On Airports

Maybe it’s just the Dayquil talking, but:

I’ve never been too fond of commercial aviation. Less so since 2001.
It has become, in my view, nothing more than a profit-driven security
theater where we jump through pretend security processes that serve no
actual security benefit — other than to address potential threats
drummed up in any B-rate Hollywood
Movie script — while stripping us of dignity, respect, and civil
rights.

So, why the hell are the bathroom floors always sticky?

Why are so many airports seemingly always under construction?

Why does it seem that the people who are providing security in these
places exactly the kind of folks that you’d never trust cat-sitting,
but the federal government thinks they’re capable of making judgements
about security of privately-owned commercial airlines?

Next time, I’m chartering a private plane, taking the train or just
riding the V-Star.

No doubt this post will win me the 4 S’s of Death on the boarding pass
for my next trip.

…in which I contemplate the week

I’m sitting at gate 42 at Orlando International airport as I hammer this out.

I went to TechEd this week and have absorbed loads of info about MS server software that seems most applicable to my job.

I have the flu — or something like it.

I went to Disney World, Epcot Center with my wife and son yesterday — and, although I felt like absolute crap physically, I still loved it. I bought Pirate Mickey Ears and some Goofy Ears (pirate skull cap). Just because.

Daisy and Nick found some that they liked, too.

I found myself planning the next trip to Disney World — which will be at least four years from now — before I even left the park.

I got to test out a Segway at Epcot. Pretty neat, but I’m not buying one. Nick was mad because he wasn’t old enough to try one out (have to be 16 or older).

We saw
– Spaceship Earth
– the water ride at The Land (really cool, because you can see the Disney hydroponics/aquaponics garden and greenhouse, too)
– Test Track
– Soarin’
– United Kingdom
– Italy
– Japan
– Germany (I even ordered my beer and snacks in German — Nick was impressed.)
– China
– Fireworks
– Smiles on the faces of my wife and son

I must have walked miles and miles this week.

So, this week was mostly educational/work-related, punctuated with a one-day vacation for me at Disney World (you really need a week to see all the good stuff). Perhaps I should plan more vacation time.

Well, off to get in line at the gate for a standby flight home. Maybe I can get back to Denver before my wife and son land.

Tech Ed, 2008

The last day for Tech Ed, 2008 was Friday, June 13.

Over the course of the week, I’ve learned reasonable amount about
Microsoft’s new product offerings and endured walking what seemed like
miles and miles… every day. The Orlando convention center is just
huge; and everything is, understandably spread out. Hauling a notebook
computer around, even though it’s only a four pound Mac (hey, I wasn’t
the only Mac user there — there were several) was physically hard.

But it turns out that it wasn’t just that I was out of shape and
hauling around extra weight. Over the week, I’ve been feeling
progressively worse. A bit too tired at the end of days, a worsening
sore throat, muscles, and joints. Friday morning added a fever,
coughing and the inability to get out of bed.

Great.

Why is it that I get these things whenever I travel?


Posted from MS TechEd, 2008

VMM Integration and Extension With PowerShell

This post is just some notes from a session, so it may seem, more than
other posts this week, a bit more disjointed and random:

Microsoft Virtual Machine Manager Integration and Extension

MS System Center VMM 2007 and System Center VMM 2008 (beta at this
time). (MS SCVMM)

You’ll need a background, understanding, or working-knowledge of
PowerShell. I don’t have any. Zip. Zero. Nada. Never even seen what
any commands look like.

PS looks much like a combination of VB, DOS, bash

VMM Admin Console acts as a front end for PS.

As an aside, prompted by a slide that was just up: can VMM manage ESX
3.5 hosts directly? Or does it require a Virtual Center front end for
ESX?

Another question: what utilities or commands are available on *nix to
manage RPC-capable services on Windows? Reboots, administrative
changes, etc.

If you use the wizard, you can grab its script. So, if we create a new
VM with “NewVM” as its name, we can change the script to allow us to
pick a name.

For example, add:

> $VMName = Read-Host -Prompt “VM Name”

to the top of the script then we can save it in the SC Library and
execute it again. It’ll prompt for a VM Name so ou can add it. Right-
click it to view, run, etc.

If a script isn’t signed, we’ll get a warning to not run, run once,
suspend, or get help. Pretty handy.

When run, the prompt is, as suggested by the syntax of the command
above, you’d see:
> VM Name:

VMM Object Model includes nouns and verbs. Nouns include VMM Server,
Host Group, Host, VM, Library. Verbs include things like Creator,
Owner, Name, Group, Add, Move, Start, Stop, etc — but may not be
available on every noun.

Organization of VM objects:

> VMM Server
> Host Group
> Host
> VM
> Drives
> NICs
> etc.
> Library
> Share
> VHD
> ISO
> VM

Every object in VMM is customizable with additional properties. So, we
could add an expiration date, last updated date, physical location (if
it’s a host, of course), etc. Whatever is required or desired.

Aside: PowerShell is, apparently, downloadable — I’ll see if I can
track down a URL. I guess an introduction or HowTo will be required,
too.

Aside #2: Presenter stated that he “used this pipe [character], which
is unique to PowerShell”. Um, I swear it’s been around for decades.
You see, the concept of the pipe is that it uses the output of the
previous command as input for the next command.

For example, in DOS, if you do just:
> ping -n 1 hostname.whatever.com
then a single ping will be sent to hostname.whatever.com followed by
some other statistical information. However, if I just want to see if
a reply was actually received, the line from the ping that confirms
that would contain the word “Reply”. So, we could change it to be:
> ping -n 1 hostname.whatever.com | find /i “reply”
Presto.

From looking at the demo, it’s very much like sh and its variants,
but uses the MS

> command noun verb

concept as opposed to sh (bash/ksh/tsh, etc) and DOS method of

> command option attribute

The concept is exactly the same though. You have a command, followed
by any number of appropriate options and attributes.

An example of a PS command progression to see all of the VM Hosts:
> get-vmhost
> get-vmhost | ft
> get-vmhost | | sort AvailableMemory | ConvertTo-Html Name,
> AvailableMemory, OverallStateString, VirtualizationPlatform -title
> “Current Host” | Set-Content hosts.htm

(will dump content as described to hosts.htm)

Not to point out the painfully obvious, but clearly, PS wants to be
Unix. They’re promoting console shells to replace all of the point/
click methods

PS is highly verbose. Verbosity is excellent for documentation, but
extremely time consuming (for me) as a scripting language. For
example, there’s an attribute that he used called:
> -RunAsynchronously
which runs the command in the background.

In *nix, we can do exactly the same thing by appending this to the end
of any shell command:
> ;

Just a semicolon. *nix admins are lazy. Then again, in *nix, we could
also Ctrl+Z the current command if it’s running in the foreground,
then type
> bg
to send it to the background.

There’s a GUI front end available for PowerShell: PowerGUI, a 3rd
party, for-fee application. No mention of price. PowerGUI is an
extension to PowerShell but also includes some of the command-
completion that you would find in bash (*nix) or even in VB/VBScript/
VBE. Still, it could speed the process for many users who are not
familiar with consoles.

PowerGadgets Creator allows you to create Vista desktop gadgets based
on PowerShell. Handy!


Posted from MS TechEd, 2008