Category Archives: iPad

I need a new password manager

I need a new password management application.  The one that I had previously been using (which won’t get named here) has been deleted due to anti-employee actions.  I’m looking for a password manager that works well on my Mac, allows for syncing passwords with multiple computers, and preferably has an iOS app too.

How to get Pages, Keynote, Numbers, iPhoto, and iMovie for free on your new iPad

I succumbed, and bought a new retina iPad Mini this weekend.  My old iPad, the first release of the iPad 2, was showing its age on iOS7.  Apps were running slower, and the spiffiness of the newest iPads had me thinking about an upgrade.  Based on specs, I couldn’t make the decision between the iPad Air and the iPad Mini; in-store playing with the two iPads side-by-side, I knew that I wanted the iPad Mini within seconds.

I knew that new iOS 7 devices (anything purchased after September 1, 2013) were supposed to get iPhoto, iMovie, Keynote, Pages, and Numbers for free.  After I had transferred everything from my iPad 2 to my new iPad Mini, I opened up the App Store to download these apps.  But they all showed their full price, and didn’t show that they were free for new devices.  My husband also purchased an iPad Mini at the same time (upgrading from the short-lived iPad 3), and the apps all showed up free for him.  If you’re like me and the apps didn’t show up for free, here’s what worked for me to get it:

  1. Quit all apps: double-tap your Home button and swipe every running app up to fully quit out of it).
  2. Clear out Safari’s caches: Open up the Settings app, tap on Safari, then “clear history” and “clear cookies and data”.
  3. Try downloading the apps again: Open up the App Store and search for one of them.  It should show up as “free” now.

The support page says that you’re supposed to be presented with a dialog offering to download all of them for you when you launch the App Store, but that wasn’t the case for me.  I had to individually search them all out.

On my first attempt to do this, it mostly worked.  I was able to search for and install Keynote, Numbers, iPhoto, and iMovie.  However, Pages behaved strangely: it showed up for free, and when I tapped on it to install, I would get the round progress indicator and then the “free” button again.  I tried a couple of times without success.  I finally waited for the other apps to finish installing, verified that they had all worked correctly, and then repeated the steps outlined above.  This time, when I searched for Pages, there wasn’t a “free” or “install” button, just the round button that had previously indicated progress.  When I tapped on it, I got a message saying that I had already purchased the app and that it would download it again to my iPad.  It did, it works, and I haven’t yet seen a charge for it.  As far as I can tell, it has worked.  I can’t explain why everything except Pages behaved well, but at least I was able to finally install it.

I couldn’t find this documented anywhere else, so I’m sharing it in case someone else has the same problem.

MacIT 2014 call for speakers

The MacIT 2014 Call for Speakers is now live.  MacIT will be held in San Francisco, California, on March 26-29, 2014.  In short, we’re looking for people who have experience as Mac system administrators who want to share their expertise and network with other Mac sysadmins.

Personally, here are some things for which I’d love to see MacIT proposals:

  • creating heterogeneous IT environments — How did you go from a homogeneous environment to a heterogeneous one?  What did you learn along the way?  What would you do differently?  What caused you to move to a heterogeneous environment?
  • integrating Macs and iOS into enterprise IT — How did you manage the transition?  How did you train your staff?  What changes did you have to make to your infrastructure?
  • Mac virtualization beyond the desktop — Don’t get me wrong, I love the Fusion team and use it myself, but there’s a lot more to virtualization than just running Fusion on your desktop.  What are you using to provide a virtual Mac infrastructure?  What kinds of applications are you using in your virtual Mac infrastructure?  What kinds of users use your virtual Mac infrastructure?

The Call for Speakers has additional topic ideas, too.  Don’t feel limited by what I’ve listed here!

If you’re interested in speaking at MacIT but aren’t sure if you’ve got a good topic, I’d be happy to chat with you and brainstorm an awesome topic for you.  Just ping me.

how do I transfer iTunes metadata about iPhone and iPad?

