Weekly shows every Tuesday – since 2013!

Your Apple consultancy can sponsor the show!

253: Interview with Justin Maxwell of Smith.ai & Keypad


Justin Maxwell of Smith.ai and Keypad joins us for an incredibly informative and in depth interview.  Most recently the design lead for Google’s Android Auto, Justin has designed products and built teams for Google, Apple, Mint (Intuit), Sony, and plenty of startups along the way.  Here are two of Justin's offerings that we discuss on Command Control Power:

-Smith.ai is a superior call answering & intake service for small & solo businesses. Their live, U.S.-based virtual receptionists capture & qualify leads, book new clients, and build better relationships with your existing clients.

-Keypad is the most advanced & affordable cloud phone system for small businesses.  Keypad offers call routing, call analytics, and many customizations to help you track your performance, and convert more leads.

-Justin takes us through not only the story of how he brought these businesses to life but his life at Apple as an interaction designer for Apple.com

-As we talk Smith.ai, Justin describes the look and feel of the site and how it relates to their customers

-Smith.ai acts as your virtual receptionist, to provide a layer between customers and your business.  At the same time, they are able to weed out all of the spam or unnecessary calls.

-Justin was mint.com's first UX hire and gave him good perspective on small businesses and their needs

-Their team essentially followed around small businesses over the course of a Summer to figure out what their needs were and what they found was that phone calls were the biggest pain point

-Instead of being a brick & mortar company, they utilized VoIP technology and highly skilled employees working from their locations

-"It all starts with a phone call"

-Jerry can't imagine running his business without Smith.ai at this point.  Even just not having to answer calls at client sites to try and make a sale

-Smith.ai's system uses machine learning to help the receptionists make the right decisions over the course of a call and provide the correct answers, versus reading from a script

-Joe & Justin discuss their easy to understand pricing as opposed to minute based pricing

-Keypad is an excellent complement to the Smith.ai service.  Instead of using services like Ring Central, Google Voice or Grasshopper, which can add latency to a call, they developed Keypad.

-You can sign up for the beta of Keypad here

-Simplicity is a focus of Keypad because of feedback the team has received about similar service offerings

-Justin discusses analytics to understand when volume is high or knowing when you need additional support

-Jerry mentions a possible higher tier offering for VIP support and how to tie it in to our monthly services plans

-Joe signs up right here on the show!

-Look out for service offerings in the chat space from Justin's team

248: Interview with Jeramy LeCompte and Daniel Allen of FLEXdesk by Rooted Consulting


We have the great pleasure of having not one, but two guests on this week.  Jeramy LeCompte and Daniel Allen of Rooted Consulting join us to talk about their outsourced help desk service, FLEXdesk.

Jeramy lecompte

Jeramy lecompte

daniel allen

daniel allen

FLEXdesk is a flexible, outsourced HelpDesk service that allows you to quickly and easily scale your business with a highly qualified and experienced team without adding the expenses associated with traditional employees. This allows you to focus on customer support and gives you peace of mind to provide a great customer experience.

-Daniel answers some questions regarding minimum requirements and overall logistics of onboarding new clients

-Jeramy also talks about providing tier 1 and tier 2 support for their customers as well as offering tier 3 when necessary.

-Everyone on the FLEXdesk team has obtained at least Apple Certified Support Professional status

-They discuss the challenges that all teams face when dealing with a new end user that may be unfamiliar with the personnel

-Documentation is key and makes the handoff seamless to the FLEXdesk team

-Some benefits of FLEXdesk:
    -Allows you to free up time to focus on building your business
    -Takes out the need to hire a full time employee
    -Reduces costs in training and on-boarding 

-Scheduling and prioritizing is a critical aspect of how they operate

-Looking to get started?  Email support@rootedconsulting.org to reach out to a member of the team.  Or visit www.rootedconsulting.org/flexdesk


244: Victory From The Jaws Of Defeat



-This week we are proud to be sponsored by FLEXdesk, an offering from our friends at Rooted Consulting.  FLEXdesk - Help Desk support that grows with you

-Sam shares a story where a client has some confusion with hardware

-Social media and clients.  Do they mix? 

