On the first day of MacIT, it’s traditional for the members of the advisory board to say what they’re looking forward to. Arek Dreyer went first, and he cited the hallway track as the thing that he’s most looking forward to. He’s right: even at a conference with the most amazing content, the hallway track is often one of the most useful tracks at a conference. It’s a huge miss when conference organizers forget about the importance of the hallway track.
This afternoon, I got to be a part of the hallway track in action. I was talking to another member of the advisory board and one of the MacIT speakers. Someone came up to us, and asked what we knew about network security. She referenced a question that she had asked during the security talk this morning. None of us are network experts, nor are we security experts, but we’ve all picked up bits and pieces over the years. She explained her situation as we looked at her error logs.
We came up with a plan of attack, both short-term to address the issue that she found, and long-term to address the likely root cause of the problem. We talked about how to figure out what levers to pull within her organization to make it possible to do the long-term fixes. We shared our own war stories about our own experiences with issues and figuring out exactly what dance is needed to get something done. And we reassured her: yes, she really did have an issue, and yes, her issue is resolvable.
This is why I love the hallway track. None of us had the complete answer. Together, we were able to talk through her problem, brainstorm ideas for how to address it, and come up with what felt like the right way to address it in her environment with her team. We worked together, came up with some potential solutions, and identified more resources that she can use back home when she doesn’t conveniently run into people in the hallway. We all learned something in the process, and we helped out a member of our community.
That is the power of the hallway track.
I spent most of this morning on one of my tasks as a member of the MacIT advisory board: reviewing submissions. It’s a hard task: there’s a lot of great submissions, and there’s not room for all of them. Complicating matters is the need to select not only great individual sessions, but a group of sessions that will come together and somehow create a cohesive conference.
Work is ongoing, so those who submitted ideas will be notified in the coming weeks. I hope to see all of you in Santa Clara, CA, on July 14-16.
Great advice from Sarah Mei about how to approach writing conference proposals, including this:
If you relentlessly focus on answering “Why?”, your proposal will get more interest, more attendees, and better reviews.
I especially like that she takes a real example and breaks down ways to improve it. If you’re thinking about what you’ll submit to MacIT 2015, reading this will help you get into a frame of mind to create a great proposal.
I’ve been way too busy to write up a post about how awesome MacIT 2014 was this year. For now, I’ll post public links to presentations that I’ve found:
For those of you who attended MacIT 2014, all of the presentations should be available on the website.
There were plenty of tweets during the week, including lots of pictures (many of which are pictures of slides). The hashtags #macit2014 and #macitconf were the ones that I found the most useful.
Edited 2014-04-06, 21:12: added “Essential Security & Risk Fundamentals”.
Edited 2014-04-07, 10:10: added “Building Better Users”.
Edited 2014-04-10, 14:09: added link to github repo for Facebook’s IT tools.
On the eve of MacIT, I give you this wisdom from @sadserver …
If you watch a movie of your life backwards, it’s about a sysadmin who regains youth/happiness as they forget more and more about computers
If you’ll excuse me, I’ll just go have a little existential crisis now. If you’re at MWSF or MacIT, we can cry into our beers together.
The MacIT 2014 Call for Speakers is now live. MacIT will be held in San Francisco, California, on March 26-29, 2014. In short, we’re looking for people who have experience as Mac system administrators who want to share their expertise and network with other Mac sysadmins.
Personally, here are some things for which I’d love to see MacIT proposals:
- creating heterogeneous IT environments — How did you go from a homogeneous environment to a heterogeneous one? What did you learn along the way? What would you do differently? What caused you to move to a heterogeneous environment?
- integrating Macs and iOS into enterprise IT — How did you manage the transition? How did you train your staff? What changes did you have to make to your infrastructure?
- Mac virtualization beyond the desktop — Don’t get me wrong, I love the Fusion team and use it myself, but there’s a lot more to virtualization than just running Fusion on your desktop. What are you using to provide a virtual Mac infrastructure? What kinds of applications are you using in your virtual Mac infrastructure? What kinds of users use your virtual Mac infrastructure?
The Call for Speakers has additional topic ideas, too. Don’t feel limited by what I’ve listed here!
If you’re interested in speaking at MacIT but aren’t sure if you’ve got a good topic, I’d be happy to chat with you and brainstorm an awesome topic for you. Just ping me.