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087: Joe's Birthday Bash

Recorded live on February 3, 2015

This week's show has been brought to you by the good folks at Blue Mango Learning Systems, makers of Clarify. Visit Clarify-It.com to download a free trial of Clarify, and start creating how-to's and instructional documents today – and help others be great. Use coupon code CCPSENTME for 15% off.

Topics:

- Joe complains about the Windows 7 installation process, follow up to Jerry's point about Windows last week: 1) select appropriate version of Windows; 2) buy Windows 7 from Amazon; 3) wait for physical delivery; 4) insert Windows disc and run installer 5) enter product key when prompted; 6) update Windows updater & restart 7) install 174 updates.

- Wren Sound having a sale on current lineup; planning Bluetooth/AirPlay combo units coming soon - BONUS: CCP Listeners Who Enter The Code giffin50 at the Wren Sound Store get an additional $50 off! Bringing the total to $199 from the Wren Sound Store http://wrensound.com
This speaker has been rated by The Wirecutter as one of the best AirPlay speakers you can buy - http://thewirecutter.com/reviews/best-airplay-speaker/

- Tim Nyberg asks about client purchases: Apple Store affiliate program vs. Apple Store vs. Apple Authorized Reseller

- Alexis Cornellier asks about what tools we use for diagnostics; Joe recommends SoftRAID for its SMART status analysis

- Sam advises that Word 2011 may have sporadic issues saving to a sever with the word "file" in the share name

- iOS 8 GMT bug, which manifests as a "PST" bug for Joe

- Sam deals with an "email tough-guy"

- Jerry debates "you lie" vs. "new parakeet" - 
Monty Python "Dead Parrot" Sketch

086: Apple Store Goes Above and Beyond

- Joe's Apple Store followup: they fixed it!

- project-based billing considerations

- writing proposals, including an onsite followup to give the client (and consultant) a level of comfort that any unforeseen issues can be resolved because you're standing by

- clients taking your well-designed proposal with specifications and shopping around to other consultants

084: New Year's Resolutions 2015, Part 2

Recorded live on January 6, 2015

Many thanks to our sponsor this week, Watchman Monitoring. We use and highly recommend Watchman Monitoring. Sign up for your free trial at watchmanmonitoring.com/cmdctrlpwr.  New Year promotion for people who subscribe: and add the agent to any 20 computers in 30 days and get Custom Branding for 1/2 off.

Topic:

- Business Resolutions for the New Year

083: New Year's Resolutions 2015, Part 1

Recorded live on January 6, 2015

This week's show has been brought to you by the good folks at Blue Mango Learning Systems, makers of Clarify. Visit Clarify-It.com to download a free trial of Clarify, and start creating how-to's and instructional documents today – and help others be great. Use coupon code CCPSENTME for 15% off.

Topics:

- helping family members around the holidays (Jerry sent a newsletter!)

- Comcast shipping new modem/router combos which include an open wifi network; Sam had issues with port forwarding and Comcast doesn't support it

- warning clients and family to be careful trying to follow instructions they find online: "stop if you see the word Terminal"

- we appeared on MacVoices again!

- the need to exercise the tech muscle when you go from being a one man show to hiring someone, to avoid getting rusty

078: Spelunking for Yasmite

Recorded live on November 25, 2014

Thanks to Smile, makers of TextExpander touch, for sponsoring this week's Command Control Power! Visit smilesoftware.com/restart to learn more.

Topics:

- helping clients with their "Flash Drive Plug-in"

- Joe noticed Contacts app is better about pasting in an address, automatically parsing city, state, and zip

- trouble with DiskMakerX? createinstallmedia works great for Mavericks, Yosemite, etc.