-Joe shares a story about a client calling and saying the keyboards were not working at their retail store so they couldn't check out customers. We walked through looking for a battery compartment or a way to plug them in, but they didn't seem to have any way to change batteries or charge them. Then Joe remembered that the Logitech keyboards are solar powered and wonders if something changed in the environment. Client said they recently replaced all the lights with energy efficient LEDs! Apparently the new LED lights are so efficient, they don't have any spare light to charge the keyboards (or more likely, they aren't the right wavelength of light to work with the solar panels).

-Sam talks about voice recognition when meeting someone in person

-After upgrading a hard drive on a 27" iMac, Sam realizes he needed to fix the hinge.  He found an excellent option from The Mac Hack. As it turns out, a site that Joe knows well.

-Joe investigates a situation where sent mail doesn't show in the client's Sent mailbox. Mail.app was configured to BCC the client on all emails, and Gmail was deleting the copy from his Sent when the copy in the Inbox was deleted.

-Sam recounts being at JFK Airport in New York City when the emergency alert system was used to warn of a water main break in the next terminal and wonders if iBeacon was used to alert only people in the airport.

Hawaii warning.jpg

-We discuss the recent false alarm in Hawaii which also used the emergency alert system, and while Joe can't help but introduce a conspiratorial angle, it was likely due to bad design. Perhaps Heinlein's Razor (or Hanlon's Razor) – "Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity" – applies here.

-followup on Episode 236: MacBook Pro - Turn Back Time re: Temp user can not be deleted. Joe noticed that when migrating to a clean install of 10.13.2, Migration Assistant prompts to re-enter some users' passwords. For non-admin users, it changes passwords to a temporary password (looks like one generated by Keychain Assistant) and then prompts the user to change it upon first login. Could this be related to the root login issue? And/or to Joe’s Temp user issue? Note the difference in behavior when using Reset Password vs. Change Password. Joe bets that it's related to the method of storing the password hash – maybe there’s a less secure format for legacy accounts with longstanding passwords, which Apple has now deprecated?

237: Beeping not Clicking

- Justin Esgar of the ACEs Conference and Will O'Neal, President of Mid-Atlantic Computer Solutions, join us to discuss ACEs 2018 in Baltimore, MD

- listeners get a 10% discount on ACEs Conference: https://acesconf.com/go/ccp

- Sam helped his Mom with iOS 11 update

- Jerry has MacBook Pro followup: he upgraded to a two year old machine

- buying on eBay

- selling used Macs on eBay or Mac Of All Trades

- Johnny Ive responds to criticism of MacBook Pro

- iPhone X impressions

- Sam fixed a failing drive that was beeping, not clicking: Opened up 2.5” hard drive to repair (moved the heads into park position while turning platter counterclockwise (it was beeping, NOT clicking)


The Piezoelectric Effect

- Text Expander Snippet For Email Advice

- High Sierra PSA courtesy of Jason Campbell, ZMS Consulting:

“Scenerio: A Mac workstation running High Sierra is working off a Mac server. The Mac server is running macOS Server.app 5. 

Issue: The lock files generated when opening files that live on the Mac server aren’t deleting when the file is closed. This causes ‘file in use’ messages when trying to open the file again. It times out in about 10 minutes but still another reason to hold off on upgrading businesses to High Sierra. Apple engineers are aware of this and are working to resolve.”

Credit to Jeff Satterwhite for finding the issue. He’s the owner of Post Mod Tech out of Austin, TX. He’s a longstanding ACN member and FileMaker developer. 

Thanks to our Patrons for sponsoring Command Control Power!

216: The Hokey Pokey

We're sponsored this week by Watchman Monitoring, a favorite tool of ours that should be in every professional consultant's toolkit.

Visit WatchmanMonitoring.com/cmdctrlpwr and sign up for your free trial to find out how Watchman Monitoring can keep an eye on your client machines and notify you of over 100 issues. Be sure to tweet @cmdctrlpwr #CCPsentme to support the show!


  • Joe talks about slow systems that have not been upgraded.

  • Joe offers a PSA: it's not possible to create an iCloud.com email address beginning with a number, but the Mac doesn't specify the error when it fails for this reason. Thankfully, the error message was specified on the iPhone. Also, there's a limit of three iCloud accounts created per device from a Mac, iPhone, or iPad.

  • Joe talks about building a Frankenstein MacBook Pro that needed the firmware password reset. Mac EFI Reset Tool to the rescue!

  • Jerry mentions delaminating screens and Staingate.

  • Joe mentions yet another PSA about it being impossible to turn off two-factor on some Apple IDs created in iOS 10.3 or macOS 10.12.4.

