“words—
lonely written words—are all you’ve got”

—Virginia Shea

“communication happens when I know you know what I know”

—Me

Posting my PSU 2016 MacAdmins Conference presentation

Meeting PaulTech conferences are both energizing and exhausting at the same time. For five days at PSU 2016 MacAdmins Conference, I got to spend time with friends from here in the Twin Cities area, visit with long-distance friends (some I hadn’t seen in 2-3 years), eat lots of food, let someone else make the bed in the morning and absorb much smartness.

My favorite takeaway from this year, though, was getting to present a session about administering Office 2016 for Mac with Paul Bowden, a developer with Microsoft. He’s become a good friend over the past eight months since I first met him and has fit into the Mac admin community so well I’ve heard more than once, “He’s one of us.”

Paul’s time at the conference was brief. He arrived late Wednesday in State College, Pa., and then left shortly after our presentation Thursday morning to take his wife Laura on an Amish buggy ride before flying home to Washington that evening. It was their 2-day getaway spent mostly traveling.

Signed Paul BowdenJust a few minutes after Paul arrived, I waved over some folks I knew wanted to meet him. Before long, he had a small crowd that was anxious to meet and thank him for all his work and guidance. Even better, they all got to see the personality behind the avatar in the #microsoft-office channel in Slack. The next day about 150 attendees in our presentation got to see him and be the first to hear about some brand new features he’s developing for Office. I love how someone thought about getting Paul to sign his flip chart drawing!

Jonathan Leung, a program manager for OneDrive at Microsoft, also attended the conference. We connected at the Tuesday evening event and I remarked that as a non Mac admin he probably didn’t get much of what he was seeing. He agreed and said something to the effect, “I’ve learned that munki and AutoPkg are important and Greg Neagle is a pretty big deal here.” During my presentation with Paul, I asked Jonathan to stand up. I think folks really appreciated how Microsoft is involving itself with the Mac admin community when they saw him too.

Below are links to the PDF as well as the original Keynote file for our presentation, which include notes and talking points.

The conference organizers recorded most of the sessions and will post them in a few weeks. I’ll add an update here letting folks know when they’re ready.

2017’s conference is scheduled for July 11-14. Full text…

2015: The year of careers

Today, I start a new job with a new company. After more than three years with 318, Inc., as a consultant, I’m moving to Minneapolis-based JAMF Software as a Professional Services Engineer. JAMF is a company I’ve known more than 10 years with many people I’ve known nearly as long.

In a call with my former boss late last week, I told him coming to 318 was a needed kick in the seat of the pants for me. Ten years with my employer before that had made me complacent and I didn’t realize how much I needed a new challenge.

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Meeting Paul Bowden

MVP logo

Just a little more than a week ago, Paul Bowden introduce himself in the #microsoft-office channel of the Slack MacAdmins team:

Thanks to @talkingmoose for introducing me to the group. I was going to set my slack username to “Mr sudo $USER” but I’ll just have to plead for forgiveness from all of you and make it up by fixing this stuff. Do feel free to ping me with your top 3 wishes for installers and/or MAU. Thanks! Paul.

It was a perfect mix of levity, humility and outreach that started some amazing dialogue between Mac admins and Microsoft.

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Posting my PSU 2015 MacAdmins Conference presentations

Coffee mug

From the home office in Saint Paul, MN, I’m posting my PSU 2015 MacAdmins Conference presentations. Below are links to both PDFs as well as the original Keynote files, which include my notes and talking points.

The conference organizers recorded most of the sessions and will post them in a few weeks. I’ll add an update here letting folks know when they’re ready.

2016’s conference is scheduled for June 27-30 and I’m already planning to return. This event has become one of the highlights of my year working as a Mac admin.

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PSU MacAdmins II: Return to the very human tech conference

Late this afternoon I returned to State College, Pa., for my second Penn State MacAdmins Conference running through Friday of this week. In just a few minutes I was running into friends from last year and chatting like we were picking up on conversations from yesterday. The Mac Admin community is spread far and wide but at the same time it’s very close.

I remarked last year how this was a very human tech conference and attendees who heard me say that seemed to know exactly what I meant and they agreed. It feels like a family reunion.

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Rendering a tiny little underline more perfectly

What’s wrong with this sentence? Depending on your browser, maybe nothing at all.

Take a closer look.

Underlining was born on a typewriter. To underline text required typing the text first and then returning to the beginning of the word or line to overtype a series of underline characters. It was tedious work and the result was definitely function over form.

The ugly practice of underlining text carried over to the web and was adopted as the early moniker for identifying hyperlinks. Of all the typographic advancements such as typefaces, styling (bold, italic, etc.), font sizes and colors, underlining

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Posting Outlook for Mac Exchange Setup script survey results

Microsoft released Outlook 15 for Mac 3-1/2 months ago to its Office 365 Exchange Online customers. Prior to that I had some foresight this new version would break a script I wrote originally for Microsoft Entourage and later Outlook for Mac. The script enabled administrators to help their users configure Exchange settings in environments where Autodiscover didn’t work.

In early September 2014, I posted a survey and solicited responses from Mac admins who used this Exchange setup script in their environments. My goal was to learn how many organizations and users may be impacted and then communicate that to my

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Introducing Twin Cities Mac Admins

cal jan 2015

Humans are social creatures and last I checked most Mac Admins are humans.

After a conference hallway conversation back in July followed by a Twitter discussion a couple weeks later, a few of us humans were meeting for beers to talk about putting together a Mac Admins group here in the Twin Cities. Some of us had never even met before then.

Our first Twin Cities Mac Admins meeting is January 22nd—it’s been a long time coming since we announced it at the JAMF Nation User Conference last October.

Who are we?

Right now, we’re just five independent Mac admins

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For Thanksgiving voyeurs

GoProJobyTripod

From the Department of Nothing Better To Do Department…

While visiting with fellow Microsoft MVPs and developers a few weeks ago, I managed to snag a GoPro Hero3 camera. These are tiny little cameras bicyclists wear on their helmets to record their rides (or accidents with cars) or drivers mount on their dashboards to record their commutes (and maybe their accidents too).

It’s a neat little gadget. It has its own built-in Wi-Fi to enable remote control and viewing using a phone. It has a micro-SD slot for storage and a USB port for charging or connecting directly to a

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Save up to $3.96 on tiny violin apps for iPhone

Playing just for you

Music is a critical for situations where emotion is peaking—action movies, a night on the town, romantic encounters and even conversations with co-workers or friends who may be a little overly dramatic sometimes.

Yesterday morning I started replying to a co-worker’s message. In it I found myself being a little overly dramatic myself. (Not unjustly.) “Well, OK,” I said. “Just making sure you haven’t forgotten me. I’m out here all alone, you know. All alone. You could probably use this by now:”

Just after that colon was where I wanted to insert a link to Apple’s App Store for a

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