Mavericks Server Part 8: Open Directory

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One of the advantages of running a server is the ability to set up network accounts to allow you to manage users and groups from one location. The management of these network accounts is done through a directory which stores all of the information about your users and devices. On a Mac it is called Open Directory while on a PC It is called Active Directory. In this screencast I cover how to set up an Open Directory in Mavericks Server and walk you through the various settings to help you get your own Open Directory set up.

As always if you have any comments or questions leave them below or on my Youtube Channel.


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Mavericks Server Part 7: SSL Certificates

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Creating a secure connection between your server and the outside world is something everyone running a server should give some thought to. It is important to know that your data is safe and to secure yourself against those who may want to steal it. SSL encryption is a means to create a secure line of communication between your server and any of your devices that you may be using to connect to your server. This encrypted line validates the user and the server and protects your communications from others who may want to listen in on that line or steal the data as it passes over the air.

In this screencast I cover how to set up SSL Certificates in Mavericks Server. I talk about how to use a self signed certificate which is not validated by any outside source. I also cover how to set up a third party certificate and the process of purchasing, requesting, and installing this certificate so it works with your server.

As always if you have any questions feel free to leave a comment here or on my
YouTube Channel.



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Mavericks Server Part 6: DNS

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DNS or Domain Name System is one of the central services that makes a server function. Without proper DNS set up nothing will work properly with OS X Server. DNS is basically the system that take our language of works and converts or translates those works into our computer systems language of numbers. So an IP address like 10.0.1.1 points to a machine with an address of www.example.com. So DNS is the system that manages that translation and makes sure all requests go to the right server so you get the results you were looking for.
In this screencast I cover how to set up DNS in OS X Server. I cover how to start over in setting up your records. I also cover all of the records and what they mean and what services they are used for. I also talk about how to set up your DNS information on your domain name registrars site so everything gets to where it needs to be.

As always, feel free to leave a comment here or on my
YouTube Channel.



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Mavericks Server Part 5: Port Forwarding

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If you have a router and want to use a Server to access services outside your network you are going to need to learn how to forward ports in order to gain access to those services remotely. Routers function as physical firewalls on your network. They are designed to keep certain traffic out, allow certain connections to get outside your network, and to route all of the traffic to the appropriate location. A port is like opening a door through your router for a particular service. Each service has a door it likes to use and is assigned to use. So if you want to use a particular service like web for instance, you would open the door that most websites use which is port 80. If you lock port 80 and don’t allow it to open then you have no access to the web service.
If you are concerned about security and want to make sure there are locks on the door, you could set up an encrypted connection using SSL (secure socket layer) certificates which we will cover in a future screen cast. This service changes the door to port 443 for web service and secures the connection between the two machines. It also validates identity and works like a key to the door.

In this screencast I cover how to set up port forwarding using an AEBS and letting the Server App handle the set up. The beauty of using OS X Server with an AEBS is the port management is built into the app and the ports are opened and closed without requiring a reboot.

As always, feel free to leave a comment here or on my
YouTube Channel.



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Mavericks Server Part 4: Network Configuration

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One of the more important things you need to do in order to set up a functional server is to make sure your network is properly configured so your Server can do the things it was meant to do. Part of that network configuration is making sure your Server has a set IP address so you can set all of the computers on your network to get their DNS needs met through your Server so there are no conflicts. Depending on what type of system you are running will determine how you set up your network.

In this screencast I show you how to set up a network using an Airport Extreme Base Station (AEBS) where I am allowing the AEBS to handle the DHCP or addressing of all the devices on my network and it also handles the NAT or port forwarding duties as well. In this set up you make sure your AEBS is giving your server a reserved IP address and is pointing to your Server for internal DNS. In other set ups you may have your Server handling DHCP duties as well or if you have a front facing server you might not even have a router so you will be locking down your server with a software firewall that can also be configured to handle NAT if you choose to set it up that way. That set up is beyond the scope of this screencast but I may do one in the future to show how it works.

As always if you have any questions or comments feel free to leave them below or on my
YouTube Channel.



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Mavericks Server Part 3: Basic DNS & Server Set Up

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Once your server has been installed you are left with a .local server that provides basic file sharing. If you want to use most of the other services you will need to change you host name and decide what type of server you want to create and set up some basic DNS to make that happen. Inside the Server App is a wizard that walks you through the process of choosing a host name that will allow your server to do what you want it to. It also presents you with the option of setting up DNS for you or leaving that up to you to do manually. For most home users, having server set it up for you is probably the easiest way to get your server up and rolling. I will cover more advanced DNS in a future screencast and you can always change your DNS set up later.

In this screencast I also cover some of the basic server settings found in the server tab. These settings help you set up how you want to access your server remotely and I cover each of hose settings and what they do.

If you have any comments feel free to leave them here or on my
Youtube Channel.



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Mavericks Server Part 2: Install & Set Up

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For those of you new to OS X Server or those who stared with a clean install I walk you through the process of installing Mavericks Server for the first time. The overall process is pretty simple and does have some changes from the install process in both Lion and Mountain Lion Server. Instead of walking you through the process of setting up your server’s DNS, the Mavericks install just creates a simple .local server with file sharing turned on. It then let’s you decide how you want to set up your host name and DNS. I will cover the basic DNS set up and one on more advanced DNS in a future screencast but wanted to make you aware of the change in case you are used to previous installs.

If you have any questions feel free to leave a comment here or on my
Youtube Channel.



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Mac OS X Mavericks: Clean Install Walkthrough

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There are times when you may want to consider a fresh install of your operating system. If you are having slow downs with your system or have upgraded and never done a clean install or download a lot of software that has left stuff behind, you might want to consider a clean install. In this screencast I cover how to create a bootable Mavericks USB thumb drive using a utility called Diskmaker X. I then walk through the process of booting from that drive, wiping your hard drive and run through the install process. Before you get started you will want to make a bootable back up of your boot drive using SuperDuper! or Carbon Copy Cloner. This will allow you to roll back to your current set up in case something goes wrong with your install.

Overall the install process is pretty smooth but does take some time. One tip, when you hist less than a minute remaining you are looking at waiting more than a minute and in some cases could be 20 minutes or more so don’t stop the install if it seems to get stuck. Give it some time and should finish the install.

If you have any comments or questions leave them here or on my
Youtube Channel.



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Mavericks Server Part 1: Upgrade from Mountain Lion Server

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Now that Apple has released Mavericks and it’s update to OS X Server, it is time to consider upgrading to the new Mavericks Server. Before you upgrade I want to make you aware of several issues that people have been experiencing with the upgrade. First, VPN does not work in the upgrade. Just about everyone I have talked to has experienced what I did when I upgraded and that was that VPN stopped working. At this point there is no work around so if you are dependent on VPN you do not want to upgrade until the next point release from Apple and even then wait to see what other’s experiences are. Second, a lot of people are having issues with Open Directory with issues with connections and various crashes. I didn’t have that issue but there are enough people talking about it that I wouldn’t risk it again until the next point release and you hear other’s experiences.

With that in mind, I cover how to upgrade to Mavericks Server and walk through the entire process. The upgrade is pretty simple and goes rather smoothly with the exception of the issues mentioned above.

If you have any questions feel free to leave a comment here or on my
Youtube Channel.



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Upgrading to Mavericks (10.9): A Step by Step Walkthrough

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Well Apple’s new operating system Mavericks is here. I decided to upgrade right away and record the process for everyone who would like to see how the process works and have someone else experiment on their system instead of putting their own system at risk with a new upgrade.

