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Powershell

Get name of the PowerShell script file inside the script

When you create a script you sometimes want to create some output for a log file for example. In many cases it makes sense to use the script file name for the log file so you can easily see from which .ps1 the .log file was generated for example. To get the name of the PowerShell ps1. file you can use the following command:

This will return the ps1. file object. To get only the name string you could use:

To create a log file with the script file name you could use the following commands:



Microsoft Band

My Microsoft Band and Microsoft Health User Review

Back in November I finally got my Microsoft Band after spending a lot of time try to find one in different stores in the US. Since then I have used my Microsoft Band every day and I was waiting for the first big update and the release of the Microsoft Health Dashboard to write my first review on the Microsoft Band since the web dashboard was one of the most critical and most important feature for the Microsoft Health platform. Yesterday Microsoft finally released the first major update to the Microsoft Band and Microsoft Health with a lot of improvements such as the new Health Dashboard and a Developer SDK Preview.

I was reading a lot of reviews from different only magazines which were trying to review the device, but in my opinion have never really used it or are just wearing some Apple glasses. Let me try to review some of the features of the Microsoft Band and how I use them a little bit differently from the professional reviewers. Of course since I am focusing a lot on the Microsoft platform I am not really neutral, as Swiss people normally are, but I try to give you a good review on the product.

What is the Microsoft Band and Microsoft Health

Microsoft Health Cloud

When I was reading some of the reviews done by professionals, I really saw that they didn’t really get the point of the device. Microsoft is advertising the Microsoft Band a fitness band and not as a smartwatch, even the Microsoft Band got a lot of smartwatch features, which by the way are really good, it is a fitness tracker which helps you to collected more and more health data about yourself. The devices was made my some “fitness geeks” inside the Xbox division and what they in my opinion did, was creating a device for themselves. And this is why the Microsoft Band actually an absolutely great device, because it is made from people with passion and not from a marketing research team. As mentioned this is a fitness tracker but of course with some really great smartphone features.

The Microsoft Health platform on the other site is where all your health information collected come together. The platform is not only made for the Microsoft Band but for other vendors as well which can integrate into the Microsoft Health platform. Since I am using the Microsoft Band I started wondering why I didn’t use a device or service like this earlier. We collect so much data about our environments but we do not really measure our health data and try to understand it. With Microsoft Health and the sync to the Microsoft HealthVault you can now get all your health data in one place. I also bought a Fitbit Aria smart scale which sends information about my daily weight to the Microsoft HealthVault. With the Microsoft Band and the Microsoft Health platform as well as the HealthVault I can now collect all my Health information and analyze them in one place.

Fitness Tracker and Workouts

Microsoft Health Dashboard Calories Observations

The most important feature of the Microsoft Band is to measure your fitness and health. The Microsoft Band comes with a lot of sensors and functionality to measure your health, and it shows you have active you were. With the Microsoft Band you can keep track of different kinds of workouts such as running, cycling or just general workouts. I use it a lot when I play badminton to keep track of my heart rate and calories burned. All the data gets synced to the Microsoft Health platform so you can review it on your Microsoft Health apps on Windows Phone, Apple iOS, Android or on the new Microsoft Health Dashboard.

  • 24-hour heart rate monitor: Gives you a better understanding of your calorie burn, sleep patterns, and peak and resting heart rate so you can perform at your best.
  • Run: Whether you’re on the treadmill at the gym or outdoors in the rain or sun, you can view your run summary on your band with personalized metrics in the phone app including pace splits and heart rate.
  • Cycling: With the latest update Microsoft supports now a specific mode for cycling, which not only keeps track of your heart rate and calories but also on speed and your route using GPS.
  • Steps: Set a goal and track your progress. Microsoft Band calculates the calories you’ve burned and the distance you’ve traveled each day.
  • Built-in GPS: Measures the distance you’ve run and tracks your pace and route. Save your favorites to retrace your steps and challenge yourself later.
  • Calorie tracking: Count the calories you burn each day. View daily or weekly stats, set goals, and receive a virtual “high-five” when you reach them.
  • Guided Workouts: Fun and challenging workouts from fitness partners like Gold’s Gym, Shape, and Men’s Fitness with exercise prompts on the band and much more in the app.
  • Goal setting: Challenge yourself by setting daily step and calorie goals. Microsoft Band notifies you when you meet them so that you can stay motivated.
  • UV monitor: Get a quick read of the UV Index while you’re out and about.

