There are funnels, oh yes.

Every time I hear something about limiting screen time I cannot help but think about how poorly the concept has been thought out. If we talked about “food time” instead maybe that would help us think that while time matters (eating for hours each day is probably a bad idea), how long you eat probably…

via Screen Time — Bionic Teaching

Content, and context is everything when it comes to consumption. Not all consumption is bad. But know what it is you’re stuffing into you at all times. Mindfulness will out no what the activity may be.


Adding Windows 10 Version, BIOS Mode and Secure Boot State to BGInfo

Mike Terrill’s got some very useful tweaks to the SysInternals BGInfo desktop app. Will be adapting this for work real soon now.

Mike's Tech Blog

Recently, my team has been doing a lot of testing for our next big Windows 10 In-place Upgrade. We are designing and developing a new process that I call Windows as a Service in the Enterprise (and we plan on sharing this at MMSMOA in May). As part of our testing, we need to test both physical systems and virtual, both legacy BIOS and UEFI. Since the days seem to run together, often times I find myself wondering not only what system I am looking at, but what OS it is currently running and how it is configured. Sure this is easy to find from System Information, but typing msinfo32 gets old. Having used BGInfo in the past, I thought this would be a perfect solution to just display this information on the desktop.

I took the time one weekend to figure out how I could use BGInfo to display…

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ConfigMgr Lab – Adding Ninite Apps — from: GARYTOWN ConfigMgr Blog

So you have a Personal ConfigMgr lab, but you want to add some app deployments to better simulate your actual environment. So you add Chrome, Reader, and a couple others (NOT JAVA). Next Month, they are out of date. You probably don’t have time to keep your personal lab app deployments updated, so you keep…

via ConfigMgr Lab – Adding Ninite Apps — GARYTOWN ConfigMgr Blog

Looking into doing this for the MDT Production Share I have at home. I’ve got Ninite installers I use manually to build and rebuild Win7 and Win10 PCs. But having this built-in as a task sequence on MDT would be fantastic. It would help immeasurably in automating the build process and get the final deployment much closer to being ready to deploy.

Whither NMC? So long, it’s been good to know yuh. 1993-2017

It was kind of like two blog posts unexpectedly colliding or passing in the night past a burning barge. On Sunday, Bryan Alexander asked some large questions about How would you design a professional association for the future?. I also wrote about the impending death of Storify and in their dying process leaving no plan…

via Fixing or Fading An Organization’s Web Legacy — CogDogBlog

I think I vaguely knew that Alan Levine had worked for NMC in an official capacity. In fact I probably attended more than one of his presentations over the years (I’m guessing). The University where I work had been interested in joining NMC back when membership was still small and very closed (you had to apply and meet all the minimum requiremements to be a member institution). We tried a couple times and failed, but got it on the 3rd attempt. I think it was right around 2000 or so. That’s why I say I might have attended an event during Alan’s time working for NMC. Of the Summer Conferences, I’m trying to recall one was in Charlottesville, VA (at UVa), another was in Blacksburg (at Va.Tech). I attended one at Princeton which was cool, that was their 15th anniversary year (2008). I remember it most because I drove all the way from Western NY and needed to buy a GPS to get me through the twists, turns, roundabouts and jug-handles of old New Jersey, the Garden State. That was also the Summer my wife’s old 25″ TV bit the dust forcing me to buy my first flat panel TV (which I still am using).

So many changes not just in technology, but in the people, the groups, the staffing. I note some were just as unexpected as NMC’s announcement. I saw Gardner Campbell’s group at VCU get re-distrbuted. Not long before that the group I worked for at my University also got torn apart and redistributed. That’s one theme I see running throughout the old Ed Tech groups that took years to build up, with space, funds, staff all got to be really a seeming burden for some higher-ups who ultimately decided to ruin, destroy teardown the whole thing. Somehow through all of that I timed things well and was able to stay gainfully employed within the same Unviersity more or less doing the same work, but alone, not in a team. I still have contact with those separated group members. They still do the same work, but report up through business I.T. outfits now. That’s made the whole set of services lose much of the academic and home spun flavor the earlier group had. But I still have hope. Ambitious career types want to form up a centralized group that might one day act as consultants or help guide folks through the myriad choices, services we have (that never went away, it just fractures and spreads out to more diverse tools over time). We’ll see what comes of that effort, but I do know whatever the outcome of NMC’s dissolution, people will still be doing the work they did prior. Just won’t be called NMC, or organized the same way.


College Town & The Money Island

I think the comments on the reprinted site here:
Those comments help reinforce the example provided by the prior example of a failed money island: RIT’s Park Point. That should have given any developer pause, once that development hit the skids.

The Urban Phoenix

Every time a new vacancy is announced in Rochester’s ambitious retail venture known as College Town, more and more residents pile on to social media to rant about the project’s imminent failure.  Surrounding lower class neighborhoods, a city that has one of the worst poverty rates in the nation and misuse of subsidies, among others, are cited reasons why this $100 million-plus mixed-use project is quickly being condemned as another in a long line of bad development decisions the city has entertained.  To some extent, these are likely key components to College Town’s struggles.

