying if you were studying in the library and your friend happened to prank you, to embarrassing if you happened to be doing a presentation.
Most people do not need to allow any Apple Remote to control their computer. Why would you want other people’s Apple Remotes to control your computer? Here is a tutorial for securing your infrared port so that only your own Apple Remote can control your computer.
If you have an Apple Remote…
You can pair your remote with your computer by pressing and holding the Menu and Next (right) buttons for several seconds, while pointing the remote to the infrared receiver (on the MacBook Pro unibody models, the port is beside the power/sleep light on the front edge of the computer). The pairing logo will show up in the middle of your screen when the pairing is complete.
If you don’t have an Apple Remote…
You can disable the infrared port so that nobody with a random Remote can control your computer.
Open System Preferences → Security & Privacy.
If the preferences are locked, you will need to click on the lock at the bottom left and enter your password.
Click the Advanced… button at the bottom right.
Check “Disable remote control infrared receiver.”
Hopefully this tutorial will help you avoid annoying or embarrassing situations when people try to prank you with their own Apple Remote.
Yesterday, Popes John Paul II and John XXIII were declared saints in a canonization mass attended by over 800,000 people in St. Peter’s Square. For the rest of us who weren’t able to make it in person to Rome, the event was live-streamed and now available to watch on YouTube!
Here in Vancouver, the archdiocese held a Mass to celebrate this event with about 10,000 attendees in Pacific Coliseum.
…the Church doesn’t “make someone” a saint. The Church recognizes the holiness of certain individuals and honors some with the title of “saint.” If you make it to heaven, you are a saint – whether or not the Church recognizes you as one publicly.
[God's] given us … the saints to offer a model of life and example of prayer.
Your sainthood doesn’t begin when a council starts investigating your life. Your invitation to sainthood began at your Baptism. Your life – right now – is your RSVP.
In short, we should learn from the canonized saints, and strive to become a saint ourselves.