Microsoft Ignite 2017 – Orlando Florida

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Microsoft Ignite 2016 in Atlanta, Georgia ended this week on September 30th which included some exciting new features such as live streaming of sessions, fun Hang Out area in Hall C2, Spark 360 portraits, window clings of some attendees throughout the convention center, and Beam robots for distant “attendees” to name a few. 23,000 attendees took advantage of over 1400 sessions, which included 20 to 75 minute sessions, an expo hall full of vendors for product and service information, Microsoft product experts, and great networking opportunities with fellow attendees, speakers, and vendors. Atlanta was a pleasant city with kind and helpful people, from those we encountered on the streets to everyone at the convention center. Thank you for the smiles, support, cheers, and upbeat attitude. Well done Atlanta and Microsoft Ignite.

In case you missed the announcement during the Closing Celebrations on Thursday, Microsoft Ignite 2017 will be held in Orlando, Florida from September 25-29, 2017 and pre-registrations are now open. This will guarantee you a spot for the hot ticket to Orlando and first dibs on some selected area hotels. So, pre-register now if you plan to attend next year.

Here’s the tweet from Julia White:

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Microsoft Ignite 2016 – Check-In Location & Hours

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** The following is information on check-ins per Microsoft Ignite **

Microsoft Ignite is excited to be offering five convenient check-in locations on Saturday, September 24 and Sunday, September 25! We highly encourage you to collect your badge prior to Monday at one of the locations listed below and avoid the lines on Monday morning. Please note that this is for check-in only, if you are eligible for additional materials, you may pick those up at the Swag Station at the Georgia World Congress Center in Building C, Hall C2.

  • For your convenience, your closest recommended check-in location is: Westin Peachtree Plaza.Check-in is located in the Overlook on floor 6.

MICROSOFT IGNITE CHECK-IN LOCATIONS & HOURS

Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport  -(Map)

Saturday, Sept. 24 South Terminal Arrivals, Door S1
North Terminal Baggage Claim 7-8
International Baggage Claim
10:00am – 7:00pm
Sunday, Sept. 25 South Terminal Arrivals, Door S1
North Terminal Baggage Claim 7-8
7:30am – 10:00pm
Sunday, Sept. 25 International Baggage Claim 7:30am – 6:00pm

Microsoft Retail Store -(Map)

Saturday, Sept. 24 Lenox Mall in Buckhead 10:00am – 7:00pm
Sunday, Sept. 25 7:30am – 6:00pm

Westin Peachtree Plaza Downtown -(Map)

Saturday, Sept. 24 The Overlook, 6th Floor 10:00am – 7:00pm
Sunday, Sept. 25 7:30am – 6:00pm

Hyatt Atlanta Midtown -(Map)

Saturday, Sept. 24 Avalon Room 10:00am – 7:00pm
Sunday, Sept. 25 7:30am – 6:00pm

Georgia World Congress Center -(Map)

Sunday, Sept. 25 Building C Lobby
Building A/B Lobby
7:30am – 6:00pm
Monday Sept. 26 7:00am – 7:00pm
Tuesday, Sept. 27 7:30am – 6:00pm
Wednesday, Sept. 28 7:30am – 6:00pm
Thursday, Sept. 29 7:30am – 6:00pm
Friday, Sept. 30 Building C Lobby 7:30am – 2:00pm

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Microsoft Ignite Atlanta 2016 – What To Pack!

So, you’re headed to the Microsoft Ignite Conference in Atlanta, Georgia from September 26-30 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 that the task of packing. While the conference is a week long, it is not necessary to go overboard with the packing and even bring the kitchen sink!

What to Pack:

#1: Shoes – Make sure you have comfortable shoes to wear during the conference as you’ll be spending a lot of time in them everyday. The conference involves a lot of feet power and you’ll be glad you have some good shoes. Also, make sure you have broken in your new shoes prior to the conference.

#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, don’t pack too much as you’ll receive loads of tshirts at the conference to last you for years to come. So, travel light. You’ll definitely want to pack the essential items such as socks, underwear, a hoodie or sweatshirt for the cold conference rooms, some shorts, a pair of jeans or casual pants, a couple of 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 rehydrate often, however you will receive one along with a backpack when you sign in for your Microsoft Ignite badge on-site.

