Technology Solutions for Everyday Folks

Matt Zaske Online Blog

Powershell to Find and Export AD Records

Frantically searching through report data

With the very near end of life for Windows 7, as we work through the last bit of known and managed machines to upgrade or replace I find myself needing to do more frequent "searches" of AD computer object records for analysis.

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Cleaning Up and Updating

Suspense while waiting (to update).

I've been a bit remiss in the posting cadence lately (well, since Thanksgiving). Much has been happening in all realms of life (as they are want to be during the "holiday season"). That being said, I don't return to work, proper, until January 6. And so it's time to do some cleaning up and other updates. With any luck, I'll have some material queued up to help buffer the situations when I'm out of time (or random ideas).

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Visual Customizations for Windows 10 in OSD

Windows logo

As we work through the tail-end of our Windows 7 fleet (January 14, 2020 is coming if you haven't heard...), I've found myself rolling a different type of hammer process for the last of the "upgrades." This past week as I was tweaking what amounts to an in-place update (by way of wipe and load) for Windows 7 to Windows 10, I was reminded of how Past Me was indeed awesome (and inspired) since this simple script with all the various background and image sizes still works in Windows 10 19

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High Quality Local Talent

That was an amazing performance

Haven't had a more personal post for a while (hope to rectify that in the next few weeks as I've got some stuff queued up), but it seemed fitting to give a short tribute/shout out to some of our regional performance art talent.

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Tales From The 'Duh!' Archive: Command Syntax

Cartoon character pushes zombie back into grave

I had a very long week, which means I'm writing a short post this time around.

Among several seemingly disparate things I accomplished in the last week or so, I spent some time deploying applications via SCCM (soon to be called Microsoft Endpoint Manager/Configuation Manager/#MEMCM per the announcement at Ignite this week).

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Let's Expand Encryption!

Gif of lock tumbler mechanism

This weekend I performed the quarterly actions to update my various letsencrypt certificates, which I've not written about since early May when I'd performed the first set of renewals. Let's Encrypt and SSL For Free are still outstanding services, and I'm super happy with them!

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Who's Font Awesome?

Puppy pointing with text "Who's Awesome? You're Awesome!"

Earlier this year while working on a client project revision, I decided to spruce up the old and dated icon set. This set had been cobbled together from various sources over time (the way you did these things back in the day), and overall lacked a consistent use and/or feel. Some actions had no associated icon, so educated guesses were made to find a matching icon from the existing set...and so forth.

Ultimately, it was time. But where to start?!

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Time for a Drupal Refresh

Old computer mainframe tape disks

So here we are...just over six months into the new Drupal adventure driving the site. Overall I'm much happier with the transition than I'd originally expected, because the general maintenance and upkeep has been pretty much automatic. Scheduled publishing has been a lifesaver, too, because it's a 'set and forget' thing...unless I cross a month's boundary between create and publish dates (more about that in a bit).

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I Took a Break

Pause

As I've noted a few times in the last few months, things have been remarkably crazy and busy. As it always does, this culminates in a late-August/early-September influx of "survival mode" where most everything centers around keeping the fires to a minimum.

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Collection Variables in SCCM Task Sequences

Hello my name is {X} tag

As I've mentioned a number of times in previous posts, on our campus we perform a roughly-annual refresh of multi-user workstations across the institution. This 'multi-user' scope includes machines in classrooms, computer labs, open learning spaces, conference rooms, and so forth.

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A Brief Respite

My Summer 2018 Outdoor Office Companion, Macho

Ahh, August: that "season" of all things chaotic, crazy, busy, and otherwise rushed. See also: back-to-school season.

A time when the rush of all the things that haven't yet been accomplished through the summer converge and, like it or not, must be completed before the new school year(s) begin.

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Environment Context Troubleshooting

Dashed and dotted lines

Broken Context(s). The story of my weekend project.

Due to a number of reasons, mostly well outside my direct control, I spent part of this weekend working through the application and task sequence refresh process for our multi-user workstations...which will need to be finished by August 27.

