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Take a letter, Avadis

July 15, 2002

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Burrow into The Gay Blade’s enclave. The Spork Boards

UPS AIR HUB, LOUISVILLE, KY. - Hey, Jane: Stop this crazy thing!

The Gay Blade’s innate buoyancy (and abundant natural cushioning) have helped him endure many bumps in the road since mailing himself to Macworld Expo/New York last week in a white-hot spasm of cargo cultism.

Nevertheless, the limited wireless access within this sealed crate – and a desperate shortage of fresh cedar shavings – has left this implement feeling distinctly folded and spindled, if not outright mutilated. Praise Wotan for the capacious hamper of Dramamine-’n’-Wellbutrin-filled pasties!

Bow down before the one you serve

Before his overtaxed AirPort connection weathers the next turbulent leg of his cross-country odyssey, the Blade will hurriedly unload a few hefty morsels of rumorological goodness focused on the server configuration of Apple’s forthcoming Jaguar release of Mac OS X, which some observers say will ship a month or more after the client version arrives in August.

As promised to eager would-be users of Apple’s new Xserve, the upgraded OS package includes a party pack of swank, Aqua-licious interface features that portray trends over time, including performance and CPU temperature. It also packs petite MySQL and ODBC apps sure to titillate database jockeys everywhere.

Other tasty tidbits:

IP failover. The new version of Mac OS X Server is built for availability. If one server fails, a second server can take over its IP address and assume its workload, and administrators can configure the system to alert them or run scripts when the unlucky event occurs.

Faster performance. System-spanning enhancements include speedier file system read and write, beefed-up network I/O rates and jazzier performance of network services running atop multiprocessor systems. Meanwhile, a faster Java virtual machine will goose server-side Java 2 applications.

Better network file services. Version 3.1 of Apple Filing Protocol will let servers host Mac OS X network home directories that follow LAN users from computer to computer, which long-time NeXT fans may find familiar. Auto-reconnect will let client systems keep Apple file servers mounted after a system sleep/wake cycle or a long period of inactivity. A new encrypted file sharing option will secure file transfers with Mac OS X clients. Administrators can enable individual network file services per share point, and both AFP and FTP will support Kerberos 5 authentication. Woof!

Zaftig print services. The upgrade will support PAP protocol print-queue sharing, which means AppleTalk printing for Mac OS X and LaserWriter 8 compatibility for printer discovery from Mac OS 9 systems. New print quotas will limit the number of pages a user can output within a set length of time.

Open Directory. Apple’s new standards-based directory-services architecture will let Mac OS X systems and applications automatically detect and access Apple and third-party directory-service wares. System administrators will be able to store and manage Mac OS X user, group and computer information in a supported directory service. Meanwhile, users will be able to access authorized system and network resources anywhere on the network.

Open Directory Server. LDAP 3 will support legacy NetInfo clients and management tools. The Open Directory Server will also provide secure network-based password-authentication services and enforce password policies.

Workgroup Manager. A new user, group and Macintosh system management tool will make it easier to set up and manage Mac OS X systems and users. User preferences and system configurations will be stored in a supported directory server such as Open Directory Server, and administrators will be able to manage user and group access to network resources, establish application-access policies, manage printer access, create disk quotas, and restrict specific hardware and software features.

Network Install. Network Install is a centrally managed installation service that will let administrators selectively install, restore or upgrade network-based systems anywhere in the organization. With Network Install, administrators will be able to create standard installations that include third-party software and automate the installation process.

NetBoot. Enabled systems will now allowing booting from a Mac OS X system image on the network in addition to the existing Mac OS 9 NetBoot capability.

Bodacious mail services. Mail services feature stronger SMTP relay restrictions, user storage quotas, more-flexible mail storage and support for multiple user aliases per mailbox. In addition, the update supports encrypted password protection via CRAM-MD5 authentication. (The server package will also support authentication SMTP “AUTH” using LOGIN and PLAIN, APOP, and Kerberos 5 authentication for IMAP clients.)

Shazzbat! That’ll pre-moisten your mucilage.

The Blade may be shy a few air holes, but he’s not entirely insensible to external stimuli. Send an electronic missive to The NMR Report, and a lissome souvenir mole rat could be yours!

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