Tiny Deathstars of Foulness

I read an article recently that there were more conferences than ever before these days. The article cited AirBNB and other vendor-centric conferences as examples of how marketers are using conferences as another mechanism to woo customers in, boost loyalty to brands, and ultimately increase sales with new and existing customers. This is easily seen in the microeconomy-turning-macroeconomy that is the Apple ecosystem. Once upon a time there was MacWorld. It was big, it was bold, and Apple was there. This was a time when there was a magazine by the same name that physically showed up at my house. But times have changed. The systems administration side of MacWorld has morphed into MacIT and then MacIT wasn’t. And so many conferences have become vendor-centric, and others market-centric. And while some delegates attend multiple conferences, many of the attendees have splintered into smaller conferences that make sense to them.

Let’s go through each:

  • ACES Conference: ACES is a conference for Apple Consultants. Held May 9th and 10th in Baltimore, Maryland, ACES is a really good introduction for many on running a Mac consultancy, represented by many of the larger and more well established Apple consultancies in the US and Canada.
  • AirWatch Connect: Similar to JAMF’s Roadshow, the AirWatch Connect conference has been merged with VMworld (AirWatch is part of VMware). This is a great conference for people managing heterogenous mobile deployments, including iOS.
  • Command-IT: This is the first year of the Command-IT conference in France! Based on the people putting it on, I’m sure it’ll be fantastic. Held in Poitiers on March 24th! More at 
  • Filewave Conference: Held in Indianapolis (March 29th and 30th),the Filewave Conference focuses on the latest and greatest with FileWave and provides systems administrators of FileWave environments with access to developers, deployment information, etc.
  • JAMF Software’s JNUC (JAMF Nation User Conference) is a conference primarily geared at the Apple Administrator who use the Casper Suite for their administrative efforts. There are some sessions on general administrative topics, such as what a plist is and general shell scripting. If you spend a lot of your day in Jamf Pro, then this is a great conference to check out, held in Minneapolis in the fall. October 23rd to 25th.
  • Jamf Nation Roadshows: The Jamf Nation Roadshows are a resurrection of an excellent event from many years ago, where Jamf went around the country hosting day long mini-conferences for customers and systems administrators. But now it’s global! Held throughout each summer, this year you can find Roadshows in London, Munich, Paris, Sydney, Melbourne and Auckland.
  • LOPSA East: A good conference held by LOPSA’s New Jersey chapter. Lots of speakers, discussing how IT professional from a variety of disciplines can make the jump from a junior or mid-level engineer, into the upper echelons of IT madness. Held in New Jersey.
  • Mac Admin and Developer Conference UK, from AmsysMacADUK is a conference for Apple administrators and developers, with a lot of sessions and good content, held in London on February 20th to 21st. I’ll have to miss this one as I’ll be surfing in Belize.
  • MacDevOps YVR: MacDevOps is a conference, with the first show held on June 7th to 8th, 2018. With sessions ranging from collaboration to Puppet-as-a-Service (the other PaaS) to Docker, Munk, Python, Casper, git, VMware, Chef, etc, this one is definitely for the scripty amongst the Mac community who are heavy into systems automation and, well, DevOps…
  • MacSysAdmin: All things Apple, in Sweden. Definitely one of my favorite conferences ever ever ever. This will be my tenth year speaking there. Lots of really good content, with a very global perspective. Really great people to network with as well, in a relaxed atmosphere. MacSysAdmin 2018 will take place in Göteborg, Sweden from October 2nd to 5th (Tuesday – Friday).
  • MacTech: Ed Marczak does a great job curating this conference, which really has a focus on systems administration at scale. It’s a good look at how environments grow (if you’re growing) or to get some really good tips and tricks for your grown up environment. MacTech Conference is held in November, so it’s also a good time as it’s nearing the end of the traditional conference season and LA’s kinda’ nice ’cause by then it’s starting to get cold in some parts of the US.
  • Mobile World Congress: I usually find the people at a show like this to be less technical, more business analysts, more interested in the why and results than the how. It’s a good group, but different from those who spend all of their time integrating systems. Held in early May, with global shows in Shangai, later in the year.
  • MobileIron Live: MobileIron has a new(ish) conference in Berlin, being held in Berlin, Germany. If you use MobileIron to manage your Apple devices, definitely worth giving this one a look! Held May 16-17th in Berlin.
  • Penn State MacAdmins Conference: 2018’s event will be held July 10 – 13 at the Penn Stater Hotel and Conference Center in State College, PA. Penn State Mac Admins emerged during a time of uncertainty with WWDC and systems administration topics. If you’re part of the infamous MacEnterprise list that Penn State runs, and you find the conversations there relevant to your job then this is likely a conference you’ll want to attend. It’s priced well, vendor agnostic, and run by one of the most talented MacAdmin teams around, too!
  • University of Calgary MacDeployment: The great people at the University of Calgary will be taking 2018 off this year, so the next conference is planned for 2019. This is marketed as more of a workshop, but it’s worth note as it had a lot of really good content and provided a good centralized place for Canadian Mac Admins to pick up new tips and tricks! Can’t wait to see the post for 2019!
  • Usenix: I think this is a great show for the Unixy amongst us. Many of the topics covered are highly relevant to the Mac admin.
  • WWDC: Everyone knows about Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference. But it’s getting more and more difficult to get tickets to the conference, and if you use a third party tool to manage your systems and aren’t writing code, you can watch the sessions online and save your continuing development/training funds to check out one of the other conferences.
  • X World: Originally part of the AUC in Australia, X World has topics ranging from Munki to Casper. Initially a very education-centric conference, there were Apple administrators from around Australia gathered to share their knowledge and green information from others on managing large numbers of Apple systems. And the organizers and delegates are pretty awesome people to hang out with. Great networking. I highly recommend that if you are a Mac admin in Australia that you support the AUC by becoming a member!
Additionally, there are a boatload of iOS development conferences. But I’m more focusing on systems administration with this page. If you want more, I also recommend grabbing an app like Eventbrite or Meetup and searching your local area. There are user groups, meetups, and more almost every night of the week in larger cities. So there’s never a shortage of options for professional development.