Grand Opening. Grand Closing.

It was a solid seven weeks at Amazon Care. Landed what seemed to be my dream job, fell in love with my team and the leadership…but alas, Amazon Care will be no more at the end of the year.

The good news is that there seems to be a high amount of internal opportunities open and teams at Amazon are actively helping re-place us.

I am confident something will work out but the next few months will no doubt be chaotic as the interviewing process ramps up again.

Four Weeks In

This week marks my fourth week at Amazon Care. I am on an incredibly great team of Systems Engineers. I try to keep my enthusiasm measured when around them but it’s so nice not being a one person show.

I’ve also found most of the onboarding training to be deeply thoughtful and not as “canned” as I’m used to. Might be the new job feel but I can’t help but feeling this was the right move.

I’ve also been highly enjoying Jeff Sutherland’s book Scrum: The Art of Doing Twice the Work in Half the Time. As someone fairly new (~1 year) to Scrum, I welcome the iterative nature of improvement and constant/consistent accountability.

Safari macOS Bug

Ladies and gentlemen this is truly a strange one. Recently Safari.app for macOS stopped streaming video from any site including YouTube.

Immediately I looked at the usual suspects. Browser cache, extensions, nvram, OS integrity. None could explain it but curiously everything worked in private browsing.

At the same time I realized I had run out of iCloud Storage. Remediating this issue resolved the Safari issue. No idea why but that’s technology, baby.

Backing Up Time Machine to a Network-Attached Storage Device

If you’ve ever tried using Time Machine with a NAS pre-APFS days you’ll know the experience left a lot to be desired. I was encouraged by a colleague to give this another shot and am happy to report a huge improvement in speed and performance.

The initial backup of my machine, which was roughly 80GB of data took about 70 minutes to complete. I am also happy to report that Time Machine remembers the location of the NAS and will auto-mount it as needed.

If you’re using an UnRAID NAS, you will find this guide helpful:

https://wiki.unraid.net/UnRAID_6/Configuring_Apple_Time_Machine

Paying Off Apple Card Financing

Yesterday a friend shared an interesting story. They decided to take advantage of Apple’s zero percent financing option for a new MacBook. To their dismay, having an Apple Card that was half utilized caused (in their opinion) a THIRTY point drop in their credit score.

Upon trying to pay it off entirely he informed me that there was no way to do so. While there is a “Make Additional Payment” option, it only allows you to pay off a finite amount, which seemed really strange.

It turns out there isn’t a way to do this through the Wallet app, but if you use the online portal (https://card.apple.com) you can pay off as much as you’d like.

Missing Sudo

If you have the pleasure of binding your macOS fleet to Active Directory some of you may have noticed issues using the sudo command for administrative users.

Chatter on the MacAdmins slack channel suggests that Apple has acknowledged the issue and will resolve it in a future update. Here’s how we’re temporarily working around this:

#!/bin/bash

# Collects the logged in user
loggedInUser="$(stat -f%Su /dev/console)"

# Checks to ensure logged in user isn't already in sudoers
if grep -Rq "$loggedInUser" /etc/sudoers
then
    echo "User ID already exists in sudoers file...Exiting"
else
    echo "$loggedInUser        ALL = (ALL) ALL" >>  /etc/sudoers
fi

Short and sweet. Run as root.

iCloud Keychain Now Provides MFA

iCloud Keychain got a nice update with iOS15 that enables you use it as your MFA provider. Not only does it make the likes of Google Authenticator/Authy unnecessary, it also makes for a much more seamless experience for the end user in Safari. If you have MFA enable for a service (Gmail, Reddit, etc.) you will first need to disable it. Next, locate the entry for that service in iCloud Keychain and select Setup Verification Code.

Setup:

Execution:

Bravo, Apple.

Today’s Adventure with AppleCare

I ran into an interesting issue attempting to purchase AppleCare for a set of headphones I picked up at Best Buy. I was within the sixty day window but when I tried making the purchase online I was presented an ominous message:

“It looks like your device isn’t eligible for an AppleCare agreement.”

The AppleCare rep was stumped. After a bit of googling I discovered the headphones didn’t have a purchase date associated with them—presumably because they came from a third party retailer.

The fix is to visit https://checkcoverage.apple.com, enter your details, and you’ll more than likely be prompted to provide a purchase date. I was then able to complete my purchase.