Airport commandline utility

If you need to connect to an airport wireless network from the commandline you could check out the little known airport command line utility.

It’s hidden at

You can use –help for help and -I for signal strength and ID info

Upgrading to 10.5.3

Well, a full Time Capsule backup in hand I upgraded to Mac OS X 10.5.3.

Unfortunately, after the install the machine seemed hung during the shutdown process.

After a forced shutdown and a restart, it seems that BOINC was running, but that BOINCManager wouldn’t work. Killed that.

Now it seems that CPU is being chewed up by

/System/Library/Frameworks/CoreServices.framework/Frameworks/Metadata.framework/Versions/A/Support/mdworker MDSSyncScanWorker

man mdworker says:

mdworker is the metadata server worker process. It is used by mds to scan and index files as a volume is mounted or a file changes.

There are no configurations to mdworker, and users should not run manually.

Which isn’t particularly revealling. I guess I’ll wait and see if it finishes anytime in the near future. On the plus side, the Airport reception seems better.


Time capsule – take one a day

Picked up a 500Gb Time Capsule. Got home and was somewhat in a hurry. Power cable was a bit hard to get pushed in properly, although there was no visible evidence of why this would have been the case in either the plug or the socket.
Ignored the “Install this first” CDs, as usual, and fired up Airport Admin utility under Leopard on the wired LAN and it found the existing Airport Express. Did a “Save As…” to save the config of the existing Airport Express (including passwords). Then unplugged the Airport Express and plugged in the Time Capsule, attached to the network cable that used to be plugged into the airport express. Interestingly the assistant offered me the chance to use the Time Capsule to replace an existing wireless access point, but it wanted me to find it (and I’d just unplugged it :). So I plugged it back in to power and the LAN, but the Assistant couldn’t seem to find it. I gave up at this point, hit the Manual button and just imported the settings from the Airport Express (seemed like a safe bet) into the Time Capsule’s settings. This seemed to work. Changed security to WPA Personal and restarted the Time Capsule.
So, now turn on Time Machine on the Leopard box and get it started. That was at 18:30, and it’s now done 47.3 of 69.44Gb (1,396,130 items from my 80Gb drive) after some 5.75hrs (over Gigabit).
Meanwhile, every other machine had to have its Airport connection changed to WPA Personal, and even though I’m pretty sure I typed the password in several times, it took a while to register and stick (at least I hope it’s stuck now!).
Are network speeds faster? Hard to tell. I haven’t maxed out the speed as currently we need backward compatibility with 802.11g until the next round of upgrades. It offers 802.11n on 2.4 or 5GHz, and 802.11a compatibility as well as 802.11n/b/g.
Other noteworthy things are that the Airport Admin utility displays a set of warnings about the current Time Capsule configuration (ie no DNS, multiple DHCP, etc.).
The Time Capsule also offers to sync with a timeserver, and also flash its light if there’s a software update available. This is much less useful as it’s going to be stuck in a separate room where I’m unlikely to see its flashing light.
There’s also support to “Advertise configuration globally” via Bonjour, or so it seems to make it available globally over the internet. I don’t enable this.
I’d heard rumours of it running hot. Sure, it’s warm, but not really any warmer than my ADSL router, and it’s been doing a lot more work for the past 5 hours. Plus it’s got an internal power supply, so it’ll be warmer from that alone.
The other thing is now there’s an extra shared volume appearing in the Finder. Logging into it reveals a shared disk onto which I can put stuff. Cool. Checking in the Airport Admin shows it’s a guest read-writable volume, which is probably not good by default. Now locked down 🙂
So far, it seems to be behaving pretty much as expected. I could do setup in a hurry without too much pain. It claims to be backing up at a reasonable speed.
Now I just need to test recovery 🙂