November 28, 2011
So the book evidently went off to the place where dead trees are turned into books. I'm guessing that means any updates to the ebook version will happen really soon as well. (As far as pricing policy, that's PeachPit. I know I've pushed for them to be cool, but ultimately, that decision is out of my hands.) I am also informed that this may be the first book from PeachPit containing the words:
"scut" (as in scut work)
So I seem to have made some history there. Again, to quote Jay Sherman:
BUY MY BOOK
BUY MY BOOK
BUY MY BOOK
:-D| Comments ()
November 19, 2011
Adobe CS installers, three years later
Back in 2008, I wrote a rant raged like an apoplectic wolverine about Adobe CS 3 installers. It wasn't the first time I'd ranted about Adobe installers, not even close. But something about that one touched a chord. I find out later it's getting sent to all kinds of people at Adobe. I find out at the 2008 WWDC that CS engineers were also passing it to the installer team, and telling me, amusingly enough, that I was being far too kind and I should beat them harder. Let me point out that the CS3 rage had this bon mot:
I like some of the individuals that work for Adobe, but holy fucking hell, I'd rather be a taste-tester for "2 Girls 1 Cup Part 2: The Habanero Highway" than install Adobe products.
yet I was being too kind. Clearly, more people hated this than I thought. Shortly after that first post, I discovered that CS3 had screwed up an existing Acrobat install. The uninstaller didn't work right. Of course, it wasn't just CS. Adobe Digital Editions had its time in my sun. (Seriously, if nothing else, Amazon, Apple and everyone else not making Adobe the major software vendor for ebooks? Love them for that.)
OF course, the Acrobat team was contributing to this mess as well with their stupidity of non-universal versions of Reader, and Nosso installers disguised as package installers. CS 4 comes out, things do not get better. The "must log in as an administrator to update" crap is stil there. Updates locking up my machine, when they work at all, 2008 was not a good year for the Adobe Installer team.
Now, when I started ranting, I expected nothing from Adobe. I was being rude, profanely so, not terribly constructive, etc. I didn't really care, I was just pissed and needed to vent about it. But bizarrely, I start getting phone calls and emails from the installer team. They're not...happy with what I'm saying, but because I'm not wrong, and because I seem...I dunno, willing to communicate(? beats me), and because I guess my name keeps coming up, well, they start talking to me, not at me, and I return the favor. They were taking me seriously. WTF?
In December of 2008, they invite me out to San Jose to talk to them, and the meeting goes...well. They don't try to bullshit me, and we end up doing a lot of talking about future solutions. I tell them they need to not hide from people so much, and they need to do their own work. It's not enough for third parties like Jamf to have CS repackagers, Adobe has to do that. It goes well, but hey talk is cheap.
2009 starts out less than stellar for Adobe, but a curious thing happens. I start seeing Adobe people in my comments, giving some humorous back and forth, and pointing out where I'm right about things being just bugs, and where even if I think it's stupid, some things are the result of deliberate design. I'm kind of happy about that. I may not agree with them, but they're communicating in public, a step in the right direction. In February of 2009, the Installer team gets a blog up. It's not all fun and games and for a while, I just yank CS4 off my machine, it can't stay working for shit due to licensing issues. But, they're trying. The installer team posts some neat stuff about the history of CS installers, that went into some interesting detail. They even posted a list of what all that crap CS4 installed was, for both Mac OS X and Windows. That was unexpected, but awesome, because at least now, there was some way to make sense of it all. They even started talking about CS5, a little.
Starting in 2010, there's still more communication. Why do we have to close Firefox to install CS3? They even ventured out of their lair to meet and talk with their customers in person at Macworld Expo. I was in that session, they did a good job, didn't hide, answered questions directly. Pretty awesome all the way around. 2010 was also the year CS5 shipped. There were some early screwups with Growl, that the installer team handeled nigh-perfectly: they apologized for their mistake, and fixed it. They also published a list of the payloads in CS5, but even bigger, they released AAMEE, (Adobe Application Manager, Enterprise Edition. Now THERE'S a name), the first version of a tool that let you take the Adobe installers and repackage them into native installers.
