- Rapid Start: Objective-C & Cocoa for iOS & Mac
- Automation Mindset: Scripting, Command Line, and More
- OS X Server
- Mastering Auto Layout
- Using Amazon Web Services
We’re one month out.
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MacTech Conference is our 3-day, immersive, technical conference specifically designed for Apple IT Pros, Enterprise, developers, and programmers.
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Main Conference: November 5-7, 2014
Pre-Conference Workshops: Nov 4th, 2014
Manhattan Beach Marriott • Los Angeles
I love going to conferences. MacTech Conference this year is a great example of why. The conference organizers and staff did a superb job, the attendees were top notch and the weather was just right. But it was the same last year in all three regards. What I felt really made MacTech special this year was the Disney pixie dust magic coming together with all of that. And I was only there for a day, regrettably…
The talent level at these events continues to be top notch. As Jeff, Nigel, Peter, Gary, now Zack and others have moved on to other platforms and other roles I have continually wondered whether the Mac community would stay as vibrant and talented. But what I forget is that there are more and more people joining us every year as well as tons that have been there all along and just not been as attention-deprived as those of us who tend to write a lot.
The talent has shifted, for sure. Once upon a time the OS X community offered an upgrade. Get good at the client and then the server. Now, it’s become more about get good at the client and then get really good at the client. This ends up involving getting good at automating things, scripting, 3rd party management tools such as JAMF and even going beyond scripting and writing things that we feel the OS should have. Ed Eigerman, from Google, with the first talk of the IT track really drove this home with an excellently thought out jab at the lack of Apple Remote Desktop development.
While the talent has shifted, the community has continued to get stronger. This is no more evident than when you get to see Rich Trouton, Derick Okihara, Armin Briegel, Aaron Freimark, Nathan Toups and others in one day. I’m sure I’d throw a lot of other names in that list, but either a) I have more to say about them later or b) I didn’t actually see them the day I was there.
I hope that I can continue to in some way help to grow and shape the community. Allister Banks, who practiced his talk the night before delivering it, has been a great addition to my team at 318. While his contributions to the community are his own, I’m glad that I’m able to give him the freedom to work on community projects and speak at conferences with company time (as well as what seems like plenty of his own time). I have also brought in a few more people recently that I hope will continue to contribute plenty to this community that has given me so much (and I will likely be hiring more soon if you’re interested!). But Allister deserves praise for a great presentation, assuming it went as well in front of the MacTech audience as it did for me.
Now, there is already a ton of hero-worship for Greg Neagle in the OS X sysadmin community. But I’ve never really jumped on that bandwagon. So let me just tell you how I feel about that… It is obviously completely deserved. I could go on and on about his code and his website and his public speaking and even that book he did. But you probably know about all of that already. What impresses me the most is how much he loves where he works: Disney. The way he puts Disney movies into his presentations, the way he talks about the creatives he enables, he’s a Disney man through and through. And from others I know within Disney he’s as highly regarded as they come both at work and in the community. The ability to take that love for your employer and fuse it with the love for the community has a lot to do with the night he was able to help put together for the MacTech community. He is responsible for a lot of the good things that happen inside the Mac community and it is great to see the appreciation that community has for him!
Speaking of Greg’s book, Ed Marczak (who wrote it with him) was wearing a tie. He ran dozens of miles around the valley while managing to do a little of his day job and a lot of cat herding of the speakers delivering the presentations he pretty much selected and coached. He called me while I was still developing the idea for mine, checked in before the conference and then while we were there carved out a little time to talk to me. After doing that with everyone, I’m not sure how he managed to have any fun at all. But his hard work has a lot to do with the quality of the presentations and the direction of the IT portion of the MacTech conference. Ed is in every way a class act and someone I hold in the highest regard. AND he was able to pull off a tie with as busy as he was!
And then there’s Neil Ticktin. Neil is a speaker, but not on the speaker list. Namely due to the fact that he puts on the conference. When WWDC didn’t have an IT track any more, a lot of people were complainy complainersons. Neil responded not with cluttering my inbox with countless gripes to message lists. Instead he took his position as the publisher of MacTech Magazine. And now it’s a national traveling show for consultants and in depth as well as a national conference showing off the best and the brightest. Neil (and his team) worked hard to put MacTech Conference together and their contributions to the Apple community are something to be proud of.