So I put Mavericks through its paces and I have to say the upgrade when as smooth as it could have gone with a couple of issues. One is not to believe the timer when it says you have less than a minute remaining. I found both times I saw that status it actually took from 30 to 40 minutes to complete. So that being the case, make sure you don’t stop the process thinking it is hanging just be patient and it will eventually finish the upgrade. Second, you will have to give permission to the apps that use keychain or contacts because of the changes Apple made in those areas. So expect to have to answer a bunch of pop ups once the process if complete.

Below is the screencast showing my upgrade process step by step. If you have any questions or want to leave a comment you can do so here or on my
Youtube Channel.




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Mac OS X Mavericks: Prepare Your Mac for the Upgrade to 10.9

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With the release of Apple’s newest operating system right around the corner, it is a good time to start preparing for the upgrade and getting your Mac ready. There are several things you can do to prepare for the upgrade including:
1. Making sure your Mac qualifies for the update.
2. Checking your applications to make sure they are Mavericks compatible (go to www.roaringapps.com).
3. Check your hard drive and permissions using Disk Utility.
4. Make a bootable clone using SuperDuper! or Carbon Copy Cloner.

In this screencast I walk you through the steps to prepare for the upgrade. I walk through what to do to prepare so you will be ready when the upgrade comes out. As always feel free to leave a comment here or on my
Youtube Channel.




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Launch Center Pro 2.0: Action Based Productivity for iOS 7

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Productivity on iOS devices is something many apps attempt to improve. An iOS device is different from a Mac where multitasking is as easy as opening multiple windows and working with keyboard shortcuts. In iOS where you need to drill into items inside apps, there are multiple taps to get something done. That is where Launch Center Pro comes in.

Launch Center Pro is a productivity app that looks to limit the number of actions you need to take to get something done. Need to send a text out to a group of people but don’t want to put in the addresses to go through the steps? No problem! Tap once into Launch Center Pro and click on the action to send a text. You are taken right to an empty text field with all of the names of your group already addressed in the “to” line. Want to upload a photo to Dropbox, copy the link and send it in an email? No problem. with one tap all of those functions happen.

Launch Center Pro 2.0 really is an incredible app for iOS7 to improve your productivity. I have many people ask me to compare this app to Drafts which allows you to take action on snippets of text in a similar way. To me the difference is this, I use Drafts when I have text that needs to be acted on and Launch Center Pro for all other actions that take multiple taps to complete.

In this screencast I cover how to use Launch Center Pro 2.0 and walk you through many of its features. As always if you have any questions or comments feel free to leave them here or on my
Youtube Channel.



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iPhone 5s Fingerprint ID: A Step by Step Walkthrough

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With the release of the new iPhone 5s Apple introduced their finger print scanner allowing you to access your phone more quickly and with added security. One of the things Apple noted was that a high percentage of people were not using a passcode to protect their phones. The hassle of having to put the code in every time you needed to get into your phone was greater than the fear that important information might be lost so people just didn’t do it. People have a lot of things on their phones that are personal and important to protect so Apple decided to unveil fingerprint ID as a way to increase the security on their iPhones. I was fortunate enough to get a phone on launch day and have been playing with the new service and I have to say it is pretty incredible. I can’t imagine using my phone without fingerprint ID ever again. The ease of use of using it has been dead simple and reliable. So reliable that I actually set a long password on my phone instead of the 4 digit default.

In this screencast I walk through the process of setting Fingerprint ID up and how it works. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to leave them here or on my
Youtube Channel.



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iOS 7: Strategies for Improved Battery Life

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Once you have upgraded to iOS 7 you will see a lot of new icandy and features that make the new iOS experience pretty neat. The problem with all of those new functions is they can and do take up battery life and I experienced some battery drain when I first upgraded. Under my normal use the battery was wearing down quickly. So I went on a hunt to figure out what services and functions I could turn off to get my battery life back pretty close to where it was before.
In this screencast tutorial I cover some of the things I discovered that helped improve the battery life of my new iPhone 5s. I go over each and every setting that seems to effect battery life so you can fine tune your own battery experience. It is always a trade off between features and the function of your battery so you don't have to use everything I cover here but as you fine tune your own settings you should hopefully get your battery to where you want it to be.
As always if you have any questions or comments feel free to leave them here or on my
Youtube Channel.

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Upgrading to iOS 7: A Step by Step Walk Through

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Upgrading to any new operating system can be intimidating especially if you are concerned not to mess things up. So with the new upgrade to iOS 7 I decided to do a step by step walk through for those who are thinking of upgrading but don't want to jump in without seeing what the process is like. So I decided to film my experience so others could see what I did in upgrading my iPhone.
It has been great to see the response to this video with a lot of different people picking it up including Allison Sheridan from the Nosilla Podcast which I listen to. I have had a few questions along the way with people wondering if it will mess up their jail break (yes it will) and wondering if they really need to back up (yes you should). If you have any questions feel free to leave them below or on my Youtube Channel.

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Reflector: Mirroring Your iOS Device on Your Mac

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I have been asked alot lately about how I mirror my iOS devices to my Mac for the screencasts I do. So based on viewer requests I decided to do a screencast on the application I use called Reflector.
Reflector allows you to mirror your iOS devices to your Mac using Airplay. Not only does Reflector do a great job of mirroring your iOS screen to your Mac, it also puts the device bezel around your screen and even lets you choose the color (white or black). This really works great for demonstrations because it allows the user to see the actual device instead of just looking at the screen and wondering what they are looking at until their eyes adjust.
Reflector also has the added feature of allowing you to mirror multiple devices at once. So if you are trying to demonstrate the interaction of one device to the other, you can show both devices on your screen and operate them independently at the same time and still capture both screens. This can really come in handy depending on what you are trying to demonstrate.
So in this screencast I demonstrate how Reflector works so you can get an idea of how I do my screencasts. Of course I record these screencasts with
Screenflow, the best screen capture and editing software I have ever used. Someday I'll do some screencasts on how I do my screencasts which will feature Screenflow.
Feel Free to leave any comments or questions below or on my
Youtube Channel.

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Photo of the Week

This week I thought I would share one of my favorite landscape subjects that is waterfalls. I love taking photos of moving water. Slowing the shutter speed to get that silky smooth water effect really makes the photo pop. This photo was taken north of Crater Lake off on North Umpqua Highway. The falls is called Toketee Falls and is one of the more visited falls in Southern Oregon. It is a short hike to get to this falls but the hike does include a lot of climbing up the well curated trail that includes rock steps and ends in a an observation deck just above the falls. There are some who have ventured to the bottom of the falls but the climb down and back up is not something to attempt without help around.

For this shot I used my Tamron 17-50 lens and used my Marumi CPL and my Marumi ND Filter to allow for a longer exposure. I was fortunate that the light was very even as we got there in the morning before the sun came up on the falls itself. For those who want specifics here are the settings on my camera for this shot:

Camera: Canon Rebel Xsi
Lens: Tamron 17-50
Focal Length: 17mm
Shutter Speed: 4 sec.
Aperture: f/32
ISO: 125

Toketee Falls-8-9-2012 web

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Everpix Part 1: Mac Set Up & Web Interface

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In this screencast tutorial I cover a great photo service called Everpix. Everpix is a photo service that syncs all of your photos from wherever you have them to it’s service. It then organizes them and give you different views of your photos based on things like highlights and flashbacks. Everpix is one of the few services that will actually sync photos from applications like Aperture and iPhoto so you don’t have to worry about uploaded those photos you just imported because they are already available online ready for you to access and share with others. Everpix has both a web application and iOS application giving you quick access to your photos. Both of these applications work well in giving you great ways of viewing your photos.

