Workshops

The MacAdmins Conference registration includes a day of workshops, held on July 11th, 2017. Breakfast, lunch, light snacks, and dinner will be served during the day. These workshops are built to help attendees gain a solid foundation in a focused aspect of system administration.

This year we are pleased to be offering 5 workshops sessions to choose from.

Mac Management: State of the Union, and Where Are We Going?
Speakers: Robert Hammen, Patrick Fergus,
Level: Fundamental, Lecture
Length: Workshop – Full Day

Geared to new or new-to-the-platform Mac admins, this workshop will provide an overview of the most commonly-used tools (both commercial and open-source) for deploying and managing Macs, and their strengths and weaknesses. We’ll also talk about how the Mac management landscape may be changing in the future, and have time for Q & A.

Workshop Details


A System Administrator’s Fundamentals of Wi-Fi, or Arguing With Physics
Speakers: Tom Bridge, Chris Dawe,
Level: Fundamental, Lecture
Length: Workshop – Full Day

Tom Bridge and Chris Dawe use their continuing experience and training in the Wi-Fi world to build on their 2015 workshop exploring and understanding a network technology that has somehow managed to become both ubiquitous and despised. We will explore the jargon of radio frequency technology and Wi-Fi, describe basic Wi-Fi operations, talk about network design and security, and provide a troubleshooting toolkit.

Workshop Details


Mac Admins Capture the Flag
Speakers: Pepijn Bruienne, Yoann Gini,
Level: Intermediate, BYOD
Length: Workshop – Full Day

Join fellow Mac Admins in a real-life game of Battleship, but played with the systems and services you’re intimately familiar with. Outsmart the other team and capture their flag for the prize!

Workshop Details


This workshop session features 2 half day workshops:

Build-Your-Own Jamf Pro Integrations
Speakers: Bryson Tyrrell,
Level: Intermediate, BYOD
Length: Half Day Workshop – AM

With v9.93, Jamf Pro includes webhooks alongside the REST API allowing you to build robust integrations and workflows triggered on real-time events in your environment. In this workshop you will get to work with Jamf Pro webhooks to write a number of small integrations that will receive and process webhook events to accomplish tasks like sending emails, populating extension attributes and sending notifications into Slack.

Workshop Details


DNS: Like you have never seen it before
Speakers: Ben Greisler, Pam Lefkowitz
Level: Intermediate, BYOD
Length: Half Day Workshop – PM

Using the conference attendees as participants, we will replicate the Domain Name System, its parts and functionality using written records and not computer files. The participants will perform the various roles within the DNS process in an effort to become intimately familiar with how DNS operates, its soft spots and security concerns.

Workshop Details


This workshop session features 2 half day workshops:

The Art – and Science – of Being Productive
Speakers: Pam Lefkowitz
Level: Fundamental, BYOD
Length: Half Day Workshop – AM

Mental performance, goal setting, and playing games – how they relate and how they create the blueprints for success.

Workshop Details

Sharing What We’ve Learned
Speakers: Vaughn Miller, Anthony Reimer,
Level: Fundamental, BYOD
Length: Half Day Workshop – PM

When you’ve learned something new and useful — like you will at the Mac Admins Conference — one of the best things to do is to share it with others, whether that’s with co-workers, people in your city or region, or the broader community. We want to help you share your knowledge. This session will focus on Why Mac Admins share (and the related benefits), the Common Ways we share, and practical techniques and considerations regarding How we share. We will cover giving presentations, blogging, and other modes of community interaction and sharing.

Workshop Details


Workshop Details


Mac Management: State of the Union, and Where Are We Going?
Speakers: Robert Hammen, Patrick Fergus,
Level: Fundamental, Lecture
Length: Workshop – Full Day

Abstract: Geared to new or new-to-the-platform Mac admins, this workshop will provide an overview of the most commonly-used tools (both commercial and open-source) for deploying and managing Macs, and their strengths and weaknesses. We’ll also talk about how the Mac management landscape may be changing in the future, and have time for Q & A.

Description: There are a multitude of tools and workflows that you can use to manage your Mac population. The challenge is in learning about the different solutions, and determining the right ones to use in your environment. In this lecture-style workshop, Patrick and Robert will provide an overview of various applications designed to solve problems for Mac admins, and discuss their strengths and weaknesses.

Apple is also evolving macOS at a much faster rate, and some of the forthcoming changes to the OS, like APFS (new Apple File System) will portend some changes in how Mac admins do their job. We’ll discuss these changes and give you some future points to consider, while also taking questions from the audience.


