DEP

Posted by Charles Edge on April 14th, 2015

Bushel is a Mobile Device Management (MDM) solution. We can manage all kinds of cool things, but there are a few things we can’t do. These include:

  • Controlling where app badges are on screens
  • Enrolling without first entering a wi-fi password
  • Supervising devices that aren’t managed using Apple’s Device Enrollment Program (DEP)
  • Updating iOS devices (iPads, iPhones, iPod Touches) to the latest operating system

Apple Configurator can do many of these tasks, but has limitations. There’s a tool out there called GroundControl. GroundControl is super-simple to use, like Bushel. GroundControl can deploy a backup to a device, which is how it controls where badges are on screens. GroundControl can also provide the wi-fi credentials to get on a network, places devices into supervision (so Bushel can easily manage Activation Lock Bypass on non-DEP enabled devices), and can erase and update devices. In short, GroundControl closes a lot of the gaps we have. On the flip side, GroundControl cannot manage settings over the air, which is what Mobile Device Management is all about.

So let’s look at what all this looks like. Before we get started, if you’re going to follow along, know that you’ll need to wipe an iOS device in order to supervise the device, which GroundControl will want to do by default. And when we’re done, if you want to unsupervise your test device, you’ll need to wipe it as well. So, get a GroundControl account and login. Once logged in, we’ll create a Payload, associate it with a Launchpad and create a Policy to deploy it. The payload is a collection of all the tasks you’ll perform on a device. Click Payloads and then New Payload, to create your first payload. When prompted, use the “Add an item…” button to add tasks to what a given payload will do.

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In this example, we’ve uploaded a Backup. and will now add a Restore from Backup task.

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Then choose an image to restore or use the Upload new Restore Image option to upload a new one.

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Next, we’re going to add a Wi-Fi payload so that our devices will automatically join our wireless networks. To do so, use the Add WiFi button in the “Add an Item…” menu. When prompted, provide the information for your wireless network, or upload a profile with the information in it.

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When you have entered all of the required information for your wireless network, click Save.

With the GroundControl Launchpad screen open, make sure the service is started and then plug in an iPad that is wiped and not yet activated into the system.

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The device should skip activation, install your backup (aka image) and then apply the payloads you’ve configured. The end result should be a device configured complete with email, security settings and more. You can then enroll this device into Bushel using Open Enrollment to take advantage of the setup and supervised device for MDM.

Overall, we find that Bushel is perfectly useable as a standalone tool. And we find that Apple Configurator can be a great tool according to what you need. But as Bushel makes it easier to own devices for Non-IT device administrators than does Profile Manager, GroundControl makes it easier to setup a lot of devices than does its free alternative. If you’ll be working with a lot of iOS devices, then we couldn’t recommend GroundControl more!

Posted by Charles Edge on March 31st, 2015

Earlier this month, we launched a limited time refer a friend offer. Since you guys are still sharing your referral codes (have we mentioned how awesome we think you are?), we’ve decided to extend the referral program for one more month. Now through the end of April, you can earn up to 10 free devices forever (one device for each referral that creates a Bushel account) just by spreading the good word. If you know anyone who could use a little less stress in their life, simply share your personal invitation to join Bushel.

To get started, log into your Bushel account and click the Invite Friends link from the menu at the top of your screen. Scroll down to Referrals and choose your preferred method of communication. Share on Facebook, LinkedIn, or Twitter—we’ll even deliver an email on your behalf!

Cheers,

The Bushel Team

Posted by Charles Edge on March 29th, 2015

I’m no “serial entrepreneur” but I have been involved in starting multiple companies and now multiple divisions of larger companies. And along the way, I’ve found that there are a few distinct types of apps that are must haves. Here, we’ll look at 10 apps. Now, these don’t necessarily need to be “the” app that you decide to use, but the category of app is likely going to help a lot for many small business owners.

MindMeister

Before you do anything, brainstorm! And mind mapping tools are a great start to that process. MindMeister, from MeisterLabs is a great simple mind mapping tool. And when you’re brainstorming, the last thing you want to spend pretty much any time doing, is figuring out the technology. It’s important to use a simple app for this. I usually start with the Notes app and then move into something a tad bit more complex. And MindMeister is usually that slightly more complex tool!

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Numbers

Yes, prepare for spreadsheets. I like Numbers for the iPad and iPhone. Excel for Office is also now available, which is useful I guess… But from financials to inventory to tracking just about anything, Numbers is a must for many!

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Box

Spreadsheets aren’t the only types of files you’ll need. And many files are going to need a different app or type of app. Box, and similar services such as Dropbox, will let you sync any file (well, almost any) to your devices. For example, that marked up pdf of the business plan that some angel investor is sending you back. It’s the swiss army knife of file apps, and the data lives on the cloud. And, it’s a great way to share those larger files to customers, that you might otherwise send to their email addresses, angering them by filling up their email.

