Going to Ignite? Come say hi! Here’s where I’ll be…

On Sunday prior to Ignite kicking off, I’ll be at The Krewe’s evening event. Please say “hi” if you see me!

On Monday Evening, I’m joining Jason Helmick and Jeff Hicks at a special Atlanta PowerShell User Group Meetup (free, registration required), and I hope you’ll visit if you’re in town. We’ll be heading out for drinks after the meetup. Registration (free) required.

On Tuesday Evening, I’ll be helping run the PowerShell Community Happy Hour (registration required; will open Sept 1 and I’ll link the URL here).

On Wednesday Morning, it appears I’ll be presenting “PowerShell Unplugged” with Jeffrey Snover. Cool! Come see us!

At some point, I’ll be over at the booth of Conversational Geek signing (free!) books. They should have “Conversational DevOps” and “Conversational PowerShell;” check with them directly at their booth for times.

And for the rest of Tuesday and Wednesday I’ll mainly be at the Pluralsight booth, speaking with customers and authors. Again – come say hello!

(I won’t be in the expo on Monday, and I’ll be leaving town Thursday on vacation, so please, please, catch me on one of the times above – I’d love to shake hands and hear how you’ve been doing!)

Ever wish your coworkers (or boss) were a bit more… skilled?

Mad technology skills aren’t the only thing you need to be successful in a career. We’re all familiar with the stereotypical “IT person” who can’t interact well with colleagues, the pointy-haired boss, and so on.

I want to help fix it, and with the Power of Pluralsight, I can. The problem is, it’s really hard to discover what non-technical skills someone actually needs. Like, “the ability to run more efficient meetings?” Seems like it’d be nice to have, but it’s not like there’s a document anywhere explaining that as a needed skill.

So we’ve got a survey running. Take it here – it’s free-text responses, so it’s going to require some thinking on your part, but we need to gather this information. And then ask your boss to take it. And your coworkers. And your user group members. Tweet it. Facebook it. LinkedIn it. Please, do this – we need a solid, statistically meaningful body of evidence so I can start designing a curriculum to actually solve the problem.

And imagine what we can do for those malleable young people just entering the field! We can get them started on the right foot, and give them a better chance at Owning the World one day.

So please – set aside some time to help out with this. I truly appreciate it.

Why This is the Last DSC Book You’ll Need

If you’re a regular reader, then you know that The DSC Book has been up for sale for a while now. As of this morning, the price went up a bit – the book is more than halfway “complete” (more on that in a moment), and so the initial early-bird pricing is going away. And I’ll be forthright and state right here that the price will go up again when the main body of the book is done, which I expect in a couple of months or so. That’ll make for an expensive book, given the length.

But this isn’t like any book you’ve bought in the past.

The reason I’m self-publishing this book, and more specifically doing it through LeanPub, is that the book won’t ever be done. As the technology evolves, I can update and re-publish the book. If you’ve allowed LeanPub to send you notification emails, you’ll get one each time I revise it. And my plan is to continue to revise it.

We’re in what I call Phase 1 right now. The goal of Phase 1 is to document the core functionality of DSC. The examples, right now, tend to be brief, and focused more on structure. If you’re already a competent PowerShell coder, then the current examples are probably all you need to do your thang in your own environment.

Once all the core functionality is documented, though, Phase 2 begins. And Phase 2 will last pretty much forever. It’s when I’ll be going back and adding more examples, including an entire case study that I’ve created. I’ll be adding – and revising, as the state of the industry evolves – practices and techniques. As people run into problems, I’ll add those to the text. As Microsoft changes the product, I’ll run through and add those changes. So while this may eventually be an $80 book of under 40,000 words, it’s the last time you’ll have to buy it. I don’t anticipate a “second edition;” I anticipate this being a lifelong work. Until and unless Microsoft changes DSC so drastically that a rewrite is needed, I’d much rather just keep revising this one book, potentially for years to come.

