Weekly News Summary for Admins — 2021-02-26

Lots of updates this week: a new app for cloud logins, Munki patch and beta, a tool to ‘Nudge’ users to update or upgrade, an update to Scout, which reads plists, xml and JSON, and Jamf Connect.

Also another minor update for macOS. It is refreshing that Apple now has the third version digit available to distinguish ‘supplemental updates.’ Less refreshing is the fact that even a ‘minor’ update which fixes a single documented issue requires a 2.6GB download and 30 minutes with multiple reboots.

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macOS 11 Big Sur and Apple silicon Macs

macOS and iOS Updates

MacAdmins on Twitter

  • Tim Perfitt: “ok, this was unexpected. you can run custom gui apps and command utils on the m1 in 1TR (recovery).” (Thread)
  • Greg Neagle: “@tperfitt It should. Bootstrappr works fine on m1 from 1TR/Recovery.”
  • Laura Rösler: “After 3 months with macOS Big Sur, almost ¾ of our Mac fleet is on macOS 11.”

Security and Privacy

Support and HowTos

Scripting and Automation

Apple Support

Updates and Releases

To Watch

To Listen

Just for Fun

  • MIT CSAIL: “Today’s the day that “hello world” said “hello world!” The term was coined in a textbook published #otd in 1978: “C Programming Language,” written by Brian Kernighan and Dennis Ritchie.”

Support

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Weekly News Summary for Admins — 2021-02-19

Yesterday evening (central european time) my social media feeds were dominated with news and comments about the Perserverance Mars rover landing on Mars. I watched the live stream and it was thrilling to watch the culmination of years of work of thousands of experts.

As I was watching the live stream from the JPL command center on the big screen and following the comments and updates on Twitter, I realized how wonderful it is that I can follow and celebrate such an event live, from my home.

Before internet streaming and social media, the details of such an event would have been inaccessible to all but a few. Sadly, this kind of event is not really of interest for TV stations. We would have gotten a nice summary the next day in the news. The scientists and engineers behind this miraculous achievement would have remained faceless.

We would have missed the drama of an automated spacecraft landing itself so far away, that any signal of success or disaster takes 11.5 minutes to reach Earth. We would have missed the anxiety and trepidation of the people in the control center, watching the telemetry for even the most minute signs of success or failure. We would have missed the increasing relief and celebration as each milestone was successfully handled by the automated systems designed, built, programmed, and tested over years and years. We would have missed the humanity of the event.

But now, millions of interested viewers, all over the world, can tune in. The engineers get their well-deserved moment on the stage and you can get a glimpse of how human the entire endeavor is during the final “seven minutes of terror,” where so much could go wrong, with instant disastrous consequences, but amazingly did not!

It has become apparent, that there are many problems with modern media that need to be addressed and solved. But it is a relief that there are some aspects that work and that we can really feel good about.

Of course, for the actual research on Mars, the landing is just the beginning. So, well done, and happy rock-hunting, Perserverance and team!

The only thing that did bubble up through the Mars landing was MacAdmins who were really thrilled about the update to Apple’s Platform Security document. While we MacAdmins are often justifiably upset with the state or lack of Apple documentation, this is one area where they get it right, and that has to be acknowledged. Thank you, anonymous Apple writers!

If you haven’t gotten it yet, my new book “macOS Terminal and Shell” is available in the Apple Books store!

If you would rather get the weekly newsletter by email, you can subscribe to the Scripting OS X Weekly Newsletter here!! (Same content, delivered to your Inbox once a week.)

📰News and Opinion

🐦MacAdmins on Twitter

  • MacAdmins Conference: “The @macadminsconf conference team is prepping the fire pit for another summer of campfire sessions. Stay tuned for details on our virtual conference this year. #macadmins #psumac”
  • Mr. Macintosh: “macOS Big Sur 11.2.1 (20D75) Full Installer now available!!! 12.21GB 071-05432 Build number (20D75) vs 11.2.1 update (20D74)” (Fixes the free disk space issue)
  • Thomas Tempelmann: “Huh, diskutil coreStorage encryptVolume, which used to be the command to encrypt HFS volumes, isn’t available in BS any more. So, while my previous statement isn’t incorrect, the real reason is that BigSur removed the ability to encrypt HFS+ vols altogether. Nice one, Apple.”
  • Howard Oakley: “So heartening to see that even malware authors have released their first Universal binaries. That must leave just Adobe then?”