In this screencast I walk you through the set up of Everpix. I also cover the web interface and walk you through the various options for viewing and sharing your photos. If you would like to try Everpix and would like an extra 6 months of photo viewing on the service you can use my link here (of course I get 6 months as wellHappy:
Everpix Invite.



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Managing Your iCloud Storage

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Apple started sending out emails letting former MobileMe users whom they had given an extra 25GB of storage as a thank you that the free upgrade is coming to an end September 30th. I don’t know about you but I hadn’t worried about my iCloud storage since it came out because 25GB was way more than I would ever use for iCloud. So when I got this email I thought, “no problem. I’ll just check it out and delete a couple of things.” What I didn’t realize, because I wasn’t managing it, my iCloud storage amount and ballooned to 18GB! How could that be?

What I discovered was I was backing up 3 iOS devices which was taking up the majority of data mainly because of photos an videos that were being backed up. These things were causing the spike in my usage and I had to take care of that or may backups would cease. If you are in the same boat, I would recommend the following:

  1. Turn off backup for your camera roll.
  2. Remove any large files you may have added to iCloud by looking at the Apps section of iTunes.
  3. Use a program like PhoneView to move your videos and other files to your Mac and back them up there.

In this screencast I walk you through how to do each of the things above. As always if you have any comments or questions leave them here or on my
YouTube Channel,



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Starting a Marriage Ministry Part 2: Determine the Needs

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In the last blog post I talked about some things to consider if you are looking at starting a marriage ministry in your church. One of those things included surveying your people to get an idea of what they need and the best ways to deliver those things. At Saddleback Church I did a survey of all of the married couples of our church and it helped me to shape what we are doing today in the marriage ministry.
When it comes to surveying the couples in your church one of the best tools I have found for doing this is Survey Monkey. Survey Monkey is a survey website that lets you put together surveys, email the link to people you want to survey, and once they respond (their responses are anonymous) aggregates the results so you can see the trends in people's responses. The tool is very easy to customize and use and highly recommend it for any surveying you may be doing.
So I put together a survey to get a handle on where people where at and how best to proceed with the ministry. Below is a sample of the questions I asked. You could ask any questions you feel you need to ask but I really wanted to know their struggles and the best days/times to run events so I wasn't scheduling things when they weren't available. I am so glad I did this as I found that Friday was the best day to do something which is one of the last days I would have chosen had I not asked. Here are the questions I asked:
  1. What types of things have you used in the past to improve your marriage? (Options: Time away, Date nights, Counseling, Small Groups, Retreats, Seminars, Books, Time Alone, Prayer, Working on Self, Other)
  2. Which of the above have you found most effective?
  3. If the church holds classes/seminars dealing with the topic of marriage, which time slots would work best for you (check all that apply).
  4. What would be the biggest obstacle to you attending a marriage event?
  5. If we were to offer other classes or seminars dealing with marital issues, what types of topics would you like us to cover?
  6. What other events and/or resources would you like to see made available to couples?
From the results we received we used these to shape our marriage ministry. It is always valuable to get a handle on where people are at as you seek to shape a ministry. If you shape it in the way they will best receive it, you can help and reach more people. As you will see, I continued to survey after each event to continually refine what we were doing. In the next article we will talk about setting up your model for marital health.
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Plex Media Server Part 3: Accessing Your Media Remotely

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One of the greatest things about Plex is that you can access your media from just about anywhere. Plex has a Mac app, a web interface, iOS and Android apps, support for Roku and other connected devices, it is even on some televisions! With all of these interfaces and the Plex Media Server Software running on your home computer it really allows you to have your media wherever you are!

In this screencast tutorial I cover how to access your media remotely. I take a look specifically at the
myPlex web interface and the iOS application. I also demonstrate how you can add media from around the web on the fly into your Plex interface so you can view it on your favorite media device. Plex really is an excellent media server and for a free application it really is incredible! If you want more features you should also consider the Plex Pass which is a paid subscription. For limited time they have a lifetime subscription which really looks like a steal with all the development they have been doing!

As always thanks for all your support! If you have any questions or comments feel free to leave them here or on my
YouTube Channel.



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Photo of the Week: Out of the Deep

One of my hobbies is photography. I love to take landscapes which I share some of the better ones here on my website and in other places like 500px. I thought I would start to do a Photo of the Week and highlight some of my favorites. I probably won’t do one every week but will post from time to time. Enjoy!

On vacation this summer I finally got the chance to visit Mono Lake and all the tufa formations on the south of the lake. I took a bunch of photos I will upload over time. This one I took at dusk just as the colors started to change in the sunset. Because of the color in the lake and the sky I got this awesome combination of colors. I used my Marumi ND and CPL together for this 30 second exposure.

Mono Lake 434

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Plex Media Server Part 2: Editing Metadata

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One of the great features of Plex is it’s ability to automatically match your media to online metadata and pull that information down to display with your media files. While Plex is accurate on this about 90% of the time, there are times when Plex gets it wrong, especially as it relates to your home movies and such. To help you clean this up and customize it a bit more, Plex has a built in media editor that lets you update and change the metadata it displays so you get each entry just the way you want it.

In this screencast tutorial I cover how to edit the metadata for your media. I show examples of how
Plex could get it wrong and what you need to do to make the changes and make sure those changes stay and don’t get updated again in the future.

As always, thanks for your support! If you have any questions or comments, feel free to leave them here or on my
YouTube Channel.



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Plex Media Server Part 1: Installation & Set Up

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I get a lot of questions on my OS X Server Series about how to use a server to handle streaming media to various devices both in and outside the home. With all of us having media both in iTunes and outside of it, using the tools Apple has built into iTunes is not always the best solution. Sure you can use home sharing to get your local media that you have inside iTunes to all of your Apple devices like Macs, iOS devices, and AppleTV’s. But what if you have media that you haven’t put into iTunes? What if you have other devices that are not made by Apple like Roku players or Android Devices? What if you want to access your media outside your home network? That’s where Plex comes into play.

Plex is a media server with a lot of the features most people want in a home media server. Plex combines Movies, Television, Music, Photos and Web services into one easy to use and set up application. Plex automatically pulls the metadata for your media and does a great job presenting it inside the Plex interface. The Plex Media Manager is a web based application so you can access it anywhere you internet access. Combine that with their applications and services for so many different devices and Plex really is a great media server for your content.

In this weeks tutorial I cover how to install and get
Plex set up. Next week I’ll cover how to edit and tweak your Media. If you have any questions feel free to comment here or on my YouTube Channel.



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Starting a Marriage Ministry Part 1: Setting the Direction

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I haven't written much in a while about marriage ministry and the process we went through at Saddleback Church in getting our marriage ministry off the ground so I thought I would do that in a series of articles on my blog. Hopefully it will help you if you are looking to get something started in your own church.
When it comes to starting any ministry there are a few questions you need to answer:

Is this ministry something our church needs and can do right now?
This is a very important question. Just because a ministry is valid and seems to be a big need does not mean it needs to happen now. You need to make sure your church is ready to do something like this and is on board to make it happen. There are so many things that happen in a church, you want to make sure it is a support not a distraction.

Does your ministry support and help fulfill the vision and mission of your church?
There has been a lot written on vision and mission in business and ministry circles. There was a time where every ministry in the church needed to have a vision and mission statement to be valid. Now having a vision and mission is a good thing but if that vision and mission does not roll up to the overall vision and mission of the church, the ministry can become a distraction instead of a help to the church.
When you look to start a marriage ministry at your church, your vision and mission statement should be the vision and mission of the church. If your ministry doesn't fulfill the vision and mission of your local church, then you shouldn't do it. This will force you to think long and hard about why marriage ministry is important and how it fits in your church. When we set out to do marriage ministry here at Saddleback, we had to consider how it fit the overall vision and mission of Saddleback Church. This thinking also guided how we put the ministry together so it was integrated well with our church (and I'll talk about how we did that and how that works in another post).
Now when I say it needs to line up with your churches vision and mission I am NOT saying you should try to get the church to re-write it's vision and mission statement to include marriage ministry. You don't need that for your ministry to be a success. If your ministry aligns with the vision, mission and strategy of your church people will see it as a value.

What Do Our Married Couples Need?
Don't proceed without first getting a gauge on what the married couples in your church need and are struggling with. So many of us start ministries thinking we know what people need. So we put in a lot of time and energy to develop something that no one needs or wants. Instead of doing that, take some time to talk with people in your church, survey them, and find out what their needs are. I'll give you some ideas of how to make this work in a future blog post. Know your married couples well enough that you know what you are developing is what they need.
If you spend the time up front thinking through the three things, making sure your church is ready for this ministry, that it fulfills the vision and mission of your church, and you have a good idea of the needs of the people you are trying to reach you will have a good base on which to build a solid marriage ministry. In the next article I will talk about how to get this information and get started with the process.
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Monitoring Your Server With iStat for iOS

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Monitoring your server remotely is something that anyone who has a server wants to do. There are several things you can monitor when it comes to a server. You have the software side which allows you to manage your services and access. l covered how to monitor this in the screencast I did on Server Admin Remote. One of the other things you will want to monitor is the state of your hardware. Knowing if your server is running right or too hot can give peace of mind when you are out on the road. I was on vacation and don’t run air conditioning when I am away. Being able to check the heat of my Mac Mini while I was away in the heat of summer brought peace of mind.

In this weeks screencast I cover how to monitor the physical state of your server using an iOS application called
iStat. iStat is a universal iPhone and iPad application that monitors everything from the heat sensors to the fan speed on your Mac. Check out this screencast to see how it works!

If you have any questions or suggestions feel free to leave a comment here or on my YouTube Channel.



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Online Back Up With Backblaze

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When it comes to making sure all your digital data is safe you need a good back up strategy. For most people, they think about back up after they already lost something they didn’t back up. The key is to put a strategy in place before losing any data so you never have regrets. Depending on how important your data is to you, you may border on paranoid when it comes to data lose. Here are some things to keep in mind when it comes to back up:

1. Hardware will fail at some point.
No matter how well you take care of your computer, hard drive and other electronics we all know that our hardware will fail at some point in the future. It is usually before we think it will happen so it surprises us, but we know it will take place. When it does fail, many times it fails beyond recovery, meaning all of you data could be lost forever.

2. A good backup strategy includes multiple copies
A good rule of thumb is, one copy is good, multiple copies is better. The more copies the more you minimize your risk of losing data.

3. Location of those back ups can be as important as how many backups you have.
You have to take into account the fact that having all your backups in one place means you have a single point of failure. If they are all at your home and get stolen or burned up or damaged by water or some other force of nature you have lost all of your data. If you have your data in multiple locations (at least one more besides your home) you still have your data even if you lose your local copy.

With this in mind, here is my strategy. First, I have a time machine back up of my data. This gives me an incremental back up just in case I accidentally delete something I want to get back. I can go back in time and get it with Time Machine. It also serves as one complete back up. Second, I use a
Drobo as an external drive for those backups so if one hard drive fails my data is still safe. Next, I use SuperDuper! to make a bootable clone of my main drive so if that one fails I can boot from this backup and keep working as if nothing happened until I get an internal drive replacement. Finally, I back up to Backblaze online to handle my offsite back up. For things I really don’t want to use like family photos, etc. I back those up to another external drive that I store in a safe place.

With that in mind, I did this tutorial on
Backblaze for offsite back up. Backblaze has been a great service that integrates well with the Mac and allows you to set it and forget it. It continually backs up in the background. Whatever strategy you use, be sure to keep all of these possibilities in mind (I’m sure I’ve forgotten some but at this point this is the extent of my own paranoia on the topic of backupHappy.

Feel free to leave a comment here or on my
YouTube Channel!



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Mountain Lion Server: Changing Local to Network User

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When setting up a server, there at times where you don’t want to start over creating a new network account for each user. You may have data associated with that local user and starting over would just create headaches.

In this screencast tutorial I cover how to change a local account to a network account and move the users local files over to the server to allow network access from any computer on your network.

As always if you have any questions or comments feel free to leave them here or on my
YouTube Channel.



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Mountain Lion Server: Remote Time Machine Backups

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With the increased awareness of the need for backups there are many options for people looking for ways to keep their data protected in case of a hard drive crash or other disaster. While many have a strategy for backing up their important files and folders while in their own network, few have looked at how those back ups should work when their portable Macs are outside that network. Time Machine, which comes built into every Mac, provides a good incremental back up solution for attached hard drives to back up to. With the OS X Server those back ups can be done wirelessly to your server. But what about when you leave the home or office?

In this screencast tutorial I cover how to set up your portable Mac to enable remote Time Machine backups. This allows your backups to happen over the internet back to your server and allows you to create your very own cloud back up strategy. A couple of things to keep in mind with this approach. First, this is not the complete back up solution. You are protected from hardware failure but if your house burns down you lose your back up. So you will need to consider other offsite back up. Second, this is not foolproof. Because of things like bandwidth and internet interference you could cause your back up to get corrupted if you have major interruptions. So just because it is possible I would caution you in using Time Machine this way. Like anything else your mileage may vary so I want to make sure I put in that warning to start!

As always feel free to leave a comment or question here or on my
YouTube Channel.



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Mountain Lion Server: Remote Network Account Access

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Connecting to your server using a network account is one of the benefits of using Mountain Lion Server. It lets you log into any computer on your network and have your own desktop and home folders show up on that Mac as if it was your own local machine. With Home Folders being stored on the server itself, it can become challenging for mobile users who are in and out of your network to connect to those folders.

To make this work you can use Mobile Accounts (which I covered in another screencast
HERE) which will keep those home folders in sync between your server and the local portable Mac as a solution. Or you can have your users log into their network accounts over the internet and still have access to them. There are pros and cons to each solution with the obvious one being network and server bandwidth which directly impacts speed.

In this screencast tutorial I cover how to set up your portable Mac to allow your users to connect to their network accounts over the internet. I also cover how to connect and log into their account through your
Open Directory remotely.

As always, feel free to leave any comments or questions below or on my
YouTube Channel.



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Mountain Lion Server: Changing Your Host Name

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One of the most important pieces of running OS X Server is making sure your DNS is correct. The hostname is at the center of your server’s DNS and you want to make sure the information you have is accurate. You can change your host name using the Server Application but there are somethings you need to keep in mind if you do choose to change it.

In this screencast tutorial I walk you through how to change your Host name. I also cover the services you will need to update once that change is done to make sure you don’t have any of your services break in the process.

As always feel free to leave a comment here or on my
YouTube Channel.



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Little Snitch Part 3: Profiles

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One of the great features added to version 3 of Little Snitch is the ability to set up profiles for different networks you may connect to on a regular basis. I have a different sense of what I need security wise when I am outside my network than when I am outside it. With a laptop it is easy to forget that coffee shops and other shared wifi networks are places where your computer is more vulnerable to attack and getting hacked. Granted it is not a huge threat, but any geeky computer person knows what is possible and it is that paranoia that drives us to caution when it comes to connecting in the outside world.

Little Snitch 3 provides a profile feature that allows you to have different sets of rules for different networks. So when I am at home there are one set of rules for home. When I am at a coffee shop, there is another set of rules and Little Snitch 3 keeps track of where I am and automatically switches to the rules I have defined for that spot. It really is a great feature because it does have a set it and forget it set up.

