macOS

System preferences can be set on macOS using the defaults command. For example, say I wish set the Prevent sleep setting that can be set through the System Preferences interface, but instead via command line.
macOS - System Preferences - Energy Saver - Prevent sleep - disabled

If your settings match those in the screenshot above, running defaults read /Library/Preferences/com.apple.PowerManagement.plist in the terminal should output

{
    "AC Power" =     {
        "Automatic Restart On Power Loss" = 1;
        DarkWakeBackgroundTasks = 1;
        "Disk Sleep Timer" = 180;
        "Display Sleep Timer" = 5;
        "Display Sleep Uses Dim" = 1;
        GPUSwitch = 2;
        "System Sleep Timer" = 15;
        "Wake On LAN" = 1;
    };
    "Battery Power" =     {
        "Automatic Restart On Power Loss" = 1;
        DarkWakeBackgroundTasks = 0;
        "Disk Sleep Timer" = 180;
        "Display Sleep Timer" = 5;
        "Display Sleep Uses Dim" = 1;
        GPUSwitch = 2;
        ReduceBrightness = 1;
        "System Sleep Timer" = 10;
        "Wake On LAN" = 1;
    };
    SystemPowerSettings =     {
        DestroyFVKeyOnStandby = 0;
        "Update DarkWakeBG Setting" = 1;
    };
}

To set System Sleep Timer to 0, run /usr/libexec/PlistBuddy -c "Set 'AC Power':'System Sleep Timer' 0" /Library/Preferences/com.apple.PowerManagement.plist. Now running the original defaults read command will output

{
    "AC Power" =     {
        "Automatic Restart On Power Loss" = 1;
        DarkWakeBackgroundTasks = 1;
        "Disk Sleep Timer" = 180;
        "Display Sleep Timer" = 5;
        "Display Sleep Uses Dim" = 1;
        GPUSwitch = 2;
        "System Sleep Timer" = 0;
        "Wake On LAN" = 1;
    };
    "Battery Power" =     {
        "Automatic Restart On Power Loss" = 1;
        DarkWakeBackgroundTasks = 0;
        "Disk Sleep Timer" = 180;
        "Display Sleep Timer" = 5;
        "Display Sleep Uses Dim" = 1;
        GPUSwitch = 2;
        ReduceBrightness = 1;
        "System Sleep Timer" = 10;
        "Wake On LAN" = 1;
    };
    SystemPowerSettings =     {
        DestroyFVKeyOnStandby = 0;
        "Update DarkWakeBG Setting" = 1;
    };
}

Now opening the System Preferences will reveal the updated value.
macOS - System Preferences - Energy Saver - Prevent sleep - enabled

  1. Download a fresh copy of VMware Workstation Player for Windows or Linux from the official VMware site. The free trial of this product has no expiration if used for non-commercial purposes.
  2. You’ll need to unlock your installation of VMware to use Mac operating system as a guest following these instructions (external link).
  3. On a computer running an official/genuine instance of OS X, download macOS High Sierra from the App Store:
    App Store - macOS High Sierra
  4. Once the download completes, open the Terminal application, and either save a new file with the following contents,
     #!/bin/bash
    # Mount the installer image
    hdiutil attach /Applications/Install\ macOS\ High\ Sierra.app/Contents/SharedSupport/InstallESD.dmg -noverify -mountpoint /Volumes/macOS-High-Sierra
    
    # Create the macOS-HighSierra Blank ISO Image of 7316mb with a Single Partition - Apple Partition Map
    hdiutil create -o /tmp/macOS-HighSierra-Base.cdr -size 7316m -layout SPUD -fs HFS+J
    
    # Mount the macOS High Sierra Blank ISO Image
    hdiutil attach /tmp/macOS-HighSierra-Base.cdr.dmg -noverify -mountpoint /Volumes/install_build
    
    # Restore the Base System into the macOS High Sierra Blank ISO Image
    asr restore -source /Applications/Install\ macOS\ High\ Sierra.app/Contents/SharedSupport/BaseSystem.dmg -target /Volumes/install_build -noprompt -noverify -erase
    
    # Remove Package link and replace with actual files
    rm /Volumes/OS\ X\ Base\ System/System/Installation/Packages
    cp -R /Volumes/macOS-High-Sierra/Packages /Volumes/OS\ X\ Base\ System/System/Installation
    