- difficulty cloning copies of Yosemite installer using latest version of CCC? Disk Utility block copy works

- CCC works perfectly to copy all the data from a failing drive with directory corruption; Disk Utility thought there were only 30GB of data on the drive, but there were actually 235GB; CCC got it all; after rebuilding the directory and repeating the clone using CCC, no additional data needed to be copied; great support from Mike Bombich

- Sam recounts flash storage becoming inaccessible on new MacBook Pro

- Sam explains the pitfalls of restoring the Microsoft User Data folder from Time Machine backup

- Jerry discusses a recent client interaction from which we can all learn something

- how to restore Calendar from Time Machine backup

- we discuss strategies for billing for those unexpectedly-long resolutions; Sam recommends communicating at regular intervals

077: Trust No One, Yoseminite Sam

Recorded on November 19, 2014

Topics

- Jerry bails out Joe onsite, and diagnoses an issue where a specific website wouldn't load or respond to pings from a client location, but loaded fine from elsewhere; turned out to be a block on the client's static IP due to three failed login attempts

- we discuss clients trying to set things up and fix things themselves

 Yoseminite Sam: a no-nonsense guy

Yoseminite Sam: a no-nonsense guy

- do you give clients easy access to their servers, e.g. Screen Sharing?

- Sam lands a client on bowtie alone: "I'm a no-nonsense guy, and you look like a no-nonsense guy too."

- what's your dress code for consulting?

- Joe details troubleshooting serious permissions issues in Yosemite after a prior "consultant" tried to set up shared calendars

- how do you bill for extensive cleanup work like the saga Joe describes?

- Joe notices a pattern to Security Questions answered by a prior consultant

074: Managed Services Refresher with Luis Giraldo of Ook and MonkeyBox

Recorded live on October 28, 2014

This week we're thrilled to be sponsored by Smile, makers of TextExpander – which just got a whole lot better with iOS 8 and custom keyboards. Visit smilesoftware.com/restart to learn more.  Try TextExpander for free and tell your clients!

Thanks to Luis Giraldo for joining us once again to discuss Managed Services.

How does one Quantify the Value of Managed Services?

MonkeyBox integrates with Watchman Monitoring

Previously:
010: Managed Services discussion with Luis Giraldo
041: Managed Services Roundtable with Allen Hancock, Luis Giraldo, and Kevin Ginger, Part 1
042: Managed Services Roundtable with Allen Hancock, Luis Giraldo, and Kevin Ginger, Part 2

063: Entrepreneurial Spirit

Recorded live on August 12, 2014

Topics:

- origin stories: how we (Jerry, Sam, and Joe) got into this racket

- how to make the transition: going from working for a company to working for yourself

- moonlighting vs. jumping in with both feet

- is entrepreneurship "in the blood"?

Also:

- Aces Conf in New Orleans, LA, May 2015; acesconf.com; great opportunity to see Luis Giraldo of Ook and Justin Esgar of Virtua Computers talk shop and focus on business processes

060: Server, Services, and Such

Recorded on July 8, 2014, aired on July 22, 2014

Sponsored by Smile. Check out Smilesoftware.com for a great screencast from David Sparks about PDFPen for Mac, and to learn why you should use and recommend Smile's awesome software to your clients.

Still boots!

Topics

- MacBook Air torqued

- creative client interpretations of rates and service offerings

- Managed Services discussion; revisiting Easing into Managed Services

- Jerry recommends AJA System Test with the following settings: "MBytes/sec", File I/O API: Unix, "Round frame sizes to 4 KB", "Enable network volumes", Test: Disk Read/Write, Video Frame Size: 1920x1080 10-bit RGB, File Size: 1GB, "Disable file system cache"

- Jerry's legal firm successfully replaced Mac mini Server with Synology

- "working off the server" vs. copying files locally for editing and then copying back to server

- scheduled server restart to work around SMB service interruption? Sam suggests scheduling a launchd job to stop and then start SMB using serveradmin command

- Jerry recommends TP-LINK TL-WR710N 150Mbps Wireless N Mini Pocket Router with USB port for storage for streaming movies to iPad when traveling

054: Interview with Brian Best from BestMacs and Mac-MSP Gruntwork

Recorded live June 10, 2014

- Brian got started on the Mac in the days of nine-inch monochrome screens and System 6; began working on Macs professionally in 1996; started BestMacs in 1999