So tell a friend. Tell a colleague. Tell your local user group, mention it in your blog. I’m trying to do something different, that casts off the way books have traditionally been done, because DSC evolves to frequently that the old publishing models just don’t work. With this new approach, I can hopefully be more responsive and agile, and help bring you the information you need more quickly. You can feed me comments, typos, and new information, which I can incorporate almost immediately. While it might not be perfection (there’s no easy way in an EPUB, for example, to see “what’s new”), we’ll get it as close as we can together (I’m going to add a changelog chapter once Phase 1 is complete).

I deeply appreciate everyone who’s supported the project so far. To give you some scope of what that means, as of this morning we’ve sold just under 100 copies of the book. As LeanPub very clearly shows you, that’s under $3500 in income (you don’t write books to get rich, trust me). So every sale is hugely appreciated in terms of making this financially palatable to @PSHDonsBoss. And the feedback I’ve received has been incredibly helpful, so please keep it coming (you can drop a comment right here, and I include my email address in the new-revision email notifications).

Again – thank you. And now, back to writing.

The DSC Book Status Update

Thanks to everyone who has checked out The DSC Book I’m writing. This is a unique project in my experience, in that I’m writing it a chapter at a time, and releasing those chapters as I finish them. So it’s a kind of “Agile” book in that regard. Early adopters can purchase it for $39.99, with the option to pay more if you think it’s worth more. Each purchase lets me set aside about 4 hours on the weekends or evenings, so I can work on the book. I’m also taking whatever spare time I can to work on it.

Right now, the book is nearing the 50% point of its original, planned outline. So, in August 2016, I’ll be raising the minimum purchase price and ending the early-bird pricing.

Here’s what’s to come:

  • Going Further with Configurations (which will include ConfigurationData)
  • Composite Configurations
  • Partial Configurations
  • Security and DSC
  • Custom Resources (function-based)
  • Class-Based Custom Resources
  • Self-Modifying Configurations

Then I’ll be adding extended examples. My intent was to keep the examples so far pretty minimal, so they could focus on explaining what was happening. I’ll expand that out in some kind of “putting it all together” chapter, yet to be spec’d out. Currently, the book is at about 15,500 words, and I’m expecting that to double by the time I get through the original outline plan.

But the neat thing about Agile publishing is that the book may never be “done.” I can always continue adding to it as I realize the need to address new questions, as the technology evolves, and so on. And my commitment is that, while the technology remains substantially the same, I’ll provide those updates to purchases at no extra charge. If Microsoft ever massively revises DSC and forces a rewrite of the book, that’ll be a new book, but until then – one price gets you a “living book.”

So huge thanks to everyone who’s supported the project so far, and thanks to everyone who’s still considering whether or not to jump aboard. I’m very committed to finishing this, and appreciate everyone’s patience and suggestions!

My DSC Book is Coming Along!

If you haven’t found it, my The DSC Book project is coming along nicely. This is an “agile” book, meaning I’m publishing it as I write it. Whenever I make a major update, you get an email notification and can go download the new version at no extra charge. It’s available in PDF, MOBI, and EPUB, as well as in the LeanPub app. Everything’s DRM-free, to make it as easy as possible for you to read it wherever you want.

You should know that each purchase actually helps push the book forward toward completion, since for each purchase I set aside 4 hours to work on nothing but the book. And while I do have an outline (it’s in the Table of Contents, which you can see in the freely available sample download), I plan to continue updating and evolving this book over time. So for a one-time purchase, you basically get a “forever” book!

It’ll pay to support this project early on. As I noted, purchases help me dedicate time to the project (my family is more generous with my weekends when the bills are being paid). In addition, the price of the book will rise over time as it nears completion. So you’re getting an Early Bird bonus by being on the “ground floor.”

The project is an outgrowth of the original “DSC Book” I published for free at PowerShell.org. This is a complete rewrite, and I decided to go commercial so that I’d have the financial support needed to grow and maintain this thing over the long-haul.

If you haven’t done so, stop by and check it out, and let me know what you think.