I have hit a second snag in moving my iTunes 11 library on my old Mac to iTunes 10 on my new Mac.

When I plug in my iPhone, which was previously syncing with my old Mac, to my new Mac, I get the warning that this iPhone is synced with another Mac. I’m given the option of either erasing it and syncing it, or doing nothing. I would be happy to let it erase and sync since all of the content that is on the iPhone is on the new Mac. However, the vast majority of the 64GB of content on my device is music, and I really don’t want to have to go through all of the playlists and artists and albums and configure which ones get synced.

Other than manually rebuilding this information, is there any other way to do this? All of the content that’s on the phone is on the new Mac, so I’m not trying to transfer content off of the iPhone. I just don’t want to have to go through and manually configure what syncs to the iPhone and what doesn’t. I have the same issue with my iPad 2 syncing with the new Mac: same error message, all of the content is on both the iPad and the new Mac, I don’t want to have to rebuild the list of what syncs and what doesn’t (which is about which movies and books sync).

I still have the old Mac and its old iTunes library. I would try to reimport the iTunes library, but I’ve added a bunch of content to the new iTunes library before I tried to sync with my iPhone. Moving to iTunes 11 on the new Mac is not an option. I’d rather take the time to rebuild the sync lists rather than do that.

yes, you can move your iTunes 11 library to iTunes 10

I asked earlier if anyone had any pointers on moving an iTunes 11 library to iTunes 10.  I didn’t want to downgrade iTunes 11 to iTunes 10 on a single computer, but rather wanted to move an iTunes 11 library that exists on one Mac to an unused iTunes 10 library on another Mac.

The answer appears to be an almost-perfectly-unqualified yes.  Via Twitter and, I got several suggestions.  I decided to try the one that was the easiest: export my iTunes 11 library to XML, and then import it into iTunes 10.  I figured if it didn’t work, then I probably hadn’t lost too much time.  It worked!

So here are the steps that I followed:

  1. On my old Mac, I launched iTunes 11 and went to File -> Library -> Export Library, and saved my library to a flash drive.
  2. After that had completed on my old Mac, I quit out of iTunes and ejected the flash drive that held the library file, and also ejected the external hard drive that housed the actual media in my iTunes library.
  3. On my new Mac, I connected both the flash drive and the external hard drive.
  4. On my new Mac, I launched iTunes 10 and went to File -> Library -> Import Playlist and selected my exported iTunes library.  It began churning away.  Since that library has ~35k items in it, it was clearly going to take awhile, and I left it to do its thing while I ran some errands.
  5. On my new Mac, I checked and everything that I was most concerned about (playlists, ratings, etc) was there!  All of my metadata had been preserved, and my media files had been moved to my new Mac’s hard drive.  (Thankfully, I had enough space.  They’ll be moved off to an external hard drive soon.)  I spot-checked several songs, playlists, videos, and podcasts, and everything was there.
  6. To confirm that I had everything, I compared the size of my new iTunes media folder with my old iTunes media folder, and discovered that the former was larger by about 8 GB.  I discovered two things that didn’t get copied over: all of my Books, and all of the application files for my iPhone and iPad.  The former is surprising, since it had gotten everything else, the latter is unsurprising.  So on my new Mac, I went to File -> Add to Library and added those books and applications back in.

Next up is to move my photo library from my old Mac to my new Mac, which should be a lot easier, and then sync my iPhone and my iPad to the new Mac and make sure that everything works.  Once that is done, I’ve got a few clean-up items to do on my old Mac, and then I can let it go to its final resting home.

Many thanks to Brian Webster for the original suggestion.  I’m pleasantly surprised that it was so easy.

can I move iTunes 11 library to iTunes 10?

I have an old MacBook Pro running Snow Leopard and iTunes 11.  I have a spiffy new retina MacBook Pro running Mountain Lion and iTunes 10.  The abomination that is iTunes 11 was released after I got the rMBP, and I never upgraded it.

