November 2010 Archives

powershellS

I’m going to try and look at Powershell from the eyes of a Brand new Administrator.  I’m going to try and remember when I had NO CLUE what this thing was.  Maybe this will help out others new to this technology and clear out some misconceptions.

So first we introduce you to Powershell,The Big Blue Box. Like our friend here.

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Say Hello folks, “Hello Powershell!”

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Hmmm, apparently OUR Powershell console is being silly.

But iit looks so deceptively simple, like a command prompt.  In fact that’s where many of us stop.  We type in DIR and get something like this.

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And so, we logically deduce; It appears to be just that.   Just command prompt with a new coat of paint.  But it isn’t.  It is SO much more than that and can be as simple or as complex as you need. 

Powershell is a Management Shell with Scripting abilities or a Scripting Environment that some people use to manage systems.  It can be whatever YOU need it to be.  THAT is the Power of it.  The sheer flexibility.

Or it can be as comfortable as your old Command Prompt window.

So what happened when I keyed in DIR?  Isn’t that a DOS Command?

What you actually just ran was an “ALIAS” which is sort of like a Shortcut.  An Alias allows you to take something and put it into simpler terrms, or sometimes more familiar terms.

If we were to type in this command in Powershell.

ALIAS DIR

It would show us the actual command we are typing is

GET-CHILDITEM

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As evidenced by the line “Definition”

You could just as easily create an Alias for GET-CHILDITEM and call it “AWholePileOfSillyJibberish” like so.

NEW-ALIAS AWholePileOfSillyJibberish GET-CHILDITEM

And when you keyed it in

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But an alias is supposed to make things easier so we could have just keyed in something a little less complex (like DIR) or even the letter “D”.   The other thing to remember about an alias is you can have as MANY as you want.   In Powershell if I wish to have it show me every alias I created for “GET-CHILDITEM” I can type in.

ALIAS –Definition GET-CHILDITEM

It would list all of the Aliases you had for that command.   There is a lot more going on in Powershell other than Aliases but that’s for another time.  For now let’s key in EXIT to exit our session.  

Til Next Time, remember
The Power of Shell is in YOU

Sean
The Energized Tech

So the word is now out and official, although I am still going to hold back on finer details.  Just to tease.

Set to browsers to download and read what I THINK is the first ever seven day Holiday Special Microsoft has EVER done.   I mean we’re talking SEVEN NONE STOP POSTS in a ROW ending on December 25th!

It’s a special series ONLY on “Hey Scripting Guy” that you’ll want to read.  The series is NOT just for Scripters!  It’s for EVERYBODY!  It’s a little something to put you in the Spirit of whatever holiday you’re celebrating. 

The nice part is even if you’re a Manager, a Developer or an ItProfessional you can still enjoy this series.

It’s a little bit of fun, a little knowledge, a little humor, a bit of tragedy.

It’s got something for everyone.

SO! LOCK YOUR BROWSERS on December the 19th all the way to December 25th on the “Hey Scripting Guy” blog for something a little unique for Microsoft and something a lot fun for the Community.

The Spirit of Scripting is watching you – Make sure YOU watch for that series.

Exclusive to “Hey Scripting Guy” Open-mouthed smile

LeslieN

Leslie Nielsen – 1926 to 2010 – Living forever in Comedy and Life

In the late ‘70's as a kid I got to see this wonderfully strange movie called “Airplane”.  There were many actors in it, but none stuck out more than this one Goofy Canadian called “Leslie Nielsen”

Through the years I would always watch for him.  From entertaining flicks such as the “Naked Gun” series, “Dracula:Dead and Loving It”; he always brought life to my days.   Bringing a spark I would always look forward to.

Could I name every movie he has ever done?  I don’t think that would be possible because glancing here at his entry in IMDB Mr. Nielsen has always been a very busy Canadian.

Although I don’t know the man, I am glad to have known the characters he brought the life, and the life he brought to people in doing so.

“Surely, I can’t be kidding” said a good friend to me when he heard the news.

I’m sorry, I am… and PLEASE don’t call me Shirley.

Thanks Mr. Nielsen

I’ve had an incredibly busy couple of months here.  Things got REALLY crazy at work, (more than normal) and had me pulling out what little hair I had.

But that’s sorting out and getting better.

But on the “Really Amazing Side of Things” I got to help out at Techdays up here in Canada in two cities plus as an added bonus I’ve been busy writing up a series of posts for the Holidays for “Hey Scripting Guy”

I even got to help out on a little bit of research for Microsoft Canada and was interviewed on the Powerscripting Podcast.Smile

The series of Holiday posts I have taken a special interest in.  I don’t think (as far as I can tell) anything like this has ever been posted to Microsoft.

It is something that will combine my efforts as a “Friday Funny Guy” tendered with my Passion for scripting / Powershell and automation, bound with just a little bit of instruction and a wee hint of the Holiday spirit.

I won’t give away the title.  But as soon as I hear any dates on the posting, I’ll let you all know.

I’ll give you one hint.  “Bah! Codebug!”

Sean
The Energized Tech

Major innovations have occurred this year.   Changes in technology none of us could have foreseen ages ago.

It’s not that they work but that they are COST EFFECTIVE to the consumer and small businesses.  All of these are options, devices available under $400

What am I talking about? Let’s think.  We now have a $300 interface to control the devices with our mind from Emotiv.com

 

We now have Kinect which was marketed as a game Addon, but since it’s a USB device people are already hacking the possibilities it could yield  like so

 

Multitouch devices from Watches to PC’s are more common than EVER and again, cost effective.   Kids can save up money to get these and a new generation will create an inteface, a way of working with things; Well beyond what we could imagine.

Why you can turn your standard Home PC into a multiTouch system for about $400.  Just add the monitor and fire up Windows 7 !

Dell has them now !

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ACER TOO!  A 22” display to extend your Windows 7 computer ADD make it a Multitouch system !

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So what are we looking at?

Will it be “Star Trek” and the Holodecks?

The Matrix or Johnny Mneumonic “hacking the Net” ?

Who can tell ?   But the future is out before us now.  Possibilities we could not imagine as children (nor our parents) are today.

Let’s seize upon these possibilities and create a better tomorrow.   It’s possible in technology.

…. It’s sure as anything possible for Humanity.

Welcome to the future

Sean
The Energized Tech

I had nearly dodged a bullet today.  I was applying an update a server and rebooted it.  In the server I absent mindedly left in my USB key.

Small detail to remind to self.  If it wasn’t there BEFORE bootup, it shouldn’t left laying there afterwards.

But mistakes happen.

Upon bootup the USB key took the Drive letter my SAN target had been happily using for the  past few years.    I looked and saw a Hyper-V missing server missing about 15 machines.  It’s file system online, but saying “RAW”

Yes I almost …… well you insert a dramatic picture thought here.

But I kept thinking.  “I didn’t do anything that should have erased the data…” so online I went to www.cgsecurity.org and downloaded TESTDISK.EXE

I scanned the SAN drive and found the entire structure and data was there.   Turned out it just lost the drive letter.  RE-assigned the proper letter with the USB key REMOVED (DOH!) and Bounced the server and life was good.

But I almost panic’d if it wasn’t for TESTDISK.EXE from Cgsecurity.org

Testdisk is a program I stumbled across in my past job.    It’s a simple utility that simply “assumes” the partition table is bad.  It scans the structure of the drive to find the start and end point of file systems and can usually recover them in seconds.

At the VERY minimal you can use it to SEE if the data is there to have your boss spend the money on some expense software if the drive is damaged more than just a partition table.  

It also comes with a little program called “Photorec.exe” which scans your memory cards from the camera for pictures you accidentally deleted.  

Both of these programs are simple, VERY effective and (ready for this?) FREE.

I can personally state I’ve used TESTDISK on multiple occasions.  File systems that were hit with and “DiskKiller” virus (MBR erased).  I’ve converted a Dynamic drive mirror to a Basic Drive mirror with it. Confirmed almost 1 terabyte of data WAS still on a SAN target and used it to UNDO a completed removed Data structure for a company. 

Let’s just say a person who used to work with me ERASED the entire data from a client system when changing a Drive Mirror.   He had inadvertently erased the MBR (when prompted by the controller) and shuffled his feet when I drove out to Aurora with my boss and we saved the day with Testdisk.

