MacDMV May/June Meetup: June 4th at Acronis

Join other DC-area Apple-focused Admins & Consultants to talk about important issues of the day, followed by lunch out on the town. Come get to know other DC-area folks who are doing what you do, and discuss critical technical subjects, future products, implementation strategies, and other issues facing you and your organization.

This month we’ll have a conference preview for the upcoming Penn State Mac Admins conference, as well as discussion and planning of a driving caravan to the event happening at the end of June in nearby State College, PA. The largest conference of its kind right now, the Penn State Mac Admins conference represents one, if not the, best opportunities to gain knowledge in the field. We’ll have a couple short session previews (5-10 minutes) from area speakers slated for the event.

Afterwards, we’ll head out for lunch together at a nearby restaurant.

Parking information: There are several nearby garages, some of which are open on Saturday, with rates around $10. You can check Parkopedia for nearby options.

Public Transit Information: The Ballston Metro Station (Orange/Silver) is a short 5-block walk.

MacDMV April Meetup: The Power of Documentation

Hello everyone! We’re gearing up for next Saturday, April 30th’s Mac DMV April Meetup! Our friends at Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Library have commandeered their auditorium for us, and we’ve got a great presentation coming from Rich Trouton on Building Good Documentation for your Organization, and how it can help you get more downtime, and go on vacation comfortably. We may also have a surprise talk from another member of Mac DMV, but we’re not pulling the wraps off just yet.

We’ll be starting at 11am on Saturday, and then heading to lunch at Kloby’s on Montpelier Road when we’re finished. Last time Kloby’s was a huge hit with their excellent barbecue, and plentiful beverage options. We look forward to seeing everyone!

Mac DMV March Meetup

Happy Springtime everyone!

We’re having our March meeting back at National Geographic! Join us on Saturday, March 19th at 11:30am for a discussion of fleet monitoring, log analysis and security policy, which I promise will be way more exciting than it sounds! Dan Griggs from cmdSecurity will be back with us to show off automated log analysis and some other heads up tools that can be helpful for proactive monitoring of your environment.

We’ll also be discussion the latest Transmission malware attack, how to protect your Munki repository, and the latest news of the day.

National Geographic
1145 17th St NW
Washington DC 20036

Mac DMV January Meeting Notes


iOS 9.3 Preview

Presentation by: Tom Bridge

iOS 9.3, now in beta (available from, is a massive release for those people who are managing iPads in an institutional setting, especially from the educational standpoint.

With iOS 9.3, iPads can now be assigned to multiple users who can sign in & sign out and maintain their data on the device.

Apple has released a website with all the features of iOS 9.3 that has some information, but much of the information is yet to come through briefings with your representatives at Apple.

It is my understanding that iOS 9.3’s main features for classrooms will require an MDM of some sort, as well as Device Enrollment Program setup for the devices.

There are four major tent poles for classroom users:

  1. Shared iPad Ability
  2. Classroom App for Teachers
  3. Apple School Manager
  4. Managed Apple IDs

Shared iPad Ability

The Shared iPad is described as:

When a 1:1 student-to-iPad ratio isn’t possible, Shared iPad offers an elegant solution that lets students enjoy the benefits of having their own iPad in whatever classroom they’re in. They simply log in to any iPad, and their content is ready to go.

That would generally indicate that you’ll have a group of iPads that have many user identifiers on them that can be invoked with a PIN or password. The data would then be securely segmented and stored on the device, assigned to the AppleID of the student. My guess is that this is the real reason that El Capitan’s Caching Service now stores iCloud Data, since this will now allow an AppleID’s data to live local to the network as well as in the cloud. Still, many questions here, many many questions.

Classroom App for Teachers

If you’ve seen Casper Focus, which can help teachers see what their kids are up to, within a given app, Classroom is that, but at the root device level. You can monitor any given iPad, see what apps the other users are focusing on, and send any one iPad’s screen up to an AirPlay device remotely. The tool will allow teachers to lock an app in place for all students in a classroom, or also to reset a given user’s password.

I suspect this is going to be a hugely powerful tool in the hands of the right teacher, and something that can maybe stretch a user’s abilities elsewhere.

Apple School Manager

This is for the IT admin. It’s a centralized portal for managing VPP, DEP and AppleIDs, and it’s designed to be connected to Student Information Systems to provide the ability to suck in user data directly without an export process. ASM will also be used for authoring iTunes U content that can be pushed to individual classes. I cannot wait to see what this looks like in practice.

Managed Apple IDs

Who’s ever had to create more than a few Apple IDs at a time? Hundreds? Thousands maybe? This is the tool for that, and it looks like it will handle import, password reset, auditing, and more.