With MacTech, MacWorld/MacIT, MacSysAdmin, Penn State MacAdmins and others one could spend all of their time just preparing for and attending conferences. With JAMF Nation User Conference this week, the conference season is basically coming to a close. I wish I could have spent more time with everyone and hope that I am able take part again soon. You all give me such hope for the future of the community and the platform, and I thank you for that and for the friendship you’ve provided me over the years.
I really wish I could have stayed up there all 3 days. Thanks to everyone I spoke with for the time you took to hang out. And for those I didn’t get a chance to see, I look forward to hearing about how you’re doing next time our paths cross! Now, let’s go ahead and book our flights early for MacTech 2013: Nov 6-8, 2013.
As many will know, I’m taking a break from speaking at conferences for awhile. But before I made that decision, I’d already planned to do a talk on Regression Testing for MacTech, in beautiful Los Angeles. If you haven’t signed up for the conference yet, it’s bound to be excellent, as all of the MacTech events have been. In fact, for more on MacTech from MacTech:
MacTech Conference for Apple Developers and IT Pros, October 17-19, 2012 in Los Angeles, has announced its post-event sessions and activities. The event: a three-day, information-packed event that will have sessions and activities throughout the day and evening. This immersive conference is hotel-based, giving attendees the opportunity to not only learn from the best, but also to meet new people and spend time with their peers as well. Information about the conference is at http://www.mactech.com/conference .
In addition to two and half days of world-class sessions for IT Pros, and developers in the Apple community, MacTech Conference has added three options for attendees to take advantage of post-event on Friday afternoon:
• Code 42 Special Presentation: Protecting Enterprise Information in a Mobile World.
• Cryptic Apps Special Presentation: Using Hopper Dedicated Disassembler for Mac and iOS.
• Apple Certifications Exams proctored by v.2.
In a special two-hour event, Code 42 Software (a Platinum sponsor for MacTech Conference 2012) will discuss the challenges of protecting Enterprise information. Everyone recognizes the advantages gained by technological mobility in the Enterprise: increased efficiency, increased effectiveness and reduced time required to accomplish tasks. But at what cost if critical business information isn’t adequately protected and secured? Join Andrew Renz–Senior Enterprise Engineer for Code 42 Software/CrashPlan PROe–as he outlines how companies can reap the benefits of a mobile workforce while confidently securing Enterprise information. Renz will share wisdom gained from his experience selecting and/or deploying Enterprise backup solutions for Apple, Oracle, Expedia and Intuit. He’ll also explain how to effectively employ the new capabilities available in version 3 of PROe. RSVP required. http://www.mactech.com/conference/code42
In an additional post-event session, Cryptic Apps software will be making a special two hour presentation about Hopper Dedicated Disassembler. Join Vincent Bénony (aka bSr43), developer of Hopper Disassembler as he discusses the premise, and how to use, Hopper Dedicated Disassembler for both Mac, and with the new iOS support. He’ll not only outline what you can use Hopper for, but also explore some of Hopper’s advanced features. You’ll have the chance to learn, ask questions, and meet the developer of this incredibly useful developer tool for Mac and iOS. RSVP required. http://www.mactech.com/conference/hopper
Finally, attendees will have the opportunity to update their Apple Certifications. Apple Certification Exams will also be available after the close of the conference on Friday, October 19th. All current Apple exams will be available, and lunch is included. Additional fee required. Immediately following the conference our local testing partner, v.2 Consulting, Inc., will offer a moderated study hour and exam session on-site. Testing will conclude by 5pm. RSVP required. http://www.mactech.com/conference/certification
“The conference is amazing in and of itself, but these three special opportunities give people that much more reason to be a part of this great community event,” said Neil Ticktin, Editor-in-Chief/Publisher, MacTech Magazine. “We’re fortunate to have Code42 and Cryptic Apps give us these extended insights into their worlds with the people that make it happen. And, for those that have not yet updated their Apple Certifications, v.2 has enabled us to offer a convenient way to do so.”
MacTech Conference is a multi-track event with a focus on both programming/development, as well as IT/Enterprise. Sessions will focus on both desktop and mobile with appropriate levels of attention paid to the Mac and iOS. Check out the speaker and topic list (http://www.mactech.com/conference/sessions) for specific sessions and speaker list.
