Automation

We’ve been working on Symantec Ghost and Apple Remote Desktop for a while with pretty limited results. Not that I haven’t used Ghost before; I’ve used it extensively and to great effect. But for some reason, the latest computers we have purchased refuse to be Ghosted properly. They’ll accept an image the first time, but after that first push, they can’t be accessed by Ghost anymore. You get it reset, pull an image, and then (with nothing having actually changed on the client machine), your remote connection is refused. We’ve talked with other Ghost experts at our university, trawled forums, and tried to reach Symantec, all to no avail.

Now I’m working with Apple Remote Desktop which, in the vein of all things Apple, should Just Work. It does not. In fact, it doesn’t seem to do anything other than to fail repeatedly. I don’t know if it’s because my RD Server is a Mac Mini with Tiger while the client has Leopard or what, but it’s not making a connection. We’re going to need a remote solution eventually, but it’s looking more and more likely that I’ll end up doing everything through the command prompt, bypassing the fancy tools altogether.

Which I can do on a Mac (since they’re built on Unix). I don’t know what to do with the Windows machines. Eventually, we reach a point where it would have taken us less time to just rebuild things by hand than by trying to find a solution for automation. Presumably, the time investment at the front end to find a good solution will save lots of time later on, but we seem no closer to finding real solutions than when we started. I have one idea left for the Windows machines (installing stock NIC cards, rather than the integrated ones the new machines came with), but if that fails, I’m back at square one yet again.

I know, I really do, that getting things working properly and automated and remotely and whatnot is better in the long run. Sometimes I wonder, though, if maybe we shouldn’t just go back to the old fashioned ways.

Yesterday, I wondered if maybe we should just scrap all this and go back to writing books instead of webpages.

I need to go check on the Apple; its image creation process just failed, and it needs a bit more love and attention before it will divulge why it can’t do its job properly.

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