- when transforming his consultancy to Managed Services, Brian developed a suite of tools in-house to be released under the Mac-MSP brand; the first to be released is Gruntwork for automating maintenance; a remote screen sharing and remote login (SSH) tool called Blue Sky is coming soon

- Gruntwork can be compared to CasperSuite; uses Munki for software updates

- the importance of working more on the business instead of in the business as the business grows

- Mac-MSP offers discounts to Apple Consultants Network members and subscribers of Watchman Monitoring

- going "all in" when transitioning to Managed Services from hourly billing: having a referral to another consultant ready for clients who don't want Managed Services helps avoid leaving clients in the lurch

- Allen's "Personal Support" plan; Easing Into Managed Services

- Gruntwork proudly displays the service provider's branding; demonstrates value by reminding users that maintenance is being run

- @Siracusa: Gruntwork will run a live disk verification, and if it fails, will automatically restart in Single User mode, run the disk repair, log the result, restart normally, and report the result #HFS+

- Apple should buy Alsoft and build DiskWarrior into the Recovery Partition and diskutil

- how to price managed services; don't undercharge, match the old pricing at a minimum

- demo videos at mac-msp.com/demo

Special note from Smile this week: We're offering a 20% discount on licenses to PDFpen and PDFpenPro, and we'll donate a matching license of PDFpen or PDFpenPro to the nonprofit of a user's choice. We're calling it "Get a Little, Give a Lot."  To participate, purchase a single user, family pack, or office pack license of PDFpen or PDFpenPro from the Smile web store using the coupon code “nonprofit” during the week of June 9th through 15th. Once the order is complete, forward your confirmation email to nonprofit@smilesoftware.com and include the following information about the nonprofit: Name of nonprofit, Contact at nonprofit, Email of contact.

044: Tales from Decrypt

Recorded live April 1, 2014

Topics:

- Sam is growing the practice

- freeing up time to do business development, plan projects, talk to clients

- travel charge?

- how to reimburse employee for mileage

- use PDFPen to strike through or highlight line items on invoice

- to send or not to send the zero balance invoice

- advising clients about billing for two techs on certain projects

- Jerry’s MacBook Air lockout; manual decrypt using command line

- issues with users connecting via SMB to Mavericks Server

042: Managed Services Roundtable with Allen Hancock, Luis Giraldo, and Kevin Ginger, Part 2

Recorded March 2, 2014

Sponsored by MoonClerk

This is part two of a special two-part Managed Services roundtable feature six members of the Apple Consultants Network, discussing the benefits of a Managed Services pricing model and how to transition a traditional hourly-billing consultancy into offering Managed Services.

Thanks to our brand new sponsor, MoonClerk – an easy and inexpensive way to collect recurring payments for your subscription services.

Thanks also to our special guests for this roundtable:

Allen Hancock, The Orchard Solutions and Watchman Monitoring
Luis Giraldo, Ook Enterprises and MonkeyBox
Kevin Ginger, kGinger Consulting

Topics:

- offering clients "self service" options through CasperSuite or RobotCloud

- building a "book of service" to work toward an exit plan for your consultancy; building something of value; getting acquired

- the benefits of talking about your service offerings to get comfortable pitching them to clients

- the fact is, servers should be managed proactively to ensure reliability, and Managed Services is a natural way to provide proactive services, billed automatically on a monthly basis consistent with the way services are rendered

- with Mission Critical services, the consultant takes on a psychological burden to ensure that the services keep working; Managed Services makes it equitable for the consultant

Resources:

https://groups.google.com/forum/#!forum/acn-alumni

http://watchmanmonitoring.com/acn-benefit

https://www.watchmanmonitoring.com/sample-agreement/

http://mhelpdesk.com/better-way-to-inform-customers-about-how-they-are-being-billed/

http://community.watchmanmonitoring.com

http://mac-msp.com

Value-Based Fees by Alan Weiss

Small Biz Thoughts by Karl W. Palachuk

Tools:

