Posted by Charles Edge on December 13th, 2014

Instant Hotspot automatically connects your Mac to the Personal Hotspot running on an iPhone or iPad (with a Personal Hotspot account, of course) when you need a little Internet connectivity and there’s no other Wi-Fi. Super helpful when you’re on the road, at a coffee shop with crappy wi-fi or ice fishing out on the lake. And it’s super easy to setup. Just enable Personal Hotspot on your phone and then select it from the Wi-Fi menu on a Mac.

Enable Personal Hotspot on your Phone

On an iPhone, open the Settings app and then tap on the Personal Hotspot menu. Use the slider to enable the feature. Tap Wi-Fi Password to then set a password. There are additional options to connect via Bluetooth or USB. Directions to connect either of these ways can be found on this same screen within settings.

Turning on a Personal Hotspot in iOS

Select the Personal Hotspot on the Desktop

Once the Personal Hotspot is enabled, just click on your Wi-Fi menu and select it from the resultant list of options.

Finding Personal Hotspot in the Wi-Fi Dropdown

There you have it. Super easy, super useful, super fast. Thanks again, Apple!

Posted by Charles Edge on August 28th, 2014

For many iOS deployment projects, iTunes is used as the primary deployment vehicle for the devices. iTunes can be used to “Backup” and “Restore” an iPad, similar to how you image desktop and laptop computers.

The actual deployment process is straight forward. First we’ll create a backup in iTunes. Then we can deploy the backup using the Restore option within iTunes. Provided the backup is encrypted, the Restore option will maintain the maximum amount of data available. For example, if a device has been activated then the fact that it has been activated is maintained across a restore. As are the applications that are installed on the device.

To Create an iTunes Backup:

  • Open iTunes and dock the device with the master configuration.
    iTunes To Backup

    iTunes To Backup

  • Check the box to “Encrypt local backup.”
  • At the Set Password screen, provide a password for the encrypted backup.
    iTunes Backup Password

    iTunes Backup Password

  • In order to ease restore, check the box for “Remember this password in my keychain (passwords are set to user names).
  • Control-click on the name of the device in the DEVICES section.
  • Click on “Back up”.
    Immediate iTunes Backup

    Immediate iTunes Backup

  • If prompted, click Set Password (subsequent backups will not require passwords).

Restoring with iTunes

To Restore an iTunes Backup:

  • Open iTunes and dock the device to be restored.
  • Control-click on the device.
  • Click “Restore from Backup”
    iTunes Restore

    iTunes Restore

  • At the “Restore From Backup” screen, select the name used in the previous backup.
    Choose iTunes Restore Device

    Choose iTunes Restore Device

  • Click Restore.

    Authenticate to Restore from iTunes

    Authenticate to Restore from iTunes

  • If prompted, enter the Password.
    iTunes Restored a Device

    iTunes Restored a Device

  • Rename the iPad once the restore process is complete.
  • Once the Restore is complete, if prompted to “Set Up Your iPad”, uncheck the Automatically sync songs and videos to my iPad box and “Automatically sync apps to my iPad”, putting the students Active Directory name in the Name field and clicking Done

Posted by Charles Edge on August 28th, 2014

Recently, I needed to test the behavior of some really awesome code (for Bushel) during a major iOS upgrade process (after all, you want to know your stuff works with every version of OS X!). The device was running the latest version of iOS and we needed to use an ipsw to load a specific version of the OS. This task isn’t as obvious as it might seem to be.

Usually we use Apple Configurator for running a lot of updates, but didn’t want to restore the device. So we ended up using iTunes to do a simple upgrade of the device. Before we did anything else, we backed up the device, as you should always do when you’re about to do something on an iOS device (iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch).

After backing up the device, here’s what we did:

  • Download the ipsw file from Apple for that specific device
  • Connect the device (make sure Configurator isn’t open, enter a passcode if needed and then launch iTunes
  • Click on the device in iTunes (You might need to show sidebar if you don’t initially see it)
  • Click on the Summary tab

    Upgrade Using an IPSW

    Upgrade Using an IPSW

  • Option-Click on Check for Update (Alt-Click on Windows)Screen Shot 2014-08-28 at 11.17.47 AM
  • Select the ipsw previously downloaded
  • When prompted, click Update
  • When the device reboots, wait for the status bar and you should be all done

And that’s it. Basically, iTunes is still a very valid deployment tool for certain tasks you want to accomplish with iOS based devices. Overall, it’s easy to use and can be used to do a lot of tasks other, more complicated tools, are often used for. So good luck testing your apps and with your upgrades!

Posted by Charles Edge on August 15th, 2014

Some fun facts about the etymology of the word bushel:

  • A bushel is a unit of measurement.
  • A bushel is equal to 64 pints or 35.2 liters when whatever you’re measuring is dry or 8 gallons/36.4 liters when it’s mixed dry goods/liquids.
  • Bushel is Gaulish, with roots in the old French word of boissel.
  • In Danish, bushel translates to skæppe or in Dutch it’s schepel but in Catalan it’s just bushel. There’s no Mongolian translation for bushel though.
  • The estimated output of the Iowa corn fields is 2.44 billion bushels of corn in 2014.
  • The word bushel often refers to the container that holds a bushel of goods.
  • A bushel can also mean a large amount of something, such as a bushel of happy customers.
  • When used as a verb, bushel can mean to alter or repair.
  • Bushelful is a derivative of bushel.
  • The iron lining in the nave of a wheel has been referred to as a bushel.
  • 4 pecks make a bushel, but two pecks make a kenning.
  • The US bushel and peck are different than imperials bushels and pecks.
  • According to the Winchester measure, a bushel is the volume of a 18.5 inch by 8 inch cylinder and is therefore like many programmers somewhat irrational.
  • Bushel is an obsolete word for a bowl, giving meaning to the phrase “to hide one’s light under a bushel.”
  • There is a farm in Owatonna, Minnesota called Bushel Boy, that has really, really good tomatoes. There is no relationship between their tomatoes and this site other than the fact that we too live in Minnesota and found this while searching the Internets for the word bushel.
  • Like our tool, the word bushel is used more today than in the year 2000. Unlike our tool, the word is used much less than in 1800:

Posted by Charles Edge on July 15th, 2014

Communicating with Bushel should be easy. But when it isn’t, you’ll need some troubleshooting apps to help figure out why. There are a number of ways to troubleshoot network connections on (or using) an iOS device. These can be common troubleshooting steps that you might run from the command line or a third party app on a desktop computer or they could be specific to testing the network environment for an iOS device. Some of these apps are even free.

Ping Lite
One of the most common tasks that most administrators routinely do to test both DNS resolution and connectivity is pinging something. Ping Lite comes with a function to show your IP, a ping tool, a tool to ping the subnet, the ability to run trace routes and for good measure a little telnet love as well. Not bad for the fat price of nothing. Developed by MochaSoft, Ping Lite is a must for anyone who does any kind of network troubleshooting, unless you’re paying good money for a more robust tool!

Troubleshooting Apps

Troubleshooting Apps

Ping Lite is a great tool for isolating whether you’re having connectivity problems to an IP address. However, if Exchange’s auto discover isn’t working or some other

Bonjour Browser
One of my favorite tools for finding things on the network, Bonjour is a multicast tool and what many of the features meant to be used in a home where zero configuration networking is important

Speed Test
I think that one of the more common tasks in troubleshooting network connections is to determine whether Internet speed is satisfactory. Satisfactory is a relative term. Both relative to the expected performance and relative to the perception of users. For example, the bandwidth that a user is getting on a device may exceed the expected performance based on the speed provided by the DSL, cable modem or other WAN connection provided. However, that speed may be less than what the user’s would like (one can never have enough bandwidth!).

ezShare is a nice little tool that lets administrators log into shares of various types. The cool thing about this little tool is that you can connect via SSH, FTP, WebDAV, S3, Google Docs,, SMB/CIFS, or NFS. This allows you to test WebDAV from a different tool if you’re having a problem opening WebDAV connections from within Pages, test the speed of downloading a document from a FTP site, check Google Docs or connectivity and even see if that file server is available when users call in with problems connecting to SMB/CIFS shares on Windows servers.

Bonus App:
AirPort Utility
If you have an Apple AirPort acting as a WAP or the gateway to your office/home then this little app is awesome. Apple has eased the setup process for their Wireless Access Points to the point that you can set the entire thing up, change settings and even troubleshoot the odd connectivity issue without ever touching a desktop computer. AirPort Utility is also a great way to test whether you can connect to shares hosted by devices and update passwords on the fly.