MMSMOA 2018 – What To Pack

So, you’re headed to the Midwest Management Summit aka MMSMOA in Minneapolis, Minnesota from May 14-17, 2018 and with just a few days to go, now comes the dilemma of what to pack. Here are some suggestions from a conference veteran like me to help you with the task of packing.

What to Pack:

#1: Shoes – Comfortable shoes to wear during the conference is always a good thing to have. The nice thing about MMSMOA is that everything from sessions to expo hall is located in one general area which is in the Raddison Blu Hotel at The Mall of America. You have a very short walk from your hotel room, down the elevator and then just a few feet to get to all the session rooms. Most of your walking time will involve getting lunch or dinner, and to do some shopping at the massive Mall of America.

#2: Tech – Start collecting all the cables and charges you’ll need to keep your devices up and running at the conference. I recommend that you pack a portable battery charger for your smartphone(s), especially helpful when you are on-the-go and the power outlets are not easily accessible. It’s also advisable to pack a small power strip as power outlets can be scarce and you’ll make friends by sharing an outlet with others. This is also handy to use in your hotel room where the power outlets could be inaccessible due to their location (behind the bed, behind the entertainment system, etc). As for the portable battery chargers, I’m a big fan of the Anker brand for their ruggedness, quality, capacity, and great customer service when I need them.

#3: Clothes – The setting for the conference including the social events is casual. Pack comfortable clothes, but don’t pack too much since the conference is 4 days long. A few vendors will hand out free t-shirts, plus if you’re in a bind, the mall is conveniently located where you can quickly shop for something that you may need. You’ll definitely want to pack the essential items such as socks, underwear, a hoodie or sweatshirt for the cold conference rooms, a pair of jeans or casual pants, a few shirts, and whatever else you think is essential. Don’t forget your toiletries too.
** If you’re a dude, please for God sake leave the “manpris” at home! **

#4: Bottle / Mug – A traveling coffee mug if you’re a coffee drinker. Makes it easier to fill up on coffee and to travel from session to session without spilling. Plus, you’re helping safe the planet without using the disposable cups. You could also bring a water bottle as you should re-hydrate often.

#5: Cards – Bring along some business cards for networking purposes as well as to enter some cool contests organized by several vendors. I generally get my cards ordered in advance from Moo as I prefer the mini-card format and the high quality. You can also order some inexpensive business cards from VistaPrint but since it’s late in the game now to get some cards ordered in time for the conference, either make some at home with your personal printer or order some in-store at places like Staples.

#6: Social Media – Networking is one of the most important aspects of attending a conference such as MMSMOA. By now you have connected with several attendees and speakers via Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, WhatsApp, and/or Slack. If you haven’t, then it’s time you get on the social media band wagon to collaborate with others, make some new friends, help to enhance your career, don’t feel left out at the conference, and etc. One tip for helping with the process on location and to make the social media connections as smooth as possible is to print QR Codes of your favorite social media medium such as Twitter or Facebook. This way, you can easily whip out your QR Code when you meet someone that you’d like to connect and they can easily scan the code with their smartphone which will pull up your information with ease. Keep in mind, Twitter is preferred and encouraged to use at MMSMOA. Don’t forget to follow @MMSMOA on Twitter and use the hashtag #MMSMOA for all your tweets! You can follow me as well: @Hoorge.

#7: Luggage – You should be good with your main suitcase or bag that you will pack with your clothes and the above items. Abundance of swag is not something you will collect at this conference, other than a few small trinkets and a couple of t-shirts. If you are planning to do some crazy shopping at the Mall of America, then an extra bag will come in handy.

#8: Laptop / Tablet – I generally travel with two laptops, one in case I need to jump in to handle some work issues back at the office, and the other as a personal device for daily use. Another reason for traveling with more than one laptop is in case one of them crashes for whatever reason and I still have something to manage my personal and work life. As far as note taking goes at the conference, I tend to use my iPhone as my primary device along with OneNote and Twitter apps. If you have been my follower on Twitter, you’ll know how much I use that medium for note taking, as I do that quite efficiently with unique hashtags for each session and other matters related to the conference. So, if you’re not following me, do so now. You’ll find me as @Hoorge on Twitter.

