Note: This page is historical.
It contains information from MacTech Conference 2019
The main Conference begins at 10am on Wednesday, October 16th, 2019; Registration opens at 9am. There will be 3 days of solid sessions with lunch and breaks provided. Dinner and evening activities will be held on Wednesday and Thursday, October 16th and 17th, and there’s Pre-Conference Workshops available the day prior (Tue, October 15th). 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™, lunch topic discussions, and so much more. No worries, however, there’s plenty of breaks and networking time as well — our coveted “Hallway Track”.
Pre-Conference activities take place on Tuesday, October 15th, from approximately 9am-5:30pm. Lunch included. For more information, see the workshops page.
- Setting Up a Secured Cloud Server
Workshop taught by JD Strong, Strong Solutions
- How to Implement Continuity of Operations
Workshop taught by Avery Chipka, Circle Tech Collective
- Wi-Fi Security: Design and Troubleshooting
Workshop taught by Jeanette Lee, Ruckus Wireless
- Swiftly Automating Systems and Workflows
Workshop taught by Scott M. Neal, Mindset Garden/AcmeFoo
These are just some of the sessions coming your way during the main part of the conference … with more to come!
Looking at macOS Storage with 2020 Vision
by Tim Standing
This past couple of years has seen a ton of change in storage, with Apple’s rollout of APFS. That all continues to evolve, and during this next year, we will see many changes in the storage on macOS. For example, there will be the introduction of a read-only system volume, the introduction of U2 devices and faster PCIe storage cards and many significant advances in storage software. This talk will dive into these new technologies to navigate storage and help you use and prepare to adopt those technologies which are appropriate for your organization.
Looking Ahead: What Matters in Apple Device Management
by Charles Edge
Sometimes when you sit down to write the outline of a book, you spend most of your time analyzing trends first before you start to write anything. In other words, you build a story and then you articulate that story. In our latest book, A Unified Theory of Apple Device Management, we spent a lot of time trying to figure out what matters and what doesn’t matter in the Apple space. Contrast that approach with previous books where we’re documenting what’s been done. By analyzing trends and having perspective, you start to realize just how things have changed and what matters, what doesn’t matter, what’s a solved problem, what’s completely come off the table, and most importantly you start finding ways to future-proof the devices and rubrics you’ve built to support those devices. In this session, we’ll jump right on into that and look at WHAT we saw in our analysis, and WHY we decided to structure the book the way we did: as a lens to look into our reality … a representation of where we’re spending our time in our day jobs, and where we think we will over the coming few years.
(Security) Research to Improve the World
by Edward Marczak
This talk will speak to those who are curious about security research, research teams, and how their techniques can help you become a better technologist. We’ll cover what is security research? How does research work with a larger organization? What values are important to research? Most importantly, we’ll talk about how you can get started and weave these lessons into your work whether you are an IT Pro or a consultant.
Python, Apple, and You
by Greg Neagle
Apple has long shipped Python 2 with macOS, and it’s become a favorite tool of Mac admins — used for many popular Mac admin tools. With Python 2’s end-of-life coming in January 2020, Apple has announced that a future version of macOS will no longer include Python by default. For those that use Python, you will probably need to do something new! You might need to install Python yourself, you might need to convert scripts to Python 3, or you might need to move to Swift or some other language for some tools you depend on. In this session, we’ll discuss what you can do to adapt and survive changes with Python and from Apple.
Watch Me Pull an Install Out of My Hat
by Phil Goodman and Ben Levy
Monolithic imaging is a parrot on its back at the bottom of its cage. macOS has moved on and the new term is provisioning. Using startosinstall, the Apple workflow for APFS devices to streamline deployment is incredibly powerful, customizable, portable and yet, disarmingly simple! You can install macOS, firmware updates, OS updates, a variety of packages, Profiles and scripts and achieve the kind of results that will make you shake your head at those who lament the loss of imaging. A single USB Flash or SSD drive can be used to start a wipe, OS install and installation of all necessary apps and packages for full customization in minutes without a server. Taking this even further with the open source TwoCanoes’ MDS, you can distribute USB drives to IT Staff (or even use the Two Canoes USB Automaton) to completely automate the process while you contemplate the unladen weight of a sparrow.