🔐Security and Privacy

🔨Support and HowTos

🤖Scripting and Automation

🍏Apple Support

♻️Updates and Releases

🎧To Listen

🎈Just for Fun

📚 Support

If you are enjoying what you are reading here, please spread the word and recommend it to another Mac Admin!

If you want to support me and this website even further, then consider buying one (or all) of my books. It’s like a subscription fee, but you also get a useful book or two extra!

Weekly News Summary for Admins — 2021-02-12

Publication day! “macOS Terminal and Shell” is available! You can still get the introductory pricing US$/€17.99 (10% off) until Feb 15, after which the standard price will be US$/€19.99.

If you would rather get the weekly newsletter by email, you can subscribe to the Scripting OS X Weekly Newsletter here!! (Same content, delivered to your Inbox once a week.)

News and Opinion

macOS 11 Big Sur and Apple silicon Macs

macOS and iOS Updates

MacAdmins on Twitter

  • Mr. Macintosh: “Just because you can update the DTK to 11.3 Beta, doesn’t mean you should. Upgrading to 11.3 will disable both USB-A ports with firmware update 6723.100.321. You can downgrade to 11.2 using AC2. Once back on 11.2, USB-A will work again. fw = 6723.81.1”
  • Steve Hayman: “Well, ok. So, officially I was shayman@next.com. The boss was of course sjobs@next.com . There were 8 Steves at the company at the time… .” (Thread)
  • Mr. Macintosh: “macOS Apple Silicon M1 Restore Database Updated! Big Sur 11.2.1 IPSW restore file is now available. UniversalMac_11.2.1_20D74_Restore.ipsw Quick Note: 11.0.1 was still signed as of last night.”
  • Victor: “FYI: Many macOS MDM profiles are “single use” and have no effect after they’re installed. This is especially true of profiles introduced in recent years like system extension/privacy approvals etc.” (Thread)

Bugs and Security

Support and HowTos

Scripting and Automation

Apple Support

Updates and Releases

To Listen

Just for Fun

Support

If you are enjoying what you are reading here, please spread the word and recommend it to another Mac Admin!

If you want to support me and this website even further, then consider buying one (or more) of my books. It’s like a subscription fee, but you also get a useful book or two extra!

Weekly News Summary for Admins — 2021-02-05

This week finally brought the release of macOS Big Sur 11.2. Lots of interesting information, as usual gathered together by Mr. Macintosh and Howard Oakley.

In other news, I am nearly done with the new book “macOS Terminal and Shell.” The publication date has been set to February 12, 2021. (next Friday) You can pre-order now and get the benefit of the introductory pricing: US$/€17.99 (10% off). The introductory price is valid until Feb 15, after which it will rise to US$/€19.99.

If you would rather get the weekly newsletter by email, you can subscribe to the Scripting OS X Weekly Newsletter here!! (Same content, delivered to your Inbox once a week.)

News and Opinion

macOS 11 Big Sur and Apple silicon Macs

macOS and iOS Updates

MacAdmins on Twitter

  • That Tim Guy: “Just stumbled on this one: CMD+Shift+\ Exposé within a multi-tab finder window.” (works in most apps that use tabs)
  • Mike Lynn: “So on this particular issue: Resolves an issue where Mac computers managed by MDM were sometimes unable to retrieve software updates using System Preferences. It’s hard to do managed OS updates when the update mechanism itself is the one having the issue.” (Thread)
  • Nick Zolotko: “FYI launchctl kickstart -k system/com.applesoftwareupdated works as well for a nice one liner!”
  • Jason Broccardo: “10.14.6 + Sec Update 2021-001: 18G8012, 10.5.7 + Sec Update 2021-001: 19H512, 11.2: 20D64”
  • Apple removes obstacle to security in Big Sur – Matthias Wollnik, Jamf Blog

Bugs and Security

Support and HowTos

Scripting and Automation

Updates and Releases

  • GitHub: “See your contribution graph right on your iOS homescreen. With the latest version of GitHub for mobile, we’ve added a widget that will show your contribution history, updated in real-time.” (Note sure I like GitHub contribution “bragging” but it sure makes a pretty widget.)

