Category Archives: Announcements

PowerShell Summit Europe Registration


Registration for PowerShell Summit Europe will commence on February 27th, 2015 at roughly 12:01am server time (I believe the server is in a Pacific time Azure datacenter). We will be limited to roughly 100 attendees.

I want everyone to understand the basic rules of engagement for this. Setting up and running this event involves significant financial risk. While in this case the event venue, a Microsoft office in Kista (near Stockholm), Sweden, isn’t charging us huge fees and requiring us to commit to hotel rooms and the like, there is still risk. Most of that risk is not borne by PowerShell.org, but for the most part by myself, personally. Our speakers also commit to covering their own travel expenses (something we’re hoping to offset this year). In addition, PowerShell team members are taking time away from the product to attend, which is a huge logistical commitment because it’s such a relatively small team.

For the Europe 2014 event, we had very poor registration numbers almost until the last minute. We also had to work very hard to drum up topic submissions from European speakers. Those two facts worry us a lot, because it suggests that there isn’t a strong and engaged community interested in this event. If that’s the case, we don’t want to barge in and run the event at all. As a result, we’re going to be taking a pretty risk-averse approach this time, and I wanted to be up-front and forthright about it.

So: We’re going to evaluate the registration numbers and velocity in mid-April. By then, we need to see at least 20-30 registrations. (We usually achieve that in the first week of registrations for the North American event.) If we’re not hitting that level, then the event is subject to cancellation (and everyone will naturally get a full and complete refund).

Also know that, should we make it past that point, registration will end by August 15th 2015 or when we fill the available space, whichever comes first. In other words, last-minute registration won’t be a thing.

The success of this event depends on the European members of the overall PowerShell community. You need to help get the word out. We aren’t going to be advertising, soliciting Microsoft’s help, or other techniques. This isn’t a commercial conference; it’s being done by the community and for the community – and if the community can’t make it happen, then it won’t happen.

Our agenda will be going online shortly, and you should head to http://PowerShellSummit.org to find the registration links (after reading the introductory material, click “Europe 2015″ for details). We’ll get it all posted and ready for February 27th – it won’t be live until then. Help us get the word out. Tell co-workers. Use Twitter, Google+, and Facebook. Attend user group meetings and spread the word. We’ve got about 6 weeks to get 20-30 people signed up to make sure we’re covering base expenses and making this happen.

Community Build Server


We’ve recently been discussing the possibility of hosting a build environment for the PowerShell community.  For those who are unfamiliar with the benefits, such an environment allows you to do things like:

  • Automatically run a suite of tests when new code is checked into source control.  These tests can be run on multiple operating systems or versions of PowerShell concurrently.
  • Publish pass/fail information back to your source control repository for each tested commit.
  • Automatically release code which passes your tests to repositories such as Chocolatey or PowerShellGet, etc.

However, such an environment would require some amount of cloud resources, and those cost money.  The exact amount would depend on how often a build needs to run, but we’re estimating the costs will likely be somewhere in the range of two to six thousand dollars (US) per year.  So, at this point, we’re looking for contributions to help us make this idea a reality.  These contributions can come from companies or from individuals.  We can accept payments via the PayPal “Donate Now!” button on this page, or if you prefer, we can accept payments by check as well.  If desired, we can provide invoices for the donations.  Unfortunately, for legal reasons, we’re not a non-profit entity (because we are in support of PowerShell, a commercial product).  This means that donations for the community build server are not tax deductible.

In an upcoming article, I’ll go into more details about how this environment will work.  What I can tell you right away is that it will be freely available for any open-source, PowerShell-related project, and that we will have build agents running PowerShell 2.0 through 5.0.  Pester will be available for running tests on all of these agents, and we will also have the PowerShellGet module available if you want to automatically publish modules to that environment.

Donate Button with Credit Cards

Design the Next Scripting Games


We have some folks working on the next Scripting Games… but we want some feedback from the community to make sure we’re offering something of value.

The current plan is to run a series of events, with both Beginner and Intermediate tracks. There will be no “advanced” track; the feeling is that, if you’re advanced, you should be helping out by judging ;). Events will be constructed as a combination of puzzles and real-world tasks, meaning some things will simply test your PowerShell skills, while others will test them in a more production-applicable way.

What we need from the community is some sense of what you want to get from the Games. However, before you reply, understand what is NOT on the table: we will not be running an event where every entry gets personal commentary or feedback from an expert judge. It simply isn’t practical – everyone doing the judging has a full-time job, and offering personal feedback just isn’t feasible.

What COULD be on the table is offering a numeric score from a judge, based on the completeness of your entry and what the judge thinks of it. However, if it’s a low score, you’re not going to be told why (“no commentary,” see above). So we’re not sure that numeric scores are useful.

One proposal has been to post the events, and have judges select both good ones and less-good ones to write about. In other words, provide commentary on the outstanding entries, but not EVERY entry. Individual entries wouldn’t receive a score, but you could certainly compare what you did to the outstanding ones that did receive commentary. The idea here is to give you a task on which to test your skills, and to provide some educational feedback on some representative entries. The fact is that, in any given task, we tend to see a lot of similar-looking entries anyway, so hopefully taking some of them and commenting (both positively and constructively) will help everyone “judge” their own entries and improve their skills.

After trying numerous approaches to the Games over the past years, and after listening closely to people’s feedback, we’re trying to come up with something that is both useful and do-able.

What do you think of that proposal? Or, would you offer another proposal for us to build the Games around? Keep in mind – any proposal that suggests “expert commentary on every entry” will simply have to be turned down outright. After major discussion, we simply can’t commit to it. We’ll leave this open for the month of February 2015 – discuss away!

Add to the discussion in the Forums. Login required; not accepting comments on this post.

PowerShell.org Free eBook Transition


Over the past few weeks, Matt Penny has been busy moving our free eBooks into their new home on Penflip. Code, when available, is located in our GitHub repo, and modules will soon be available in the PowerShell Gallery for downloading via Install-Module.

Penflip is a Markdown-based editing system backed by GitHub. This means anyone can contribute corrections, additional material, and so on – which will make it easier to maintain these great books over time. You can download ebooks directly from Penflip in a variety of e-book formats. We’re now focused on electronic formats, rather than traditional page-based layout, although PDF is still an available download option if you want to make a hardcopy.

The conversion from Word to Markdown was challenging and largely manual, so if you run across formatting problems (especially with code), we absolutely appreciate your help in fixing those. Simply “branch” the book, creating your own copy of the project. Make corrections, and then submit those back to the master branch. Approvals are manual, so give us a few days to review what you’ve done and merge it into the master.

Massive thanks to Matt for all the long hours making this conversion happen, and to the folks who’ve submitted cover art for the new books.

PowerShell Summit NA 2015 Agenda changes


We’ve had to make some minor changes to the Summit agenda – the revised schedule is shown on the event web site – http://eventmgr.azurewebsites.net/event/home/PSNA15

Announcing our 2015 PowerShell Heroes


The nominations are in, and the votes are tallied!

PowerShell Heroes is our way of recognizing the people who are making significant contributions to the PowerShell community, but who haven’t received any other formal recognition (such as Microsoft’s MVP Award). In many cases, these are the rising stars we hope to see receive an MVP someday, but in all cases they’re out there, working hard to make a difference. They were nominated by their peers, and selected by the 2014 PowerShell Hero honorees.

We’ve got nine PowerShell Heroes this year, so without further ado:

$heroes | Get-Random -Count $heroes.Count
  • Stéphane Van Gulick (@stephanevg):  Stéphane’s blog http://powershelldistrict.com got a lot of attention in this year’s nominations. He’s also organizing a PowerShell User Group, and has several useful PowerShell scripts that are freely available to download.
  • Adam Bertram (@adbertram):  Adam is also an extremely active blogger. His main site is http://www.adamtheautomator.com/ , but we’ve also seen articles from him on MCPMag. Aside from the general PowerShell love, Adam’s sharing a ton of knowledge about how to use PowerShell in tandem with System Center ConfigMgr, and he’s got some great career- and community-focused content as well.
  • Micky Balladelli got a ton of love from the French-speaking PowerShell community this year, receiving more nominations than any other individual. His blog can be found at https://balladelli.com , and in particular, his “First Steps” article (https://balladelli.com/premiers-pas/) has been praised for helping systems administrators to learn PowerShell, even those who are completely new to scripting / programming. Toujours PowerShell!
  • Mike Laughlin:  As far as we can tell, Mike is actually a robot, who needs no sleep and is dedicated to helping people out on the TechNet forums. Seriously, the man’s racked up over fifty thousand points in less than two years, with more than half of his posts being tagged as either answers or helpful by the community. However, it’s not just about the numbers. His posts are friendly and he follows up on them, and it’s extremely common to see posters making comments like this in his threads: “Sweet! This is EXACTLY what I’m looking for, Thank you so much!”  https://social.technet.microsoft.com/profile/mike%20laughlin/
  • Nickolaj Andersen (@NickolajA):  Like Adam, Nickolaj has a particular focus on System Center ConfigMgr (as you might have guessed from his blog URL: http://www.scconfigmgr.com/ .) However, that involves lots of PowerShell, and there’s plenty of it on his blog (including many free scripts for download.) What we saw in his nominations, though, was how much time Nickolaj puts into personal communication with the community: emails, Skype chats, you name it. He’s out there, helping people to get things done.
  • Matt Johnson (@mwjcomputing):  Matt is the founder of the Southeast Michigan PowerShell User Group, and the lead developer of the PoshSec security framework. He’s heavily involved in communities – speaking and volunteering at conferences, doing podcasts, etc. – for both Systems Administration and Infosec. (something which, frankly, we all need to learn more about. Been paying attention to the news for the last year or two?) His blog can be found at http://www.mwjcomputing.com/ .
  • Bob McCoy is constantly helping people to solve problems over at powershell.com and SpiceWorks. At any given time, you can fire up the http://community.spiceworks.com/programming/powershell or http://powershell.com/cs/forums/230.aspx forums, and we’d be very surprised if you didn’t see multiple threads with “Latest post by Bob McCoy” listed in both.
  • June Blender (@juneb_get_help):  If you use PowerShell, June has helped you, whether you know it or not! When she worked for Microsoft, she was responsible for much of the built-in documentation that we get by running the Get-Help command. She’s also always been active in blog posts and on Twitter, spreading the joy of PowerShell. These days, she’s a Technology Evangelist over at SAPIEN, where she continues to do so.
  • Craig Duff is extremely active in the PowerShell forums over at SpiceWorks, usually the first person to respond to questions there. His solutions have been praised as clean, efficient and easy to understand, and there are lots and lots of them! (437 posts marked as “Best Answer”, as of this writing). His blog can be found at http://switch.nfshost.com/.

Congratulations to our 2015 PowerShell Heroes!!

Our eBook Transition – and Your Chance to Contribute!


We’re in the process of migrating our free ebook collection over to Penflip, an online, Git-based collaborative authoring and publishing tool. Matt Penny has taken the lead in converting our Word documents to the Markdown syntax used by Penflip, and as you can see on our ebooks page, most of the titles now have an initial version in Penflip.

One neat thing about Penflip is that anyone can register for a free account, fork one of our projects, and make their own modifications. You can then submit your changes back to the master branch, so we can incorporate your changes into the ebook. This will make it easy for everyone in the community to suggest new content, offer corrections, and so on. I encourage you to help out – right now, you may simply notice some flaws from the semi-automated and fully hellish Markdown conversion, and we’d love your assistance in correcting those.

Penflip also supports on-demand downloads of each ebook in a variety of common formats, including EPUB, PDF, and more. That means you’ll always be able to grab the latest version of your favorite ebook. We’ve not yet migrated the source code that goes with some of the ebooks; the plan is to move those into our GitHub repo over the next week.

Penflip will be enabling the next generation of our ebooks, including a massive new DSC title I plan to begin working on in 2015.

Thanks for any help you can provide, and I hope you continue to find the ebooks helpful!