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Knit Your Best Life

Subaru car 'quilted' with material and the brand 'fiberartsfest.com'

On Saturday, we made the short trip to [West] Fargo, ND for the Fiber Arts Festival, something we'd not previously visited before. For a small-sized gathering, at first sight I certainly didn't expect to spend half the day at the venue. But it's a good little fest, and we well might go again in the future. Saw lots of folks spinning fiber into yarns, working with said product, and using some neat little machines to do it all.

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Dynamically Created Anchor HREFs

Multiple Arows Crossing Paths

Back in the day, namely before Javascript and jQuery were really a thing, the idea of dynamically creating an anchor's HREF attribute required some serious magic and behind-the-scenes wizardry. Or something like Flash. Those were not the days...

A Bit of Background

Several years ago, during a client's web app rebuild/refresh, I decided to clean up some of the gnarly baggage behind their reporting mechanism.

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To The Moon!

Astronaut Buzz Aldrin during the Apollo 11 extravehicular activity (EVA) on the moon

We spent the weekend away from home taking in a production of Guys and Dolls at the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis, along with a visit to the Science Museum of Minnesota in St. Paul.

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What's That Join Again?

Visualization of SQL Joins
  • July 15, 2019
  • 2 minutes
  • tech, sql

In the interest of hopefully saving Future Me some time, I'm writing this little bit so as not to have to stumble to remember a simple premise:

How do I LEFT JOIN the same table more than once in a query?

For as many times as I've had to join a table more than once (effectively as a certain type of generic lookup table), you'd think I'd have this memorized. But I always get caught forgetting to proper alias both joins.

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That's A Wrap, and Happy Summer

As I wrote about two weeks ago (while in mid-run), we just had our early summer theatre production. It was, in my opinion, a very successful run...though bittersweet to see it end after two weekends (and six shows). We had a great and consistent audience, which speaks well to the attempt at doing a show over two weekends in June. Our next board meeting will reveal the "final" financial result of our activities.

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Auto-Determine Primary IP Address

IPv4 address representation in dotted-decimal notation

One of the things I've baked into our production task sequence for "multi-user devices" is a secondary way to automatically determine a device's use case while in the WinPE stage. The primary, preferred way to determine use case is by the use of SCCM collection variables, but those require a known object (in the proper collection) to function as designed. Thus, for all rebuilds of known devices, the use case is figured out by collection variable.

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It's A Half-Wrap!

Tortilla Wrap Sandwich

If we've ever met in person, you'll likely know that I'm a theatre (yes, theatre) nerd, and I have been for a long time. I should write about my theatre history at some point in time.

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Batch Ship Data to Google Team Drive

Moving Data

A few weeks ago, I wrote a brief bit about capturing webcam images. This post expands on the initial process: specifically, what to do with the images once procured.

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With Summertime Comes Summer...Projects

Yard work with dog mowing lawn

This was going to be a real post, with some real substance (or at least something).

But then it happened:

Yard Work and Summer Projects

We had a reasonably nice weekend to do some outdoor work. While it's never complete, and always seems to be some sort of re-envisioning, the need to get some stuff done around the house has consumed my time these past few days.

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Capturing Your Internet-Connected Webcam Images

Puppet bird with binoculars

Over the years, we've had a few public Internet-connected cameras pointing at various places around campus. We've used them for publicity and other purposes since the mid-1990's, and starting in around 2010 would sometimes be called upon to create a sort of time-lapse video of activity from one of said cameras.

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Running On Empty

Running on Empty GIF

I have known this for many years, but I reaffirmed my assessment this past week.

I am a creative. I seriously enjoy making things.

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Windows Scheduled Tasks with Powershell

Mechanical Mathematical Calculator

As I struggled to find looked for inspiration for this week's post, I wound up looking within...oddly enough as I was reconfiguring my email out of office response (the below is what I had for my time at MMS):

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MMS: Drinking From the Fire Hose

Drinking from the fire hose

I spent last week at MMSMOA, a conference I cannot recommend enough for anyone working in the Microsoft/Windows/Systems Management space. The main event, held at the Radisson Blu Mall of America, is a solid four-and-a-half days of deep technical material, networking, sharing, and more!

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