Sleep Tracker

Microsoft Health Dashboard Sleep Summary

I think one of the coolest and most interesting features is the sleep tracker. When you are going so sleep you just start the “sleep mode” and the Microsoft Band will check how long it took you to fall asleep, who long you slept, how many times and when you did wake up, how your heart rate was during that time, if you were in restful or just light sleep. So you can really find out how good or bad you sleep and probably can try different things to change your sleep behavior.

Smartwatch features

Microsoft Band Smartwatch

As I wrote before, Microsoft is advertising the Microsoft Band as a fitness band and not really as a Smartwatch, but it really is a Smartwatch and I think was one of the smartest moves in the whole campaign. When I hear the word smartwatch I always think about gadgets which will replace our old school watches and I don’t think this will happen in the short term. Probably this is because I am Swiss but I think watches are not just some gadgets to show you some time, they are more kind of personal jewelry. Don’t get me wrong I am not just talking about expensive watches, even cheap watches can be jewelry and help express yourself. I am not saying that we won’t use smartwatches, because for some scenarios they really make your life easier, but I think they will be more of an addition to our watches we already have, instead of replacing them. For example on my right arm I wear a normal Swiss watch and on the left arm I wear the Microsoft Band where I had my Nike Fuelband before. So form a marketing perspective I like the word and the concept of additional “bands” a lot more, than thinking about smartwatches replacing our existing watches. But this is just my personal opinion.

The Microsoft Band comes with a lot of smartwatch features:

  • Text Messaging: Get your text messages right on your wrist.
  • Calls: See incoming call and voicemail notifications on your band.
  • Calendar: Microsoft Band stays in sync with the calendar on your phone, reminding you of important events throughout the day so you can be where you need to be.
  • Email: Monitor and preview email activity right on your band, so you don’t have to pull out your phone in the middle of your lunch date.
  • Smart notifications: Choose which alerts you get on your wrist. Change the notification settings on your phone and your Microsoft Band will match.
  • Watch mode: Turn on “Watch Mode” to always display today’s time and date without pressing any buttons.
  • Facebook & Facebook Messenger: Stay up to date on Facebook without having to check your phone. Get the latest posts, comments, photo notifications, and personal messages on your band.
  • Twitter: Tweets, mentions, retweets, messages, new followers. Set your preferences on your phone and see it all on your wrist.
  • Cortana: If you’re using Windows Phone 8.1, you can take notes and set reminders with your voice using Cortana personal assistant.
  • Weather: Get real-time weather conditions and a 5-day forecast to plan your week.
  • Finance: Create a watch list for select stocks in your Microsoft Health app. View the latest ticker activity right on your wrist.
  • Starbucks: No need to reach for your wallet. Enjoy coffee on the go with your Starbucks card ready to scan at arm’s length.
  • Timer & Stopwatch: Time your laps or your entire workout with the stopwatch. Set alarms to wake up silently or remind you to go for a run.
  • Do-not-disturb mode: Tap the icon on your band to turn all notifications off.

The features are great and they are not just here, they are well optimized for a device on your arm wrist. In my daily life I only use some of the features which are integrated. For example I really like the notifications you get from calls, messengers and text messages. For example if I receive a call during a meeting with a client, I can quickly check my wrist and see if the call is important or not and I can quickly answer it with a text message for example “I will call you back”, or just press it away, without having to take the smartphone out of my pocket. Another feature I like is the Cortana integration. Cortana on your Windows Phone knows when your next meeting or flight is and helps you keep track of that by reminding you to leave to catch the flight or meeting. Another use case I use the Microsoft Band a lot is when I login to somewhere using Two-factor authentication, where I get a security code send as text message, which I can now see on my wrist without using my smartphone.

