Pre-Conference Workshops

All new for 2017 will be several optional, certifications and several full-day pre-conference workshops.

All pre-conference workshops take place on Tuesday, November 14, 2017 at the same hotel as MacTech Conference, and should be reserved in advance. The workshops are small group, interactive and hands-on. Student to teacher ratios are typically 15:1 or better.

Where appropriate, instructors may require you to bring a computer with specific, and freely available tools or software installed. See each workshop description for details.

 

Full-Day Workshops
All take place on Tue Nov 14, from approximately 9am-6pm. Lunch included. Early Bird Pricing: $299, (Normally $499)

  • Munki:
    Introduction to Munki: Getting Started and Hands-On
     
  • Wi-Fi:
    Design & Troubleshooting
     
  • Business:
    The Art of a Consulting Business
     
  • Python:
    Introduction to Python: Getting Started and Hands-On
     
  • Scripting:
    System and Workflow Automation Workshop
     

Half-Day:
Tue Nov 14, 1:30pm-5:30pm

Evening:
Tue Nov 14, 5:30pm-8:30pm

 

You can register for the pre-conference workshops when you register for MacTech Conference (it’s an option on the conference registration form). Or, if you are already registered for MacTech Conference, simply contact MacTech customer service to assist you.

Note: Workshops may require minimum participation levels.
All times are approximate. All sessions, speakers and descriptions are subject to change at any time without notice.


Introduction to Munki: Getting Started and Hands-On

Using flexible open-source tools to manage Mac software installs
Workshop taught by Greg Neagle, Walt Disney Animation Studios

Munki is the most popular open-source software deployment tool for macOS — and it’s just had a major new release. It’s in use at organizations small and huge. This full-day workshop is led by Greg Neagle, who developed and open-sourced Munki in early 2009. Greg will not only introduce you to Munki, but will walk you through a hands-on experience in deploying and managing software installs using Munki’s web and client tools.

In this workshop, you’ll learn Munki’s capabilities by setting up a local Munki server on your laptop and using it to manage some software installs on that same laptop. You’ll come away with a working knowledge of how to set up and configure Munki, how it works, what it can do, and how it might be useful in your organization.

Topics covered will include:

  • Server setup
    • Server filesystem layout
    • Adding software to a Munki repository
    • Using catalogs and manifests to manage software installs on machines
  • Client setup
    • Client preferences options
  • Exploring Munki’s core features, including, but not limited to:
    • managed installs
    • managed uninstalls
    • managed updates
    • optional installs
    • unattended installs
  • “Advanced” Munki features:
    • Munki’s dependency model: linking installations together
    • Forcing installs after a “deadline”
    • Conditional items
    • Pre/post-install and pre/post-uninstall scripts
    • Configuration profile support
    • “On Demand” items
  • Integration with AutoPkg
  • Customization of the client software
  • Third-party helpers and add-ons for Munki

More on Munki

Munki is a set of open-source tools that, used together with a webserver-based repository of packages and package metadata, can be used by macOS administrators to manage software installs (and in many cases removals) on client Macs. Munki consists of client-side tools written largely in Python. Munki’s “server” can be any web server.
Munki can install software delivered as standard Apple packages, software from disk images, and knows how to install many Adobe products. In many cases, Munki can also remove the software it has installed, and Munki knows how to update software too. Munki also supports user-chosen “Optional Software” installations and removals. Finally, Munki can be configured to install Apple Software Updates.

Munki focuses exclusively on software deployment, so it may be your first step towards one of the commercial solutions – or it may be your long-term solution if all you need is software deployment. Munki can also be used in conjunction with other tools, both open-source and commercial, which provide solutions for other facets of Mac management such as imaging, inventory, remote assistance, and preference management.

What attendees need to bring: A laptop with macOS installed and several gigabytes of free space, or a virtual machine running macOS with several gigabytes of free space. You’ll also need an admin login for the laptop!

 


Ready to register for MacTech Conference?
Do so now as space is very limited for ALL pre-conference activities. Register now. Or, if you are already registered for MacTech Conference, simply contact MacTech customer service to assist you.


 
 

Wi-Fi

Wi-Fi Design & Troubleshooting
Workshop taught by Jeanette Lee, Ruckus Wireless

WiFi is everywhere, and yet you obviously don’t see it. You assume it will be wherever you go, and will work, but does it? Learn about what it takes to make WiFi work well, and understand what you need to do to “do it right.”

Why does one Wi-Fi network succeed and another fail? All Wi-Fi is not created equal, but we all equally want good wireless!

The goal is to make a Wi-Fi System Engineer or network manager as ‘smart as possible’ regarding Wi-Fi and user-authentication in a day. We presume the attendee understands the basics of Wi-Fi and the ‘basics’ regarding networking terms.

