December 2011 Archives

I think if there is ever a year that kept me busy as an IT Professional and as an MVP, it will be 2011. If there was ever a year I could say "Wow, I can't believe all that just happened!" it will be 2011.

Where to start? How about how I finished 2010?

I was asked to pull together a little article or two for the Holidays last year for "Hey Scripting Guy". What I ended up placing online for the Holiday Season was the FIRST EVER Holiday Special done by a computer company. Simply titled 'A Powershell Carol' it was a 7 day long series (Complete with Podcasted episodes) about a mythical Character called "Ebenezer Script" complete with a Holiday theme song. It ended appropriately on December 25th 2010.

From that, well things just started getting crazy. I had several events I had to present for the Springboard Technical Experts Program. During all of this I scrambled to sort out my paperwork so I could finally make my first International flight in late February to (*gasp*) Redmond Washington to the MVP Conference.

Setting a goal and pursuing your dreams, if anybody asks you it is highly worth it. I actually found myself on my Birthday standing in the entryway to Microsoft with a good friend and fellow MVP Ragnar Harper. Ragnar is now with Microsoft but at the time, Crayon a cool Norweigan company that redid "Highway to Powershell" in the Heroes Happen Here launch in 2008.

Ragnar (like many people I have met online and recently) is a good friend I am glad I've met up with.

He took my picture in front of the Microsoft Logo where I nearly broke down in tears for the joy of it.

As many of you who know me well, I decided long ago to try and pursue Microsoft as a career. I have not given up, but the pursuit of that dream has led me towards engaging the community in my own unique way. It has also seen my career grow as left the world of Small Business into stepping into a small Division in a Fortune 15 corporation. Helping encourage others to pursue their own and helping others out in Powershell and learning far more about the larger world.

Many years ago I just pictured Microsoft as "some mythical place I would never see". It was so far away at the time, I couldn't even afford the flight. I turned down my dreams of working there since I didn't have the money make the flight. I actually believed at one point I couldn't do it and would never stand in that doorway.

Then I saw myself in that hallway, heard the voices, saw the magic floating in the air. I broke down realizing that Redmond was EXACTLY the wonderful place I always thought it was. I so happy, even not working there, to stand in such a beautiful place which co-existed happily with nature itself. All the words and the descriptions from everybody on the team at Microsoft Jobs Blog, it paled to the actual site that was the head Office for Microsoft.

While there, I met many of the Powershell MVP's and the team themselves, saw Steve Ballmer on stage, Proudly Chanted with the rest of the Canadian contingent and sang "O Canada" as loud as I could. Also while on campus I was interviewed by Dmitry Sotnikov of Quest software. My voice was barely recovering after the cheering and screaming from earlier that morning. I even met a friend I taken to recently, Shane Hoey one of the newest MVP's in Windows Powershell. Even Ed "Hey Scripting Guy" and Theresa made it to the conference!

Of course my good friend Adam (AdamBomb00) Carter passed along a little token of his esteem for my Birthday. Smile

And as pictures will show, I did not want to leave. I'm not making it up. Just search this blog for my "Long Road to Redmond" posts in March and you will see my genuine reaction to Redmond! It's not just "Geeky" cool. It is an amazing place beyond just intelligence; it is one of THE most collaborative and multicultural places I have ever encountered or imagined!

A short bit after the conference I went and did something I always wanted to do, for my own interest, for charity, because it was there. I climbed the CN Tower. Finished it in just under 30 minutes too. (Which isn't bad for a fat overweight 190 pound IT Pro that doesn't exercise!) By the way, I encourage anyone out there who is interested, give it a shot. It's tall, tiring and the most exhilarating feeling you'll get when you finish!

From there I went on to preparing and presenting a presentation at the first ever Powershell Deep Dive in Las Vegas Nevada. I had some interesting events occur. The flight goofed and had to move me on a different plane which was (cough cough cough) unfortunately FIRST CLASS ! But of course the Yin comes with the Yang (namely my reservation being cancelled at the Red Rock Casino that MORNING while I was on the plane, SHAME ON YOU Red Rock!) but to my rescue came a person I believe should be an MVP right now, Steven Murawski. "Hey, I have an extra bed here, wanna crash?" was his Tweet in a split second.

I was floored. A person who I'd only know online coming to my aid. Not knowing or caring at the moment if I smelled like a fried bag of Big Macs, he just took a chance to help somebody out.

I'd like to publicly tip my hat to Steve, If you're ever in Canada, you just call ! If I ever had to be locked in a hotel in Vegas judging thousands of Scripts for the 2011 Scripting Games, glad it was you man.