    # Unmount the installer image
    hdiutil detach /Volumes/OS\ X\ Base\ System/
    
    # Unmount the macOS High Sierra ISO Image
    hdiutil detach /Volumes/macOS-High-Sierra/
    
    mv /tmp/macOS-HighSierra-Base.cdr.dmg /tmp/BaseSystem.dmg
    
    # Restore the macOS High Sierra Installer's BaseSystem.dmg into file system and place custom BaseSystem.dmg into the root
    hdiutil create -o /tmp/macOS-HighSierra.cdr -size 8965m -layout SPUD -fs HFS+J
    hdiutil attach /tmp/macOS-HighSierra.cdr.dmg -noverify -mountpoint /Volumes/install_build
    asr restore -source /Applications/Install\ macOS\ High\ Sierra.app/Contents/SharedSupport/BaseSystem.dmg -target /Volumes/install_build -noprompt -noverify -erase
    cp /tmp/BaseSystem.dmg /Volumes/OS\ X\ Base\ System
    hdiutil detach /Volumes/OS\ X\ Base\ System/
    
    # Convert the macOS-Sierra ISO Image to ISO/CD master
    hdiutil convert /tmp/macOS-HighSierra.cdr.dmg -format UDTO -o /tmp/macOS-HighSierra.iso
    
    # Rename the macOS-Sierra ISO Image and move it to the desktop
    mv /tmp/macOS-HighSierra.iso.cdr ~/Desktop/macOS-HighSierra.iso
    rm /tmp/macOS-HighSierra.cdr.dmg

    or run

    curl https://www.nickmcummins.com/make-macos-high-sierra-iso.sh > /tmp/make-macos-high-sierra-iso.sh

    and then execute it by running sudo chmod +x /tmp/make-macos-high-sierra-iso.sh && /tmp/make-make-macos-high-sierra-iso.sh. Once completed, you should see a file named macOS-High-Sierra.iso on your desktop.

  5. Now boot up VMware Player and create a new virtual machine using the File dialog. Using the iso disk image we just created, and with macOS 10.13 selected as the guest os, finish the setup for your new image.
    Guest Operating System - Select macOS 10 13
  6. You’ll need to erase the virtual hard disk medium as seen in the following screenshots. DiskUtility - VMware Virtual STA hHard Drive
    DiskUtility - Erase Hard Drive confirmation
  7. Now you will be able to proceed with the installation. Once completed, you should be all ready to enjoy your new macOS High Sierra vm!
    Installation macOS Sierra
    macOS Sierra Screenshot

Screenshot tools for Linux and macOS generally produce image files in the .png file format. PNG is a lossless compression format, meaning that it can be compressed without losing quality, which is unlike another commonly used image format, JPG. There are 3 command-line tools which can be used to compress PNG files, pngout, optipng, and advpng.

➜  pngout terminator-terminal-window.png 
 In:   11405 bytes               terminator-terminal-window.png /c6 /f5
Out:    8790 bytes               terminator-terminal-window.png /c2 /f5
Chg:   -2615 bytes ( 77% of original)
➜  optipng -o7 terminator-terminal-window.png 
** Processing: terminator-terminal-window.png
800x266 pixels, 3x8 bits/pixel, RGB+transparency
Input IDAT size = 8715 bytes
Input file size = 8790 bytes

Trying:
  zc = 9  zm = 9  zs = 0  f = 0		IDAT size = 8140
  zc = 9  zm = 8  zs = 0  f = 0		IDAT size = 8140
                               
Selecting parameters:
  zc = 9  zm = 8  zs = 0  f = 0		IDAT size = 8140

Output IDAT size = 8140 bytes (575 bytes decrease)
Output file size = 8215 bytes (575 bytes = 6.54% decrease)

➜  advpng -z4 terminator-terminal-window.png 
        8215        7232  88% terminator-terminal-window.png
        8215        7232  88%

In the past, I’ve written about different remote desktop products/solutions, including NoMachine for remoting into traditional desktop machines, but also a few alternatives for accessing and controlling Android devices from a computer. Today I’d like to mention TeamViewer, a product free for non-commercial use that supports computer to computer, Android to computer, and computer to Android connections.

The following screenshots were taken on a macOS Sierra machine remotely logged onto a rooted Samsung Galaxy S4 Android tablet.

  1. Enroll in Apple’s Beta Software Program.
  2. Download a fresh copy of VMware Workstation Player for Windows or Linux from the official VMware site. The free trial of this product has no expiration if used for non-commercial purposes.
  3. You’ll need to unlock your installation of VMware to use Mac operating system as a guest following these instructions (external link).
  4. On a computer running an official/genuine instance of OS X, download macOS Sierra from the App Store:
    App Store - macOS Sierra
  5. Once the download completes, open the Terminal application, and either save a new file with the following contents,
     #!/bin/bash
    # Mount the installer image
    hdiutil attach /Applications/Install\ macOS\ Sierra.app/Contents/SharedSupport/InstallESD.dmg -noverify -nobrowse -mountpoint /Volumes/install_app
    
    # Create the macOS-Sierra Blank ISO Image of 7316mb with a Single Partition - Apple Partition Map
    hdiutil create -o /tmp/macOS-Sierra.cdr -size 7316m -layout SPUD -fs HFS+J
    