The event will be held Wednesday through Friday October 17-19. The conference kicks off at 10am on Wednesday and is packed with sessions using MacTech’s well-established running order format. The evenings are filled with special activities and events designed specifically to have fun and give attendees an opportunity to form bonds with their peers and meet new people.
MacTech Conference is priced economically at $999 (pre-registration pricing) including all meals, a schedule packed full of sessions, exclusive entertainment, and more. Registration is far ahead of last year. Pre-registration ends on September 30th, and attendees can still save $300 off the on-site registration price. Register at http://www.mactech.com/conference/register
“These new sessions are in addition to our already world-class speaker line up: amazing people that will present and be in attendance at MacTech Conference 2012. See all the announced sessions at http://www.mactech.com/conference/sessions ,” said Ed Marczak, Sessions Chair and Executive Editor, MacTech Magazine.
Educational discounts are available. See http://www.mactech.com/conference/student for more information.
MacTech’s hotel guest room block has already out-paced last year and sold out once, but more rooms have just been added. Available on a first-come, first-served basis, MacTech Conference attendees get a special rate of just $184 per night, which includes Internet access. The Sheraton is a quality venue with rooms that typically run $279.00 or more per night.
Not sure if I mentioned awhile back that I’ll be doing a talk at MacTech Conference in Los Angeles. This session is on Regression Testing. The official description is:
We have images, packages, scripts, file drops, managed preferences, profiles and countless other means to create change on client systems. This means a practically infinite number of combinations of change on client systems. In order to qualify whether an “image”, which is in reality a combination of all of these things, passes our test of whether or not we can roll it out to users, we must first test it. Otherwise, we end up flooding our help desk, touching systems by hand, working late hours to get things fixed or the dreaded full on reimaging! Measure twice, cut once.
But measuring every combination can be daunting manually. In this session, we will look at leveraging scripts, graphical automations and 3rd party tools to verify that our images mass the muster. We’ll start with how to get started and the easy scripting that can be done and then quickly jump into both open source and automated 3rd party tools that can be leveraged to quickly and reliably give you the insight into whether your imaging framework is doing exactly what it is that you want it to be doing!
There are a lot of really good speakers at the conference. There are also a lot of really good engineers. Some are even both, although I tend to be neither. As I’m not doing a lot of public speaking any more, this will be one of the last 3 talks that I have booked. I’ll also be doing MacTech Minneapolis and MacSysAdmin out in Gothenburg, Sweden and then likely taking a break from doing any more talks for awhile.
I have been added as a speaker at MacTech InDepth in New York. If you haven’t signed up yet, and you work with Mac OS X Server then you should really check out the sessions that have been planned:
Overall, this represents a nice, fast way to update your skills to allow for managing Lion Server and to get up to speed with those new to the platform. One thing I like about the session list is that it goes beyond the stock server implementation and looks at DeployStudio, MDM and other important topics not purely server oriented. I hope to see you all there!
These vagabond shoes, are longing to stray
Right through the very heart of it – New York, New York
There aren’t a lot of magazines that I read. There are fewer I actually pay for. But MacTech is one of those. I know I have mentioned MacTech before, but I never actually bothered to get any deals for my readers. Well, how about a free subscription? Actually, MacTech is also running the offer on their main site, so it’s not like I’m special – but I do have my own link and it is a separate run of the same special pricing – so there!
Want a free subscription to MacTech Magazine? If you aren’t yet a subscriber of MacTech Magazine, then you should take a look at the “Ultimate Black Friday” deal. Be one of the first 100 to apply using this link, and MacTech will give you a FREE subscription to MacTech Magazine. Not in the first 100? Not a problem — MacTech will get you a free copy of the magazine anyway! No strings attached.
Also, it is worth noting that I have no official connections to MacTech, other than having spoken at one of their conferences. I receive absolutely no commission or payment for making such a recommendation and have, in fact, never received a check from MacTech. But since I believe in what they do and find it of quality, I relish the opportunity to pass on a little love. If you’re reading this article on your day off then you should get something for it after all!
So if you’re looking for something to give yourself for the holidays, don’t stay up all night hitting Best Buy, WalMart, Kohls, Macy’s, Home Depot and the other Black Friday specials starting at midnight. Instead just get yourself a little MacTech and just know, deep down, that those 99 cent poinsettias aren’t worth staying up all night for…
Oh, MacTech has a little fine print: Limited quantity. While supplies last. US delivery address only. Not valid for current subscribers.
MDM is a growing hot-button for many organizations — and many don’t yet understand why they need MDM to keep their organizations safe. With the consumerization of IT, the need for MDM has crept up on most. MacTech is doing a bunch of stuff to help further the MDM cause. For starters, with MDM being SUCH a hot topic, and so many people having no idea that they really need to pay attention to it, MacTech has created a free primer which is now available at:
The primer covers the following topics:
MacTech InDepth: Mobile Device Management is on December 7, 2011 in San Francisco. Early bird pricing saves $200 and will end soon — register now at $295. Register at http://www.mactech.com/indepth/register
MacTech Day 1
My MacTech experience started last night. I flew into Los Angeles and was picked up at the airport by my coworker, Zack Smith. Given that I lived in Santa Monica for over a decade, I drove the Mini Cooper that 318 bought recently from LAX to Studio City. On the way, I got to get caught up with Zack’s stories from a month of vacation (living vicariously through others definitely has its moments).
We got to the Universal City Sheraton in less than an hour during rush hour. Given the 405 being all messed up, we dodged a few bullets and cut through South Central Los Angeles on our way to the valley (my apologies to the 2 or 3 guys I ran over when passing the needle exchange at Highland and Romaine). I have to give it to the Sheraton: we were checked in and back downstairs on our way to dinner within 10 minutes. We had dinner at Wasabi and were back at the hotel bar within about an hour, and that’s when the conference began in earnest for me.
In the hotel bar, I ran into friends from conferences past and met new people as well. We discussed refining upcoming presentations, deploying iOS in Lion Server-based environments and troubleshooting various problems with Lion Server. It was just the kind of evening that causes my wife to not travel to conferences with me any more, but an evening that I really enjoyed.
Luckily, I was in bed by midnight (due to a bit too much caffeine I didn’t actually fall asleep ’till after 4, but I did manage to write at least 3 scripts and a chapter of a book in my head, none of which made any sense when I woke up). The next day I woke up, ran through mine and Zack’s presentations with him and started the day with a great keynote by Guy Kawasaki. His take on Apple, innovation and lessons he learned while there contained at least a few insights I can’t wait to bring home and implement at 318.
Next, I sat it on James Wilson’s presentation. Despite technical difficulties, James was able to explain sanely integrating gestures into iOS applications better than I have heard of it to date. I was also really excited that my 3 year old isn’t the only toddler who has mastered the iPad!
Then I got to sit through a great presentation by Randy Saeks and Justin Rummel. They covered changes to Lion Server. I was a bit disappointed reading the tweets through that presentation from people that don’t see themselves having a future with Lion Server. I find that despite a few flaws, Lion Server is a new, interesting perspective that has a chance to innovate the future of servers. I thought Justin and Randy did a great job with the presentation and look forward to seeing more from them at MacWorld in January.
At 318, we’ve developed a tool that allows our customers to sign work orders from an iPad. I ended up getting to also sit through a presentation by Justin Esgar, the man behind SignMyPad, which I guess I could have used instead of building our own (taking a page out of his outsourcing slides). I learned of a few new sites to leverage for crowd sourcing and social networking, always useful.
Then Zack went on. And as usual, I was reminded of why he’s one of my favorite people ever. He managed to teach a number of complicated ideas in a presentation on Cocoa development for SysAdmins. While Zack only had a limited amount of time, I thought he did a good job of keeping the attention of the audience, making people laugh and imparting some complicated technical concepts all at the same time: public speaking skills made to be emulated. Zack showed a bit more of the 318 internal code than I was expecting, but given that most of it is bound for open source projects, it’s timely to do so!
The last talk of the day was Scott Neil, who took the stage to talk about automating tasks and scripting in OS X. There were examples in a number of different languages and as usual, Scott did a great job (thanks for the mention, btw)! At night, we were able to network, meeting lots of new people (many of whom we’ve been interacting with in various social networks). Everyone else went off to the tour of Universal while I stayed behind and worked on fine tuning my presentation.
MacTech Day 2
The next day had a lot of content as well. It kicked off with Greg Neagle, looking at doing Software Update services without OS X Server, a topic I’ve been looking into a lot for OS X, Mac App Store and iOS App Store. Then Rich Trouton did a great job covering FileVault 2 and looking a bit past the article that he published in MacTech last month.
