MySQL on a 10.5.8 (Leopard) Server

Always find installing MySQL frustrating, but after a half dozen attempts I finally get it right.

Again, these are more notes to myself than to be a full documentation.

Using Server Admin, make sure the MySQL server is running. Set the “Set MySQL Root Password”. Note the Database location. Start MySQL.

Using the free “MySQL GUI Tools” from the web site run “MySQL Administrator”. Install and run the tools on the server itself. When you attempt to connect it will not work.

Server HostName: Localhost
Port: 3306
Username: root
Password: (password you set above)

And the tricky bit, Connect Using Socket: /var/mysql/mysql.sock (Database location)

Once connected you’ll want to add a root with “%” access to the users database. This will give root access from any computer besides the server. Or you can assign an IP to restrict database access/management.

WGM & DeployStudio Client Issues

Over the last couple of weeks I’ve spent at least 4 days at a school, helping with their Mac Lab. It had unexpected binding issues rejecting user log-ins, computers that refused to pick up security settings and a server that was acting ‘funny’.

Things I figured out that I’d like to pass on.

1) Setup Deploy Studio using the Computers/Server’s IP number rather than it’s name.
Since we were unsure if the ‘core’ group had setup full reverse lookup, this proved to be much more reliable.

2) If a computer refuses to pick up security setting from Work Group Manager (WGM), there is no need to re-image (which we tried).
The problem ended up being the systems binding. We unbound the computer from both AD and OD, then removed the computer from the AD OU and totally removed from WGM.. Then re-added, and rebounded. IT WORKED. Can’t tell you how frustrating this was.

The first day was spent working on getting a binding script to work. One of the two computers that gave us such a fit, was the computer I de-bugged the script on. So I am pretty sure that was on of the causes of the WGM issue later on (even after re-imaging).

One of the things I like to point out to techs new to Macs is, AD and OD are just directories, lists of computers and policies. How each directory manages the policies is a little different, but basically they do the same things. Binding allows for a connection, either secure or not. In our case AD provides the user authentication and OD is security settings, AD is secure OD is not. AD is from client to server, OD is from server to client.

Yes I know it is much more technical than that, but in simple terms.

One of my simple tests to see of OD is working is to add a user account to WGM, name address, phone number, etc. Then after binding, use AddressBook to search for that user. In my case, if I search for ‘dingley’ if it find’s my name in AD and OD, displaying two contacts, showing that the OD binding is working. (All employess are listed in AD. Credentials)

This post is more a historic record of projects I’ve worked on. Hopefully they will help if I run into these problems again.

What happened to Caller ID?

Over the years of working with automation, one of the tasks I’ve always enjoyed was Caller ID. Knowing who was calling before you picked up, a joy of modern living. Having a computer broadcast Caller Id over the network using Growl, logging the call to display on a web page. Having it run a script depending on who is calling, truly geeky?

One of the fun things I did with Caller ID was deciding what do when someone entered or exited our community through our gates. The association has two phone lines, one for incoming visitor and one for exiting. What the computer said and did was determined by the number calling in.

Doing this task was a Mac Mini G4 and a OVOLab Usb Adapter running the PHLINK software and a bit of Applescript. Not difficult at all pretty much plug and play.

Twice over the span of 10 years, either the phone company or the power company has blown at least two adapters. The last time was about a month ago, not a cloud in the sky, and the power goes out. When it comes back on, my lovely adapter is once again blown.

Now the fun part, trying to find a replacement. There were two companies that made similar devices, OVOLabs and Parliant’s Phone Valet. Both are now off the market. … WHAT!?

OK.. So here are my problems.I have a few Mac Mini G4’s for automation and a couple of Intel Mac Minis which I use as servers. The servers are taxed to the max. The Mac Mini G4 has a built in modem which does NOT support Caller ID. After a bit of research I found out that the Apple’s USB Modem Adapter does support Caller ID. (Oh and I found out these do not work on the Intel iMacs! ).. Quick trip to eBay and $22!

Next problem, how to enable and use the Caller ID feature? First what program to use. The program that came up most on web searches was CIDTrackerX, which to my surprise I had purchased a license for back in 2003. And the second was MacCallerID. MacCallerID is a dead end, the web site is down, a very old web site. With no way to contact the author. However, CIDTracker (or CIDTrackerX), I emailed the author asking if his software had any unpublished updates and he replied. (He’d contact me in a few days). – While waiting I continued my quest.

So I continued to test CIDTrackerX. One of the things you need is the command to enable Caller ID on your modem. Back in the 80’s I lived Hayes AT commands, Hayes was king. I was surprised that the command set was still being developed and used, with what seemed like hundreds of new commands. With hundreds of new variations. Finding the one to enable CID on the Apple USB Modem took a little searching.

AT+VCID=1 to enable
AT+VCID=0 to disable

With those command in hand I returned to CDTrackerX and entered those into the proper boxes. Nothing! ARG. Hope Mr. Dean Davis of AfterTen Software gets back to me soon!

In the mean time I tested the modem a bit more using CoolTerm by Roger Meier at . A wonderful free program I have used for years. Connect to modem, issue the enable command and call the phone line connected to modem. JOY, Caller ID info.

As it stands now I have two choices, wait for Mr. Davis to email back, or start working on my own software to deal with CID…

Know what I am doing this weekend!

Solidoodle 3, first and second impressions.

Building and creating my own creations has always been a fault of mine. Most of the creations were built from wood or scrapes of whatever was laying around. But then came 3D printers, the ability to print almost anything you could draw. A dream come true!?

A couple of years ago I purchased one of the first 3D printers (MakerBot) for myself and my stepson for Christmas. It took a couple of weeks to put together and align. Then came printing. Nothing ever printed as well as photos online. We spend MONTHS playing with alignments and settings, never quite right. So after two years, I gave up. Decided to try a new less expensive printer the Solidoodle.

When I ordered, a note said 4-8 weeks. Little did I know that it was really 6 months or more. Ordered September 2012, received February 2013. But in all honesty, while waiting for my Solidoodle 2, the Solidoodle 3 came out. An impressive 8 x 8 print area and only $100 additional, I was in.

Figured with all the talk of ease of printing and the nice metal case, it would be a plug and play operation. It would be aligned at the factory and shipped ready to use to your home.

Boy was I wrong. Plus the more play with it the more I see it is by no means a better printer. The print head break easily. If you run out of filament mid print, you have to take apart the print head, risking breaking it (Keep a few on hand!!!)

The software seems nicer than the MakerBots, but since I am yet to be able to print anything it is difficult to say.

Over the next few months I will continue my efforts and report my findings to this blog.

Cheap Geek

Ok. It has been 6 years since we setup our remote site, although it is still a “In Works Project” we wanted more direct access. Meaning a URL rather than an IP number (dynamic). Problem is the only ISP in town uses Dynamic IP numbers and was clueless on providing Static IPs. So todays project, a work-a-round.

Heard good things around Installed all their software, followed their direction, still no “IP report” from the mountains. Checked GoDaddy, where we purchased our domain names, and who we do our hosting with. No good options for DNS reporting/lookup.

Tried, almost got there, was supposed to work with OpenDNS, but the connection was never made.

Then, at last, Their site isn’t clear on charges and what features you get with what plan. But the free plan seems to work for our needs. HOWEVER it could expire in 30 days. At one point we saw $14.95 a month for their plan… HUM, a static IP generally costs that! It could have been per year, we need to look deeper.

But we can now get to our remote site using, perfect.

Now lets see how long, cheap lasts! Will report back on progress.

There is a time when a geek has to say ‘enough’.

After 7 years, we are simi-retiring a Apple Xserve G5. Not because it could no longer do the job, but the noise.

Couldn’t tell you how many computers and servers we have in this place, no really I can’t. We normally get at least two need pieces of hardware a year. And with the life expectancy of a Mac near that of platinum, we are always trying to find new ways to use old computers and servers.

Well the xserve was just getting too loud, and we happen to have 2 Mac Mini G4’s laying around (one has an SSD drive, the other the standard 40 gb hd). But we also have a large assortment of external hard drives, we found an external firewire with a 300 gb drive. We cloned the old Xserve onto the external drive, then just plugged the external into the Mac Mini, set the boot drive and there you have it. Moved…. It is SLOWER than the Dual G5, but you can’t hear a thing.

We off loaded most of the tasks to one of our Intel Mac Minis, leaving the G4 Mini to handle OpenFire Chat server, DHCP and a couple of small web sites.. Surprised how easy that was..

There has already been a few ‘wow it is quiet around here’ comments.

Points we’d like to make:
1) In the past we learned that G4 Mac Mini do pretty well as servers, but beware the drives do wear out. Backup often.
2) Adding RAM would really help, but 1 gb is about all you can add. Not much overhead.

Life’s Little (Geeky) Joys.

One of my pet peeves at work is kids using the computers as their own personal game units. Mostly when the superintendent specifically said “computers in schools are for education, not gaming”. So when students visit sites like, and it just burns me up. You are right, I shouldn’t let it bother me, but when I go into these rooms and find keyboards destroyed I just can not allow it.

First, I work with K-5 grade students, not the junior hackers of Middle School and the determined hackers in high schools. Most can’t spell none the less type. BUT they can use search engines.

So I setup Work Group Manager (WGM) to force run a Login script each time a user logs in. It sets the wallpaper, clears the browser (Safari), empties the trash and opens the schools ‘student lab page’, which has links to all the district web applications. And the final command is to run a background hidden script that checks the safari’s url bar from time to time to see what site is being visited. If it matches one of the listed sites it BEEPs 7 times at almost full volume, displays a violation notice, closes the browser and reruns then reruns the login script.

I was blown away by how well this worked. The student would visit the site, select a game, then start to play. After a few seconds, bam. They normally do this a few times before they get the hint.

Now all I have to do is monitor the computers with Apple Remote Desktop (ARD) and see if they have found any new sites. When they do I add them to the scripts lists, and push the script out to all the student computers.

Didn’t have to spend a dime and only took a couple of hours to code, deploy and test.

Snow Leopard and Java (gag)

Don’t know who to blame for the state of affairs with Snow Leopard and its related plugins, Adobe, Oracle, Apple or the whole lot of them.

One of my school’s is pretty much all Mac, yes there are the token PCs’/Dells’ in the administration offices. But overall the classrooms and labs have Macs. Over 300 of them. My other two sites are Dells’ and HPs’ running Windows XP.

Yes I get flak from the other techs about really liking my Mac school, but there are way more pros than cons. One is Apple Remote Desktop (ARD). Techs provided their basic software tools so, I am unable to find anything for the Windows machines that can touch ARD. Able to monitor all my computers on one screen, see the screens of a lab’s full of computers, push out software and the list goes on. Only reason I don’t use ARD to manage the Windows machines, is that would require a VNC client which isn’t permitted. (Road Block #1)

For Windows most of the techs buy Damewares by Solarwinds. And the district provides Ghost and we are instructed on using Active Directory and GPO’s (Apple has Open Directory and Work Group Manager {WGM}). These tools work, and allow us to manage fairly large networks, but not with the grace of ARD.

That all being said, over the last few months. We’ve been forced to start upgrading all our Leopard (10.5) Intel iMacs to Snow Leopard (10.6), mostly because of lack of plug-in support.

The District has taken to purchasing pretty much all the software a school needs, most of it being web based. And since most of the school are using Windows we get to play MAKE IT WORK OR GET RID OF THE MACS. Ha. One we don’t have the budget or the electrical to support Windows Machines.

Long and short, to get Java working on a Mac again (10.6) upgrade/install the following while logged in as an Administrator:
Adobe Authorware 7 Complete
Java For Mac OSX 10.6
Safari 5.1.7
Shockwave Installer Full

After you install all these go to Applications >> Safari and do a Control+i
Enable 32 Bit mode
Enable Rosetta

While still logged in as an Administrator do plugin tests, we have a page we goto and just go down the list, you can find them on Google. Make sure to upgrade Acrobat Reader and Accept the license agreement.

All this can be done remotely using ARD.

Death of a Weather Station

One of our projects last year was a weather station, it was built in Miami and transported to Tennessee and installed.

The weather station worked stand alone, away from all buildings using solar panels. It transmitted all information to the servers using 60 mW XBees. The information was then put on the web. The system worked great until a freak wind storm blew through and knocked it over. Luckily we were scheduled to return to the site within two weeks.

At first we thought the station was vandalized,  none of our remote cameras had a great view of the station, all we could tell was it was down. None of our cameras recorded anyone near the station during daylight hours (and when the sun goes down, it is DARK. And had someone approached the station at night with flashlights we would have caught that as well. But nothing.)

When we arrived on-site, to our amazement all the hardware survived. The solar panels had minor cracks, but that was on their backsides. Wires had been ‘snapped’, easy to patch. And all other hardware was still weather tight and undamaged. We did have to removed the station until next season, giving us time to build a new stand/tower. (It was below freezing for our visit and I was happy we didn’t have to return the station to operation during that visit.)

So a thanks to SparkFun for selling such robust hardware. … And back to the drawing board for a better stand/tower.

WeatherStationNumber1 Before Install WeatherStationNumber1bDamage Results

Final Report:

This WAS Weather Station #1.. There was an attempt to add a remote control camera (note: glass dome), but at the last minute it was dropped. It was dropped because we could not get the programming, the added hardware and custom parts made in time. Perhaps Weather Station #2.

Other flaws were that stand was to narrow. The installed station only had the lower solar panel installed (not the dual panels as in the photo), but that exposed the Electronics Tube to direct sunlight (and heat build up). We placed a large bird house over the Electronics Tube, which helped with the heat issue.

Recommendations: Lower electronics tube, widen the over stance of stand. Full concrete footing would be nice, if possible, otherwise wide heavy sleds.

We did have ropes tied to blocks the keep the stand upright, which seem to work. However the ropes rotted. – More pre-install tests.

Mac Mini Snow Leopard Died

Last weekend I noticed the Snow Leopard server’s cameras weren’t working. On digging (and restarting) I noticed the boot drive had failed. Ran permissions and disk repair, after a few errors and fixes, it passed all the tests. Sigh of relief!

Then on Tuesday, same thing. Only this time the drive would not respond to any commands or disk utility tools.

Ordered two new 750 gb hard drives from, installed. Spent hours trying to recover and back up the bad drive. – Started a format, cancelled, then once again tried disk utilities, it help. – Target mode the old drive, carbon copied the old drive on to the new drive. – Booted on a USB Snow Leopard installer, ran disk utilities and rebooted.

It worked!

Only issue I had was Open Directory didn’t work, so demoted server to standalone, then back to master, then did a restore from backup. It worked