Okay, so this post is a bit out of the normal context for my blog but I felt the need to share this.
After spending fruitless time this morning trying to locate a PDF copy of the user manual for the Starbucks (Saeco) Barista Espresso Machine I finally decided to locate my original manual. Below is a PDF of my original user manual, or “operating instructions” as printed on the original manual cover.
This posting could also be titled one of the following:
- Unable to download Mac OS X El Capitan/Yosemite
- Download may be corrupt or invalid
- Re-Installing OS X El Capitan/Yosemite
Although Apple is about to release the next version of the newly renamed macOS in the coming days/weeks, I expect this posting will be useful not only for OS X El Capitan or Yosemite, but also likely for the next version of macOS Sierra (10.12).
If you are already running OS X El Capitan (10.11) and need to reinstall the OS or install a fresh installation to a new hard drive (or partition), you may find as I did that downloading the OS X El Capitan (10.11) from the Mac App Store is simply not working. What I experienced after clicking the Download button was a busy indicator spinning indefinitely and the download never happening. I tried this on several different Macs with the same result. Of course, all my Macs were already running OS X El Capitan (10.11) so my attempts failed consistently on all three.
After contacting Apple Support, my first call ever by the way, apparently Apple now only allows each Mac to download the OS X El Capitan/Yosemite installation file one time per machine. This is what I was told by Apple Support. Also, when looking at my Purchased apps in the Mac App Store the OS X El Capitan did not allow me to download it and showed disabled “Downloaded” button instead, even though the OS install file already on my Mac was unusable. Delete this file had no affect on the ability to re-download the OS installation file.
However, Apple Support instructed me how to accomplish this another way – a legal and supported option. And that is by booting your Mac into Recovery Mode (or OS X Utilities) menu. Here are the steps.
- Reboot your Mac and enter Recovery Mode by pressing Cmd-R during the boot up sequence. You need to hold down the Cmd-R keys until the Apple logo appears. It can take several minutes before the Recovery Mode menu finally appears, so be patient.
- Select the Reinstall OS X option and click Continue.
- You will be given the option to select the target drive where the new OS will be installed. For me, I had two drives and wanted to install it on a newly attached SSD drive. Also, depending on the your computer you may need to select and connect to WiFi.
- A new copy of OS X (macOS) will be downloaded and the installation will begin.
Here is a snapshot of the OS X Utilities (Recovery Mode) menu.
Is your custom ULS logging not appearing in the SharePoint ULS logs?
I have had the (sometimes torturous) pleasure of developing custom SharePoint solutions for a number of years now and one of the issues I encounter from time to time is when my custom ULS logging is not being written to the standard SharePoint ULS logs. I usually encounter this when most other developers don’t. This is primarily because I always build out my SharePoint development environments using several service accounts in an effort to replicate the target production environment as much as possible. Doing this allows me to catch and reproduce security related design and coding issues that would otherwise go undetected in my development environment, but are most certainly exposed in QA or Production. This logging issue (entries missing) is likely to occur when using a web application pool service account that differs from the farm account. This is simply a best practice that all developers should follow, but many don’t out of laziness.
So, to successfully log to the SharePoint ULS logs the application pool service account must be in the Performance Log Users group in Active Directory. This group is located in the Builtin folder in Active Directory Users and Computers. Any SharePoint service account that executes your custom logging will need this access.
I just wanted to quickly share a bit of joy I recently had when I discovered that one of my articles was mentioned on the Mike Tech Show podcast. During this episode Mike discusses a number of useful system level tips, but he also spends a bit of time discussing tips around system performance and this is where he mentions my post on Performance Improvement (Disable Intel SpeedStep). I really enjoyed listening to the podcast and was tickled to hear one of my articles being referenced.
So, if you’re ever in the mood for a bit of tech talk then I recommend checking out the Mike Tech Show. The show’s web site has a long list of podcasts from which you can review, and each podcast has a nice summary of the show’s subject matter along with any related links for easy reference later.
Podcast: Mike Tech Show – Podcast – #542 – 04-25-15 (at 12:50 into the podcast)
It’s Mac OS X season again and with that is a new version of Mac OS X. In this case it is Mac OS X 10.10, or what is better known as Yosemite. Most people will upgrade their Mac over the top of their existing OS, which is perfectly fine. However, there are times when OS X needs to be installed on a new (blank) hard drive, or, we simply want to perform a “clean install”. When doing this I prefer to use a bootable USB drive instead of a DVD. This is becoming especially convenient as newer Macs don’t have (or need) an internal DVD drive.
For reference, Apple has a page that covers how to create a bootable USB drive with the OS X 10.9 Mavericks installation files, but leaves out a few of the details discussed here. This should also provide is little context around this being a standard process that is supported by Apple. No hackery here.
