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 mac.com 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 http://freeware.the-meiers.org . 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!