Overall I like the smartwatch features which are integrated but they are not my primary use case for the Microsoft Band or any smartwatch, since there are a lot of things a lot easier to do when you are using your smartphone.

Design and Hardware

Microsoft Band

Let’s talk hardware and design. Well Microsoft did a great job fitting all these sensors inside the Microsoft Band, but of course adding so many sensors make the thing look bulky and the flat screen should be probably replaced with a curved screen. But basically that is all the criticism I have for the hardware design. The weight is absolutely okay and if you have used other fitness tracker before it makes not a difference. Microsoft promises around two days of battery life, for me it is most of the time even more. This is okay but of course I have used the first version of the Nike Fuelband which I had to charge every 4 weeks in average, and I thought charging my band every two days would be hard, but it wasn’t. Since the Microsoft Band only takes a couple of minutes to charge the first 80% this is enough, so I charge it during the time I take a shower.

Software

Microsoft Band Windows Phone App

With software comes all the beauty to the platform. Microsoft offers the Microsoft Health App to sync your Microsoft Band with your phone and with the Microsoft Health Cloud for Windows Phone, Android and iOS. In my opinion the app is great and helps you quickly find things. Of course the app wasn’t the best place to make long term analytics, but for this you have the new released Microsoft Health Dashboard in the web.

Microsoft Health Dashboard

Microsoft Health Dashboard Steps Summary

We had to wait for that, but Microsoft finally released the Microsoft Health Dashboard yesterday. The Microsoft Health Dashboard app is a web console if you will, where you get all the information coming from the Microsoft Band. You have different kind of views to view a specific day, week or month and compare your data. You can get a simple view of the steps and workouts you made or even an overview about your sleep behavior.

Microsoft HealthVault

As mentioned the Microsoft HealthVault is where all your health information comes together. Microsoft HealthVault is a trusted place for people to gather, store, use, and share health information online. Since the latest update you can now setup Microsoft Health to sync data directly to the HealthVault. For me the HealthVault becomes more and more interesting especially if I try to get more data in there such was weight information. For this I bought a Fitbit Aria Smartscale which uploads data to the HealthVault.

Availability

The Microsoft did lunch the Microsoft Band back in November 2014 without a big announcement. Microsoft just released it and made it available in the Microsoft stores months before the Apple Watch will be available. Unfortunately there are two problems, first of all the Microsoft Band is only available in the US and even there it is still hard to get since it is most of the time out of stock. You have to get on some waiting lists and wait to finally get it. One the software site Microsoft released the Microsoft Health app for basically all the mayor smartphone platforms such as Windows Phone, iOS and Android.

Feature Requests

I am pretty happy with the Microsoft Band and Microsoft Health, but of course I have some ideas and wishes for future releases.

  • Platforms – Microsoft has now several Health Platforms and apps, such as Microsoft Health, MSN Health, HealthVault and Xbox fitness, to just count a few. It would be great if they would move MSN Health and Xbox Fitness to the Microsoft Health platform.
  • Xbox integration – As mentioned, on your Xbox One you get Xbox Fitness, which is btw great especially if you are using Kinect. Microsoft should make Microsoft Health available over all platforms and integrate the in a single data store.
  • Friends – It would be great if you could add friends using the Microsoft Health to compete with them in workouts or other goals.
  • Badges and Competitions – Would be great if Microsoft would build something like an award system for the Health platform, so you get awarded for workouts and more.
  • Hardware – Even I like my first version Microsoft Band, it would be cool to have a v2 which has kind of a more improved design.
  • More Hardware – It would also be great if Microsoft also offers other products, such as smartscale and other health related gadgets.

Conclusion

Microsoft did a great job with the Microsoft Band and Microsoft Health. They not just created a cool gadget, they really created a product which helps people tracking their health and get more productive. I have used other trackers before like the first version of the Nike Fuelband and I also bought some Fitbit stuff for my parents, since Fitbit is available in German language. I have to say that I totally get the best experience in features and usability with the Microsoft Band, it is easy to use and configure and it shows you the information you need in optimized way.

