The main part of the conference is three solid days: all day Wed, Thurs and Fri, Nov 7-9, ending at 5pm on Friday. Session categories and full session descriptions are below for the main conference. See full speaker bios and Pre-Conference Workshops pages for their details.
Sessions are held back-to-back, maximizing content and packing in all that we can. In addition to the sessions listed below, you’ll have the opportunity to take part in labs and birds of a feather discussions. No worries, however, there’s plenty of breaks and networking time as well!
Typically, Apple announces at WWDC in June and ships most if not everything by MacTech Conference in November. With that in mind, the specific sessions for MacTech Conference are not announced until after we can consider Apple’s WWDC announcements.
To get an idea of sessions, see all the session listings and videos from MacTech Conference 2017.
Sessions and General Schedule
The Conference begins at 10am on Wednesday, November 7th, 2018; Registration opens at 8am. There will be 3 days of solid sessions with lunch and breaks provided. Dinner and evening activities will be held on Wednesday and Thursday, November 7th and 8th, and there’s Pre-Conference Workshops available the day prior (Tue, November 6th). The conference sessions will wrap up on Friday by 5pm.
Sessions are held back-to-back, maximizing content and packing in all that we can. And, there will be an assortment of vendor QuickTalks™, vendor forums, labs and birds of a feather discussions. No worries, however, there’s plenty of breaks and networking time as well — our coveted “Hallway Track”. See examples of sessions in the session videos from MacTech Conference 2017.
Speaker bios are listed on the speakers page.
Pre-Conference activities take place on Tuesday, November 6th. For more information, see the workshops page.
More to come…
While this is already an incredible line up of topics and speakers, there’s more than a dozen sessions yet to come. Interested in presenting? Use the “call for speakers” application form.
Note: All times are approximate. All sessions, speakers and descriptions are subject to change at any time without notice.
Pre-Conference activities take place on Tuesday, November 14th. For more information, see the workshops page.
Pre-Conf Workshop: Introduction to Munki -- Getting Started and Hands-On
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.
Pre-Conf Workshop: Workflow Automation
by Scott Neal, 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).
Pre-Conf Workshop: Wi-Fi Design & Troubleshooting
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
Pre-Conf Workshop: Introduction to Python -- Getting Started and Hands-On
by JD Strong, Strong Solutions
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.
Pre-Conf: Apple Certification Exam
by MacTech's testing partner
Prior to MacTech Conference but at the same venue, Apple Certification Exams will be available during the “Pre-Conference” activities on Tuesday. 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 15th.
These are just some of the sessions coming your way during the main part of the conference.
Keynote: Protecting the Garden of Eden
by Patrick Wardle
From a security point of view, many see Apple’s ‘walled garden’ ecosystem as paradise on earth. And to be fair, Cupertino’s products have never suffered from a global epidemic nor are as commonly infected as their Windows counterparts. But is this security, at least on macOS, a facade? Perhaps!
In this talk, we’ll begin by discussing significant attacks against macOS and identify recent malware trends. And while the sophistication of Mac malware is not (yet) on par with those found on the Windows platform, this could easily change. To support this claim, we’ll also discuss a myriad of recent macOS security flaws that if integrated into such malicious attacks, would greatly have increased the impact and consequences.
Luckily it’s not all doom and gloom for Mac users, as Mojave promises to be the most secure version of macOS ever. After examining some of the baked-in security mechanisms of this new OS (and their shortcomings), we’ll discuss how 3rd-party security tools still play a pivotal role in ensuring that “the Garden” remains secure!
SecondNote: Avoiding the Landmines in Our New Landscape
by Greg Neagle
As Apple adds new security features to both hardware and software of the Mac, methods and technologies we use in our work as admins have to change. NetBoot is dying. Imaging is (mostly) dead. DEP and MDM can no longer be avoided. Getting user consent is an increasing focus. The changes are coming so fast that there is a lot of unknown and undocumented territory, some with unexpected pitfalls. In the Conference’s “SecondNote”, Greg will not only talk about the new landscape for Apple IT Pros and consultants, but also about these changes from Apple, the new issues that now face Mac Admins, and share the ways that he sees to map the new territory and avoid some of the minefields.