A System Administrator’s Fundamentals of Wi-Fi, or Arguing With Physics
Speakers: Tom Bridge, Chris Dawe,
Level: Fundamental, Lecture
Length: Workshop – Full Day

Abstract: Tom Bridge and Chris Dawe use their continuing experience and training in the Wi-Fi world to build on their 2015 workshop exploring and understanding a network technology that has somehow managed to become both ubiquitous and despised. We will explore the jargon of radio frequency technology and Wi-Fi, describe basic Wi-Fi operations, talk about network design and security, and provide a troubleshooting toolkit.

Description: In the beginning, there was 802.11. The original AirPort was one of the very first consumer Wi-Fi products when it was released to the public in 1999. Seemingly a curiosity at first with its blazing fast 11 Mbps speed, the AirPort Base Station and AirPort Card for iBooks, 18 years and the rise of mobility have transformed Wi-Fi into a technology at the base of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Sysadmin Needs. Yet 18 years later, one rarely hears “The Wi-Fi at this conference is GREAT.” Why?

In this workshop, Tom Bridge and Chris Dawe use their continuing experience and training in the Wi-Fi world to build on their 2015 workshop exploring and understanding a network technology that has somehow managed to become both ubiquitous and despised. We will explore the jargon of radio frequency technology and Wi-Fi, describe basic Wi-Fi operations, talk about network design and security, and provide a troubleshooting toolkit.

Fundamentals of Wi-Fi will be divided into several sections:

1. RF, Wi-Fi, and Jargon Basics

Understanding Wi-Fi means understanding the basics of radio frequency propagation and how your environment will handle Wi-Fi. We’ll cover the standards and the extensions from the IEEE that are part of your day-to-day concerns. We will spend time discussing how Wi-Fi has changed from 802.11 to 802.11ac and beyond. Finally, we will introduce basic Wi-Fi terminology you will see in day-to-day Apple management and begin to understand just what they mean and why they are important.

2. Basic Wi-Fi Operations

What happens when you click the Wi-Fi menu item in the menu bar to view networks? What happens when you join a network? What happens when you wander too far from your connection? How does your Mac or iPad decide what to do. In this section we’ll cover the basic process of locating, selecting, associating to, and authenticating to a network, along with the basic concepts involved in transmitting data on a shared medium and the technology that allows Wi-Fi clients to play nice with others.

3. Introduction to Wi-Fi Network Design

How do I build a network that won’t collapse at the wrong time? How do I get these Macs to roam? We will provide an overview of the knowledge and techniques used to design and build Wi-Fi networks that hold up under load, and talk about why some networks do not. We will discuss the general performance characteristics and gotchas of Wi-Fi in the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz frequency bands, demystify the marketing of Wi-Fi equipment and demonstrate how vendor marketing can undermine good network design. We will outline a network design process that accounts for both wireless and wired network issues.

4. Network Security and Advanced Device Techniques

We will discuss the various technologies for securing Wi-Fi networks, along with why you might want to use them, and why you should or should not use them. 802.1X networks require an additional layer of tools to keep their networks safe, so we’ll discuss the structures of 802.1X and how they’ll integrate with your existing Wi-Fi. We’ll also cover all the additional technologies you’ll need to be aware of to make iOS and macOS devices play nicely within your environments. There are limitations of each platform that are critical to understand when designing your networks and we’ll cover these, as well.

5. Troubleshooting Tools and Techniques

How do you identify and deal with problems in a Wi-Fi environment? How do you handle debugging your Wi-Fi network in a sane way? We’ll cover a suite of troubleshooting tools, tips and tricks, as well as providing some good frameworks and rubrics for evaluating your needs.


Mac Admins Capture the Flag
Speakers: Pepijn Bruienne, Yoann Gini,
Level: Intermediate, BYOD
Length: Workshop – Full Day

Abstract: Join fellow Mac Admins in a real-life game of Battleship, but played with the systems and services you’re intimately familiar with. Outsmart the other team and capture their flag for the prize!