The old MBP is the machine that is the one that syncs with my iPhone.  It has my portable iTunes library, as well as my photo library.  I’d prefer to move everything over to my spiffy rMBP, but I also don’t want to have to upgrade to iTunes 11 on it.  I also don’t want to lose all of the metadata that I have stored in my iTunes library, such as playlists and song ratings.

I’m not trying to downgrade iTunes 11 on my old MBP.  My iTunes library has been updated multiple times (new songs, new ratings, new playlists) since I unwittingly accepted that update, so I don’t think that any of the downgrade options will work for me.

iCloud syncing is very much not an option, not least of which because my iTunes library is larger than its limit.

I realize that I’m asking for a lot here, but I’m hoping that someone might have done this and my search-fu just isn’t awesome enough to have found the documentation of it.  I’ve found plenty of documentation about downgrading, but not my scenario.

An alternate scenario would be for me to start syncing with my server at home instead of syncing with my laptop.  I haven’t pursued this seriously because there are multiple iPhones in the house (mine, my husband’s, and our household line) and I haven’t found a good solution for dealing with one iTunes library, multiple Apple accounts (and the resulting differences in which apps are available where), and multiple iPhoto libraries.  We currently have the home media server set up with a shared account (which is what is used for adding new content to the iTunes library and all playback), and we have individual accounts on the server.  Apple’s guidance for using multiple devices on the same computer is useless for this household’s use case.  So unless there’s an awesome solution that I haven’t found, it seems like it’s a lot easier and less error-prone to maintain my own iTunes and iPhoto libraries on my own laptop.

Mac users are the original BYOD

During MacIT last week, my fellow advisory board members and I gave a panel session titled “Things You Should Know: Mountain Lion”.  During my slot, I talked about the evolution of BYOD.  I couldn’t cover as much as I wanted during that time, and lots of people talked to me after the session, which gave me even more ideas about this.

The modern roots of BYOD can be traced to the iPhone.  People started buying their own iPhones and using them side-by-side with their corporate-issued smartphones.  When the iPhone gained Exchange ActiveSync support in 2008, people started ignoring their corporate-issued smartphones and doing more and more corporate work on their iPhones.  Additionally, people who never had corporate-issued smartphones now started using their personal iPhones against corporate resources.  IT had to adapt to this influx of new and unsupported devices.  Some companies began issuing iPhones (and other smartphones as well, as more competitors to the iPhone appeared).  Still others decided that it was better to let employees buy their own phones, and their IT infrastructure would just have to support it.  Bring Your Own Device suddenly became a thing with its own acronym and its own policy.

BYOD has plenty of advantages, both to the employee and to the company.  Employees get to buy hardware that they like to use.  They can consolidate onto a single device and not carry around two smartphones.  Companies and their IT departments now have fewer devices that they have to manage.

Just about the same time when we started to take BYOD seriously, and when companies were creating official policies about how they would handle BYOD, the iPad came onto the market.  It was a natural extension to BYOD to allow these new tablets onto the corporate infrastructure.  As with the iPhone, the iPad also paved the way for other tablets to follow suit.

Now, we’re seeing BYOD extended to laptops.  Companies are starting to allow their employees to bring their own laptops.  Those of us who have been Mac users for a long time look at BYOD and realize that we’ve been doing BYOD for years and years, we just never put a name on it.  If we did put a name on it, it was “sneaking around”.  Mac users have been using their personal laptops for work purposes for years and years.  Sometimes it was just when working at home, other times it was bringing it to work and figuring out what was necessary to get it to work on the corporate network.  These clandestine Mac users would trade information amongst themselves about what works and what doesn’t, what software was necessary to make everything look okay, and how to be a Mac user and not look like you were a Mac user.