In this screencast I cover profiles and how to set those up in Little Snitch 3. As you will see, this really is a great feature set and one you will use a lot with your mobile Macs!



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Little Snitch Part 2: Rules

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Continuing my look at Little Snitch 3, I cover in depth how to work with rules that you set up in the application. Little Snitch not only allows you to set rules based on applications and system processes on a connection by connection basis, it also monitors those rules and shows where you might have contradictions or redundant rules that could be deleted. This helps you maintain a simple rule set that makes it easier to manage.

Little Snitch also gives you suggestions of rules you might want to implement and sets up temporary rules for you to look at and decide if you want to keep or discard them. It really is a great way to keep tabs on your entire network and set up a rule set that you are comfortable with.

One thing I always have to let people know about Little Snitch is the pop ups that warn you of connections can seem overwhelming at first. With every connection asking for your permission to accept or deny you really get a good sense for how many programs are trying to connect. But with all of those connections at first you can feel like the program is getting in your way. If you stick with it and go through all the pop ups and make decisions on what you want to allow and what you want to deny, over time these will become fewer and fewer and you will have the protection and limits to access that you wanted with very little hassle. So stick with it as this really is an incredibly useful tool!



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Little Snitch Part 1: Network Monitor

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With all of the recent news and concerns over what the government can and can’t see of your personal information, more and more people are looking for ways to monitor what goes out from their computers onto the internet. With security being an issue as well, it would be great to be able to monitor on a moment by moment basis who is trying access our computers.

Little Snitch provides a great solution to this problem. With it’s network filtering, it lets you see on a connection by connection basis who is trying to get into your computer from the outside and who is trying collect data from your computer from the inside. This network filtering puts you in control of each of these connections and even lets you set up rules for different locations or networks that you might connect to with your mobile Macs.

In this screencast, I give an overview of Little Snitch 3 focusing mainly on the network filter. I cover the basics of the application and all the features present in the network filter including how to get a reading of your current network and how to take snapshots in time to review later.

If you have a server, Little Snitch 3 is a great tool to help you keep tabs on your server and gives you a moment by moment opportunity to block those who may be trying to access your server.



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Mountain Lion Server: Hosted Mac Mini Server

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One of the great things about a Mac Mini is its cost, efficiency and size. Each of these things makes the Mini a great server and now you can host these kinds of servers not only at home but in a datacenter as well. Recently I started working with MacStadium on some tutorials on how to get your Mountain Lion Server up and running in a hosted environment. Through this process I have really come to see the advantages of hosting your Mac Mini inside a datacenter. There is just something about knowing someone else is looking out for your hardware and knowing for sure that your Mini is always on and reachable with the included static ip address.

The MacStadium team has been great and I really see the value in the products they have to offer. You can see more about MacStadium’s services at their website
www.macstadium.com. If you do happen to decide to host your server, I there are various tutorials up on their blog, some of which I have been contributing on how to get your Mountain Lion Server up and running in a hosted environment.

In this screencast tutorial I give an overview of having your Mac Mini Server in a hosted environment. I cover the differences between a home hosted versus data center hosted server, some of the costs and benefits of a hosted server, and some of the basics of logging in and working with a server in a hosted environment.

As always feel free to leave a comment below or on my
YouTube Channel!



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Mountain Lion Server: IceFloor Firewall

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Earlier I covered how to set up the built in PF Firewall using system preferences found on every mac. I covered the basics of getting the firewall set up and when you might want to consider using a firewall. But there are times when you want to engage more of the advanced features found in the PF Firewall build. You might want more control over the actual ports that the firewall allows access on and you may want to specifically block certain IP addresses and block those who are trying to gain access to your server.

In this screencast tutorial I cover some advanced firewall administration for the built in PF Firewall using a donation ware software program called IceFloor. I cover how this software may be helpful for home users, how to set the software up, what settings to put in place, and ways to customize and test your firewall.

As always feel free to leave a comment below or on my
YouTube Channel if you need any help or have any questions.



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Mountain Lion Server: SFTP

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Connecting to your files on a remote server to move them back and forth between your server and a remote computer is something that can be difficult if you are not familiar with the terminal. FTP is an option but it is not that secure as it sends your passwords in plain text. That is where SFTP is a benefit and a great way to move files around using a file manager client like Transmit or Forklift.

In this screencast I cover how to connect to your files and folders remotely using SFTP. SFTP is more secure that FTP and is a great way to navigate remote file systems. I talk about how to set up SFTP, how to connect to your shares both through the terminal and through an app called Forklift. I also cover some basic commands to move files from one server to another.

As always if you have any questions or comments, feel free to leave them here or on my
YouTube Channel.



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Mountain Lion Server: SSH

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Being able to connect to your server remotely is one of the benefits of having a server. I have already covered some of the ways you can connect to your server remotely and in this screencast I cover how to connect to your server using SSH or Secure Shell. SSH allows you to connect to your server through the terminal allowing you to have full root access to your computer. Now SSH is used over port 22 which is often looked for by bots and hackers who look to try to guess your password to gain access to your server. For added security you may want to watch my tutorial on IceFloor to see how you can block known offenders and those who continually try to guess your password.

In this tutorial I show you how to access your server remotely and how to copy files back and forth using terminal. In the next screencast I will cover how to do this using the more easy to use SFTP through a file management program called Forklift.

As always feee free to leave a comment here or on my
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Modeling a Healthy Marriage For Our Kids

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Marriage can be hard enough without the addition of kids. Take two people who are naturally selfish each with a crazy schedule. Add a schedule for each kid including school, homework, and other activities. Then add all of the issues that come from raising kids including discipline, chores, hygiene, etc and you have the makings of a time-starved marriage. Many couples handle the chaos by resolving themselves to the fact that they are just not going to have much of a married relationship, never mind dating and romance. They figure that once the kids are old enough to be on their own, they will somehow rekindle the romance and pick up where they left off before the kids came into the picture. The problem is, most couples who have this perspective, wake up one day and realize they don’t really know the person sleeping next to them. With no effort put into the relationship they are left with a partnership instead of a marriage. Not only does that type of marriage hurt the couple, it also models for their kids what marriage is all about for good or bad. So how does a couple keep the marriage going while dealing with changes that happen in a home with kids?

Make Time a Priority
First, we need to make time together a priority. One of the biggest relational issues I have found in surveying couples at Saddleback Church is time. In fact time is usually second to communication which can’t happen if you don’t have time! Now your time together may be different than it used to be, but you need to make it a priority if you are to stay connected to one another. Not making time together a priority tells your kids that marriage is not really that important and there really is no work to it. So what do you do to make time for one another? Instead of dividing and conquering all the time, make it a point to ride together to pick up the kids or drop them off at the next event. During those events grab a cup of coffee or hang out together. Another opportunity is when the kids go to bed (make it early) or while the kids are in school. Find those moments where you can connect. There is wasted time you could definitely utilize!

Protect Your Time
Second, let your kids know that mommy and daddy need their time together. Your kids need to learn what a healthy marriage looks like and the only way they will learn is by observing how important that relationship is to you and how you model it for them. If you only exist together, your kids will learn that marriage is about sharing resources. If your only interaction is arguments or disagreements, they will learn that marriage is about winning. If they see no romance in your relationship or love for one another they may actually learn that marriage destroys relationships instead of being one of the most intimate of all relationships. You get the point. Model the marriage you would want your kids to have so they have a chance at having it. Otherwise, they won’t have the skills or the background to know how to have a healthy marriage.