Who should attend? Network integrators, network consultants, school districts, higher education organizations, enterprises looking at deploying or upgrading their Wi-Fi infrastructure.

Topics covered include:

  • Everything you wanted to know about Wi-Fi, but were afraid to ask
  • 2.4 GHz vs. 5 GHz
  • 802.11n, 802.11ac
  • interference
  • channel-planning options
  • strategies for airtime fairness, band-steering, beamforming, client load balancing, etc.
  • Engineering Wi-Fi networks to meet coverage and capacity needs.
  • A Wi-Fi site survey
  • Best practices for deploying and validating a Wi-Fi installation.
  • Wi-Fi user authentication. Authenticating enterprise users, BYOD devices and guests (WPA2, DPSK, Captive Portal, 802.1x Radius, Google Apps, FaceBook, subscriber gateways, WISPr)
  • Wi-Fi security, a look at known Wi-Fi vulnerabilities and how to engineer a 100% secure Wi-Fi network
  • Location based services: Using your WiFi network to locate WiFi clients.
  • Troubleshooting Wi-Fi networks and some of our favorite third-party Wi-Fi management and troubleshooting tools

What attendees need to bring: A laptop with macOS installed (Yosemite or later)

 


Ready to register for MacTech Conference?
Do so now as space is very limited for ALL pre-conference activities. Register now. Or, if you are already registered for MacTech Conference, simply contact MacTech customer service to assist you.


 
 

Business

The Art of a Consulting Business
Workshop taught by Justin T. Esgar, Virtua Computers and ACEs Conference

Anyone can be a good consultant, but without clients, you are just sitting at home. Throughout this workshop, we will explore the required concepts in being an amazing consultant, and a recipe for success.

This workshop will have some of the most important concepts you need to be an amazing consultant when thinking about your business from start to finish. We will discuss and work on the following:

  • Difference between a consultant and a technician
  • Marketing and lead generation.
  • Managing the customer’s expectation.
  • First principle thinking: Thinking your way out of an issue.
  • Documentation: The PB&J true story.
  • The Art of the Sale. The paintbrush of the profit.
  • Work / Life balance

What attendees need to bring:

  • Note pad – we want to make notes the traditional way.
  • Business cards.
  • If you’ve written a blog post, article, or book, bring one copy of it.
  • A hunger for knowledge.
  • A list of your favorite websites.
  • $1 bill. (Or a $2 if you have one)

 


Ready to register for MacTech Conference?
Do so now as space is very limited for ALL pre-conference activities. Register now. Or, if you are already registered for MacTech Conference, simply contact MacTech customer service to assist you.


 
 

Python

Introduction to Python: Getting Started and Hands-On
Workshop taught by JD Strong, Watchman Monitoring

Python has become the scripting language of choice for many organizations thanks to its power, simplicity, and complete object model. This full-day workshop is led by JD Strong, who uses the power of Python to automate his consulting practice. JD will not only introduce you to Python, but will walk you through a hands-on experience in building a set of tools for the IT admin.

In this workshop, you will learn the basics of the language syntax and usage, as well as advanced features such as objects, libraries, and exceptions. We will build a diagnostic tool to quickly gather information from your user, and a log analyzer to help you quickly analyze the logs you collect.

Topics covered include:

  • Python Syntax
    • HelloWorld
    • Variables
    • Functions
    • Conditionals
    • Loops
    • Classes
    • Dates
    • Formatting
    • Timedeltas
    • Calendars
    • Files
    • Path utilities
    • shell
    • XML
  • Build a Diagnostic Tool
  • Build a Log Analyzer

More on Python (Wikipedia)

Python is a widely used high-level programming language for general-purpose programming, created by Guido van Rossum and first released in 1991. An interpreted language, Python has a design philosophy that emphasizes code readability (notably using whitespace indentation to delimit code blocks rather than curly brackets or keywords), and a syntax that allows programmers to express concepts in fewer lines of code than might be used in languages such as C++ or Java. The language provides constructs intended to enable writing clear programs on both a small and large scale.

Python features a dynamic type system and automatic memory management and supports multiple programming paradigms, including object-oriented, imperative, functional programming, and procedural styles. It has a large and comprehensive standard library.

What attendees need to bring: A laptop with macOS installed and several gigabytes of free space, or a virtual machine running OS X with several gigabytes of free space. You’ll also need an admin login for the laptop!

 


Ready to register for MacTech Conference?
Do so now as space is very limited for ALL pre-conference activities. Register now. Or, if you are already registered for MacTech Conference, simply contact MacTech customer service to assist you.


