Archive for November, 2015

Automator’s Ask for Finder Items windows no longer showing text prompts in OS X El Capitan

November 30, 2015 3 comments

As part of working with Automator to build applications, I’ve been leveraging the ability of Automator’s Ask for Finder Items action to set text prompts in my Automator-based applications.

These text prompts are included in the appropriate Finder windows and have been an easy way for me to set a particular message in an Automator selection window.

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I recently noticed in OS X El Capitan that these messages no longer appear, which is a bit inconvenient as it leaves users of my applications with no clear direction as to what to do when this window appears.

Ask for Finder Items windows in OS X El Capitan and OS X Yosemite 001


It does not appear that AppleScript is affected by this issue, as the comparable AppleScript function properly displayed the desired text in both Yosemite and El Capitan.

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As a workaround to keep my applications’ users informed on what to do, I’ve set standalone AppleScript notifications to appear in my Automator applications before the Ask for Finder Items Automator action’s window.

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All three of my Automator-based applications have now been updated with the workaround:


I’ve filed a bug report with Apple on this issue. For those interested in duplicating this, it is bug ID 23688457. I’ve also cross-posted the bug report to Open Radar, so the bug report details are available from the link below:

Providing OS X Upgrades via Casper’s Self Service

November 23, 2015 11 comments

To help the folks in my shop keep their Macs updated to the latest version of OS X, I’ve been providing a Self Service-driven OS upgrade option via Casper for the past couple of years. For a high-level overview, here’s how the process looks for El Capitan from my folks’ perspective.

1. Launch Casper’s Self Service application.

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2. Locate the El Capitan Upgrade option

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3. Click on the Install OS X button.

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4. In the next window that pops up, they’re given important information about the OS upgrade and need to click again on the Install OS X button.

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If their Mac does not have sufficient free space available available on their boot drive, they receive a warning message and the upgrade process stops at this point.

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If their Mac’s boot drive has sufficient free space available, they receive a message that OS X 10.11.x is downloading and preparing for installation. Once all preparations are complete, their Mac will automatically reboot to begin the installation process.

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5. Once the Mac reboots, the OS upgrade process runs. Once completed, the Mac reboots.

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6. Following the reboot, an automated post-upgrade process runs. This process will update the Mac with all available Apple updates along with applying my shop’s preferred settings for the new version of OS X.

Note: This process may involve several reboots, depending on what Apple updates are needed. Once the post-upgrade process completes, the Mac will reboot again.

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7. Following the reboot, the Mac will boot to the login window. At this point, the OS upgrade process has been completed and it is OK to log in and begin working again.

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To see how I’ve set up this workflow using Casper and other tools, please see below the jump.

Read more…

Downloading installer packages from the Mac App Store with AppStoreExtract

November 19, 2015 33 comments

As part of my work, I occasionally need to download installer packages for certain applications from the Mac App Store. In particular, I routinely download and archive certain Apple applications from the MAS to guard against the possibility that Apple will remove older versions of a particular application that I still need to have available.

A tool that has helped me with this has been Max Schlapfer‘s AppStoreExtract script. This script is designed to make copies of the installers from the Mac App Store, and is able to handle multiple installer downloads at once.

AppStoreExtract is available from GitHub at the following address:

For more details on how to download installers from the MAS using AppStoreExtract, see below the jump.

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Java 8 Update 65 Redux – The Good, the Bad and the Failings

November 13, 2015 Leave a comment

With the release of Java 8 Update 65, Oracle has returned to using an application to install Java. This switch away from using installer packages is a problem for Mac admins who need to deploy Oracle’s Java 8 in their own environment. However, after doing some research, it looks like it is still possible to deploy Oracle’s Java 8 Update 65 using a standard installer package. For more details, see below the jump.

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“OS X Security – Defense in Depth” session video from JAMF Nation User Conference 2015 now available

November 5, 2015 1 comment

JAMF Software has posted the session videos for from JAMF Nation User Conference 2015, including the video for my OS X security session.

For those interested, all of the the JNUC 2015 session videos are available on YouTube. For convenience, I’ve linked my session here.

Slides from the “OS X Security – Defense in Depth” Session at MacTech Conference 2015

November 4, 2015 Leave a comment

For those who wanted a copy of my security talk at MacTech Conference 2015, here are links to the slides in PDF and Keynote format.


Keynote –

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