Archive for September, 2011

Final Cut Pro X

Tuesday, September 20th, 2011

Version 10.0.1 of Final Cut Pro X is now out. This update returns the ability to use Final Cut Pro X projects and Events on Xsan. This is a must for multi-user environments. Users can now each others media and projects, and edit them from any system on the SAN, as with previous versions of Final Cut.

Additionally, some other new features including custom starting timecode, the new Tribute theme, GPU-accelerated exports, One-step transitions, media stems export and of course, XML support. XML support is very important as it introduces the ability to integrate Final Cut Pro X with asset management systems or APIs from other applications. The ability to interact with other tools helps to plan and implement an automated workflow, reducing the labor for reoccurring tasks common in media environments.

Apple also now provides a free 30 day trial to Final Cut Pro X. If your organization is considering migrating from Final Cut Studio into Final Cut Pro X, or if you have a Final Cut Server based asset management solution that you would like to migrate to something newer and supported, then please feel free to contact your 318 Professional Services Manager, or if you do not yet have one.

See Recovery Partitions in Lion

Thursday, September 15th, 2011

The Mac OS 10.7 Lion installer creates a hidden Recovery Partition on your boot device. By default this partition is hidden in the Disk Utility’s device and volume listings. You can reveal these hidden volumes in Disk Utility using the Debug menu, but first you’ll have to enable the menu with the Terminal command:

defaults write DUDebugMenuEnabled 1

Once enabled, open Disk Utility and select Show Every Partition from the Debug menu. Your hidden Recovery and EFI partitions should now be visible and available for imaging, etc.

Basic Script for Creating Mirrors

Monday, September 12th, 2011

Moving a volume to a mirror is often the first things people do to a new server that shows up out of the box. While this script reads input about two volumes and creates a mirror based on that input, it’s easily migrated into something akin to a DeployStudio or scripted workflow:

#Converts a standalone disk to a RAID 1 and automates adding the second member.
echo -n "Enter the name of the first volume to be placed in the mirror: "
read disk_1
export disk_1nv=`echo $disk_1 | sed 's:/Volumes/::g'`
echo "
creating the $disk_1 mirror"
sleep 2
export disk_1slice=`diskutil list "$disk_1" | grep -m 1 "$disk_1nv" | grep -o "disk..."`
diskutil appleRAID enable mirror $disk_1slice
echo -n "Enter the name of the second volume to be placed in the mirror: "
read disk_2
export disk_2nv=`echo $disk_2 | sed 's:/Volumes/::g'`
export disk_2root=`diskutil list "$disk_2" | grep -m 1 "$disk_2nv" | grep -o "disk."`
export raid_uuid=`diskutil info $disk_1slice | grep "Parent RAID Set UUID" | sed -e 's_Parent RAID Set UUID:__g;s_^[ \t]*__'`
diskutil AppleRAID add member $disk_2root $raid_uuid

Google Acquires Zagat

Thursday, September 8th, 2011

Yelp. They came onto the online scene fast, and have since become the way many of us find restaurants when in foreign lands (or even our own back yard). They even ended up doing so well that Google tried to acquire them for half a billion dollars in 2009. But when you’re hot, you’re hot, and they decided to continue on their own path.

Zagat, a classic company founded way back in the 1970s is kind of the Gold Standard of restaurant reviews. I remember using Zagat to find restaurants in Rome back in the early 1990s (couldn’t quite afford to eat at a place with a 30 rating back then). And their review guides are great. In 2008 they put themselves up on the auction block and summarily took themselves right back down. At that point in time, Zagat would have cost a cool $200 million. A steal compared to upstart Yelp. But while a company with a lot of content, not really a company with a lot of content freely available on the web – which seems to be the name of the game these days.

While Google doesn’t own Yelp, they still want user-generated reviews. Google announced on their blog today that they’re buying Zagat. This move isn’t just about user-generated reviews though, it’s about content. Zagat has 30+ years worth of content, much of which dates back to the manual form of user-generated reviews.

If you look at Google’s most recent acquisitions, many involve coupons, social media, price comparisons, gaming, travel and who can forget a big-daddy of content in YouTube. All that Google needs to do is buy Wikipedia and they’d own a huge chunk of the content out there, or at least they’d own enough to point you to their chunk. The moves only make sense.┬áTry running a define search (e.g. define: Google). Notice that rather than all of the links be hits on other sites, the first is now an actual definition. Clicking More>> brings up the Google Dictionary, not Wikipedia. And in some cases, that dictionary entry is basically the only thing (YMMV).

Google changed the game when it comes to how people find things. They’re in the process of changing that game again. How can you capitalize on these changes? This is going to be different for everyone, but your 318 Professional Services Manager will be happy to discuss strategies for social media, online strategies and the new king of the online world, content. If you do not yet have a Professional Services Manager, please contact 318 at 310-581-9500 or for more information!

Managing Permissions in Lion Server

Tuesday, September 6th, 2011

Note: For more information about the information contained in this article, contact us for a professional consultation.

Prior to OS X Lion, Server Admin was used to manage permissions in OS X Server environments. Gone are the permissions settings in Server Admin and anything else dealing with managing file shares. These have been moved into the swanky new Server application. At first glance it may seem that Apple doesn’t want you managing permissions granularly as each share that is created in Server only allows you to configure permissions for the root of the share, and then has limited access to ACL options. But after looking around a little bit, you will find that Apple hasn’t abandoned GUI permission controls just yet.

From the Server app, click on the name of the server in the sidebar under the HARDWARE section. Then click on the Storage tab and browse to a location on the file system in need of different permissions. Click on the cogwheel icon and then click on Edit Permissions… to bring up the new permissions screen. Here, you can add users and groups into ACEs, enter the name for users and groups and granularly assign the settings to be applied.

But as this is all a bit new, a few things are missing. There’s no list of users and groups, so you need to type the short name of items you’re adding. If they don’t exist then they will be grey but will create anyway. Use the id command to verify that objects don’t exist. There’s no Effective Permissions Inspector, so troubleshooting permission problems might require a bit more legwork than before. Also, there’s no deny options any more. While I typically found deny ACEs to just be a big pain, they were useful at times. POSIX permissions are still the last 3 items in the list and you can double-click on any object to change the short name for a user or group (you are again typing the new name rather than dragging an object into the field).

Overall, my suspicion is that this is going to cause users to create more shares and just manage permissions at the share level, propagating permissions whenever there’s a problem. While doing so is not a bad idea for smaller environments, it doesn’t scale well. There are a few options for different applications and tools to get easier management of permissions. One such is batchmod, a long term favorite that can be used to propagate, clear ACLs, unlock files and clear extended attributes. And of course, there are still the good ‘ole standbys of chmod, chown and xattr that can be used to granularly manage permissions.

Adjusting to the new changes in Lion Server can be a considerable change for many administrators. If you need assistance, please contact your 318 Professional Services Manager or if you are not yet a customer.