#9: Medical – If you take any prescription medication, make sure you bring those and preferably in their original packaging, and this is to avoid any issues with TSA at the airport. I travel with my CPAP machine for my sleep apnea, so I always make sure that I have the power cord, hose, mask, and other fun stuff that goes with the machine packed as a priority item the morning that I’m leaving for the airport. If you use spectacles and have an extra pair, bring that with you incase you encounter an unfortunate accident and break your main “four eyes”.

#10: Smartphone – I think it goes without saying that you won’t be traveling to the conference without your smartphone. To make your life a little easier, make sure you have enough free space to capture photos and videos during the week. Also, if you haven’t already done so, install apps such as OneNote for note taking; Twitter and Facebook for social media; OneDrive or Dropbox for uploading photos and videos to free up space on your device and for backup purposes; Microsoft Office Lens for capturing whiteboards, slide decks, business cards, and more; WhatsApp, Messenger and Slack for communication; and last but not least Untappd if you’re a beer lover.

#11: Camera – There are always some wonderful opportunities for capturing some great photos of the conference, so bring a camera with you. I would avoid bringing a large professional DSLR type camera with lenses and speedlights such as the Nikon D700 camera and the 24-70mm f/2.8 lens I often use for my freelance photojournalism work and event photography as it’ll be cumbersome to travel with and juggle during the conference. I tend to rely on my nifty iPhone for all of my photography and videography captures, and sometimes I bring along my Samsung NX300 camera for good measure. I’ll leave the selfie stick at your discretion.

#12: Fitness Trackers – No doubt there’s going to be some amount of walking during MMSMOA between the hotel and the mall, so don’t forget to pack your fitness tracker units like Fitbit, smart watches and their respective charging units to see if you break any step records. Find a few friends and do a step challenge for the week.

#13: Credit Cards / Cash – At this conference, you are on your own for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, so plan your finances accordingly. I would carry a small amount of cash for incidentals and tips or when you need to split a bill with others. Credit Cards is the way to go for everything else but beware and pay attention to your statements as fraudulent charges have been reported by attendees from past conferences such as Microsoft Ignite, sometimes even 6 months after the fact. If you want some peace of mind and avoid the hassle of compromised credit cards, get a couple of prepaid credit cards with limited amounts on them to use in restaurants, bars, and other establishments.

#14: Snacks – Each day at the conference can be long, tough, and super busy as you move from session to session and network with fellow attendees. Sometimes, it can be a challenge to spare some time for breakfast or lunch, so food items such as granola bars, health bars, nuts, and pop tarts can be extremely helpful. There is a Cariboo Coffee store just steps away from all the action in case you need to pickup some food and drinks.

#15: Sriracha and Beer – It goes without saying, I travel with my favorite hot sauce to spice up my conference center meals. How so you ask? Well, I often travel with the Sriracha2Go keychain container or the Sriracha2Go packets and they are so handy to have if you like to spice up your food on the go. As for beer, it’s a great way to network and try out some craft beer from all over the country and even abroad. Pack some of your local craft beer in your suitcase and enjoy them with some old and new friends. Don’t forget to double ziplock bag them and wrap them with your clothing to avoid breakage.

#16: Trinkets / Souvenirs – It’s never a bad idea to bring a few little trinkets from your local town / city / state / country such as keychains, stickers, fridge magnets, candy, etc to hand out or exchange with a fellow attendees. They become conversational items and everyone loves a little gift.

Hope this list will help you to pack for the conference and is helpful for things you may not have thought about. Good luck and see you soon in Minneapolis!

Follow (@Hoorge) on Twitter and join Tech Konnect on Facebook and Twitter (@TechKonnect) to stay current on technology related matters.

