A platform for platforms
MacADUK 2018 was a forum for a discussion of platforms. There were fewer technical talks on individual tools, and more focused on the importance of implementing systems to seamlessly deliver those tools.
Talks such as Diana Birsan's and Graham Gilbert and Brett Demetris's were instructive on this subject. Define what you aim to achieve at a broad level, then develop processes through which this can be achieved. Whatever you aim to achieve, be it improved security or unified OS management, the user experience is key. The user must be incentivised to engage with the platform. Diana's org did so by gamefying their internal security model, which is interesting, fun and effective. If that's of interest to you, check out Diana's references. Finally, if, like me, you initially considered the idea of platform management to be too abstract or ambitious to even contemplate, I recommend Yannis Lagogiannis' slides on Device Management as a Platform, which do a better job than I can of articulating practical aspects of these ideas without resorting to management speak. Mac Admins Slack membership required
The question of implementation, of practical impact, is something that stuck with me. The future looks like one where a service is delivered to an organization by a unified platform, customized as required. Think VMware's Workspace One. What are the implications for me? How do I keep pace with rapidly changing demands and expectations when I already feel so far behind? Well, most Mac admins, myself included, already are. DEP and MDM are platforms that deliver a service, and engaging with these tools for our management needs is an excellent first step. It's also an excellent opportunity to inspect our current processes, and evaluate, honestly, if we could be doing anything better. Where we go after that is the next question, and one I imagine many attendees of the conference are now contemplating.
Is all this the sole reason for the presence of fewer technical talks? Probably not. Perhaps the ability to acquire and develop technical knowledge is now assumed. The Mac Admins community, and improving enterprise level engagement from Apple, has facilitated that. Evolving demands and changing expectations require that we must now think of the bigger picture. This will look different depending on your environment. What's next, for me at least, is increasing the visibility and value of our service, without sacrificing user trust.
Also, not "users". Colleagues.
Of course, we are still in the business of making things work. We still need tools to deploy and manage our Macs, and there were a few talks on offer catered to this. Here are some entirely subjective highlights.
Every day is a school day:
Links to video and slides can now be found at:
- Option + Click to navigate to a point within a typed command!
- Ctrl + R to initiate a reverse search!
- Shift + CMD + Up/Down to move between "marks"!
- Bash History Substitution!
And if you're using iTerm2, you should consider installing shell integration.
Many Mac admins are already aware of Bootstrappr, a tool for initiating an install based macOS setup workflow from Recovery Mode. I liked the look of this, but was wary of asking colleagues to run scary terminal commands to setup our Macs. However, during his talk, Greg Neagle elaborated on the motivation for Bootstrappr, and the USP of the tool - it relies only on Recovery Mode, and no externally running tools that may or may not work in the future. Recovery Mode is likely to remain a (the?) stable macOS support tool going forward. I'm therefore far more inclined to implement Bootstrappr in my environment.
See you in 2019.