Photo by Carlos Muza
If you’d like to hear more from Tonya and me, we had an awfully good time on the Mac Admins podcast, hosted by Tom Bridge, Charles Edge, and Marcus Ransom, in the 17 December 2018 episode, “Screw Your Shoes with Adam and Tonya Engst.” And yes, we’ll explain the podcast title, talk about how a squirrel ate our Internet connection, and admit that we’re racked with guilt about Internet advertising. As you’d probably expect, we also talk a lot about Internet technical publishing. Give it a listen—it’s a ton of fun.
While you’re at the Mac Admins site, if you’re a serious geek, and especially if you’re an Apple admin, I also encourage you to check out the 12 December 2018 episode, “The One with Apple.” That’s because the hosts pulled off a major coup in booking Apple’s Jeremy Butcher (Enterprise Product Marketing) and Doug Brooks (Mac Hardware Product Marketing) as guests and getting official approval from Apple to release the episode afterward. It’s unusual for Apple employees to speak in public—often when I’ve seen Apple presentations at conferences, they’re given on the condition that nothing said may be quoted publicly.
Much of the conversation won’t be of interest (or perhaps even understandable) to the average Mac user, but I thought two bits were generally notable. First was a nice summary of what the T2 chip does in modern Macs, which breaks down to security and integration. On the security side, the T2 enables Secure Boot, includes the Secure Enclave that stores private data locally, and makes Touch ID possible on the MacBook Pro and MacBook Air.
On the integration side of things, I hadn’t realized the level to which the T2 takes over from previously discrete logic board components, such as the System Management Controller, the audio controller, the camera’s image signal processor, and the SSD controller. Security and integration also meet in one interesting spot—apparently, the T2 physically disconnects the microphone on the MacBook Air when the lid is closed to ensure that it can’t be used to spy on you.
Second, in response to a direct question from Charles Edge about whether Apple product managers and developers are looking at online forums, the Apple guys said, “We are huge consumers of customer feedback and developer feedback. We might not always participate, but we are eager to listen and so we’ve got folks paying attention to all that stuff.… We listen voraciously.” I wonder how true that is outside of the enterprise world, but it’s good to hear that at least some parts of Apple are paying attention to what users say online.
Finally, I was impressed to hear that the Mac Admins hosts switched to Group FaceTime in honor of their Apple guests, and it reportedly worked well. That hadn’t been our experience in previous tests for TidBITS group calls, so we’ll have to give it another try.