#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 Microsoft Ignite. By now you have connected with several attendees via Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, WhatsApp, Slack, and the newly minted Microsoft Tech Community. 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 so on. 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.

#7: Luggage – Apart from your main suitcase or bag that you will pack with your clothes and above items, it is advisable to pack an empty bag that can fold such as a duffel bag. You’ll Thank me later when you realize by the end of the week that you have collected way too much swag but luckily you have that extra bag to bring all those tshirts and “things” home. Keep in mind that you’ll have the spanky new conference backpack to pack as well in case you traveled to the conference with your own.

#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 the 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 your CPAP machine uses distilled water for humidity control, you can always pick that up from a local pharmacy such as Kinney’s or CVS near your hotel. 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; Waze or Google Maps for navigation; 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 and the city of Atlanta, 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 tremendous amount of walking during Microsoft Ignite, so don’t forget to pack your fitness tracker units like Fitbit, Microsoft Band, 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 – As far as cash is concerned, you won’t need to carry much with you as food and drinks are generally covered at all of the evening social events, plus breakfast and lunch is provided at the convention center for attendees. 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 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 run 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. While you may not need to bring any from home, although you could pack some in your suitcase, you can pick them up quite easily at a convenience store near your hotel.

#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 the beer, there’s always a beer share happening during the week and several attendees often meetup to share and try out craft beer from all over the country and even from 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 few fellow attendees. They become conversational items and everyone loves a little gift.

Hope this list will help you with your packing for the conference and has provided some helpful suggestions for things you may not have thought about. Good luck and see you soon in Atlanta!

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Sold Out!! – Microsoft Ignite Atlanta 2016

In case you missed the announcement, Microsoft Ignite Conference to be held in Atlanta, Georgia from September 26-30, 2016 is now sold out! You can watch a livestream from Day 1 from the following link:

MSignite_soldout_tweet

The above tweet was posted by the Microsoft Ignite team announcing the close of registration using their official @MS_Ignite Twitter account. Follow them as well as the hashtag #MSIgnite for further on-going information. If you received a late approval to attend Microsoft Ignite from your employer but you’re not able to register at this point, you still have the ability to win a free pass from a couple of vendors, Such as Adaptiva and HyperGrid. Check them out, follow their Twitter and Facebook feeds and Good Luck!

See ya soon at Microsoft Ignite, September 26-30, 2016 at Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta.

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MDT 2013 Update 2 Released

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The Microsoft Deployment Toolkit (MDT) 2013 Update 2 has been released and the most current version (6.3.8330) can be downloaded from the Microsoft Download Center.

According to the MDT blog post by Aaron Czechowski (Senior Program Manager), MDT 2013 Update 2 is basically a quality release which does not contain any new features. Some of the significant changes in this update include:

  • Security- and cryptographic-related improvements:
    • Relaxed permissions on newly created deployment shares (still secure by default, but now also functional by default)
    • Creating deployment shares via Windows PowerShell adds same default permissions
    • Updated hash algorithm usage from SHA1 to SHA256
  • Includes the latest Configuration Manager task sequence binaries
  • Enhanced user experience for Windows 10 in-place upgrade task sequence
  • Enhanced split WIM functionality
  • Fixed OSDJoinAccount account usage in UDI scenario
  • Fixed issues with installation of Windows 10 language packs
  • Various accessibility improvements
  • Monitoring correctly displays progress for all scenarios including upgrade
  • Improvements to smsts.log verbosity

There are no significant known issues in this release, however the previous post for MDT 2013 Update 1 has some information that may still be applicable, other than the fixes list above. The following post provides some information on How to get help with MDT, in case you need it.

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PowerShell 5.0 RTM Now Available

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PowerShell 5.0 has finally RTM-ed, just in time for Christmas as announced on the PowerShell team blog. Windows Management Framework (WMF) 5.0 RTM replaces WMF 5.0 Production Preview and it’s supported on Windows Server 2012 R2, Windows Server 2012, Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1, Windows 8.1, and Windows 7 SP1.

