A Week in PowerShell Geek Haven with the Scripting Guys


Summary: 2011 Windows PowerShell Scripting Games Advanced winner, Bartek Bielawski, reports on his week at TechEd in Atlanta.

Microsoft Scripting Guy, Ed Wilson, here. Once again TechEd provided passes to two winners of the Scripting Games. The passes go to one winner in each category, Beginner and Advanced. If the first place winner cannot attend TechEd, then the pass is offered to the second place winner and down the line until one of the participants is available to attend TechEd. This year we were happy to host Bartek Bielawski as the winner in the Advanced category.

Here is Bartek’s trip report…

When you are doing something for the first time in your life, it’s either scary or exciting. During my trip to TechEd, all pieces went into the “exciting” basket, some maybe to both. And there were quite a few things I did for the first time during this trip. It was my first TechEd ever, and I had the chance to meet many interesting people for the first time. I had never been to the U.S. before, so it was also for the first time.

My trip wouldn’t be so wonderful without a few people to assist. I would like to first give a credit to Scripting Guy, Ed Wilson and his wife, the Scripting Wife, Teresa. Also thanks to Aleksandar Nikolic, Windows PowerShell MVP who I shared a room with. It’s not that TechEd by itself is not wonderful enough, it’s rather that help from people made it even better and an unforgettable experience for me.

Above all, thanks to my wife, Emilia, who supported my trip from the start and with all trip costs (with short notice, it was not cheap at all to get to Atlanta from Warsaw). She was the one to suggest that if I couldn’t get money from my company, we will pay for it from our savings. Thank you, sweetheart!

So how was my TechEd? At first, I planned to go to many, many sessions. It would probably be a good idea, but with so much interesting stuff overlapping (Don Jones, Jeffrey Snover, and Mark Russinovich all in the same time?), I had to make some really hard decisions before I even got there. But then (Tuesday morning) I realized, that I can watch all breakout sessions online later, and I just narrowed my interest to interactive discussions and birds-of-a-feather sessions that were usually not recorded. I added a few breakout sessions that I just could not miss (Jeffrey’s Snover sessions and Case of Unexplained with Mark Russinovich), and I was done.

But that was only my base…only the horizon above which all cool stuff was moving around.

I would like to throw only a few of the stars that were sparkling on my TechEd sky:

The Scripting Couple picked up me from the airport and helped me with getting to my hotel. And before I even got there, I was seen with the famous Dr Scripto. Witnesses claim there were some pictures involved too, but I had no chance to see them yet. We got lost in Atlanta (all those Peach Trees were a kind of labyrinth) and it was cool to listen to Scripting Couple conversations. Really, it almost felt like I was reading one of the Scripting Wife articles, only live. Awesome. When we arrived, we had small talk with Aleksandar Nikolic. And it continued when the Scripting Couple left. Each night we got to bed long past midnight, and it was awesome talks.

The Scripting Guys Booth was a kind of “PowerShell geeks haven.” Regardless of the time of the day, there were usually a few great people around. I had a chance to meet Mark Schill there (he was helping the Scripting Couple, so I was kind of expecting that). But also other great people (in no particular order) like Steven Murawski, Chad Miller, Jeremy Engel, David Corrales, Don Jones, Jeffery Hicks, Daniel Cruz, Glenn Sizemore, and many, many others. It was also fun to explain the goodness of PowerShell to other people who were looking for some advice and guidance on “how to start” there.

Kirk’s Munro session about Windows PowerShell v3 was the best one for me. It was purely 400 and when it’s PowerShell, I really want only 400+ sessions. It was deep, quick (if you ever heard the way Kirk is talking, you probably know what I mean), and I just loved it. My guess is that it had a “PowerShell Deep Dive” feel to it, so I really appreciate it that I could be there. I wish it was recorded, so that I could come back to it and play in slow motion.

Breakfast with Jeffrey Snover was also awesome for me. When it was over, Aleksandar asked Jeffrey about having info about each command you type recorded in the event log. The only laptop to play with within range was mine, so Jeffrey just picked it up, launched Windows PowerShell, and showed us how we can achieve it for any PSSnapin. See the code here:

(Get-PSSnapin Microsoft.PowerShell.Management).LogPipelineExecutionDetails

ls -Recurse -Force c:\temp | Export-Csv test.csv

(Get-EventLog -LogName ‘Windows PowerShell’ -Newest 1).Message

(Get-PSSnapin Microsoft.PowerShell.Management).LogPipelineExecutionDetails = $true

ls -Recurse -Force c:\temp | Export-Csv test.csv

(Get-EventLog -LogName ‘Windows PowerShell’ -Newest 1).Message

During the process, he tried to do the same for a module, and was surprised that it was not there. I do not think that kind of interaction is possible outside events like TechEd. And once Jeffrey left, I continued geeking out with Glenn and Aleksandar. (I wonder if Glenn managed to find a way to work around issues with setting Execution Policy via GPO).

And last but not least, PowerShell Dinner that I was invited to mainly thanks to Aleksandar’s help. He contacted Dmitry Sotnikov before TechEd started. And PowerShell Dinner was a real blast. I mean no matter which direction you turned, there was a PowerShell Super Star…Windows PowerShell team members, MVPs, other PowerShell experts, book authors, and podcasters. It was just great. I spoke with Jeffrey Snover, Mir Rosenberg, Jason Shirk, Kirk Munro, Dmitry Sotnikov, Thomas Lee, Matt Hester, Hal Rottenberg, Jonathan Walz, Aaron Nelson, boy…

I proposed Jeffrey to take a chance and have a picture with two Scripting Games winners (Glenn and me). Someone made a good comment that Ed is the best person to be in that picture too. And here it is—one of the best pictures I got from this year’s TechEd:

Photo from TechEd

And as I mentioned, these are only a few of the bright points, the brightest ones. There were many other moments. It was just great. Thank you, Scripting Guys! Thank you, TechEd organizers for giving away such a great prize! And thanks to all the people who helped me to get there!

I invite you to follow me on Twitter and Facebook. If you have any questions, send email to me at scripter@microsoft.com, or post your questions on the Official Scripting Guys Forum. See you tomorrow. Until then, peace.

Ed Wilson, Microsoft Scripting Guy