EndNote: A Modern Look at Auto-managing iDevices with a Mac
by Sal Soghoian
When managing iOS devices, reliance on over-the-air wireless xxM (MDM, etc..) systems is not always practical, and sometimes not desirable. In some cases, network limitations and security concerns lead many organizations (both large and small) to setup, manage, and restore at least some of their iPads and iPhones through direct tethering to macOS systems. In this endnote session, Sal provides the latest tools and instruction for implementing fully automated “Manage-on-Attachment” workflows using Apple Configurator and Automator — a solution that can be used for any portion of your deployment strategy, including subsets of larger organizations, or small business.
Using Built-in Apple Security Tools
by Charles Edge
As Apple deployments grow, the platforms become a more visible target for attacks. In this session, we’ll look at many of the common real-world security issues that can be found on the Mac and real-world examples of how to isolate and combat them. We’ll primarily cover built-in tools and how to report against them, to satisfy compliance requirements without having to acquire third party solutions and run multiple daemons, slowing down system performance. Apple has been building a lot of tools to help protect users. Let’s spend a little bit demystifying them.
Filling Your Mac Support Utility Toolbox
by John Kirn
Mac professionals are always on the lookout for new utilities to help troubleshoot and maintain the Macs they support. This session will help you fill your “toolbox”, including utilities you may have missed or overlooked. In this session, we’ll cover many areas including: Bread-and-butter support: The essential utilities that are useful on a regular basis, going far beyond simply clearing the cache; Advanced support: Utilities for doing things like checking for network send/receive errors, identifying unnecessary launch agents and daemons, and clearing ACL permissions; APFS snapshot utilities: GUI helpers for managing APFS snapshots; Building a Service Boot Drive: A tool that can help leverage many utilities; and Avoiding bad utilities: Avoid PUPs and crapware like MacKeeper. The session will include both a description of these areas, as well as real-world usage examples and demos.
Security: Get Out Of My Way
by Edward Marczak
Security is an enormous topic, and sometimes it’s difficult to know where to start. Worse, security is often an afterthought, not even getting support and resources from management…until it’s too late. Don’t worry! Computer security can be daunting, but there is a start. Companies such as Google, Facebook, Duo, and others have made important advances in defending corporate resources. Google pioneered putting the ‘BeyondCorp’ philosophy into practice. Duo Security uses this philosophy and creates Duo Beyond for other companies to use. These companies may be large, but we can learn a lot from them, no matter the size company we’re trying to protect. They also use a lot of open source solutions, which is available no matter your company size. You’ll leave this talk with a better understanding of getting started, Mac and iOS-specific security strategies, as well as tactics and policies for your entire company. There are no prerequisites, and this talk is appropriate for people at all levels.
APFS: Under the Hood, Performance, and Minimizing Loss
by Tim Standing
APFS is no longer coming, it’s here. We’ll soon have the majority of macOS installations booting on APFS volumes. In this session, we’ll be talking about the state of APFS, as well as getting under the hood looking at internal APFS structures, looking at possible performance problems, and how to minimize the chance of users losing volumes. Data has always been critical, but now there’s so much more of it and it’s increasing in size faster than ever — this increases the responsibility and trust in admins like you to protect your users, and optimize their systems. With Apple locking down machines more and more, there’s an impact to how admins handle storage, device deployment and management. We’ll cover these issues, their solutions, and more.
A Few Things Right: Insights from Live and Simulated Incident Response
by Chad Calease
The illusion of 100% Cyber Security 100% of the time is gone. While we continue to support the concepts of compliance, defense, governance, and prevention, we must shift our focus beyond those measures with more emphasis on strategic response to incidents. This talk offers real stories of failure and practical, quick-win lessons on how to be prepared to respond quickly, accurately, and confidently when incidents occur. Because they will occur. Doing some important things well means opening our hearts and minds to a new way of thinking and learning about what it means to be prepared for a crisis.