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ADMX Template For Windows 10 April 2018 Update (1803) Now Available

On April 30, 2018, Microsoft released the Windows 10 April 2018 Update (1803) build to customers worldwide. The following tools to support this latest release has been made available, which includes Windows 10 Administrative Templates (.ADMX), Windows Assessment and Deployment Kit (ADK), and the Remote Server Administration Tools (RSAT) for Windows 10 April 2018 Update.

Windows 10 Administrative Template (.ADMX)

Remote Server Administration Tools for Windows 10 (RSAT)

Windows 10 Assessment and Deployment Kit (ADK)

Microsoft Office 2016 Administrative Templates and Office Customization Tool is also available for download.

Follow @Hoorge on Twitter and join Tech Konnect on Facebook and Twitter to stay current on technology related matters.

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Remote Server Administration Tools (RSAT) For Windows 10 v1803

The latest version of the Remote Server Administration Tools (RSAT) for Windows 10 April 2018 Update v1803 have been released. The download is available here. You will find the following download files available for version 1.0 corresponding to x86 or x64 Operating Systems:

  • WindowsTH-RSAT_WS_1803-x64.msu (95.1MB)
  • WindowsTH-RSAT_WS_1803-x86.msu (69.9MB)
  • WindowsTH-RSAT_WS2016-x64.msu (92.3MB)
  • WindowsTH-RSAT_WS2016-x86.msu (69.5MB)

See here if you would like to determine if a computer is running 32-bit or 64-bit Windows OS.

Additional Information:

When to use WS_1803 RSAT Package: When managing Windows Server, version 1803 or Windows Server, version 1709
When to use WS2016 RSAT Package: When managing Windows Server 2016 or previous versions

Known Issues that may impact RSAT functionality:

Issue: DNS Tools missing
Impact: WS_1709 RSAT package users
Resolution: Use the WS_1803 or WS2016 RSAT package or apply this workaround

Issue: Cannot turn off individual RSAT components
Impact: WS_1803 and WS_1709 RSAT package users on Windows 10 1803/1709 (April 2018 Update/Fall Creators Update)
Resolution: Use the WS2016 RSAT package on Windows 10 1607 (Anniversary Update)

Issue: Tabs missing from MMC Properties
Impact: Windows 10 clients before 1607 (Anniversary Update)
Resolution: Update to the latest version of Windows 10 client and reinstall RSAT

Issue: Shielding Data File Wizard cannot create shielding data files
Impact: WS_1709 RSAT package users on Windows 10 1709 (Fall Creators Update)
Resolution: Use the WS_1803 RSAT package on Windows 10 1803 (April 2018 Update), or use the WS2016 RSAT package on Windows 10 1607 (Anniversary Update) to create shielding data files for Windows shielded VMs, or the built-in RSAT tools in Windows Server, version 1709 to create shielding data files for both Windows and Linux shielded VMs.

Issue: Template disks created from the Template Disk Wizard do not boot
Impact: WS_1709 RSAT package users on Windows 10 1709 (Fall Creators Update)
Resolution: Use the WS_1803 RSAT package on Windows 10 1803 (April 2018 Update), or use the WS2016 RSAT package on Windows 10 1607 (Anniversary Update) to create template disks for Windows shielded VMs, or the built-in RSAT tools in Windows Server, version 1709 to create shielding data files for both Windows and Linux shielded VMs.

Follow me (@Hoorge) on Twitter and join Tech Konnect on Facebook and Twitter (@TechKonnect) to stay current on technology related matters.

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Windows ADK 1803 For Windows 10 Now Available

With the release of Windows 10 version 1803, the following tool to support this latest Windows 10 build, Windows Assessment and Deployment Kit (ADK) version 1803 is now available.
You can download it from: Windows 10 Assessment and Deployment Kit (ADK).

Note: You must use Windows 10 build 1803 with this version of the ADK.
The Windows ADK is also available to Windows Insiders. Join the Windows Insider Program to get the Windows ADK Insider Preview.

The latest version of the Windows ADK includes:

  • The Windows Assessment Toolkit and the Windows Performance Toolkit to assess the quality and performance of systems or components.
  • Deployment tools such as WinPE, Sysprep, DISM and other tools that you can use to customize and deploy Windows 10 images.

