MacTech Pro Denver 2019: A Day of Learning and Networking

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On April 24, I wasn’t writing for Apple World Today — instead, I was having my tech tank refilled at MacTech Pro Denver 2019. The MacTech Pro regional conferences are designed to give tech professionals who support Apple devices a chance to catch up on the latest developments in the Apple space, as well as have a chance to network with others.

Organized by longtime MacTech publisher and conference guru Neil Ticktin and orchestrated by Session Chair Weldon Dodd of Rewind Technologies, the event covered the gamut of topics dealing with technical support of Apple users.

The morning started with a session on Support Desk Systems by JD Strong of Strong Solutions in Spokane, Washington. Strong noted that handling trouble tickets by email isn’t a bad thing if it works for your organization, but then outlined a number of benefits of common support desk systems that are available.

I personally found the session titled “What is Good Wi-Fi in 2019?” by CommunicaONE’s Eddie Forero to be one of the most fascinating of the day. Forero is one of a relative handful of Certified Wireless Networking Experts and he did a great job of explaining the pros and cons of current 2.4 and 5 GHz wireless networks as well as getting the conference attendees excited about the upcoming WiFi 6 standard. Forero blogs at BadFi.com.

Andrew Urbaczewski of the Daniels College of Business at the University of Denver then talked about Backup Strategies for a Cloud Infrastructure. The topic really brought to light the concept that although we all put a lot of faith in cloud storage, we need to consider what happens when our cloud solution goes down…

Conference organizer Neil Ticktin then focused on continuity planning and the benefits to an organization of having a plan to keep business systems going strong after the unthinkable occurs. We had a quick talk about IBM Cloud Services — needless to say, IBM (which is Apple’s biggest IT partner) can handle just about any cloud

Conference Session Chair Weldon Dodd had a fascinating talk on “Swiftly Scripting the Command Line”, basically showing how Apple’s Swift programming language can be used to automate a number of everyday functions, and how it’s “swiftly” replacing some of the older scripting interpreters that will soon be deprecated from macOS.

Zero Trust Networking was the next topic, expertly covered by Todd Ness of Veritas Technologies. Zero Trust Networking is a new security model that is based on the idea of not trusting anyone by default — even those already inside the network perimeter.

I was a speaker at this year’s Denver conference, talking on Mobilizing Your Mobile Warrior with iOS. As longtime AWT readers know, I’ve pretty much chosen iOS (and the 2018 iPad Pro) as my mobile computing platform, and the talk covered the variety of concerns that need to be addressed by support professionals prior to making a commitment to a large iOS deployment.

I’ve written a continuing series of articles on the demise of OS X Server for MacSales.com, so Alexander Adams’ (CTCI) look at the history behind OS X Server and why Apple has abandoned it was enlightening. He also discussed in detail the various solutions that can still be installed on Macs to turn them into full servers.

Throughout the day there was ample time to meet fellow Apple support professionals, which is always one of the highlights of the MacTech Pro regional conferences.

There are six more events coming up through September:

  • San Francisco — May 22, 2019

  • Washington, D.C. — June 26, 2019

  • Chicago — July 17, 2019

  • Atlanta — July 31, 2019

  • Houston — August 28, 2019

  • New York — September 18, 2019

If you do any sort of Apple device support, take one day off and attend this event. It’s well worth the investment in time and money.