To Listen

Support

If you are enjoying what you are reading here, please spread the word and recommend it to another Mac Admin!

If you want to support me and this website even further, then consider buying one (or all) of my books. It’s like a subscription fee, but you also get a useful book or two extra!

Weekly News Summary for Admins — 2021-01-29

This week featured Data Privacy Day with some interesting accouncements from Apple. Also, we got the iOS 14.4, iPadOS 14.4 ,and watchOS 7.3 updates. macOS 11.2 was not released. We got a third macOS 11.2 release candidate in the beta channels instead.

In other news, the review and editing work for my next book: “macOS Terminal and Shell” is progressing nicely. I have made the book available for pre-ordering in the Apple Books Store. Apple Books requires me to put in some date for the release, but I anticipate that we will beat the “March 1” date that I filled in as a placeholder.

This book will teach you to use Terminal and the shell on macOS. It starts with an introduction to the command line, the terminology, its history and concepts. Then we examine macOS, its file systems, and shells (sh, bash and zsh) in detail. We learn how to configure the Terminal application and zsh to work more productively. This is a great entry book for technical minded users new to the command line, but also a great reference for experienced users.

While my experience as a Mac system administrator has certainly influenced the book, it is relevant for all users who need to or want to learn using Terminal and the shell, such as developers, scientists and “pro” users in general. Please share this with readers who will be interested.

I have been working on this book, on and off, for a long time. In the mean time, macOS has changed its name, split the boot volume, changed the default shell, “gone to eleven,” and moved to Apple silicon. This is my longest book yet. It would print out to be more than 300 pages. Though you would loose several movies and all the hyperlinks on paper.

The price after release will be US$/€ 19.99. To reward loyal readers of this newsletter and my weblog, there will be a special introduction price for the pre-order period at US$/€ 17.99 (10% off).

Go pre-order “macOS Terminal and Shell” on the Apple Books store!

If you would rather get the weekly newsletter by email, you can subscribe to the Scripting OS X Weekly Newsletter here!! (Same content, delivered to your Inbox once a week.)

News and Opinion

macOS and iOS Updates

MacAdmins on Twitter

  • Tim Perfitt: “You can drag items from the control center to menu items on Big Sur. Neato.” (Video, thread)
  • Dr. Graham R. Pugh: “/usr/lib/java_home behaves differently on Big Sur. If you’re using it in scripts to show if JDKs are installed, watch out!”
  • Martin: “If you want to make an Intel Mac boot into the Startup Manager automatically, type into terminal: Sudo nvram manufacturing-enter-picker=true” (Video, via Mr Macintosh)
  • David Smith: “Double checking: people using Console.app on macOS know about right clicking messages to get options for filtering them out, right?”
  • Anthony Reimer: “Minor bit of trivia for my #MacAdmin friends: Apple has stopped using the AirPort branding for Wi-Fi as of the M1 Macs. Compare the labels on the iMac 2020 and Mac mini M1 2020.” (Images)
  • Jason Broccardo: “Why is the CLI tools update asking for a restart, it’s never done that? Apply update, “Restart Now” disappears.”

Bugs and Security

Support and HowTos

Scripting and Automation

Apple Support

Updates and Releases

To Watch

To Listen

Support

If you are enjoying what you are reading here, please spread the word and recommend it to another Mac Admin!

If you want to support me and this website even further, then consider buying one (or all) of my books. It’s like a subscription fee, but you also get a useful book or two extra!

Weekly News Summary for Admins — 2021-01-22

A series of interesting articles on various Mac product rumors from Mark Gurman this week. Should be an interesting year.

Apple also released macOS 11.2 and iOS 14.4 (and siblings) release candidate to the various beta programs yesterday. Should be an interesting week.

If you would rather get the weekly newsletter by email, you can subscribe to the Scripting OS X Weekly Newsletter here!! (Same content, delivered to your Inbox once a week.)

