lonely written words—are all you’ve got”

—Virginia Shea

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


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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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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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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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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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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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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