Final PowerShell Summit NA 2015 Inventory Available


An additional 35 seats have been opened for PowerShell Summit NA 2015, as of 10am PT 2015-01-11. This will be the final block of inventory available for the event, which will host around 140 total people.

If you click over and there are no registration options, it’s because it sold out.

Let’s Make a PowerShell Job Interview Quiz. C’mon and Help.


The folks at Smarterer have agreed to let us – that’s all of us, as in “The PowerShell Community” – build a sort of “exam” for people to prove their PowerShell Proficiency. And I need your help to do it!

Step 1, you need to be pretty decent with PowerShell yourself. Not Level 12 Guru Level, mind you, but you should be working with it daily. Most of this book should make sense to you.

Step 2, you need to download my Quiz Question Writing Guide (It’s all of 1 page) and Topic List. PowerShell Quiz Guidelines is the download. Go on, I’ll wait.

Step 3, you need to sign up, using your e-mail address, and let me know you’re interested in helping. What you’re volunteering to do is, over the course of February 2015, write at least 20 questions. That’s about 2 questions per category. You’re also agreeing to help peer-review the questions other folks write, so we can spot the stinkers. Signups are due by January 20th 2015.

<blink>Go here to register!</blink>

BTW, 20 questions total is only about 1 per day. You could totally do 5 per day if you made an effort. Think about PowerShell questions you’d ask during a job interview, to tell if someone knew their stuff or was merely a poser. We cannot have too many good questions. 

Now for the good news there are prizes! Pluralsight is offering a prizes to the top net question contributors (“net contributor” means the number of questions you write that survive peer review and are accepted by the Quiz Captain).

  • 1st place: $200 Amazon gift card and 6 months of access to the entire Pluralsight library
  • 2nd place: $100 Amazon gift card and 3 months of access to the entire Pluralsight library
  • 3rd place: $50 Amazon gift card and 1 month of access to the entire Pluralsight library

We’re also looking for a Quiz Captain, so when you register, indicate if you’re willing to take on that role. There’s only one, and you’re exempt from the prize (that’s what you get for stepping up). You’re in charge of final acceptance on all questions that go into the final pool – not so much for technical accuracy, but for being well-written.

Disclosures: You’ll be using an online authoring tool called Flock, which means your registration e-mail address (which you provide) will be provided to Smarterer, so they can load you into the tool and send you an access invite via e-mail. Your e-mail will also be used to contact you about the project, and regarding any prizes you may earn.

WHY? Well, the idea is that we’re all getting to a point where we’ll need to hire PowerShell sk1llz. Rather than us all concocting our own job interviews, this’ll act as a kind of central, crowdsourced job interview you could direct a job candidate to. Yes, some of you will also ask for a more in-depth interview, perhaps offering a coding challenge or something – that’s awesome. This is just the first stage you could use. The exam will be available free of charge to anyone who wants to take it, anytime, ever. And it can be updated and evolved as the technology, and our business needs, evolve.

PowerShell Summit Europe 2015–topic submissions


Topic submissions for the PowerShell Summit Europe are still open. If you want to be considered as a speaker please submit your topic very soon.

At the moment there aren’t enough submissions to enable us to put on a quality event. The 2014 European Summit was an excellent event with many good sessions – now is the time to submit your sessions. We need your sessions.

We have a policy of accepting sessions from new speakers as well as established experts. It’s not who you are but the quality of the session that counts.

Details on how to submit session proposals are available here

http://powershell.org/wp/2014/11/24/call-for-presentations-for-powershell-summit-europe-2015/

Please submit your proposals soon as we can’t run the European PowerShell Summit without them! As a note, we are confirmed for Stockholm (or within a a short subway ride of Stockholm) for the timeframe indicated, although we don’t have the exact venue yet. It’s important that we get sessions lined up soon, so that we can begin general registration.

VERIFIED EFFECTIVE Exams to be Held at PowerShell Summit NA 2015


Although we have decided to discontinue the online VERIFIED EFFECTIVE exams (as outlined previously), the organization has decided to offer the exams as a live, proctored event at the PowerShell Summit North America 2015. If all goes well, this could become a regular Summit offering.

Details:

  • You must be registered to attend the Summit.
  • There is no additional charge to sit the exam.
  • You may not already hold a valid VERIFIED EFFECTIVE certificate.
  • You will be given a written assignment and 45 minutes to complete it.
  • You must bring your own laptop running any version of PowerShell (v2+).
  • Your laptop must be capable of running on battery for the duration of the exam.
  • You may use the Internet and other online resources; you may not discuss anything with anyone else.
  • You must either bring a USB flash drive to turn in your work. The drive will be returned to you immediately.
  • Grading will happen overnight, and you will be notified via e-mail. If you pass, you will be able to use the VERIFIED EFFECTIVE website to download an e-certificate. We will plan to maintain the e-certificate website through at least the end of 2016.

This offering will be limited to 65 people. Although there is no charge, you will be required to pre-register to ensure we do not overcommit the room capacity. Registration information will be sent via e-mail to all registered attendees on April 1st, 2015. Registration for the exam will be first-come, first-served.

We will not be able to accommodate individuals who are not registered to attend the Summit. That policy may change in the future, but for now that’s the policy and there will be no exceptions. We have not yet made a decision about offering this for future Summit events – this is a trial, and we will gauge interest and results before making further decisions or commitments.

This exam will be the VERIFIED EFFECTIVE PowerShell Toolmaker program, in which you will be asked to write one or more advanced functions that comply with a set of specifications and exhibit a specified set of behaviors.

The day prior to the exam offering, a lunchtime briefing will be given for anyone taking the exam. During the briefing, you will receive specifics about the exam process, the grading criteria, and so on.

[UPDATED] PowerShell Summit N.A. 2015 – Additional Capacity


UPDATED: We’ve moved the date to January 11th in the below; we’ll need some additional time to get the capacity opened up, and moving a bit past the holidays was needed.

We will be opening approximately 35-40 additional spaces for PowerShell Summit N.A. 2015. This change will be made sometime in the evening of January 11th, 2015, and the additional spaces will be first-come, first-served. Registration will be via PayPal only at this stage. There will be no additional capacity released after these spaces are taken.

The Future of PowerShell.org’s VERIFIED EFFECTIVE Program


As many of you know, we’ve offered a VERIFIED EFFECTIVE exam program to help formally vet someone’s skills as a PowerShell “Toolmaker.” The exam focused on your ability to create advanced PowerShell tools that follow standard shell practices and patterns. We made the exam available to Association of Windows PowerShell Professionals members, meaning anyone who attended a PowerShell Summit could participate; you could also purchase exam credits a la carte.

We’ve unfortunately had very little uptake on the program. Fewer than 20% of those eligible to take the exam ever registered to do so, and of those who registered only 10% actually took the exam. We did have a pass rate in excess of 90%, but with such a small sampling we don’t feel it’s statistically significant.

The program takes real, monetary resources and human time to run, including a full Windows virtual machine that has to be spun up to grade the exams (scripts are graded using an automated process that actually runs them in a sandboxed environment), and including dedicated time from a small panel of experts who review each exam submission. Those resources could be better deployed to help provide benefit to a much larger portion of the community, and so we are announcing the phase-out of the VERIFIED EFFECTIVE program.

Effective February 1st 2015, all existing vouchers will be cancelled, and no new ones will be generated. That means, effective February 1st, there will be no new exams administered. If you have a voucher with applicability beyond that date, it will no longer be valid. If you paid for that voucher a la carte, please contact us for a refund.

The website allowing you to generate a completion certificate will remain online until January 1st, 2016. By that time, most existing certificates will have expired. If you completed the exam, you should download and archive your certificate prior to that date. On January 1st, 2016, the program will be completely removed.

We knew going into it that this program might not get significant uptake. Not being offered by Microsoft reduces its visibility and, to a large degree, its credibility with employers. Offering an exam of this nature is expensive and resource-intensive, and for a small organization like ours that means passing on a significant cost to candidates, which many cannot afford. Further, Microsoft has continued to blend PowerShell into all of its IT Pro-centric certification exams, so PowerShell does indeed have some domain-specific coverage in the certification space.