I know a number of Mac IT admins who got their start in companies that were willing to look the other way when Mac users brought their laptops to work.  They became known as the IT person who could help out the Mac users, either by helping them with the right settings or software to be more functional on the corporate network, or who were willing to make the right tweaks to the infrastructure to support Mac users without impacting everyone else.  They didn’t start as Mac IT admins, and they didn’t even necessarily start as Mac users themselves, but they helped out and learned a lot by doing.  The MacEnterprise mailing list got its start several years ago, and has always had a sizeable element of trying to figure out how to get Macs to work in an environment that, at best, doesn’t support Macs, and, at worst, might be actively hostile to them.

For us longtime Mac users, BYOD has helped engender a lot of changes to IT that makes it easier for us to be Mac users.  The cloud, SaaS, virtualization, and virtual desktops have all made it possible for us to easily access data and applications that we had to fight our way around otherwise.  IT has had to adapt to support all of this.  On one hand, a heterogeneous environment can be more difficult to manage; on the other hand, happy users and a more flexible and adaptive environment can be easier to manage.

It’s a pretty awesome time to be a Mac user in the enterprise, and I think that it’s just going to get easier and easier from here.  It’s also a pretty awesome time to be a Mac IT administrator, since these skills are in high demand as more companies decide that it’s time to adapt to a changing workforce and an ever-changing array of devices that must be supported by their infrastructure.

a memo to Notifications Center (Mountain Lion edition)

Dear Notifications Center,

I hate you.

I hate you because you’re that obnoxious person at the party who has to be the center of attention, even though you’re ostensibly on the sidelines.

Whenever there’s an update, not only do I have the badge on the App Store telling me that you would like attention, but I’ve also got you sitting there in my upper left corner of my desktop telling me that no, really, you’d like some attention now.  And my options are either “upgrade” or “details”.  There’s no “dismiss”, there’s no little green X.  There’s just those two options.  I can’t get rid of you without opening up the App Store, even though I’ve already decided that updating you isn’t in my top priorities right now.  In fact, on my home server, you’re always going to have a little red badge on the App Store because that server is still running iTunes 10, and if there’s anything that I hate more than you, it’s iTunes 11.  You’re a close second, though, and if I consider your iOS brother, I might actually hate you more because you’re even more obnoxious in the smaller form factor.

Oh, and I hate you because I can’t tell you that there are notifications that I never want.  I never want to be notified with sound, and you don’t even give me the option to not have sound on some notifications (I’m looking at you, Facebook notifications).  I don’t want banners, and I don’t want alerts.  There’s a reason that I never install Growl on my own, and that I uninstall it if some other bloody application decides to install it without asking me.  The only notification that I ever want is a little badge, preferably with a number in it, and maybe a bounce on the dock icon if something is truly desperate for attention.  Other than that: GTFO.

I hate you because your sort order is impossible to scan if there’s a lot of items in there.  My options are to sort manually (because I totally want to have to manage a list of apps manually) or to sort by time (because I totally care about whether I last managed an app 3 months ago or 3 months and 1 day ago).  Why can’t sorting alphabetically even be an option?

I hate you because you take up a precious spot on my menu bar, and you’ve also broken all of my muscle memory that told me that Spotlight was always the rightmost item in my menu bar.  Now Spotlight, that’s something that I use all the bloody time.  I don’t have a single application or anything else in Notification Center (go on, go look at my settings for you: everything’s listed under “not in Notification Center”), but there you are, not just sitting in my menu bar all the time, but sitting somewhere where I’d love to have something that was actually useful to me.

I want to be able to make sure that any new app never gives me a sound or thinks that it is somehow worthy of alerts or (grrr) banners.  But no, I can’t do that.  I have to manage every single individual app by itself, and I either have to remember to do that when I install the app, or wait until the app fires an unwanted notification, get annoyed by the unwanted and unnecessary notification, and then go through and do the same damn thing again where I remove all badges, alerts, sounds, and everything else.

In short, feel free to FOAD.

No love,