Reflection on 2013 Simply Thankful

Today, I’m taking the road less traveled (actually, never been traveled) on this blog, from the usual technical articles, to get a little personal. Yesterday was Thanksgiving Day here in the US. For many people it’s a day filled with football and beer, family (love ’em or hate ‘em, YMMV) and entirely too much food….

SCCM 2012 SP1 CU3

Are you’re running System Center Configuration Manager 2012 SP1 and you need to now support Windows 8.1 and Server 2012 R2 clients? Or, do you want to utilize new Server 2012 R2 machines as Configuration Manager site systems? You’ll need to download and install SCCM 2012 SP1 Cumulative Update 3. Here is an example of…

Windows 8.1 RTM Installation Guide

It’s official, Windows 8.1 RTM is available. Microsoft’s original intention was to hold the RTM of Windows 8.1 until October General Release; however, the development and overall technical community outcry has somewhat forced them to relent and release the RTM build early, almost in a business-as-usual fashion. Using virtualization client software, I setup a test Windows 8.1 ENT edition VM. I have some suggestions about Windows Update settings, and I also join my HomeGroup and setup File History (think Time Machine for Windows). Below is a step-by-step guide and a look at the installation process. This guide utilizes the Microsoft Account login and not a traditional local account. Pro-Tip – If you are using a VM, make sure to not use NAT (share IP with host) and to use a Bridged connection. Otherwise features like HomeGroup and other network settings can be problematic in my experience. Here we go:

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MS TechEd 2013

This year I was given the opportunity to attend and experience TechEd North America in New Orleans June 2-6. This was my first time attending and I was not quite sure what to expect. Could the assembling of so many nerds in one city be a good idea? As it turns out, this is an awesome idea.

 

The trip didn’t get off to the smoothest start. On Sunday I was set to take a flight from Charlotte > Houston > New Orleans. Unfortunately the flight departing Charlotte was delayed for 30 minutes and ended up being about two hours delayed in total. When you’ve got a connecting flight, the last thing you want is a delay of your first flight; however, during this time I started making conversation with the only other person headed to New Orleans, who was also heading to TechEd. I was chatting with Brien Posey. I didn’t know it at the time, but he is a 10-time MVP and freelance technical writer. We had a nice conversation, he’s a great guy, and after looking around a bit I’ve read some of his articles I just didn’t place the name with the articles when we were talking.

 

The flight from Houston > New Orleans was also delayed, but when we landed I only had 20 minutes to catch the flight, no time for lunch! Once aboard I jumped in on a conversation between Brien and a Duke Energy employee, turns out the Duke Employee knows a good friend of mine who also works at Duke in Charlotte on the Active Directory team. It’s a small world. Before I knew it I was in New Orleans and getting dropped off at the Renaissance Pere Marquette.

Upgrade Lumia 900 to Lumia 920? ATT gets it right, if you ask…

Here is my quick Lumia 900 story. I walked into an ATT store in April this year to kill some time while waiting for some take out next door (Sticky Fingers, that place is awesome!). While walking around I noticed the Nokia Lumia 900 device, the first Windows Phone I had ever seen in person, seriously! I had heard some buzz about the device online, saw some advertisements, and decided to take a look at it. First impressions, the OS was much faster than my iPhone4, I thought the People Hub made sense, the Nokia Maps and Local Scout were nice features. It even had MS office integrated to work with SkyDrive (OneNote! iPhone app had corrupted some notes). I thought the email layout was much better. I did a little research on the net later that night, and decided to purchase next day and let my kids play games on my iPhone.

During the next several weeks buzz started to stir up about Windows Phone 8 (WP8). At first I didn’t pay much attention. I figured my Lumia 900 is only a few weeks old, shouldn’t be a problem. As more and more information started to funnel out through tech sites, blogs, and wpcentral, it started becoming more clear that I may have bought a phone that, while great in its own right, would be in a dead platform in six short months from release.

Eventually it came out that, no my Lumia would not be able to upgrade to WP8. There would be all new hardware for WP8, including a new Nokia Lumia 920 with wireless charging, a better camera, a new OS, and for the same price I paid 6 months ago. Oh and by the way, you aren’t eligible for a phone upgrade for another 14 months. If I just would have waited! But alas I didn’t know. I still enjoyed the Lumia 900, but it soured me a bit that I couldn’t upgrade and take advantage of the new features.

Windows 8 – Storage Spaces and File History Backups

The purpose of this blog is to introduce two new features “Storage Spaces” and “File History” that are available and built-in to Windows 8. These features are great additions to Windows 8 individually and if used together, you can easily put in place a backup system very much like what is available in Mac OSX called “Time Machine”. Hopefully with my advice and using my configuration as a guide, you too can setup backups for your PC. Backups are something that can be a pain to configure and are often forgotten, until your hard drive dies. If you’ve ever been in a situation where your hard drive has died and you have NO backup, you know how painful this is! These new features look to take the pain out of setting up backups. Friends don’t let friends neglect their backups!

First we’ll cover Storage Spaces. The idea behind Storage Spaces is that you can create a Storage Pool that includes one or more hard drives and present them as a single volume. That may sound complicated, but let’s take a look at my setup so you can see what this looks like. Let me explain what I have setup. I bought a Media Sonic USB hard drive enclosure from Amazon for ~$130 that holds four hard drives and connects to my computer via a simple USB connection. You can find that unit here, I highly recommend it:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B002UUPWP6/ref=ox_ya_os_product

I have 2x 1TB Samsung drives and 2x 2TB Hitachi drives in that unit. I created a single Storage Pool in the Storage Spaces Manager that puts all those physical drives together into a single Storage Space. I named the pool “Storage_Space” and assigned the F: drive letter to it. Below is a screenshot from Storage Spaces Manager followed by what it looks like in My Computer.

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Setting up a Storage Space is easy, just connect up the drives you want to use for backups or storage of your data (I highly recommend a USB enclosure for this) and go to Control Panel > System and Security > Storage Spaces. Then select, Create New Pool and Storage Space.

WebMatrix 2 Installation Guide

What is WebMatrix? WebMatrix is lightweight development tool that you can use on your computer to develop and publish your websites. With WebMatrix, you can start with blank sites, utilize ASP .NET and PHP templates, or use Application Gallery to setup Blogs and CMS sites (WordPress, Orchard CMS, Drupal, and more)  eCommerce sites, Forums, Galleries,…

Window Live Messenger Error 80010100

I am running Windows 8 RTM and even since the RC I have had intermittent issues with Windows Live Messenger. I use this for messaging people at work at all hours of the day and for chatting with Facebook friends on occasion. After being signed in for more than a day in some cases, I…

Migrate from VMware VMs to Hyper-V Windows 8

In a previous post I described how to setup Hyper-V on your Windows 8 desktop. If you decided to install Hyper-V on your Windows 8 desktop, but you have VMware VMs you want to run on this same machine, you’ll be unable to import VMDK files into Hyper-V and you’ll also be unable to install…

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