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208: Nights of the Residential Roundtable - Part One

Command Control Power listeners, sign up for the next MacTech Pro Event in your area.  Dates are ongoing.  Register using the link http://pro.mactech.com/go/ccp/ to receive $299 off event registration!

Meet our guests for the Residential Roundtable discussion:

Adam Rice - With 18 years' experience in IT, web development, and project management, Adam solves technology problems and design technology solutions for home users and small businesses. He also coaches individuals in time & task management and organization.
http://adamrice.org
@adamriceorg

Andy Espo of Call Andy Macintosh Consulting - With small business and high-end residential as their market focus, Call Andy Macintosh Consulting provides strategic technology and process management consulting along with installation and support for Macintosh computers, iOS deployment and networks.
http://www.callandy.com
@andyespo

Remie Cremers of Super Remie - Remie has been using Apple products since 2008 and loved it so much that he decided to make a job out of it.  In 2013 he started Super Remie.  Whether you need advice, a workshop, or a complete installing of all of your hard- and software, he's your man.
https://superremie.nl
@RemieCremers

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

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

068: Motor City

Recorded live on September 16, 2014

Sam's Detroit fast food field trip - old school McDonalds

- 1 Infinite Loop Branded Flak Jacket for those tough road trips - image

- brief discussion of iPhone 6 vs. iPhone 6 Plus; Jerry points out that iPhone 6 has similar footprint to iPhone 5 in Mophie Air case; see also this helpful on-screen size comparison

- Sam follows up about his client with an HP motherboard issue, which HP diagnosed as a bad drive; HP’s hired tech took the hard drive and “completely forgot” about it

- Jerry discusses pitching Watchman Monitoring - When signing up for Watchman, Tweet the hashtag #ccpsentme and let them know you heard about Watchman product here.

- benefit of a personalized “pitch” email written with TextExpander, vs. a generic newsletter; see also Greg Scown, co-founder of Smile, discussing the new TextExpander touch 3

- check out the 1Password App Extension for iOS 8; another example of iOS 8 changing the game for developers and users

- Mac malware/adware discussion; search Google for "Adobe Flash Player" and check out the ad at the top; claims to install Adobe Flash, but shows the Firefox logo, and actually installs Geneo; why doesn’t Google block these ads? why doesn’t Apple block the installer?

- Thomas Reed, author of TheSafeMac.com, writes about recent Mac adware and Apple’s minimal response; also maintains AdwareMedic

Channel Camp registration is open

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.

047: You Can't Make 'Em Drink

Recorded live April 22, 2014

Sponsored by Smile.  Check out PDFPen for Mac, iPad, and iPhone – our go-to PDF editor.  Add annotations, edit text, even script annotations using AppleScript.  Visit smilesoftware.com/restart for more information.

Topics:

- Jerry's Heartbleed email response and password changing using 1Password; comparison to Dashlane

- Jerry's client with a confusing email address

- AOL accounts frequently being compromised lately; AOL servers rejecting some messages temporarily; Joe's anecdote about a client changing his AOL password from a four-letter name to something slightly more secure

- Sam's 40-iPad deployment

- scripting PDFpen to generate PDFs; see "Imprint All Pages With Text" script included with PDFPen for Mac as a starting point

- Sam signed his first Managed Services client!

- including proactive monitoring using Watchman Monitoring in a Managed Services agreement; see also: Allen's Sample Agreement

- Joe signed his first subscription clients using MoonClerk

- 10.9.3 Beta Access

- Pebble is finally really good now; Apple's wearable coming soon?

- Dyn.com discontinuing free Dynamic DNS serviceno-ip offers a replacement service

- Joe's SMB Terror: for every machine on the network, configure: Login Items, Dock aliases, Documents aliases, other file/folder aliases (for each find kind:alias in This Mac, show original, show original, check connection, locate file on afp share, fix alias), Finder sidebar favorites, Keychains, Go: Connect to Server recents and server favorites

disable Bonjour service advertisements on the Mavericks server using this command:

defaults write /System/Library/LaunchDaemons/com.apple.mDNSResponder ProgramArguments -array "/usr/sbin/mDNSResponder" "-launchd" "-NoMulticastAdvertisements"

see also: Apple's KB article

- disable SMB on shares not accessed from Windows machines

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!

026: Interview with Greg Brasher, Field Sales Executive for Rackspace

Recorded on November 5, 2013

Topics:

- RackSpace offers Exchange hosting, mail hosting, managed SharePoint hosting

- public cloud vs. private cloud vs. hybrid

- "Fanatical Support" and the Fanatical Straightjacket award ceremony

- O'Fixies, the internal support "bar" at RackSpace HQ

- OpenStack, partnership with NASA; open source, massively scaleable cloud operating system

- RackSpace Partner Network and how ACNs can benefit from it

- Cloud Sites

- Hybrid cloud

Plus:

- the challenges of hiring someone to grow your consulting practice: very important to find someone who's willing to follow through, who can keep a commitment, who has a good work ethic, and who works well as a team player

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

003: The ACN Office - marketing, finding clients, working with AppleCare, the Apple Store

Episode three of Command-Control-power features a wide-ranging conversation with Joe, Sam, and Jerry discussing the topic of The ACN Office.

Topics: 

  • marketing to existing clients, incentivizing referrals vs. mass marketing to public; relative quality of leads
  • Constant Contact, MailChimp, My Emma, Campaign Monitor
  • sticking with what you know vs. "the devil you don't know"; clients also trust a known entity
  • finding clients, never having needed to seek out clients before now
  • PR; marketing
  • press releases in local publications; working with non-profits to get one's name out
  • OnForce vs. ACN
  • Intro to Business at the Apple Store presentation includes an ACN slide; tip from Apple Store Business Manager
  • retail turnover in the Apple Store, especially in the Business Team
  • tip from local Apple Store about increasing ACN referrals
  • working harder to get new business?
  • "Sales"
  • Managed Services vs. Break/Fix
  • revenue streams; recurring fees
  • Wellness Visits, i.e. preventive maintenance
  • running a managed offsite backup service using CrashPlan
  • offering email and web hosting services
  • RackSpace offices in San Antonio, a former mall
  • recurring revenue streams, no matter how small; residuals
  • benefit of referrals from Apple Store; clients feel Apple endorses us
  • a day in the life of an ACN
  • next week: Live from Advanced Camp!

Mentions

Craig Cohen (@ccohen), Arek Dreyer (@arekdreyer), Ben Greisler (@magikben).