Insufficient data from Andrew Fryer

The place where I page to when my brain is full up of stuff about the Microsoft platform

September, 2013

  • After Hours - Canon EOS talking to a Surface Pro over wifi

    Please note This an after hours post, specifically about connecting a Canon EOS 6D to windows 8/8.1.  I have written it for two reasons -  so I can remember how to do it and because this you might need to do something like this for a camera enthusiast that you know who isn’t a networking guy.

    Canon have made it relatively easy to connect the new EOS 6D 70D etc. to your Android or IOS device and to a wifi hotspot to which your PC/laptop is connected.  However what I wanted to do was to  configure windows 8 as an ad hoc wireless connection point so I could remote shoot via wireless from my Surface Pro anywhere I happened to be; jungles, mountains, and the various events I go to.  However Windows 8 doesn’t have a UI for this anymore so you need to run a couple of netsh commands from an elevated prompt to get this working:

    netsh wlan set hostednetwork mode=allow ssid=MyWIFI key=MyPassword

    netsh wlan start hostednetwork

    ..where MyWIFI is the wireless network name you want and MyPassword is the password to connect to it. What this does is to add a new adapter into network connections..

    image

    In my case I renamed my connection to Canon and also note that Deep6 has a three after it as I tried this  a few times! Another thing you may see on forums is that you need to setup sharing when creating connections like this and that’s only true if you want to do the old internet connection sharing. I don’t need to do this for this scenario which is just as will as our IT department have prevented me from doing this in group policy

    On  my Canon EOS6D I need to enable wifi
    IMG_6285

    then set it up by selecting the wifi function which is now highlighted.  From here I want to set up a C connection which is the Remote Control (EOS Utility option)..

    IMG_6288

    I have already don this a few times ..

    IMG_6291

    so to set up a new connection I choose unspecified. Now I ned to find the network I created on my Surface Pro by finding a network..

    IMG_6292

    My ad hoc network is called Deep6 as opposed to FAF which is my home wireless network..

    IMG_6293

    my key is in ASCII so I select that on the next screen and then I get this dialog to enter my password ..

    IMG_6295

    Note you have to use the Q button on the back of the camera to enter the text window. I am asked about ip addresses I select automatic as my wireless network will do that for me. Then I can confirm I want to start pairing devices..

    IMG_6297

    and then I will see this..

    IMG_6298

    I can now check that my 6D is talking to my new wireless access point (which I have called Deep6.

    image

    as you can see I have one device connected.

    So now I can use the supplied Canon software, the EOS Utility,  to control my camera. Or so I thought,  only all the control options are greyed out.  This is because you need to change the preferences to install and configure the wft utility which detects your Canon and allows you to control it. To do this select the option add WFT pairing software to the startup folder

    image

    You’ll then get a little camera icon In your system tray and when your Canon is connected it’ll pop up this window..

    image

    click connect and  you’ll see an acknowledgement and confirmation on the camera..

    IMG_6299

    in my case my Surface is called Vendetta. I click OK, and I am good to go and the camera saves the settings for me, which is great and in fact I can save 3 of them. In my case I have saved my surface connection and FAF to connect to my home wireless router.

    The Canon EOS  Utility will now work..

    IMG_6308

    Now I can start to have fun with this setup and my shots get saved to my Surface Pro..

    IMG_0003

  • Lab Ops 2–The Lee-Robinson Script

    In my last post I mentioned how Marcus Robinson & had adapted PowerShell scripts by Thomas Lee to build a set of VMs to run a course in a reliable and repeatable way.  With Marcus’s permission I have put that Setup Script on SkyDrive, however he has a proper day job running his gold partnership Octari so I am writing up his script for him.

    Notes on the script.

    Unattend.xml is the instructions you can give to setup the operating system as it comes out of SysPrep. Marcus has declared the whole unattend.xml file as an object $unattendxml which he then modifies for each virtual machine to set it’s name in active directory, the domain to join it to, its fixed IP address and its default DNS Server

    He makes use of functions to mount the target VHD and then copies in the modified unattend.xml and then dismounts it.  Overarching this is a create-VM function which then incorporates these functions to create his blank VMs with known names and ip addresses. However these VM are not started as their is as yet no domain controller for the other lab VMs to join

    LabSvr1 in the script is gong to be that domain controller so the first thing to do is add in the AD-Directory services role and here not the use of the PSCredential PowerShell object to store credential and convert-to-secure-string for the password so that the script can work securely on the remote VM’s.  Starting the VM requires a finite amount of time so Marcus checks to see when it’s alive.

