Monday, August 22, 2011

PowerShell PowerCamp–November 5/6–Bookings Now Open

What is it?

This fast paced weekend event covers all the key aspects of Windows PowerShell - from the command line and writing production-oriented scripts. We start with the basics including installation and configuration, formatting and providers and remoting. We then look at scripting, managing script libraries using modules, using objects, and finishing with the PowerShell features added into Windows. We finish with a look at PowerShell in the cloud and what’s coming with PowerShell 3.
The event will be all lecture, with the opportunity to type along with the tutor.

What is the Agenda?
Day 1 – The Basics
• PowerShell Fundamentals – starting with the key elements of PowerShell (Cmdlets, Objects and the Pipeline) plus installation, setup, and profiles
• Discovery – finding your way and learning how to discover more
• Formatting – how to format output nicely – both by default and using hash tables and display XML
• Remoting – working with remote systems using PowerShell’s remoting capabilities
• Providers – getting into OS data stores via PSProviders
Day 2 – Diving Deeper
• Scripting Concepts – automating everyday tasks including PowerShell’s language constructs, error handling and debugging (both from the command line and using an IDE)
• Modules – managing PowerShell script libraries in the enterprise
• .NET/WMI/COM Objects – working with native objects
• PowerShell and Windows Client/Server – how you can use built in PowerShell cmdlets
• PowerShell in Key Microsoft Servers - a look at PowerShell today in SQL, SCVMM plus a look forward to the future with SharePoint 2010
• PowerShell and the cloud – this module looks at PowerShell in the cloud and how you can use PowerShell to manage cloud computing.
• PowerShell 3 – this final module will show you what’s new in PowerShell V3, based on the the latest Beta of Windows 8.

What will it cost?
The cost is £200 (+VAT at the prevailing rate) for the weekend. Meals and accommodation are not covered.

Where is the event going to take place?
The PowerShell PowerCamp will be held at Microsoft Cardinal Place, 100 Victoria Street in Victoria on the weekend of November 5/6 2011.

Who is the tutor?
The PowerShell Weekend PowerCamp will be delivered by Thomas Lee. Thomas is a veteran PowerShell MVP who has been involved in the PowerShell community since the very beginning. He provides training and consultancy around a range of Microsoft products, with a recent focus on PowerShell and Lync Server. Thomas runs PowerShell training courses around the world, and has been a speaker at conferences across the world for the past decade. In his spare time, he lives with his wife, daughter, and wine cellar in a small cottage in the UK. His Twitter handle is DoctorDNS and he maintains two blogs (Under the Stairs at and PowerShell Scripts Blog at

What do I need to bring
You need to bring a laptop with at least two VMs pre-configured. The first should be a Server 2008 R2 domain controller and the other one a member server. And if you have access to the Windows 8 beta, bring along a Win8 VM for the look at PowerShell V3. The virtualisation software is not of concern – but you need 64-bit guest OS support. Thus you can use Hyper-V, VMware Workstation or Oracle’s Virtual Box.

How do I book?
Contact to book a place and to arrange for the invoice to be paid. Payment will need to be cash, cheque or bank transfer – I don’t take credit cards.

More Details
Watch Thomas’s blog for any hot breaking news on the event.

Friday, August 19, 2011

If they BUILD it, will they come?

That question comes from Field of Dreams, a movie in which Kevin Costner builds a US baseball and attracts the Black Socks. In my experience, though, the answer to the question is usually only true in movies – in real life, just building something is often not enough – it often takes a lot of effort and costs a lot to attract your audience. But not always – as Microsoft’s demonstrated with their BUILD conference being held in Anaheim in September.  I wrote about this conference last week in an article in Pacific IT News where I’m writing a series of articles about BUILD.

In this case, the answer is a resounding YES. BUILD is sold out, despite the economy and the utter lack of details about the conference. This is quite surprising and perhaps positive in terms of developers. It’s all part of Microsoft’s marketing approach for Windows 8.

The BUILD conference is taking place in Anaheim California on 13-16 September. You can see what details exist about the show at: BUILD will be the first time most developers and many hardware developers will get a chance to see and hear about Windows 8.

In earlier versions of Windows, Microsoft had a long beta programme and took input from beta testers. I recall fondly the NNT 5.0 beta period of several years. And for those with longer memories, the Win95 beta programme featured near-weekly releases to test.

