Stories by Ryan Faas

  • Should your IT department support the iPhone?

    When the iPhone was first launched in June 2007, it was generally panned by IT managers and systems administrators. It didn't support any encryption of user data, could not have any enforced security policies and offered no way to remotely wipe data if it were lost or stolen. At the time, a lot of companies weren't prepared to accept those security gaps. Perhaps more importantly, the iPhone didn't yet support any third-party applications or interact with most office suites.

  • In depth with Apple's Snow Leopard Server

    I've worked with various versions of Apple's Mac OS X Server for nearly a decade now. Each new release has brought major advances to the company's server software in terms of overall features, performance and ease of administration. The most recent iteration, version 10.6 - a.k.a. Snow Leopard Server - is no exception.

  • What's the real deal with 64-bit computing in Snow Leopard?

    One of the biggest points of confusion around Apple's newest version of Mac OS X is about whether it's really a 64-bit or a 32-bit operating system. Apple bills Snow Leopard as supporting 64-bit from top to bottom, while some industry watchers say it's not a true 64-bit OS. What gives?

  • Upgrading to Apple's Snow Leopard OS: What you need to know

    In building Snow Leopard, the latest version of Mac OS X (version 10.6), Apple focused more on under-the-hood improvements to boost speed and stability than on adding new features. That contrasts with its predecessor, Leopard (Mac OS X 10.5), which added more than 300 new features when it was released two years ago.

  • 10 free tools for getting work done on your Mac

    Microsoft's recent "Laptop Hunters" ad campaign is centered on the idea that Macs are more expensive than PCs and that the cost of core business and productivity tools for the Mac add to that expense.

  • A guide to online data syncing services

    Remember the early days of PDAs? They revolutionized the concept of a planner by combining calendars, contacts and notes into a compact, easy-to-carry device that could be connected to and synced with your computer.

  • What do Snow Leopard, iPhone 3G S & its OS mean for business?

    For about two hours on Monday, a big chunk of the technology world had its eyes focused on Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) in San Francisco. And even with CEO Steve Jobs out on medical leave, Apple's execs managed to wow the assembled crowd and the tech-centric folks watching from afar with a wave of hardware and software unveilings.

  • Mac management for Windows IT folks

    One of IT's key roles is client management, which is all about defining or controlling many aspects of how users' computers function. This can include restricting access to specific applications or Web sites, configuring auto-update policies, securing various parts of the file system and setting various display preferences or log-in scripts. This is all done with an eye to easing PC setup and deployment, increasing security and ensuring compliance with internal policies or legal regulations.

  • Apple's iLife '09 'a must-have update'

    Apple's iLife suite has long been a cornerstone of the company's "digital hub" strategy for organizing, managing and creatively using the array of digital media available today. In the latest version, iLife '09, the suite received major updates to almost all of its five applications. The only application that didn't gain any revolutionary new features was iDVD, Apple's tool for creating DVDs of movies and photos edited with the other iLife apps.

  • Will Apple's App Store change the desktop app market?

    There's no doubt that Apple's iPhone has changed the landscape of the smart-phone industry, and indeed the mobile phone business as a whole. But one of the most revolutionary advances that Apple offered up isn't in the iPhone itself: It's the mechanism the company developed to distribute non-Apple applications to iPhone and iPod Touch users.

  • Apple's 5 biggest moments in 2008

    Apple was a busy company in 2008. Over the past twelve months, the number of Apple-branded products on the street has become so broad and ubiquitous that it's hard to go a day without seeing evidence of it, even if you're not a Mac, iPhone or iPod owner.

  • Making the iPhone a killer business device

    After the release of the iPhone 3G (and the iPhone 2.0 update for first-generation iPhones), I reviewed the challenges facing corporate IT departments integrating the iPhone as a business device. In that three-part series, I looked at how to handle mass iPhone configuration and deployments, how to configure the iPhone to function in an Exchange environment, and the issues and rewards involved in developing custom in-house iPhone apps.

  • Deploying the iPhone 3G for business, part 2

    In Part 1 of this series, I looked at the mechanisms available to IT staffers to activate, deploy and configure iPhones in business environments. But the biggest new business-oriented feature available on the iPhone, thanks to the iPhone 2.x firmware (included with the iPhone 3G and available for free to users of first-generation iPhones or for US$9.95 for iPod Touch users), is the addition of ActiveSync for accessing Microsoft Exchange.

  • Deploying the iPhone 3G for business, part 1

    One of biggest stories behind the release of the iPhone 3G -- and the iPhone 2.0 firmware update for first-generation iPhones -- was the inclusion of features designed for use in business environments. While many analysts and enterprise users have argued in recent weeks about whether the iPhone can replace Research In Motion's BlackBerry as the prevailing smart phone for business, little has been said about the tools and processes that Apple offers systems administrators to actually deploy and manage iPhones at work.

  • AquaConnect helps Macs, others share desktop apps

    Terminal servers are nothing new in the computing world, particularly for enterprise environments. Citrix and Windows Terminal Services have been around for well over a decade. While terminal servers may not be new, their host operating systems (those that are available to connect users to the server) have, by and large, been versions of Windows. Last fall, a new company called AquaConnect did something unheard of: It unveiled the first Mac terminal server the world had ever seen.