It wasn't perfect. It mostly takes the entire Adobe installer, jams a huge shell script in there, and runs the Adobe installer from within the package, but, it had two benefits that in my mind, outweighed that:
- It created an installer that let you use it with the installer tools that ship on every Mac, including
- AAMEE also let you install CS5 via Apple Remote Desktop, and include updates in that initial install, even though you had to download the updates manually.
So no, it wasn't perfect, it took forever to go from 95% to done, and if anyone started a browser or an Adobe product in the middle of it, it failed, but it was a huge improvement over the past. For the first time, Adobe, not a third party but Adobe had done their own work and given us a way to make the installation not suck. I used the heck out of it, because it allowed me to create custom partial installers, (something I had a regular need for), with remarkably little effort.
They created a site that does nothing but track Creative Suite updates, making our lives just a little easier. This wasn't some big effort to do, but it really is a help to those of us who like to not be surprised by updates. They created more tools, one to manage serialization of exsisting CS installs, and a software update server that you could host in house. Again, not perfect, (I never could get version one of that thing to work), but they were steps in the right direction. They were actual work being done by Adobe to make the lives of Windows and Mac(!) administrators easier, and they updated AAMEE again.
Steady incremental progress beats doing nothing unless its perfect every time. (A lesson the Acrobat team could stand to learn. A lesson a lot of teams could learn.)
2011 starts off, and we have CS5.5, and new versions of the AAMEE and the AUSST (the CS software update server). AAMEE 2.0 now goes out and grabs all updates for you, so whenever you create an install package, it can be completely up to date, and you don't have to download the updates yourself. Very nice, since downloading Adobe updates manually, to put a point on it, sucks. (That's not just Adobe. It seems every large company has a dedicated team of web designers devoted to making the downloads of application updates suck. Adobe, VMware, Microsoft, Apple. All y'all, stop it.) In addition, AAMEE 2.0 finally, finally lets you include Acrobat in the damned installer. Yes, it's only Acrobat X but for once, for once, Acrobat is not some damned pain in the ass elite kid who won't play nice with others. (Okay, the application itself still reflects extreme disdain for Mac users, but this at least de-pains the install quite a bit.)
For me, the big improvement in AUSST 2.0 was that it finally worked! (Working is important!) It also handles both CS5 and CS5.5 installs with aplomb, (I love that word. "Aplomb". So awkward to say and write, for a word that means pretty much the opposite of awkward.) I like things that make my life easier, and I even more like things that work AND make my life easier. Yes, I do have AUSST running on my network. It's pretty awesome to get updates at GigE speeds instead of internet connection speeds. Heck, they even test those products with Lion to make sure they work. Oooooh.
Then we get AAMEE 2.1, which allows you to update existing packages, so they're always up to date, and they add support in AAME for more than just CS. Adds some nice features like "remembering where installers and packages are", better Lion and Apple Remote Desktop 3.5 support, and even checks to see if there's an AAMEE update when you launch it. Nothing huge, but again, steady incremental improvements, including some small things that make your life just a little nicer.
So where are we now?
I have to say, installing CS5.5 is as different from installing CS3 as I could possibly imagine. The only things the two experiences have in common, really is the word "Adobe" and the letters "C" and "S". Is it perfect? No, of course not. For example, AUSST could check for new updates without me having to create a launch daemon that runs the check operation. AAMEE still requires you to point it at the exact folder with the installer in it instead of the root CS5(.5) <version> folder. It would be really nice if AAMEE would see you have an AUSST set up and look at that instead of Adobe's servers when you build packages, (it does save a bit of time). The packages AAMEE creates are still not as "native" as they could be, and really, one day, I hope we don't need AAMEE at all. AAMEE packages are still unable to handle things like running web browsers/Adobe software well. Those things, especially web browsers should cause a background install via ARD to fail. It's kind of annoying.
