A Month of User Group Activity

§ January 12, 2014 17:11 by beefarino |

stockvault-dog-sleeping-in-bed131802I just got back from CodeMash, and my brain is full of project ideas and new-to-me information that I’m still trying to digest.  More on that later.  I’ve managed to stick my head out of the covers long enough to look at my calendar for the next four weeks, and it’s chock full of speaking engagements I wanted to let you know about.

First up, we have a virtual presentation for the Mississippi PowerShell User Group on Tuesday, January 14 at 9:30pm ET.  This will be an online presentation, but you’ll need to register to attend.  The topic for the evening is PowerShell Gotchas! –  this is a talk derived from my Pluralsight course of the same name, and the abstract for the talk is available below.

Next week is a two-fer!  I’ll be giving the PowerShell Gotchas! talk to the Florida PowerShell User Group on January 21 at 6:30pm ET.  This is another online presentation for which you’ll need to register

And then on January 23rd I’ll be in Alpharetta for the Atlanta PowerShell User Group – space is limited for this live event so be sure to register if you plan to attend.

And finally, I’ll be participating in PowerShell Saturday #007 on February 8.  This event is stacking up to be a great one – fantastic speakers and fantastic content and fantastic fun.  I’ll be running a double-oh-seven-spy-themed Iron Scripter! competition as well as presenting on PowerShell Gotchas!.  Space is limited and tickets are going fast, so if you’re interested in this all-day event please register soon.

Whew.  That’s a lot of speaking.  And it’s not over then.  Later in February I’ll be presenting to the Microsoft Integration Architects (again in Atlanta) about message-based application architectures.  And in April, I’ll be giving three sessions of new content at the PowerShell Summit North America.

Sweet Georgia Brown, I must be insane. 

PowerShell Gotchas!

PowerShell is the de facto standard for automation and administration on Windows systems.  The central design mantra in PowerShell is Think-Type-Get.  That is: Think what you want, Type it, and Get the results.  Unfortunately this mantra tends to break down - PowerShell combines concepts from other languages (Perl, Python, and VBScript for example) and borrows ideas from other platforms (like pipelining in Bash).  This creates an experience that feels familiar, but fails to behave consistently with our experiences.  This creates "gotchas".  In this talk we will analyze some specific cases of PowerShell's strange behavior in order to better understand how and why PowerShell works the way it does.

Kind of a Thing with Me

§ December 6, 2013 15:17 by beefarino |

Frosty leaves Free PhotoThis post was painful to write.  I’ve mulled it, hashed it, reworked it many times.  I started it over Thanksgiving, trashed it on the advice of a trusted friend, left it for dead.  Then another friend posted something on facebook that triggered it all again.  So here goes…

Most of you know me as a very calm, positive, and productive dude, with a wry sense of humor and a boisterous laugh you can hear three states over.  I like being that guy.  Actually, I love being that guy.  I look forward to it.  But it’s not always that way with me.

So, I’ve never enjoyed the holidays.  Not even as a kid.  My family jokes about it, but it’s not funny.  This time of year makes me feel sad and lonely, even though I’m lucky enough to spend it surrounded by people I love and who I know love me in return.  I don’t know why, never really understood the seasonal affective thing, but I know my mom suffered from it later in life as well, after surviving her first bought of cancer.  Even then, neither of us could put into words what happens.  The wet shoes, numb fingers, naked trees, the world seems to crawl under its covers of damp leaves and wood smoke to die and I just sort of absorb that through my skin.  And sweet baby Jesus, then there is the peppermint-scented carol-cacophonic circle-of-hell that is shopping in December - the avarice, the incessant advertising, and the wants and entitlements people get for …. well, just things, things that frankly no one needs.  Some days I could wad up December, throw it in the bin, and never miss it.

And this has never really been a problem, I’ve managed to muddle through my 40-or-so holiday seasons on this Earth without ruining it for everyone else.  The real problem began when I started to feel this way about the other 11 months of the year as well.  One year was spectacularly stressful – filled with birth, deaths, job changes, and isolation. 

Then it rolled into a second year….

.…and then on into a third….  I could not get my feet under me before hitting the ground again.  So I stopped trying, to put it briefly.