News and Opinion

Apple silicon Macs

MacAdmins on Twitter

  • François: “To list applications that are not Universal, try a spotlight search with ‘Executable Architectures’ is not ‘arm64’ and ‘Kind’ is ‘Executable’. CLI: mdfind 'kMDItemExecutableArchitectures != arm64 && kMDItemContentType == "
  • macshome: “1. Save the search as a smart folder 2. Get info on the folder 3. Copy query”
  • Zachary Cutlip: “Can’t recall if I shared this before, but quick tip to customize your shell inside VSCode, as well as keep it from polluting your shell history: Check forTERM_PROGRAM env variable == ‘vscode'”

Bugs and Security

Support and HowTos

Scripting and Automation

Apple Support

To Listen

MacAdmin Pet of the Week

This week’s pet is Marshmallow – one of our two bunnies – who was definitely up to something. (Picture by my wife Ariane.)

Support

If you are enjoying what you are reading here, please spread the word and recommend it to another Mac Admin!

If you want to support me and this website even further, then consider buying one (or all) of my books. It’s like a subscription fee, but you also get a useful book or two extra!

Weekly News Summary for Admins — 2021-01-15

The year is just starting, but Apple is waking up nearly as fast as an M1 MacBook Air. We got new betas for macOS 11.2 and iOS 14.4. MacAdmins have been busy, too. Thank you for all the great articles!

If you would rather get the weekly newsletter by email, you can subscribe to the Scripting OS X Weekly Newsletter here!! (Same content, delivered to your Inbox once a week.)

News and Opinion

macOS 11 Big Sur and Apple silicon Macs

macOS and iOS Updates

MacAdmins on Twitter

  • Hector Martin: “So I’m working in understanding the Apple Silicon boot/OS provisioning process. This is all subject to change, but here are some takeaways according to my current understanding.” (Thread)
  • Joel Rennich: “While it still needs work, specifically around how Apple gates token access, this is PKINIT on an iPhone using the Single Sign On Extension and a CryptoToken Kit extension at the same time.” (Movie, thread)
  • Patrick Wardle: “The ContentFilterExclusionList list has been removed (in macOS 11.2 beta 2)!! This means socket filter firewalls (such as LuLu) can now comprehensively monitor & block all network traffic)”

Bugs and Security

Support and HowTos

Scripting and Automation

Updates and Releases

To Listen

MacAdmin Pet of the Week

New Section! If you aren’t yet following Tim Perfitt of Twocanoes (MDS, Winclone and many other useful tools) on Twitter, maybe the litter of puppies they are fostering right now will convince you.

(If you have a pet you’d like to share here, ping me on Slack or Twitter.)

Support

If you are enjoying what you are reading here, please spread the word and recommend it to another Mac Admin!

If you want to support me and this website even further, then consider buying one (or all) of my books. It’s like a subscription fee, but you also get a useful book or two extra!

Scripting OS X — Weekly News Summary for Admins — 2021-01-08

Happy New Year!

Even though the events of the last few days might make this sound cynical, I mean it honestly. Let’s make the best of it!

I really hope you got to spend the holidays safely with family and get some peace and relaxation. I used some of the extra time to (finally) finish the first draft of my next book: “macOS Terminal and Shell” It should be ready for publishing in a few weeks.

If you would rather get the weekly newsletter by email, you can subscribe to the Scripting OS X Weekly Newsletter here!! (Same content, delivered to your Inbox once a week.)

News and Opinion

macOS 11 Big Sur and Apple silicon Macs

macOS and iOS Updates

MacAdmins on Twitter

  • Joachim Fornallaz: “Keyboard shortcut of the day: In Messages, hit ⌘T to bring up the Tapback chooser for the last message (or the selected one on macOS), then press 1 through 6 to select the Tapback you want.”
  • Eric Holtam: “M1 hardware cannot use a PRK to unlock and boot a FilveVaulted disk. Only user passwords. If you don’t like this regression, file feedback.”
  • Benedict Evans: “TIL: Google’s Pixel 2, released in 2017, is now unsupported and gets no new software updates. Given today’s security environment, I guess that means I should recycle it. Apple just released iOS 12.5 for devices shipped in 2013.”
  • Nathaniel Strauss: “Activation lock on AS Macs is the only way to prevent setting up a machine as new while bypassing MDM/management entirely. JamfPro doesn’t support it yet. Upvote and comment on this feature request if that matters to you.”
  • Peter Steinberger: “Homebrew deprecated and removed a parameter within 20 days, shortly before Christmas, breaking automation around the world. Our CI also broke, but I’m sympathetic to the team. The thread is so typical. Only complaining, nobody offering to help or sponsor.” (via Erik Gomez)

Bugs and Security

Support and HowTos

Scripting and Automation

Apple Support

Updates and Releases

To Listen

Support

If you are enjoying what you are reading here, please spread the word and recommend it to another Mac Admin!

