Showing posts from August, 2018

Automate Work and Life with IFTTT and Office 365 Flow

I'm a huge fan of automation for situations where I find myself doing something mindlessly over and over again, like punching a clock. The way I approach these problems is to find a way to eliminate some portion of the task and iterate till it just happens on it's own. To avoid confusion, when I say punching a clock what I mean is knowing a rough approximation of how long I worked on a given day so that when I need to put in my "billable vs. non-billable" time at the end of the week I have a rough idea of how much time I spent on working each day. As such the way I "manually" accomplished this was putting the time I arrived at work and the time I left into a spread sheet. So, step one, avoid having to open excel to enter the information. This was easy using a feature of Office 365 called Flow . It's an application that smells very similar to the populate If This Then That site (a.k.a. ). Flow makes it easy to setup operations that

Fire in London helped preserve the city of Savannah GA through the modern age

By Pierre Fourdrinier and James Oglethorpe [Public domain or Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons Once upon a time, before my wife and I had kids, we visited the city of Savannah, GA. We had the opportunity to take a carriage ride through some of the most oldest portions of the planned city. A detail of the tour that has stuck out in my mind was how much of the original street remained unchanged. The reason this stuck out was, as I had found in visiting a few other historic locations on the east cost of the US, many locations as old, if not older, had to be altered to accommodate motor vehicles. So why was that not the case for the planned city of Savannah GA? Because of fires in London. Huh? The founder of Savannah was James Oglethorpe . Born in England in 1696, he would have been familiar with the fires that ravaged that part of the world in 1666. The  great fire of London burned through much of the city due to many factors, one of which was the way homes were built, basica

Creating a DSC module to install Oracle Client and disable enable UAC

You ever get a task and think, how hard can this be? Then you begin down what turns into a seemingly never ending journey. Welcome to mixing old and new technologies. I found myself in the position of needing to install the Oracle Client on a Windows VM running in Azure using Desired State Configuration (a.k.a. DSC) and, well, let's just say it was an interesting journey. Listed directly after this is the snippet of the DSC which I'm posting here in hopes that others who have a similar need may stumble across this and save themselves from headache. I'll provide a break down of the major pieces. I have intentionally left the logging pieces in the script so that any who would be so bold as to cut and paste without reading over at least have a log to dig into. A few important prerequisites to using this script. You'll need a DSC module that downloads the Oracle Client Package, the one I used was for 11gR2 and includes an answer file for the client. These ite

Resilient Scripting is scripting that can be rerun... safely

Making a script that is resilient can mean many different things to different people, IMHO an important one is to be able to re-run a script "safely". By safely I mean to minimize side effects and to prevent negative consequences. To illustrate let's say we have an install process and we need to log details about what happens when we run the install. To keep this simple let's just focus on the logging requirement. We want a log file that we can look at when an install happens. So a simple approach would be as follows. Set-Content log.txt "Information about Install" Nice and simple, we have satisfied the requirement. But let's see if we can make this one liner more resilient. $logFileTime = Get-Date yyMMddhhmmss $logFileName = $logFileTime + "_log.txt" Set-Content $logFileName "Information About Install" Now even if we run this install multiple times we will have a script for each instance of the install even when

Dogfooding is important for business policies as well

Perhaps you are unfamiliar with the term "dogfooding", in short it is the idea that a company or organization use its own Product or Service in addition to providing it to the others. A more complete definition can be found on Wikipedia under Eating your own dog food . The reasons a group might chose to dogfood are varied, but an important reason is to ensure that they are familiar with the challenges with using the good or service, or to put it in business jargon... they want to find opportunities to make, what they make, better. For groups that are just starting to do this it can be EYE OPENING what their customers/patrons are dealing with to use their stuff. Often the overall impact is great and everybody wins. So why not do this for policies within, let's say an IT organization. How would one go about dogfooding a policy you may ask? Thanks for asking... let me tell ya what I think. For any organization to be successful there needs to be consistency in the way