During the Deep Dive I did something I've done a few times (and contrary to popular belief it IS rare). It was a "Release of the Kraken" to the audience, exuberance, joy, passion before tearing into my Deep Dive on Powershell with the Legacy. I got the audience to wish my good buddy Hal Rottenberg (with the help of his co-host Jon Walz of the Powerscripting Podcast) a Happy Birthday. We of course naturally had it posted to Youtube.

Oh and did I mention just WHO I opened for? None other than THE (pant pant faint faint) BRUCE PAYETTE! If Jeffrey Snover is the father of Powershell, Bruce is certainly it's Grandfather? ... Or maybe Godfather is a cooler term. Yeah, I opened for the GODFATHER of POWERSHELL! "I feel SHELL!, yeah y'know you can Tell! I feel SHELL!"

As well I posted so much on "Hey Scripting Guy" between my series on "Working with the Legacy in Powershell" as well as "BATCHman" and Cmdlet" I became one of the first ever "Honorary Scripting Guys" on Technet!

I got the opportunity to present my Powershell sessions on working with Legacy systems at the first ever Powershell pre Conference via Live Meeting at Teched Australia (Thanks Shane Hoey and Chris Brownie) with great Presenters such as Richard Siddaway and Ed "Hey Scripting Guy where's my Tilley Hat" Wilson.

Of course the year didn't finish there. Techdays Toronto 2011 happened with MORE POWERSHELL as well as presenting some more Live Meeting sessions online. Oh I LOVE DOING this stuff!

I feel like I'm skipping on so much, and it's possible as so much happened in the year. I've seen friends pursuing their dreams achieve them, other friends grow in ways their never perceived and watched the world about myself change.

Near the end of the year were two more complete series on "Hey Scripting Guy" on MDT (Which actually got read by the Architect of MDT, Michael Niehaus!) and the Second ever Holiday Special "How Mr. Finch Learned Scripting". On top of that there was a complete nine days (possibly the beginning of more) on Canadian IT Professionals called "Powershell on the Way to Work", a series targeted at the 100% beginner.

Oh did I mention the icing? The COOLEST Part of all? The Part I am still slapping myself in the face saying "W000t! W000t! W0000t!"

I mean OTHER than getting to spend the DAY with friends like Ed and Theresa Wilson (Scripting Guy and Scripting Wife) and Mitch Garvis (probably the Best presenter out there and more skilled on Virtualization than most people). Oh no, this is MARGINALLY better than that even!

This is just a weeeeeeee bit better. I am writing my first ever book. I'm keeping my lips tight on the details but I can and will say "It's Powershell related" and DAMN will I be busy!


All this because I started believing in myself and went for my dreams. This year was too much to believe.

I have pass along thanks to so many that were my encouragement and inspiration over the years; Rodney, Rick, Damir, Mitch, Ruth, Adam, (Oh HELL! EVERY FREAKING Microsoft DPE worldwide and their managers especially John Oxley of Microsoft Canada), the Powershell team, Jeffrey Snover, all the MVP's everybody in the community including all of you egging me on in Twitter. Oh yes, Cory, Steve and Cameron you too Winking smile

....and most importantly my family. None of this would or could have happened without their help.

Of course, the only thing that could top 2011 if my dreams were to be realized in 2012. (*hint hint poke the beast poke the beast*)

Maybe someday get to work with as a "Hey Scripting Guy" or Evangelize Microsoft Technology for the rest of my life for Microsoft, or possibly become a presenter as good as my buddy Mitch (*sigh, you're allowed to dream y'know Smile *)

All I can say for 2012 is this. You'd better prepare yourself, get the chains ready, bolt down the furniture and hide the expensive cookies. There's an MVP conference in barely two months. I have tasted what Redmond is, I'm not about to step away anymore.

Because the KRAKEN of Passion will be Released and there is NO holding me back now. You can note this for 2012.

It WILL be "The Year of the Kraken" - LOOK OUT MICROSOFT!


The Energized Tech

No this is not spam.

There is no catch.

Powershell Inside, the company that SELLS NetCmdlets is presently offering their NetCmdlets for free until December 25th. This is normally a $99 package. In addition the Server based version is on for $199 (Normally $399)

If you're interested the LAST DAY is Christmas Day, December 25th 2011. All you need to do is click on the link below and fill out the form. You will receive your license via email later.

Free NETCmdlets from Powershell Inside for the Holidays

What have you got to lose? Even if you don't know deep levels of Powershell, take advantage of their generosity during this Holiday Season!

A $99 package for free?

What a GREAT Holiday Present!

Here's an interesting idea I have been playing with. Creating an RTF document within Powershell.

