Serious Question: What Would Stop You From…

…picking up a copy of The PowerShell Scripting and Toolmaking Book? Or from referring someone?


Stop Looking Forward

I talk, and write, a lot about how important it is to think about your career. To feed your career. To keep your career foremost in your vision.


There comes a time when your career is doing pretty well, and you’re comfortable resting for a moment and enjoying what it’s brought you. There may also come a time when you’ve gotten pretty far along in your career, and you start to think, “what’s next?”

Let me propose something.


Why the New Windows Phone Excites Me, Conceptually

So, last month it was in the news that Microsoft is bringing the full Windows desktop experience to ARM chips through an x86 emulation layer. Well, there’s some vagueness around “full” as yet, but here’s why I find this hugely exciting.


Happy Nearly New Year

As we prepare to say goodbye to 2016, and “yo” to 2017, I wanted to let you know something I’m going to try and do next year.

When I started this blog, I made it a point to blog every week something I’d learned about careers in IT, with a hope that it might help some of you see your own career in a slightly different light. Then, for a couple of years, I kind of gave up and didn’t do much of anything on this blog, apart from announcing DevOps Camp and bitching about CenturyLink.

So for 2017, I’m going to try and get back in the saddle and blog every week. Probably a lot of career stuff, honestly, because it fascinates me. Probably other stuff, too, but I’ll try and make it all helpful. You can help me do that by commenting on the posts – let me know what’s useful and what’s not. Please. And I’ll still likely post other random crap, but I’ll schedule the important stuff for Thursdays. Every week. Random stuff on other days, so you know when to tune out, if you want.

I hope you enjoy. Any support you care to offer would be really appreciated, because January 5th is looming, and I just now realized there are around fifty-one Thursdays in 2017. Urp.

The Pester Book with @adbertram

Adam Bertram has graciously agreed to collaborate with me on The Pester Book, a book we’ll be Agile-publishing on LeanPub, as I’ve done with The DSC Book. A highlight of LeanPub, for me, is that we can publish an initial batch of chapters, and then keep adding to the book over time – and even revising it as Pester itself evolves – and ensure that every buyer gets an updated copy of the book at no additional charge. It’s like a lifetime subscription! We’re currently thinking of a $10-$15 cover price, although over time as the book grows that may bump up for new purchases.

Anyway, I have a question first.

If you’ve used Pester, or even read about it, what are some of the things that have confused you, or gotten you stuck? The more specific you can be, the more able we’ll be to make sure our book addresses it – which will help everyone, in the long run. Drop your comments below!

Now, for a bit on our strategy with the book. Our initial release will cover the basic concepts, syntax, and pre-requisite design concerns (e.g., your code has to be designed to be testable). We’ll hit everything in the official docs, but offer context and explanations and practices to those.

Phase two will include integrating some of what we (especially Adam) has already written elsewhere – not copying and pasting his excellent articles, but integrating their concepts into the text.

Phase three will expand the book to focus on a series of real-world, from-scratch examples: building tests from scratch for existing code, building infrastructure validation tests (Adam’s specialty), and starting with a test-driven design approach.

As we go, we’ll incorporate reader feedback, and over time we’ll continue to expand, add more examples, and cover more situations and practices based on what folks tell us they’d like to see added. We’re looking forward to working on the book! It may be a month or so before we get the initial release ready to go, but I’m hoping in the meantime to collect some good responses to the question above.



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Critical Thinking: “IBM’s Apple deployment stats should be a lesson to enterprise companies everywhere”

Here’s the article I’m commenting upon. While I’m a little bit of an Apple fanboy, I’m a critical thinker first and foremost, and I do hate it when people on the blogosphere – even writers I normally enjoy and respect – go off the deep end.

Read the article first. Don’t disagree or agree with anything – this isn’t a debate; it’s an exercise in critical thinking. Spot the flaws.

Not least among them the fact that 73% of IBM employees – the company whose personal computer division was once almost synonymous with Microsoft – want a Mac as their next PC. The company is currently equipping its employees with Macs at the rate of 1300 people per week.

