N00b Mac sysadmin seeks help getting started

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by RedTomato, Dec 12, 2005.

  1. RedTomato macrumors 68040

    RedTomato

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2005
    Location:
    .. London ..
    #1
    Hello all,

    I have recently started as sysadmin for a small non-profit arts company. They use 5 new iBooks, (which I reccomended they buy) and I am in charge of technical support.

    They can only afford to pay me very little, so I want to make my job as easy as possible.

    I've used windows PCs for 15 years, and switched to Macs last year (2004), so I'm still learning my way around OS X. I now refuse to help people with Windows problems and only sort out Mac related problems now :)

    I've never been a sysadmin (whether for PCs or Macs) so can you give me some help and tips in getting started?

    I've already set up their office with broadband, set up their wireless network, put WPA security on the wireless, firewall on the router, networked printer, installed MS Office on all machines etc, so at the moment it is running well. Am aware problems may crop up in the future.

    I've just started evalulating Apple Remote Desktop and Timbuktu, not sure if either is worth buying for the company. Probably worth it if I can run Apple update remotely, and do things like change the screen saver wait time remotely ( that was the last tech support request to me : )

    Anything else I should do / learn about as a newbie Mac sysadmin?

    I'm confortable using Terminal if my hand is held a little bit, but I do prefer applications with a GUI interface.

    Many thanks

    .. RedTomato ..
     
  2. Anonymous Freak macrumors 601

    Anonymous Freak

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2002
    Location:
    Cascadia
    #2
    Hrm...

    Well, OS X has VNC support built-in. Enable it under the 'Sharing' system preference, as 'Apple Remote Desktop'. Then go to 'Access Privileges...' and turn on 'VNC viewers may control screen with password...'.

    Of course, you'll need to find a way to get in to their network remotely to use VNC remotely... I'll leave that one to you. :)

    And, rule number one as a professional sys admin... Always encourage legal software use. If even one copy of MS Office there is illegal, not only will they get in trouble, but so will you. If they go with illegal software over your objections, at least they can't blame you. I, for one, refuse to install a single copy of software on more than one machine. If they do so, I will warn them of it, but will support them. (Same goes for copies of Windows XP that refuse to update because of a bad serial number. I will help them to the best of my ability, but I will not provide them with a different serial number.)
     
  3. RedTomato thread starter macrumors 68040

    RedTomato

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2005
    Location:
    .. London ..
    #3

    Thanks for the guidance on meshing professional responsiblity with practical support.

    All software on the company's iBooks is legal, I've been quite strict about that.

    One guy has brought in his home PC to transfer documents off, and it has some not fully legal software on it (like a 5 year old pirated version of Dreamweaver).

    I've made it clear I'm not supporting the PC (it's a groaning heap of spyware and malware), just told him where to download a copy of Ad-Aware. It should be leaving the office soon.

    Since we are a non-profit, the local Apple shop told us we could legally use a single copy of MS Office Student and Teacher Edition on up to 3 of the office iBooks. (it comes with 3 serial numbers)

    I'm not quite sure if this is strictly correct, but hey, the Apple shop were quite specific about it, and it saved us 75% of the price, so we brought 2 copies to use on our 5 iBooks.

    Should I have got their statement in writing? : )

    ..RedTomato..
     
  4. RedTomato thread starter macrumors 68040

    RedTomato

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2005
    Location:
    .. London ..
    #4
    Thanks - after your suggestion, I found this thread on VNC remote control of a mac :

    http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=122785

    - rather technical - will have to try some of the simpler suggestions mentioned in the responses. Building a VNC reverse-tunnel seems over-complicated...

    One problem is all our staff are part time and work their own hours, so I am not sure when any specific laptop is going to be open and connected for things like remotely running Apple Software Update, or other system maintenance cron jobs.

    ..RedTomato..
     
  5. Anonymous Freak macrumors 601

    Anonymous Freak

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2002
    Location:
    Cascadia
    #5
    Unfortunately, the store's statement means nothing. It's what Microsoft says that matters. And unfortunately, 'Student and Teacher' is just that. It is *NOT* licensed for use by nonprofits. Only for "A. FULL OR PART-TIME STUDENT B. HOME-SCHOOLED STUDENT C. FULL OR PART-TIME FACULTY OR STAFF OF AN ACCREDITED EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTION". Nonprofits do not qualify. For that matter, neither do educational institutions themselves. This is only for students or faculty for home use.

    However, they DO qualify for Microsoft's 'Open Licensing'. However, that is usually too much work, really, for only 5 licenses. (5 is the minimum for this program.)
     
  6. RedTomato thread starter macrumors 68040

    RedTomato

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2005
    Location:
    .. London ..
    #6
    Interesting points thanks.

    Actually, the Apple store *did* ask us if we did educational work, which we said yes to, as we run courses and training classes occasionally. (not all that often but it's one of our core aims.)

    I think local law here (we are not in the USA) protects us as 'buying in good faith', and 'making reasonable effort to check with the seller that we are in fact eligibile' as the vendor at the Apple shop is responsible for representing the license to us, and we told them the full truth about our organisation, with no attempt to get an unfair advantage.

    IANL but it seems Microsoft would have to take it up with them for misselling, not with us.

    Good point tho, and I will mention it to my boss.

    (EDIT: misleading analogy removed)

    .. RedTomato ..
     
  7. Anonymous Freak macrumors 601

    Anonymous Freak

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2002
    Location:
    Cascadia
    #7
    You're probably fine. After all, you did take 'due diligence' (as it's called in the US) to ensure that you were okay. (In reality, MS only investigates if someone complains.)
     
  8. yellow Moderator emeritus

    yellow

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2003
    Location:
    Portland, OR
    #8
    I've used Timbuktu (up to v6.03) for years and it's quite nice, but ultimately, you'll get the same milage out of VNC for a lot let money. ARD, however, has made my life much nicer for supporting massive amounts of Macs. I can much more easily distribute and install package updates and patches to everything as once, track inventory, etc. If you have 100+ (ok, maybe 50+, but it's pretty pricey) Macs to support, I'd say ARD is the way to go.
     

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