What is needed
The process is easy and any Mac user who considers themselves to be semi-technical will be capable of creating a bootable USB drive containing the Mac OS X installation files. And, this does not require downloading any third-party tools or paying for extra utilities. Here is what you need.
- A Mac with internet access
- One 8 GB (or larger) USB drive
- The OS X installation file from Apple (i.e.; “Install OS X Yosemite”)
Downloading the OS X installation file
To create a bootable USB drive for OS X, you first need to download the desired operating system setup file from Apple, such as OS X 10.10 Yosemite. You can search for the OS, “OS X Yosemite”, in the App Store (or using this link) to access it in the App Store directly. Once the download completes, you will see the OS X Install window for Yosemite (or other version), but do not proceed with the install; you need quit the install. You just needed the Install OS X Yosemite application, which should now be in the Applications folder on your computer. For Yosemite, the file name will be Yosemite.app.
Creating the bootable USB drive
Here is what you need to do:
- Connect the USB drive to your Mac. Backup any files that may be stored on it before you proceed because this USB drive will need to be completely reformatted.
- Format the USB drive, using Disk Utility, as a Mac OS Extended (Journaled) drive, named Yosemite. I suggest not using any spaces to keep a future step simple. This is performed using the Erase tab within the Disk Utility app. Be sure the USB drive does not have multiple partitions (that can happen, so use to the Partition tab to verify and correct this).
- Open Terminal. This located in the Applications > Utilities folder.
- The following command is used to make the USB drive bootable as well as copying the necessary OS installation files on the USB drive.A couple quick points to help make sense of the command below. The –volume /volume/YosemiteUSB attribute of the command specifies the target drive, the USB drive in this case. The –applicationpath attribute specifies the OS X source installation file that was downloaded earlier. You will also notice the command (createinstallmedia) used to create the installable USB drive is actually contained with Yosemite.app file that was downloaded.Type (paste) the following command
sudo /Applications/Install\ OS\ X\ Yosemite.app/Contents/Resources/createinstallmedia --volume /Volumes/YosemiteUSB --applicationpath /Applications/Install\ OS\ X\ Yosemite.app
- For El Capitan:
sudo /Applications/Install\ OS\ X\ El\ Capitan.app/Contents/Resources/createinstallmedia --volume /Volumes/ElCapitanUSB --applicationpath /Applications/Install\ OS\ X\ El\ Capitan.app
- To kick off the process, type in your user password when requested.
This process can take upwards of 30 minutes or more without any indication on the screen it is still processing. Even though it may appear to have locked up, put your worries aside and your patience will be rewarded. The time it takes will vary depending on the speed of your Mac and the USB drive write speed.
Below is a log of the terminal screen from when I created my bootable USB drive containing the Yosemite OS X installation files.
Marks-MacBook-Pro:~ Mark$ sudo /Applications/Install\ OS\ X\ Yosemite.app/Contents/Resources/createinstallmedia --volume /Volumes/Yosemite --applicationpath /Applications/Install\ OS\ X\ Yosemite.app Ready to start. To continue we need to erase the disk at /Volumes/Yosemite. If you wish to continue type (Y) then press return: Y Erasing Disk: 0%... 10%... 20%... 30%...100%... Copying installer files to disk... Copy complete. Making disk bootable... Copying boot files... Copy complete. Done. Marks-MacBook-Pro:~ Mark$
You should now have a bootable USB drive from which you can boot your Mac and perform a fresh install of the Max OS X operating system.
SharePoint Cumulative Updates Best Practices
This guidance pertains to production SharePoint environments and is applicable to SharePoint 2007, 2010, 2013, and likely future versions.
Maintaining a healthy SharePoint environment requires a practical approach to applying cumulative updates. SharePoint Cumulative Updates are patches released by Microsoft that fix known issues. As their name suggest, they are cumulative in content so they include previously released patches. However, a plan that simply applies the latest updates is likely not in your best interest and can actually put your environment at risk.
Install updates and patches when you encounter an issue that is addressed by the update. The only exception is you should maintain a reasonably current level of updates. It is not ideal to let your environment lapse two years behind in SharePoint updates.
Maintain a 6+ month lag
Maintain your production environment at a 6 to 12 month update lag. In other words, don’t install any updates that are less than 6 months old, unless it is necessary. I recommend not extending much beyond a 12 month lag behind the latest updates. This keeps your SharePoint environment relatively current while minimizing your risk as new updates are applied. Should you encounter an issue after applying an update, the likelihood of a fix already existing in a subsequent update is much greater than if you had applied the newest update available. Microsoft does a good job of testing their releases, but the number of possible configurations, feature combinations, and server patch levels are almost infinite so you are wise to stay away from the bleeding edge.