Small-to-Medium Sized Business Security Masterclass: World-class protection on a budget
by Jesse Endahl
Today’s small businesses have never faced a more difficult security challenge. They’re more reliant on technology and devices to conduct business then ever before, but every new iPad, iPhone or laptop they add to their fleet is another potential path for hackers to breach their security. And while many assume they are too small or unimportant to target, security-through-obscurity no longer holds. The sheer scale and automation of today’s attacks mean that everyone is at risk. That’s the bad news. The good news is that there’s nothing stopping small-to-medium sized business (SMBs) from punching above their weight when it comes to security. The things that actually make a difference are surprisingly simple, and they don’t have to cost a lot of money. In this talk, Apple security expert Jesse Endahl will lay out all the things SMBs need to know to keep their device fleet safe. Here are some of the things you’ll learn: What the threat landscape looks like heading into 2019, including new threats that are especially worrisome for SMBs; The five most common types of attacks, and what prevents or mitigates them; The top things you should do today to protect your devices; A simple three-step framework that makes security practices easy to understand—get secure and stay secure, even if you don’t consider yourself a security expert; An overview of effective tools that make it easy to implement security best practices, whether you have one computer or hundreds.
osquery: Monitoring for Mac Threats
by Thomas Reed
The open-source tool osquery is widely accepted, and well respected in the security community as a security and monitoring mechanism for Macs, Windows and Linux. With osquery, you can treat your fleet of machines as a database, checking for problems that can impact individual machines, or your entire deployment. In this session, you will learn how to use osquery to detect potential infections. As a real-world example of using osquery, you’ll learn about a variety of indicators of compromise (IoCs) for Mac malware and adware, and how to monitor for similar changes.
Regular Expressions: The Mystery, The Power, and Why you should be using them
by Jim Rea
In this practical session, you’ll learn about not only what regular expressions are, but how to use them in a variety of ways. We’ll address the first question of why you would want to use them, and why they’re tool of choice for so many situations including web sites, command line, text manipulation and scripting. Beyond the why, this session will show you the how they are structured, the magic characters, how you as a human can read an expression, troubleshooting patterns, and so much more. If you aren’t currently using grep or other forms of regular expressions, this is a must see session. And, if use them all time time, come find out that nugget that you didn’t know you could do.
iOS, Enterprise: Applying Reality to a Use “Plan”
by Leon Lincoln
iOS and the Enterprise is a goal for many as a solution as a replacement of low-end laptops or ultra-portable solutions. But while great in concept, there’s issues to consider before rolling them out. In this session, we’ll look at a variety of issues that you may want to consider, and the solutions that may work for you. For example, we’ll look at storage issues and discuss how to incorporate nontraditional storage solution into a corporate environment. We’ll look at the impacts on your workflows, incorporating corporate standards (apps) and security requirements for data protection. We’ll talk about ways to handle apps that do not current exist on iOS, and more. By the end of the session, you’ll be better equipped to answer the question of whether you can issue iOS/iPads as ultra-portable solution replacing a laptop.
NFC: It’s here, it’s built-in. Now What Are you going to do with it?
by Dave Elliott
With iOS 11, Apple allows you to use most iPhones with a third party app to read NFC tags. With the newest phones, NFC is built-into the devices, and ripe for use. In this session, we’ll look at both older phones and the newest ones, exploring the options for how NFC can be used, how to use actually use it, and explore opportunities that may be coming down the road.
Using Vapor (not Vaporware): Building Rapid Web Services with Swift frameworks
by Steve Goodrich
The world is web based — our services, our accounts, our info … everything. As an admin, you can use the Swift programming language to build web services quickly and easily using the Vapor framework . With Vapor, in minutes, you can create server and client utilities to take advantage of other services out on the web through queries and captures. With this incredibly powerful tool, we’ll create a simple web service taking advantage of popular web sites — setting up both the server side, and the client side of the solution. We’ll quickly spin up a database using the SQLite services built into macOS, and use it to create a solution for a real world problem. Whether you need an internal quality or public facing tool, using the power of Swift via the Vapor framework, will give you the power to easily develop and deploy your solution.
Non-disruptive Free Remote Fleet Access and Troubleshooting: Magic or Reality?
by Brian Best
Wouldn’t it be great if you had secure always-on remote access to your fleet of Macs? And you could use that to provide support, fix problems, or even install scripts or apps without interrupting your users’ work? Well you can, and the best part… it’s absolutely free. Better yet, you can do this with tools built into macOS combined with some open source. Come learn how and see examples of the power at your fingertips, all without disturbing your users.