 



Microsoft KiPi

Microsoft Learning: Know it. Prove it. Challenge for Hybrid Cloud

Some weeks ago I passed Microsoft Exam 70-533 Implementing Microsoft Azure Infrastructure Solutions which means I am now Microsoft Certified on Microsoft Azure technology. Microsoft has just lunched a new certification challenge called Know it. Prove it. which leverages free resources at the Microsoft Virtual Academy and take  Microsoft exams afterwards.

A few things about the challenge:

  • There are 8 different learning tracks, ranging from Cloud Development over Web Development to Hybrid Cloud or Office 365.
  • Each track consists of a learning module which is accessible from anywhere so learners can watch video tutorials and do assessments whenever is easy!
  • During KiPi, learners can track their progress, earn badges and points, compete against other challenges, and share experiences with others who are participating.
  • Although the challenge officially kicked off on February 1st, it’s not too late to get started.
  • The “Know It” portion of the challenge runs all of February and the “Prove It” part (i.e. get certified) will start March 1st and end on March 31st

For all Virtualization and Cloud Architects and Engineers this makes really sense to prepare what is coming next for Microsoft Cloud or Windows Server as well as System Center and Hyper-V. So checkout the the Know it. Prove it. challenge on the Microsoft Virtual Academy.

 



System Center Universe Europe

Registration for System Center Universe 2015 Europe is now open

A couple of weeks ago Marcel Zehner, System Center Cloud and Datacenter Management MVP and Organizer and founder of System Center Universe Europe announced date and time for System Center Universe 2015 Europe. SCU 2015 Europe will again be in Basel Switzerland in the same location as SCU 2014 Europe was last year. Today you can finally start to register for the event. There is an early bird pass available and the first 100 registrations can win an invitation to the private “Sponsors & Speakers Party”.

Some more information about the event:

  • When: August 24-26 2015
  • Where: Congress Center Basel, Switzerland
  • Session Language: English
  • First 100 registrations can win an invitation to the private “Sponsors & Speakers Party”
  • Early bird tickets are available until May 31 2015 (CHF 649+10)
  • Regular tickets are available until the conference starts (CHF 729+10)
  • Checkout my review from System Center Universe Europe 2014
  • Already an impressive list of speakers from Microsoft and Microsoft MVPs

 

System Center Universe 2015 Europe

Register today!

 



Microsoft Exam 70-533 Implementing Microsoft Azure Infrastructure Solutions

Passed Microsoft Exam 70-533 Implementing Microsoft Azure Infrastructure Solutions

A couple of weeks ago I passed Microsoft Exam 70-533 Implementing Microsoft Azure Infrastructure Solutions, which is focused on implementing and designing Microsoft Azure Infrastructure solutions such as Azure Websites or Azure Virtual Machines (IaaS). I think taking this exam and preparing for it was a great idea. Even if I have already done a couple of projects on Azure I still learned a lot during the preparation and you can find some of the best practices. Since Azure is a huge beast and the rapid deployment of new features, you will definitely find some new stuff you didn’t know before during the preparation for the exam. And of course taking new Microsoft Certifications early helps you to stand out in the IT Pro or Developer world. Of course passing exams alone does not make you an expert, but if you have know-how on a topic it’s is always got to have some kind of paper to prove it.

So what are the skills measured for this exam. The exam 70-533 focuses on 6 topics, Azure Websites, Virtual Machines, Cloud Services, Storage, Azure Active Directory and Virtual Networks. To my surprise I got a really good score on Azure Websites and of course Virtual Machines, since I used to run several of them on Azure. I also found out that Azure Active Directory is one of the parts I have to invest a little more.