  • Sam talks about a VMWare Fusion issue, resolved by turning off the floppy drive... in 2017?!

  • We compare the movie Inception to connecting remotely into a Mac running a virtual machine.

  • Sam follows up about logging into any standard user from the login window by using the admin account.

  • We discuss client confusion when setting up Touch ID. Locating the Touch ID sensor behind the screen (a possibility recently discussed on Accidental Tech Podcast) might make this much more clear for clients.

  • Sam discusses feeling like one of his clients – sitting with his Mac in front of the TV, his Mac became haunted... tune in to find out how he exorcised the daemons.

  • Joe wonders what listeners are recommending for antivirus.

  • Joe discusses issues he's seen with malware such as Linky Search changing the homepage in Safari and making it difficult to change or reset.

  • Jerry and Joe discuss the remote power switch capabilities of WattBox and the OvrC app. Thanks to listener Ryan Grimes for the great recommendation!

  • Joe outlines his network failover configuration: main router fails over to WAN2 if WAN1 is down for a few minutes. WattBox power cycles both WAN 1 and WAN 2 modems if WAN still down a couple more minutes. The Cable Modem and Cellular Modem reboot if search engines are unreachable. The Router reboots if search engines and the router are unreachable. (Time Capsule reboots weekly.)

094: Remind me on a website

Recorded on March 17, 2015

This week's show has been brought to you by the fine folks at Backblaze: Online Backup Made Easy. Visit Backblaze.com/ccp to sign up for their Partner Program and ask for your free license of Backblaze. Try Backblaze and see just how great it is!


- Joe thinks Reminders should have the ability to remind me "on a website" (in addition to "on a day" and "at a location"). How great would it be to be reminded when you end up on Amazon or MonoPrice that you need some cable or whatever?

- Apple engineer explains how the new MacBook came to be

- Jerry's funny wifi story

- Sam's Apple Store saga: cracked screen, poorly seated memory, failed migration; seltzer (goes well with sushi – see also: non-alcoholic beer)

- Joe's client attempted a self-directed email server migration at noon on a Wednesday; see also: Episode 077: Trust No One, Yoseminite Sam in regards to a serious permissions issue caused by a prior consultant

- Sam's client turned off Time Machine, but Backblaze saved the day

- Jerry reminds us of Bender, which saved the day for his client

- Joe's CCC praise: migrating to new SSD in new machine, Carbon Copy Cloner identifies drives across reboots, and across different startup disks

- Sam encounters (and solves – remotely) "unapproved caller: SecurityAgent may only be invoked by Apple software"

- Joe teases an upcoming segment about upgrading a client's van

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.


- 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


- 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

075: Hey Siri

Pre-recorded on November 4, 2014

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

Netgear Nighthawk AC1900 Dual Band WiFi Gigabit Router saves the day... wait – what?!

- how to use Hey Siri feature without being connected to power

- how to use Speak Screen feature: Settings > General > Accessibility > Speech and then toggle on Speak Screen. Speak Screen is only available for devices running iOS 8 or higher.

- Jerry's Windows Migration Assistant woes

- Apple Store Stories: they don't check migrated data – anecdotal, or corporate policy?

- we wonder why the mainstream press hasn't paid more attention to the decreasing repairability of the Mac mini

- we address a pressing question from listener Gannon Nordberg: @CmdCtrlpwr I’d love to hear what you guys think about eating meals when onsite with a client. Also, business customer vs. residential

- client foibles: upper caps and lower caps; small caps; x-ing out; UBS port; closing everything when we connect remotely

061: Phony Tech Support

Recorded live on July 29, 2014

- one of Joe's clients fell for a popup window claiming virus infection and imploring her to call phony tech support, who proceeded to run harmless utilities (ping test, CPU History, netstat, top) and claiming they were evidence of malware; paid $300 for two years of support from "Mac"; Joe removed LogMeIn, TeamViewer, and ran a full scan using Sophos Antivirus and removed 8 instances of malware

- Sam's wife received a call from phony tech support; thankfully she proceeded to interrogate the guy about his badge number, company, and credentials until he hung up

- Social Engineering techniques on the rise, demonstrated in this scene from Hackers

- Network World reports: FTC takes out “tech support” scammers; $5.1 million in fines, retribution

- Jerry reminds us to manually remove updates downloaded by Software Update service when no longer needed!

