Guest Blog Post – Introduction to TechSnips w/ Adam Bertram

Note from Michael: Adam is a longtime friend and member of the PowerShell community. I have a lot of respect for Adam and the work he’s done over the years for IT Pros so I wanted to support his efforts. TechSnips is an excellent platform that serves two purposes: It allows people to share their knowledge, and it provides a place for people to get immediately effective skills. The short format provides a great opportunity for learning just what you need to get things done. Please take some time and check it out! I don’t think you will be disappointed.

My name is Adam Bertram and Michael has so graciously allowed me to guest post on his blog about a new service I’ve started that offers free, how-to content for tech professionals. OK, here’s the pitch:

We’re geeks, right? We love tinkering with tech and figuring out better ways to solve problems. How cool would it be if lots of us could come together under one platform and share our hard-earned knowledge with everyone else via technical demo screencasts? I’m glad you asked!

I recently launched an e-learning platform called TechSnips. First and foremost, TechSnips is not a Pluralsight, Udemy or LinkedIn Learning. We don’t do courses; we do snips. Snips are short (1-10) minute screencasts with absolutely no slides of any kind. Its purpose is to deliver exactly what IT pros, system administrators and other technology professionals need right now. We skip over all of the fluff.

Because of this short format, it’s a lot easier to get started contributing if you’re new to putting yourself out there in a tech community. You will learn presentation skills through feedback from myself and your peers, you’ll be a member of our growing community and get access to our Slack channel, you’ll have some great content to put on your resume and you will get paid in monthly royalties! Joining has a ton of upsides but you’ve got to be willing to put yourself out there.

I’m looking for contributors that can help myself and the dozens of other contributors build the TechSnips content library. As of now, we need to fill a lot of holes so the types of screencasts will most likely be up to you. As long the content fits in the snip format (which you’ll get more info in the signup link), the world is your oyster. FYI: We needs lots of PowerShell stuff!

If you’re interested, please sign up! You’ll be asked to do a quick audition and once approved, you’ll be part of the TechSnips Contributor community!

I look forward to seeing what new content you can come up with and how teaching others can help yours and others’ IT careers flourish!

My New Journey at Microsoft

On May 29th, I began a role as a Cloud Ops Advocate at Microsoft, and I couldn’t be happier! In a nutshell, it is a role I’ve been working towards for the last 8 years (and probably longer). Through my work at the college, with The Krewe, and my professional authoring, everything comes together in one role with a singular purpose:

 

Support IT Operations professionals in every way possible as they prepare for their careers in the Cloud

This role will allow me to continue doing the things I love:

  • -Sharing my knowledge and love for technology, and helping others skill-up their careers

-Engaging with IT communites via twitter, facebook, and IRL

-Presenting at 1st and 3rd party conferences more. This is something
my previous position did not allow me to do regularly.

-Being a friendly resource at Microsoft for your questions and feedback on Azure

-Building excellent content designed to make you immediately effective

In my role, I am an advocate for IT Ops (aka IT Pros) ‘ In The Cloud’. So what does that mean? Well, first and foremost, I am an advocate for YOU at Microsoft and specifically in Azure. Have questions, want to provide feedback, not sure where to get started? Let me know. I’m here to help you be successful. While I can’t guarantee I’ll have all the answers, I will guarantee I’ll do my best to get you what you need.

Out of the gate, one of the significant focus areas for me will be working in docs.microsoft.com (aka Docs) and getting the word out on this excellent resource. I’ve been singing the praises of docs for a while and will continue to until everyone is using it. It’s a convenient tool all of us will need to use as Microsoft centralizes all documentation there. The beauty of docs is it’s based on GitHub and on the premise of ‘documentation as code’. This allows you to be part of the documentation update process, and provide your real-world experience. Check out my video on docs for more information and how to get started with it.

Another important part of this role is that it is in engineering so I work directly with the product groups. This is great because I can provide your product feedback directly to the groups responsible. That way we can all be invested in the products.

I’m excited about the commitment from Microsoft to put together a first-class team for this initiative. Based in the Cloud Advocate team under the guidance of Jeff Sandquist and Marcelo Bellinaso, I’m really excited to work with some amazing people like Rick Claus, David Blank-Edelman, and Steven Murawski. This is a team built from the ground up focused squarely on helping operations folks. I really excited for the things to come and what we’ll be delivering to our communities.

Since I have a huge learning curve out of the gate, things will be very busy for the foreseeable future. On deck for the next 3-6 months will be:

  • Connecting with all my communities
  • Delivering great content through Docs
  • More Blogging
  • More Car Talks
  • Deep dive into Identity and Azure AD
  • TechMentor in August
  • Ignite in September
  • Figuring out how life in the corporate world works again

Have questions or want to chat about Azure (or other Career Stuff)? Feel free to reach out to me on twitter via @MichaelBender or leave a comment below.

