MSDN Southern Fried Road Show Charlotte

§ June 2, 2009 17:14 by beefarino |

Many, many thanks to Brian Hitney, Chad Brooks, and Glen Gordon for letting me give a shotgun PowerShell presentation at the MSDN RoadShow in Charlotte today.  I appreciate the opportunity, guys!

As promised, here is a quick summary and some links to PowerShell tutorials and developer blogs...

The Big Three Commands

Remember, you don't need to remember all 200+ commands available in PowerShell, because PowerShell provides built-in cheat sheets!


Example 1: list all available commands

Example 2: list available commands pertaining to processes
Get-command *process*



Example 1: general powershell help

Example 2: list help topics matching a term
Get-help *object*
Example 3: get “short” help for a specific command
Get-help get-process
get-process -?
Example 3: get “full” help (details, examples, etc) for a specific command
Get-help get-process -full



Example 1: list members of a local variable

$variable | get-member
Get-member –input $variable
Example 2: list members of a pipeline result
Get-process | get-member


Download Powershell v2 CTP3

Community Resources - aggregator of scripts, blogs, and resources.  A great place to start searching for powershell packages.
PowerScripting podcast – weekly podcast of all things powershell.  Generally targeted at sys admins and DBAs, but often they discuss targeted technologies in powershell, such as sharepoint, sql server, exchange, VMWare, etc.
Nivot InkOisin Grehan's blog containing an insane amount of detail concerning v2 CTP features, including creating modules, eventing, and remoting. - Joel Bennet’s blog, author of the PowerBoots WPF extensions for powershell, and massive powershell development online presence.
PowerShell Team Blog – the horse’s mouth, so to speak.
PowerGUI - an awesome MMC-style GUI PowerShell host, very flexible and endlessly useful.

Open-Source Projects

PowerShell Community Extensions – targeted at powershell v1, the functionality offered here is largely absorbed in v2; however, this codebase is still a great resource for learning more about how powershell works.
SQL Server PowerShell Extensions – powershell support for managing SQL 2000 and 2005; note that SQL 2008 has powershell integration out of the box.
PolyMon – an open-source system monitoring solution with powershell support.

Module, Training, & Tool Vendors

Quest AD – active directory support for powershell. – Extensible and generic MMC-type UI front-end for powershell.
SAPIEN – makers of PrimalScript scripting IDE, designed specifically for sys admins; training courses in powershell, scripting, etc.
Quest – authors of free PowerGUI (, a UI front-end for powershell, as well as the ActiveRoles management shell for AD and many, many other management products.
SoftwareFX – vendor of .NET and Java instrumentation controls, as well as PowerGadgets, a tool that enables you to create vista side-bar gadgets based on PowerShell scripts - it's BIG FUN!

ALT.NET Charlotte Presentation

§ May 7, 2009 14:16 by beefarino |

I just got back from the second meeting of ALT.NET Charlotte, where I presented a talk on PowerShell as a Tools Platform.  I think it went well.  The demos centered around building tools in PowerShell to manage the ASP.NET Membership store for a website, and they seemed to drive the point home.  Try doing this:

dir users: | where { $_.lastLoginDate –lt ( ( get-date ).addyear( -1 ) ) } | remove-item;

in the ASP.NET Website Management tool!

As well as I feel it went, I'm still hoping to get some feedback from the group.  Feel free to leave a comment here if you wish, or use the contact link at the top of this page.

And a very special thank you to those organizations and companies that provided their support for this presentation:

and those who sposor our kick-ass group:

 Thanks to everyone who came out to support the group and hear my talk!

Andy Hunt's Agile Carolinas Talk

§ April 28, 2009 14:11 by beefarino |

I just got back from hearing Andy Hunt discuss his new book, Pragmatic Thinking and Learning.  I hadn't heard him speak before, and I have to admit I was not sure what to expect.

On the one hand, I hold many of this books in very high regard.  In particular, the following books were career-altering reads for me:

And his keystone role in the Agile movement has earned my utmost respect.  However, when I saw the title of this latest book I was a bit worried.  I have a master's degree in cognitive psychology, and I know a lot about learning, memory, and perception.  Most learning books outside of the field are crap, so honestly my first instinct was that this was going to be a cash-grab treatise of self-help porch psychology fuzzy-feel-goods for software developers.

After listening to Andy's presentation, I am happy to say my instincts were way off the mark.

First of all, the book (and Andy's presentation) remains true to the pragmatic banner.  His recommendations are both practical and effective.  For example, a recurring theme during this talk was to write things down.  Carry around a small notebook and jot down every idea that pops into your head.  Maintain a personal wiki.  Mindmap as you read or think.  Solidify your thoughts into something concrete.  The point is not to be able to refer back to them later, but instead to force your brain to keep working, keep producing, keep processing.  To summarize one of his points, that's the first step to an accomplishment.

Second, a lot of what he was saying is supported by academic research.  Granted, Andy takes some license with his metaphors but his points hold water.   E.g., what Andy refers to as the "memory bus" being shared between "dual cores" of the brain is probably more of an attention effect; however, the behavioral effect cannot be denied - the serial and holistic parts of your mind compete when trying to solve a problem.

Based on the presentation tonight, I wouldn't recommend the book to my former psychology colleges - it's too macro to be useful to them.  However, for my fellow geeks, this is actually a useful introduction to becoming a more effective learner.

It was a great talk, a fun evening, and I plan to pick up the book next time I'm at the bookstore.  Oh, and I had a short chat with Andy just before the talk, and I have to say how awesome it is to meet someone you hold as a guru and detect no ego.  Awesome.

Upcoming PowerShell Presentation

§ April 3, 2009 01:03 by beefarino |

Last night's ALT.NET Charlotte meeting was a success.  A tight turnout of big brains.  Many thanks to Brady Gaster, Brian Hitney, and Matt LeFevre for getting some air under the wings.

After sifting through some topics ideas, it looks like I'll be giving one of the first sessions at next month's meeting.  The topic will be Pragmatic PowerShell.  I'm still considering a few approaches to the talk, and I'm not sure how much I'll want to cover, but I'm thinking it would be best to create something interactive and have the audience participate.

If anyone has any suggestions or resources you think I should know about, please comment on this post!