MacSysAdmin 2013

Hooray for Sweden! I am very happy to make the trip to Gothenburg, Sweden again this year for MacSysAdmin 2013. This year, I’ll be presenting on something near and dear to my own heart: technical writing. The other presenters that I’ve seen there have all done great jobs, including Arek Dreyer, Rick Wylie, Alan Gordon, Andrina Kelly, Greg Neagle, Gary Larizza, Ed Marczak, Duncan McCracken and Zack Smith. I’m also excited by the new additions: Kevin White and Rich Trouton who I’ve seen do presentations very well on multiple occasions and Daniel Svensson, Nurani Nimpuno and Jody Rodgers who I haven’t seen give presentations but am excited to see. I look forward to seeing many of the people I’ve met there in years past again and meeting some fresh new people as well. I hope to see you all there! PS – I would also like to say that the http://macsysadmin.se very much appeals to my own design aesthetics. Well done, especially in having Arek and I, er, I mean me, gazing longingly into one another’s eyes! Screen Shot 2013-04-25 at 12.33.00 AM

Goodbye & Thanks To MacSysAdmin

MacSysAdmin, a great conference in Gothenburg, Sweden, is now over. The conference went off without a hitch. There were many great presentations and speakers. But I just wanted to take a quick moment to thank the great people from Apoio and especially Patric and Tycho. Tycho, I hope, can now ride Sleipnir home and take his well deserved Odinsleep. Anyway, MacSysAdmin was a class act all round and something I’m proud to have been a part of for the past few years. Thanks, guys!
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Adding Last Minute Tweaks To My Slide Deck – Thanks to Luis Giraldo For Posting The Picture
Now to finish up my MacTech talk!

MacSysAdmin 2012!

MacSysAdmin has quickly become one of my favorite conferences to attend. I love the high level of technical acumen and the chance to row a canoe from Minneapolis to Gothenburg, Sweden, which is a serious workout, let me tell you! The 2012 lineup boasts one of the politest guys I know in Arek Dreyer, my coworker Zack Smith, Andrew Renz (of Code 42/CrashPlan fame), the well dressed (and spoken) Ed Marczak, the great Greg Neagle (Munki/Repasado/awesome guy), Alan Gordon’s alter-ego Alan Gordon, the JAMFerific Andrina Kelly, the ostentatious Duncan McCracken, Rick Wylie, Gary Larizza, Luis Giraldo in all his wireless awesomeness, Sébastien Tomasi (representing the file set goodness that is FileWave) and someone I told Tycho he simply had to add to the list of speakers after last years event was over, Per Olofsson (I’m sure my recommendation had little to do with his addition as he has plenty of merit, but I’m very excited to see him do his thing anyway). Oh and least of all, I’ll be there and hopefully my demos will work this year (or more likely be pre-recorded). Many of the same speakers from last year, but all fresh content. More important than the speakers, the attendees are fun to be around and impressive (I sure wish that H1 Visas were easier to come by in the US). I can’t think of a group of people I’d rather be around! The most important aspect, the content, will be focusing on large scale Mac administration, with sprinklings of Mac servers and other oddities. A great overall look and feel to the program. Even a little iOS in there… The conference will again be held at Folkets Hus, in Göteborg, Sweden. The dictator will again be the enigmatic Tycho, who always facilitates a great event. After last year, I left there wishing I could stay for a few more weeks with that brain trust! It really is an impressive collection of people and I hope to see you there!

A Stranger In A Strange Land…

Pickled herring, salted licorice, sports I don’t comprehend and a language I don’t speak. At the outset, Sweden seemed like a place that I just wasn’t going to fit in. But certain foods can become an acquired taste (if you stay away from Burger King and McDonalds) and oddly enough, the people out here speak English better than I do. But best of all there is a Mac Systems Administrative community here in Northern Europe that comes together at MacSysAdmin; one that is filled with the same challenges that we all face. It’s a community, like many around the world, filled with a quest for more knowledge on the platform that we are charged with managing and as I’ve been learning over the past couple of years, indicative of that quest on a global scale. There is a lack of centralized virtualization infrastructures capable of running Mac OS X and failing guest machines over to new hardware automatically, one that various organizations claim that there is not enough of a market to warrant further development for. There is disagreement amongst the community with such a seemingly non-caring point of view and a desire to have some of the best that the emerging private clouds for other platforms have. There is also an increasing level of skill with Open Directory, mass deployment, administrative scripting and automation, fostering collaboration and managed preferences. The fight against spam is equal to the fight to run messaging on Apple hardware. The desire for ZFS is seemingly never-ending. For those of us managing large Mac OS X-based environments these are common themes. But above all else, the most common theme in the systems administrative communities is a desire to give users an experience with their desktops that is unrivaled; not restrictive while also being centrally manageable and allow the users to get the same level of capacity at all things creative that brought many of us into the platform in the first place. As our environments grow we realize that we need to lock these systems down, but we do so begrudgingly because we know that those limitations that keep the cost of keeping up the software that runs on these systems are the very limitations that cause many Windows-centric users such animosity towards their systems (and by virtue their systems administrators). We simply don’t want to fall into that same trap. Many of us are well versed in ITIL, but we look at that paradigm as one that is broken. Maybe because we are not so removed from our users, so cynical. We see the lack of joy that administrators and users take from other platforms; we see them with a MacBook on their desk at work, but we still see them somewhat as strangers. There are certainly other options. Consumerization in IT is on the rise. A number of applications in many environments have been moved to web based applications to open up the use of NetBook-style computers. But this has still only touched a limited number of users. Self management is also on the rise, with user bases being more well versed with managing their own computers than ever. Some restrictions still need to be put in place; but there are limited options that still allow centralized control and many environments consider these too costly. And many a Mac Systems Administrator still has a limited purview into how the other, more standardized environments are managed within their organizations. Many of these simply seem like salted licorice or some other food that is foreign to us. It seems we are at a stand-still. There are a lot of important lessons in managing IT infrastructure that have been learned. Therefore there is no reason for us to reinvent the wheel, but rather to refine the approach to one that is better suited to our needs. Over the course of the next few weeks, I will try to document my own emergent theories on how to take the lessons that have been learned from the big brother approach to IT and bridge the gap into the Mac OS X platform. To review the ITIL methodology and the paradox that exists between the creativity that we want to foster with Mac OS X. Ultimately I hope to indicate alternatives that will allow for us to address the needs of the organization while maintaining the very reason that the platform has been on the rise. But we need to be speaking the same language, or to speak that language better than those who manage other platforms. We need to bring constructive approaches to the table. Sure, it’s an acquired taste, but given a little time we’ll no longer be strangers in strange lands…

Speaking at MacSysAdmin 2009 in Sweden

MacSysAdmin 2009 will be held in the Burgårdens Konferenscenter in the center of Göteborg, Sweden. I’ve just been added to the roster of speakers, effectively bringing down the average Knowledge of speakers by at least 1d6. But I’ll try and keep ya’ entertained at the least. Hope you can make it and thanks to Tycho for the opportunity!

Pirates in Parliament

Looks like some pirates in Sweden are running for office in the European parliamentary scene – actually it’s the second time it has happened, but the first time they got less than a percent of votes.  With some anti-piracy laws making an uproar over there, they might have a chance of at least upsetting things…  I hope a bunch of ninjas will decide to run, so it can be a right and proper election…