That’s lovely – and must certainly be exciting for Apple. Given the higher overall acquisition cost of a MacBook versus the major competitors, like Lenovo, Dell, and HP (especially for business-class laptops), this is a big deal.

ndeed, IBM Japan has gone as far as making Macs standard-issue: any employee wanting a Windows machine instead has to make a special request justifying their need.

Well, okay then – but you can’t have it worth ways. If it’s been made a mandatory “choice,” then obviously the deployment numbers are going to be big. This isn’t so much a  “win” for Apple as it is the same-old lazy IT management philosophy we’ve seen for decades, just shifted from PCs to Macs. It’s still the “we can only deal with one option when it comes to support” attitude, which for a company the size of IBM is a little depressing.

Hard drive encryption, for example, used to be something the company had to implement on top of a standard Windows installation; with macOS, FileVault is a standard installation option.

Um, BitLocker.

It also saved money on anti-virus protection, XProtect built-in to Macs while Windows machines require third-party software.

Um, no. XProtect isn’t proper anti-malware. It doesn’t scan for bad behaviors or known malware signatures. It’s basically file quarantine, and only for apps that mark files as being downloaded from the Internet. It only “scans” those for known malware, too, so anything new, that hasn’t been added to the manifest, won’t get caught.

While 27% of Windows tickets end up requiring IT staff to physically fix something at the user’s desk, that was true for only 5% of Mac tickets. PC users drive twice the number of support calls as Mac users.

This is an interesting stat, and represents a mental shift for companies. While PCs were always praised for their relatively open nature in terms of hardware, Macs are likely cheaper from this support perspective because they have so little variety, and because they’re assembled in a single top-to-bottom stack. Whereas companies will let people use PCs with potentially incompatible or sketchy hardware – printers, scanners, etc – with Macs I’m betting people in IT pay more attention to the smaller compatibility list. I’m actually a little surprised IT hasn’t picked up on this already. If you’re in a “we need to minimize hardware diversity” shop, Macs make a ton of sense.

There was also a significant difference in the costs of keeping devices up to date. Comparing the number of updates and patches required, the company said that a Windows 7 PC needed 86 security patches and 49 others. For Mac, the numbers were 11 and 20 respectively – a total of 104 fewer.

Yeah, Windows definitely has too many updates – and that’s a function of Windows having so many more moving parts. It supports more hardware, has a sketchy browser that companies refuse to retire, and so on. Look at what happened when Microsoft created Nano Server – patches went down by like 90%, due simply to fewer moving parts. This is also our first clue that IBM is running macOS, not Windows, on that Apple hardware, which is an interesting and entire separate discussion.

It’s a similar tale in mobile, where two-thirds of employees are now rocking iOS devices compared to just a third for Android. Blackberry accounts for a mere 0.4%, while Windows Mobile is nowhere to be seen. One of the benefits, says IBM, is greatly improved security. Only 1% of Android devices were running the latest version; for iOS devices, the percentage was 65% despite the latest release being a month later than for Android.

This again goes to the “we need to reduce diversity” philosophy, but in this case it’s got a twist, because in the Android space you almost can’t reduce diversity. Aside from Google’s own-branded phones, there really isn’t such a thing as “Android;” you’ve got Samsung Android, HTC Android, and God knows what else. And those vendors are famously horrible about bringing updates to last year’s devices, let alone older ones. It’s definitely a security concern, and it’s a legitimate reason to consider iOS devices from an enterprise perspective.

So… not a bad piece overall, although it obviously has a couple of seriously misleading/misinformed facts. It’s interesting, for me, to see a company like IBM going all-in on the “reduce hardware diversity” approach, only doing it with the one vendor that’s always lacked hardware diversity. Apple has, what, three basic laptop models and two basic desktops? Dell has, what, a jillion? Apple tends to stick with the same hardware – chipsets, for example – across entire lines, whereas HP’s various lines sport a lot more diversity.

Now go back and read the comments on the article. No, just kidding. Don’t. Your brain will melt ;). The word “bitlocker” literally doesn’t exist on the page.