WMF 5.0 adds new management functionality which includes Just Enough Admin (JEA), PowerShell Classes, PackageManagement, PowerShellGet, and improvement to existing technologies such as Desired State Configuration (DSC), PowerShell Script Debugging, Software Inventory Logging and etc.

Download WMF 5.0 from the Microsoft Download Center. WMF 5.0 requires .NET Framework 4.5 or higher which you can also obtain from the Download Center.

**IMPORTANT**
Systems that are running the following server applications should not run Windows Management Framework 5.0 at this time:

    • Microsoft Exchange Server 2013
    • Microsoft Exchange Server 2010 SP3
    • Microsoft SharePoint Server 2013
    • Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010
    • System Center 2012 Virtual Machine Manager

Servers running System Center Configuration Manager 2012 (ConfigMgr) can install and run WMF 5.0.

If you would like to provide any feedback to the PowerShell team, you can do so by using the UserVoice site.

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The following is a post by Neema Saeedi on MSDN which I’ve added for additional details:

Download the correct package for your operating system and architecture:

Operating System Architecture Package Name
Windows Server 2012 R2 x64 W2K12R2-KB3094174-x64.msu
Windows Server 2012 x64 W2K12-KB3094175-x64.msu
Windows Server 2008 R2 x64 W2K8R2-KB3094176-x64.msu
Windows 8.1 x64 W2K12R2-KB3094174-x64.msu
Windows 8.1 x86 Win8.1-KB3094174-x86.msu
Windows 7 SP1 x64 W2K8R2-KB3094176-x64.msu
Windows 7 SP1 x86 Win7-KB3094176-x86.msu

To install WMF 5.0 from Windows Explorer (or File Explorer in Windows Server 2012 R2 and Windows 8.1):

  1. Navigate to the folder into which you downloaded the MSU file.
  2. Double-click the MSU to run it.

To install WMF 5.0 from Command Prompt:

  1. After downloading the correct package for your computer’s architecture, open a Command Prompt window with elevated user rights (Run as Administrator). On the Server Core installation options of Windows Server 2012 R2 or Windows Server 2012 or Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1, Command Prompt opens with elevated user rights by default.
  2. Change directories to the folder into which you have downloaded or copied the WMF 5.0 installation package.
  3. Run one of the following commands:
    • On computers that are running Windows Server 2012 R2 or Windows 8.1 x64, run W2K12R2-KB3094174-x64.msu /quiet.
    • On computers that are running Windows Server 2012, run W2K12-KB3094175-x64.msu /quiet.
    • On computers that are running Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1 or Windows 7 SP1 x64, run W2K8R2-KB3094176-x64.msu /quiet.
    • On computers that are running Windows 8.1 x86, run Win8.1-KB3094174-x86.msu /quiet.
    • On computers that are running Windows 7 SP1 x86, run Win7-KB3094176-x86.msu /quiet.

Additional Installation Notes for Windows Server 2008 and Windows 7:

Ensure following prerequisites have been met:

  • Latest service pack is installed.
  • WMF 4.0 is installed

WinRM Dependency: Windows PowerShell Desired State Configuration (DSC) depends on WinRM. WinRM is not enabled by default on Windows Server 2008 R2 and Windows 7. To enable WinRM, in a Windows PowerShell elevated session, run Set-WSManQuickConfig.

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You Get To Keep Your Free OneDrive Storage

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Last month on November, 2, 2015, Microsoft made a surprising announcement regarding changes to it’s OneDrive storage plans, which resulted in a backlash from the OneDrive user community. Over 70,000 votes were generated in a form of a protest called “Give us back our storage” which was launched on the UserVoice site, forcing Microsoft to address this issue. And they did today.

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The above feedback on UserVoice was closed by Douglas Pearce, Microsoft Group Program Manager, who also offered this statement:

In November we made a business decision to reduce storage limits for OneDrive. Since then, we’ve heard clearly from our Windows and OneDrive fans about the frustration and disappointment we have caused. We realize the announcement came across as blaming customers for using our product. For this, we are truly sorry and would like to apologize to the community.