- Joe recovered data from client ZIP disk, wrote AppleScript to convert old Word documents

- xkcd: Automation

- Joe discovered issue with Time Machine failing to complete a backup, with no error messages displayed, due to nesting of folders too deeply: "destination path too long"; not sure how long is too long, but in this case is was over 50 levels deep

045: Tech-Savvy Clients and Migration Assistant Woes

Recorded Live April 8, 2014

Thanks to our sponsor, Drobo. Check out the new Drobo Gen 3 with USB 3.0 – move your disk packs from a Gen 2 (four bay FireWire 800) model into the new Gen 3 for an easy upgrade path and 300-500% improvement in speed!  Visit drobostore.com and use coupon code CCP50 for $50 off your Drobo 5D or Drobo 5N.


ARQ recommended by Jerry for backing up to Amazon S3 or Amazon Glacier

ZyWALL USG50 recommended by Joe for site-to-site VPN tunnels, very stable router

- “cool” clients

- dealing with semi-technical “inside guys” at clients: “don’t open the box”; work from a checklist; “don’t touch the server” and “don’t touch the network”

Ubiquiti PicoStation recommended by Jerry for extending wireless networks outdoors or to another building

- Migration Assistant woes: Plan A, Migration Assistant, hung with less than a minute remaining; Plan B, Carbon Copy Cloner, detected I/O errors; Plan C, restore from Time Machine backup, worked like a charm

- Jerry called it: Migration Assistant was failing due to bad blocks on the source machine

- recommendation before starting Migration Assistant: fully update source machine, verify disk partition map and file system, rebuild disk directory, and check for bad blocks

036: Low Hanging Fruit & Slow Paying Clients

Recorded live February 4, 2014


- 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!

035: Interview with Mike Kingsley, Kingsley MacConsulting

Interview recorded January 21, 2014; Intro recorded on January 28, 2014


- testing Mavericks Server; being Client 0

- using Profile Manager to easily configure CalDAV, CardDAV, VPN services; Sam's trick to save a profile without a user name

- the trial and error of troubleshooting a server leads to uncertainty

using authrestart to bypass FileVault 2 on next restart; installing software updates that require a restart now does this automatically

- force quitting fsck to allow mounting a drive that was failing to mount, even read-only, after letting fsck complete

- using the "security" command to read the contents of the user's keychain


- Mike started his consulting practice in 2004, a great year for Apple

- first computer was an Apple IIe in 1984

- Apple Store has been great source of referrals; helps to think of Apple as a partner, and promote their services like AppleCare and JointVenture

- JointVenture can be a great supplement to help from Apple consultants

- first job was working at Disneyland; customer service was ingrained in the culture and top quality; out of five day training for new hires, three days are purely customer service; helps with consulting: owning issues, taking responsibility; e.g., customer drops ice cream cone, and employee walks customer over to the ice cream stand to facilitate the resolution; how to deal with people who are upset, hearing both sides; if you can't help, who can? 

028: Client Gifting and Consultant Go Bags

Recorded live on November 26, 2013

Follow Up:

Joe installed Knock app last week and noticed that it moved itself from the ~/Downloads folder to the /Applications folder without needing to authenticate despite being logged into a standard user account. Joe checked permissions on /Applications and found that the folder permissions were configured to give Everyone Read/Write access. Repaired permissions for the first time in forever and it corrected this and a few other things.


New Mac Pro on December 3rd?  Expect Promise to release new Pegasus 2 alongside Apple's Mac Pro release.  Look for discounts on original Promise Pegasus models.

Jony Ive biography by Leander Kahney, recommended by Jerry

Fast Company Weekend Reading: An Oral History of Apple

Guest Pass app to generate iOS profile granting temporary access to a wifi network

KeyCard app to lock and unlock your Mac based on iOS device proximity

Indigo for home automation

Nest Thermostat and Smoke Alarm

Client gifts: how to select clients? Contract clients? Nurturing existing client relationships and rekindling old client relationships.

Client gift ideas: chocolate macaroons, iKlear kits, scotch

Tip from Ryan Powell: I gift throughout the year by giving new clients a "new client care package" with little Klear singles, microfiber cloth, referral cards  drive savers pamphlet and an explanation of my monthly support plan. The referral card is a little elevator pitch about the company, short link to the contact form with the promise of a free phone consultation, then when a client books an appointment I'm sure to give the referring client a small account credit as a thank you.

