Weekly News Summary for Admins — 2019-11-29

Happy day after Thanksgiving to the US readers! Happy “week where we can take a breath from tech news” for everyone else!

It is tradition to reflect on things you can be grateful for. There are many standard replies, such as family, friends, and—more particular to this newsletter—the amazing MacAdmins community. But, this year I wanted to say that I am grateful to be working in a field that is always changing.

I started out using and managing Macs in the nineties. Back then Apple had a strong market in the print and publishing business and education, but nearly nowhere else. It was obvious that the Macintosh operating system needed a complete overhaul to remain relevant, but Apple’s attempts to build a new system failed. Apple was considered stagnant and irrelevant. The change came in 1996 when Apple bought NeXT and Steve Jobs returned to the company. The iMac, iBook, and Mac OS X saved Apple.

Even though, in hindsight, it is obvious that Mac OS X was an important part of that transition, there were many back then who rejected the new system. There were many reasons for being conservative: the iMac, iBook, and even the blue PowerMac towers looked like “toys,” third party applications were slow to adopt Mac OS X, the new OS was not yet ready for some critical workflows, Windows and Linux were tempting alternatives.

In the beginning, it was mainly new users who would embrace the new Mac OS. Java and web developers, as well as scientists, who realized there was now a Unix(-like) platform with a nice UI and MS Office (one of the first major commercial app suites to have a Mac OS X version). It always felt like the “traditional” Mac users had to be dragged along.

Apple has changed multiple times since then: online and retail stores, the iPod, the iTunes Store, the iPhone, the App Store, the iPad, the Apple Watch, and a focus on services.

There were also failures, dead ends, and missteps along the way: the hockey puck mouse, the Cube, the various incarnations of iTools/dotMac/Mobile me/iCloud, server hardware and software, the butterfly keyboards… In the MacAdmin space we had WebObjects, NetInfo, MCX, Workgroup Manager, NetBoot, NetRestore, Profile Manager, Mac OS (X) Server, bash3 and Python2…

We often complain about the pace of change in the technology field. I agree the entire field would be well-served with more consideration, rather than rushing features at all cost to fulfill an arbitrary, self-imposed deadline. But the absence of change is stagnation and irrelevancy.

I remember when Apple was considered stagnant and irrelevant. I really don’t miss those times.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Talking about change: My new book “Moving to zsh” is now available in the Apple Books Store.

Howard Oakley from the Eclectic Light Company calls it: “[T]imely, invaluable, and very clearly written for anyone who ever uses the command line.”

Packaging for Apple Administrators” and “Property List, Preferences, and Profiles for Apple Admnistrators” are on sale until Dec 3. I also permanently dropped the price for “macOS Installation.”

If you would rather get the weekly newsletter by email, you can subscribe to the Scripting OS X Weekly Newsletter here!! (Same content, delivered to your Inbox once a week.)

On Scripting OS X

News and Opinion

MacAdmins on Twitter

  • Rich Trouton: “Need a quick way to check Apple’s system status boards? System status: isappleup.com Developer system status: developer.isappleup.com
  • Victor (groob): “Adding async command information to @micromdm_io Admins will be able to check the status of each command in the queue and see the raw request/response at any time.” (video)

Bugs and Security

Support and HowTos

Scripting and Automation

Updates and Releases

To Watch

To Listen


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Mac Admin, Consultant, and Author