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Mint

You’re going to need a much more complicated way to manage money. But, in the beginning, before you’re concerned about where to accrue things, the simplicity of just seeing your cash flow is super-helpful. Especially if you’re getting started by paying a bunch of money for Apple devices and apps to run the business! Even with more complicated budgets, until you have dedicated staff looking at numbers, I’d rather look more often using simpler apps and getting right to the information I care about. In the first few months, that might be whether you can buy a new MacBook for the new hire after you cover rent. Later, your accountant will take your phone from you and delete the app and possibly set it on fire. Well, they can’t set an app on fire, but they would… Sometimes I miss those simpler times… But not the stress.

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Square Register

Money is awesome. Accepting any money, any time is really important when you’re starting out. Whether you’re firing up a small new Apple consultancy or selling shoes, you’ll need something. If you have inventory, you’ll want something far more feature rich, that allows you to track that. If you are selling hours, you’ll likely eventually need something integrated with payments that tracks that as well. But in the beginning, keep things simple. And pay more for something when you need to, and you can get guidance on what to get for your industry.

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Hootsuite

There’s no doubt that in the right hands, social media can provide a lot of help to organizations. And really, organizations of any kind. Getting the message out, communicating with customers, finding potential customers, getting your site some exposure for search engines and just in general putting yourself out there. But if you post something on Twitter once and never come back to it, it’s not that useful. Further, you can’t be online all the time. Hootsuite let’s you schedule posts, find things worth posting, analyze what was posted and do all of this across a number of different social networks, from YouTube to Facebook, to Twitter to getting all this into a CRM, such as Salesforce!

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Elements

Sales is what makes an organization succeed or fail initially. Great products allow you to keep the doors open, and not get run out of town for hocking craptastic wares. But if you can’t get people buying your product then you will fail. This is a universal truth. And your Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software needs to be online and accessible from your iOS devices. Most packages seem to get this. Microsoft Dynamics, Salesforce, Oracle and SAP are all big software packages, with plenty of features and complexity. As a new company, you need something simple, that will eventually allow you to grow into something more complex. Consider Elements CRM as one of many options.

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SurveyMonkey

When you first start, you need to pay particular attention to how you’re doing. You can do that for free with SurveyMonkey. And when you get bigger and you can afford a very small amount of money for the service you can then upgrade into their paid plans, to replace the SurveyMonkey branding with your own branding. Surveys are really easy to create, manage and distribute.

Pretty cool. We like their business model as well… 😉

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Mailchimp

There are large, complicated and sometimes necessary marketing automation software packages, such as Marketo. But there’s also a very popular and simple tool that you can use if you don’t have someone on staff to manage Marketo. Since many a small business doesn’t have all the resources available to run a complicated nurturing system, Mailchimp might be able to make your life much much better. And they have a pretty rad mascot!

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Bushel

Hey, it’s our article. But really, these devices suddenly have financials, customer data and even business plans. Keep your assets secure, make them easier to setup and let us help you to push the limits!

Bonus: That killer app for your industry

ERP, or Enterprise Resource Planning, is software that will run your company. You’d probably be surprised how many of your competitors have written software and sell it on the open market. You know how the commercials say “there’s an app for that?” Well, there usually is… And before you embark upon stringing together some random software titles to get a good workflow together, consider trying to find something that will fill those gaps for your organization.

Posted by Charles Edge on March 26th, 2015

At Bushel, we’re always hard at work making your experience with our product better. Why? Because we like you and want you to like us too. We made an update without any major new features last night, but with lots of little tweaks and improvements to existing stuff. Look for our next release to introduce a couple of pretty awesome new options. But for now, here’s what we fixed/did/tweaked/programmed/nerded-out-on for you in our latest release:

  • Started to periodically request inventory for “OK” devices
  • Icons in App top feeds are no longer roundedAdded a swanky new cards-grid
  • Added a confirmation dialog for VPP remove user so customers don’t accidentally remove users from VPP
  • Added a sweet flexbox grid for App store
  • Added the chat button back to signup, login, or setup pages
  • Change some of the Email labeling to make a little more sense
  • Tweaked the App icons on Device Details
  • Added those rad new MacBooks to our devices list (with pretty pictures)
  • Provided GUI improvements for Firefox users
  • Renamed “critical” in charts so we don’t freak people out
  • Updated Last Check In card
  • Configured app counts to trigger whether you see various app tabs
  • Password settings are no longer reflected in the interface if no profiles exist
  • Corrected Model identifier ‘iPad5,4’ to display as iPad Air and not iPad Air 2
  • VPP app synchronization now gets iPad only flag correct in limited cases where it was not correct
  • Lots of tweaks to the back-end that you don’t care about (and frankly probably thought we already did)

We also almost released web-clips. But after thinking about it, we decided to hold off on that until we can do something that makes that experience much better than with any other tool on the market. In fact, we’re thoroughly confused why no one else thought of this before… Stay tuned!