The Realm of the Verbal Processor

Jarvis's Ramblings

Interview with Johan Arwidmark

Between MMS and TechEd last year, I was able to snag several people in the Microsoft management and deployment community for interviews for my blog. I finally got around to processing the last of those interviews and prepping it for posting.

I caught Johan Arwidmark just before I walked out the door of TechEd to fly home. It was a fun and entertaining (albeit short) conversation.

Enjoy finding out a bit about the personal side of one of the most recognized names in the worldwide deployment community!

January 31, 2010 Posted by | interviews, TechEd | 1 Comment

Interview with Mikael Nystrom (Part 2 of 2)

At long last, here is the second half of the interview with Mikael Nystrom. Enjoy.

December 27, 2009 Posted by | ConfigMgr, interviews, TechEd | 1 Comment

Interview with Mikael Nystrom (Part 1 of 2)

While at TechEd North America earlier this year, I had the pleasure of interviewing Mikael Nystrom from TrueSec. I knew very little about Mikael before sitting down with him, and it ended up being a very fun interview. It also ended up being over an hour long! Below is the first half of the interview. Enjoy!

Just a note…the interviews from TechEd have been taking me a long time to post…mainly because of my frustration with some glitches with my blog host. I have had significant issues getting the audio to work. I have  uploaded the audio in the format that is required by the audio player, but the player won’t play the audio. The previous interviews have each taken multiple hours to get the technical glitches worked out. This time I simply gave up on resolving the issues and produced a “video” from the audio and the one picture I have of me with Mikael at TechEd.

November 3, 2009 Posted by | ConfigMgr, interviews, Microsoft, TechEd, video | 2 Comments

Interview with Tim Mintner

As promised last week, here is the interview I had with Tim Mintner at TechEd North America in Los Angeles.



August 31, 2009 Posted by | interviews, Microsoft, TechEd | Leave a comment

More Interviews Coming Soon

I am currently in the shuttle headed to the airport after a long week at TechEd. Over the course of the week I was able to get a few more interviews done that I will be posting over the next month or so. I still have the Rod Trent interview from MMS queued up. Last night I got to spend some extended time with Tim Mintner and Michael Niehaus. As we were leaving the closing “party” last night, I got to sit down with Tim for an interview. This morning I was able to interview Mikael Nystrom and Johan Arwidmark before leaving the convention center. Stay tuned for some very entertaining interviews. In light of the amount of traffic the Sherry Kissinger post produced, there is obviously a lot of interest in the personal side of these technology people.

May 15, 2009 Posted by | MMS, TechEd | Leave a comment

Camtasia Studio

While preparing for MMS and TechEd, I needed to record the demo that I would use in my session. This was a requirement for TechEd, and I ended up using the recorded demo instead of doing a live demo…partially because it is very difficult to perform a live demo of Operating System Deployment in the 75 minute time frame of the sessions at MMS/TechEd. It also allows me to show the entire OS Build and Capture process (about a three and a half hour process in my virtual demo environment)…I am able to speed up the video of that process to show it all in about 3 minutes. Overall a much better process.

Knowing that I needed to be able to record my screen for the demo I knew that there were a few options. One is LiveMeeting and/or WebEx. I don’t have access to either one, so I looked elsewhere. I learned about Camtasia Studio by TechSmith. They offer a fully functional 30 day trial of the software. Using that I was able to not only capture the screen while the demo was running, but was able to speed up sections, slow down other sections to allow me time to talk to it, and splice together two portions of the demo (server side and client side) into one video to use during the demo. Very nice piece of software. I was also able to use it to produce the ConfigMgr Child Labor video. It allowed me to pull in my raw video segments, have a separate narration track, add in opening and closing title tracks, as well as add the video from MMS 2008 in as a Picture-in-Picture.

Overall I was VERY impressed with the software. However…it’s not cheap. With as often as I would use it, there was no way that I could justify the $299 price tag. If I did more demos…it would pay for itself quickly. For the once a year or so that I would use it…not so much.

Well…tonight at TechEd there was an opening night reception in the Expo hall. Lots of companies. As I was wandering around, I saw that TechSmith had a booth, so I walked over to see if they were going to have a drawing for a copy of Camtasia…which they are. As I was talking to the lady at the booth I was telling her about what I had done with the software and that I loved it but couldn’t justify the expense. Heck I’ve been telling a lot of people over the course of the last month about the software. She then proceeded to pull over another lady named Betsy whose title is “Chief Evangelist” for TechSmith. After telling her what I had done, she pulls out a business card to give to me. On the back of the card was a sticker with license keys for Camtasia Studio and Snagit. SWEET!!! My 30 day trial expired yesterday…I get to keep using it!

