Do NOT Recommend Using These!

For those looking for another network jack, do NOT buy a Ethernet splitter. Buy a mini switch for just a few dollars more. The splitters have nice drawings that show how they work! But they don’t! The only case they would work is if the existing jack is wired for such purpose, in the case of older networks where it could work, it would make the whole network slower.

Had a good laugh yesterday when customer requested a splitter, even sending an Amazon photo. All the network people huddled and asked what would happen. Because all our networks are all Poe, it would be dangerous! Very likely causing damage to anything plugged into it..

Also there are mini hubs and mini switches. Hubs are slower basically acting like an old scanner moving data from one port, then the next. Would recommend a Switch any day!

Just passing on info.

Creating a Win10 install Thumb Drive on Mac

Company I work for is in the process of upgrading all it Windows 7 netbooks to Windows 10. They supplied us with a limited number of thumb drives with installer. Nice setup, log in as Administration, press ‘Start’ and walk away. However with just under 500 netbooks to upgrade and 10 thumb drives, this process could take a few weeks.

As you can see by earlier post, I snagged a few $4 thumb drives at Target, 16 GB.

According to the Win10 thumb drives they are 32 gb, but only using a little over 8 gb.

Enter Paragon Software’s “NTFS for Mac”. I was able to format my thumb drives as NT, then using an older version of Carbon Copy Cloner (5.3.7) and Snow Leopard. I was able to create a sparse image of thumb drive, then use CCC to image the thumb drive.

Took almost an hour to create each thumb drive on a laptop. But in the end it saved hours of work and allowed for more imaging of netbooks per hour.

So the process is, 1) Partition thumb drive using NTFS for Mac, 2) Erase/Format thumb drive again, as ExFat then 3) use CCC to copy the sparse image onto the thumb drive. Using a USB thumb drive on my MBP, cloning took almost 2 hours, deadly slow. So try to stick to USB 2 thumb drives.

Solidoodle – Rest in Peace

Seems Solidoodle, the 3d printer company, has ceased operation (as of March of this year).

Can’t say I am very surprised, we have two different Solidoodle printers. Neither has worked well, and tech support was a joke. The last resolution was to send the printer back for trouble shooting, had it boxed up ready to go, but thought better of it. Glad I didn’t send it back now. Although it still has an issue, at least I still have the printer.

Sad an American company couldn’t make a go of it and the Press is a pretty printer.

Outdoor Sensor Array

How many sensors can we plug into one Arduino and setup outdoors? This is how many I was able to cram into one Project Box.

The system uses a ESP8266 Wifi / Arduino Card with a screw terminal Shield. — I attempted to run it all with two 12 volt solar panels with a solar charger. Didn’t have enough juice, so ended up just plugging into outlet located outside.


Screenshot 2016-03-06 12.32.51


PyConnect – Power Failures

Wow, been a busy month, almost non-stop.

However I am now able to catch up with projects I wanna do. One was fix an issue with PyConnect.

PyConnect is a great system to connect Plex Server to the families three AppleTV boxes. Long and short it changes the Trailers channel into your Plex Server Channel. And it is easy enough for everyone to use.

However when the power goes out (normal here during rainy season), the kids would have to wait till I get home and re-run the script. The script would asked for admin password. Not something I am willing to hand over to the kids yet.

So after some googling this is what I came up with:

set sshPasswd to “supergeek1”


tell application “Terminal”


end tell

on error

end try

tell application “Terminal”


my execCmd(“cd /Applications/PlexConnect-Master”, 1)

my execCmd(“set timeout 30”, 1)

my execCmd(“expect -c ‘spawn sudo ./; expect \”*?assword:*\”; send \”&sshPassword&\”; interact’;”, 1)

end tell

on execCmd(cmd, pause)

tell application “System Events”

tell application process “Terminal”

set frontmost totrue

keystroke cmd

keystroke return

end tell

end tell

delay pause

           end execCmd

This was written in Applescript, saved as an Application bundle, and added to the startup items. Noticed if I didn’t quit terminal first, all the system would do is make a few clicking noises and pyconnect wouldn’t start.

It also has the added bonus of not displaying the password, and you still get the terminal activity window to monitor usage.

Not bad for an afternoon’s playing.



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.

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.