PowerShell Tip: Use a Code Editor

Don’t get me wrong, there’s a time and a place for Notepad++. There was a point in time where I preached how amazing the editor was for all purposes, even for PowerShell! That time is over. As our code increases in complexity, we need a code editor that can keep up with the workload. With Notepad++ and other basic text editors, we have a much harder time doing any code troubleshooting or any debugging on the fly. Yes, there are linters available (a “linter” is an add-on which helps look for basic coding sytnax errors) but beyond that there’s not very much it can help us with.

Generating Random Hostnames with PowerShell

So my team and I, we generate a significant number of virtual machines in any given time period. One of the things we usually struggle to do is to name our machines something unique. For the most part, we don’t care exactly what we are creating is named, we just care that the name is unique. Of course, we have DNS and our netowrking configured in the environment to route traffic to more friendly names, but we still need to name all of our virtual machines.

PowerShell vs Bash

stands on soapbox

What's the Difference Between Cloud Solutions?

What I’ve found, working in the industry that I do, is that there is a significant difference between ways people view the cloud. Some people see it as a way to utilize someone elses hardware to do the same tasks that they’d normally do if they had owned it themselves. In this case, there’s a meme floating around that “the cloud is just someone elses computer” and it’s pretty accurate. There are others of us, on the other hand, who recognize how the cloud can revolutionize digital workflows, and I’m going to do my best to explain the difference between these two viewpoints and how that relates to the levels of service you can expect from the cloud. I’ve included a handy infographic to help compare the two, and I’ve gone into more detail in the article

Top 3 Small Business IT Mistakes

I’ve really worked the gamut of IT, from teeny tiny companies as their “IT Guy” all the way up to huge organizations where I’m just one of approximately twenty thousand people aligned with the same focus. What’s surprising to me is that organizationally, similar mistakes are made at all scales of technology services. I’ve put together the short list on the most common mistakes that small to medium sized businesses make when it comes to their technology.

A New Adventure: The BetaBlox Series

This weekend I had a rare opportunity fall into my lap, really. Well, I say “this weekend” but by that I mean I’ve been working on this opportunity for quite a while, it’s just finally come to fruition. Before I get to that, though, you should probably have a little bit of backstory. Living in Kansas City, there isn’t much along the lines of a startup atmosphere, especially in tech. When you think of tech startups, you’d think of tech hubs like Silicon Valley or New York or D.C., maybe even Atlanta. I’ve worked for a few of these places (remotely, of course, thank Slack) and what’s really amazing about them is just how hungry everyone is to be doing something awesome. Don’t get me wrong, there’s a lot of bad things about startup culture that can backfire horrendously (especially if you’re a bright eyed and bushy tailed midwestern kid thinking he’s going to go out and change the world by working for one of these places), but for the most part I really do like startups.

How to Add IAM Users and Groups to AWS with PowerShell

Security is everyone’s business, and a major player of security in the cloud is identity and access management. AWS gives us a handy service to manage our users, in the form of AWS IAM. This service allows us to create users, groups, and manage their permissions with policy documents (which are really just JSON formatted permissions). If you’re familiar with User management then the AWS controls should feel fairly intuitive, but even if this is your first user management service you’ve used, it is very easy to quickly get up and running with it.

Reading Nested Active Directory Groups in PowerShell

You don’t have to work with Active Directory groups for very long before you can see how they become complicated, sprawling messes, especially once you start managing nested groups. When we say “nested group” we are referring to the Active Directory groups in your organization that have groups embedded within them.

My latest project: The AWS PowerShell Book!

There are a lot of things that I’ve been spreading myself over recently. TechSnips, auditioning for Pluralsight, and the one that has been taking the most of my time - the AWS PowerShell book. I’m really excited to announce that yesterday I pressed the “Publish” button and released my first chapter! You can download the intro and first chapter as a sample on the leanpub site.

Configuring AWS CloudWatch with PowerShell

Amazon’s CloudWatch is a powerful AWS service which monitors deployed systems, and can respond with alerts or even react by calling another AWS service. CloudWatch alarm creation is typically done via the AWS Management Console, but today I’m going to show you how to configure an alarm yourself. When you’re talking about automating deployments of entire environments, scripting your CloudWatch alarm’s creation becomes necessary especially as the environment increases in complexity and scope. In this article, we’ll discuss how to create CloudWatch alarms with PowerShell.