James O'Neill's blog

Windows Platform, Virtualization and PowerShell with a little Photography for good measure.

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  • Blog Post: How to get user input more nicely in PowerShell

    Long, long ago when I was using my first Microsoft product, I knew one way to get input from the user. The product was Commodore BASIC (in those days we wrote it in uppercase and knew it stood for Beginners All-purpose Symbol Instructional Code). and the method was INPUT. This was back in early 1979...
  • Blog Post: How to use Advanced Queries in Windows search.

    If there was one single feature about Windows Vista which made me say “I’m never ever going back to Windows XP” it was search and the way search was integrated everywhere. True you can download Microsoft Search for Windows XP (and , as they say other kinds of desktop search are available) but it doesn...
  • Blog Post: On Time-zones...

    Spring is here, Spring is here ... I think the loveliest time of the year is the spring, yes I do, don't you ? course you do. Actually when I look at the weather it's doesn't look like spring. But unlike Tom Lehrer , the one thing that makes spring complete for me is the changing of the clocks. All of...
  • Blog Post: An interesting journey with PowerShell, GPS data and SVG. (Part 2)

    This is, I'm afraid, another of those "Wow! what can you do with a couple of long lines of PowerShell" posts. I wanted to create a Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) file for PowerGadgets' OUT-MAP cmdlet to do UK county maps. PowerGadgets, as I discovered is fussy about the SVG data it is passed, and...
  • Blog Post: An interesting journey with PowerShell GPS data and SVG. (Part 1)

    Eileen phoned me from a traffic jam yesterday. "I've got a demon in the car" she said. A little late for a technical person Eileen has joined the world of Sat Nav owners and her characterization of hers put me in mind of the personal Dis-organizer device which shows up in some of the Terry Pratchett...
  • Blog Post: Readyboost. Money well spent, but what's fast enough ?

    There are a bunch smart ideas in Vista, and Readyboost seems to be a favorite with a lot of people: extend memory by using USB "key" / "Stick" "Thumb drive" (what are we meant to call these things). Of course since it can be pulled out at any time it can't be used like normal RAM, and it works as a disk...
  • Blog Post: Doubts and Powershell, Hyper-V KeyValue pairs and Hash tables.

    I've said a number of times that I think technical people are rarely secure in their own abilities; that they have a demon on their shoulder who whispers "You're not really, that good" ... "They'll find you out one day". I was talking to a colleague this week who seems to be racked...
  • Blog Post: 3 days with the E650 phone and Windows Mobile 6.

    Teething troubles with the new phone have proved to be pretty minor. I'm finding more things to love about this phone. I've got one major annoyance : on the C500 with Mobile 2003 I could go to Settings/Phone/Call options and program the Microsoft voice mail number with my account code and Pin as ...
  • Blog Post: PowerShell to Fix Phone number formats part II

    I said when I posted about fixing the phone numbers in your Outlook Contacts that I'd come back and do the same thing for Active Directory. Richard told people to look out for that, so no pressure to get it done then... Using the Active Directory Services interface (ADSI) from Powershell seems to...
  • Blog Post: NSLookup, WMI and Ping - three random things from the "I didn't know that column"

    If you're a regular reader you may know that I've been doing quite a lot of stuff with powershell of late, and Ive mentioned that I'm helping with some of the utilities for the the OCS resource Kit. One of the questions I got asked was "Can we have a script to look up an SRV record", I thought this was...
  • Blog Post: USB Battery

    **Warning** Neither I nor Microsoft will take any responsibility for what happens if you follow these instructions. I am not recommending this, just reporting my experience. For ages now I've had a bookmark for a hack to make a "USB Battery" . I wrote ages ago about making up cables to power things from...
  • Blog Post: Setting up Domain controllers on Server Core.

    One of the things I have pointed people to a few times recently  is the Windows Server Core document in the step by step guides for Server 2008. Want to know how to install a role ? It's in there. Configure TCP/IP from the command line ? That's there too. Put in the key that you skipped during installation...
  • Blog Post: Another machine another rebuild and a Backup headache.