Wi-Fi 6: What to Expect and Why You Should Care
by Jeanette Lee
A new year. A new Wi-Fi standard. Wi-Fi 6, also known as 802.11ax, is shipping but do you really need it? Join us for a hearty bowl of Wi-Fi alphabet soup and a critique of how and when you can benefit from investing in the latest networking standard.
Private Cloud, Virtualization, and More: Making the Most of Today's NAS
by Dave Hamilton
NAS has long been thought about as storage – after all, it’s in the name: Networked Attached Storage (NAS). But what you really have with NAS is another computer on your network, and that computer can be used for private cloud (host your own Dropbox!), virtualization, media management (Plex and iTunes streaming), backup (including Time Machine), chat server, file sharing, and more. In this session, we’ll talk about the types of differentiators to look for when selecting a NAS, as well as specific ways to implement some of the more popular and useful features and engines to make the most of your network.
bash-fully moving to zsh
by Jack-Daniyel Strong
Apple has made it clear that bash will not be installed by default on an operating system at some point in the future, and that the future “standard” on macOS Catalina is zsh — Z Shell. In this session, we’ll review the similarities and differences of Apple’s new default shell environment compared to the current one (bash). You’ll see what you need to do on a future macOS if you still need bash, but it’s not installed. We will highlight some of the new features zsh brings and explore the many resources available in fandom already in place and dedicated to this shell environment (zsh). Most importantly, what the well established zsh community brings to the Mac platform.
Mac Troubleshooting: Success with a View
by John Kirn
While having an arsenal of Mac troubleshooting techniques is great, being able to quickly assess where to start is an equally valuable skill. We often make things more complicated than they are, and everyone has a story about how a simple fix created chaos. This session breaks down a variety of Mac problems, and shows how applying different viewpoints to each benefits the decision-making process. Based on these proven concepts, one can make sense of Mac issues quicker, and start off with a clearer perspective. In addition to real life support examples, this session also includes a few unique approaches to common Mac troubleshooting situations.
What’s New in Security & MDM in macOS Catalina
by Jesse Endahl
This talk will cover all that’s new with regard to security in macOS Catalina, including changes related to MDM such as Activation Lock. Additional topics will include Gatekeeper/Notarization, new data protection improvements (TCC), the new read only system volume, new requirements for certificate trust, and more.
You’re under attack. What are your first steps?
by Avery Chipka
In this day and age, everyone from the Fortune 500 company to small business to even home users is a target for network intrusions. This session will introduce you to the first steps to take, when you become the victim of a targeted attack. We will cover first steps for both Blue Team (Defensive) and Red Team (Offensive) counter measures to limit the damage caused by the intrusion and digital evidence preservation for post incident investigation. In this session, we’ll talk about preparation you can take before attacks happen, attack prevention and defenses, and post incident procedures. We’ll touch on review and penetration testing procedures.
AI, Emerging Tech and the Law
by Morvareed Salehpour
In this session, we’ll be discussing the legal implications of the latest emerging technologies, including AI, including how to address issues with jurisdiction, liability, releases and contracts with respect to disputes that arise involving such advances. Specifically, as the real-world begins to use these emerging technologies, what are the ramifications in responsibility, liability, and more that we should be thinking about, both as producers and users of these new technologies.
Going API with FileMaker
by Alex Narvey
Using FileMaker’s scripting and API capabilities to forge tools that integrate various web/cloud services to enhance workflows. In this session, we will look at how FileMaker can interact with REST APIs to both update websites and to have websites update FileMaker. After laying the groundwork we will showcase three successful in-house tools: a FileMaker tool to automate Dark Web Scanning and generate fully formatted PDF summary reports for clients; a FileMaker tool to automate the gathering of domain and SSL expiration info and automatically populate a Watchman Monitoring Dashboard all at the click of a button; and a FileMaker tool to replace GUI functionality that Apple deprecated and then removed from macOS Server; – in just a few seconds. We will also look at the API integration capabilities of the new Claris Connect.
Writing and Understanding AutoPkg Recipes
by Anthony Reimer
If you use AutoPkg (with or without AutoPkgr), you will have inevitably found that one of the pieces of software you deploy is not covered by a public AutoPkg recipe, or perhaps there is a download recipe but not a child recipe that you require for your management system (e.g., .pkg, .jss, .filewave). Even if you only write the occasional recipe, you still need to know how to read recipes to effectively implement trust verification. In this session, we will break down the AutoPkg recipe format, discuss the various types of recipes (parent, child, stub, override), teach you the various ways you can write a recipe (e.g., copying another recipe, Recipe Robot, new-recipe verb), discuss basic debugging techniques, offer some (opinionated) suggestions on how best to write your recipe chains, and examine the various Microsoft Office recipes as a case study on different approaches to writing AutoPkg recipes.