Grow Your Marriage
Third, make marriage enrichment a priority. There are plenty of marriage enrichment activities you can plug into and there are more resources in the area of marriage than at any other time. If you don’t work on your relationship your relationship will not grow, in fact it will go backward. Plus modeling for your kids that you actually take the time to learn how to love one another better is a lesson that every parent would want for their kids.

Connect Spiritually Together
Finally, make time to grow spiritually together. Those who are followers of Jesus Christ know that sharing together what you are learning through time in scripture and prayer is an important part of building a strong marriage. It doesn’t have to be difficult. It could involve talking about what each of you is learning in your bible study and prayer or reading a devotional together. Here again, is another opportunity to model for your kids what role faith plays in your marriage so they can “catch” the importance and see what it looks like.

Adding kids can feel like you are blowing up your marriage or at least putting it on hold for a while. But putting your relationship on hold does not help you to grow healthy kids. Instead it has the potential of growing kids who know nothing of what it takes to have a great marriage. You’ll also end up with a marriage that lacks intimacy and connection. So the big question is, what are your kids learning about marriage through observing you?
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Mountain Lion Server: RADIUS Set Up

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Security on wireless networks can be a problem for those who are concerned with their one SSID getting out to those outside their network. While this may not be a big issue for home users, it can be a big one for those running a small business. Built into Mountain Lion Server is the RADIUS (Remote Authentication Dial In User Service) Server which only allows those with user credentials on the server to access the wireless network. Instead of one SSID and password to access the network, users are asked for their user name and password that they use to log into the server. This creates added security and server level authentication for your wireless network.

As always, feel free to leave questions or comments below or on my
YouTube Channel.



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Mountain Lion Server: Splashtop iOS Screensharing

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Continuing on in looking at iOS applications that allow you to access your server while you are on the go, I take a look this week at Splashtop. Splashtop is an iOS screen sharing application that allow you to access your server desktop on your iOS device and use it like you were right in front of your server. You simply install a little program on your server that communicates with the iOS application, install Splashtop on your iOS device (iPhone, iPod Touch, or iPad), login and you are set to access your server.

Some of the controls do take some getting used to but there is a handy guide to help explain how each of the services work. The latency is really good and it makes it a great tool for every server administrator to have. As always, if you have any questions feel free to leave them below or on my
YouTube Channel.



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Mountain Lion Server: Server Admin Remote

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Being able to monitor your server remotely is something that every IT guy needs to ability to do. But if you have to login with a screen share just to check the status of your services it can be time consuming and cause even the best administrator to procrastinate. I found an iOS application that allows you to check on your services, stop and start services, check logs, and look at your resources. The app is called Server Admin Remote and you can get it from the iTunes Store.

In this screencast I cover how to download, set up and use the application on your iPhone. This really is a great little app and should come in handy for helping you check in on your server. If you have any questions or comments feel free to leave one below or on my
YouTube Channel.



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Mountain Lion Server: Firewall Set Up

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Protecting your server is important especially when you are making services available over the internet. If you are using a router, you in essence have a hardware firewall that protects you against those from the outside trying to get in. There are instances when you want to specifically track and monitor those trying to get into your server especially when SSH is enabled and the various bots in the world start running DDoS attacks on your server. That is where a software firewall is helpful.

In this weeks tutorial I cover how to set up the built in firewall on OS X Server. I cover the basic set up and various options found in the GUI built into system preferences. In a future screencast I will cover how to run the server with the command line and a third party GUI called
Icefloor.

As always if you have any questions feel free to leave a comment here or on my
YouTube Channel.



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Dealing with Dissappointment in Marriage

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Expectations of how things should go and when they should happen in relationships can be a deep source of pain and disappointment and can cause us to develop a short term view of relationships. The reality is that your spouse will let you down and you will let your spouse down. It is also reality that you will feel your spouses offenses against you are greater than your offenses against your spouse. We always weigh our own experience of pain more heavily. When we allow this evaluation and constant pondering about our woes and what we feel we are lacking in life because of our spouse to drive our emotions and perception of the world, we will grow resentful and heap all of the problems in our life onto our spouse. When we do that, the intimacy that we should have with our spouse goes out the window because who could feel close to someone we believe is the source of all of our problems? This then leads to emotional separation which, left unchecked, is how people get to the place of wanting physical separation. For those who leave a marriage based on this cycle, they believe there is someone out there who won’t let them down, not realizing that they had a major role to play in the downfall of the marriage. So they go out and find someone else only to experience the inevitable let down that happens when two imperfect people live together in close quarters and then experience the same process and wonder how they got there again. So how do we avoid this trap that has caused so many people pain?

Have a Long Term View of Relationships
The first thing we all need to do is to remember that great relationships are always based on a longterm view and are developed over time. There is no instant success in relationships. We never really arrive because marriages are living organisms of sorts. They are either growing or declining. We have to work at our marriages if we hope to stay connected and close with our spouse. This work takes place over a long period of time. I can’t tell you how many couples I have worked with who quit just before they could have experienced the greatest sense of peace and closeness in their marriages. A history with someone is not something that is easily developed or easily thrown away and a longterm view of a relationship allows couples to relax and not spend every moment of their lives evaluating whether or not the relationship is “working.” The relationship will work if both parties have a long view towards building a healthy marriage. It usually takes years to get over our own views of how things should “work” and when we finally let go of our demands and choose to love and move towards each other in life, we experience a rhythm to life that we never even had on our radar as part of the “dream.”

Admit and Respond as if You Are an Equal Part of the Problem
As I said earlier, we are all experts on how the other person is failing. Few of us are experts on our own failures or if we do admit we have areas where we have failed they are usually minor compared to what we believe our spouse is doing to fail us. When we work to fix our spouse or complain or criticize our spouse for all that he/she does wrong we are only causing more problems in our marriage and pushing our spouse away. If we really want to experience all that our marriage has to offer we have to look in the mirror and make our own behavior the project we are working to improve. If you have not been working on yourself as it relates to your marriage or if your list of what is wrong in your relationship is longer for your spouse than it is for you, you are probably still blaming your spouse for most of the problems. It is the rare case where only one person is causing all the pain in a relationship. It takes two to tango as they say and we all have to admit we have a part to play in the problems we face as a couple.

Get a Grip on Your Expectations
Many times we believe that our expectations are always reasonable and everyone in the world has the same view and is experiencing all the things we feel we are lacking. We get into the comparison game from a distance and assume that those we admire have it all together and are getting what we are not in our marriages. The reality is, everyone is experiencing conflict. Anyone who says they are not, either has a spouse who is dead, or someone is not talking and it usually isn’t the one who is saying everything is great! Take some time to evaluate how many of your expectations put an unfair burden on your spouse to come through for you in order to make you “happy.” Any expectation that puts my happiness or mood in the hands of another person is dangerous and unfair. Just as we teach our kids that someone else is not responsible for how they act, we too need to avoid making our spouses responsible for how we act or feel.

Marriage is a beautiful and difficult thing. It can be the source of our greatest joy and connection and the source of our greatest pain and rejection. But the measure of success in a marriage is not how much joy I experience on a regular basis, but how much we grow together in the midst of conflict and joy. It is the ability to work through difficult times and still stay connected that is measure not only of the strength of our marriage, but the character we possess individually.

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Mountain Lion Server: Server 2.2.1 Update

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I have had a lot of questions lately about the changes Apple made to Server with the 2.2.1 Update. Some of the confusion is between previous tutorials I have done and the new changes that were made so I decided to make a tutorial to take into account a few of the changes that people were asking about. Apple’s Support Article covers the changes they made with this update found here:

Here are some of the main changes:

1. Caching Service: This allows you to cache any updates that have been downloaded from the Mac App Store so they don’t need to be re-downloaded. I covered this in detail in a previous screencast.

