Work in IT

Building The New Battle Station

For the last 5 years, I’ve owned the same desktop computer that I do most of my work from at home. The computer was solid, a Dell XPS 630i. It still was performing like a champ with an occasional blue screen, I believed caused by the SLI video cards. I don’t have much time for video games so I figured there was no point in replacing it for the longest time.

Before monitor replacement

After two random blue screens in the same evening I decided it was time to bite the bullet and replace the system. I had no interest in spending hours troubleshooting the issues when I knew I wanted a new computer anyway. Now was the time to decide if I was going to purchase a new system or build my own. I did quite a bit of research and I wanted to buy a fairly solid gaming rig that will last me at least another 5 years. Looking at the options out there and comparing the cost associated I decided to build my own machine.

New Year New Changes

It’s been quite a bit of time since I’ve made a true blog post. Things have been very exciting in my life lately and I’ve been chugging along to keep up with it.

The first thing I’d like to talk about is the first thing that happened this year. Starting January 1st 2014 I became a Technical Team Lead at Apparatus. I oversee 5 technical resources while maintaining myself as a technical resource also. It is a new challenge and one I am very eager to execute on. This position has given me the ability not only to expand my technical knowledge across multiple technologies but also to gain experience in management. I am one of the first 7 people in this role at Apparatus and I get to be part of the formation of this new level of management and it is a fantastic opportunity for me to grow.

The next thing that happened this year is the first time I’ve taught a Microsoft Official Course (MOC) which was the 20410, Installing and Configuring Windows Server 2012. It was a lot of work to prepare for this course; however it was well worth every minute of prep work as this was an extremely exciting course to teach. I had 12 people in attendance and I received lots of positive feedback on my teaching technique. The best part of that week was not the experience, or how much fun it was to present. It was the fact that one of the students in the course decided to sketch a picture of me while I was talking about IPv4 Sub-netting which I’ve included below.


PowerShell Pranks – Making Work Fun with Creepy Voices!

In every IT office I have worked in, pulling pranks co-workers has been a standard. They tend to be low-tech; co-workers leave their computers unlocked, change their background, and maybe change their Windows sound effects. They tend to be small and easy to revert.

We had an intern program over the summer in our office and a specific intern who wasn’t very wise when it came to locking his computer. We got him probably 10-15 times with a picture of David Hasselhoff in a thong. We also installed some fun Google Chrome add-ons that would change every image on the page to something else.

These got boring, which is very unusual when making someone have a sexy background. However, because we became so bored with it, we decided to take it a step further. We thought, wouldn’t it be cool to automate this with PowerShell? So our initial idea was changing the background to a random image. Looking through the ways of doing that was semi-complicated, and I was feeling lazy. So we ditched the idea, and it was on the back burner for a long time.

One evening I came home from work and stumbled upon this fantastic post on the PowerShell Sub-Reddit “A fun script for Friday – make your friend’s computer start talking to him/her.” To sum it up, it’ll use Text to Speech to have the computer talk. In the example posted, it used PowerShell Remoting. Using PowerShell Remoting for such a malicious intent may cross a line, depends on who the target is and how much you abuse it. In my case, the computers were not domain joined, and so I couldn’t use that as easily. So I decided to take my Friday night and make it quite a bit more “portable.”

Having fun around the office with PowerShell Pranks – PowerPoint

Last week I presented to the Indianapolis PowerShell User Group about PowerShell Pranks. I will be doing a much more in depth blog post about it in the near future. I wanted to first provide the PowerPoint slide that I used, please note that there is a serious line you shouldn’t cross; where you draw that line is at your discretion and it may be a lot closer than my line is.