Watchman Monitoring

MonkeyBox

MoonClerk

ZenDesk

mHelpDesk

TeamViewer

Support menu by Forget Computers

RobotCloud

Casper Suite

Backup Minder

041: Managed Services Roundtable with Allen Hancock, Luis Giraldo, and Kevin Ginger, Part 1

Recorded March 2, 2014

Sponsored by MoonClerk

This is part one of a special two-part Managed Services roundtable feature six members of the Apple Consultants Network, discussing the benefits of a Managed Services pricing model and how to transition a traditional hourly-billing consultancy into offering Managed Services.

Thanks to our brand new sponsor, MoonClerk – an easy and inexpensive way to collect recurring payments for your subscription services.

Thanks also to our special guests for this roundtable:
Allen Hancock, The Orchard Solutions and Watchman Monitoring
Luis Giraldo, Ook Enterprises and MonkeyBox
Kevin Ginger, kGinger Consulting

Topics:

- using half-day and full-day rates to discourage "tire-kickers" and very infrequent break-fix clients, helping to position Managed Services as a better alternative

- should a Managed Services Provider include Help Desk services? end-user training? value-adds vs. just keeping the systems running

- transitioning from "one-man-show" to managed services consultancy; see also: CCP 013: Easing into Managed Services with Allen Hancock and 010: Managed Services discussion with Luis Giraldo

- developing systems for consistency, standardization to improve efficiency

Quantifying the Value of Managed Services blog post by Luis

- "first 15 minutes free for $_/mo" is a good first step; relieves burden bulk hours

- business clients are more efficient billing-wise, and from the perspective of delivering value

- residential clients are higher-maintenance, higher-touch, more-demanding, and less efficient

- yet, Allen points out that residential clients can be more satisfying to work with, and when charging hourly it doesn't matter because they all pay the same rate

- enforcing the use of a help desk ticketing system

- user training: why should users use your ticketing system?

- reminding clients to restart

Memorable lines:

- "Hourly billing breeds inefficiency." – Luis (see also: "how hourly billing is the scum of the Earth" in 010: Managed Services discussion with Luis Giraldo)

"All inclusive billing breeds efficiency." – Luis

"We hate spending time tracking time." – Luis

"Allen, is there any way to wire that support menu to a restart command?" – Joe
"And we don't need to save, right?" – Allen
"If they call, their call can be directed to voicemail if they haven't restarted." – Joe
"Spoken like a true 'break/fix man'." – Luis

036: Low Hanging Fruit & Slow Paying Clients

Recorded live February 4, 2014

Topics:

- dealing with clients who are slow to pay

- recurring payment processing options: Ryan said, "jotform.com for cheap forms with Stripe recurring payments" and Allen said "keep the card with Merchant Warehouse; stripe will do this on its own; or recurly.com"

- serving on the ACN Advisory Council as a way to get more involved and give back to the community 

- Printers going off-line and needing to be power cycled

- why kernel_task sometimes pegs the CPU at 100% or more: seems to be related to throttling CPU intensive tasks to cool the system down when it's too warm by prioritizing simpler system tasks

- re: recent discussion on Accidental Tech Podcast about pitfalls in modern technology that our kids will think were crazy: no one mentioned passwords!

020: Client Anecdotes & Rates

Recorded Live October 8, 2013

Topics:

- Quicken 2007 for Lion; migrating from Quicken 2003

- Sam's story about his client's self-help attempt: the client diagnosed a server's startup disk failing, erased the Time Machine backup, cloned a copy of the data to it, and then when the clone wouldn't boot, they called their trusted advisor (Sam) to swoop in and heroically save the day.