Why RTF? RTF is "Rich Text Format". If you haven't ever looked at the format of one, the file content is actually 100% ASCII. Even though an RTF when presented through Word holds fonts and formatting it is actually a pure ASCII file.

Nice! So it would be possible to generate files with nice fonts and formatting. Sure we could do it with Dcom and Microsoft Word but the advantage to an RTF is it could be generated as a report on a server with NO additional software, no changes to the system

So here's a sample RTF file using a Consolas 11 point font with a simple one line of 'Test'

Test Test Test
Test Test Test
Test Test Test

Viewing the document in the natural RTF code it appears like this

{\rtf1\ansi\ansicpg1252\deff0\nouicompat\deflang1033{\fonttbl{\f0\fnil\fcharset0 Consolas;}}
{\*\generator Riched20 6.2.8102}\viewkind4\uc1
\pard\sa200\sl276\slmult1\f0\fs22\lang9 Test\tab Test \tab Test\par
Test\tab Test \tab Test\par
Test\tab Test \tab Test\par

Online Microsoft has a large document called "Word 2007: Rich Text Format (RTF) Specification, version 1.9.1" which details all the nuances of this language. Believe me, it IS a language.

Really for a very basis RTF file we need a header, some content and the termination at the end. Looking in the document we can find out there are three key types of data within the document without getting too far into the mud. Control words, Control Symbols and Groups.

If you REALLY want to have some deep reading, dig into the document. But for today we'll show you all you need to make a Basic RTF Document.

Looking at this particular document we can see the words Test separated by \tab and ending with a \par for each line. Really this isn't much of a guess to figure out that \par is the ending of a paragraph and \tab are fields separated by Tabs.

So let's think, if this is pure text, all we need to do to create a Basic RTF is to grab everything BEFORE our content and looking at the bottom terminate it with a Parentheses }

$RTFHeader='{\rtf1\ansi\ansicpg1252\deff0\nouicompat\deflang1033{\fonttbl{\f0\fnil\fcharset0 Consolas;}}{\*\generator Riched20 6.2.8102}\viewkind4\uc1 \pard\sa200\sl276\slmult1\f0\fs22\lang9 '


So a basic RTF document could be created using a very simple ADD-CONTENT like this

ADD-CONTENT C:\Powershell\Filename.rtf -value $RTFHeader -force

ADD-CONTENT C:\Powershell\Filename.rtf -value $RTFFooter

There that's pretty simple. Now that means all we need is place text in the middle and end each line with a '\par ' for a basic line.

ADD-CONTENT C:\Powershell\Filename.rtf -value $RTFHeader -force

ADD-CONTENT C:\Powershell\Filename.rtf -value "This is a line in the RTF document\par"
ADD-CONTENT C:\Powershell\Filename.rtf -value "This is another line\tab separated by a tab\par "
ADD-CONTENT C:\Powershell\Filename.rtf -value "And one more\par"

ADD-CONTENT C:\Powershell\Filename.rtf -value $RTFFooter

Nice! A Simple RTF file. Of course we can do more, and we'll play a bit tomorrow Smile

The Energized Tech


Yes the blog has been quiet but not for bad reasons.  I’ll keep you updated on some things in my life.

Work has been…. for lack of any other word…. BUSY!

But what job isn’t?  It Professionals know that we have slow times and busy times.  Our consolation we can always keep in mind is that “If I was bad at the job I’d have better and shorter hours, so we must be doing something right”

So I’m in a busy point right now along with writing some new material for “Hey Scripting Guy” for the Holiday season along with a new series for December for Canadian IT Professionals called “Powershell on the Way to Work”.  It’s intended for the IT Professional that is only comfortable with the GUI and needs to know the REAL basics on Powershell.

The series on is from December 19th to December 23rd called “How Mr. Finch Learned Scripting”.   The Series on CanITPro is from Dec 12th to Dec 22nd.

There’s also this fun little sing-a-long whipped together for series called “The Scripting Song”

December 19th to December 23rd–

Plus something else popped along.   A book.

I can’t reveal any of the details other than it IS Powershell related and that I am writing it.    It will take time and effort, but nothing worth doing ever took a short time to do.  Smile

I have this one song stuck in my head because of it.   Karl Prosser keeps saying I should re-write it as “I’m writing a script, I’m writing a script” but for me I keep thinking “I’m writing a book, I’m writing a book”

Well I’ll be putting together more in the new year, asking Santa Claus if Mr. Ballmer could bring me in and generally diving into more Powershell.  You DID all hear that CTP2 (Community Technology Preview) of the Windows Management Framework 3.0 is available right?  If you haven’t it’s the coolest Christmas present ever Smile

I’ll see you all in 2012!  I can sense somehow this will be an amazing year for all of us Smile

The Energized Tech