2. Centralized SSL Certificate Management: Apple took the SSL Certificate management out of the Server hardware area and moved it to it’s own service. I cover the changes in detail for those who had difficulty with the new interface.

3. Time Machine: Changes include seeing which computers are backed up, when they were backed up, and the size of the back up.

As always feel free to leave comments here or on my
YouTube Channel.



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NEW! All Video Tutorials in One Place

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I have had a lot of feedback lately asking me to put all of my tutorials on my website in an easy to view format. Some of you don’t like using the YouTube interface and would prefer to come to the website instead to view the tutorials in one place. So to make it easier, I have added a section to my website on Technology which includes all the tutorials sorted by topic. It is a start and I still have things I want to do make it better but I think it will make it easier for you to view them in order instead of using the playlist feature on my YouTube Channel.

I also included a donate button for those who want to buy me a cup of coffee (Starbucks is one of my regular hang outs) for the work on the tutorials. Please don’t think you have to donate to use the tutorials, I am just doing this for those who wanted to do something but didn’t have a way to do it.

If you get a chance to check the tutorials section out, give me some feedback on what you think and how I could improve it. You can email me or leave a comment here.

I love doing these tutorials and helping others with things I have learned. I also love to hear how they help others so drop me a line if you get a chance.

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Mountain Lion Server: Mobile Accounts

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One of the advantages of Server is the ability to have your home folders on the server so you can log into any computer on your network and have your desktop and home folder set up available just as if you were on your local computer. But one of the problems of doing this is dealing with mobile computers. What happens when you take your laptop outside the network if your home folders are on the server?

To solve this problem, Server has the ability to set up mobile accounts where basically sets up a sync service that keeps your home folder in sync between the server and the client machine. Before a client leaves the network, the home folder syncs to the client machine. When the client comes back into the network, any changes the client has made get sync’ed back to the server to keep everything the same. This way the client can still log into any computer on your network and still take their laptop on the go.

As always, feel free to leave a comment here or on my YouTube Channel. Thanks for watching!



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Mountain Lion Server: Work Group Manager Preferences

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In this screencast tutorial I cover the preference settings available in Work Group Manager and I compare them to the setting available in Profile Manager. Apple is definitely moving away from Work Group Manager towards having everyone use Profile Manager but has chosen to keep Work Group Manager around for those how still like to use this legacy software for managing their directory.

Work Group Manager can still be used to manage all of your users, groups, devices and device groups in a non web interface on your server. It still works well and gives you another option for setting up your server.

As always feel free to leave a comment here or on my YouTube Channel. Thanks for watching!



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Mountain Lion Server: Bind Clients to the Server

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Your Open Directory allows you to connect your computers to that directory which gives you more management options. There were some comments lately about how to bind a computer to the server on my YouTube Channel so I thought I would do a tutorial to show how this gets set up. You want to bind your machine to your Domain Name and not to your .local name. Some had it where the .local was the only server option available on their network. This was caused by having the primary DNS be the router instead of the server. A simple change in the router set up fixed this for those I was talking to.

In this video tutorial I cover how to set that up properly. I also cover the process for binding your clients to the server and what it looks like in Work Group Manager.

As always feel free to leave a comment here or on my YouTube Channel. Thanks for watching!



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Mountain Lion Server: Work Group Manager Overview

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The Server Application gives you plenty of functionality for you to set up and configure your server. But Apple still provides Work Group Manager as a way for you to set up and configure services on your server. It works with your Open Directory and includes some more detailed information to help you tweak your server.

In this screencast tutorial I cover how to download and install Work Group Manager. I give a basic overview of the application and cover how to use it to work with users and groups on your server.

As always, thanks for watching. Feel free to leave a comment here or on my YouTube Channel if you have a question.



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Mountain Lion Server: Remote Server Access

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One of the advantages of having a server is being able to access it remotely. I had some questions lately about how to do that so I decided to do a screencast on it to demonstrate how to make that happen.

In this screencast tutorial I cover how to connect to your server remotely. I demonstrate a couple of ways to do this and how to make sure you set it up properly without accidentally installing the server components on your non server device.

As always feel free to leave a comment here or on my YouTube Channel. Thanks for watching!



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Mountain Lion Server: NetInstall

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With the new digital distribution of Apple’s operating systems it makes it more difficult to reinstall on various computers if you need to do so. With Server you have the ability to set up various images that you can then use to do a clean install on your computers over the air on your own network. The advantages of doing this is the fact that you can customize your install and don’t have to worry about creating your own media to make the install happen.

In this screencast tutorial I cover how to set up a disk image to be used for your NetInstall. I also cover some of the customization options to simplify the install process and then show how the process works.

As always feel free to leave a comment or question here or on my YouTube Channel. Thanks for watching!



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Mountain Lion Server: DHCP

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DHCP or Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol, is what is used to assign IP addresses to the devices on your network. DHCP is usually set up through the router as there needs to be addresses given to your devices if they are to show on your network and connect to the internet. Server gives you the option to control DHCP through your server instead of through a router. There are advantages and disadvantages to either solution and I cover those in this tutorial. For most people the router will be the best option since a router is usually always on while there a times when a computer is shut down, thus shutting down your DHCP service. But for many in corporate environments controlling the DHCP from the server is important.

As always feel free to leave a comment here or on my YouTube Channel. Thanks for watching!



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Mountain Lion Server: Connecting iOS to WebDAV

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One of the struggles most people with iOS devices have is getting the documents on their Macs onto their iOS device. Sure you could use Dropbox or some other cloud service. Or you could use iTunes to sync certain files and folders through certain apps you may have on your device. But sometimes you just want to have your files available right off your computer without having to go through another service.

In Mountain Lion Server you can specify certain folders to be available to your iOS device and then connect to those files through the WebDAV interface built into your iOS device. This makes all of your files portable and allows you to use them where you are at on the road (provided you have a public domain address or VPN).

In this screencast tutorial I cover how to connect to those files and folders you designated for sharing with iOS devices. I cover how to do this in a couple of apps to give you an idea of how it works. As always, please feel free to leave a comment here or on my YouTube Channel.



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Mountain Lion Server: Wiki Customization

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Mountain Lion Server’s Wiki allows you to customize elements of it to make it your own. You can edit each of the elements on the site beyond the basic navigation. You can add banners, videos, audio, and other elements to make the site look unique. In this screencast tutorial, I cover how to customize the wiki and go over each of the customization options. While these options don’t quite allow you to create your own site in any way you want, it does allow you to layer some things on top of the existing layout.

As always, thanks for checking out my tutorials. If you have any questions feel free to leave a comment here or on my YouTube Channel.



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MacWorld/iWorld

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This week is MacWorld, a week where ifans of all sorts converge on one spot to geek out talking about and learning about all things Apple. This event has been going on for quite some time but I have never attended. There were plenty of times I thought about it but for one reason or another my schedule would not cooperate so I never made it. Well this year I am finally making the trek up to San Francisco to see what it's all about. I'll get to go with my dad who is a big Mac guy as well and really is the one who got me started on Mac stuff (I still remember when he got and Apple II and then eventually the first Mac). I really excited to see what it's all about.

While I'm there I'll have the opportunity to meet
Don Mcallister who is making the trip from the UK. I have watched Don's screencasts from ScreenCastsOnline for many years and if you haven't heard of him or checked out ScreenCastsOnline and you own a Mac you really should check it out. You can get the screencasts as standalone tutorials or subscribe to the ScreenCastsOnline Monthly Magazine and view them in a magazine format with articles by leading Mac experts. I have had the privilege of collaborating with him lately with screencast content and it has been awesome working with and learning from Don. We are finally going to connect face to face.

