Geeks With Blogs
Caffeinated Coder A Grande, Triple Shot, Non-Fat Core Dump by Russell Ball July 2007 Entries
The Open Source Side of Powershell: PSCX
One of my goals for the next six months was to contribute to an open source project and I think I've chosen one. I downloaded and installed the PowerShell Community Extensions (a.k.a. pscx) from codeplex a while ago, but I just now got around to really tinkering with the cmdLets and reviewing the source code and scripts. I have to say I'm impressed. Keith Hill and his team of volunteer developers did a first rate job of supplementing version one of Powershell with some really useful cmdlets. I can't ......

Posted On Thursday, July 26, 2007 11:38 PM

Using Powershell with SQL Server
Anything that can be done with ADO.NET is possible in PowerShell through a call to Assembly::Load and the New-Object cmdLet, but that doesn't mean that the resulting code will seem very shell-like or practical. Two approaches to database access that definitely do seem compelling to me, however, are the sample SQL Provider recently demoed by the PowerShell team and Dan Sullivan's PowerSMO script, which is really just a thin wrapper around the SQL Management Objects found in the Microsoft.SqlServer.Managem... ......

Posted On Wednesday, July 25, 2007 7:24 AM

Nine States Down...Forty-One to Go
This weekend I completed my 10th marathon/ultra marathon in Lake Okoboji in Nebraska . That makes nine states in my quest to join the 50 state club, which requires you to run a marathon in each state. I picked this goal mostly because it gives me a good excuse to travel around to some places I probably wouldn't have otherwise seen and it also helps keep me motivated with running. Eventually I'd also like to run a marathon on each of the continents, although this would mean running in the North Pole ......

Posted On Monday, July 23, 2007 7:22 AM

Disk Space Management with Powershell
The more I work with powershell, the more I start seeing everything that lives on the computer as part of a giant database that I can query. When used in conjunction with the pipeline and get-member -type property to discover the available properties on an object, the where-object, sort-object, select-object, and group-object cmdlets can be strung together to answer some very sophisticated questions. We often seem to run out of space on our development sql servers, so one tedious question that I ......

Posted On Friday, July 20, 2007 8:36 AM

How To Log On To A Web App With One Keystroke Using Powershell
I'm doing some work now on an internal web application where I had to logon with an external test account before I could do anything. That got old fast, so I created a powershell script file to automatically launch IE, input the username and password, and click the submit button. I originally tried to do this with WatiN, which provides a much easier interface for controlling the browser than the COM object InternetExplorer.Application, but I couldn't get by the security exceptions explained in this ......

Posted On Wednesday, July 18, 2007 12:56 PM

My Six Month Roadmap to Becoming a Better Developer
I just heard about Justice Gray's blog challenge from the latest episode of Hanselminutes while running today. Although I think his plan to read one developer book a week for the next six months is rather insane, I agree with the premise that setting specific goals publicly is probably the best way to hold yourself accountable. Here are my goals for the next 6 months: Add Tools to my Developer Toolbox - My productivity and troubleshooting skills would plummet if I were to suddenly stop using utilities ......

Posted On Sunday, July 15, 2007 9:52 AM

A Powershell Inspired Prank
Here is a good joke to play on one of your developer buddies if they have powershell and SQL Server installed on their local machines and you have sa rights on the SQL Server for whatever reason (former debugging help, open environment between developers, blank sa password, or mad hacker skills on your part). Wait until they are busy typing and execute the following query in Query Analyzer (or using sqlcmd.exe if you want to be a purist) against their SQL Server. You may want to lock down your own ......

Posted On Friday, July 13, 2007 9:03 AM

Software Psychic Extraordinaire...Not So Much
It appears as though we will have a new version of SQL Server 2008 next February 27th. This is well ahead of what my sarcastically titled post on SQL Server 2008 predicted. So much for my career as a technical psychic... It will also be the launch for Visual Studio 2008 and Windows Server 2008. That should be one heck of a party. Hopefully I can find some launch event that will be serving free beer (preferably a nice stout or porter) ......

Posted On Wednesday, July 11, 2007 9:30 PM

Learning Powershell Without Leaving the Command Line
I've been impressed by the attention paid to discoverabiltiy in powershell, which has allowed me to quite a bit of learning without ever leaving the command line. Here are a few of my favorite features: Guessing - This may seem strange to list as the number one discoverability feature, but I think the Powershell design team did an excellent job of exposing functionality through well scoped cmdLets that are logically and consistently named. With cmd.exe, the majority of the heavy lifting is done by ......

Posted On Tuesday, July 10, 2007 7:48 AM

How Many Project Managers Does It Take To...
A good friend of mine just sent me an email razzing me about my blog. Besides being a current running and drinking buddy, he also happens to be former project manager of mine who put some time in on the early stages of a large waterfall project that I reminisced about in a previous post. He gave me a tongue-in-cheek thanks for not blaming the project manager for the "whooshing sound". I'll probably have to do shots for this, but I dedicate this most excellent project manager joke to him. Cheers! ......

Posted On Monday, July 9, 2007 5:41 PM

Informavore Trap # 2: Information Junk Food
This is a follow-up to my original post about cognitive traps that hinder learning and stunt professional growth. Information junk food refers to any information gathering activity that prematurely satisfies your hunger to learn and provides fleeting emotional pleasure in lieu of actual intellectual nourishment. Some information junk foods to avoid: Fattening Abstractions - There is great power in naming things, which is why it is an integral part of nearly all creation stories (i.e. Adam naming ......

Posted On Thursday, July 5, 2007 10:16 PM

Powershell from 50,000 feet
I've been spelunking Powershell lately with Bruce Payette's excellent book, Powershell in Action, and thought I would take a step back from some of the lower level nuances, such as dynamic type conversion and parameter binding rules, and organize my thoughts at a higher level. What is Powershell? - It is the new command line/scripting environment from Microsoft that replaces cmd.exe and WSH. You can install it as a small, free OS update on Windows XP, Windows 2003, and Vista as long as you have the ......

Posted On Tuesday, July 3, 2007 1:23 PM

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