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The Un-Server: Using A MacBook

By A.P. Lawrence

I started following through with some of my 2008 resolutions. First thing was to finally take the time to program our thermostat. I set it to 59 degrees at 10:00 PM, then to turn up to 64 at 7:00 AM, down to 62 again at 10:00, up to 64 at 5:00.

I may adjust the times a bit later, but gosh it was nice to wake up to a warm house (well, warm by our standards).

Then I tackled the Linux server. As I said previously, I had two goals in mind: I hate that thing sucking electricity when it isn't being used and I need and want to upgrade its OS. Its main use is as a "deep backup" server - daily backups don't go here, but weeklies do. Obviously that's easy enough to deal with: turn it on once a week. But there's a secondary function: it is a daily backup for Quickbooks running on my wife's PC. It also runs a little web based tool I use to track prepaid hours and their consumption by my clients.

These two things mean that I'd need to be quick in upgrading the Linux - I can't live with a few days down. But I don't want to be rushed. I want to take my time and do this at my leisure. Hmmm.. conflict. What to do?

Well, why not use my MacBook for the daily backups and the cgi app? It's always on, it just sleeps when I'm not using it. If my wife needs to wake it up because she wants to back up her checkbook, she just needs to open the cover. And later, if I get to my other goal of killing all power to this area when nobody is using it, the MacBook won't be bothered by that either. Sounds like a great idea!

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So, step one: turn on File Sharing and Web Sharing in System Preferences. The Mac automatically creates shared folders for all the users on the machine, but I got rid of those and created one share: Backups. By default, the Mac only turns on AFP (Apple File Protocol) sharing. As I have no other Macs right now, I shut that off and turned on SMB sharing. I don't need FTP sharing, so I left that off. Now to test. At a terminal window I typed: "smbclient -L Macbook". It prompted for a password, I gave it my user login password, and it spit back.

Continue reading this article.

About the Author:
A.P. Lawrence provides SCO Unix and Linux consulting services

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