After that, the Google guys took the stage to look at weaponizing Munki for the masses using Simian Server, which I had missed at MacWorld last year because I was in the same speaking slot as them. It was great to see what they’re doing and what parts could be borrowed into a Managed Services type of environment. Then I got to see Harald Wagener do Life After the Xserve. Having done some articles for MacTech with a slightly different take on this topic, it was great to see that others are looking at which services that require rack density can or should be moved to other platforms.
After lunch, Zach Williams did a great talk on version control. He has a command line ledger. I mean, how cool is that?!?! Then Larry Jordan gave a good talk about media and IT. His history of where various video idiosyncrasies comes from was entertaining to say the least (good, clean, old school video humor, if there is such a thing, is hard to come by!).
Then Nathan Toups did a great talk on building up a good sysadmin team (good to see how important documentation is to others) and Harald Monihart, one of the smartest guys I’ve had the opportunity to meet in a long time, showed some of his great work in doing something similar to what we’ve been doing, thin imaging with self-service-style overlays to automate the final piece of user setups. Really great stuff. Allen Hancock then gave a talk near and dear to my heart (and wallet) on managed services and freeing oneself from the hourly mindset.
Finally, Gary Larizza gave a great presentation about mCollective. A picture of me made a small cameo in his presentation. As usual, his demos were spot on and his presentation skills prove that even if you break all the rules for color schemes and amount of content per slide (per Guy Kawasaki at least), that presentation skills and technical chops trump parlor tricks. My talk was last and went pretty well (it’s amazing just how much rehearsing a presentation helps).
MacTech Day 3
On the last day the developers and systems administrators joined up in the same room and watched presentations from Jan Monsh on OS X Security, Daniel Jalkut (of Red Sweater Software) on effectively bypassing the Mac App Store for developers and then I kinda’ got pulled in a lot of different directions and had to miss the next two. I did, though, get to sit in on the Code42 talk, covering the new CrashPlan PROe software. All I can say about that is that the new PROe stuff is just awesome. The ability to automate clustering and unclustering of CrashPlan servers alone is one of the coolest features I’ve seen, and the simplicity with which new nodes are added is pretty unparalleled in enterprise-class scalable solutions of this type. And the fact that you can decommission nodes as easily as they are added to the cluster is pretty rad as well.
Then I got home to the cold and got super-busy on a bunch of other stuff, before attending the JAMF User Conference here in Minneapolis, which is why this is a bit delayed. I had the luck of attending MacSysAdmin a few weeks ago and I wish I had written up a long diatribe about that as well. But it is really the combination of the 3 that has me being so verbose here. You see, MacTech is one of three and happened to be the one I was taking notes at during the show. But being able to see the number of people writing code, cranking out scripts, figuring out how to make little things work in OS X Server, regression testing, charting new courses for 1-to-1 deployments and just being awesome people all around that has me thinking that in the +10 years that I’ve been a pretty active member of the Apple community that we have never had this massive a talent pool before.
And the talent is interwoven and interconnected, due to the various social networking mediums, in ways that I have never seen before for any platform. The next few years will be interesting times. Armed with the super powers that these types of events are giving systems administrators, I think that more tools are going to be coming out in a much higher frequency than ever before. People like Greg Neagle, the good folks at JAMF software and others are posting more, github’ing more and in general putting more information out in the community than ever before, and this information is being digested in ways that are more far reaching and even competitive in some ways than I’ve seen within the Apple community.
My talk at MacTech revolved around the changing dynamic between iOS and Mac OS X, looking at a potential unification of the operating systems. It is a good thing that the pool of talent is now so large. We’re going to need a lot of new tools to meet the deployment, integration and management challenges that iOS will pose to our community over the upcoming 5 years, as the zenith of the Mac community is hopefully eclipsed by the community of an increasingly iOS-centric world. Now, I’m looking forward to MacWorld and the introduction of their new MacIT conference, coming up in January in San Francisco. Hope to see you there!
Hopefully, I’ll be able to see you at all of the conferences in the future. You really can’t go wrong with MacIT, MacTech, MacSysAdmin or any of the others that are spinning up. But if you can’t attend, you can often access slides and videos. The MacTech slides, being posted recently at http://www.mactech.com/conference/presentations-speaker.
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