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From the Editor, October 2010

Volume Number: 26
Issue Number: 10
Column Tag: Editorial

From the Editor, October 2010

We're dotting the 'i's and crossing the 't's of all thing MacTech Conference-related. If the postal service is nice to us, you should be receiving this issue prior to the conference. Of course, we hope you're joining us, but whether you are or not, this issue shares many characteristics with the way the conference has come together. The common thread: the curiosity to dig deeper.

That curiosity should lead to new discoveries, and new ways of solving problems. Nowhere is this more evident than in the origin of our cover story. Typically, people in the system administration role have come to rely on third-party software to get things done. From the actual OS (Mac OS X Server, for example) to utilities to make the job easier (Passenger, Casper, Nagios and so on), sys admins weren't the solution creators. That trend has thankfully been changing over time, and as a result, we're seeing great solutions from sys admins turned developer. For a prime example, look no further than Munki, by long-time MacTech author Greg Neagle (in addition to the many other hats he wears).

I'll let Greg's article speak for itself, but it's an excellent example of someone that identified a problem and just didn't wait for a solution to float by. Check it out in, "Managing Software Installs with Munki."

Another way you can take control, rather than to just live with the environment an OS manufacturer gives you is to use third party apps (or, again, create your own apps). This month's Mac in the Shell talks about OS-wide productivity extensions that enhance the way you interact with the computer. Namely, lessen the reliance on the mouse and keep your hands on the keyboard. Just like working in a shell....hmmmm.

The Consultant Cowboy series for people already on their own, or looking to jump out on their own, is back with some new lessons and food for thought. This month looks at the mentality required to handle the good times, and bad, of being your own boss.

Another example in this common thread of creation: a review of Maker Faire. Maker Faire is an amazing display of creativity and ingenuity in making things. Fun things, things that solve problems and things that teach, all created by an amazing group of "Makers." One can only create in a vacuum for so long. Events like Maker Faire are excellent ways of getting out and exchanging ideas with other like-minded people.

Frequent contributor José Cruz also found the 'dig-in' spirit with this month's article, "The Receipts Database." José asked, "how does this work" repeatedly until he understood how the new receipts for packages are stored. Now he shares it with you - something every system admin should understand.

Developer to Developer this month introduces (or recaps) how memory is managed in Objective-C. This is such a fundamental and important topic when writing code, take the time to really understand it. Boisy makes it easy for you, sure, but it's incredible at how often people trip over this subject.

Mike Hjörleifsson's CoreSec article asks an important question: "Is Your Mail Really Safe?" While the specific example revolves around e-mail, there are broader lines drawn for other electronic communication and data.

The MacTech Spotlight this month highlights Andrew Pepperell, the developer of a new productivity application for Mac OS X called Alfred. We're hoping to see much more from Andrew and his Running With Crayons venture in the future.

Until next month, stay curious.

Ed Marczak,

Executive Editor

 

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