lonely written words—are all you’ve got”

—Virginia Shea

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


Jamf AND not Jamf OR

PatI 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 to put themselves out there to build this new business around “Mac management”. They were some of the early visionaries that believed Apple in organizations was going somewhere and those organizations would need help making Apple succeed.

Jamf’s values of selflessness and relentless self-improvement started with Chip and Zach, and in their first years of hiring employees, they brought in folks like Jason Wudi and Sam Johnson who personified those same values. Jamf’s culture was shaped by these and other original Jamfs. Early customers will remember calling for support and getting one of them on the phone. Placing someone “on hold” meant covering the mouthpiece and “researching a solution” meant leaning back and yelling across the room, “hey, how did we fix that thing…?” While they were pretty low tech and wearers of many hats, they were honest and made a concerted effort to do everything they could to help their customers, who were often on a first name basis with them. Every day I try to reflect what they started a dozen years ago because I share those same values.

I remember wanting to work for Jamf several years ago, but I wasn’t a developer and didn’t see myself as someone they’d want to hire. Eventually, they grew large enough to warrant a Human Resources department, a Marketing department, Sales, and other internal groups not directly related to development or support. For the longest time, most employees fell into two camps — a University of Wisconsin — Eau Claire graduate or former customer. Anyone who used Casper (rebranded as Jamf Pro) or knew someone who worked for Jamf wanted to work there. We saw their values.

Jamf suffers from its own success, though. The struggles of starting a new company built and revealed a lot of character in its employees in those early days. Culture today is very different from culture back then because most of us never knew those early struggles. That’s just going to happen considering how quickly Jamf has grown. And with this marketing piece comparing FOSS unfavorably to Jamf, we’ve let that show. However, I don’t believe Jamf’s values have ever changed. Chip and Zach are still here. So are Wudi and Sam and many early Jamfs. And so are folks like me who saw those values and wanted to come work here years ago and appreciate working here today.

As Bryson Tyrrell reminded us internally, we believe in “Jamf AND not Jamf OR”. Yesterday, something slipped through from us that shouldn’t have. But it was our values that pulled it back and apologized for it. We’ve had a great internal discussion about our very core beliefs and, while painful, it’s something a company that has grown as quickly as Jamf must be reminded of from time to time.

I hope anyone who knows me, who knows anyone I mentioned or who knows any other long-term Jamf will accept that so long as we’re here, we’re going to work to promote the same culture and values that brought us here in the first place.

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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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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