Skills measured

Implement websites (15-20%)

  • Deploy websites
    • Define deployment slots; roll back deployments, configure and deploy packages, deploy web jobs, schedule web jobs
  • Configure websites
    • Configure app settings, connection strings, handlers, and virtual directories; configure certificates, custom domains, and traffic manager; configure SSL bindings and runtime configurations; manage websites by using Windows PowerShell and Xplat-CLI
  • Configure diagnostics, monitoring, and analytics
    • Retrieve diagnostics data; view streaming logs; configure endpoint monitoring, alerts, and diagnostics; monitor website resources
  • Configure scale and resilience
    • Configure auto-scale using built-in and custom schedules; configure by metric; change the size of an instance
  • Manage hosting plans
    • Create hosting plans; migrate websites between hosting plans; create a website within a hosting plan

Implement virtual machines (15-20%)

  • Deploy workloads on Azure virtual machines (VMs)
    • Identify supported Microsoft workloads; deploy and connect to a Linux VM; create VMs
  • Implement images and disks
    • Create specialized and generalized images for Windows and Linux; copy images between storage accounts and subscriptions; upload VHDs
  • Perform configuration management
    • Automate configuration management by using PowerShell Desired State Configuration and custom script extensions; enable puppet and chef extensions
  • Configure VM networking
    • Settings include reserved IP addresses, access control list (ACL), internal name resolution, DNS at the cloud service level, load balancing endpoints, HTTP and TCP health probes, public IPs, firewall rules, direct server return, and Keep Alive
  • Configure VM resiliency
    • Scale up and scale down VM sizes; auto-scale; configure availability sets
  • Design and implement VM storage
    • Configure disk caching; plan storage capacity; configure operating system disk redundancy; configure shared storage using Azure File service; configure geo-replication; encrypt disks
  • Monitor VMs
    • Configure endpoint monitoring, alerts, and diagnostics

Implement cloud services (15-20%)

  • Configure cloud services and roles
    • Configure instance count and size, operating system version and family, upgrade and fault domains, ACLs, reserved IPs, and network access rules; configure local storage; configure dedicated and co-located caching, local and cloud configurations, and local disks; configure multiple websites; configure custom domains
  • Deploy and manage cloud services
    • Upgrade a deployment; VIP swap a deployment; package a deployment; modify configuration files; perform in-place updates; perform runtime configuration changes using the portal; scale a cloud service; create service bus namespaces and choose a tier; apply scalability targets
  • Monitor cloud services
    • Monitor service bus queues, topics, relays, and notification hubs; configure diagnostics

Implement storage (15-20%)

  • Implement blobs and Azure files
    • Read data; change data; set metadata on a container; use encryption (SSL); perform an async blob copy; configure a Content Delivery Network (CDN); implement storage for backup and disaster recovery; configure Azure Backup; define blob hierarchies; configure custom domains; configure the Import and Export Service
  • Manage access
    • Create and manage shared access signatures; use stored access policies; regenerate keys
  • Configure diagnostics, monitoring, and analytics
    • Configure retention policies and logging levels; analyze logs
  • Implement SQL databases
    • Choose the appropriate database tier and performance level; configure point in time recovery and geo-replication; import and export data and schema; design a scaling strategy
  • Implement recovery services
    • Create a backup vault; deploy a backup agent; back up and restore data

Implement an Azure Active Directory (15-20%)

  • Integrate an Azure AD with existing directories
    • Implement DirSync, O365 integration, and single sign-on with on-premises Windows Server 2012 R2; add custom domains; monitor Azure AD
  • Configure the Application Access Panel
    • Configure single sign-on with SaaS applications using federation and password based; add users and groups to applications; revoke access to SaaS applications; configure access; federation with Facebook and Google ID
  • Integrate an app with Azure AD
    • Web apps (WS-federation); desktop apps (OAuth); graph API

Implement virtual networks (15-20%)

  • Configure a virtual network
    • Deploy a VM into a virtual network; deploy a cloud service into a virtual network; configure static IPs; configure internal load balancing; design subnets
  • Modify a network configuration
    • Modify a subnet; import and export a network configuration
  • Design and implement a multi-site or hybrid network
    • Choose the appropriate solution between ExpressRoute, site-to-site, and point-to-site; choose the appropriate gateway; identify supported devices and software VPN solutions; identify networking prerequisites; configure regional virtual networks and multi-site virtual networks

Preparation

To prepare for the exam I used several different resources such as Microsoft Virtual Academy, TechNet, Channel9 and of course Microsoft Azure it self. I also found some great community blogs which have some link summaries:

If you are going to take this exam I wish you good luck.