    # Mount the macOS-Sierra Blank ISO Image
    hdiutil attach /tmp/macOS-Sierra.cdr.dmg -noverify -nobrowse -mountpoint /Volumes/install_build
    
    # Restore the Base System into the macOS-Sierra Blank ISO Image
    asr restore -source /Volumes/install_app/BaseSystem.dmg -target /Volumes/install_build -noprompt -noverify -erase
    
    # Remove Package link and replace with actual files
    rm /Volumes/OS\ X\ Base\ System/System/Installation/Packages
    cp -rp /Volumes/install_app/Packages /Volumes/OS\ X\ Base\ System/System/Installation/
    
    # Copy macOS Sierra installer dependencies
    cp -rp /Volumes/install_app/BaseSystem.chunklist /Volumes/OS\ X\ Base\ System/BaseSystem.chunklist
    cp -rp /Volumes/install_app/BaseSystem.dmg /Volumes/OS\ X\ Base\ System/BaseSystem.dmg
    
    # Unmount the installer image
    hdiutil detach /Volumes/install_app
    
    # Unmount the macOS-Sierra ISO Image
    hdiutil detach /Volumes/OS\ X\ Base\ System/
    
    # Convert the macOS-Sierra ISO Image to ISO/CD master (Optional)
    hdiutil convert /tmp/macOS-Sierra.cdr.dmg -format UDTO -o /tmp/macOS-Sierra.iso
    
    # Rename the macOS-Sierra ISO Image and move it to the desktop
    mv /tmp/macOS-Sierra.iso.cdr ~/Desktop/macOS-Sierra.iso

    or run

    curl https://www.nickmcummins.com/make-macos-sierra-iso.sh > /tmp/make-macos-sierra-iso.sh

    and then execute it by running sudo chmod +x /tmp/make-macos-sierra-iso.sh && /tmp/make-make-macos-sierra-iso.sh. Once completed, you should see a file named macOS-Sierra.iso on your desktop.

  6. Now boot up VMware Player and create a new virtual machine using the File dialog. Using the iso disk image we just created, and with macOS 10.12 selected as the guest os, finish the setup for your new image.
    Guest Operating System - Select macOS 10 12
  7. You’ll need to erase the virtual hard disk medium as seen in the following screenshots. DiskUtility - VMware Virtual STA hHard Drive
    DiskUtility - Erase Hard Drive confirmation
  8. Now you will be able to proceed with the installation. Once completed, you should be all ready to enjoy your new macOS Sierra vm!
    Installation macOS Sierra
    macOS Sierra Screenshot

This basically involves two steps:

  1. Client-side support, aka adding the required decoding libraries on the local computer. See official documentation: Enabling the H.264 codec on the NoMachine client host. Here is an example of following the steps on my Macbook Air:
    
    brew update
    brew install ffmpeg && brew upgrade ffmpeg
    cd /usr/local/Cellar/ffmpeg/3.0.2/lib
    sudo cp libavcodec.dylib /Applications/NoMachine/Contents/Frameworks/lib
    sudo cp libavutil.dylib /Applications/NoMachine/Contents/Frameworks/lib
    

Setting a custom resolution to that of the guest monitor

Say you have two monitors physically connected to the server, supporting by default maximum resolutions of 1440x900 and 1600x900. If you are logging in to the remote server from a machine that has a larger display, it may be difficult to add the new resolution. I have attempted to follow dozens of similar instructions I found online, with little luck. The only thing that worked for me seems like a hack, but it works.

➜  xrandr  | grep -i primary 
DVI-D-0 connected primary 1440x900+0+0 (normal left inverted right x axis y axis) 410mm x 257mm

We’ll be using the scale option of randr to change our resolution in this case, i.e. (x resolution)(x scale factor) = (desired x resolution); (y resolution)(y scale factor) = (desired y resolution). You’ll want to use at least a few decimal places for non-truncating decimal numbers unless your scaling factor is a rational number:

xrandr --output DVI-D-0 --scale 1.3333333x1.33333333

Afterwards, you should see this represented if you run the initial xrandr command above.

➜ xrandr  | grep -i primary 
DVI-D-0 connected primary 1920x1200+0+0 (normal left inverted right x axis y axis) 410mm x 257mm

Marble is a Virtual Globe app that started as part of the KDE desktop environment that is now currently available for Linux (all flavors), Mac OS X, Windows, and Android. It has tons of features and definitely worth checking out for map and geography lovers out there!

Below we view the globe using a historical map from 1689 centered around North America. Interestly, California is depicted as an island, and the Pacific Northwest region of the United States and Canada, as well as Alaska and eastern Russia, is a big void in the map (not depicted).
Marble Virtual Globe Screenshot - Historical North America Map 1689