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Jordan goes to PowerShell Summit 2021: Day 3

Jordan HammondJordan Hammond

Today was the final day of Summit and it was a little bittersweet. I am going to miss interacting with the attendees and having the opportunity to learn from great presenters. However, I could use a nap. At one point, yesterday,  I was able to sit in a side chat where Dave Carrol (who wrote BluebirdPS) discussed how it works with just a few other attendees. I wasn’t able to stick around for long, but I really appreciated the opportunity to chat with those who have created truly unique and innovative resources. I plan to re-watch his video- on-demand later. 

As I stated yesterday, I planned to focus a little less on the featured track today and dive into some of the lightning demos, to get a peek at the awesome work put out by the PowerShell community.

  1. Closing Keynote: Power of Simple

  2. Give Super Powers Without Giving Away Super Secrets

  3. Power Up your PowerShell Scripting

  4. Lighting Demos

Power of Simple

I really enjoyed the keynote speech by Rob Reynolds. His overall point was to strive for simple, but simple is not always easy. He listed great examples from both life and code, which I thought tied really well into the first keynote speech of the conference, given by Stephen Valdinger. He went in-depth into the subject of making sure your code is easy to use. Each example given required extra code to get the desired result, and every time the code was the more usable for it. I know I am slow to adapt, but I have to figure if - on bookend days of the conference -  the message that putting in the work to simplify your life can make everything better...I should probably make it a priority for me. 

This concept also gave me a great idea on how to make family members a little less concerned about my plans for retirement. Until now, I’ve always said “apathy and convenience”,  which was my way of saying “I just want to be able to enjoy my time without any concerns.” Now, I will say,  “I want simplicity; I am working hard towards the goal, and not drifting until I perish!” See? The PowerShell Summit has helped both my coding and daily serenity.

If it seems strange that I would talk about retirement in a PowerShell recap blog, just know that when I first moved over to content, they asked me to just write about something I am passionate about. It turns out that I was passionate about creating my own retirement calculator because I did not like the math behind the existing applications. Retirement is my passion, even if it is 20 years and 1 month away.

Give Super Powers Without Giving Away Super Secrets

Ashley McGlone dove into JEA (Just Enough Administration) to break down how it can protect your environment. I have covered encrypting credentials a few times during webcasts. However, it did not take him long to showcase just how quickly they can be compromised if someone has the right access. Enter JEA. He has built out scripts that allow the help desk to handle basic tasks while granting them the bare minimum permissions. It’s a fantastic way to let everyone do their job while keeping yourself secure at the same time.

It would be a failure on my part if I did not mention the fantastic skit he put on for us. The title screen was top-notch work, and his theme song was beautiful. With that level of production value, I wasn’t surprised that the script was also great quality. I felt like I WAS Frodo while trying to get Gimli’s account unlocked.

Power Up Your PowerShell Scripting

I am a big fan of Jeff Hicks, so his presentation is one I was really looking forward to. I was not disappointed. He covered many ways you can improve your scripts and functions, which I plan to try and implement. My absolute favorite was modifying type extensions. I have, on several occasions, had to use calculated properties and many times for similar reasons. Being able to expand your data type to select what you really need is something I plan to test.

I enjoyed his coverage of parameters in your function. Autocomplete and dynamic parameters are two functions I need to take another look at. I really enjoy the way Jeff broke down the information that he shared.

Lightning Demos

I was blown away by the level of content available. I saw four videos for lightning demos and thought we had four total. It turns out that each video had around eight demos in it. I will highlight a few, but breaking them down further is something I would love to do in a separate, future blog. 

Converting a PSCustomObject to a Class Definition - Dave Carroll (@thedavecarroll) - Getting data from some sources (like an API) means that you might be getting an object back that is not always in its best format. This module can help you convert data into a class, making your results consistent and actionable. Good input is key to getting desired results.

Working Around UAC with PowerShell - Greg Onstot - If you are a Sysadmin and you have users that need to be able to access something, but UAC is an issue, Greg gave an example about how you can use PowerShell to get around that. Sure beats sneakernet!

Useful Regular Expressions You Don't have to Write - James Brundage (@jamesbru) - Regex is insanely powerful, but not always easy to write or understand. Every time I need it, it is a struggle, but it has always been worth it. I look forward to testing this further to see if I can cut down the time it takes to use it.

Wrapping Up

The final day of the PowerShell Summit was more than I could have hoped for. I did miss the hallway discussions that you are able to have in person, but that was recreated as close as possible virtually through an always-open Zoom with break-out rooms. While I could not wrangle Don Jones into an awkward picture where I look ridiculous, like I managed to back in 2018, I was still able to be as underfoot as I could be while attending remote. 

One of the last sessions I was a part of was a general discussion with many past conference presenters who have modules that I’ve used that have helped me out. I called myself a peer and nobody laughed…..felt damn good. 

My final thought is that the PowerShell community is made up of some of the greatest people around. I wish I had been more willing to be a part of it when I was getting started. It is clear I struggled in areas where I did not need to. If you are getting started in PowerShell, or are stuck on an issue, you have a community that is willing and able to help you. I recommend you reach out.

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