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Now Blogging at Cloudy Windows Print E-mail
General
Written by Darwin Sanoy   
Tuesday, February 21, 2017 8:09am

For the last 8 or more years I have maintained my technical blog at http://csi-windows.com. My career focus has shifted a lot since starting that site and it was time to acknowledge this in the focus of my blogging.

The new location is https://cloudywindows.io. As in the past, some some of this content will be posted to Linkedin as well.

The focus of the new blog is cloudifying Windows. This means focusing on insights and code that help Windows be a better cloud player. It also means focusing on the technologies of Microsoft's Server 2016 release as it is a significant milestone in readying Windows to be better fit to cloud environments.

I hope you'll keep up to date with Cloud Windows by either following me on twitter or subscribing to the feed or email list at: https://cloudywindows.io.

The new location was also an exploration in deploying a blog with modern cloud and DevOps technologies.

The blog is generated by the static site generator "Hugo" and it is hosted on AWS CloudFront. Static sites have no back end computing - a limitation which means there is not much to hack as the entire site is static files. Static sites can be checked into source control - giving a whole host of "site as code" benefits.

In this case, it also means the shutdown of a dedicated server that was costing over $100/month - to be replaced by about $3/month (after the AWS free trial period). The new site utilizes CloudFront's free SSL to boost trust for Google and other search engines.

It has been the leanest site deployment I've ever pulled off - consuming about 80 hours of weekend time from discovery through deployment.

 
Embryonic DevOps in 1999 and Chocolatey Training For You Print E-mail
General
Written by Darwin Sanoy   
Tuesday, April 5, 2016 6:23am

I started teaching DevOps around the year 1999.  All together now: "Darwin, are you insane? The term, 'DevOps', is a lot newer than that!"  That's absolutely true, but a concept always exists long before it is recognized and labelled...

In 1999 I was a newly hired Principal Consultant and I clearly remember getting a call from my manager.  He was at a Microsoft partner event that demonstrated Microsoft's soon-to-be released technologies.  One of hottest demos for Windows 2000 showcased the life-saving capabilities of a new software deployment automation technology that was code named "Darwin"  It tickled him that it was named after the newest member of his team and he was calling to have a chuckle about it with me.  That technology became Windows Installer or MSI.

 
Should I Upgrade "This Machine" to Windows 10? Print E-mail
General
Written by Darwin Sanoy   
Monday, February 8, 2016 7:52am

So I get the question about the free upgrade to Windows 10 a lot.  I am going to share with you the criteria I use for my own machines in hopes it might help you make your decision.  If you think my criteria is a little overdone, just credit one year of hard experience to each point in the evaluation process ;)

 

 
EPIC: hack.summit() Print E-mail
General
Written by Darwin Sanoy   
Friday, January 15, 2016 9:48am

PluralSight's virtual hack.summit() looks like it's going to be pretty epic! Presentations by creators of various technologies and languages and a $150,000 hackathon. Worth a look:https://hacksummit.org/

hack.summit()
 
Microsoft's New World / Old World Development Schizophrenia - A Case in Point Print E-mail
General
Written by Darwin Sanoy   
Saturday, October 10, 2015 8:06am

For one of my clients I created a PowerShell automation framework that could work stand alone (great for testing) or under SCCM - with no coding changes to switch.  I was excited to wire up it's error reporting system to SCCM custom status MIFs.  Somehow in the age of the API the SCCM development team decided to drop this very helpful feature - but only from "Applications" because the are so much "better"...

 
DevOps Skillset: "Borderline Developer" Print E-mail
General
Written by Darwin Sanoy   
Thursday, August 20, 2015 8:27am

When I create cover letters and resumes, it is always a challenge to convey that although I don't code in a compiled language like C#, I understand and enjoy applying serious structured coding and testing techniques to the PowerShell code I write.

I believe this is not a small distinction when looking for DevOps professionals.  Many of us from the Infrastructure side of the house cut our teeth on coding by hacking together useful scripts in languages whose capabilities were Neanderthal.  A good portion of time was spent working around the limitations of the language, rather than being empowered by it's capabilities.

 
Learning About Systems by Stepping On the Cat's Tail Print E-mail
General
Written by Darwin Sanoy   
Saturday, August 15, 2015 4:59pm

When I was a toddler my dad caught me repeatedly stepping on the cat's tail.  Rather than react to my childishness with a reprimand, he simply asked "What are you doing?"  I proceeded to explain to him what is now commonly called a "four square" matrix.  

 
UPDATED: Getting VMWare Networking on Hyper-V for Windows 8 via the Fewest Possible Steps Print E-mail
General
Written by Darwin Sanoy   
Friday, April 10, 2015 9:41am

Wow - sometimes you don't know how easy you've got it until you step off the cliff!  That cliff for me was attempting to replace VMware Workstation with Windows 8 Hyper-V.  Hey Microsoft, you really should do something about this since I see it cited ad nauseam as a primary reason many IT Pros retreat from their attempt to adopt Win 8 Hyper-V and go back to VMware.  But in the meantime, I have some steps to make this as easy as possible.

