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This blog, and the corresponding site has moved to a new location.

All updates and new content will be placed on that site starting on 11/2/15.

Configure a SAS Windows 7 PC for PennKey (Kerberos) Authentication

In public spaces, the PennKey is the common denominator for authentication across the university. Everyone at Penn has a PennKey whether they are is SAS, Wharton, Nursing or SEAS. Configuring Windows 7 to permit access via PennKey is a very simple operation, much simpler than it is for configuring a Mac.

There are some prerequisites prior to configuration.

Disable the Notification Center in Mac OS X 10.8 "Mountain Lion" and OS X 10.9 "Mavericks"

How to disable the Notification Center in Mac OS X 10.8 "Mountain Lion" and OS X 10.9 "Mavericks".

Prevent Mozilla Firefox from Updating

Why would someone want to do this? Some of the applications that we use only function with certain earlier versions of Mozilla Firefox. Also, newer versions of Firefox have enhanced security features that automatically disable Java and media-rich content. While a boon for security, these features often negatively impact web-site functionality. The Qualtrics survey and analysis site is one such example of Firefox's new security features negatively impacting functionality.

Kerberos (PennKey) Authentication for OS X 10.8 "Mountain Lion", 10.9 "Mavericks" and 10.10 "Yosemite"

Allowing users to log in with their PennKey is the best way to provision access to public computing resources. Everyone at Penn has a PennKey and password, that is all they need.

Prerequisites: Mac OS X 10.8.5/10.9.5/10.10.4, PennNet IP address, Kerb access to the Penn Directory.

Update (11/2/15): The content for this post has moved to a new site. All further updates to this page will be placed there. Thanks for visiting!

Remote Install/Upgrade Software on a Bunch of Macs


Managing a group of Macs, on the network, can be a challenge. Many of the tools Windows computers have available for remote and group management are just not available for the Mac. Apple does offer "Apple Remote Desktop" (ARD) which can be very helpful in working with many Macs, on the network, but does not do everything. 

Create a Custom Dock for OS X 10.7/10.8

A common question or need, when setting-up a new Mac for someone would be to make all of the installed applications available from the dock. Many people often do not realize an application is installed unless it is in the dock.

Creating a custom dock for all of the users on a Mac is a very simple solution.

Create a Custom Default User Profile for OS X 10.7/10.8/10.9/10.10

Create a default user profile for Mac OS X 10.7/10.8/10.9/10.10

Create a user account on OS X that will be a template for every other user of that computer. I usually call it “profile” and make it an administrator account for the time being.

1. Install and configure all applications as desired. It is important to run each program under the profile account. This will skip many of the annoying first-run prompts users will see with things like iCloud and Mozilla Firefox. Be patient with this step and take as much time as it needs.

Repurpose an old PC as a VMWare View thin-client


Virtual Desktop Infrastructure is surely become the next big thing in a post-PC market. The ability to centralize user desktops around a pool of virtual images eases administration, support and updates. User productivity can be enhanced by the constant presence of a virtual machine connection, from the office or at home.