If you want to support me and this website even further, then consider buying one (or all) of my books. It’s like a subscription fee, but you also get a useful book or two extra!

Weekly News Summary for Admins — 2020-12-18

Last week before christmas, but Apple already had plenty to give. The updates for macOS Big Sur, iOS and siblings dropped on Monday.

As this is the first real update for Big Sur, some flaws in the new software update workflow were exposed. Victor Vrantchan did an excellent write-up.

This is the last News Summary for 2020. I’ll be taking a few weeks off and return in January.

Happy holidays and all the best for 2021!

If you would rather get the weekly newsletter by email, you can subscribe to the Scripting OS X Weekly Newsletter here!! (Same content, delivered to your Inbox once a week.)

News and Opinion

macOS 11 Big Sur and Apple silicon Macs

macOS and iOS Updates

MacAdmins on Twitter

  • Tim Perfitt: “We just tested installing the just released macOS 11.1 installer from a Catalina recovery, and it still fails.” (Note: read the AppleSeed for IT release notes for macOS Big Sur 11.2 beta)
  • Mike Lynn: “When doing keychain code, if you ever get told the generic “you have the wrong parameters” -50: log stream --predicate "subsystem == 'com.apple.securityd'” So very very helpful.”
  • Mr. Macintosh: “Manual downloadable delta and combo updates for Big Sur are no longer available. I will let our resident MacAdmins expert explain: ‘If you have a need for individual downloads for Big Sur delta/combo updaters – please make sure that’s filed in an official capacity with us'”

Bugs and Security

Support and HowTos

Scripting and Automation

Apple Support

Updates and Releases

To Listen

Support

If you are enjoying what you are reading here, please spread the word and recommend it to another Mac Admin!

If you want to support me and this website even further, then consider buying one (or all) of my books. It’s like a subscription fee, but you also get a useful book or two extra!

Scripting OS X — Weekly News Summary for Admins — 2020-12-11

You might think that things are starting to quiet down as the holidays are approaching. But we got a “last minute before christmas” announcement from Apple: new over-ear headphones called AirPods Max.

Hidden in the announcement, you can see that the new AirPods Max require iOS 14.3 (and siblings) or macOS Big Sur 11.1. Sure enough, a few hours later iOS 14.3 Release Candidate (and siblings) was released to the beta channels, followed yesterday by macOS Big Sur 11.1 Release Candidate. The headphones will start shipping next week, so we can expect the updates to be released next week as well.

If you would rather get the weekly newsletter by email, you can subscribe to the Scripting OS X Weekly Newsletter here!! (Same content, delivered to your Inbox once a week.)

macOS 11 Big Sur and Apple silicon Macs

MacAdmins on Twitter

  • Carl Ashley: “I don’t know if other macadmins knew this, but in macOS Big Sur, you can enable the SecureToken for an MDM created admin account by changing the password for that account as long as no other account has logged in first. It works in pre/postinstall scripts in packages too.”
  • Eric Holtam: “Password change isn’t even necessary. Any auth works. I use dscl . -authonly [username] [password] very early on to enable the ST on an admin account to escrow the BootstrapToken.”
  • Jason Meller: “I’ve been deeply disappointed by the state of endpoint security & mgmt. The industry has chosen a path where end-users are considered obstacles and their privacy is irrelevant. Today, Kolide is publishing a different vision. It’s called honestsecurity.” (Thread, Link)
  • Tim Perfitt: “That was easy. Signing Manager is totally made for EC2 Mac instances. Took about 2 minutes to set up. No private keys in the cloud. Used codesign to sign an app using our CTK extension connected to a remote API for signing operations.” (Thread, Image)

Bugs and Security

Support and HowTos

Scripting and Automation

Apple Support

Updates and Releases

To Listen

Just for Fun

Support

If you are enjoying what you are reading here, please spread the word and recommend it to another Mac Admin!

If you want to support me and this website even further, then consider buying one (or all) of my books. It’s like a subscription fee, but you also get a useful book or two extra!