 

 
May Release of Office 365/2013 Click To Run (Desktop Apps) Allows Install of Individual Applications Print E-mail
General
Written by Darwin Sanoy   
Saturday, May 24, 2014 7:19am

With Office 2013 Microsoft created a new deployment and installation mechanism known as "Click To Run (CTR)".  This is the method used to deploy office from the web in a near instant fashion and it includes a type of "Runtime App-V" under the covers.  The same mechanism is used to deploy the Click To Run edition in corporations. Up until now you could only install the entire suite of Office applications when using Click To Run (MSI based installs have always retained full selective product install capabilities).

 
Office 365 SP1 Is Out - Including an Updated Deployment Toolkit! Print E-mail
General
Written by Darwin Sanoy   
Friday, February 28, 2014 3:02pm

I have been working on a project to deploy Office 365 to the enterprise for over 6 months now.  Office 365 SP1 is a significant boost to the ability to deploy an on-premise source approach to Office 365...

 
Windows Internals 5 (previous edition) for $1.99 at BarnesAndNoble.com Print E-mail
General
Written by Darwin Sanoy   
Monday, April 15, 2013 11:05am

Although this is the previous version, the major kernel changes that were done for Server 2008 / Vista are the same as Server 2008 R2 / Windows 7 - so it is still a solid reference.

 
A Silver Bullet To A Satisfying Technology Career Print E-mail
General
Written by Darwin Sanoy   
Saturday, December 22, 2012 8:33am

"Silver Bullet" status is high praise - I'm slow to give it.  However, when I am most tempted, the item has the quality of unveiling something that has formerly been invisible by virtue of it's universal acceptance.  There is something that may be invisible to you now that could have a dramatic effect on your career satisfaction and the rest of your life as well.  That something is...

 
Use Windows Explorer as a Code Snippet Manager (for VBScript, PowerShell, .CMD, .BAT, etc) by Configuring Windows Libraries, Windows Search and File Previews Print E-mail
General
Written by Darwin Sanoy   
Monday, December 10, 2012 4:27pm

Most scripters I know are code sample junkies – the learn by hacking away at existing scripts on the web and one’s they have collected.  Recently I’ve been on the hunt for a easier way to store, search and find code snippets.  I found a lot of stuff, but nothing that satisfied.  As I was searching I realized by configuring three different areas of Windows, I could have a pretty nice snippet manager right in Windows Explorer.  Some of these changes you will want to make even if you don’t actively manage snippets!

 
Commercial Grade Scripting IDE Now Free Print E-mail
General
Written by Darwin Sanoy   
Wednesday, October 24, 2012 12:08pm

Idera PowerShell Plus is a top grade script editor.  In addition to full PowerShell support, it syntax highlights VBS, .CMD/.BAT, XML, HTML and SQL scripts.  Up until now it has been a commercial product, but the company has just made it into a free product.

 

 
Video: Managing Apps and Scripts on 64-bit Windows Print E-mail
General
Written by Darwin Sanoy   
Wednesday, September 19, 2012 11:00pm
Darwin Sanoy delivered the Experts Exchange Webinar "Managing Apps and Scripts on 64-bit Windows".  This is the video recording of that webinar.
 
What Do You Need to Know About Windows 8 Metro Applications? Print E-mail
General
Written by Darwin Sanoy   
Monday, August 6, 2012 1:48pm
We've recently updated some of our training content to include Windows 8.  I want to share a little background on those changes and how they might be helpful to your own career planning if you're involved in application deployment or support.  I also wish to outline why the consumerization of IT must be driven from the outside IN, not from the inside OUT. 
 
Free Microsoft e-Book on Server 2012 and the Hybrid Cloud Print E-mail
General
Written by Darwin Sanoy   
Thursday, June 21, 2012 8:16am
Microsoft has release a free ebook on Server 2012 and it's role in the hybrid cloud.
 
How to Silence the UAC Prompt for Per-Machine MSI Packages for Non-Admins Print E-mail
General
Written by Darwin Sanoy   
Friday, February 10, 2012 9:02am

How many times have I been asked if there is a way to silence or automatically approve the UAC prompt for non-admins?  I lost count a long time ago, but if I had a dime for each time – I’d be set!  Windows Installer, however, is a unique case – mainly because Windows Installer only uses the UAC prompt to approve it’s own internal privileges model IF AND ONLY IF it needs to.

 
Identifying Cached MSI Packages in C:\Windows\Installer Without Opening Them Print E-mail
General
Written by Darwin Sanoy   
Friday, February 3, 2012 8:14am

From time to time you may find you need to identify which software package a cached MSI is associated with.  Since the names are purposely randomized to prevent name conflicts for per-user installs, it is not easy to tell which software they belong to.  Here is an easy method to see this information for all packages from within Windows Explorer.

 
Home Geek: Remote Active Home Pro Via WMI (x10 Home Automation) Print E-mail
General
Written by Darwin Sanoy   
Saturday, December 17, 2011 12:00am

Active Home Pro (AHP) is a low cost software package from x10.com that allows programming of affordable home control devices that follow the x10 protocol.  AHP does not natively provide network or web based access to the computer that is running the software.  There are a variety of devices and software packages that can solve this problem for $100 or up – but all I really need is the occasional ability to control a single device.  WMI is up to the task…

 
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