KW1108 Protecting your Privacy at Work

With all the news lately about the risks to your online privacy and personal information knowing how to look after your data has become an essential skill. It’s not too difficult to do this at home where you have full control of your environment, but what do you do when you’re at work?

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Music

  • Борисов Евгений– Trance [Jamendo]

Credits

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Server Week: What is OSX Server and Why Would a Home User Need One ?

*By guestblogger Todd Oldhoff *

As someone who teaches about using OS X Server I get a lot of questions from home users about why they would even need a server in the first place. Most people perceive that servers are for big business operations. They are huge machines that sit in a dedicated room and are monitored by IT professionals who make sure everything is running smoothly and fix things when they break down. The whole process seems overwhelming and most feel they lack the expertise and spare room to even consider running a server. So why would a home user need to run it in the first place?

I want to start by saying this is a great question to ask and one that we should ask not only as it relates to servers but all of the software we use. If you don’t have a real need for an application you should just avoid it as it will only clutter up your hard drive and cost you money to purchase. Also, if at the end of this post you still don’t see the need for running a server than don’t do it. This article is designed to help you see what a server could do for you so you can truly determine whether the features fit any of your needs. So let’s get started with why you might want to run a server by looking at the hardware requirements.

One of the myths most people have about servers is they are huge machines that need dedicated rooms to run. The beauty of our current place in history is that servers can be run on very small hardware that won’t take up more than the size of a shoe box on your shelf depending on your needs. You can run OS X Server on a Mac Mini and have plenty of power for your home environment. In fact I would recommend using a Mini for home use because of the power benefits and it’s small size. I would however recommend getting at least 8GB of RAM and, if you can swing it, 16GB. With that you should be in great shape to run OS X Server. But server can also run on any Mac you have in the house so don’t feel like you have to purchase a new Mac to run server (unless of course your Mac is too old to run Mavericks). As long as you plan on leaving your server on and not move it around, you could even use a laptop.

Now that we have the hardware issue out of the way, let’s look at some of the benefits of running a server in a home environment. Each of these things should give you a good idea if Server is for you:

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 Wireless Time Machine Back Ups

If you don’t happen to have a Time Capsule or would rather have your storage space outside your router, you are out of luck when it comes to wireless Time Machine backups. Yes you could do some things to try to get it to work with an Airport Extreme Base Station with an attached drive but things could get corrupted and its not supported by Apple. With OS X Server you can designate any drive connected to your Mac Server to serve as a back up disk for Time Machine and the best part is that it is supported by Apple.

 Your Own VPN Service

With most of us spending a lot of time on unsecured public networks, fear of data being stolen over the air is a real concern. VPN creates an encrypted connection to the internet and protects what is sent and received over the air. OS X Server has a built in VPN service that you can use on all of your devices to make your remote web access secure.

Network Accounts

With most of us having multiple computers at home with multiple users wanting to access their stuff on those computers having the ability for any user to log into any computer on your network to access their files and desktop is a much needed service. With OS X Server you can create your own network accounts and host your user’s home folders on the server so they can access their own desktop and files on any Mac in the house. This really saves arguments over who gets what computer in the house. If you have kids you know what I mean!

 File Server

One of the first things most people think about when it comes to a server is gaining access to files when they are away from their main Mac and outside their network. With a server, you can designate any folders or drives as accessible outside your network and set who can access what files and folders.

 Manage Multiple Devices

Most homes have become mini corporate environments with multiple Macs and iOS devices. Managing all of those devices can be tedious and difficult to set up and maintain. With OS X Server you can manage all of your Macs and iOS Devices from a simple web interface and push changes over the air to your devices as groups or individual device profiles making managing devices a lot easier.

 Personal iCloud Service

For some people the idea of having all of their personal information online in the cloud somewhere makes them uneasy. What happens if a security breach happens with the service you are using? Instead of having those things on a hosted service, they may want to manage their own calendar, contact, iMessage and Mail Server. For those with kids this is a great way to help them get their feet wet in some of these services while you control what they can can’t see or do. Built into OS X Server are services to that allow you to manage these things and then sync your settings to all of your Apple devices.