    Marcus then has a section to install various other workloads all from the command line Exchange, SharePoint and my favourite SQL Server.  Before he can install some of these he has to install prerequisites such as the .Net Framework 3.5 (aka the NET-Framework-Core feature) and do that he puts in the Windows Server install media. Having installed SQL Server he can then copy in the databases he needs and here I might have attached them as well as SQL has PowerShell to do this..

    $sc = new-object System.Collections.Specialized.StringCollection
    $sc.Add("C:\Program Files\Microsoft SQL Server\MSSQL10_50.MSSQLSERVER\MSSQL\DATA\Mydatabase.mdf")
    $server.AttachDatabase("myDataBase", $sc)

    Anyway there’s lots of good stuff in here, and I’ll be using it to make my various demos for our upcoming IT Camps, now that the Windows 8.1 Enterprise ISO is on MSDN subscriptions. 

  • Lab Ops – part 1 Introduction

    For some people building demo setups is a part of the job,  for example Trainers pre-sales Technical roles and evangelists like me.  Everything shifts as these evolve for example

    • a beta product comes out and we need to show new concepts that the technology introduces, for example software defined networking in Windows Server 2012 R2
    • Then as the product matures we need to show this in context of performance and scale, as well as how high availability is affected and how it interoperates with other solutions
    • We also need to show how to migrate onto the new solution and how to retire the legacy version.

    Typically a product even an operating system doesn’t live in isolation and all of this means that new setups need to be continually created.  So the trick is to have a framework to build from rather than a set of virtual machines that get modified checkpointed and so on.  This really hit home to me when I was trying to set up a VDI environment recently as my deployment and desktop wingman Simon May is off to a new role in the USA and my usual hack and slash approach to VMs wasn’t working.

    I was chatting over my problems with Marcus Robinson of Gold Partner Octari at the Virtual Machine User Group in Manchester, and he showed me his PowerShell! Marcus was up til 4am preparing for a course and had developed a  script on the back of something developed by MVP and certified trainer, Thomas Lee, whose scripts are published on PowerShell.com.  My approach was flawed because I was booting up a generic sysprepped VM which while it was joined to the domain had a random name as you can set this in an unattend file.  This meant I couldn’t easily persist a session in PowerShell to rename the VM in Active Directory and the VMs have dynamic IPs as well.   The “Lee-Robinson” approach I picked up  is really clever and works as follows:

    1. Use Windows install media to create a sysprepped Virtual Hard Disk (VHD) using the publicly available WimtoVHD Powershell script

    2. Modify an unattend.xml file to contain the post sysprep configuration  you need, by injecting xml code in fr such things as the ip address and domain name and credentials to join the domain.

    3. mount the newly created VHD and inject the unattend.xml file into [mounted drive letter}:\windows\system32\sysprep

    4. unmount the drive

    5. create a VM around the new VHD

    6. start the VM

    Thomas and Marcus need to do this so they can set up a lab environment for each student or each pair of students on a series of hosts, in Marcus’s case he needed to build a lab to show off Data Protection Manager, while Thomas is constantly pushing PowerShell itself as well as needing to run labs of his own.  I see the other advantages of this approach to a lab

    • Paying for license keys isn’t a problem –VMs are just kept alive for a demo  and most Microsoft evaluation keys are good for 180 days.
    • keeping snapshots of VMs in synch can be problematic for example domain trusts and DNS can get confused which leads to most of the problems you might have seen in my demos last year.
    • The resources I need to keep are just some scripts, databases and possibly some certificates.
    • I can adapt the scripts to work on Azure and have some of my stuff deployed there if I can rely on internet connectivity at an event.
    • I get sharper at deployment and PowerShell, both of which are useful skills anyway.

    This all seems such a good idea I thought I would do more posts on this in a series as I reset my demos for the next round of events I have been asked to do.

    Finally if you want a proper deep dive into PowerShell this is not the blog you are looking for and you could do worse than hang at one of Thomas’s PowerShell camps at the time of writing the next one is 19th October 2013.