Thanks Betsy and thanks TechSmith!

May 12, 2009 Posted by | Misc, MMS, TechEd | 3 Comments

ConfigMgr Front End HTA

During my session at MMS (and upcoming at TechEd) I used a Front End HTA and a back end VBS during my deployment demo. I mentioned that I would make them available for download (and have gotten multiple requests for this). Hope these help someone else out there!

Front End Script

Back End Script

May 5, 2009 Posted by | ConfigMgr, MMS, TechEd | 17 Comments

Bible Study at MMS and TechEd

Last year before MMS, I put out a call to see if anyone was interested in doing a Bible study during the week of MMS. I got a lot of very positive response, and so last year a group of us met in the morning before breakfast and spent some time studying the book of Philemon before the day started. Rod and Megan Trent volunteered to let us use their room to host the study. Around Thursday of that week, someone in the group mentioned that being the “1st Annual MMS Bible Study”.

So…who’s ready for the “2nd Annual” study? We are going to change the format up a bit this year. We’ll probably spend a bit more time in praise and worship than we did last year. Also…last year I intentionally chose a book of the Bible that people were likely to be unfamiliar with…this year we will be looking at a book that people are more likely to have read…Philippians. Specifically we will be looking at what that letter has to say about the way we treat those around us. I also plan to do a similar Bible Study at TechEd in LA this year.

So…who’s interested? If you are, please either send me an email or use this blog’s contact form. Let me know which of the two (MMS, TechEd or both) that you are interested in.

Looking forward to seeing you in Vegas or LA!

March 26, 2009 Posted by | devotional, Jesus, MMS, TechEd | 5 Comments

No Assigned Task Sequence

I’ve been setting up a virtual ConfigMgr environment on my laptop to use both for demonstrating at client locations as well as to use for the demo portions of my presentations at MMS and TechEd. It’s running inside Virtual PC 2007, and the server VM is running Windows Server 2008 and ConfigMgr 2007 SP1 R2. It actually runs pretty peppy…I do have the VM running on an external 7200 RPM hard drive connected to my laptop via an eSATA cable.

Anyway…I set up a Task Sequence to do my OS build and capture. It worked fine. Then I imported that WIM file and set up another Task Sequence to deploy that image. It was advertised to both the “All Unknown Computers” collection as well as a special OSD Deploy collection that I had created and imported the name and MAC address of the new VM into.

After booting the new VM with the Bootable Task Sequence media CD, it kept giving me this error message: “Failed to Run Task Sequence” “There are no task sequences available for this computer.” If I looked in the smsts.log file located at “X:\windows\temp\smsts”, I saw an error entry stating: “No assigned task sequence.” Looking through the log file, I could see that it was reading the correct MAC address and had the right SMS GUID that was assigned to the system that I imported. So it was clearly recognizing the machine. It was talking to ConfigMgr correctly. It was downloading policy, but it was determining that none of those policies were applicable. If I looked at the properties of either the Collection or the system, it showed that the advertisement for the Task Sequence was applicable to that computer. So…why would it show as applicable in the GUI, but not be evaluated as applicable during the task sequence?

After beating on this for entirely too long, I finally figured it out this afternoon. I had done a housekeeping task on my VM to move all of the default “All…” collections off of the root of the Collections node (see this post). After doing so, I had forgotten to update those collections after “moving” them. Shouldn’t matter…except that the “All Unknown Computers” collection was completely empty…including not having the “x86 Unknown Computer (x86 Unknown Computer)” or “x64 Unknown Computer (x64 Unknown Computer)” entries.

When the new VM was evaluating policy, it went through the following steps in the SMSTS.log.

Client Identity: GUID:24e41bb6-2d68-451a-9802-29f9f1bdd1ea
Netbios name: NewComputer
Client GUID = GUID:24e41bb6-2d68-451a-9802-29f9f1bdd1ea, Netbios name = NewComputer, State = Unknown
Client is unprovisioned
Using unknown machine GUID: 1b554c94-8eeb-490a-8b10-ae10bd579d3d
Unknown client identity: GUID:24e41bb6-2d68-451a-9802-29f9f1bdd1ea
Preparing Policy Assignment Request.
    Setting transport.
    Setting site code = CM1.
    Setting client ID = 1b554c94-8eeb-490a-8b10-ae10bd579d3d.
Executing Policy Assignment Request.

Note what happens to the GUID. It starts off with the GUID that starts with “24e41…” and a state of “Unknown”. It then switches the GUID that it is going to use for the rest of the process to the “unknown machine GUID” which on my system starts with “1b554…”…this is the GUID for the “x86 Unknown Computer (x86 Unknown Computer)” resource that should be in the “All Unknown Computers” collection. After switching the GUID, you see the last line that I pasted in above where it is “Executing Policy Assignment Request.”

Because I had not updated the collection…and the “x86 Unknown Computer (x86 Unknown Computer)” resource didn’t exist in any collection…there wasn’t any advertisement that was applicable to that GUID. It behaved exactly like it should have. It just took me a long long time to figure out why it was failing. Once I updated the collection, the “problem” went away.

In this instance, it was definitely a PEBKAC issue…Problem Exists Between Keyboard And Chair.

March 20, 2009 Posted by | ConfigMgr, Microsoft, MMS, TechEd | 4 Comments

TechEd Bonus – Free Software

Just got an email from the TechEd conference that had two main bits of information. First…they have cancelled the “Attendee Party”. I’m not overly concerned about that. Second was this little nugget:

Additionally this year you will receive a full copy of Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 when released to market as part of registration.

Sweet! I had just been thinking about building a server for my home as a central place for my wife and I to store data as well as to have a powerful lab environment for me to learn on. Now I will have a copy of Server 2008 to run it with along with a copy of Windows 7 to put on our home computer!

March 12, 2009 Posted by | Microsoft, TechEd | Leave a comment

ConfigMgr Version Numbers

This post is out of date. A more complete listing of both site server version numbers as well as client version numbers can be found in this new blog post.

I have been installing ConfigMgr in a virtual environment on my laptop this week. This will serve as both a Demo environment for my MMS/TechEd presentations as well as a “Proof of Concept” environment when I am talking with clients.

I was wanting to check which version of ConfigMgr I had installed but wasn’t able to quickly locate the version numbers for each version, so I figured I’d post this out to help others.

Go to ConfigMgr Console / Site Database / Site Management, then right click your site and choose Properties. The version will be listed on the properties screen.

ConfigMgr RTM 4.00.5931.0000
ConfigMgr SP1 4.00.6221.1000
The “R2 installed” field will state “No”. (See the screenshot below.)
ConfigMgr R2 4.00.6221.1000
The “R2 installed” field will state “Yes”.
ConfigMgr R2 SP2 (RC) 4.00.6468.2001
ConfigMgr R2 SP2 (RTM) 4.00.6487.2000


March 10, 2009 Posted by | ConfigMgr, MMS, TechEd | 2 Comments

Presenting at TechEd Too???

Last week I had big news about being invited to be a presenter at the Microsoft Management Summit. That was huge and very encouraging…a very big week. Then came Friday afternoon…

I’m at my daughter’s school watching her in a Geography Bowl competition (which she won!). Just as it was starting, my phone buzzed…an email. I took a quick glance just to see who sent the email. It was from Martin Dey again. Here is part of what it said (copied with Martin’s permission):

The product team liked your topic “Operating System Deployment (OSD) in the Real World” so much they asked me to also propose it for the TechEd US event. They felt this was one of the strongest industry proposals we had received across both MMS and TechEd .

So I went ahead and cross-submitted your topic, and I’m pleased to report it has also been selected for the TechEd US event in Los Angeles in May.

I almost dropped the phone. Wide eyed, I looked over at my wife and told her, “I just received a really big email. We need to talk after this is over.” I spent the rest of the afternoon shaking my head and repeating “Wow”. To say that I am excited would be an understatement! And honestly, that statement from Martin is both honoring and humbling at the same time. Wow was that encouraging. As a family, we went out to celebrate Friday night. Laurel wanted McDonald’s. I wanted Chinese. We did both!

I still need to confirm that I can get the time from Virteva to do the TechEd event, but I don’t think it will be a problem!

Update: Just found out from my leadership that I can officially accept the TechEd speaking invitation!

January 26, 2009 Posted by | Microsoft, MMS, TechEd | 6 Comments


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