MacBreak Weekly mentioned Photrade and SmugMug in their picks. They both cost, but they both look and feel really good.
Download and run the 10.5.3 Server Combo Update, and the problems I wrote about in this post go away. Finally.
Man, I haven’t really minded driving out to La Cantera, but it’ll be great for us and the clients to have a Retail Store this much closer. Here’s the requisite greeting line with all the cheering and clapping. Always a good time.
Finally I had the opportunity/need/inspiration/circumstances to look for a free VPN server that would run on a server with a static IP on a LAN.
Turns out Mac OS X has one built in! It’s an open-source UNIX deal called vpnd
, and it’s the same one on OS X Server and configured through the GUI. It’s no surprise that Apple left a VPN GUI out of OS X client — Server costs either $499 or $999 — but a very nice developer named Alex Jones came up with the free iVPN
, and after a little port forwarding on the router, and 30 seconds of config of iVPN, we had ourselves a legit L2TP VPN tunnel.
It was important to me that the VPN be accessible by the client built-in to OS X — found in Internet Connect in Tiger or earlier, and in Network System Preferences in Leopard. I have become bored with downloading and config’ing standalone software: too many checkboxes, not enough stability.
So…. whoop! Very easy, very free.
Now, one thing about most VPN connections that has always bugged me is that, even if the client connects to a network resource, say a server, via its local Bonjour hostname, e.g. server.local, when a connection is attempted over the VPN it fails, and the user has to revert to using the IP address. Which is sort of fine, but a turn off to the less technically minded. So I just found this article on macosxhints.com about editing the /etc/hosts file:
I haven’t tried it yet, but it makes sense to me.
Apple is all too aware of the chronic Apple File Protocol authentication issues with 10.5 Server. Some people have fixed this with a cron task that restarts AFP, say, every night. In my experience, this starts to corrupt file sharing altogether, to the point that, eventually, nobody can log in over AFP.
So I‘ve been switching people to using SMB (Windows file sharing), which sucks just on principle, but it also cuts out Time Machine backups. I am also nervous about it losing Apple-specific file resources.
Anyhoo, at one site where I’ve asked everyone to connect over SMB, several on the server appeared with weird random file names, such as “_GNEWM~A” or “4UI5WM~7”. Didn’t matter which machine or which user account I was using to connect.
After some poking around, I figured out that folders and files with odd characters in their path, and especially with spaces at the ends of their names, were the culprits. Extra long names, too.
I don’t know if this is an historic problem with OS X Server, and I just never ran into it because most of my clients use Macs, or whether this is specific to 10.5. Regardless, right now OS X Server is hurting my schedule really bad, and I can’t believe I’m having to be wary of proferring it as a recommendation.