Don Jones

Tech | Career | Musings

As someone who writes a lot, I have a personal fascination with words, where they come from, and what they evolve into. One word in particular that came up during a recent conversation with friends was retard. Very obviously a socially unacceptable word, but it’s one I first encountered in aviation, where manuals advise on when to advance or retard the throttle during engine testing. Until the conversation, I don’t think I’d ever mentally connected the aviation use of the word with the insulting use as applied to human beings, and so I got curious about where it came from. How could one word have such disparate applications?

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Svilen writes:

First of all thanks for all the work you do in the PS world. I love your books. However, I do have a question, which is not that technical. You are a speaker on a lot of conferences and in front of many people? How did that start for you? Did you ever have a scene fright? Or fear that you’ll deliver a so bad presentation, that you will not have a desire to do it anymore?

I hope you’ll submit a question, too!

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I read a fascinating set of articles around the time GE was being dropped from the Dow. You know, the Dow Jones Industrial “Average.” The thing that Every News Outlet Ever uses to tell if the economy is tanking, although oddly they never rely on it to tell you the economy isn’t tanking. The “Average” that can drop 300 points and cause massive panic, yet gain 400 points without comment.

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JC writes:

One item that hasn’t been quite clear to me: Why after all of the time spent focusing on mouse-based navigation and visual controls did Microsoft choose to go back to a text-based interface?

Don’t get me wrong, I love PowerShell but I already loved scripting so for me it was just the new language. However, I recall several horror stories where some poor tech typed in the wrong switch, chose the wrong name or did something in the wrong order and ended up in the middle of a J.E.E. or C.E.E. as a result. In fact, I just finished walking someone through importing a new module who couldn’t get it loaded (spending 10 minutes before coming to me) because of a typo.

What’s the real benefit in going back to typing (other than the benefits of scripting in general)?

I hope you’ll submit a question, too!

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Categories: Tech

Stephen asks:

When I worked for a huge leading IT company, I was often tasked with writing “quick n dirty” scripts to collect data reports. These problem areas would be fixed with either new scripts or GPOs. Along side this, some of these reports lead into compliance reports for external auditing.

Now I have a bit of time on my hands, I’d like to make a master dev ops tool. The problem with what I did before, we would end up with several reports in CSV format floating about / edited / not deleted on various file stores / emails etc.

I’ve heard a little about DSC and wonder what are your thoughts about when you should / shouldn’t use DSC?

I want to develop a tool which scrapes / presents the data into a database / with a front web interface. I’ll have the web tool, scrape AD for server objects and add it into a database. From here, I want to contact these servers and then collect further information eg, what Drives / space there are. What local groups and accounts exist. What password policies are in place. What event logging settings are etc. What GPOs are applied etc and what AV is in place. As well as many other useful bits of data. I’d like to store these findings in the database, so I can run queries against to produce web based results — this then can be used by the rest of the team … eg, which servers don’t have AV installed, which servers aren’t password compliant etc.

So before I start converting my scripts into advanced functions or DSC … what would you consider?

I hope you’ll ask a question, too!

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Categories: Tech

As part of my Ask My Anything project, Subodh wrote in with this non-question that I needed to share:

Thank you for your writing. I’m part of a 2 person IT dept for a small energy company, I do presentations and training at work. This is easy for me to prepare and present. I know the material, the audience and the software/hardware involved.

I learned Powershell in a month of lunches and from your presentations online. That has helped in my career, however your writing about teaching and being the master or going away has had more of a lasting impact on my family. I think this will be something that will help more people than anything I ever do at my job with Powershell.

“Teaching does not always feel rewarding. It doesn’t need to be. It is a repayment of something that was done for you. It is not a good thing that you do; it is an obligation that you have.” This is the quote that got me thinking about what I can do to help others in our situation.

I volunteered to present a talk (in between 100-150 people) on travelling with kids who have serious medical issues. This will be at the end of April and will have nothing to do with my core competency in technology. I do have a son with a serious medical issue and have a lot of experience with travel etc. I was fortunate enough to learn from a great nurse who has since passed away, and now I feel that it is my duty to pass that knowledge on from a parents perspective. If it only helps ease the burden a little bit for someone, I have fulfilled my obligation and it will keep me going.

Please keep writing, you never know the huge impact you are making even outside the tech world.

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Categories: Life

My latest book, Instructional Design for Mortals, is now available on Amazon. Previously available on Leanpub, it’s now exclusive to Amazon in order to make it available to the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library and Kindle Unlimited. There are paperback and Kindle versions available. If you previously purchased it on Leanpub, you can still download the final version in PDF, EPUB, and MOBI from them.

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