While we are not changing our overall plans, we’d like to clarify what we are doing for customers impacted by the changes and share a new offer which we hope will go a long way in making the situation better for our biggest fans.

Office 365 Home, Personal, and University subscriptions will continue to include 1 TB of storage. Any subscriber who received additional storage as part of our unlimited offer will keep it for at least 12 months. For anyone unhappy with the decision to not offer unlimited storage, we will offer a full refund.

For customers of our free service who have over 5 GB of content and who are directly impacted by the storage change, we will offer one free year of Office 365 Personal, which includes 1 TB of storage. These customers will receive an email with redemption information early next year.

In addition, for our biggest fans who have been loyal advocates for OneDrive, we are adding a new offer that lets you keep your existing 15 GB of free storage when the changes happen next year. If you also have the 15 GB camera roll bonus, you’ll be able to keep that as well. From now until the end of January, you can sign up to keep your storage at the link below.

http://aka.ms/onedrivestorage

We are all genuinely sorry for the frustration this decision has caused and for the way it was communicated. Thank you for sticking with us.

Bottom line, if you want to keep your 15 GB free storage as well as the 15 GB bonus for using the Camera Roll feature, head over to https://preview.onedrive.com/bonus/ before the end of January 2016 to lock that in for each individual account you use.
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Once you have done so, you’ll be glowing with success!
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ADMX, ADK, RSAT Released For Windows 10 (Version 1511)

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With the release of Windows 10 version 1511, 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), Remote Server Administration Tools (RSAT), as well as the Windows 10 Media Creation Tool.

Windows 10 Administrative Template (.ADMX)

Remote Server Administration Tools for Windows 10 (RSAT)

Windows 10 Assessment and Deployment Kit (ADK)

Windows 10 Media Creation Tool

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

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Update – Windows ADK For Windows 10 (Version 1511)

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Update / Warning:

Aaron Czechowski, Senior Program Manager, Enterprise Client and Mobility has issued a warning regarding the latest release of Windows ADK for Windows 10, version 1511:

“…….there is a serious issue with it that blocks the following Configuration Manager OS deployment scenarios:

  • From Software Center, launch a task sequence that uses a Windows PE v10.0.10586 boot image. When the computer restarts into Windows PE, it will fail when “Initializing hardware devices” with the error: “Windows PE initialization failed with error code 0x80220014.”

At this time, we do not recommend that Configuration Manager customers use the 1511 version of the Windows 10 ADK.”

Johan Arwidmark, a System Center and OSD expert had also posted a warning on November 15, 2015 on his blog post “Inside Windows 10 ADK Build 10586“.

Warning: Do NOT upgrade your ConfigMgr 2012 R2 SP1 or MDT 2013 Update 1 environments to this build yet. For ConfigMgr, even though it seems to fix the x64 UEFI / PXE and Powershell/.NET issue, which is great, the new ADK does break Computer Refresh scenarios (Bare metal works). The error code is 0x80220014. Research and discussions with the product teams in progress… MDT 2013 Update 1 yet to be validated, but error comments on twitter does not give me a warm and fuzzy feeling.”

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Original post: November 20, 2015.

The Windows Assessment and Deployment Kit (ADK) for Windows 10, version 1511 is now available from Microsoft’s “Download Kits and Tools for Windows 10” site.

The Windows ADK now includes:

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Windows 10 Enterprise Build 1511 ISO Available on VLSC

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Microsoft Volume License customers will now find the Windows 10 Enterprise (build 1511) downloads (ISO files) are now available on the Microsoft Volume Licensing Center (VLSC) portal (as of November 16, 2015).

There are two downloads available for this edition (see image below):

  1. Windows 10 Enterprise (Released Jul ’15)
  2. Windows 10 Enterprise, Version 1511 (Released Nov ’15)

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** Windows 10 Enterprise, Version 1511 is a Current Branch and includes the latest updates and features. For Current Branch for Business, install Windows 10 Enterprise (Released Jul ’15).

  • System Requirements for Windows 10:

    Processor: 1 GHz processor or faster
    Memory: 1 GB ( 32-bit ) and 2 GB (64-bit)
    Drive Space: Up to 20 GB available hard disk space
    Operating System: Windows 10

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