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Monthly Archives: June 2008

Occasionally, I’ve run across instances where OS X has a problem resolving a DNS record that’s associated with Gmail. Specifically, we’ve had this issue with our Google Apps for Your Domain mail interface. Upon user login, a 404 error is returned yet the user can successfully login on another computer. This happens both from the web interface (in any browser) and through an IMAP interface such as Apple Mail. To resolve this issue, clearing the DNS via Terminal works:

$lookupd -flushcache

I haven’t figured out what causes this in the first place, but it doesn’t happen enough to warrant a full investigation…yet.

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I’ve tried BackJack out for the last two weeks in order to provide an easy, off-site backup solution. I wanted to be able to backup important things like our website(s) files, Quickbooks files, etc that integrated well into OS X.

BackJack seems to really fit the bill; detailed logs, easy to configure and control, etc so I started up my subscription today. The base price (until version 5 comes out) is about $17/month and comes with 4 GB’s of space. Plenty enough for what I needed. When version 5 comes out, the price is apparently going to drop to $15. Even better.

Mac has added a respectable number of assets to it’s OS regarding Virtual Network Computing capabilities, especially in Leopard with it’s screen sharing. However, I’ve really come up short when looking for a VNC client to connect to windows machines running a VNC server. We still have a number of windows machines running here, some for testing purposes, others for things like Quickbooks (which still lacks some important features that the windows version offers). Remotely administering these computers has been a bit of a small challenge given the lack of good VNC clients for the mac. Apple Remote Desktop seems to work very well for such things, but I need to allow VNC ability to more people than just myself.

Chicken of the VNC works…but as I’ve started installing TightVNC, it really hiccups on keeping up. Even after numerous attempts to tweak both the server and CofVNC, it still is very slow in updating the server when I move the cursor or click on something.

The Tao of Mac has a pretty good article on different VNC clients for mac and I’m currently downloading and trying out some of the suggestions listed there, namely JollysFastVNC.

UPDATE: I went with UltraVNC on the windows computers. So much better and easier to config. Solved my hiccup problems with CofVNC.

I keep getting people trying to hack my LDAP and Open Directory on the server. A nice firewall comes with 10.4 Server, but I can’t seem to block out access to kerberos authentication. People are setting up dictionary attacks attempting to login as “diradmin” and it brings my server to a crawl and eventually to a halt. I’ve attempted to turn off all the ports via server admin, but it doesn’t appear to work. The only thing that has worked as been adding a manual rule policy.

I’ve got a new machine built to run Smoothwall that I will be installing soon so I can alleviate this as well as provide some network redundancy. It’s a great open source linux based firewall solution that takes older hardware and makes a firewall appliance out of it, including QoS, realtime bandwidth monitoring, SNORT, etc.

I tried out Go Daddy for a dedicated server package, but wasn’t too impressed. Honestly, it really isn’t bad, but it was more configuration than I wanted to mess with. I figured if I had to setup and be responsible for another server and it’s associated software, it might as well be one I have physical control over as well. So, off to look for a G5 Xserve….