 
 

System and Workflow Automation

Establishing the mindset and removing roadblocks in scripting, command line and more.
Workshop taught by Scott M. Neal, Mindset Garden/AcmeFoo

You see all the cool stuff about automating things through scripting (whether command line, Automator, AppleScript, Python, etc.), but you haven’t been able to apply those concepts to your own uses as you would like to because it feels daunting, or you regularly hit roadblocks.

You don’t need to be a programmer to be an effective automator. It’s all about the right approach, the right tools, and knowing where to go when you hit a roadblock.

This workshop is a crash course in Automation–the basics that you need to be able to walk away with your own solution at the end of a single day. As a hands-on workshop, you’re encouraged to bring your own scripts, or ideas you want to tackle, and work through the issues.

In this one-day compressed course, learn the basics of Automation using Automator, AppleScript, Command Line and Xcode. It won’t make you a full-blown scripter or programmer, but you’ll have the basics you need to not only work with other scripts and modify them in useful ways, but also to write your very own scripts from scratch!

Scott M. Neal will happily plant the “Automation Mindset” into your brain, allowing you to see the big picture about Automation, from scripting to command line to basic programming (and much in between).

The goal is to help you to see the big picture about Automation, from scripting to command line to basic programming (and much in between).

What attendees need to bring: Laptop with Yosemite, El Capitan, macOS Sierra or High Sierra installed.
What attendees are encouraged to bring: Scripts or scripting ideas that you’d like to tackle.

 


Ready to register for MacTech Conference?
Do so now as space is very limited for ALL pre-conference activities. Register now. Or, if you are already registered for MacTech Conference, simply contact MacTech customer service to assist you.


 
 

Content Strategies

Creating Compelling Content Strategies for IT Pros and Consultants
Course led by Adam & Tonya Engst, TidBITS Publishing

It’s your job to keep your users’ Apple devices working so they can do their jobs or focus on learning. But do they listen to what you say beforehand, or just ask you to clean up their technical messes afterward?

One path toward building a better user is to establish yourself as a domain expert, someone who goes beyond break/fix and who should be consulted about big tech decisions. To accomplish that, you need to think like a publisher, creating a custom content strategy that provides your users with practical, actionable information.

In this session by veteran publishers Adam & Tonya Engst, the team behind TidBITS and the TidBITS Content Network syndication service for Apple professionals, you’ll learn:

  • The benefits of providing useful content to your audience
  • Why a multi-faceted publication strategy is needed to reach busy people
  • Ideal publishing frequencies for blogs, email, and social media
  • How to generate or acquire professional content
  • Ideas for creating an appealing, consistent visual presentation
  • How much to publish in each of your distribution venues
  • Tools and best practices for publishing automation
  • How to evaluate and refine your publishing approaches

There will be plenty of time for specific questions and group discussion of particular communication challenges that attendees face. Feel free to submit details about your situation in advance so we can build it into the presentation.

Who should attend: Enterprise and higher-ed IT professionals, K-12 admins, and consultants who need to establish or improve communications with their users.

What attendees need to bring: A laptop (not an iPad) with a web browser.

 


Ready to register for MacTech Conference?
Do so now as space is very limited for ALL pre-conference activities. Register now. Or, if you are already registered for MacTech Conference, simply contact MacTech customer service to assist you.


 
 

Accreditations/Certifications

Apple Certification Exams and Study Group
Study Group and Exams by MacTech Conference Testing Partner

Prior to MacTech Conference but at the same venue, Apple Certification Exams will be available during the “Pre-Conference” activities on Tuesday afternoon. Prior to the exam, our testing partner and local Apple Authorized Training Center will offer a study hour and exam session on-site. The study session begins at 2pm on Tue, November 14th.

All registered attendees to MacTech’s 2017 Events are welcome to register for the study group and an exam. The price is normally $349, but you can register early at $249. Space is limited.

What attendees need to bring: A laptop (not an iPad) with a web browser.

See additional information on the Apple Certification Exams page.

 


Ready to register for MacTech Conference?
Do so now as space is very limited for ALL pre-conference activities. Register now. Or, if you are already registered for MacTech Conference, simply contact MacTech customer service to assist you.


 
 

Proactive Support Professional

Certification Course and Exam
Course led by JD Strong and Allen Hancock, Watchman Monitoring

Prior to MacTech Conference but at the same venue, Apple Certification Exams will be available during the “Pre-Conference” activities on Tuesday evening. The course begins at 5:30pm on Tue, November 14th.

All registered attendees to MacTech’s 2017 Events are welcome to register for the study group and an exam. The price is normally $499, but you can register early at $249. Space is limited.

What attendees need to bring: A laptop (not an iPad) with a web browser.

See additional information on the Proactive Support Professional page.

 


Ready to register for MacTech Conference?
Do so now as space is very limited for ALL pre-conference activities. Register now. Or, if you are already registered for MacTech Conference, simply contact MacTech customer service to assist you.