03 Jun 2018
I have been accepted as a speaker at MacAdmins Conference at Penn State this July 10-13. This will be my 6th year in attendance but my first year speaking. My talk, Automating a Great On-boarding Experience will touch on using outset, munkipkg, scripts and profiles to deliver organization content, settings and preferences to user accounts.
I love this conference and the community around it and I am very excited for the chance to join the ranks of speakers.
27 Feb 2018
We use Box for file storage and sharing. Box has an excellent file management experience in the browser with the addition of Box Edit for interacting with native apps like Microsoft Word. But old habits die hard and employees love their Finder and so we have Box Sync scattered throughout a few offices. But Sync’s days are numbered as Box has been running a public beta of their new Box Drive app which offers a hybrid webdav/FUSE experience that presents like a local file server connection.
There are a couple of issues to consider as we look at deploying Box Drive. The showstopper at this point is the guidance driectly from Box that Drive and Sync cannot co-exist on the same Mac. Also, there is the matter of the “beta” label. The headline feature keeping Box Drive in beta is offline file access, which many Sync users “cannot live without”.
As we move to a more employee-centric self-service model, I want to make Drive available as an optional install in Managed Software Center, but I don’t want to offer it to my Box Sync users yet. I cannot assume they will read the app description. I cannot even assume putting up a pre-install alert informing the employee that they will lose offline access will result in a full understanding of the implications of moving at this point in time. My solution is to check the local machine for the existence of Box Sync.app and prevent it from being offered to those employees.
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19 Feb 2018
ScanSnap scanners are extremely popular among my clients. They are fast, efficient, and output a high-quality PDF. The ScanSnap Manager application makes it simple for average users to very simply create powerful workflows that include running OCR (Optical Character Recognition), rule-based filing and other type and quality modifications.
With its software distribution strategy, Fujitsu has thrown out the tenants of good packaging. If you go to the installer download page you get a package that assumes that all installations are completed by the user and worse, includes a slew of additional components for their Automatic Online Update (AOU) software which is only Automatic in that it prompts the user to go through a painful and confusing process of installing multiple packages with multiple password prompts and DMGs and packages mounting and unmounting in userland. Did I mention that the Update process itself takes forever*?
Fujitsu does offer an installer that does not install the AOU components, but like its big sister, it also assumes you are running the installer manually as a logged in user and breaks as many of the rules of good packaging as possible including running unnecessary commands in both preinstall and postinstall scripts, triggering Wizards and popping up show-stopper user prompts using AppleScript (!). Both installers are just bad.
We are going to have to rip this baby apart, modify both the preinstall and postinstall scripts, and then put it all back together and test the hell out of it to see if our assumptions are correct and the installer does not stall or fail to create a usable application.
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