Apple's New Security Policies: Impact on Enterprise
by Leon Lincoln
Welcome to the next generation of Security Policies! Have you thought about what you need to be aware of before you roll out macOS 10.15 or iOS 10.13? With Apple’s latest OSes, the kernel is basically untouchable, kext popups will confront users, and app access to devices. This session will dive into these and many more issues, while giving your Enterprise users the experience you’d like them to have.
Incident Response in the Post-Catalina World
by Thomas Reed
Incident Response – the process of responding to an infection, to learn what was done and how to identify the threat throughout your organization – is a constantly changing and evolving challenge. Not only to the threats evolve, but systems, apps, and underlying technologies change — and responders have to not just what to manage, but how as well. With the release of Catalina, and announcements of things to come in future versions of macOS, Incident Response (IR) has some fairly significant transitions and adjustments to make. The future removal of scripting languages from the standard system installations will eliminate many current IR tools. And, changes to Transparency, Consent, and Control (TCC) make the job of collecting data more difficult. In this session, we’ll learn how IR works, and how adjustments can allow it to continue to work in the post-Catalina world. We’ll also look at how we make a set of decisions in choosing what underlying scripting and query technologies to use – which will be useful in updating other tools.
An Insider’s Look at APU
by Sal Soghoian
Automation legend Sal Soghoian will give an insider’s look at Apple Provisioning Utility, it’s advancement and explosive growth. You’ll hear about how organizations in all fields and industries are integrating mobile devices as mission-critical appliances, and deploying them to staff and clients. You’ll find out how the Apple Provisioning Utility (APU) can deliver robust onsite management of mobile devices using a simple plug-and-go process. We’ll examine the practical aspects of incorporating a shared-use device strategy. You’ll learn how to use and customize APU to address a wide variety of deployment scenarios: from business, education and professional services, to healthcare and retail team support.
Best Practices: Troubleshooting and Debugging Scripts
by Sean Colins
Shell scripts are often used to run commands in a collection all at once commonly for some kind of systems administration work. This is unlike coding in Swift, .NET, C++ or other programming languages which are typically used to write applications for users. Admins often find themselves learning the ins and outs of shell scripting to solve problems that are repetitive, ensuring proper execution of actions on systems that might be hard to do en masse, remotely, by other people. Whether bash, C shell, zsh or other shells, writing scripts is a lot like programming or coding. As coders say, 90% of coding is debugging, and the same is true of scripting. Probably 90% of getting your script just right involves debugging or troubleshooting your scripts. In this session, we’ll cover how to set yourself up right for success from the start, useful script editor features, how to enable logging techniques, report error conditions, and best ways to use code already written. By the end of this session you will be much better prepared to write and debug your own scripts for any use.
A Technologist’s Guide to Telecom, VoIP, and Acronym Laden Services
by David Mercer
Most, if not all, IT Pros and consultants at one point or another have been asked about “phone service.” Whether using older terms like VoIP, or the current names like Unified Communications, UCaaS, CCaaS, etc… the essence of today’s telecom services is, more than ever, related to what IT does. More so, the services are converging with what we all do. In this session, we’ll go through the most important terms used today, endpoint options, device choices, and even the types of configuration deployment tools. We’ll cover about integration, collaboration products, network needs and performance. We’ll discuss areas of concern including remote offices, connectivity, configuration for robustness (including SD-WAN, MPLS and the place for VPNs). In the end, you’ll be armed with what you need to know as an IT Pro looking to do the right thing for your organization, or a consultant looking to take care of your clients.
