A deep dive with Caleb, cofounder of Macadmins.org and CRE at Kolide.
What do you ACTUALLY do?
I fight for the users.
What types of devices do you support?
I’ve recently pivoted from internal IT support to a customer-facing role. So I guess technically the “device” would be our SaaS.
What’s your favorite piece of tech?
Currently a toss up between the 12″ MacBook (so incredibly portable & I love the keyboard) and the Pixel 2 (excellent design & a clean interface)
What tool or app is most important to your job?
Slack is tops, hands down. As a remote-first company, communication is critical. Plus the wealth of information available to me in the various communities (shout out to MacAdmins) is invaluable.
G Suite, because my whole life, professional & personal, is online. Platform agnostic is one of my mottos, and Google nails it.
Franz & Signal for the sanity-saving non work chatter throughout the day.
Spotify, because sometimes you have to tune out the world.
And of course osquery, which is the foundation of what we do at Kolide.
Do you prefer hands-on, or troubleshooting from afar?
Fixing something in person, seeing the results, and seeing the person’s reaction can be super rewarding. That said, automation & self-solve are beautiful. Everything I do is remote now, so I try to recreate the experience sometimes over Google Meet.
Favorite thing about your IT environment?
I love that we are committed to using our own products (including teammates’ open source tools) internally. Keeps us in touch with the reality that our customers see.
Thing you’d most like to change about it?
We’re still in that phase of figuring out what tools work best for our needs, so we don’t yet have a truly cohesive ecosystem. We’ll get there.
What’s on your desk (tech and not)?
I’ve got a basic but nice sit/stand desk I bought off another member of this coworking space. I rock a 13″ MacBook Pro 2017 (non TouchBar) for my company car, an Intel NUC running Ubuntu 18.04 as a backup (small & cheap but nice LG display), and I have my personal 13″ MacBook Pro (2014). Bender “Bending” Rodriguez keeps me company. I’m experimenting with a couple of different webcam setups, to see what feels most natural. I’ve got a pair of LSTN headphones for music, and an old pair of Apple earbuds as a backup (they don’t override the built-in mic, so they work well for quick video chats). Props if you get the reference in the “keep calm” sign. And of course various mugs & travel cups.
What was your proudest professional moment?
I have a few milestones that are super important to me. But I think that passing my ACMT exam, which is what really kickstarted my career in tech, is the biggest. Prior to that, I had an old manager who once said “there’s no way in hell…” that I’d make it.
Most cringeworthy request?
Probably the time a coworker who needed exactly zero admin access to any internal systems wanted me to write down our G Suite domain admin credentials for him so he could setup an integration. Big nope on that one.
Do you stay hydrated at work?
Water all day long. And peppermint tea.
CLI or GUI?
My brain loves a slick GUI, but I respect the power of the CLI.
DIY or turnkey?
Build it for me, I will pay.
Lastly, who would you love to see interviewed here?
I nominate Dr. Emily Kausalik-Whittle – a brilliant mind in Mac administration and a legit PHD in music.