I am also looking forward to attending the
Omnifocus 2 unveiling party happening on Thursday night which will be presented by David Sparks, Merlin Mann, and Ken Case from the OmniGroup. It will be a lot of fun to check out the updates and be able to get early access to the private beta. I'll have to let you know how it looks! On Friday night I look forward to going to the Nosilla Castaways party on Friday night to meet Allison and some of the other podcasters I have heard but haven't met yet. Of course we'll also attend some of the workshops and roam the show floor. It should be a great trip!

I'll try to put updates on my twitter feed so if you are not following my on Twitter by sure to follow me @tolthoff. I'll also try to follow up with a blog post sometime next week.

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Mountain Lion Server: Wiki Set Up

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One of the great advantages of using OS X Server is the built in website that comes with it. For those who just want to get their feet wet with having their own website to those who are running a small business and want a collaboration tool that all of their employees can use to communicate and share ideas, the built in website is a really nice option and has a decent amount of functionality and customization. Now if you are a person who has a vision for how you want your website to look and feel and you want the freedom to add pages and functionality on the fly, then you are still probably better off having our website hosted or hosting it on your server. While the customization on the built in site is nice, it really isn't built for a complete redesign and you have to work with the built in tools to make it work.

In this screencast tutorial I go over how to set up the Wiki Service which functions along side the Website Service to create the built in Wiki Website. I also give a basic tour of the site to give you an idea of what you can do with it. In the next screencast I will cover how to customize your site to make it your own.

As always if you have any questions, feel free to comment here or on my
YouTube Channel.



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The Respectability of Honest Weakness

I haven't posted any of my journal devotionals in a while so I thought I would post today's. I wrote this today in my sacred space (or Starbucks to other people) at my regular time early this morning. Hope you enjoy it!

Today I read Exodus 3-5 and Luke 22. It is interesting that God chooses people who are not perfect to serve him. You would think the God of the universe could choose people who have no flaws or very little flaws. Or, at least, you would think he would not talk about their flaws in the Bible. Especially the flaws of leaders that he chose and established.

In our society we think that perfection or the appearance of it is something we should strive for. Heaven forbid that anyone ever know that we failed at anything. So we go about life trying to look as perfect as possible. We all know that perfection is not really possible so we admit to a few flaws that we are pretty sure everyone else struggles with or ones that are socially acceptable. Somewhere along the line we bought into the lie that true respect comes from being as close to flawless as possible.

The reality is that people really don't respect those who pretend to be perfect. Most of the reason for this is that we can see the flaws of another person better than that person can see it in themselves. So it is like having a person who says they never make mistakes make one right in front of you and still hold onto the belief that they don't make mistakes. We don't really respect people like that even if we are polite to them and don't point out those flaws. The people that we most respect are those who make mistakes but are able to admit them, make amends and move on. There is something very attractive about authenticity and humility. We want to support those kind of people and root for them to do well.

God knew this when he chose people he knew were flawed and had weaknesses. He saw their strength of character behind the image that others had of them and he chose them even when they didn't think they were worthy of being chosen. Take Moses. Here is a man who God used in mighty ways and became famous enough that most people in our society today know who he is. But Moses was flawed. He had a temper problem that lead him to kill a man. He had stage fright so much so that he argued with God over whether he was the right guy to send because he couldn't speak in front of people. Yet God still chose this short-fused-stage-fright of a leader to lead his people Israel out of Egypt on one of the most miraculous and important journey's of their lives.

Take Peter. Here was a guy who was a fisherman by trade who had no problem talking, so much so that he kept putting his foot in his mouth. Peter was not educated, he was not well spoken, he was a wild card that you never knew what he would say or do and most times he would probably embarrass you. This same guy who with one breath committed to dying with Jesus, chose to deny that he even knew Jesus when the true prospect of losing his life was presented to him. God chose this man to be God's spokesman at the start of the church and before government officials.

Each of these guys had weaknesses but each of these guys also did mighty things for God. They both had in common the commitment and loyalty needed to see something through and the faith to follow God's commands no matter where they led. Their weaknesses make them human to us and easy to relate to. Their admission of their weaknesses and how they handled their failures shows us what authenticity looks like. Their weaknesses give us hope for our own lives as we seek to follow God.

*Lord, thank you for using ordinary people to do extraordinary things for you. It gives me great hope in my own life to know that you can use flawed people for perfect purposes. Please help me to be a man of faith who has the steadfastness to see my calling through. Amen.*

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Mountain Lion Server: Web Server

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In this screencast tutorial I cover how to set up the Website service. This service is not only used for hosting your own personal websites. It is also used as a part of making the Wiki Service work so it is a service that will be running whether you are hosting your own website or not. In the screencast I talk about things to consider when hosting your own website including:

1. Does your ISP block port 80?
If your ISP blocks port 80 then you will not be able to host your own website as that is the port that those outside your network will use to access your site. You may have to call your ISP to see if there is a way to open that port. In many cases they will want you to purchase their business internet service which is usually more costly but does come with a static IP address which helps with the next issue.

2. Do you have a static IP address?
If you are using a dynamic IP address, which most home users are, you are leasing an IP address that could change at any moment. Once this IP address changes all of your web services will go offline until you discover the change and update your domain registrar to point your domain name to the new IP address. This will cause your website to be down until you make the change. Now most ISP's don't change the IP that often. It usually happens when you reboot your modem, but the risk of it changing might be too big, especially if you are dependent on having your website up and running 24/7. For home users who are only doing this for family it is not as critical, but for the rest, you really need a static IP.

3. Are you ok with Downtime?
Running a web server that hosts critical websites means that uptime of your sites is up to you and your server. So if you have a power outage and your server goes down, so does your website. If you forget you are hosting a site and turn off your server, you lose your site. So you really need to weigh the costs before you decide to do your own hosting.

Hopefully that gives you some things to consider before hosting your site. In the tutorial I cover how to get your site going and even how to set up virtual hosting if you are looking at hosting various domains/websites on your one server. This includes a look at the DNS service so if you haven't covered that yet, you may want to view my tutorial
HERE.

Thanks for watching! If you have any comments or questions leave them here or on my
Youtube Channel!



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Mountain Lion Server: Profile Manager-Devices

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In this screencast tutorial I cover how to manage all of your devices using Profile Manager in Mountain Lion Server. Managing many devices can be difficult especially if you have to update the settings on those devices one at a time. With Profile Manager you can set up profiles for each device or device group and those changes get pushed over the air to all of your devices. Once your devices are in Profile Manager (you can see my tutorial on how to do this HERE), you can choose to manage them either individually or put them into device groups and manage them that way. You can set up everything from passwords to what items are in the dock. There really is a great amount of customization available and the great thing about Profile Manager is you can access it from any web browser anywhere you are (as long as you have either a .private network and you VPN in, or a FQDN (Fully Qualified Domain Name).

As always feel free to leave a comment or question here or on my
Youtube Channel. Thanks for watching!



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Mountain Lion Server: Profile Manager-Users & Groups

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In this screencast tutorial I continue my look at Profile Manager and show you how to set up profiles for Users and Groups. Users and Groups are initially configured in the Server App so whatever you set up there will be what is showing in Profile Manager itself. The cool part of this service is the level of customization you can do to a profile and how easily it pushes those changes to a particular user the next time that user logs in.

I cover each of the settings in both the User and Groups screens. I also share my own strategy of using groups to manage users instead of having to update each individual user’s profile one at a time. In the next screencast I will cover how to set up device specific profiles which is another great way to manage the settings on your network.

As always, if you have any questions feel free to leave them here or on my
Youtube Channel. Thanks for watching!



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