Archive for November, 2008

Andy asks, “By When?”

Career, General Interest November 29th, 2008

Andy Schneider (of the Get-PowerShell Blog) just posted a great blog post about a topic that is often overlooked, but can be a great source of frustration and conflict in the workplace.

This is a question that goes un-asked and un-answered all too often. So often I am in a meeting where Project Manager X asks Engineer Y, “Can you do so and so?” and the engineer says “Absolutely!” and we move on to the next item on the agenda. This is a recipe for disaster. There is no set time that this task is due. There is no promise or commitment.

One of the bigest hurdles I run across in my day job is pinning people down on when they expect certain work items to be done.  The most common response is “When you have time…” or “It’s not a priority…”.  To me, that communicates that the task is not time sensitive and can be put into the pile with the other requests/problems I have to look into.  Currently I have about 80 active items that need some sort of action in my ticketing system, plus the daily requests and fires that come up during the day.  It could be weeks or months before something with a low priority gets action (it is reviewed every week as part of my weekly review).  The requestor, though, might believe that a low priority item should be done by the end of the day or end of the week.  It becomes necessary for me to force the requestor to give me a date as to when their item is needed by; and if I don’t, it can lead to frustration on the part of the requestor and exasperation on my side, when their “low priority” item becomes a fire that needs to be put out.By the project manager not defining when the task is expected to be done and the engineer not commiting to a timeframe, the stage is set for conflict and slipped schedules.I’ve become a fan of agile practices which are growing in popularity in software development cycles, but can be applied to systems and network administration.  These practices encourage frequent communication and status updates, as well as responding quickly to changes in requirements.  None of this is possible if everyone is not clear on what is expected to be done by when.  Communication is the foundation of a smooth running process and “By when?” is a critical component of that communication. Expectations and ability to complete the task by that expected time need to become a required part of any task assignment, and both parties need to use the same, specific terminology and keep the lines of communication open if the schedule changes or the time needed to complete the task changes.

Episode 77 – Remember El Morro

Podcast November 29th, 2008

Recorded: November 26, 2008
Your Host: Keith Albright and Steve Murawski
Show Length: 1:18:15

This show is brought to you by Quest and Idera.

Automate your admin tasks FAST with Idera’s PowerShellPlus – THE Power Tool for PowerShell. Download a free 14-day trial at www.Idera.com/PowerShellPlus

 

Links:

Read the full show notes here.

Website Picks

Keith – The Linux Fund

When it comes to scripting, you’re a warrior. But mighty warriors need mighty tools!

For awesome PowerShell scripting, nothing matches the might of Quest’s PowerGUI?. Versatile and easy to use, PowerGUI? helps you build commanding scripts that leverage PowerShell’s strength across the enterprise. Now, ruling your domain is easier than ever.

Is your scripting might equal to the challenge? Put the power in your hands. Download PowerGUI today.

Listen Now:

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New Forum Categories on PowerShellCommunity.Org

Associations, Scripting November 24th, 2008

PowerShell interest seems to be flooding all sorts of Microsoft product communities.  Now on PowerShellCommunity.org, there are forums specifically for SharePoint and SQL Server.  Check them out! 

If you have PowerShell related questions, suggestions, or solutions, please stop in and post!

See you there!

Coming up on the Live Stream (Episode #77)…

Automation, Career, Podcast, Scripting, Servers November 24th, 2008

We will be streaming episode #77 live on Ustream.tv on Wednesday, November 26th at 8:30 PM CST.  We will have Brent Ozar, SQL Server Expert for Quest Software, joining us to talk about becoming a DBA (Database Administrator), a sysadmin’s guide to working with DBA’s, and tips for sysadmins who have become “Accidental DBA’s”.  We’ll also have a discussion about DBA’s and scripting, and some news from the PASS (The Professional Assoication for SQL Server) Summit.

 See you there!!

Episode 76 – A Twaggle Of Batches

Podcast November 21st, 2008

Recorded: November 19, 2008
Your Host: Steve Murawski, Keith Albright, and Rich Niemeier
Show Length: 58:06

This show is brought to you by Quest and Idera.

When it comes to scripting, you’re a warrior. But mighty warriors need mighty tools!

For awesome PowerShell scripting, nothing matches the might of Quest’s PowerGUI?. Versatile and easy to use, PowerGUI? helps you build commanding scripts that leverage PowerShell’s strength across the enterprise. Now, ruling your domain is easier than ever.

Is your scripting might equal to the challenge? Put the power in your hands. Download PowerGUI today.

Links:

Read the full show notes here.

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Steve – Twitter Terms and Utilities

Automate your admin tasks FAST with Idera’s PowerShellPlus – THE Power Tool for PowerShell. Download a free 14-day trial at www.Idera.com/PowerShellPlus

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Mapping AD Group Relationships with PowerShell

Scripting November 19th, 2008

A while back, I had restructured my AD groups to match the AGUDLP (Accounts go into Global Groups go into Universal Groups go into DomainLocal Groups where they are applied as Permission) best practice. 

Now, I’m working to align my domain groups with the permissions structure in other applications, so I can create some scripts to automate people changing roles, gaining new responsibilities, and other functions.

I used the Show-NetMap script from Doug Finke, which uses a Microsoft Research project called NetMap, to map out the nested groups in my Active Directory. 

I’d love any feedback or suggestions for using this script.

  1. # Author: Steven Murawski http://www.mindofroot.com

  2. # This script requires the Show-NetMap script from Doug Finke and the NetMap files

  3. # These can be found at http://dougfinke.com/blog/?p=465

  4. #

  5. # Also required are the Quest AD Cmdlets.