Deploying Raspberry Pi's with macOS Administration
by Jack-Daniyel Strong
You have a display, but for whatever reason, strapping a Mac mini or AppleTV to the back of it is not a workable option for your client or organization. You know that a Raspberry Pi might work, but you’d like something seamlessly integrated into your solution, manageable from a Mac, and compatible with other technologies This session will cover the basics of using your Mac to get a Raspberry Pi booted, connected, and ready for whatever you might want to throw at it: Airplay receiver, digital signage, media center, a selfie station and more. Whether you like to tinker, would like to repurpose an old display, find a new revenue stream, or even just learn something new about the ever-popular Raspberry Pi, this session is for you.
Gaining Buy-in for IT and Projects
by Nicole McCall
You’re responsible for leading those that you support using the best technology. But leading doesn’t mean that you can be dictatorial in deciding what’s best. You need buy-in to put resources towards the goals at hand. For most technical people, it is a challenge to drop into what might feel like a “sales mode”. That said, we have to communicate in terms that key decision makers will not only understand, but embrace. In this session, we’ll look at the entire process: from decision making, to “selling,” to gaining buy-in, to proving the value and showing the results. We’ll talk about how to translate benefits into non-technical language and point of view. In the end, you’ll walk out of this session better prepared to communicate your needs and desires, while at the same time serving those that you support.
Options for Delivering Company Content at Employee On-boarding
by Tobias Morrison
Sometimes deployment using the current standards push an be frustrating especially when it’s not always available and it’s not always perfect. Worse yet, it relies often on third parties to record the devices for zero touch. End result, zero touch is still somewhat of a holy grail. While setting up computers for employees has always been tedious and time-consuming, it also takes the whimsy and pleasure of the Apple unboxing experience away from the employee. They deserve an exceptional desktop experience without you having to touch a single device. In this session, we explore automating customizations to the Dock and Finder, and adding extensions to Chrome with help from a small collection of MacAdmin community member tools as an alternative to traditional deployment methods.
It's 10 O'Clock: Do you know where your data is?
by Mike Dempsey
With everything being moved to the cloud, most users think that they are done with backups. Reality is that we still have some of the exact same issues that force us to rely on backups but now we have new and additional threats and issues to prepare for. Whether it’s an employee removing files they don’t think they need in Sharepoint, or the hacker that gets into a cloud account and maliciously starts deleting files. Are you prepared to recover a whole folder structure? In this session, find out how to be prepared.
HomeKit and AppleTV in Business
by Scott Neal
Does AppleTV make sense outside of the Living Room? What about automation? HomeKit has evolved a great deal in the last few years. And, AppleTV has taken the necessary leaps over the previous versions to be truly useful as an automation hub. Furthermore, Apple’s tvOS and HomeKit development environments have been created to be more web centric and easy to develop for. Today, these solutions come together to be able to deliver beyond the entertainment or consumer value traditionally associated with them. In this session, we will talk about how AppleTV and HomeKit make sense in business whether in the Enterprise, or for small business.
The Modern Automated Office
by Avery Chipka
A modern office should employ automation not as a technology show off, but something that serves the organization, is easy to use, and yes (gasp!) saves costs. In this session, we’ll talk about how to setup an automated office with business level technologies that won’t break a budget. We’ll dive into configuration of customized control panels — based on iPads or Kindle Fires — building an interface that is usable and user friendly, and can control essential items. And, we’ll talk about keys to integrating security cameras, phone systems, door / window sensors, presence detection, lighting and climate control. Most importantly, we’ll enter the realm of movement from one room to another so that services can be routed, and the environment customized to individuals so they can best focus on the work at hand.
Why You, the Tech, Should Think Like a Tech Writer
by Joe Kissell
If you are creating a solution for your customer, your client, or the people that you support in your organization, they are the ones at the end of the day that generally need to be satisfied. One of the best ways to support them is to think from their point of view. How do you put yourself in the user’s position? How do you structure not only your explanations, documentation, or training, but also your design and solution? One idea is to think like a tech writer. That’s not about documentation, it’s about the insights you, the tech, can gain from the experiences of tech writers. Tech writers have to bridge the gap between people who make technology and people who use it. And, the simpler or shorter the bridge between what you implement and how users perceive it, the closer you are to making your life easier, and your users happier.
Blockchains and the Law
by Morvareed Salehpour
Discussing legal implications of blockchains, including how to address issues with jurisdiction, liability, and enforcement with respect to disputes that arise involving such decentralized systems. Specifically, as physical real-world assets become tied to blockchains such issues become particularly important as disputes arising from either error in smart contract code or fraud will become more prevalent and will have to be addressed. If forethought is not put into contract drafting and the smart contract coding then the result will be situations where multiple countries may have jurisdiction and laws applicable to the transaction at issue may conflict as arguably every physical location a node is located will be a point for jurisdiction. Also discussing additional unintended complications arising from use of blockchains that people fail to realize. For example, how crypto assets are stored would be important in divorce cases. Additionally, illegal content can be embedded on blockchains and then more easily and anonymously distributed – i.e. copyright infringing materials, revenge porn, malware, etc.
The MDM Ingredients List. Better yet, the Recipe.
by Sean Colins
It’s one thing to have the ingredients, it’s another to understand how the ingredients work together to make a recipe. LinkedIn Learning instructor Sean Colins will take you far beyond the overview level of content he created to teach IT executives about MDM, into the depths of each configurable option available to use in managing iOS, macOS and tvOS. Examples will be pulled from Sean’s experience with the choices of organizations at the Fortune 500 level all the way down to a small private school. The devices you manage change management needs, but so do the users and the nature of the company or school. Any skill level will benefit from this session, because we all know what we have worked with in the past, but everyone has holes in their knowledge base. This session will work to fill in the gaps in your knowledge of specific features and restriction capabilities of Apple’s MDM APIs. You’ll come out of this not just knowing you “should” use MDM, but additionally exactly which features you will want to employ for your users and devices.
Wi-Fi: Which Features Do You REALLY Need and Where Can You Get Them?`
by Dave Hamilton
The Wi-Fi landscape for home, SMB and workgroups has changed greatly in the past few years, with lines now being firmly blurred between “home router” and “distributed SMB setup”. Good news: this means we can setup most businesses with what appears to be an off-the-shelf “mesh” system and get stellar performance. Also good news: we can have screaming-fast, prosumer Wi-Fi in our homes with the same gear. The big question: Which gear? Come to this session to learn which features each vendor supports and why you need them, and then you’ll be all set to choose for both your business *and* your home. Need Ethernet Backhaul? Know what 802.11k/v/r is? Do you need either? Which Wi-Fi products let you see exactly how all your devices are connected, and where? At the end of this session you’ll know the answers to those questions and lots, lots more.
Streamlining Setup ... by Defaults (write)
by Phil Goodman and Ben Levy
While our ability to remotely manage Macs is better than ever with MDMs, there may be an instance (or two) where setting up an MDM is not possible nor feasible. For example, situations such as a temporary setup, a workgroup within a large organization standardized on Windows, or a small business that’s not ready to buy into MDM, may push you to look at a different approach. MDM solutions often setup Macs by automating the configurations and plists remotely for you. What if, without an MDM, you could do it yourself with a simple shell script or two? In this session, we’ll cover all the most common system and user configuration settings providing a ton of “defaults write” commands along with parameters and options. Once written, your shell script can configure a computer in a matter of seconds and save you lots of time when rolling out a group of Macs. Even beyond this use, it’s important to have a solid foundation of what plists are, and how they are configured and we’ll make sure you’ve got that magic arrow in your back pocket as well.
Training Yourself and Your Team to Be More Productive
by Jeff Porten
Everyone would love to squeeze more time out of the day. Since you aren’t going to create more hours, your only option is to be more productive. That’s not just for you, but your entire team. In this session, we’ll talk about how to develop productivity methods that work for you and your team. We’ll talk about what kind of software you might want to consider, how to transition your team to use this methodology, and how to get things structured. Beyond that, we’ll discuss how to review your approach, and how to handle interpersonal relationships including how to best manage others “gently” especially if you aren’t their actual manager.
Expanding from Managing Devices to Managing Digital Workspaces
by Paul Evans
Traditionally, IT departments focused on managing individually approved devices. However, with the changing device landscape, and a continually increasing focus on mobility, modern administrators must be able to support their users across laptops, tablets, and phones; across corporate-owned devices and personal devices; and all without making your life needlessly complicated. In this session we’ll discuss how DEP and MDM can be used to automatically configure and manage devices over-the-air, how Bootstrap packages can be used to streamline the user on-boarding experience on macOS, approaches to managing applications at the user level rather than the device level, and utilizing virtual applications to fill-in any platform gaps.