No spyware, no popups, no malware.  If the program is useful to you, I HIGHLY encourage you to donate to the author.  Think of what other companies are charging for said applications.  

Think of the cost of Data Recovery.

Think of your peace of mind.

Testdisk.   One of the best tools to keep in your IT toolbox.  It’s right up there with ProcessExplorer from www.sysinternals.com

Sean
The Energized Tech

Today I am sitting down with a cold brew playing.   IT is meant to be fun.

 

Today I have decided to play with Compatibility.   Today I am going to make Microsoft BOB work in Windows 7 WITHOUT a shim and WITHOUT Windows XP Mode.

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Just because.

So why bother?  It’s an old program.

Because in your office you may well have such an application.  I think this could help you.  That program that somebody is depending on, that your deployment hits and won’t work on the new operating system.

Yes you could just go “Med-V” or “App-V” or “XP Mode” but isn’t it better to find what REALLY makes it work?

Your program could have been written by a Vendor, a good friend, a CoOp student.

Your Cousin Jenny.

The point is BOB is a good benchmark on making an old Windows 3.1 application work.  It also a good example of sometimes thinking TOO hard too solve a solution. Smile

Today I loaded up the Microsoft Application Compatibility Toolkit to make “BOB” work.  I ran the Standard User Analyzer, I pulled out and SEARCHED for potential solutions in the App Compatibility Database.

No no no no and NOOOOOOOOO!

Nope.  100% fail.  Couldn’t find a thing wrong.

It installed find but when run it just could not find “UTOPIA.DLL”.  That SEEMED to be the only problem.

Well I was looking in the folder and it WAS there!

I’m thinking “What the beepity boop is BOB talking about?!”  Does BOB need glasses?  The file is OBVIOUSLY there!

Then I thought. 

Windows 3.1.  It wasn’t an O/S.  It was a GUI shell launched from DOS.   Dos had search paths.   When BOB normally would install (like any other Windows 3.1 program it would add it’s folder to the search path)

So two options.  Add the “BOB” folder to the search path in Windows 7 so it COULD find the new .DLL files …… OR CHEAT! (Hint.  I cheated… shhhhh.  Don’t tell!)

I copied the .DLL files (16bit Windows 3.1 Classic) to the C:\Windows\system folder

I started BOB again.  What do you think happened?

…… THIS

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It worked.

You see, the Windows 3.1 programs remember worked with INI files, not registry settings.   Generally if it asks the O/S “where is Blah blah blah” and the O/S responds “here it is” it’ll find it

What does this mean to you?

When that old VB4 (or whatever) program installs on Windows 7 and you HAVE to make it work, you might just get away with adding the program to the Windows 7 Search path, or (like one un-named technician) cheat and copy it to the SYSTEM folder (I don’t recommend this of course, not a ‘best practice’ to dump 17 year .DLL files into your Windows 7 folders.

But if you’re stuck, between the Microsoft Application Compatibility Toolkit (and a little SIMPLE creativity) *YOU* can solve ANY problem.

Cheers as well to Melinda Gates.   You may poke fun at BOB but it was an attempt to try and make the system more on the USERS’s terms not the “computer guy”.  BOB came back alive in the characters in Word 97 and Windows XP.

We the computer guys might laugh at “Clippy” or “the Wizard”.  But they TRULY made applications for fun, friendly and HUMAN to a standard user.

By the way, my personal favorite “Clippy” quote pointed out by my friend Rick at Around the Clock I.T. Solutions Inc.   It got him looking into “how to use Word 97”

…… Never run with Scissors……

The power is always in you and no goal is insurmountable.  Just a little “clippy” sometimes. Winking smile

Sean
The Energized Tech

kinect-black

You may be wondering about the new add-on for the Xbox360, Kinect. Is it THAT different than anything else?   Is the hype accurate?

YES IT IS!

Let’s think about a few differences

  • No controller in your hand to run the games
  • Voice recognition
  • Visual recognition
  • and It’s an ADD-ON that works with EVERY Xbox360 that has at LEAST a 4 gigabyte hard drive.  