With Windows 8, all that openness is a thing of the past – just like Windows 7, we have the ‘cone of silence.’ MS staff are under significant pressure to reveal nothing – as recently as February key staff were even forbidden to say the words ‘Windows 8′ or to even hint at what might or might not be included. And leaked builds were not as common place as during the XP or Vista days, although in preparing for this article it took me around 3 hours to find and download what appears to be a legitimate leaked build. In earlier generations of Windows, beta testers were more involved and the beta test process longer. With Windows 7 and now Windows 8, that’s a thing of the past. It appears likely we’ll have just one real beta release sometime soonish, with the probability of a single RC nearer to RTM.

So why do IT Pros care about BUILD in the first place. IT Pros should care because BUILD is where MS will let you see what will be coming in Windows 8. Unlike earlier versions of Windows, what you see released of BUILD will pretty much be what we all get as Windows 8 when that is finally released. So if you or your organisation is running earlier versions of Windows, particularly Windows 2000 and XP, Windows 8 is most likely your future. On current timescales, Win 8 will almost certainly be released before XP mainstream support ends. Given the ascendency of Google with Android and Apple with iPad and iPhone, Windows 8 may be Microsoft’s most important version of Windows to date. It could become a game changer. Ballmer is right to be nervous about Windows 8.

What’s IN Windows 8? That is a great question – and one I really can’t answer. Anyone who does know what is in Windows 8 will  be under a pretty draconian NDA – and I would bet MS will be pretty fierce on those who break the NDA. Speaking personally, I do not want to have MS’s lawyers on my case! Personally, I think this approach is poor, but it’s the way MS has chosen to go. We do know a little about Win 8, but BUILD is where we’ll see some semblance of the final product. Of course, given the development approach being taken, what we see at BUILD will pretty much BE what Windows 8 will be – it’s too late in the cycle to do much other than cosmetic stuff. Sadly, gone are the days when beta testers mattered to the Windows development team.

As part of a very carefully crafted disclosure approach, we know that the UI will be, at least partly, based on the Windows Phone tile UI as disclosed by Julie Larson Greene ( You’ve no doubt have seen the demos by now.

We also know MS are planing to deliver one version of Windows 8 across phone, tablet, desktop and server. That approach has caused some raised eyebrows and seems to generate more questions than answers. Quite how MS will get the bloat that is Windows to fit into a phone and tablet without poor battery life is an interesting question. We also know that at the Partner Conference, MS announced windows 8 would include some improvements in Hyper-V. But beyond that details are sketchy. From the looks of it, Hyper-V may be part of Windows 8 clients as well as for the server.

While industry reaction is understated so far, some critics are positive on the potential benefits, but well, critical on other points. Jon Honeyball, for example, raises some interesting questions in a recent blog article res/367813/windows-8-could-i t-be-more-than-lipstick-on-a –pig

I imagine, as a PowerShell MVP, that we’ll see a new version of PowerShell – but what that consists of is still highly secret. We’ll also probably see improvements in Windows Server for the cloud -  but details thus far are pretty minimal. There have been a few leaked builds – but a lot less than in previous years. I’m pretty certain that torrent sites will quickly have any builds handed out at BUILD – and I’d hope that MSDN subscribers will also be able to download those builds at the same time.

One more positive thing, the Windows Team have begun their official Win 8 engineering blog, also known as the Building Windows 8 blog. The first article, written by Steve Sinofsky, sets out the aims of the blog. In this 1200+ word article, no real details are given, but some promises are made. In particular: “We'll participate in a constructive dialog with you. We'll also make mistakes and admit it when we do.” It remains to be seen how much of a true dialogue this will be – I am not expecting much more than the blog being a useful monologue on what MS has chosen to do in Windows 8 and their justification of it. I doubt any mistakes will be ‘found’ or ‘admitted’. We’ll see.

BUILD is just a few weeks away and I’ve got flights and hotel booked. If you’ll be there, please add a comment to this article and let’s meet up – I’d love to hear your views.


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Thursday, August 18, 2011

PowerShell Cmdlet of the Day Podcast

I see Tome Tanasovski, PowerShell MVP from New York, has started an interesting new podcast, the PowerShell Cmdlet of the Day Podcast. It’s inaugural  edition was yesterday and it looked at the Get-Input cmdlet from the ShowUI modle. It’s worth a listen to! And be sure to send in your comments!

You can subscribe to the Podcast on Itunes, via the website: You can also get the RSS from Feedburner at: