Introducing Twin Cities Mac Admins

cal jan 2015Humans 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 who want to meet others in our field, talk a little shop and learn from the collective Mac Admin community in and around the Minneapolis/Saint Paul area. None of our employers is officially endorsing us and some of our bosses don’t even know we’re doing this yet.

We are (on Twitter):

brian Brian LaShomb
brad Brad Schmidt
bill William Smith
bryson Bryson Tyrell
john John Wetter

Our first meeting

Response to our January meeting announcement was better than expected. The venue is small and we’ve already reached capacity at 30 reservations. We’re learning from this, though, and already have our February location reserved. It should accommodate up to 50. We’ll find something bigger if necessary.

Here’s our first event:

Only your time.

Date & time:
January 22, 2015
4:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.

Uptown Apple Store
Briefing Room, through the store and upstairs
3018 Hennepin Avenue
Minneapolis, MN 55408

I suggest parking in the Calhoun Square parking ramp about a block away. It beats street parking.


4:00-4:15 p.m. — Arrival and socializing

We’re starting the event late afternoon to help attendees avoid rush hour. Future times will probably vary depending on the venue.

4:15-4:30 p.m. — Introductions

Bryson will kick off our first meeting, making introductions, and we’ll ask folks to introduce themselves too. We can do that since this will be a small gathering. He’ll explain our mission.

4:30-5:00 p.m. — Apple presentation

This is Apple’s venue. Only fair we give them some time to talk. Someone should ask if we’ll be able to apply configuration profiles to Apple Watches.

5:00-5:30 p.m. — Open discussion of current news

Part of any gathering is getting time to talk with each other. Brad and John will raise some topics relevant to Mac Admins today. We’ll open the floor for conversation, questions to the group and experiences solving issues.

5:30-5:45 p.m. — Break (15 minutes)

5:45-6:45 p.m. — Main presentation

I’ll be reprising a presentation I gave at PSU Mac Admins in July. Attendees will learn why I carry a rubber chicken in my backpack.

Mac management systems like Profile Manager and Casper include numerous built-in payloads enabling administrators to simply choose from a menu of configurable settings for their Macs. But these built-in payloads only manage Apple’s OS X system software such as the Finder, Mail, System Preferences and the login window.

Profiles can also manage other Apple software such as iLife, iWork and Remote Desktop as well as non-Apple software such as Microsoft Office. With just a little extra effort an administrator can use profiles to disable application auto-updates, eliminate new setup and welcome screens, centrally manage antivirus settings and more.

Learn the difference between centrally managing preferences and simply deploying default settings. This session will focus on the Custom Settings payload found in both Profile Manager and Casper and using it to manage preferences for non-system and third-party applications.

6:45-7:00 p.m. — Wrap-up

We’ll probably announce a location for getting dinner and a couple of beers after the meeting. If you can keep your evening open, we’d love to have time to mingle and get to meet everyone.

We’ll also announce details about our February meeting including date, time and location.

Calling for speakers and volunteers

We’ll make more announcements later for anyone willing to help us prepare content, suggest discussion topics and present at meetings. Right now, we have a basic website running but hope to expand it for the needs of the Twin Cities Mac Admins community.

Please contact us any time using our Twitter account @mspmacadmns (Twitter won’t let us use “admin” in our name) or send us a good old fashioned email at

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