Mac Insights

Cogito ad infinitum

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Things learned while researching some technical topics,
written up in case anyone finds them useful.

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  • Creating macOS installer DMG or ISO disk images for virtualization

    Anyone who’s ever sought to install a macOS / Mac OS X from the past decade within VMware ESXi has discovered the need to first convert the installer application to a bootable disk image file. VMware Fusion will happily create one for you if given an installer application when creating a new VM, but ESXi is not similarly equipped.

  • Migrating Time Machine backups from local disk to network

    In wanting to move my Time Machine backups to a network drive without losing any history, I set to looking up what methods others had used and what quirks to watch out for.

  • Building a multi-macOS install drive with DiskMaker X

    In my line of work, I’ve found it useful to have a USB drive with installers for each version of macOS on separate partitions. Mine was originally stocked with installers for Lion through Catalina, and it worked well.

  • macOS 10.15 Catalina on VMware ESXi 6.0

    I have a Mac mini that hosts VMs of every OS X/macOS version from Leopard to Mojave using VMware ESXi 6.0. Because I’m already an old Dutch guy who hates change, I wanted to see if it was possible to get a Catalina VM running without having to upgrade to ESXi 6.5 or 6.7, which would require abandoning its .NET client that I still prefer.

  • Details of Disk Utility’s partitioning decisions

    I decided it was time I became familiar with the nuts and bolts of how disks on Macs are partitioned by Disk Utility, and why.

  • Archiving user home folders with hdiutil

    Today while attempting to use System Preferences to delete a user from a macOS 10.13 system and archive their home folder to a disk image, I ran into this error:

  • Automatic renewal of Let’s Encrypt certificates on macOS Server

    I have a Mac running macOS Server providing several services behind a domain name that I’d like to secure with a certificate from Let’s Encrypt, and have it automatically renew. Easy, right?

  • Distributed Tigerbrew formula testing using Jenkins

    Mac developers familiar with the Homebrew binary package manager for macOS may also have heard of Tigerbrew, a fork tailored for PowerPC and early Intel Macs running Mac OS X 10.4 or 10.5.

  • Comparing Apple's Java for OS X 2015-001 vs. 2017-001

    Although Java 6 hasn’t had a public update since 2013, for years thereafter Apple would periodically release an installer to keep the runtime working on successive versions of OS X/macOS.

  • Installing Java 6 on Tiger and Leopard

    For another project, I found myself needing to install Java 6 (a.k.a. 1.6) on Mac OS X Tiger and Leopard, both Intel and PowerPC.

  • Adventures with installing old Mac firmware updates

    At work, we have a quad-core 2012 Mac mini Server (Macmini6,2) that’s been running VMware ESXi from day one. For this reason it’s never had its firmware updated, so today I set about to fix that.

  • Auto-arranging windows on a 2nd display with AppleScript

    If you have both a Mac laptop and an external display at your desk, you may know this routine: sit down, plug in the cables, drag each application’s windows to your preferred spot on each display, get up for a coffee break, come back and find all your open windows have congregated on a single screen again after your display went to sleep.