 Personal Web Server

Built into OS X Server is a web server complete with a built in Wiki website that you can customize. You can also host your own websites with OS X Server though there are some challenges for home users depending on your ISP service and how they feel about home users hosting websites. But even with that limitation you could host an in-house only website that your family uses on your home network only to share things. Another great way to get the kids used to using a website and publishing to it in a safe environment.

 As you can see there are a lot of different uses for OS X Server for home users. If you saw anything in there that you could take advantage of, then OS X Server is for you. You don’t have to use every service to run server but can pick and choose what works best for you. For those of you that like step by step instructions on how to set all of this up, I have a Youtube Channel where I do just that. You can check out more information on my website or on my Youtube Channel. If you choose to get started and get stuck along the way feel free to send me an email or leave a comment.

 About Todd.

Todd Olthoff is a Mac enthusiast who loves to pass on what he has learned to others. He regularly produces screencast tutorials on his website and on his Youtube Channel. He is also a regular contributing screencaster for ScreenCastsOnline and for MacStadium a Mac colocation company.

 Links.

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Privacy week : Why encrypting your traffic is important.

This week is “Privacy Week” on Knightwise.com where we are going to focus on applications, tips and tricks to keep YOUR data safe from prying eyes. “Why ? ” you might say .. “I have nothing to hide”.  Are you sure about that ?  Then lets strip the blinds from your bedroom so your neighbours can enjoy the saturday-night “bow-chicka-bowow” action with your spouse .. or since we are at it , remove the doors from ALL public bathrooms … You won’t mind to squat in plain sight, do you .. you had “nothing to hide”. 

The point I am trying to make is that privacy is not only a basic human right, “Keeping your privacy” is also becoming a very personal statement in this world where everybody seems to spy on everybody. In this series of articles we won’t teach you how to stay out of reach from the NSA or stuff, but will give you some basic pointers on how to keep your personal information away from script kiddies, nosy network administrators and the small minority of malevolent hackers that might actually be out to get YOU. The fact of the matter is : Getting your hands on other people’s information is just too darn easy these days. What if that nerdy kid in the coffee shop is keeping track of all the url’s you are visiting. What if the stalky network admin at work has an extra special interest in your traffic, what if there is a Pinapple hotspot in operation without you knowing it (Check out the special we did on this interesting device HERE ) “So WHAT ? WHAT can they see ?” you ask ? lets illustrate with a little video here.

So you see : Your privacy is not always guaranteed. Tag along on our privacy week and pick up some pointers on how to keep your privacy .. private.

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Use Slurm to watch your bandwith via the command line.

Knowing “how busy” your network card is on your Linux system can be very handy in a variety of occasions. You might want to see whats holding up traffic if you use your Linux box as a router, You might want to check how fast that download is going on your torrent machine, you might want to see the top speed you can get out of your workstation. In any case : Getting a quick and comprehensible readout of how many bits you are spewing is not always easy, especially if you are connecting via the command line.

xINK4

Enter “Slurm” an app that does one thing and does it well. It gives you a graphical overview on how fast your system is up – and downloading data. This information is specified into your ‘real time data usage’, your average data usage, your amount of data received and transmitted. It also comes with a cool graph that, on a glance, gives you an idea on how busy your pipe is. 

Slurm is easy to use ( and does not have a ton of command line switches) an can be run on different network cards at the same time. This is very handy if you ever want to see how fast your home-built router is blasting bits on both interfaces.  Slurm is available by installing it from the command line on any ubuntu/debian based system via  sudo apt-get install slurm . You can use Slurm by hitting slurm -i eth0  (eth0 or 1 being the name of the network card you want to monitor.)

 

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Knightwise.com now available on Podnutz

We mentioned it in KW701, but now its official : Knightwise.com is now a proud member of the Podnutz podcast network. What IS a podcast network ? Easy : It’s a collection of different podcasts around a variety of topics who get together in a network to pool both recourses and audiences to get more listeners and exposure. There are plenty of podcast networks out there, but some of them are of a higher quality and standard then others. That is why we are very proud to announce our affiliation with the Podnutz network. Under the wise hands of Uber-Geek “Doortodoorgeek” this podcast network brings you a collection of a variety of  shows like “Linux for the Rest of Us”, “Android App Addicts”, “My hard drive died” and of course “Podnutz daily”. 

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Omg.. Is anything changing ? 