Test your updates first
Every update should be applied to a test environment and thoroughly tested before applying said update to production. The idea of having to completely regression test SharePoint is not practical nor should it be expected. But you should have a test environment for every production environment, and that test environment should be used to test updates.
Urgent updates (updates that address an urgent problem in production), will require more focused and targeted testing. This is less than ideal, but necessary when a critical issue is identified. However, general operational maintenance updates can be applied to the test environment and remain there for several months before applying that same update to production. This allows for more exhaustive user and operational testing activity to expose any possible problems.
Synergy with developers
If you have SharePoint developers on staff or contract, they can provide a tremendous benefit regarding updates. You should coordinate your update plans with them to ensure they are developing with at least the current production version, or even better, the next cumulative update identified and targeted for production. I suggest developers keep their environments to a relatively recent update level. This is usually not an issue for them and can be very easy if they develop using virtual machines.
Ensuring a successful update
Below are a few points that will help you make the update process as smooth as possible:
- Something to consider: Minimize server downtime. Placing the content databases in a read-only mode while installing the binaries right before applying the patches can reduce server downtime. This allows your users access the SharePoint servers during the initial upgrade process and only experience downtime during the later portion of the update process. Again, not necessarily a recommendation, but something to consider.
- If you are using virtualization, take snapshots or backups of your Web Front End and Application servers(s). I am a big proponent of virtualized SharePoint servers.
- After installing the binaries of the Service Pack, run the Psconfig command on every server:
- psconfig –cmd upgrade –inplace b2b –wait
SharePoint 2013 Updates site http://technet.microsoft.com/en-US/sharepoint/jj891062
Below are the steps to start the SharePoint 2013 User Profile Synchronization Service.
Ensure the service account is a member of the local machine Administrators group.
Grant “Replicating Directory Changes” permission
Using the Active Directory Users and Computers manager, grant “Replicating Directory Changes” permission to the service account (SP_Farm).
Restart the SharePoint Timer Service
Start the SharePoint Server Synchronization Service
The service can take several minutes to start.
How to Force Pair (Connect) an Apple bluetooth keyboard to an iPad (iOS device)
Apple devices are common place in my home, and occasionally we like to connect a single shared Apple bluetooth keyboard to one of the iPads. If the bluetooth keyboard was last connected to another device that is within range and turned on, the normal steps to pair a bluetooth keyboard to an iPad will typically not work. The problem is because the keyboard immediately exits pairing mode as it connects to the other, unintended device. This can make the activity of pairing the keyboard to the intended device a bit frustrating.
Simply continue to hold the power button down on the bluetooth keyboard after the power LED light begins to flash. This will keep the keyboard in pairing mode and prevent it from automatically connecting to the last device it was paired/connected to.
General steps to pair an Apple keyboard to an iPad:
- Turn off the Apple keyboard by pressing the power button for three seconds.
- Ensure bluetooth is enabled on the iPad/iOS device you wish to connect: Settings > Bluetooth.
- On the Apple bluetooth keyboard, press and hold the power button. After about 5 seconds the keyboard power indicator (LED) will begin to flash indicating the keyboard is in pairing mode.
- To force pairing: Keep pressing the power button on the keyboard as you continue.
- On your desired iOS device, when the desired “Apple Wireless Keyboard” device appears in the list of discovered bluetooth devices on your iPad/iDevice, tap/select it to connect.
- The iPad will then prompt you with a 4-digit code to enter on the keyboard. You can now stop pressing the power button on the keyboard.
- On the keyboard, enter the 4-digit code and press the enter/return key. Your iPad should now be connected to the iPad.
I hope this helps.
Below are a few articles I found interesting and useful on using an Apple keyboard with your iPad.
- Reference for every character on a Mac (iPad)
- iPad Accessibility (Command-Tab on your iPad)
If you really want ultimate control of your iPad from your keyboard. There is a downside to this, but I found it interesting nonetheless.
Here is how you can quickly and easily Shut down or Restart a Windows 8 or Windows Server 2012 computer. This works when logged in locally and when logged in via Remote Desktop.
- Navigate to the desktop. Note: When logged in locally, pressing the Windows key will quickly toggle between the desktop and the start screen. When logged in via Remote Desktop, you will need to press Alt + Home to toggle.
- Press Alt + F4. This will present the Shut Down Windows dialog allowing you to Switch user, Sign out, Sleep, Shut down, or Restart the computer.
Mac users: For those of you remoting in from a Mac, the keys are: fn + Control + Command + F4
Below are examples of the Shut Down Windows dialog when logged in locally and when logged in via Remote Desktop.