Update Rollup 5 for System Center 2012 R2

Summary: Update Rollup 5 for System Center 2012 R2 and Azure Pack now available

Yesterday Microsoft released a new Update Rollup for System Center 2012 R2 and Azure Pack called Update Rollup 5. Update Rollup 5 has a lot of fixes and new features especially for Windows Azure Pack and System Center Virtual Machine Manager and Data Protection Manager.

Components that are fixed in this update rollup

  • Data Protection Manager (KB3021791)
    • Protect SharePoint with SQL Always on Configuration
    • Protect SharePoint Server, Exchange Server, and Windows Client workloads to Microsoft Azure by using Data Protection Manager
    • Support for multiple retention ranges for long-term backup on Microsoft Azure
    • Ability to transfer initial backup copy offline to Azure
    • Support for protecting Microsoft workloads that are hosted in VMware
    • Display missed SLA alerts on the Data Protection Manager console
    • Enhanced reporting with Data Protection Manager central console
  • Operations Manager (KB3023138)
  • Service Manager (KB3009517)
  • Virtual Machine Manager (KB3023195)
    • Differencing disk as an option in the Windows Azure Pack VMRole deployment
    • New operating system support
    • New ExplicitRevokeRequired parameter to control IP address management when Grant-SCIPAddress is used
    • Support for SQL Server 2014
    • Azure Site Recovery
  • Windows Azure Pack (KB3023209)
    • Adds support for SQL Governor in the SQL Server Resource Provider.
    • Adds administrator support for disabling native Network RP to allow for third-party network provider
    • Provides detail on Virtual Machine Memory type, Memory Startup and Maximum values in the Tenant Portal.
    • Fix to the Get-MgmtSvcRelyingPartySettings PowerShell cmdlet.
    • Fix to the issue of failing to establish Remote Desktop Connection to virtual machines put behind a Network Address Translation (NAT) device.
    • Fix to the Attached Network dialog box where the network entries in the list were disabled.

As you can see you get several new feature with Update Rollup 5. In Data Protection Manager you finally get support for SharePoint, Exchange and Windows Client workload protection to Microsoft Azure, and support for workloads running on VMware infrastructure. Virtual Machines Manager not only brings new features such as support for the Virtual Machine Manager Database to run on SQL Server 2014 it also includes a lot of fixes and a security update (3035898
MS15-017: Vulnerability in Virtual Machine Manager could allow elevation of privilege: February 10, 2015). Some of the most interesting fixes for me are:

  • DHCP extension: Currently, users have to manually update the DHCP extension after update rollup installation on all hosts. This is now automated. After the DHCP extension is replaced in the Virtual Machine Manager server’s installation folder to the latest version, Virtual Machine Manager automatically checks the DHCP extension against all hosts. If the host has an older version of DHCP extensions, the agent version status will be displayed as “DHCP extension needs to be updated in host properties on the Status page.” The user calls the update agent and updates the DHCP extension on the Hyper-V host in the same way that the user did this for the Virtual Machine Manager agent. Also, if the VSwitch is a logical switch, the status will be shown in “logical switch compliance.” The user can remediate the logical switch. This will also update the DHCP extension on the host.
  • Bare-Metal Deployment: If a physical computer profile is created by using vNic (and by using a virtual machine network) and if there are more than one hostgroup for a logical network that also has that virtual machine network when you add a host resource on the “Provisioning Options” page, the host profile will be displayed for only one host group. The profile won’t be displayed for the rest of the host groups.

For Windows Azure Pack also includes some important fixes and improvements on of the is in the Tenant Portal, users can now see details on Virtual Machine Memory type, Memory Startup and Maximum values.

Update Rollup 5 for System Center 2012 R2 brings a lot of new features and important fixes to the table, however before deploying the fixes in your production environment, I recommend to test the Update Rollup and maybe wait for some reports about issues from other users.