Photo Aug 08, 10 59 07 PM Bar 145, one of the most recent establishments to vacate College Town

The real struggle for any project like this, however, is one that very few people talk about.  It is a lack of connective tissue to Rochester residents, University of Rochester Medical Center employees and U of R on-campus students who might utilize and patronize…

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VM vs. DISM – patch Tuesday updating

I just read a quick debate on Twitter between Johan Arwidmark and Mike Terrill on the topic of which path makes for smaller Windows Images when you are doing the quick monthly incremental updates. You know them as Microsoft “Patch Tuesdays”. So just yesterday (Aug. 8, 2017) the most recent cumulative update came out. And I downloaded it with every intention of firing up Hyper-V, connecting to my Win10-Build VM and proceeding as normal. I don’t do reference images as such, nor do I use MDT. I literally run Windows Update interactively while logged in as local admin on my VM. I reboot the VM, login again, try WU again, make sure everything has been applied. Then I pull out my little sysprep cheat sheet and do a sysprep with unattend.xml (for  my customization) and OOBE and shutdown.

I then mount the Virtual Hard drive (.vhd) for that VM within my host OS. I run DISM command to capture/compress as much as possible to get the image size down. With Win10+Office2016 I hover around the 6.75GB to 7.5GB range in terms of the .wim file, using this process. But I was curious to look at how easy, or difficult it was to simply mount the .wim file and insert/import the Cumulative Update packaged as a .msu file from the MS website directly. I have known for a while this command line flag existed but never tried it out until I read the debate between Johan and Michael.

Full credit goes to Matt Shadbolt (MSFT) for this Technet article where I found a Powershell script to run all the DISM commands needed to update a .wim file:

Applying Windows Updates to a base WIM using DISM and Powershell

So I ran a second round of update just for comparison sake on an unaltered, un-updated .wim file using the DISM. I found a Powershell script that help speed this up a bit, and required less typing and pasting of commands to do all the steps. I first downloaded the Cumulative Update from the Microsoft Update Catalog and put into my F:\drive in a folder called “Updates”.


I took Matt Shadbolt’s PS script and modified it slightly. I added the /Cleanup-Image step and also the /Export-Image at the tail end of the script here:

$UpdatesPath = "F:\Updates\*"
$MountPath = “C:\test\offline”
$WimFile = “E:\shared\WIMs\images\2.wim”
DISM /Mount-Wim /WimFile:$WimFile /index:1 /Mountdir:$MountPath
$UpdateArray = Get-Item $UpdatesPath
ForEach ($Updates in $UpdateArray)
DISM /image:$MountPath /Add-Package /Packagepath:$Updates
Start-Sleep –s 10
Write-Host "Updates Applied to WIM"
DISM /Image:$MountPath /Cleanup-Image /StartComponentCleanup /ResetBase
DISM /Unmount-Wim /Mountdir:$MountPath /commit
DISM /Cleanup-Wim
DISM /Export-Image /SourceImageFile:$WimFile /SourceIndex:1 /DestinationImageFile:"F:\2.wim"

Now, let’s go back to Johan’s original tweet:

In my test I did the first run with my Hyper-V Build VM

  1. Run Windows Update
  2. Reboot
  3. Run Windows Update one more time
  4. Sysprep/Shutdown
  5. In Host OS mounted VHD, captured using DISM cmdline
  6. File size for 1.wim = 7,141,081,712Bytes (or 7.141GB)

Second run on an original .wim file captured previously from that same Hyper-V .vhd using Matt Shadbolt’s slighlty modified Powershell script (DISM with /Add-Package with some cleanup steps).

  1. Mount .wim
  2. /Add-Package
  3. /Cleanup-Image
  4. /Commit
  5. /Export
  6. File size for 2.wim = 7,144,702,046Bytes (or 7.144GB)

So caveats here are this was one run with the August Cumulative Update for Win10-1703+Office2016. Your mileage may vary on successive runs. But as near as I can tell using DISM /Add-package works just as well as doing a “Build+Capture” in your MDT Build Lab and Hyper-V environment as near as I can tell. The differences I am seeing are not 1GB but closer to ~3MB total difference between the two paths.

Deployment Bunny for the win

Had the privilege to study under the two “Jedi Masters” themselves Johan and Mikael this summer in Redmond, and some of what they covered there they presented last week at Ignite. Check out their video below! Mikael covers using MDT to build images, which is my preferred way to build images. Its definitely worth checking out!

via Mastering Windows 10 Deployments —

The demos that Mikael and Johan give area always really good. I’m really interested in learning how to use Microsoft Deployment Toolkit. Learning about the customSettings.ini by watching Mikael run it and edit it is wonderful. You begin to understand what each section/setting does in real life.