Yes Virginia, you heard that correct.  You don’t have to replace your Xbox360 JUST to get Kinect!

Pause for a moment.   Think about it.  It’s an ADD-ON.   Microsoft didn’t release a new system making you toss out what you have in favor of something new.  They ENHANCED the ability of what you have.

It’s been a long time since somebody did that.  ENHANCED the system instead of replacing it.

But if you don’t have an xBox360, Microsoft sells bundles with Kinect supplied with the newer units.

But again… does it make a difference?  To quote my teenage daughter “Oh this is SO MUCH better than WII”

Why would ONE ADD-ON make that much of a difference? 

Freedom.   Freedom of movement, freedom from batteries, freedom to be YOU in the game.

Once you start playing a game and can interact with it on your own terms, in no longer feels like you’re TRYING to play.   The interactivity is far more fluid.

You jump, the character jumps.  You duck, the character ducks.   Snapshots of you in all your crazy positions get taken during game play.  Even if you fall down Smile

And do you EVER get a workout!  It’s fun, it’s exhilarating, it’s an experience like no other!

The games already offered for Kinect change the landscape as well.  Dance Central has you doing what it makes sense to do.  Rather than stomping on stupid flashing lights, you are DANCING matching real dance moves.   Kinect Sports has you actually kicking balls, Running (and no you can’t cheat, it actually involves LIFTING your legs!) and jumping.

The world is now changing.  So has gameplay.

If you’re thinking of one for the Holidays, hop on and grab one now.  I’ve seen them in every key department store and EVEN Staples!

Stores are already selling out of this!  People who no longer want to see smashed Television, controllers, chandeliers are looking at Kinect.

 

The Future is here.  Get Kinected.

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This morning I lost my transfer on the bus and couldn’t find my bus ticket.   I had to pay double bus fare.   So I should complain and moan correct?

No.  I won’t.  But because of the efforts of Veterans I have the freedom to choose.

The world is not perfect, nor will I suspect it would ever be; but I can choose to help make it better.   Even it making it better means I try not to be a Grouch. 

It’s on this particular day we should pause and reflect, for so many reasons.  Remember why we are here.   More importantly, sometimes, reflect on the fact that I CAN grumble about messing up on my bus fare, or than I CAN take a train to work and FREELY grouch and whine sometimes.

It is because of the efforts Veterans of ALL countries we are here today.

Efforts were made a long time ago (and some mistakes) to try and help correct us in some way.   We stand here today with the ability to at least TRY to work out our grievances with each other.

Many times we fail, but sometimes we succeed.   We are at least trying because of the efforts put forth years ago.   We are free to fail or succeed.   But we are FREE to CHOOSE.

It is that CHOICE you have, you should remember today.  On some small note.

Today, thank a vet and remember the small things you have to be thankful for. 

The freedom to whine about getting the wrong parking spot,  the freedom to get out and run.   The freedom to complain to people openly.  The freedom to be wrong and learn.

Because things got out of hand a long time ago.

Let’s learn from their successes, but also remember the mistakes.  So that we don’t repeat them.

If we at least remember that, then their sacrifices will not have been in vain.

Most importantly on this day, one thought to remember.   We all care for our children worldwide.   If we could seize on that one common trait, perhaps we can find a better tomorrow for all of us.

“I Remember and I’m thankful”

Sean

Maybe you knew, maybe you didn’t.

I didn’t.

Had to play with Windows Remote Assistance in Windows 7 today.  A vendor application wouldn’t work (Version change) and we needed to use something.

You would THINK I would have used Remote Assistance at least once.   You would THINK that.  But honest fact, never had to.  Never needed to.

The other challenge was the computer doing the remote support was running Windows XP while the computer I was on was Windows 7.

But as it happens in the field, we needed a solution and I figured “Give it shot”

Son of a gun.  It worked.

No issues.  First time, exactly as needed, no finicky stuff to make it work (in house connection)

But a Windows XP computer was supporting a Windows 7 workstation… NATIVELY!

So if have a help Desk and need to support the other in office systems?  Seriously look into just using the native solution sitting there ready to go.

Free.  Works too!

Sean
The Energized Tech