Description: Split into “Wine” and “Beer” team rooms, participants will spend the morning session attacking a system familiar to most Mac Admins. Split into smaller sub-teams per room, their task will be to look for clues of insecure or incorrect configuration and other vulnerabilities in order to gain access to the target system to find the ultimate goal: the “flag” – a piece of information that proves they were able to access the system. The scenario for each team is that they are a guest of the target organization and were left alone in a conference room where they have access to the organization’s wired network. For the purpose of the exercise the team’s access to the network will be through virtualized Mac and Linux systems on which they have admin access, serving as the attacker’s tools. All access to the simulated network and systems will be virtualized and sandboxed. It is then up to the team members to use both their technical and non-technical skills to figure out the system(s) to attack, while clues to gain access will be provided at timed intervals to keep the action moving along. A CTF scoring system will be running to keep track of events and related scores. The afternoon session will flip the goals around as each team is tasked with performing forensics on the system attacked by their opponents in the morning session to figure out what vulnerability was used, what information was breached and how to prevent future breaches. At the end of the full day session prizes will be awarded to the winning team!


Build-Your-Own Jamf Pro Integrations
Speakers: Bryson Tyrrell,
Level: Intermediate, BYOD
Length: Half Day Workshop – AM

Abstract: With v9.93, Jamf Pro includes webhooks alongside the REST API allowing you to build robust integrations and workflows triggered on real-time events in your environment. In this workshop you will get to work with Jamf Pro webhooks to write a number of small integrations that will receive and process webhook events to accomplish tasks like sending emails, populating extension attributes and sending notifications into Slack.

Description: With v9.93, Jamf Pro includes webhooks alongside the REST API allowing you to build robust integrations and workflows triggered on real-time events in your environment.

In this workshop you will get to work with Jamf Pro webhooks to write a number of small integrations that will receive and process webhook events to accomplish tasks like sending emails, populating extension attributes and sending notifications into Slack.

If you are attending this workshop it is expected that you know how to write some Python code. You don’t have to be an expert at that language, but you should be familiar and comfortable with it. We’ll be using the ‘Flask’ module, a web microframework, as the basis for each of our sample projects. We’ll also make use of the ubiquitous ‘requests’ module and the Flask-SQLAlchemy extension for local databases. We’ll start with the basics of writing a Flask app and build from there.

By the end of this workshop you will have a firm grasp of using Flask to write basic web apps, how to receive and process webhook events and several completed examples from which to build upon.


DNS: Like you have never seen it before
Speakers: Ben Greisler, Pam Lefkowitz
Level: Intermediate, Hands-on
Length: Half-Day Workshop – PM

Abstract: Using the conference attendees as participants, we will replicate the Domain Name System, its parts and functionality using written records and not computer files. The participants will perform the various roles within the DNS process in an effort to become intimately familiar with how DNS operates, its soft spots and security concerns.

Description: Participants will form a human DNS environment, interacting with the other participants. They will be tasked to find out information or provide information based on their role. A certain number of “bad guys” will be tasked with trying to disrupt the functionality of DNS. Participants can expect to be active and engaged. We hope that this approach helps enlighten the participants on the details of DNS and have some fun at the same time.


The Art – and Science – of Being Productive
Speakers: Pam Lefkowitz,
Level: Fundamental, BYOD
Length: Half Day Workshop – AM

Abstract: Mental performance, goal setting, and playing games – how they relate and how they create the blueprints for success.

Description: In this hands-on session, we will work on productivity and goal-setting. We will learn how to set and achieve our goals and how to become infinitely more valuable to our employer and to our families. We?ll look at productivity from a neuroscience perspective and we?ll learn some strategies for keeping our brains in working order as well as touching on improving our critical thinking skills. Dress comfortably, bring water, and be sure to bring a notebook and a pen (an iPad Pro and Apple Pencil will be ok too).


Sharing What We’ve Learned
Speakers: Vaughn Miller, Anthony Reimer,
Level: Fundamental, BYOD
Length: Half Day Workshop – PM

Abstract: When you’ve learned something new and useful — like you will at the Mac Admins Conference — one of the best things to do is to share it with others, whether that’s with co-workers, people in your city or region, or the broader community. We want to help you share your knowledge. This session will focus on Why Mac Admins share (and the related benefits), the common Ways we share, and practical techniques and considerations regarding How we share. We will cover giving presentations, blogging, and other modes of community interaction and sharing.

Description: When you’ve learned something new and useful — like you will at the Mac Admins Conference — one of the best things to do is to share it with others, whether that’s with co-workers, people in your city or region, or the broader community. We want to help you share your knowledge. This session will focus on Why Mac Admins share (and the related benefits), the common Ways we share, and practical techniques and considerations regarding How we share. We will cover giving presentations, blogging, and other modes of community interaction and sharing. Specific platforms to be referenced will include GitHub, Slack, and WordPress.


Keep up to date on the latest conference happenings by signing up for our newsletter.