Sending a Thank You cards to new clients

Referral credit vs. something tangible like an iTunes gift card

What's in your Consultant Go Bag? Examples:

  • MagSafe to MagSafe 2
  • Thunderbolt to FireWire
  • Thunderbolt to Ethernet
  • USB to Ethernet
  • Ethernet cables
  • USB flash drive with partitions for Mac OS installations, diagnostics
  • FireWire 400 to 800
  • FireWire 800 to 800
  • USB, mini USB, micro USB
  • USB to Lightning
  • USB to 30-pin
  • iPhone Headphones
  • Tools including screwdrivers, spudger, putty knife
  • Memory assortment for all Intel Macs from lifetimememory.com

Joe's current bag: iBackFlip Somersault

024: Clients Plunging Headfirst into Mavericks

Recorded live on October 29, 2013


- Clients upgrading to Mavericks, and then asking for help

- Jerry's medical practice client finds out MacPractice is not yet Mavericks compatible

- Joe's clients encounter trouble with Juniper VPN and SoftRAID

- Sam's client encounters problems with Zimbra, VPN Tracker

run Mountain Lion in a VM to run apps that do not yet work on Mavericks?

- according to VMWare, "Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard Server, 10.6 Snow Leopard Server, 10.7 Lion client or server and 10.8 Mountain Lion client or server are fully supported on VMware Fusion while running on supported Apple hardware"

- Sam mentions CNET article: External drives experiencing data loss after Mavericks installation

- using Roaring Apps to determine app compatibility with Mavericks

- Sam and Jerry advise us to back up (archive) our OpenDirectory databases; this is built into Time Machine starting with Mac OS X Server 10.7.2 Lion

- Mavericks Prep service? flat rate to review installed apps, check file system, and advise client along a self-guided upgrade

Promise Pegasus 2 and SANLink 2 announced

Follow up:

- John Siracusa tests battery life improvements from Mavericks on 2007 MacBook Pro and finds 25% improvement

020: Client Anecdotes & Rates

Recorded Live October 8, 2013


- 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:



019: Interview with Elaine Kwok, Product Marketing Manager for Promise Technology

Intro Recorded Live on October 1, 2013; Interview Recorded on September 24, 2013

Jerry, Sam, and Joe are pleased to be joined this week by Elaine Kwok, Product Marketing Manager for Promise Technology.

As with the original release of Thunderbolt in 2011, Promise will be first to market with Thunderbolt 2 peripherals to be released alongside the forthcoming Mac Pro redesign later this fall.

We would like to extend our sincere thanks to Elaine for taking the time to discuss the Promise product line with us, especially during this busy time as the company gears up for Thunderbolt 2.  Stay tuned for exciting updates from Promise!

But first, listen to Joe recount his recent data recovery success through his MacGyvering of a hard drive with a broken mini USB connector on the bridge board of a WD MyBook for Mac. The tools at his disposal were as follows: a USB connector salvaged from a non-working donor enclosure; a pair of needle nose pliers; a rubber band; a plastic dust cover from a mini-DVI to DVI adapter; a spare 3.5" hard drive; and a spool of kapton tape. Go!


VTrak E-ClassVTrak A-Class SAN solutions

SANLink Thunderbolt to Fibre Channel adapter

Pegasus R6 RAID Storage

Pegasus J2 portable Thunderbolt SSD & Pegasus J4 2.5" Thunderbolt enclosure


Update – here's just the Elaine Kwok Interview.

017: Client Relationships

Recorded Live on September 17, 2013


- when clients become friends, and friends become clients

- recommending AppleCare+ as an alternative to using a case: $99 for two years, plus $79 service fee per incident, up to two incidents; vs. $649 replacement cost of unlocked 16GB iPhone 5S

- vacation coverage and income when on vacation; "coopetition" as Kim Manitt calls it

Follow up:

- commando vs. case: Joe mentions experience with a client's Body Glove case affecting WiFi performance of iPhone 5; tested with SpeedTest.net

iCloud Keychain removed in iOS 7 GM; to be added back when Mavericks is released?

Picks of the Week:

Tunnel Bear – Jerry

Quick Sig – Sam

Track by 7sols – Joe


- buy AppleCare at B&H to save around 30%

Memorable Lines:

"Type it out or leave it out." – Joe

Sam: "This afternoon I was in four different machines at once and I was doing a pretty good job of it." Jerry: "Did you have to pinch yourself?"