We are instead going to work with the folks at Smarterer.com to formalize, beef up, and publish their crowdsourced PowerShell exam. That exam is in its infancy, but PowerShell.org is already in communications with the Smarterer team to create a more reliable, formal exam that incorporates the community’s best ideas about how to verify someone’s PowerShell effectiveness.

Thanks very much for your support, and we look forward to serving you in new ways in 2015!

PowerShell Summit N.A. 2015 Status Update & Info


As of this post, PowerShell Summit North America 2015 is full, and registration has been cut off. We’re taking some time to confirm our numbers and venue capacity; if we’re able to open additional seats, that will happen in January 2015. We will allow any additional capacity to be registered until one month prior to the Summit, or until it sells out, whichever comes first. We do not maintain a waiting list; please check here and on the @PSHSummit Twitter feed for any announcements.

For those already registered, we do not have any official hotel recommendations. You’re welcome to use the Summit Forum to see where others are staying, or to arrange for carpooling or other stuff. We certainly encourage all attendees to check the Forum for Q&A and other discussion – it’s never too early to start getting involved. On the hotel front, just look for hotels in downtown Charlotte, or near Microsoft Charlotte, based on your preferences. The reason there’s no official hotel is that there are numerous business-class hotels nearby, and after a close call last year we didn’t want to take the financial risk of booking out a room block.

Our intent at this time is to book the venue to fire code capacity, which is why we may be able to open additional slots after we confirm everything. That means both venue rooms will be full at all times. You will not be permitted to stand or sit in the aisles, back of the room, or block the doorways. If the session you hoped to attend is full, you’ll need to go to the other one. Keep in mind we’re recording everything, so you won’t miss out entirely.

The last sessions on all three days will only have a single session. We’ll position the speaker in one of the two rooms, and we’ll live-stream to the other room. This is where we plan to put Jeffrey Snover’s talks, both to accommodate what has historically been high interest in his sessions, and to accommodate his total inability to do a session in only 45 minutes :). If you don’t get a chair in the “live” room, you’ll need to join from the “overflow” room.

The two rooms are actually in different buildings, separated from each other by a driveway/courtyard arrangement. We’re suggesting that you not bring your ginormous 21″ laptop, since it’ll just drag you down moving between sessions. Maybe stick with a Surface if you want to take notes and stuff. Although we’re recording everything, so… you know. Maybe just enjoy the session.

Lunches will be taken in the session rooms, with buffet setups in the hallways just outside each room.

Stay tuned for further details, and please use the Summit forum to ask questions.

JOB POSTING: Help us Run PowerShell.org


[UPDATE: We’ve gotten an outpouring of responses – I’m literally a bit teary-eyed right now – so I’ll work with the existing set of volunteers and post again should everyone realize what we’re asking and go running for the hills!]

We’re looking for a volunteer to take over regular maintenance of the PowerShell.org website. We may even have a small budget to make this a paid-contractor gig. Trick being, it’s gotta be done regularly. 

The specifics:

  • Set up new user groups with pages (as needed)
  • Approve/Delete forums posts that are held for moderation (daily – this doesn’t happen often, though)
  • Moderate blog comments (daily)
  • Approve community-submitted calendar events (weekly)
  • Assist TechLetter team with setting up Forums topics for discussing upcoming TechLetter articles (monthly)
  • Identify Forums posts that have gone unanswered; raise awareness and recruit answers (often via Twitter) (at least weekly)

We’re not looking for this person to do actual WordPress maintenance at this stage. However, if you’re interested and do have WordPress experience, we could potentially tack that on. It wouldn’t be much more than approving WordPress and plugin updates on a scheduled basis, although we do have one PHP code hack that has to be maintained after core WordPress updates.

If you’re interested, please e-mail Admin right here at PowerShell.org. We’re hoping to have someone start in January. We’d obviously love a volunteer to step in and be our hero; if it goes well, we can divert some budget to making it a permanent gig. We know that sometimes the family finds it easier to have you donate your time if you’re getting a bit back in return. We’re planning to make a similar offer to other key positions, including our TechLetter Editors and TechSession Manager, in 2015 if we can.