Learn more about Windows ADK v1803 for Windows 10.

 

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Windows 10 April 2018 Update (v1803) Available in VLSC

The ISO download for Windows 10 Fall Creators Update edition (version 1709) has been released and is now available from the Microsoft Volume Licensing Service Center(VLSC) portal. You’ll find both 32-bit and 64-bit ISO files with a download size of 3164 MB and 4382 MB respectively.

Here is a good article on “How to verify if you have downloaded or installed the latest version of Windows 10”. I would recommend that you check out Michael Niehaus’ blog post where he shares some important information regarding the changes with the volume license media and upgrade packages with Windows 10, starting with v1709. There is only one ISO with a single WIM (Windows Image) file that contains all the volume license images as listed below:

Here’s what’s new in Windows 10 April 2018 Update.

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How To Obtain Computer Serial Number With PowerShell

To obtain the local computer serial number, use this one-liner PowerShell command:

get-wmiobject -Class win32_bios | select PSComputerName,SerialNumber

To obtain the serial number of a remote computer, use this one-liner PowerShell command (PSRemoting must be enabled:

get-wmiobject -ComputerName <name of computer> -Class win32_bios | select PSComputerName,SerialNumber

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Configure PowerShell Remoting

To perform actions on remote computers using PowerShell, you’ll need to setup PowerShell Remoting. Here are the steps:

1. In a PowerShell CMD window that is running under the administrator context, run the following command:

Enable-PSRemoting –force

2. Configure WinRM to run automatically:

Set-Service WinRM -StartMode Automatic

3. Verify the start mode was set correctly and that it is currently running:

Get-WmiObject -Class win32_service | Where-Object {$_.name -like “WinRM”}

4. Configure so that all remote hosts are trusted:

Set-Item WSMan:localhost\client\trustedhosts -value *

5. Verify that the remote trusted hosts has taken effect:

Get-Item WSMan:\localhost\Client\TrustedHosts

Written by myITforum

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ConfigMgr Technical Preview 1801 Released

The Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager (ConfigMgr) team has kicked off 2018 with a brand new release of the ConfigMgr Technical Preview branch with version 1801. As always, new features and improvements to the product derive from the feedback they receive from the community on the ConfigMgr UserVoice forum. Now, you can also provide feedback directly from within Windows 10 by using the Feedback Hub App. See additional documentation to provide ConfigMgr feedback.

This update has a number of new features (as listed in the Enterprise Mobility & Security blogpost) which include:

  • Run Scripts – You can now import and run signed scripts and monitor the script results.
  • Moving Distribution Points between sites – You can now move an eligible distribution point from one primary site to another primary site or from under a secondary site to a primary site . For information about requirements for moving a distribution point see “Reassign Distribution Point”.
  • Improvements to client settings for Software Center – Client settings for Software Center now has a customize button where you can preview your customizations before deploying them to machines. You can also hide unapproved applications in Software Center.
  • New settings for Windows Defender Application Guard – For Windows 10 version 1709 and later devices, there are two new host interaction settings for Windows Defender Application Guard. Websites can be given access to the host’s virtual graphics processor and files downloaded inside the container can be persisted on the host.
  • Co-management reporting – You can now view a dashboard with information about co-management in your environment.
  • Phased Deployments – You can use phased deployments to automate a coordinated, sequenced rollout of software without creating multiple deployments.
  • Support for hardware inventory strings greater than 255 characters in length – For newly added classes, you can specify string lengths greater than 255 characters for hardware inventory properties that are not keys.
  • Improvements to Automatic Deployment Rule evaluation schedule – You can now schedule Automatic Deployment Rule evaluation to be offset from a base day.

You can update to the 1801 Tech Preview release via the ConfigMgr console under the Updates & Servicing node. The baseline version of the Technical Preview branch is now at version 1711 and available on the TechNet Evaluation Center.