Media Coverage:

  1. MacStories on iOS 9.3
  2. Connected Podcast with guest Fraser Speirs

Payload Free Packages

Presentation by: Rich Trouton

1. Keynote
2. PDF

Payload-Free Packages are a great way to run scripts where you can’t depend on the user to interact with the script correctly, or where you just want an easy deployment object for use with your current deployment system.

These packages come in two formats: Bundle and Flat.

Bundle-style packages are created as a Mac OS X bundle that contains scripts and a description of the package requirements and behavior. You can define six different types of scripts for use with Bundle packages: preflight, preinstall, pre upgrade, post install, post upgrade, and post flight.

However, for payload-free packages, there are only preflight and postflight scripts.

Flat packages only have preinstall and postinstall scripts, but they serve the same functions, they just have different names.

Any script in either package format must return an exit status of zero, otherwise the installation will fail. One way to ensure that this will occur is to make sure your script ends in exit 0.

There are several installer script variables that function in payload free packages:

  • $0 – the path to the script
  • $1 – the path to the package
  • $2 – the target of the install
  • $3 – the target volume

Important Note: If your system management tool assigns $3 to something other than the install volume, it will win. This may be a challenge if your management tool is inflexible in this regard.

Payload-free flat packages may not leave installer receipts. Apple says “operating as intended.” So, if this is your preferred platform, use the Payload-Free Package

Next Meetings:

Either Monday February 15th in the evening (President’s Day) or Saturday February 20th during the day. Please vote on the location of the next meeting using this handy Google Form. The meeting with occur in Virginia, with a host to be determined. If you want to host, please contact me off list!

March will be on Saturday, March 19th, and will be a social event in the District. If you’d like to propose a location, or to host, please contact me off list!

MacDMV December Meetup: National Geographic in DC

Happy Holidays from MacDMV! This month’s event will be hosted by Jehan Aziz and his staff at National Geographic on 17th St NW, and will conclude with a trip through the National Geographic exhibit on Indiana Jones! We’re excited to have Jehan tell us about a new self-service machine migration program that he’s been working on, powered by the Casper Suite, as well as discuss popular topics in Mac Systems Administration. Can’t wait to see you!

Due to the trip to the exhibit, we absolutely need an accurate headcount for the event. Please be sure to RSVP if you’re going to attend.

Dan Griggs From cmdSecurity on Continuous Monitoring and OS X Security

Dan Griggs from cmdSecurity joined us for our November meeting to talk about OS X Security and Continuous Monitoring. He was gracious enough to provide his slides and allow us to video tape the session for posting on the website. Please find his video below:

MacDMV: Dan Griggs from Tom Bridge on Vimeo.

MacDMV November Meetup: Security Session in Arlington

Our November meeting will be on Saturday, November 14th, and will be hosted by Acronis at 1100 North Glebe Road, Suite 800, in Arlington, Virginia. Dan Griggs from cmdSecurity will be speaking on Cybersecurity, Macs, and combining the two to enhance your organization’s security posture. Rich Trouton and Tom Bridge will have a conference wrap-up from MacTech’s 2015 Conference in Los Angeles, as well. After the meeting, we’ll adjourn to lunch at a nearby restaurant to be determined.

Thanks so much to Jack Savage and Acronis for hosting us! We’ll be just three blocks from the Ballston Metro on the orange line. Parking will be limited to street parking nearby.

October Event: Fire Station 1

Hello Mac DMVers! This month’s event is slated for October 24th at Fire Station 1 in Silver Spring. We’ll be doing a conference download from the JAMF Nation Conference in Minneapolis, as well as more El Capitan and iOS 9 updates, new hardware overviews, and a short presentation on saner office wi-fi networks.

Please RSVP here:

and we’ll be at the Fire Station 1 in Silver Spring on Saturday at 11am!

MacDMV September Event: iOS 9/El Cap Roundtable

Join us for the Mac DMV September Meetup on Saturday, September 19th, from 10am to 11:30am as we prepare for the launch of iOS 9 and OS X 10.11 El Capitan happening this October. We’ll have a round table of local experts on hand to take you through some fo the major changes to these platforms coming this fall, as well as whether or not your favorite tools are ready to help administer these updates.

We’ll also have some opportunity to talk about our fall schedule, as well as react to Wednesday’s Apple Event.

Thanks very much to AnswerWare for hosting us for this meetup! We’ll be adjourning someplace close by for lunch after the event.

If you’ve got a topic to add, please drop our organizers a note at

200 North Glebe Road
Arlington, VA 22203