That’s all for now. Stay tuned for more updates and adventures as I journey through the Mircosoft world.

Michael

Getting Back On The Mic

In the Studio

It’s been a while since I did any recording. My last course on Pluralsight.com was released in April of 2017, and my recording gear has been boxed up since.

After MVP Summit, I was inspired to get back to recording shorter how-to videos on YouTube so today was the day as I just finished recording and producing a video on Microsoft Docs. It’s pretty rough as it was unscripted and it’s been a while since I put the video editor hat on. Plus, I’m trying out some new audio tools for post-production.

[embedyt] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BM35Kc2xhwU[/embedyt]

Please let me know what you think in the comments below or on YouTube. Also, if you have any topics you’d like to see, comment those as well.

Thanks for Watching!

Talking Community w/ Andy from Altaro

At Microsoft Ignite, 2017, I had the chance to hang out with Andy Syrewicze of Altaro software. We talked about Ignite, Microsoft, Community and getting ahead in the Tech Field. It’s always a pleasure to talk with other community people and share my insight into empowering others to ‘level up’ their careers. Click continue reading to view here or use the link below. https://www.altaro.com/hyper-v/mike-bender-andy-talks/

Do you find this valuable? Let me know in the comments below.

Presenting at TechMentor 20 in Redmond

Great News!

I was selected to present at TechMentor in Redmond, WA on August 9th, 2018. My session will cover how to build a new career in 5 hours a week. Topics will include why you need to be learning all the time, how to put together a learning plan, and how to get the skills for that new job or career in five hours a week. I’m definitely looking forward to sharing the wealth and helping folks level up their careers!

Big thanks to the TechMentor team for giving me the opportunity!

Deploying an Azure File Share with PowerShell

On Twitter, I saw a post by Scott Cate, a Developer Advocate for Microsoft, showing how to set up Azure File Shares with the GUI. Azure File Shares allow administrators to build SMB file shares on Azure. These can then be mounted by any supported OS such as Windows, Linux or MacOS. Being a PowerShell guy, I decided to dive into the code and see what I could come up with.

So my work-in-progress code is listed here and I’ll break it down for you. Basically, I have the code to build a new Azure Storage Account and create a File Share in an existing Azure Resource Group.

$RSG = Read-Host "Enter Resource Group"
$Location = Read-Host "Enter Location"
$SKUName = Read-Host "Enter SKU"
$StorageAccount = Read-Host -Prompt "Enter Azure Storage Account Name"
$ShareName = Read-host -Prompt "Enter Share Name (all lower case)"

#create storage account based on input
$storageAcct = New-AzureRmStorageAccount `
                    -ResourceGroupName $RSG `
                    -AccountName $StorageAccount `
                    -Location $SKUName `
                    -SkuName $StorageAccount -Verbose

#Create Variable for storage key
$StorageKey = Get-AzureRmStorageAccountKey `
                    -ResourceGroupName $storageAcct.ResourceGroupName `
                    -Name $storageAcct.StorageAccountName -Verbose |
                         Where KeyName -eq 'key1' |
                          select -ExpandProperty value


#Create Storage Context for working with Storage Account
$storageContext = New-AzureStorageContext $StorageAccount $storagekey

#Create Share
$share = New-AzureStorageShare -Name $ShareName -Context $storageContext

Note: All of my code was run via Azure Shell, a web-based secure shell for managing Azure. If you haven’t checked it out, you definitely should.

First, I needed to build the storage account that my share would be part of. For this, I used the new-AzureRMStorageAccount command to build that out. Also, I created variables to be used for all the inputs.

#variables for script
$RSG = Read-Host "Enter Resource Group"
$Location = Read-Host "Enter Location"
$SKUName = Read-Host "Enter SKU"
$StorageAccount = Read-Host -Prompt "Enter Azure Storage Account Name"
$ShareName = Read-host -Prompt "Enter Share Name (all lower case)"

#create storage account based on input
$storageAcct = New-AzureRmStorageAccount `
                    -ResourceGroupName $RSG `
                    -AccountName $StorageAccount `
                    -Location $SKUName `
                    -SkuName $StorageAccount -Verbose

Once the storage account is created, the Azure Storage Account Key is stored in a variable for later use. Because there are two keys attached to each storage account (which you can re-key if needed) the first key, key1, is selected out.

$StorageKey = Get-AzureRmStorageAccountKey `
                    -ResourceGroupName $storageAcct.ResourceGroupName `
                    -Name $storageAcct.StorageAccountName -Verbose |
                         Where KeyName -eq 'key1' |
      
                    select -ExpandProperty value

With the key in hand, I create a variable for the storage context. The context encapsulates the storage account name and account key so I can work with my storage account.