  6. #requires -pssnapin Quest.ActiveRoles.ADManagement

  7. param([string]$SearchRoot= ‘yourdomain.local/usersOU’)

  8. Function New-SourceTarget ($s,$t) {

  9.         New-Object PSObject |

  10.                 Add-Member -pass noteproperty source $s |

  11.                 Add-Member -pass noteproperty target $t

  12. }

  13. $groups = Get-QADGroup -GroupType Security -SearchRoot $SearchRoot

  14. [string[]]$GroupNames = $groups | foreach {$_.name}

  15. $sources = @()

  16. foreach ($group in $groups)

  17. {

  18.         $name = $group.name

  19.         foreach ($member in $group.members)

  20.         {

  21.                 $SubGroupName = $member -replace ‘^CN=(.+?),OU=.*’, ‘$1’

  22.                 if ($GroupNames -contains $SubGroupName)

  23.                 {

  24.                         $sources += New-SourceTarget $SubGroupName $name

  25.                 }

  26.         }

  27.        

  28. }

  29. . c:\scripts\powershell\Show-NetMap

  30. $sources | Show-NetMap

downloadThis Script brought to you by PoshCode

Episode 75 – Bunny Ears

Podcast November 13th, 2008

Recorded: November 12, 2008
Your Host: Keith Albright, Rich Niemeier, and Steve Murawski
Show Length: 58:47

This show is brought to you by Quest and Idera.

Automate your admin tasks FAST with Idera’s PowerShellPlus – THE Power Tool for PowerShell. Download a free 14-day trial at www.Idera.com/PowerShellPlus

 

Links:

Read the full show notes here.

Website Picks

Keith – Tag Galaxy and Windows XP runs the Matrix

When it comes to scripting, you’re a warrior. But mighty warriors need mighty tools!

For awesome PowerShell scripting, nothing matches the might of Quest’s PowerGUI?. Versatile and easy to use, PowerGUI? helps you build commanding scripts that leverage PowerShell’s strength across the enterprise. Now, ruling your domain is easier than ever.

Is your scripting might equal to the challenge? Put the power in your hands. Download PowerGUI today.

Listen Now:

Download Here

Wanna see me poking Steve’s head with a pencil? Check out the video on UStream.TV

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Scripting November 9th, 2008

AT&T – It’s Not To Be

General Interest, Networking, Rants, Vendors November 7th, 2008

Well, my AT&T experience has been less than stellar.  I’ve been talking recently on the podcast about my troubles with Time Warner’s RoadRunner service (including having my service drop out several times during the past few shows).  I was looking forward to having AT&T’s U-Verse installed at my home after a sales person had come to my door over the summer to advise me that the service was available in my neighborhood.

Fast forward to October 10th,  I had a sales rep from AT&T in my home discussing the services I was going to purchase.  I was very eager to get them installed and was somewhat dismayed to find that their installation schedule was already about a month out.  I scheduled an installation for today (Friday, November 7th).

This morning, before the technician came to my house, he called me and advised me that I probably would not be able to get service.  While they installed new fiber to the nearby Central Office, the copper lines coming to my block were old and had not yet been upgraded.  They did not think that the existing copper would work for this service.  He advised me that they had previous issues installing on my block and that this has been a known issue (reported several times in the past).  The tech also told me that this segment was not scheduled to be repaired until next year.

So, I’m stuck with Time Warner, until I can find a cost effective replacement (maybe TDS?).

I think the service provided by AT&T was abysmal.  I would have appreciated some notification that there was a potential problem and that service was likely not going to be able to be delivered anytime before today.

I called my sales rep (who is a friend of a friend) and advised him that my service was not going to be installed and that I was going to call and make some noise about this.  I tried to explain that I was not upset with him, as he did not have the information to relay to me, but that I was frustrated and upset about the process and inconvenience.  I also advised him that I would be recording my experiences for the blog and podcast.  I was stunned by his reaction to my experience.  He was more concerned about negative publicity than with the loss of a customer.  He stated that I should not report negatively about my experience, since all I lost was my time. I was stunned and I reacted badly.

Ed, I’m sorry I raised my voice on the phone, that was unprofessional of me. (I really wanted to put a "but, …" in there; however, I was wrong on raising the level of my voice.)  I do not retract any of my statements, but I should not have raised my voice.

People who know me know that it takes a lot to get me upset, but AT&T, in the person of their sales rep, had just discounted the most valuable thing I have, time.  Each person only has so much time in their lives and respecting other peoples’ time is very important to me. 

Time is a limiting factor in our lives and impacts everything we do.  We are paid for our time at work.  We spend time with our loved ones, doing activities we enjoy.  We donate time to causes we believe in.  

In all those statements, time is currency and we have a finite, unknown quantity of it to use.  I get upset when people squander that resource, and enraged when people dismiss its value.

I’m not perfect, but I try my best to respect other people’s time.  I wish other people and companies would as well.  AT&T sure does not.

Episode 74 – Not Just Pancakes

Podcast November 6th, 2008

Recorded: November 5, 2008
Your Host: Keith Albright, Rich Niemeier, and Steve Murawski
Show Length: 1:02:56

This show is brought to you by Quest and Idera.

When it comes to scripting, you’re a warrior. But mighty warriors need mighty tools!

For awesome PowerShell scripting, nothing matches the might of Quest’s PowerGUI?. Versatile and easy to use, PowerGUI? helps you build commanding scripts that leverage PowerShell’s strength across the enterprise. Now, ruling your domain is easier than ever.

Is your scripting might equal to the challenge? Put the power in your hands. Download PowerGUI today.

Links mentioned in this show:

This show is also brought to you by Idera Software; Download free tools to help manage your Windows world at Idera.com.
Read the full show notes here.

Website Picks

Rich – SysAid: Free Helpdesk software

Keith – LandOfSilly – Funny podcast of IT skits and songs

Listen Now:

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