Well...about that "not needing AAMEE at all" thing. To be honest, I'm not as into that as I was. I like the features that AAMEE gives me in terms of slipstreaming updates into the install package. Apple's tools should do that as well or as easily for install images. Yes. I know. I just said I like Adobe's install tools better than Apple's. Well, in some ways they are better. Adobe changed my data, I'd be stupid to keep the same opinion I had years ago. At this point, I'd rather AAMEE just improve the quality of the packages they create than for me to not be able to use AAMEE any more. It's a really nice tool, I like it verra much. (Actually, it's rather boring. When I started using 2.1 to make the images, my minion was all excited because she wanted to learn how. After about five minutes, she said "That's all you have to do? Boring." It seems odd, but for Adobe installer building to now be so simple as to be "boring"? That's a huge compliment.)
Overall, Adobe has done exactly what I and every IT manager with a clue wanted: They have made things better, and they haven't stopped making things better. Will they ever be perfect? Doubtful, since you can't get everyone to agree on what "perfect" is. But they've improved, hugely and steadily and in some ways, exceeded what I ever expected them to do. At this point, other companies, like Apple and Microsoft could stand to have the Adobe installer team help them.
However, none of this, none of this would have happened had the Adobe installer team gone the Marco Arment/Indie dev route, and not listened because I and others weren't being "nice". They didn't demand we talk all pretty or any of that stupidity. They realized that if their work was making me or anyone that relentlessly angry and frustrated, something was wrong, and maybe, just maybe, it was their fault. They listened. They reached out. They engaged, they talked, they acted, and they didn't stop listening or acting. I'm mildly annoyed they won't be at Macworld Expo this year, but that's mostly because I wanted to tell them this in person too.
But since I probably won't be able to then, Jody and the rest of the team: Good job folks, and thank you. Thank you for listening to harsh words, and instead of turning your backs, facing them, and then creating great tools that make my life, and a lot of people's lives easier. It may not ever be perfect, but it is definitely better. I'll take that and smile. Keep it up!| Comments ()
November 17, 2011
Acrobat X has the same network home bug as Acrobat 9
So, contrary to PR, if you're running Acrobat X on a Mac, (well, there's your first problem), you're probably going to hit a situation wherein it won't launch or work on a Mac with network homes. The fix is essentially the same as it was in Acrobat 9. Only instead of:
(Do this as the user in question, not an administrator user.)
- Create /Users/Shared/9.0_x86 (there's a different version for PPC, but who cares)
- Go to ~/Library/Application Support/Adobe/Acrobat/ and trash the 9.0_x86 folder, (and the 9.0_ppc folder if it exists) contained within
- In Terminal enter: ln -s /Users/Shared/9.0_x86 ~/Library/Application\ Support/Adobe/Acrobat/9.0_x86
- Create /Users/Shared/10.0
- Go to ~/Library/Application Support/Adobe/Acrobat/ and trash the 10.0 folder contained within.
- In Terminal enter: ln -s /Users/Shared/10.0 ~/Library/Application\ Support/Adobe/Acrobat/10.0
Awesome job guys. Thanks.| Comments ()
November 16, 2011
A comment to Matt Tabbi
Made to this blog post, which lost much of what it could have been by an overreliance on foxconn...
As part of the public, I think we all need closer to 1,000 points for our support of companies like foxconn et al. Across the history of Apple, including "the good old days" when they manufactured their stuff right here in the US, everyone, from customers, to competitors, to pundits bagged on them mercilessly for being overpriced.
Quality, innovation, none of that mattered. YOU'RE TOO EXPENSIVE! We beat them because they weren't cheap enough. So, like a dog, they learned. They learned how to be cheap. Now, we're all shocked, SHOCKED that this involves getting stuff made in places like China and Brazil where rule of law is based on how rich you are and human life is cheap.
If we are going to castigate Steve Jobs and every other consumer electronics company for this behavior, then just like drug addicts, we need to blame ourselves as much. We want our toys cheap, and if some brown or yellow kids have to suffer, well, what can you do? For every point you give Steve for Foxconn, we deserve at least a half point, if not more than a point. We, the american consumer demanded this stuff as cheaply as possible, and now that Apple and other companies are delivering, we suddenly get a case of the vapors about the ugly details? Don't ever learn how candy is made.
Actually, I think we the public get another quarter-point for every one of Steve's points for our raging hypocrisy. Do we castigate Amazon? Barnes and Noble? Nintendo? Nokia? Microsoft? Sony Ericsson? HP? Dell? Do we hold them accountable the way we demand Apple be? No. So we have decided that it is ONLY bad for Apple to do this. If your iPhone is made by kids on a line, that's EEEEEEVIL. But your Gameboy? Oh well, that's okay. (The irony, the rich irony of kids working on a gameboy is pretty awesome too. Maybe that's why we shouldn't speak up.)
Apple didn't create foxconn. We did. We cannot expect our dealer to behave honorably when we make it clear we don't want them to. Next we'll be shocked that the local smack dealers are not actually nice people.
I'd also like to point out that unlike pretty much every other computer maker, Apple *didn't* outsource all its support to India and China. Instead, that group works out of Austin. So while Dell, and all the other Foxconn customers shipped thousands of jobs overseas, Apple didn't.
Does that excuse Foxconn? Of course not. But maybe the assholishness of Steve Jobs is a bit more nuanced than you wish to think.| Comments ()
November 15, 2011
Yet APPLE is evil??
sigh.| Comments ()
November 14, 2011
A companion piece
Charles Edge wrote a great bit about resumes, one of the few I agree with on almost every point. Enough to where I'd like to expand upon some of his points.
Don’t send me infected files. If you write your resume in Word, virus scan it before you send it to me (I actually feel the need to say this as I’ve gotten at least 50 over the years that were riddled with stupid Macro-viruses).
In addition, send me what I ask for. If I ask for text, PDF, or PNG, send me that. Don't assume you know better than I about the format I wish to have things in. You don't, and by not sending me the right format, you show you don't listen or pay attention to detail for shit. Fail.
Also, for the love of christ, NAME YOUR FILE CORRECTLY. "resume.pdf" is not it correct. "johnsmithresume.pdf" is correct. Don't make me read your resume to see who it's from so I can rename it. Let's see, what's easier:
- See file called "resume.pdf"
- Open/quickview file to see who send it
- Give the file a decent name
- Delete that file
Oooh, delete wins. Sucks to be you.
Don’t list technology that you saw once (or maybe you didn’t see but you think maybe you saw or at least think maybe you discussed in a meeting). Instead, list the stuff you actually know something about because I will more than likely ask you a technical question about any technology you put on your resume. And the more arcane that hardware or piece of technology is, or the more uncommon it is, the more I just want to ask about it because it intrigues me.
Aka: Don't bullshit me. Really, just stop even trying. This kind of thing is just an attempt to drown me in crap, and I really resent it. Especially when I'm asking for a Mac/Linux administrator, and you're telling me about Cobol compilers.
Spell check your resume. I write books, so I’m a bit funny about spelling errors, especially when they’re underlined with lame squiggly marks in the document you sent me, indicating that they were likely blatant on your machine had you cared enough to actually look.
Attention to detail. That's what spelling and grammar are. On one of the most important documents you create, the one that will help you support yourself and your family better, if not at all, you should really make sure to check this shit.
Be succinct. I don’t need a 30 page play-by-play of every time you called a support desk to have them fix a problem for you instead of doing it yourself. The ability to communicate succinctly (whether in the written form, on a call or in person) is one of the more underrated job skills to look for when hiring, no matter what the blathering in this post indicates.
Make it appropriate. I don't care how long your resume is as much as what is there being of use. If you're applying for a sysadmin job, don't tell me about your awesome game programming skills. I don't care, and you just told me to not hire you, you want to be a game programmer.
Don’t claim to have worked for someone that you didn’t work for who I personally know.
I know that Charles has a really big "little black book" of industry contacts, bigger than mine, and mine is not small. Lying about such things, especially in the relatively small world of Mac IT is going to bite you in the ass, now, and for years to come. Don't ever outright lie on a resume, you'll make it worth my while to fuck with you. For example, I had someone wishing to be a vendor try to bullshit me. Made him wait ten minutes after getting there, then lead him and his partner to a meeting room via the most confusing way possible. They couldn't leave on their own, and so for the next 45 minutes, I had the worlds most Wallyriffic 15-minute meeting. I told rambling stories, lost track of where I was, even though five minutes in, I'd told them we couldn't use their services. Had he not bullshitted me, he wouldn't have even had to waste the gas to come out. But he did, and so I tortured him for almost an hour. In the hottest room in the building. He made it worth my while to fuck with him.
Don’t tell me where and when you went to high school. Especially if you’re over 40…
Unless this is your first post-school job, I don't care what your GPA is. If you've ten years of experience, telling me about your GPA just means you've not really read your own resume, or you're overly impressed with the past. Neither is good.
Do list relevant job experience succinctly and relevant post-high school education.
RE-LE-VANT. I'm fine with a longer resume if what I read is relevant. I'm even fine with one listing a job you had ten or more years ago, if it applies to the job you're seeking now. Wasting my time is a far greater sin than a 1.1-page resume.
I lied, there are actually 21 (I can lie, you can’t). Don’t tell me your sex (I can probably guess that part), age (why do you think I don’t want to know what year you graduated high school), sexual orientation, race or anything else I’m not legally supposed to ask about during the interview process. I have never ever ever given a crap about any of it. I only want to know if you’re awesome at computer stuff, not who ya’ shag.
Trust me, if you make it to the interview, I'll be able to tell gender pretty quick. And I still won't care. Nor will I care who you do, when you do them, or how. Unless you plan on doing them at work while I watch. Then I'll care a great deal, just not in any way that works out well for you. There's exactly one person whose sex life matters to me. You're not her. Really. Okay two, but you're not Catherine Zeta-Jones either.| Comments ()
November 8, 2011
I love my wife SO much
If you don't know about "Elevatorgate", be happy. No, don't look it up, it's a fucking stupid nontroversy, but far be it from me to turn down an argument. So anyway, in the midst of all this, one of the more stupid players says, and I quote:
I would like to know if Melissa Welch is aware of the fact that she has been quoted using such profane language and such a guttural theme when speaking about Jason, as part of all this.
Now those of you who know my awesome wife are already flinching, because well...yeah. So many, many baaaaad mistakes there. Now, being the good husband (and professional asshole) that I am, I of course tell her about this. The iChat that followed was epic. (Random stuff about new cat names left in, too much work to edit out. Plus, the cat name debate is important. To us at least.) Presented for your approval, Why I Love My Wife (Note: it's a really looong image. May take a sec to load):
Yeah. See, I just yell and grouse a lot. Melissa? She's really more evil than I am. Breaking people is her hobby. Just ask the Beard.| Comments ()
November 4, 2011
For all the Gates vs. Jobs Charity Deathmatch people...
How much of this charity did Gates do before he stepped back from Microsoft vs. after he stepped back from Microsoft?| Comments ()
November 3, 2011
How to license ESXi 5
Because VMWare's UI and help guides a) suck and b) are kind of wrong:
- Open the vSphere Client and connect to the server you wish to license
- Double-click on "Inventory" in the "Inventory" section.
- Select the ESXi host, not any of the VMs, and then click on the "Configuration" tab on the right.
- In the "Software" section, click on "Licensed Features"
- On the right, click the "Edit..." link. (It's near the top of the licensed features section on the right.)
- Click "Assign a new license key to this host", then click the "Enter Key" button.
That vSphere client, that's some slammin' UI.| Comments ()