Tech Solutions NC Tech Solutions,Technology Tackling IT Administration from a MacBook Pro

Tackling IT Administration from a MacBook Pro



Recently, I was given the opportunity here at Tech Solutions NC to try out a brand new MacBook Pro as part of a focus group.  This is something that really intrigued me, so I signed up for it.  Last week, I received the MacBook Pro, and am now in the process of testing it out.

First, a little background information.  The computer is a Mid 2015 MacBook Pro, with a 15″ screen, Retina display, 2.5 GHZ Intel i7 Processor, 16 GB of RAM, and a 256GB SSD.

For the computer itself, it is incredibly responsive, quick, and does just about everything I could ask of it.

Well, that was a short post, wasn’t it?  Well, I’m not quite done yet.

Using a MacBook Pro in a Windows Environment

There are a few things related to the environment that I am in that do make things a bit problematic for the MacBook Pro.  Most of these are common sense things, but still, if you are considering making the switch from a Windows system to a Mac system, and you manage any sort of IT environment, these are things you’ll probably want to consider.

Remote Administration

Like you would expect, on a Mac OS X system, the options for connecting to a remote system are suited primarily for connecting to other Mac systems.  Fortunately, though, the Microsoft Remote Desktop app is available, it’s free, and it makes connecting to a Windows system pretty seamless.  Search in the App Store for Microsoft Remote Desktop or click the link.

Office 365 Apps

For many businesses, Office 365 by Microsoft is the tool of choice for productivity software.  Unfortunately, though, while Microsoft has released 2016 versions of their software through Office 365 for the Mac environment, not all the apps are created equally.

The biggest issues I’ve had with this new laptop is related to how Outlook 2016 for Windows works verses how Outlook 2016 for Mac works.  There are some significant differences that I’ve documented here.

  • The CRM I use for my business is from Hubspot.  I came across them over the Internet, and knew them from other stuff, but had never used their CRM.  The good news with Hubspot is that they have a plugin that you can install in your Outlook 2016 for Windows program that will log the emails you send to your clients to the client account you have setup in your CRM.  The bad news, though, is that, due to limitations with Outlook 2016 for Mac, such a plugin does not exist, so you can’t seamlessly log those emails to your clients.
  • One workaround for this problem is to just BCC the address that logs the email in your CRM.  Doing so is fine, and is what I do right now, but I’d prefer a simpler way to do that rather than type it each time.  Of course, I can set a rule that automatically BCCs the correct address, and I may do just that, but I’d rather not have to do that.
  • The only other thing with Outlook 2016 that isn’t quite up to my standards is the calendaring portion.  Since my mail is driven through GSuite, my calendar is also, and the calendar for Outlook (either version, really) just doesn’t handle Google’s email very well.  This is definitely something that Microsoft and Google should work on.  The good news, though, is the the built in Calendar app for Mac OS X works all of my email and calendars really well, and I’ve not had any issues with using that.

Having just started working on this MacBook Pro, there are other things that I’m sure are not as good from an IT perspective as they are on the Windows platform, but I haven’t run across them yet.  The great news is that, by and large, operationally, there has been very little I have had to do to utilize my MacBook Pro in a Windows environment, and still be able to perform the IT tasks that I need to do day in and day out.  That, my friends, makes this testing a win in my book.

What do you all think? Are you able to perform IT administration work on a MacBook Pro or other Mac system?  Let me know your thoughts on what works well and doesn’t work well, and thanks for reading!

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