#Create Storage Context for working with Storage Account
$storageContext = New-AzureStorageContext $StorageAccount $storagekey

Last, I’m going to create the share and verify the share was created.

#Create Share
$share = New-AzureStorageShare -Name $ShareName -Context $storageContext

As of this writing, the code is rudimentary so just copy it into Azure Shell to use. I plan to migrate the code to a parametized script that I’ll post on Github at a later date.
Was this helpful?

Let me know in the comments.


 

New Home…

Greetings True Believers!

It’s been some time since we’ve chatted…

Just laying down a post on the new platform.

I decided to, once again, move my blog over to WordPress and running on Azure.Hopefully, I’ll be able to get the content from the old site migrated without too much hassle.

Stay tuned for lots of good stuff on PowerShell, Azure, and how to be a better IT Pro!

Tell Then…Michael

The Equifax Hack and What You Need To Do

As many of you know, Equifax was hacked in late July and exposed 143 million people’s sensitive financial information. I’m not going to go into the details of what happen because it’s more important now for you to take steps to protect your credit.

Who is Impacted
If you are a US, Canadian, or UK citizen, you need to check below. Anyone who may have had a credit report run are possibly impacted. This includes teenage kids who have a part-time job.

What to Do
First, go to www.equifaxsecurity2017.com and click Potential Impact. Answer some questions and you’ll be told whether you are impacted. This does ask for the last 6 digits of your social security number. If this creeps you out, just skip to the steps below.If you see the image below, you are and need to take additional steps. Even if you are not, it’s worth considering the next steps.


NOTE: Make sure to read the fine print before signing up for Equifax’s TrustedID program. Joining will cause you to waive your rights to sue Equifax or be part of a class action. Even if you choose to not join, take the steps below! Equifax has updated their site saying consumers who are subject to the incident do not lose their legal rights. See www.equifaxsecurity2017.com for additional updates.


Then go to annualcreditreport.com and get a free copy of your credit reports. Review for any changes in your credit and following the instructions from each provider if you have discrepancies. NOTE: When I attempted this on September 7th, the process crashed when I choose to include report from Equifax so just choose Experian and TransUnion, and it should work for you.


Next, you can set up fraud alerts on your account. This will signal creditors that they need to take extra steps before issuing credit with your information. You can set up a free alert every 90 days. This link to Experian makes the process quick and easy. Also, Experian will pass the alerts to the other 2 agencies. Also, the FTC has good information on this process here.

Last is to freeze your credit report for being accessed. Freezing your credit report has associated costs in many states, and it will prevent legitimate credit requests. To do this you need to call each agency using a number below or apply online.
TransUnion (1-888-909-8872)
Experian (1-888-397-3742)
Equifax (1-800-349-9960)

Updated-Information to freeze accounts online!
TransUnion https://www.transunion.com/credit-freeze/place-credit-freeze
Experian https://www.experian.com/freeze/center.html
Equifax https://www.freeze.equifax.com/Freeze/jsp/SFF_PersonalIDInfo.jsp

NOTE: Unlocking/Locking your credit file at Equifax is part of the TrustedID platform so it is free of the usual cost of freezing your credit file. Also, TransUnion offers a free service, TrueIdentity, that offers locking/unlocking as well.

If you want more info on what happened, click here

Hopefully not many of you are impacted. For those that are, I hope this helps mitigate any identity theft issues for you.

PowerShell: Getting Started – Just Released on Pluralsight.Com

 

I just authored another course on Pluralsight that I’m very excited about. It’s called PowerShell: Getting Started, and it is part of Pluralsight’s growing IT Ops catalog. This course is specifically designed to teach entry-level IT Pros (Help Desk, Desktop Support) w/ no PowerShell experience how to use PowerShell in their day to day lives. While it is designed for beginners, I think anyone trying to get a grasp of PowerShell can get a leg up on the technology, and learn the right way to begin using PowerShell.

 

I cover the basics you need to know to begin effectively using PowerShell, many frequently used commands, and finish of the course with building a real-world script for gathering user and computer information. Lots of great hands-on with Tips and Tricks I’ve learned along the way.

 

Here’s a sample with a little about PowerShell and why you need to learn it!

Big Thanks to Don Jones for the idea and letting me run with it. Don is the catalyst for my PowerShell learning and I’d probably be asking people if they want fries with that without the knowledge he’s shared with the world. Also, big thanks to Jeff Hicks, Jason Helmick, and Adam Bertram for sharing your knowledge of PowerShell. 

 

 I’ve spent most of the past 3 months researching and recording this. I think it’s some of my best work to date and hope you enjoy it. Please leave a comment here or on the Pluralsight discussion board on what you think.

If you are not a Pluralsight subscriber, you can sign up for a free 10-day trial here.

Till Next Time…Mike