Revolutionize Your Database Performance by Thinking in Today's Terms
by Jim Rea
Databases are one of computing’s oldest uses – and yet, today’s databases often follow some design principles dated well back into the 1970’s. With today’s hardware, and the explosion in RAM on even the most basic of computers, there’s no reason to continue to handcuff capabilities, and performance. In-memory database technology is now being adopted by some of the largest players in this market, including Oracle, Microsoft, IBM and SAP, as well as newcomers like RedisSQL, MemSQL, VoltDB and others. It’s clear that if you’re willing to think differently about your approach, you can actually get something that’s far, far more capable while shedding the vast majority of overhead and database size. In this talk, we’ll look at different ways to take advantage of memory technology in database applications, from simple tricks that will give you some benefit without much effort today, to hybrid approaches that will give you more benefits. We’ll then talk about how completely re-thinking your approach will allow you build superfast, vastly smaller databases with the most capability. With a modern approach, you’ll see the types of usage that you’ve always wanted, but never really considered with a handcuffed design. In the end, you’ll walk away with immediately implementable performance gains, and we’ll help open your mind to new approaches that will release the true power of your databases.
Business Automation: More than Just at Home
by Scott Neal
Apple has several products that they position for home automation–but what about outside the home? Can a business effectively use AppleTV, Apple Watch, and other technologies to improve the worlds of Enterprise, small business, education, or non-profits? We’re going to talk about Apple’s tvOS and HomeKit development environments, and the power that developers have that has yet to be unleashed in many current products. In the last year, Apple has made significant updates to tvOS and watchOS. In this session, we’re going to look at the aspects of Apple’s solutions that make business automation interesting. We’ll look at both both off-the-shelf and custom solutions within the session that take the ideas out of the documentation and bring into real life.
Security Insights and Perspective
by Josh Long
Thinking Problems All The Way Through: Holistic Systems, Autonomy and Mars
by Sandy Krasner
There is a 14 minute communication lag between the Earth and Mars. When we send a rover/lander to Mars, landings must therefore be autonomous — there’s no time for corrections, tweaks or decisions from Earth. The first Mars landers had a target area of 250 square miles — an area so large, it’s fraught with danger. Mars 2020 will target an area of less than 16 square miles which is tiny by comparison. In this session, Sandy will explore how JPL/NASA goes about giving the lander these capabilities through computer vision, logic, and a holistic approach that’s useful not just in space exploration, but in so many complex systems today.
Best Practices: IT’s Role in Delivering an Awesome Employee Experience
by Kristina De Nike
Every company knows you have to treat your customers right if you want to succeed. But organizations are realizing these days that the experience they provide their employees can have a massive impact on their ability to compete. The employee experience has become so important a factor, that it can affect critical business drivers like customer satisfaction, product quality, speed to market, etc. IT departments have an increasingly important role to play in the employee experience, which gives admins an opportunity to make a real difference to their organization, or client organizations.
EndNote: Creating the Ultimate Set of Control Panels
by Sal Soghoian
In macOS Catalina, we get new capabilities that allow us to use our traditional, and familiar, systems and devices in totally new and exciting ways. If we combine those new capabilities with automation, underlying system events, and more, we can create and customize the most sophisticated and capable of “control panels” and controllers for macOS. The possibilities are endless, the productivity gains could be enormous, and all with incredible flexibility. In this “EndNote,” automation legend Sal Soghoian will work his automation magic and help your expand your mind to all the new possibilities.
by Adam Engst
Test your Apple knowledge against your peers in the TidBITS TechUp, the interactive game show. Created by Adam and Tonya Engst of TidBITS, the TechUp features a wide range of questions about Apple products and services across the company’s history. Everyone can participate. Will you make it to the final round?
New this year are “Challenge Discussions”. Bring your challenges to a group discussion led by subject matter experts.
ALL NEW for this year, MacTech Conference will have a series of “Challenge Discussions” led by subject matter experts in the room. Bring your challenges for group discussions and hopefully suggestions! Topics are:
- Security, discussion led by Ed Marczak and Josh Long
- Munki, discussion led by Greg Neagle
- Support Desk Systems, discussion led by JD Strong
- Debugging and Troubleshooting, discussion led by John Kirn
- Wi-Fi, discussion led by Jeanette Lee
- Getting Started as MacAdmin, discussion led by Ben Levy and Phil Goodman
These are expanded versions of the highly successful hallway discussions attendees have seen in the past — a way to make it easy to ask questions, and get group advice from people. As one would expect, lab and discussion leaders are selected based on their knowledge of topic for the lab.
Attendees are encouraged to bring their challenges, questions and thoughts to these discussion where topic leaders will look to help people through issues, or find resources that may be of help.
Note: All times are approximate. All sessions, speakers and descriptions are subject to change at any time without notice.