The following document provides further details on the capabilities in Technical Preview 1801 for System Center Configuration Manager.

Here’s my video tutorial which I did for version 1701. The steps are the same for 1801.

Here are the step-by-step upgrade guide (if you prefer not to watch the video) to get your current ConfigMgr Technical Preview site to version 1801:

You will find the 1801 update available in the ConfigMgr console under Administration > Updates and Servicing. If you don’t see it, click on Check for Updates in the menu ribbon.

Right-click on Configuration Manager Technical Preview 1801 and click on Install Update Pack. If you prefer, you can also use the Install Update Pack option from the ribbon menu. I recommend that you run the prerequisite check first to make sure there are no issues reported with your site server. Otherwise, you will need to address the issues before proceeding with the update.

Click Next and select the checkbox if you want to ignore the prerequisite check warning.

Select the features desired for install in the update pack. You can choose to do this later under the Updates and Servicing node.

Pick your option to validate or not to validate the upgrade against a collection. For my production Current Branch site, I generally select Validate in pre-production collection and choose one of my test collections for the first phase of the upgrade. However, since this is the Technical Preview site and only used in a test environment, you can continue with the option, Upgrade without validating.

Select the license terms and click Next.

Click Next to confirm the settings.

Click Close.

You can now monitor the status of the upgrade under Monitoring > Updates and Servicing Status. Then select the update package name and click on Show Status in the ribbon menu.

The window below will show the stages of the upgrade process where you can monitor it’s progress. If there are any issues, you will see it listed here with a warning and the details provided in the description box in the bottom of the window.

Upon successful completion of the hotfix installation, you will be presented with the pop-up window as seen below to indicate a console upgrade from version 5.0.0.8595.1000 to 5.1802.1050.1000 is available.

You can verify the console upgrade in the About System Center Configuration Manager drop down menu from the console.
Version 1801 for Technical Preview
Console version: 5.1802.1050.1000
Site version: 5.0.8611.1000

And you now have ConfigMgr Technical Preview 1801 running in your test environment.

 

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ConfigMgr 1710 Hotfix Rollup (KB4057517)

ConfigMgr Current Branch version 1710 now has a hotfix (KB4057517) available which addresses some issues, which you can read up here. The following are the fixes resolved with this hotfix (there are 13 of them):

  • Clients who use Azure Active Directory (Azure AD) for authentication do not successfully communicate with a management point
  • The Configuration Manager console may terminate unexpectedly after you browse to a content location in the Office 365 Client Installation wizard
  • Download of express updates may fail on Windows 10 clients because of an issue that affects files in temporary and cache folders
  • Configuration Manager current branch, version 1710 clients are not upgraded on systems that are running Windows Server 2008 SP2. The client Setup program, Ccmsetup.exe, terminates unexpectedly
  • The Office 365 Application Installation Wizard may try to download content from an incorrect channel. This causes download failures
  • The fallback time that is configured for content is not honored if distribution points or their content are inaccessible
  • The Client Notification Restart request is processed incorrectly by remote management points. This causes a .bld notification file to be left in the \MP\Outboxes\bgb.box folder on the remote management point
  • Retrying a large single-file download, such as an Office 365 update file, may fail on a site server
  • The Persist content in the client cache setting on Package Properties is not honored by clients
  • Decommission-related State messages from co-managed client computers are processed incorrectly
  • State messages sent by Azure AD users may not be processed
  • If a Configuration Manager client restarts during the process of retrying a task sequence policy download, that task sequence does not run automatically after the restart
  • Conditional access policies may block access to Office 365 applications for domain-joined devices after migrating to Intune standalone

Here are the steps on how to install this hotfix. You will find it available in the ConfigMgr console under Administration > Updates and Servicing. If you don’t see it, click on Check for Updates in the menu ribbon.

Right-click on Configuration Manager 1710 Hotfix Rollup (KB4057517) and click on Install Update Pack. I recommend that you run the prerequisite check first to make sure there are not issues reported with your site server.

Click Next and select the checkbox if you want to ignore the prerequisite check warning.

