I don’t think I’ve ever really told the story on Twitter about the time Steve Jobs sent me a polite but dismissive email and then proceeded to make my life at work rather hellish.

On a medium haul flight during the day without enough bandwidth to work properly so here goes...
I was running a bunch of Mac labs at a digital media uni campus, and in 2005 our tools all sucked, OS X was still new to some A/V vendors, and we were constantly chasing updates and backporting things by hand.
Plus all my machines were leased, as it was kind of critical we could refresh them every two years, staggering the updates so the high end labs could have machines no more than a year old. You kids have no idea how much difference 15% more cpu made in those days :P
Apple in 2005 didn’t give a shit about letting you run old OSX versions on new hardware. After having been in product roles I have a lot more empathy for getting customers on the new stuff than I did back then.
So these new Macs came out and you couldn’t run OSX 10.3.9 on them, only 10.4.x

But Pro Tools wouldn’t run on 10.4 and digidesign were not looking like they’d have support ready before the start of the school year.

So I started poking at 10.3.x to see if I could fix it.
I have no idea what the state of it is now, but back then you could do a fair bit with Darwin, the GUI-less open source core of OSX.

Turned out lots of the power management stuff was there and available. Turns out no major arch diffs on the new iMacs woot!
But we were missing some magic constants for the new machines. I started a bloody slow process of cycling through the range, compiling the kext, copying it to a machine and testing. Not automated.

In the meantime I thought I’d mail Steve Jobs about it.
People used to email him! It was a thing! I was in Hail Mary space, the start of semester was looming over me....

Forgive the *shudder* blatant Mac fanboy starstruck tone. I’ve trimmed the Masses Of Technical Detail I foolishly put in...
The response was within 24 hrs.

It both blew my mind and really pissed me off.

So I ramped up the kext process. Automated it. Set up two whole labs of computers to parallelize it.

! 🎰 jackpot 🎰!

Found it.
That reply was end of May. Apple’s WWDC 2005 was the start of June.

And I was going. I’d be able to tell all my Mac sysadmin buddies how to make this work!

I was so excited. So I mailed something to an Australian list of edu folks to let them know the good news!
I was feeling Pretty Damn Badass about all this btw so I told everyone who had the same problem.

The first warning sign was when I turned up this room Apple used to use to put engineers in touch with the folks running Macs at some kind of scale. Some odd looks. 👀
I had a problem with Open Directory replication cause well, everyone had a bloody problem with OD replication back then. Password Server would get stuck and you’d have to repair slots by hand.

This was such a stressful period for me that I can still remember the bugs and fixes.
Someone came over to me as I was debugging something with an apple person, pulled me aside and told me I had to leave.

I was sure one of my apple employee friends was elaborately trolling me so I went along with it.

But they weren’t.
I was confused. And not as assertive or confident as I am now 14 years later.

So I kind of just whined at a few friends, got drunk at Dave’s bar and eventually went back to Australia thinking these things might be related but not being sure.
I got home. It must have been second semester starting now I look at the dates.

I get a phone call from AppleCare

“Hi I have to tell you that if you run those computer labs on OS X 10.3 we’re not going to honor your warranties for any of your Macs. Been told to tell you. Bye”
And so that is why I ended up having to swap whole labs of machines so I could still run Pro Tools (the primary purpose of the labs) and feeling pretty sure that Steve Jobs was a vindictive motherfucker who would go out of his way to punish a poor edu.au sysadmin
And that was my first tweet storm.

Still not sure I approve of them :P
Oh I may have forgotten to include the part where the kext was uploaded to a rather well known Hotline server.

Bandwidth was expensive back then!
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