lonely written words—are all you’ve got”

—Virginia Shea

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


JNUC 2017: The Great Mac Admin Get-Together

Building your own Death Star with Legos

Our Marketing group at Jamf is busy putting the final polish on the silverware, pulling the plastic from the furniture, airing out the spare bedrooms in the Minneapolis Hyatt and making hotdish. Lots of hotdish.

Next week is JNUC 2017!

Minnesota’s state fair, one of the largest and best attended fairs in the U.S., is nicknamed the Great Minnesota Get-Together. For me, JNUC is the Great Mac Admin Get-Together. It’s the largest gathering of Mac and iOS administrators in the world with this year’s registration setting a new record at more than 1500 attendees from around the world.

The keynote

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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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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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All hands on deck

Last night I witnessed a really cool phenomenon unfold among my co-workers. A simple email message to all 318 Staff regarding one of our clients said:

4 users with BBerry email problems 3 users reporting remote access problems SDM is working to get these assigned and resolved.

“SDM” is short for “Service Desk Managers” who schedule technicians to respond to customer issues. Clearly, SDM was saying we had an issue suddenly impacting several customers.

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And the angels did sing!

The Book of Questions

From The Book of Questions:

135: Which would you prefer: a wild, turbulent life filled with joy, sorrow, passion, and adventure-intoxicating successes and stunning setbacks; or a happy, secure, predictable life surrounded by friends and family without such wide swings of fortune and mood?

Friends are still asking me, “So, how do you like your new job?” After a year and a half with 318, Inc., I’m usually a little caught off guard because I just don’t have a good answer yet.

Don’t take that as I don’t like my job. Not so. I’m challenged in ways I’ve never been

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She never checks that account


In March I’ll be presenting a session at MacIT about troubleshooting email and I’ve been collecting interesting email issues for my talk. This one will be worth discussing.

A customer emailed me from a personal Yahoo! account because her company email had stopped working. She forwarded me this bounce message:

On Wednesday, February 19, 2014 1:19 PM, “MAILER-DAEMON@yahoo.com” <MAILER-DAEMON@yahoo.com> wrote: Sorry, we were unable to deliver your message to the following address.

<thomas@company.biz>: No MX or A records for company.biz

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Hiring soon... The new me for my old job

Help wanted

Nearly 13 years ago Merrill Corporation hired me for a temporary position working second shift Mac support during one of their peak seasons. After this gig I went on to work at a couple of other companies but kept in touch with the folks back at Merrill. When a permanent position opened a manager called me back and I worked there eight more years until I moved into consulting with 318, Inc.

Sixteen months later, Merrill is hiring to fill my old role. Just heard from a buddy of mine in the Desktop Architecture group they’re planning to replace me.

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Enjoying some nice words from a customer

318 Inc.

Someone I met at a recent conference described his impression of 318, Inc., as “a company that hires really smart people.” That was both a humbling and really proud moment for me.

I just read the following message forwarded from our CEO Kevin Klein and it has me feeling that same way. Several of us have been working on a large migration project for a customer culminating in the cutover to a new service last week. While I’ve been on vacation this week my co-workers have been putting out fires and responding to issues. Today, Kevin shared this praise from

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Of Parallels, proxies, privacy and support

Thanks to an incompatibility between Parallels Desktop for Mac and our company proxy server I learned that this software is designed to phone home without the user’s knowledge. What several folks have reported in online forums as an annoying behavior with this product is really the result of an attempted violation of privacy.

I’m not accusing Parallels of breaking any laws but based on my interactions with them while troubleshooting an issue I have little confidence that they understand why I am concerned.

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Could the Mac App Store solve Enterprise licensing headaches?

I’m very happy to see that Peter Borg updated Lingon for Snow Leopard, which he’s now distributing via the Mac App Store. I see on his blog, however, that his will be the only method of distribution for his product. The early behavior of developers to embrace the Mac App Store as their exclusive distribution channel could be an Enterprise administrator’s headache but I see it as the potential to be a much needed solution for the corporate environment like iTunes was for the music industry.

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