MacTech Conference November 8, 2013 at 4:58 pm

MacTech Conference 2013 (Day 2)

Day two of the MacTech conference was packed with sessions and activities from start to finish. The morning started with breakfast and a vendor sponsored session. The first speaker of the morning was Peter Hosey, discussing Great User Interfaces. This session discussed the Philosophy behind good user design and specific things that one should pay paid attention to when designing an interface. Peter’s premise was that you should assume the user is competent and has things they need to get done. One idea was that it is never the user’s fault if the app is difficult to use, the fault lies with a bad UI. Some basic principals that Peter mentioned were preventing the user from having to think about their next move. If the UI steps don’t flow naturally and operate with little thought, it is probably a bad UI. If you design any user-facing interfaces for your organization, definitely check out the slides and/or videos from Peter’s session. Another session that was intriguing was the LiveCode session with Richard Gaskin. If you happen to be in a position where you must build tools that work cross platform, LiveCode seems like it could be a good option. LiveCode essentially uses a Lua-inspired coding language that can build apps for various platforms, including OS X, Linux, Windows, iOS and Android. Some of the use cases for LiveCode were cross-platform dashboards, reporting systems and training systems. LiveCode seems like it could be very useful, especially in a cross-platform environment. Richard walked the participants through making a simple application and it was actually pretty easy to do. If it seems like LiveCode could fit a need in your organization, you can check it out on their website. In the last time slot of the day, Sam Marshall presented on Reverse Engineering 101. Sam went through several useful tools for everything from disassembling compiled binaries to peeking at memory contents and manipulating them. This topic is extremely complex, but the basics, logic and reasoning were presented clearly and concisely. For the resources from Sam’s presentation, see the Reverse Engineering Resources. The night ended with an Apple-themed Game Show hosted by Andy Ihnatko in which followed by a trip to an arcade with go-karts, laser tag and various other fun activities. Most importantly, an In-N-Out food truck was set up at the family fun center, which was a huge hit for dinner. Part of what makes MacTech such a great conference are the great social activities that are planned for each night and this was no exception. There is nothing quite like racing fellow Mac Admins on go-karts or vanquishing the other team in Laser Tag. All these activities allowed us to grow together as a community and possibly even get to know each other on a more human, non-digital level.

Nate Walck

Nate is a Systems Reliability Engineer at Dropbox, Inc in San Francisco, CA. He runs along with Sam Keeley and is one of the founding members of the ##osx-server IRC channel on He loves being involved in the Mac Admin community and using Open Source projects whenever possible, especially Munki, The Luggage and Puppet.

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