Feb 022016
 

I use screen capture.  A lot.  I use it to capture reminders.  I use it to capture technical information that I might need later.  I use it to capture images of bills I have paid online…  You get the idea.  On more than one occasion, I’ve wanted to review an image I captured when I was away from my computer.  What a pain.  So I got thinking about how I could use iCloud document sharing to synchronize the images between devices.  The image files aren’t particularly large.  I use Dropbox for just about everything, so the 5GB of free Apple storage is more than enough.  I’m not terribly worried if Apple changes something with .mac, (I mean .me, I mean iCloud) and deletes all my shit… While I love their (older) computers, their cloud “services” seem to be getting worse and worse in the post Jobs era.

Back on topic, the process to accomplish this was fairly easy, but did require 3rd party software.

I first attempted to save the screen shots directly to the iCloud Documents folder (technically a folder called ‘screenshots’ that I had created there), but no dice.  So I figured I’d just have the screen captures saved in the ‘screenshots’ folder I created in the Pictures folder.  Then use something monit to watch the folder and call a shell script when it sees new files added.

So I got about 5 minutes into that and then remember that I had a copy of Hazel.  Mashing buttons in the shell demonstrates computer ninja skills.  But if you just want to get shit done in a hurry (or you don’t know shit), nothing better than a solid GUI to serve up that command line power.Hazel Rule

You can see the path info in the picture.  But just in case you’ve got those “progressive bifocals” it looks like this:

NOTE:  I added screenshots to keep the root folder clean.

I know, a GUI solution is totally cheating.  You could do it for free with monit….  Whatevs…  Here’s what it looks like on the phone:

Screenshots in iCloud

Jun 052015
 

So iCloud Family Sharing is a bit of a bust.  The wizard for setting up all the security measures on each account that you must create, combined with the lack of privacy, AND the fact that a payment method is now required are a real pain.  If you’re planning to let children use the devices unsupervised – you’d be amazed what they can find on Youtube – and you don’t want to have to explain any number of topics you’re not prepared for, then you need a better method to lock down the devices.

The problem with Apple Configurator is that when Supervise mode is used (which is necessary to lock down most of the device), application distribution is designed to work with the Volume Purchase Program (VPP) which is closed to consumers.  Even if you have a DUNS number (which is required to register as a business) you are stilled faced with purchasing multiple copies of software you’ve already paid for. Even for the kids on two devices, I’d be looking at $30 minimum to get Plex, Minecraft (a game they enjoy), and Move the Turtle (introduction to basic programming similar to Logo on the old Apple IIe’s).  Since iCloud Family Sharing allows you to share apps between family owned devices (up to 5, I believe), Apple is not requiring you to pay for additional copies of software… UNLESS you wish make the iOS device safe for children to use.

There are subscription based Mobile Device Management (MDM) providers that provide access to some management features and application deployment capability, but I was unable to find one that really offered the ability to secure and customize the device to my liking.  In any case, to deploy apps with via MDM,you still have to have a VPP account.

When the kids are a bit older, and are responsible enough to have unrestricted access to our iPads and old iPhones, an MDM provider such as Curbi.  I’ll probably subscribe next year when Liam is 10.  This way he can have his own iOS device, but I can control when it works and when it doesn’t from a well designed and easy to use iOS app.

For now, the challenge was to get an appropriate selection of the apps I own onto a phone configured and secured for each kid.  Initially, I wrongly assumed that since the intention was to deploy apps via VPP, there was likely no easy alternative to purchasing additional license for the software in order to make the phones safe for children.  Ultimately, I found the checkbox which allows Supervise mode to be used without removing existing applications.  Always the damn checkboxes that get me!

Here’s what the preferences pane look like:

Best to clear both if you don't want to waste time

Best to clear both if you don’t want to waste time

The default settings are both boxes checked.  Since I failed to notice that when I first setup the phones, Every time I applied a profile, all the apps were wiped off the phone. Very frustrating to say the least.

Lock screen  preferences are found here:

The benefit of using Supervise mode

The benefit of using Supervise mode

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

to be continued…

Dec 112014
 

I like to see where my mail is coming from.  I like to see how Spamassassin is scoring messages so that I can fine tune the settings.  I have a lot of plugins for OSX Mail, so the prospect of moving to a third party mail client and losing all of my Mailtags/Devonthink/Omnifocus/Things integration doesn’t seem worth it.  Clicking the stupid icon to show headers on every message is a real pain in the ass as well.  Why the option to show all as default was removed is beyond me.  Here’s a peek at the foolishness I had to endure just to get the default view back to what I was used to under Mavericks:

I'm sure I've missed some!

I’m sure I’ve missed some!