Nope, for the loyal Knightwise.com listeners: Nothing changes. We are staying right where we are. The website isn’t going anywhere and neither are the feeds, the only thing that IS changing is that the Podnutz audience now has a chance to get to now the Knightwise.com podcast through their network : So hello new listeners !

Meet the community.

If you want to meet the Podnutz community , head on over to Podnutz.com, subscribe to the shows you are interested in and take a look at their forums : There is plenty of geekery afoot.

Links.

www.podnutz.com

 

 

 

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The Knightcast Episode 35 : Remote Domination.

Remote
The Knightcast Episode 35 : Remote Domination. 

Direct link to the show :

http://www.knightwise.com/podcasts/kc_2082006.mp3

Summary. 

Don't even leave your seat for episode 35 of the Knightcast : Remote domination. We talk about the tools of the trade how to remote control every PC that you own. With tips, howto's and cool programs we turn your computerroom obsolete and let you control everything from your couch. With music from Noplasticinside its another Info- Loaded Knightcast.

Promo : Miketechshow

Download the Shownotes in PDF.

 

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Feeling HOT HOT HOT !

willyIts too damn hot.
For about the 20th day in a row, maximum temperatures here in never-ever-sunny Belgium have once again risen above 33 degrees centigrade. We are having a full blown Sahara style heat-wave. Just great ! For those of you who know me : I do not like the cold. I have complained in length to the celestial thermostat to crank up the juice this winter.Yet somehow I fear that the big weatherman in the sky has yanked up the heat and broke of the knob.
And heat is a funny thing , its makes people and machines go totally insane. I’ll give you a short list of how its impacting my life these days.
1- No extensive outdoor activities. : Well : its warm outside, so an ideal time to do stuff around the house, paint a wall here and there , fix some stuff up etc. You’ll be successful at that, right up the the first hour in your endeavor. Afterwards you will probably awake in some nearby hospital suffering from the result of a sunstroke that has rendered you completely inoperable. Like some overheating AMD Duron from 2001 with a pathetically cheap fan you can actually feel your body start to get steamed up without the ability to cool off. And we all know what happens to hot cpu’s. They crash .. then they burn.

2- Speaking of CPU’s
: One of the major things that are suffering these days is technology. With hard disk spinning ever faster, Power supply’s spewing out more heat, more clock cycles and all that , your computer can really become a small source of warmth. Seriously : When I pump up my 3.2 gig machine in my small office (not the big one) it will be able to warm up this large amount of air quite significantly. Not enough to heat it , but enough to be felt. So imagines computers, servers, switches and routers MOANING under the heat these days. My Mac Mini (acting as a server) is too kind in constantly blowing its fan these days and even my macbook starts to “MOO” its cooling apparatus at points where it never used to do it. In overall : the raise of the ambient temperature by a few degrees is hell for machines.
3 – Sleep deprivation ad loss of concentration. If its too hot during the day : BAD.. If it does not cool down during the night : WORSE. I sleep extremely bad these days cause of the heat. Leaving the windows open even makes it worse, OK , you cool down the room enough so sleep BUT the outside noise of a busy city (or my Italian neighbors who  insists on yelling their goodbyes to each-other from opposite sides of the street at 3AM) do knock you out of the light sleep you have. : Result : I look hung over in the morning and feel like i’m ready for a pension plan. I can’t even remember what I was going to write about concentration.
And Finally : The Brain-fry ! Above some certain temperature the mind starts to bubble. I’ve double checked this with fellow cyber-citizens and it does appear to be a common phenomenon. At some point resolving complex processes , or troubleshooting easy problems becomes nearly impossible. As the mind swims in its on sweat , one cannot make heads or tails of the task ahead. So among IT people this results in loss of concentration ,trouble shooting skills and chasing the cute girls around the office in an effective way. I don’t even like coffee when its THIS hot ! An article I read even states that driving in a warm car has the same results as driving under influence of alcohol (loss of concentration , being more easily irritated and so on) quite amazing isn’t it !

But for some it is even worse
. Prompted by exotic temperatures they venture into worlds unknown and actually start doing tasks they have never ever preformed before in their life. As did my father in law who suddenly started OPERATING the barbecue last saturday (where as he former and foremost roll had been to complain about and afterwards consume the food) I knew when dear old willy started flipping sausages .. The heat had gotten to all of us !

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