Apple will speed up your home or work network for $20

Apple will speed up your home or work network for $20

Even if your company (or home) doesn’t officially support Apple devices, it’s likely that there are dozens of BYOD Apple devices (BYOAD?) on the network.  When a new OS update or patch is released, all those devices clamor for bandwidth which can have a big impact on your Internet connection. Apple has released a fantastic tool that seamlessly supports all Apple devices on a network, even if they are totally unmanaged BYOD iPhones, MacBooks or iMacs:  Enter the OS X Server app available for $19.99 from the App Store! This is also a great tool in areas where bandwidth is metered or limited – updates or apps are downloaded and cached the first time they are requested and then all future devices that attempt to install that same update or app from the App Store will receive a copy from your local caching server. See the video below demonstrating the massive speed increase downloading a 6GB Mac OS X upgrade from a caching server in under 1 minute! How to set up caching in the OS X Server app Install the OS X Server app on a Mac that is likely to be powered on 24×7. Open the app and select local computer. Scroll down to the Services menu and click on enable Caching. Toggle the service to ON. Set Cache Size to a number that makes sense given available disk space.  80GB – 100GB is recommended. Permissions (this is really powerful) For most simple networks the default of “only local subnets” and “matching this server’s network” are perfect. If you use VLANs with a single outbound NAT IP, select “all networks” and “matching this server’s network”....
pfSense Multisite Backup Tool

pfSense Multisite Backup Tool

pfSense is a secure and proven open source firewall.  As we grow, we find ourselves managing more and more pfSense firewalls across our client base. pfMb is a utility that we have created to automatically backup multiple pfSense firewalls easily and securely.  pfMb can be configured to run on any interval and will keep as many previous backup as you would like.  In case of hardware failure or a bad config, simply restore a previous version from backup and you’ll be up and running in short order. The script is secure and will only connect via SSH using SSH key authentication instead of passwords.  We use pfMb on Mac and Linux but it should work on any *nix under bash. We have release pfMb as open source software under the GPL 2.0 license.  You can download the latest version of pfMb over at GitHub…  enjoy!...
Set up your Mac Step 1 – Install Homebrew!

Set up your Mac Step 1 – Install Homebrew!

There are two fantastic tools to install on you new Mac: After you install iTerm2,  it’s time to install Homebrew! Homebrew is a package manager  – think apt-get for OS X.  It is trivial to install and instantly gives you access to thousands of open source tools and utilities. According to the creators of Homebrew, “Homebrew installs the stuff you need that Apple didn’t.” Visit http://brew.sh right now to get started! Top 10 (or more) useful Homebrew tools to get you started. (Paste this list into your terminal once you get Homebrew installed.) brew install git brew install wget brew install nmap brew install ncftp brew install lynx brew install iftop brew install suricata brew install ccze brew install ansible brew install mtr brew install ssh-copy-id brew install autossh Enjoy! Screenshot showing Homebrew installing mtr on Mac OS X. (mtr is a fun and useful ICMP tool which combines ping and traceroute into a realtime display of packet loss across all the path entries returned by...
Tools to install on your new Mac, Part 1: iTerm2

Tools to install on your new Mac, Part 1: iTerm2

So you just picked up a shiny new MacBook Pro or giant iMac, got your web browser installed, what’s next? There are two fantastic tools that you need to add next: iTerm2 and Homebrew. iTerm2 is a replacement for the Terminal application that comes with OS X.  iTerm2 has some great features like auto updates, unlimited history, mouseless copy, instant replay and tabs but far and above the best feature is the ability to split panes! Split panes allows you to divide your single iTerm2 terminal window both vertically and horizontally. You could split your terminal into a veritable Fibonacci spiral – it is that awesome! To split your terminal vertically: Command + shift + D To split your terminal horizontally: Command + D This allows you to cram all your active sessions onto the same screen, making good use of that giant glossy real estate! Enjoy! #nerdlife Screenshot of iTerm2 in the classic Fibonacci spiral...
Manage multiple servers like a boss with csshX!

Manage multiple servers like a boss with csshX!

  Servers (and other SSH enabled devices like switches, routers and Raspberry Pis) multiply like rabbits in today’s cloud-ready world and sys admins often need to perform the same task on many remote server instances via SSH.  If this sounds familiar, then csshX (Cluster SSH for OS X) is your friend! For example, restarting Apache on 4 machines takes just two steps. 1) Log in: csshX server1 server2 server3 server4 and 2) restart apache: service apache2 restart – so cool! csshX will make an SSH connection to any number of servers, opening each in a separate terminal window. The tool neatly tiles all the connections and a red control terminal opens across the bottom of the screen. What you type into the red control terminal is sent to all the client terminals. Very nifty. You can also select an individual client connection and work on that independently and then switch back to the control terminal for en masse control. csshX utilizes the built in  OS X Terminal application but can be invoked from iTerm2 or whatever alternative terminal you might use. (iTerm2 is the way to go!) Notes: Easily install csshX with Homebrew, a great package manager for OS X. Utilize SSH keys to facilitate secure logins. apt-get install clusterssh to get cssh for your Linux Debian / Ubuntu desktop. Toggle between master control and individual sessions by clicking on the respective Terminal window. Edit /etc/clusters to make short tags to connect to many servers under one name – the list is space separated with the first word used as the tag and the following items as URLs. For example the following...