lonely written words—are all you’ve got”

—Virginia Shea

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


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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Even more rubber chickens and purple boxes

Original Wam!Net rubber chicken

Strange, happy coincidence—I met the person responsible for the rubber chickens in the purple Wam!Net boxes!

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Rubber chickens and purple boxes

Chicken and me

Rubber chickens have their place in technology.

During my first gig as an administrator in the mid 1990s, we brought in Wam!Net, a Minneapolis-based company, to link our office to dozens of remote printing facilities across the U.S. This was before Internet connectivity and FTP were common-place technologies in business.

With as $12,000 annual contract, Wam!Net installed a big purple box with a whopping 400 MB/hour pipe in our office. Today, that’s like the mojo wire of the 1970s that could transmit a page of text over the telephone in only 18 minutes.

The purple box was nothing more than

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Posting my MacIT 2014 presentations

Troubleshooting Email - slide 1

From the home office in Saint Paul, Minnesota, I’m posting my MacIT 2014 slides here for folks reviewing after my presentations in San Francisco and for folks who weren’t able to attend this year. I realize slides alone don’t give the full context of the sessions but I do try to write them to be somewhat self-explanatory. Feel free to post questions and I’ll try to answer here.

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Readying command line goodness for MacIT 2014

Access Directory Services from the Command Line - Slide 22

My second presentation for this year’s MacIT conference in March is done and uploaded. I’ll take a break from it for a few days before doing my final edits. Somehow, I need to fit 168 slides into 45 minutes worth of presentation. Or just talk really, really fast.

This presentation reminds me why I like giving talks and doing training in the first place. Teaching is the best way to learn. And I learned some really useful ways for interacting with Active Directory and Open Directory from the command line. I’m bringing a ton of step-by-step, how-to and side-by-side examples

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Preparing presentations for MacIT 2014

Troubleshooting Email - slide last

This year I’m presenting two topics at the MacIT conference held alongside Macworld/iWord late March in beautiful San Francisco.

IT851: Access Directory Services from the Command Line IT862: Troubleshooting Email

I just finished my PowerPoint presentation for TroubleShooting Email. Thought I’d post the first and last slides.

The picture in the last slide is from my company’s website. Our home office in Santa Monica is just a few blocks from the 100-year old Santa Monica Pier at the ocean. Although I live in Minnesota I can testify it looks just like Santa Monica except everything is covered in

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No spam here—mostly

Years ago when Google launched Gmail I created a test account and still check it once in a while to see if it receives any spam. It doesn’t. Google launched Gmail in April 2005 and my oldest message is dated October 2005. Since then I’ve received two pieces of spam. Both were from the same spammer and on the same day, December 18, 2011.

I’m testing for a few things.

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God only knows what's going on with 12

Engineers dig deep in the tomes of man pages to search for knowledge. We grow wiser as we pore over ancient wisdom left by past scholars. Sometimes we find they were scratching their heads much as we do now.

Note that the gateways 12, 14, 15, 16 & 17 hops away either don’t send ICMP “time exceeded” messages or send them with a ttl too small to reach us. 14 – 17 are running the MIT C Gateway code that doesn’t send “time exceeded”s. God only knows what’s going on with 12.

I was searching for an option in

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What's wrong with this picture?

While posting on the Microsoft Community forums I came across this dialog. It’s a very simple window but what’s wrong?

Good design doesn’t get in the way

When design just works we tend not to notice it. That’s good design. Bad design gets in the way.

For example, someone designed the dashboard in my 2008 Honda Accord and for the most part I get the information I need such as my speed, fuel gauge, etc. However, my steering wheel prevents me from seeing my left/right blinker lights. With my radio playing I often don’t hear the relay clicking and

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