I eventually worked my way out of it, with a lot of help.  Lots.  Of Help.  It was a bumpy road.  It still is, if I’m being honest.  And the thing is … I’m thankful for all of it.  Every letter in the story – even the parts I cut out at my friend’s review.  Every choice made.  Every second of every minute of every hour that lead up to this moment here, with me writing this sentence and you reading it.  Through it I’ve made strong and earnest friends that I now rely on for daily mental health – some that make me laugh until my cheeks hurt, some that are brutally honest, some that kindle ideas, and some that rightly put me in my place. 

I love them and can’t imagine life without them.

Of course I would rather have skipped a lot of it, but there are lessons you can’t learn without that level of strife, lessons that are simple, universal, and vital, but are so banal and obvious that they require that nuclear explosion to draw your attention.  I’m thankful for these lessons too.

Here, let me share them with you, although the effect won’t be the same:

  • Making things better for yourself mandates effort on your part.  If you don’t feel like you have the energy for it, that’s a serious problem.  It’s time to ask for help.  Being strong is a good thing, but there are weights no person is expected to carry alone - needing help isn’t a weakness; not asking for it is.
  • There is always an option.  I honestly believe the core of depression is rooted in a belief that there is no option available to you.  But this is never true.  There are options you haven’t considered.  You may need to scour for it.  And when you find it you may not like it, it might be scary, or the option might not be what you want.  But it’s your option and you have the power to choose it or not.  You cannot always control what happens to you, but you can always control how you react to it.

So in that vein: thank you, for getting me this far along.  You’re awesome and I hope you have a happy and safe holiday season.

Edit – 09.12.2013

I really appreciate all of the personal comments I’ve received on this post; I’m choosing to not display them, simply because it’s a bit overwhelming to do so.  Like I said, you all are amazing.

PowerShell Saturday #007

§ December 3, 2013 10:57 by beefarino |


On February 8 2014, the Charlotte PowerShell User’s Group will be hosting PowerShell Saturday #007!

This will be the second PowerShell Saturday event hosted by the Charlotte group.  The last one (in September of 2012) was a huge success – the event sold out, sessions were amazing, the first ever Iron Scripter! winner was crowned…. oh, oh!  And there were tacos for lunch.  Tacos!  And PowerShell!  What a funtaculariffic day for everyone!

Saying that, after looking at the speaker and sponsor lineups for the upcoming February event, all I can say is:

007 is making me giddy with anticipation

I’ll go into more details in future posts, but for now allow me to whet your appetite:

  • We have 15 sessions of content and scripting games, brought to you by some of the most prolific and knowledgeable community leaders available
  • With Introductory and Advanced tracks of sessions, there is content appropriate for all levels of ability and interests
  • The addition of a new Poshpourri track allows us to bring special interest topics to you – think “007” kind of things …. think security….. think reverse-engineering….
  • Our speakers are traveling from as far away as Ottawa to share knowledge with you
  • You will have the chance to participate in another official Iron Scripter! event, with a one-of-a-kind ego prize you don’t want to miss

All this for a paltry $15 of your germ-ridden cash, all of which goes to support the user group.  So please, register now and be part of the fun!

log4net Pluralsight Course

§ August 29, 2013 14:47 by beefarino |

PS circleI get a fair amount of traffic on this blog, and most of it is aimed at the set of log4net tutorials I’ve posted over the years.  I’m pleased to announce that as of today, all of this log4net knowledge has been captured in a Pluralsight course.

The course covers everything from configuration through extending the library.  I provide coverage and configuration details for nearly all of the appenders that ship with log4net, which makes the code demos from the course very valuable if you’re looking to configure, say, the UDP appender for non-buffering message broadcasting.  The course is much more than a walk through the library – I spent a good 90 minutes or so discussing effective ways you can leverage logging in your own applications, including examples of applying logging with aspect-oriented programming techniques and logging through common design patterns.

In addition I go into extending the library with your own ideas.  In one demo I use the Twilio REST API to create an SMS appender, so my applications can now text me when they’re heading for failure.  Fun stuff!

So, if you’re more of a visual learner and are interested in learning how to get going with log4net and use it effectively, please give my course a whirl: