Ever since upgrading to a real server, I’ve wanted a place to actually have it mounted. Unfortunately server racks aren’t cheap and I also needed something smaller than your typical rack that goes into a server closet. I found the Xrack Pro which looks like a very nice solution and also reduces the noise of server fans. The only problem is that they run right around $500 which is more than I paid for the server itself. Even used and on the secondary market they still sell for $300+.
Almost exactly a month ago, Apple launched the Mac App store. I initially wasn’t sure if I’d use it a whole lot where I already have my core programs that I use on the mac, but I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the experience. This certainly wasn’t a unique idea from Apple as a few Linux distributions have already had similar stores in their desktop versions, but this is the first time the idea has been used on a bit more mainstream OS. And with how simple and easy everything is, I wouldn’t be surprised if MIcrosoft eventually does something very similar on Windows.
I think now I’ve got everything in place from the switch to the Leopard server OS, so it is now time to document. If you’re not a geek, ignore the next few posts. 🙂
The first thing I did was make sure I had a backup of my data. I not only had a complete backup of my previous server files, but also the latest backups of the mysql databases for wordpress, etc.
I did a basic install of Leopard server, but excluding extras like printer drivers and language fonts as I didn’t need those. I did make sure to install X11 as it is a requirement for macports which I’ll talk about later. The install went without a hitch, so then it was time to do the updates. There are at least 2 GB of updates after clean install of 10.5.0 Server that bring it up to 10.5.8.
With all the updates in place it was time to select the services that I want to run on the server. OS X server comes with several loaded out of the box and it is just a matter of enabling them(checking a box) in the Server Admin utility. I started of by enabling web(apache), mysql (wordpress database), mail (for administrative messages), and afp (for file sharing and Time Machine backups). This makes them show up in the left hand pane in server admin and you can now configure them before starting the actual service.
In a bit of irony, a few days after I switched my server to an Xserve, Apple has announced that at the end of January 2011, the Xserve is being discontinued.
The Xserve I bought was a fairly older model being a G5 system rather than an intel, but for $300 I couldn’t really complain. I was very happy with Ubuntu and just in case, I made sure that I could load it on the Xserve if I wanted to go back. The main extras that I get with OS X Server edition is being able to fairly easily set up a Time Machine server to backup our laptops over the air and the ability to have iTunes setup to stream media to the Apple T.V.
The other plus is the Xserve is much quieter than the previous server. Which is certainly an issue living in a small area. I would compare the noise to the Xserve to that of your regular desktop PC. I still have a few more things to setup and will do my best to try and document them here.
After roughly a year, Apple has allowed Google Voice apps back into the app store. This was the last thing that I wanted and had been considering jailbreaking for. The first one to get approved was GV Connect which appeared late last Friday. I decided to grab it as soon as I could to try it out. I personally don’t make a whole lot of calls with my google voice number, but I do use it for the free unlimited texting. Up to now, I had been using the web app Black Swan which is pretty impressive when you consider it is all completely web based. The main drawback of the web apps though was the fact that everything had to be downloaded like a standard webpage. This makes the process that much longer in receiving a text or getting to the dialer to make a phone call. After using GV Connect the last few days it has been a huge difference. There is obviously still a little delay for it to pull the text message from Google’s server, but it is barely noticeable unlike before.
The next day another app was approved called GV Mobile+ which was previously in the app store before it was pulled last year. I’m waiting to download this app until it is made available for free for a limited time this Saturday. It looks very similar to GV Connect, so it will probably be just personal preference as to which interface a user likes better.
Once I’ve tried both I’ll post which one I’ll actually be using for Google Voice. Both apps right now run $2.99 a piece which is pretty cheap when you consider what you’re getting. It will be interesting to see if Google themselves resubmit their app that was never approved before. If that happens than I imagine it will probably be free, so it is up to you if you want to wait and see if that happens.
Here’s a few screenshots of the app from the GV Connect page.