    Santa came late this year, and brought me a new Dell Latitude 820. Nice. Two 64-bit cores, a 1900x1200 screen and for the first time I have integrated Bluetooth - which works nicely with my new mouse. I put Microsoft-IT's standard build of 64 bit vista on, and all the components seem to work just fine...
  • Blog Post: Rolling your own support for 64 bit Vista.

    A few days ago someone who had installed 64 bit Vista asked us " why Microsoft developed an operating system that MOST of the software manufacturers have told me will take at least 2 years for them to support" Now if you develop a new OS it takes vendors a while to support; heck, Office won't be 64bit...
  • Blog Post: Vista Power plans - get exactly what you want

    Back when beta 2 came out I read Scot Finnie's article on ComputerWorld "20 things you won't like about Windows Vista " . I was shocked: with a whole new operating system to aim at he came up with 20 really lame things. I took it as a sign that we'd done really well when 5th place went to " Faulty assumption...
  • Blog Post: On PowerShell function design: vague can be good.

    There is a problem which comes up in several places in PowerShell – that is helping the user by being vague about parameter types. Consider these examples from my Hyper-V library for PowerShell 1. The user can specify a machine using a string which contains its name Save-VM London-DC or Save-VM *DC,...
  • Blog Post: CLIP and ForFiles my new favorite Vista tools

    How many times when you've been writing a technical document have you had to copy the results of some command from a command prompt window ? When I was looking for some information about WINSAT for my earlier post, I some lists of new vista commands. Clip is so simple I wonder why it's taken so long...
  • Blog Post: Software + Services - X-box live as a model ?

    We keep talking about a world of Software + Services. I saw a slide recently that talked about this almost in the form of "Client / Server 2.0" The idea went like this First we had the PC / Mainframe era. It was either anarchic on the PC or Controlled and restricted as a central service Then we had the...
  • Blog Post: More on the Hyper-V API

    In which we see how to set the number of CPUs I started with getting MSVM Computer System objects - which I showed back in February . With these objects I can ask for the state of the VM to be changed to Running, Stopped or Saved. To do things in a proper Powershell Style I re-wrote and re-wrote my functions...
  • Blog Post: Hyper-v Snapshots part 2.

    In my last post I explained how snapshots work and gave a little bit of PowerShell for creating a one . In the post before that I talked about creating a generic  choose-tree function. What I wanted was to be able to call Choose-tree  List_Of_Items First_Item  PathPropertyName, ParentPropertyName...
  • Blog Post: Vista DOES HAVE Podcasting! (but it’s a bit ugly). The RSS screen saver is built in too..

    Regular readers (if I have any) will know that RSS is one of my interests. So I noticed Robert Scoble’s post “Windows Media 11’s lack of Podcasting gets noticed” which in turn followed up a post on Geek News Central For background: Podcasts are just RSS feeds with Enclosures. Internet...
  • Blog Post: Logoff and logon ... how do you want it ?

    I came across this post by Joel Spolsky. The thrust is that the shutdown menu in Vista is too complex (hey, we changed things so you no longer have to click something labeled Start to shutdown). He says: ' You have to choose between nine, count them, nine options: two icons and seven menu items. The...
  • Blog Post: Getting started with Windows PE

    One of the tools you'll need to get to grips with if you are going to support or deploy vista is Windows PE - the pre Installation environment. In order to get a copy to work with, you need to Install the Windows Automated Installation Kit. This is keeping something of a low profile at the moment. I...
  • Blog Post: Get the search you want in IE7

    I guess people who worked for Microsoft a few years ago must have some idea what it's like to be Google right now. A huge market share means people want to criticize you, you seek solace by watching your stock price, but that only makes you worry that the whole thing is built on sand and someone could...
  • Blog Post: How I get the server I want: #2 Getting sound in Hyper-V

    Before I start - lets be clear THERE IS NO SOUND CARD IN A HYPER-V VM Good. Now that's out of the way lets talk about how we get sound in a Machine without a sound card - and this applies to a physical server too. Sitting in it's rack in the data-centre there is no reason why a server should have a sound...