- liquid spills, and the accompanying story

- what to do when a client declines a backup recommendation

- Jerry's story of the need for a consultant to support legacy equipment

- Joe raised his rates recently; here's how

- new services; group class offering; break-even analysis

Memorable Lines:

"Step 1: Diagnose drive failure; step 2: erase the backup." - Joe

Picks of the Week:

PowerBookMedic.com 

SignMyPad.com  

015: Unplugging and Unwinding

Recorded Live on September 3, 2013

Topics:

- subcontracting for another consultancy

- OnForce

- what we do to unplug and unwind: stare at the wall, sail, hike/backpack, camp, kayak, run, play soccer, play poker, walk, listen to music, listen to podcasts, do yoga

- what you do to unplug and unwind: cook, row, do karate

- podcast recommendations

- standing desk recommendations

Picks of the Week:

TeamViewer and join.me – Jerry

Passenger – Sam

Delivery Status – Joe

Mentions:

Downcast

Kangaroo Adjustable Height Desks (not to be confused with Kanguru.com flash drives!)

014: Pricing Roundtable

Recorded Live on 8/27/2013

Sam, Jerry, and Joe discuss rates and pricing after a digression into Mac OS X Server services.

Followup:

- Jerry reports that Find My Mac only works on WiFi; only works when WiFi network interface is listed first in Network preferences set service order; requires Recovery Partition

Topics:

- password manager frustrations; Apple's opportunity to solve the problem with iPhone 5S and iCloud Keychain

- Jerry mentions Ryan Block's idea to prevent iPhone from turning off unless passcode was entered to improve security and allow Find My iPhone

- Sam discusses using Profile Manager to enable Remote Wipe without iCloud

- Mac OS X Server services discussion; in-house email hosting considerations

- rates discussion: how to charge; minimums; project-based billing vs. hourly

- onsite/phone/remote; labor; diagnostics fee; travel time

- discount for contracts/prepaid hours

- whether to post rates on the website

- remote support options: ARD over VPN, join.meTeamViewer

- remote hard drive shredding vs. occupying space on the workbench to securely erase

013: Easing into Managed Services with Allen Hancock

Joe, Jerry, and Sam are joined by Allen Hancock of The Orchard Solutions and Watchman Monitoring to discuss Allen's "hybrid" Managed Services model.  Allen offers a "Personal Support" option including unlimited quick phone calls and emails for $25/month per person.

Topics:

- Sam discusses some of the stresses associated with Apple Professional Services (APS) projects; normally as consultants we have flexibility and can work directly with clients to address unforeseen issues; but in the case of APS, due to travel and other agreements, APS gigs must be completed in the allotted timeframe which adds pressure

- Sam updates us on his hiring process; interested consultants in the CT-NY-NJ area should contact @IAMSamValencia

- Jerry reports difficulty with Find My Mac on machines with a static IP address; to be continued

- Jerry brings up the pitfalls of full disk encryption using FileVault 2 on an unattended server; in case of an unexpected or soft restart, the system will boot to the FileVault 2 unlock screen, prompting for the encryption password before the system starts up or any services start; this prevents any kind of remote access via screen sharing or remote login; Apple provides a command line tool (fdesetup authrestart) to perform a one-time restart that bypasses the initial unlock; however, this doesn't help if the machine has lost power or become unresponsive; a KVM-over-IP device can solve that, but typically requires a Java app on the client machine to access the remote machine

- Allen identifies a common problem for consultants: how to track and bill for all those random emails and quick phone calls

- Allen's solution: "Personal Support" @ $25 per month, per person; includes unlimited quick emails or phone calls. He estimates this part of his Support Agreement earns him about $2500/month after 1.5 years, based 100 people who subscribed.

- Clients paying monthly for unlimited quick questions encourages them to call on a whim; this leads to billable work too, since anything over 15 minutes would be a billable consultation

- He also offers a Proactive Monitoring service: collecting $10/month per computer; ($15/month for all the computers in a house) results in more billable work as machines report issues to consultant and consultant notifies client with recommended resolution

- His monitoring service received much more uptake; 350 monitored computers bringing in an additional $3000 a month.

- Had two techs on staff at the time.

Mentions:

- ProSoft Data Rescue

Memorable Lines:

- "Death by a thousand 5-minute emails" – Joe