Saturday, November 28, 2009

PowerShell Plus 3.1 Beta

With PowerShell V2 now released, those nice folks over at Idera have released a Beta of their upcoming 3.1 version of this popular PowerShell tool. You can see more information, and snag a copy of the beta, over at the PowerShell.Com site!

Personally, I like PowerShell Plus and use it a lot so I was keen to see the beta. You can take a look at some of the new features in a post by the Product Manager Richard GIlles also over on the PowerShell.Com site. Naturally, once you install the beta, there’s a readme file with more information.

One neat thing – there’s now a 64-bit version which installs neatly in a side-by-side fashion with the released version. There’s also some nice script sharing features which encourages further the PowerShell community.

I’ve got the beta downloaded and am using it – I look forward to the release!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

PowerShell – WMI presentation tonight

The things I agree to do…

A good MVP buddy of mine, Joel 'Jaykul' Bennett has asked me to speak tonight to the Upstate New York PowerShell user group. The title of the talk is WMI and  PowerShell. I’m aiming at the basics but will go into a bit of detail. Plus there’s demos. If you want to join into the Live Meeting, here’s the url: ">

However, I’m not planning on starting till 11:30 PM (23:30) UK time – which is thankfully earlier for the audience in New York.

Hope to see you there…


Yes – I will post my slides and demos tomorrow…

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Thursday, November 12, 2009

PowerGui.Org’s PowerPack Challenge – Closing Sooon is holding the PowerPack Challenge contest. Basically,  the idea is that you create a PowerGUI add-on (admin console for a particular platform you manage based on PowerShell cmdlets/scrips), and then submit it to the site. By entering the contest, you can win one of the prizes (the top prizes are $1000 in Amazon certificates). This is easy and the site has tutorials on how to do this.

The contest will run for 3 more days, i.e. until the end of Nov 15 2009. You can get full details at PowerGUI.Org. Get coding and best of luck!

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Friday, November 06, 2009

Leaving Global Knowledge for Pastures New

Many of you will already know this, but I am shortly leaving Global Knowledge. After 3+ years of working for GK’s EMEA group, I have been made redundant and will be out of the company by the end of November or thereabouts. The redundancy process is swift, and pretty brutal – but that’s the nature of the beast. Global Knowledge are treating me pretty well, under the circumstances for which I am genuinely grateful.

In the short term, I’m going back to contracting – doing training, consultancy, or whatever turns up. I would hope to get enough work to tide me over until I can figure out the longer term plan. I am favouring returning to full time employment but we’ll see what happens over the next few months. I’ve already had some brilliant leads, which are great, so things are not totally bleak. I also have a lot of really good friends in the industry who are lending a helping hand. I could not ask for more.

It’s a sad day, on one hand, but a great opportunity on the other. From the people I’ve spoken to, the broad consensus is that I’ll make out just fine. I just hope those voices are right.

Monday, November 02, 2009

Disk to VHD – Another Cool Tool from the Sysinternals Guys

Mark Russinovich and Bryce Cogswell have released yet another cool tool – Disk2VHD (version 1.21) which you can download from here. As it turns out, I’m looking to convert one of my physical boxes to a VM – I use the system rarely but don’t want to chuck it. This tool would be just the business – I could easily run a VM of this system on my laptop when I actually need it. 

The VHD that this tool creates can be used as a VM for either Microsoft Virtual PC or Hyper-V. One important limitation – with Virtual PC, the largest volume is 127GB. And the tool is command line – but you could of course, run it from PowerShell!

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OCS 2007 R2 Documentation

If you are working with Microsoft’s Office Communications Server 2007 product, you may know about the great documentation produced by the product team. This documentation has been updated to cover the R2 release that hit the streets earlier this year.

There are three ways you can get the documentation:

  • A single CHM file with all the other documents as a single file
  • A zip file containing all the other documents as Word docs
  • Individual Word documents.

Navigate to and  you can get all three of these formats!

If you get the .CHM file, you will need to remove the protection from the file (use Systinternal’s streams.exe) in order to see the contents. From the .CHM file, you can also send the writers email. They are highly responsive and are happy to incorporate any and all good ideas. This is a great job guys!

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250,000 Visitors To This Blog!

I started this blog in May 2003. Just over 5 years ago, I added a traffic counter, and started keeping more detailed traffic counts. Over the weekend, the hit count got to 250,000 – or a quarter of a million visitors! Not as much traffic as some blogs get, but it’s been nice to see the traffic grow here. I am certainly pleased at the slow and steady readership growth.

Looking at my stats today, they sown an average of 377 visitors a day and 504 unique page hits a day. Traffic in October hit an all time record with over 10,00 visits (and over 13,000 page hits). Wow!

For long time visitors – thanks for reading this blog. And for new visitors – welcome and let me know what else I can post here that would keep you visiting.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Connecting OCS To Other PIC Suppliers

Office Communications Server 2007 implements a feature called Public Internet Connectivity (PIC). Basically, PIC enables you to federate with AOL, Yahoo and MSN/Live Messenger. Thus a user using an AOL IM client can connect and use IM with someone inside your organisation. PIC was cool, but was limited to just the three suppliers (i.e. no Google Talk) and it was licensed separately.

In the past month Microsoft has released some important news. First, PIC licensing has changed. Secondly, Microsoft has announced the release of an XMPP Gateway which facilitates present and IM interoperability between OCS and both Jabber (now owned by Cisco) and Google’s Google Talk.

There are some key PIC Licensing changes. The additional PIC license will not longer be required for federation with AOL. Federation with AOL is free for customers with OCS R2 Standard CAL, or Software Assurance on their current OCS license. But if you wish to federate with Yahoo, you continue to need a PIC license, but the cost of this drops by 50% (effective 1 October 2009). Additionally, as from June 2009, you no longer need a PIC license to federate wit Windows Live (same requirements as noted above for AOL federation).

The release of an OCS 2007 XMPP Gateway means you can federate with both Google’s Google Talk, and with Jabber. And the licensing calls the gateway “Additional Software” meaning there is no additional Microsoft licensing costs associated with you deploying the Gateway.

The OCS Team have published a couple of articles to explain how to get the XMPP gateway up and running. The first blog post discusses Configuring XMPP connectivity to Google Talk. The second blog post looks at how to configure the XMPP Gateway with Jabber XCP 5.4. Both articles are detailed and well illustrated.

For OCS 2007 R2 users, PIC connectivity got a whole lot better!

What Happened To The Post Counts on the MSDN and TechNet Wikis?

I’m a fairly heavy contributor to the MSDN and TechNet Wikis - also known as MSDN and TechNet Community Content. I started posting there pretty much ever since Microsoft setup this feature a couple of years ago. My contribution has included over 10,000 posts (just over 7500 to MSDN and over 2800 to TechNet). I wrote about the MSDN wiki in August.

I do not know if it’s a short term glitch or a more major change – but the post counts have been updated in a significantly downward fashion. TechNet shows just 1297 posts, while on MSDN just 3927) – thus I’ve lost around half my post count. At the time I wrote the august post, I had over 6500 posts credited, but now it’s a LOT lower.

MSDN/TechNet: what’s happened??