Thursday, May 22, 2014

DSC For Linux

In a talk I'd never have imagined would happen, last week at TechEd US, Jeffrey Snover announced DSC for Linux. More information on that is provided on the Windows PowerShell team blog at:

While I don't know Linux well enough to provide a detailed comment, the resources shown in that post do not look like the complete set. Nevertheless, this is a great start. I look forward to hearing more and seeing additional resources being added.

Technorati Tags: ,,

Monday, May 19, 2014

SpiceWorld London 2014–A Wonderful Conference

Last week I had a wonderful opportunity to attend and speak at Spicework’s SpiceWorld London. It was a great 2-day event held at The Brewery, Chiswell Street in the city. I mentioned this event in my blog (see

The event itself was lovely – it was fairly small and intimate. This allowed time and space to meet other delegates and to talk to the exhibitors. The Exhibition was also pretty good – I got to talk to some great companies and picked up some great take-aways. Thanks especially to Acronis for a full copy of their software, which is really, really useful. And thanks to HP for the really nice phone charger – as it turns out, I needed it for the train ride home.

My talk was entitled Bringing Home The Bacon – an Introduction to Windows PowerShell. I’ve uploaded the slides to SlideShare ( and you are free to take a look. The talk is introductory to PowerShell, but I did spend time both in slides and in the talk making the case for PowerShell. I certainly persuaded many IT Pros to at least take a look, but there are always going to be some die hards who will only relinquish the GUI when it’s pried from their cold dead hands. I can see their point – although my view is simpler. There are two types of admin – those who just know the GUI and those who know the GUI and PowerShell. The latter are always going to be the ones making the bigger bucks.

One unique aspect of the event was the presence of all of the founders of Spiceworks, who were there both to talk to the attendees, but also to listen. I had several great conversations around the use of PowerShell in the SpiceWorks applications and how that might be achieved. It was utterly awesome to have a view (i.e. SpiceWorks needs a PowerShell interface) and have the very people who can deliver that there and listening. It was very refreshing.

Of course, any great conference had to have good parties and that was sure the case. The pre-party was held at a pub – which was just able to hold all the attendees. And the main party, held at The Vault, was pretty cool too, complete with a nice band.

I am looking forward to next year’s event already!

Friday, May 16, 2014

Updated PowerShell V5 Preview Released

The Microsoft PowerShell team has just released an updated beta version of PowerShell Version 5. To give the release it’s full title, it is known as: Windows Management Framework 5.0 Preview May 2014. This update comes only a month after a prior release – showing that the PowerShell team sure can turn things around fast!

This update is available on The update consists of three files – two install packages (one for X86, the other for X64) and a small set of release notes.

In order to install it you must be running the LATEST OSs  windows 8.1 or Server 2012 R2. According to the release notes, All versions of Windows 8.1 are supported, as are all versions of Server 2012 R2 (except Itanium [SIC as there IS no version of Server 2012 R2 for Itanium as per]). I continue to find it curious that these betas are not supported on Windows 8 and Windows 7 (and related server products). I suspect that this may be a testing issue – testing takes time and as we know, to ship is to chose. Doesn’t really matter for me as my main servers and my laptop are up to spec. If nothing else, this decision is pushing me to upgrade to Server 2012 R2 on my development workstation – but before I do that, I need more RAM and a new disk so it’s going to have to wait a few weeks.

Installing this is easy – just navigate to the  download site, get the download package and run it. Installing it on a Windows 8.1 system does not even require a reboot to do the install.

So what’s new?

Of course, there are bug fixes etc. – at least I expect so. But they aren’t mentioned. There are also included the same two big items in the first WMF preview: OneGet and the Network Switch cmdlets.

But the most exciting addition here is a new module: PowerShellGet. The Earlier WMF preview contained a module called OneGet, which helps you to find programs and packages in the external world. I used PSG to get me the Sysinternals tools, and a nice  XML/HTML basic editor called bluefish. 

PowerShellGet uses similar logic to find you new PowerShell modules. The module has just 4 cmdlets: Find-Module, Install-Module, Publish-Module, and Update-Module. Simple and elegant – and it works a real treat! It enables you to find modules, and then download and install them (and update them in due course).

The documentation does not really make clear where these modules come from, but with a bit of detective work, the modules are found and published from/to the PowerShell resource Gallery (

In order to use Find-module, you need an external program, Nuget.exe (but the first time you use Find-Module you are nicely prompted for it). Once you download this, Find-Module finds a total of 52 modules, including some neat ones like PowerShellIseModule, TCPServer, and LocalUserManagement to name but a few). To install new modules requires administration rights.

Using this module looks like imagethis:

This is a nice touch – and I will certainly be exploring more of these modules.

All in all, this is a nice update.And it’s going to give me more work to do, especially in the area of PowerShell get. DSC is the other aspect I need to dig more into – and finding the dsc resource modules gives me more incentive!

I can’t wait to see what comes next?


Wednesday, May 14, 2014

The Register: PowerShell terminal sucks

IN a recent article on The Register, a user complains that the PowerShell 'terminal' sucks. The reader, also known as h4rm0ny, is a  BASH user and finds the console limiting. He's probably right – but if he wants a better terminal, why not try the Integrated Scripting Environmnet, aka the ISE.

In the longer term, it would be nice for Microsoft to update the console (conhost.exe) to be rather more modern and to incorporate some of BASH's features. In the mean time, I'll just use the ISE which is good enough for me!

Technorati Tags:

Friday, May 09, 2014

PowerShell and Visio

Just saw a cool presentation on using Visio and PowerShell. The slides and presentation here is a re-recording of a session the author, Saveen Reddy, gave at the recent PowerShell Summit in Redmond. You can get the video here: You can also get the materials from: :!87363&authkey=!ABRswDeQYGR-Xi8&ithint=folder%2c.psm1.

Some useful tips on using Visio and PowerShell!

Technorati Tags: ,

Monday, May 05, 2014

Lync Conference Sessions Now Available

Earlier this year, Micrososft held the Lync Conference in Las Vegas and recorded the sessions. These sessions are now available at:

Go for it!

Thursday, May 01, 2014

SpiceWorld London Speakers Announced

Spiceworks is a free network management, monitoring, helpdesk, pc inventory and reporting solution. Produced by Spiceworks. But Spiceworks also has a very active technical support set of forums, including ones for Windows, VOIP, and of course PowerShell.

I’ve been contributing to Spiceworks since last autumn and am enjoying the place. I find the community a lot more supportive and a little less whiney than some of the other support boards. the place is very welcoming to newbies which I find especially good.

Every year, Spiceworks has a conference, SpiceWorld, which is held both in the US and in London. The conference is aimed at helping folks use the SpiceWorks app but also to be even more awesome IT Pros. AND, one feature that gets a lot of attention is the swag – I’m told I should bring an extra suitcase. This year’s London SpiceWorld is being held at The Brewery in Chiswell street on May 13-14. See for the details.

Every year, one or two of the SpiceHeads (those of us active on the Spiceworks site) get asked to contribute. This year, it’s my turn and I’m going to be speaking about (ed: what else) PowerShell. My talk will be titled Bringing Home The Bacon With PowerShell with scripting and automation. It’s a short talk, I only have an hour, but I’ll be trying to cover the basics of PowerShell and looking more importantly at why every IT Pro should be keen to learn more.

I hope to see one or two of you there! Tags: ,