lonely written words—are all you’ve got”

—Virginia Shea

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


Introducing Twin Cities Mac Admins

cal jan 2015Humans 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 who want to meet others in our field, talk a little shop and learn from the collective Mac Admin community in and around the Minneapolis/Saint Paul area. None of our employers is officially endorsing us and some of our bosses don’t even know we’re doing this yet.

We are (on Twitter):

brian Brian LaShomb
brad Brad Schmidt
bill William Smith
bryson Bryson Tyrell
john John Wetter

Our first meeting

Response to our January meeting announcement was better than expected. The venue is small and we’ve already reached capacity at 30 reservations. We’re learning from this, though, and already have our February location reserved. It should accommodate up to 50. We’ll find something bigger if necessary.

Here’s our first event:

Only your time.

Date & time:
January 22, 2015
4:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.

Uptown Apple Store
Briefing Room, through the store and upstairs
3018 Hennepin Avenue
Minneapolis, MN 55408

I suggest parking in the Calhoun Square parking ramp about a block away. It beats street parking.


4:00-4:15 p.m. — Arrival and socializing

We’re starting the event late afternoon to help attendees avoid rush hour. Future times will probably vary depending on the venue.

4:15-4:30 p.m. — Introductions

Bryson will kick off our first meeting, making introductions, and we’ll ask folks to introduce themselves too. We can do that since this will be a small gathering. He’ll explain our mission.

4:30-5:00 p.m. — Apple presentation

This is Apple’s venue. Only fair we give them some time to talk. Someone should ask if we’ll be able to apply configuration profiles to Apple Watches.

5:00-5:30 p.m. — Open discussion of current news

Part of any gathering is getting time to talk with each other. Brad and John will raise some topics relevant to Mac Admins today. We’ll open the floor for conversation, questions to the group and experiences solving issues.

5:30-5:45 p.m. — Break (15 minutes)

5:45-6:45 p.m. — Main presentation

I’ll be reprising a presentation I gave at PSU Mac Admins in July. Attendees will learn why I carry a rubber chicken in my backpack.

Mac management systems like Profile Manager and Casper include numerous built-in payloads enabling administrators to simply choose from a menu of configurable settings for their Macs. But these built-in payloads only manage Apple’s OS X system software such as the Finder, Mail, System Preferences and the login window.

Profiles can also manage other Apple software such as iLife, iWork and Remote Desktop as well as non-Apple software such as Microsoft Office. With just a little extra effort an administrator can use profiles to disable application auto-updates, eliminate new setup and welcome screens, centrally manage antivirus settings and more.

Learn the difference between centrally managing preferences and simply deploying default settings. This session will focus on the Custom Settings payload found in both Profile Manager and Casper and using it to manage preferences for non-system and third-party applications.

6:45-7:00 p.m. — Wrap-up

We’ll probably announce a location for getting dinner and a couple of beers after the meeting. If you can keep your evening open, we’d love to have time to mingle and get to meet everyone.

We’ll also announce details about our February meeting including date, time and location.

Calling for speakers and volunteers

We’ll make more announcements later for anyone willing to help us prepare content, suggest discussion topics and present at meetings. Right now, we have a basic website running but hope to expand it for the needs of the Twin Cities Mac Admins community.


Please contact us any time using our Twitter account @mspmacadmns (Twitter won’t let us use “admin” in our name) or send us a good old fashioned email at contact@mspmacadmins.org.

For Thanksgiving voyeurs


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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Responses needed: Outlook for Mac Exchange Setup Script Survey

Mac Admins, if you’re currently using any version of my Outlook for Mac Exchange Setup Script, I need your responses. The script I’m referencing is available at these two locations:

Version 4.0.1 – http://www.officeformachelp.com/outlook/exchange/setup-script/ Version 4.5.2 – https://github.com/talkingmoose/Outlook-Exchange-Setup

Some planned changes in Outlook for Mac will break the automatic setup portion of the script and I will not be able to create a workaround for it. If you rely on this feature of the script, I need your help to inform Microsoft how many users will be affected by the changes. My goal is to show there is a need

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Watching good administrators go bad

Uncle Ben

Training is one of my favorite responsibilities as a consultant with 318. This past summer I’ve trained a few dozen new and experienced Mac administrators as part of their Casper JumpStarts but while most are very good at their jobs, practically all of them have briefly succumbed to the dark side during their training.

Movie wisdom

I use a lot of movie references in my JumpStarts because my captive audience usually gets the associations I’m making to the lessons. Practically every time I demonstrate one specific feature of Casper, I have to quote Uncle Ben from Spiderman: “With great power

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PSU MacAdmins posts conference videos for 2014

Today, all those folks who couldn’t attend this year’s PSU MacAdmins Conference get to attend virtually! And all those folks who did get to attend now get to attend every session. The fine folks at Penn State University have posted links to most videos from the conference with a few yet to come in their Resources area.

The 40+ videos are posted to YouTube and are free to everyone. They total more than 50 hours of training, education and insight from folks who like to share knowledge. That’s a work week’s worth of content plus some overtime!

Below is the

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Honk if you agree

I Love Hypercard

Threw this together based on a conversation with a former boss…

Posting my PSU MacAdmins Conference presentation

Update (July 13): Forgot to include a link to download the plists for Microsoft Office for Mac 2011. These are the same files I used in my demonstration.

From the home office in Saint Paul, Minnesota, I’m posting my PSU MacAdmins Conference slides here for folks reviewing after my presentation in State College, PA, and for folks who weren’t able to attend this year.

Below are links to both a PDF version as well as the original PowerPoint version, which includes my notes and talking points. Even if you don’t use PowerPoint, Keynote or an Office 2011 trial should

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Attending my first PSU MacAdmins Conference

Of Science and Chickens

Super excited to be flying out to Penn State tomorrow and attending my first PSU MacAdmins Conference! It’s only five years old but has become one of the five major conferences for Mac administrators in the world as well as the only major east coast conference for those who support OS X and iOS.

I get to present this year and expand on a session I did for the JAMF Nation User Conference back in 2012. That session was about the humble plist. What I didn’t get to cover then was how to use Managed Preferences (MCX) and Configuration Profiles

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Playing with my potty while on the iPhone

Happy little turd

In the beginning was the “Have a nice day” guy. He was put on buttons, coffee mugs, bumper stickers and T-shirts.

Then one day, someone didn’t have a nice day. And he was put on even more buttons, coffee mugs, bumper stickers and T-shirts.

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