Pick your option to validate or not to validate the upgrade against a collection. I generally tend to select Validate in pre-production collection and choose one of my test collections for the first phase of the upgrade.

Select the license terms and click Next.

Click Next to confirm the settings.

Click Close.

You can now monitor the status of the upgrade under Monitoring > Updates and Servicing Status. Then select the update package name and click on Show Status in the menu ribbon.

The window below will show the stages of the upgrade process where you can monitor it’s progress. If there are any issues, you will see it listed here with a warning and the details provided in the description box in the bottom of the window.

Upon successful completion of the hotfix installation, you will be presented with the pop-up window as seen below to indicate a console upgrade from version 5.0.0.8577.1100 to 5.0.0.8577.1108 is available.

You can verify the console upgrade in the About System Center Configuration Manager drop down menu from the console.
Version 1710
Console version: 5.0.0.8577.1108
Site version: 5.0.8577.1000

Once you are comfortable with the client upgrade on your test collection which you selected during the validate in pre-production collection phase, you can deploy the client upgrade to all clients in the hierarchy by selecting the Promote Pre-production Client option as seen below.

Your ConfigMgr site is now upgraded with the KB4057517 hotfix.

 

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#2 Week 3 – Top 1000 Tech Bloggers

On January 23, 2018, I received an email from Rise Social Media with the weekly listing of social media influencers and their respective rankings among 1000 Tech bloggers. Typically, I quickly scan the email and delete it, but this time in the week 3 newsletter, something caught my eye and it was this message:

Well done to this week’s top three Antonio GrassoHarjit Dhaliwal, and Dave Winer ?

I did a double take and clicked on the week 3 link and confirmed that I had moved up to the number 2 spot from way down the list. I was super excited and couldn’t wait to share the news with my friends and followers on social media, which is the source of my influence. I remember being just as excited when I made it to the 14th spot on week 43 in 2017 (see image below).

I was first introduced to Rise Global by my friend Richard Hay, who is well respected in the technology industry where he covers valuable news, reviews, and many other tech related matters as a tech journalist. Rich has taught me how to use several useful tools, helped me with some automation techniques, as well as shared some insightful strategies which in turn has made me successful with my social media work. We also had the opportunity to work together as the official social media journalists for the IT/Dev Connections Conference held in San Francisco in October 2017. We are looking forward to do the same at IT/Dev Connection 2018 in Dallas.

And then we have my friends Christian Buckley and Vlad Catrinescu, who are great contributors in the tech community and powerhouse Microsoft MVPs. These guys make Rise Global status ranking fun and exciting to take part in. We have a running joke and a friendly competition between us, which often involves some fun teasing to keep things challenging. We are rooting for each other to get to the top spot, and then we can call it a collective success. It will happen sooner than later!

As an IT Professional, I enjoy social media quite a bit and have a knack for it. I have developed some strong skills in this respect which has allowed me to contribute to the community in various ways from helping IT Professionals with valuable information and resources to keeping commuters safe during their daily travels. My social media activities have provided many wonderful opportunities which include travel, representation at large conferences, member of various committees, access to privileged groups, speaking engagements, contributions to technical newsletters, reviewer for products, books, and software, and some consulting work to name a few. I am humbled and grateful for these opportunities and to everyone who has helped me and continue to support me. Thank you, Thank you!

Well, I’m not naive to know that my reign on Rise Global will not last for long but I did get my five minutes of fame for what it’s worth. If you have somehow come across this blog post, please feel free to follow my social media channels, subscribe to my blog, YouTube channels, and podcasts. You’ll enjoy the information I share. Thanks.

About Me: Harjit Dhaliwal
Blog: www.harjit.us
Twitter: @Hoorge
Twitter: @TechKonnect
Facebook: TechKonnect
LinkedIn: Me
YouTube: Harjit
YouTube: Harjit & Prayer Show
Podcast: PowerShell News
Instagram: Me
Microsoft: MVP
Microsoft Ignite: Speaker
Microsoft: TechCommunity

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