“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 2017 MacAdmins Conference presentation

This was my fourth MacAdmins Conference, which means I’ve had the opportunity to attend half the conferences since it started in 2010. That’s not a record and I know plenty of folks who’ve attended most or all of them. But it does give me perspective to see some of its formula for success.

Losing track of time
Invariably, a few of us will start a discussion after dinner and realize we’re the last ones left in the room. (Leslie, Bryce, Brad, Brian and Pete.)

Part of that formula is that it’s fairly eco-system agnostic. It doesn’t try to cater to people using Chef, Jamf, munki, Puppet or any other automation or support tool (although munki is covered in a few sessions here). A lot of the sessions are modular and the majority are about specific toolsets that can plug in to whatever management system a Mac administrator is using. Most other sessions focus on best practices followed by a handful discussing security, personal development and management.

Another part of its success is the team that organizes the event every year. Because this isn’t a for-profit event, groups like Sales and Marketing aren’t involved. There’s nothing to sell, nothing to promote. The conference is a passion not a profession for Dave, Gretchen, Rusty, Brett, Jonathan and Justin. These are people who do the same work as the attendees they attract to the conference. Because of that, it feels genuine. I’m sorry to see this was Justin’s last year on the organizing committee. He’s getting more involved in his role as a manager and needs to move on to focus on that.

The critical part of this formula, though, is the attendees themselves. The Mac admin community is worldwide and broad in scope, but it’s close. Those who attend this or any conference become even closer as they get to meet, socialize and make friends. With so many avenues of social media, there’s little disruption to conversations across time. Conferences are a good place  to put a face with an online name but they easily turn into reunions with old friends after attending just a few.

For the benefit of our careers, we go to learn. I think the best reason for attending this or most any conference is best summarized in this tweet I recently saw in my timeline.

Slides and videos from nearly 50 presentations and workshops are on the Resources page. 2018’s conference is July 10-13. Watch them. Learn something. And considering attending next year.

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Jamf AND not Jamf OR

I was a Jamf customer for nearly 10 years before becoming a JumpStart Integrator and later an employee. Friday’s release of a marketing piece (now retracted) comparing Jamf to free and open source software (FOSS) was a surprise to many Jamfs as well as the community at large. Don’t let this mistake set your opinion about Jamf’s culture and values.

How many remember Jamf when its employee total was two — just Chip Pearson and Zach Halmstad? I do. I remember meeting them at a local user group around 2005 where they were taking every advantage of opportunities and events

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Posting my PSU 2016 MacAdmins Conference presentation

Meeting Paul

Tech 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

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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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