Revisiting Custom QuickAdd Packages

With new Apple hardware now available on the market, I've found myself revisiting alternative methods for provisioning and re-provisioning Mac hardware. Interest in "non-imaging" provisioning methods has ebbs and flows in the MacAdmin community, and seems to be at the forefront yet again due to the reading of tea leaves and testing old workflows on new hardware that can (and might in the future) have unexpected and undesirable results. Last year I started toying with the idea of a customized QuickAdd package when it was looking like DEP wasn't a possibility at my old shop. New Macs (especially brand new hardware models) often come with forked OS builds that accommodate new features that the OS installer from the App Store has yet to include. If you buy a new machine, then wipe the shipped OS and install your own (or even delete the entire drive and all partitions), you may find yourself gambling when you don't need to.

Anyway. I'm not here to stern-parent-stare you, other people can do that. ಠ_ಠ

Back to the QuickAdd package.

So the build of the QuickAdd package changed slightly with JSS/Jamf Pro version 9.9, which included a new location of the jamf binary to behave well with recently-added SIP restrictions. Jamf also changed around the components of the QuickAdd package and binary installer. As of 9.96, it looks something like this:



Because of the binary moving to /usr/local/, the  postinstall script in the QuickAdd package is slightly different as well.

Fave Friday

Getting AD User Details with NoMAD and Extension Attributes

Although NoMAD is still in it's development/beta stages, it is already proving to be an incredibly handy tool for lots of organizations. Tom Bridge summed it up pretty nicely:
It feels a little silly to be so excited about something so simple as NoMAD, but there’s nothing simple about NoMAD behind the scenes. It’s doing a lot of heavy lifting that you’d usually need binding to accomplish. Preventing the complication of binding simplifies your Mac environment. On the Macadmins.org Podcast recently, we spent an hour talking with Joel Rennich about just that.
 

From the device user's perspective, NoMAD is a menubar utility that shows password expiration and provides handy one-click access to things like Self Service ("Get Software"), a help desk portal or Bomgar session (configurable in the "Get Help" option), and much more.

Settings can be put in place with a robust list of preference keys, and these can be applied with Configuration Profiles. Once the preferences are set and an AD user account has been signed in, details of the account a written to a preference file called com.trusourcelabs.nomad.plist, located in the logged-in user's Preferences.

If you run defaults read com.trusourcelabs.nomad.plist on a computer with NoMAD installed and configured, you'll get some fun details about the account, including some information that will be presented much like the following:

AutoCasperNBI 101: Restorable DMGs

So let's say you're in an environment where there are too many hoops to jump through to set up a NetBoot. Or you simply don't have the pieces in place to make one work. Did you know that AutoCasperNBI can generate a restorable DMG that you can use to make a boot disk on an external drive or USB?

Fun fact: it can.

Another fun fact: using AutoCasperNBI to do this is way better than building it out from scratch.

Here's how it works.

Prerequisites

- A Mac (VM or otherwise) running the most recent version of macOS
- AutoDMG
- AutoCasperNBI
- A copy of Casper Imaging.app
- A fast read/write speed external drive or USB stick (my recommendation)

Building the base OS installer with AutoDMG

AutoCasperNBI requires an OS installer built with AutoDMG, so we'll start with building that OS installer.

1. On a VM or other available Mac, download the latest version of the macOS installer app from the App Store.


2. Open AutoDMG and drag the OS installer into the drop area.


3. AutoDMG will check for available updates, and allow you to download them to include in the OS installer you're about to build.


4. Once the updates are downloaded (if needed), Build the OS installer.


AutoDMG will finish building the OS installer, with the progress visible in the dialog that appears. You can also follow along in the log.



5. Locate the OS installer just built. This is the OS.dmg you'll need to make your Restorable disk image.

Updates to Self Service Info Scripts

Hey y'all, just a quick note that I adjusted two of my Self Service info scripts to utilize jamfHelper rather than cocoaDialog. I did this because having to install another helper app is annoying, and because I'm always trying to keep my jamfHelper game fresh.

The first update is to the Browser Info dialog, which is just a script that runs on a machine to let someone know what versions of the major browsers they're running.



The result looks something like this:



The other updated I made was to the Computer Info dialog, which gets basic hardware and network connection details for a user on demand.

Sunday Stuff: Strange



We're super excited to go see Doctor Strange today! I may just have to pick up this sweet design as a poster or shirt (or coaster for my desk at work… Ript is awesome because they do more than just t-shirts). I imagine the Cumberbatch fans would love this portrait too.

Happy Sunday!

Time to do some homework: Apple Support docs for the late-2016 MacBooks are now online



If you head over to Apple's Support site and do a quick search for "late-2016" you'll find all sorts of goodies, including:

- Connect with Thunderbolt 2 on your late-2016 MacBook Pro

This doc includes links to Apple's recommended adapters for using older style peripherals with the new USB-C/Thunderbolt 3 ports on the updated Macs.

- Start up your MacBook Pro by opening it or plugging it in

This doc talks about the updated startup behavior of the new Macs, including the fact that opening the lid of the Mac, even if it's not connected to power, will turn it on.

- About the power tone your MacBook or MacBook Pro makes when you plug it in

This doc points out that the new MacBooks make a power tone a few seconds after you connect them to their AC power adapter.