Technology Solutions for Everyday Folks

Tagged with 'inspiration'

Setting Up Key Authentication

Hands playing with a set of keys on a ring.

While I was preparing to write an upcoming post about moving directly to certbot from SSLForFree now that they've merged with ZeroSSL, I realized that I'd not actually ever written a post about one of the components I use all the time, including for my new certbot process: public key authentication.

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Pushing Data Into Google Sheets Sheets (Yes, Multiples)

Screenshot of basic sheet including multiple tabs/sheets (Excel)

If you recall from the last tech post about pushing data directly into Google Sheets, I promised a follow-up regarding the process of adding multiple sheets worth of data to a given parent sheet.

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Interesting Pandemic Electric Usage Pattern

Stock bar graph with trend arrow ending downward

This is a relatively short post, but as I entered our May electric usage into my tracking spreadsheet (see the Energy Use Analysis post from a while back), I noticed something peculiar about this last few months since the pandemic really hit (and we started staying at home all the time).

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Programmatically Push Data to Google Sheets

Screenshot of a very basic CSV file of gibberish test data

I've written in the past about the ability to ship files to Google Drive via its REST API and PHP, which is a super-cool process in and of itself. In the last few months, I've been moving more and more of our internal data shipping processes to Google Shared Drives for ease of end user access. As folks started working remotely, moving data to Google has solved several support burdens regarding access and such.

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Shaking The GnuCash Account Tree

Man shaking tree of money

Over the years I've developed a habit where a short part (~30 minutes on average) of most weekends are dedicated to entering the week's receipts, reconciling (or balancing) accounts, updating investment fund values, and so forth. Once familiar with GnuCash, this process is pretty straightforward and easy to do. Then, roughly quarterly, I go through and double-check any accounts that have fallen behind this cycle for various reasons (sometimes an account wasn't used during that time, other times I just forgot to reconcile it, and so forth).

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Simple, Yet Powerful Excel/Sheets Functions

Cartoon about functional programming

As a reflection exercise for a project I wrapped up a bit ago, combined as an exercise to make Future Me's life a Better Place, I pulled together a simple Google Sheets workbook to make a quick 'calculator' and balancing mechanism to help keep track of a couple datasets. And in so doing, I again befriended a couple of super simple, and super powerful functions:

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GnuCash For The Win

Parks and Rec "They call me the Swiss Army accountant" gif

As I wrote about a couple months back, GnuCash is my accounting software of choice since ~2010. I wasn't exactly "sold" on it from the start, but it was a free and open-source solution that seemed robust enough to handle pretty much anything I could throw at it, from managing business finances and whatnot to a whole mess of personal accounts. Did I mention: free and open-source?

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Count of AD Groups Ranked by Members

A cartoon/drawn group of random people

A week ago, someone on one of our more generalized Slack channels asked if anyone knew how to make AD Users and Computers (ADUC) filter mechanism rank output based on a group membership count. Now, I don't necessarily understand (or honestly, care) about the particular use case, but I knew the answer was going to be 'no, that can't be done by way of the GUI.' Which was the first part of my answer.

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TRIM-ming up for Summer

Trimming hedge with a lawnmower attached to a tractor loader bucket

Not really TRIM-ming for summer, but taking the opportunity to briefly write about Rule #1 when dealing with unknown (or incoming) data.

Sanitize. Thy. Inputs.

Without going into great detail (as it doesn't matter at the end of the day), last week I encountered a vendor that apparently doesn't know how to do this very well. Or at all. What ultimately transpired is the complete failure of a reasonably-routine change process to capture a critical failure in production.

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The Financial Automation Account

Mechanical slide coin sorting machine

A couple weeks ago, I made brief mention of my financial automation account and how I've come to consider it my "free money" account. I wanted to dig into that topic just a bit more, since it's become a key component of my own regular financial well-being.

Why an Automation Account?

Simple: it's thoughtless, once set up.

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Interesting Log Entries (or, Why To Patch Thy Systems)

Random text scrolling from within a terminal window

So far in 2020, I've been keeping a closer eye on the logs of this Drupal site. Back in the day, I used to pore over logs in a sort of 'bender' fashion, presumably as I was bored or something similar. Rarely was something particularly interesting, but it was a good way to figure out and correct some random things. Still is...but it's 2020 and nobody manually looks at logs anymore.

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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 19XX deployments.

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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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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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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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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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What's In Your Lunch Bag?

Winnie the Pooh prepares to eat

Many of those I work and associate closely with know that I'm pretty often a routine machine. I'll be writing more about the various things I've turned into simple routines, automatic processes, and so forth.

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Performance Can Matter

Performance Measure

I've had this written down as a topic suggestion for some time, and to balance/counter my post a couple weeks ago regarding performance, there's absolutely another side to that coin.

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Does the Performance Matter?

Does it matter?

Back around 2015 or so, I wrote a simple Powershell script which basically re-populates Active Directory (AD) group membership based on data procured from our central systems. Two primary AD groups in particular are synchronized to our print management system, PaperCut, which pre-provisions accounts and access so folks handling monetary transactions don't have to create accounts, etc.

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It's Presentation Season!

Wizardry

As I mentioned a month ago, I've taken the opportunity to commit to more speaking/presentation engagements than ever before, in an attempt to better inspire folks and do more technical evangelism. It just happens to be that I have three things lined up in as many months!

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