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!

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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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How To Change GUID Partition Table to MBR

To change a GUID partition table disk into a master boot record disk using command line, follow the steps below.

1. Back up or move all volumes on the basic GUID partition table (GPT) disk you want to convert into a master boot record (MBR) disk.

2. Open an elevated command prompt (right-click Command Prompt, and then click Run as Administrator) and type diskpart.
If the disk does not contain any partitions or volumes, skip to step 6.

3. At the DISKPART prompt, type list disk. Make note of the disk number you want to delete

4. At the DISKPART prompt, type select disk <disknumber>

5. At the DISKPART prompt, type clean

6. At the DISKPART prompt, type convert mbr

And there you have it.

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Review – Microsoft Systems Center Endpoint Protection Cookbook

System endpoint security is a critical aspect of modern day computing and we all have had our fair share in dealing with malware infections, and in some cases ransomware and cryptolocker attacks in our organizations. Microsoft has made great efforts in mitigating these security risks by providing a superior product called System Center Endpoint Protection (SCEP) for enterprises and Windows Defender which by default is included with Windows 10.

A System Center Configuration Manager (ConfigMgr or SCCM) or a Microsoft Intune administrator is familiar with SCEP as it is the way to administer and manage SCEP in the enterprise. However, there are many aspects and intricacies of SCEP one is not aware of and has not fully utilized, and should. While I was dealing with some SCEP updates and anti-malware policies in my organization, I came across this awesome book written by Nicolai Henriksen, a Microsoft MVP in Enterprise Mobility. I decided to write a non-biased review of this book and credit the wonderful information contained within it.

Nicolai’s SCEP cookbook is well written and vetted by another well respected Microsoft MVP in Enterprise Mobility, Ronni Pedersen, who I often interact with on social media on all things ConfigMgr. This book is shy of 200 pages and is laid out in eight easily digestible chapters and covers everything you need to know about SCEP from soup to nuts. You’ll learn how to plan and get started with SCEP, configuration, operations and maintenance, updates, security and privacy, configure advance protection, troubleshooting, and malware handling to name a few. It’s an information filled book with great tips and how to’s, and I particularly enjoyed how Nicolai included little segments throughout the book with tidbits such as “Getting ready….”, “How it works….”, and “How to do it….” which was perfect for my learning and understanding of the various concepts presented.

The Table of Contents of this book:

As a ConfigMgr admin who has been working with the product for a number of years including working with System Center Endpoint Protection, I have learned things that I didn’t know, picked up some tips and tricks, have a better insight and understanding of SCEP, and I have gained a great reference for the product. I highly recommend this book to all ConfigMgr and Intune admins. This book is available for purchase in Kindle and Paperback format on Amazon. If you would like to connect with Nicolai and have some feedback or suggestions, you’ll find him on Twitter as @nicolaitwitt.

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Tips for IT admins In Windows 10 Get Started App

get-started-app

In Windows 10, version 1607 aka the Anniversary Update, Microsoft added a new section to the Get Started app targeting enterprise IT professionals called “Tips for IT Administrators.” This is only available with the Enterprise edition of Windows 10 version 1607 or later.

This tool enables a Windows admin to quickly access step-by-step instructions on common enterprise IT tasks, for example:

  1. Change the default browser
  2. Create a private store
  3. Work with Windows Update for Business
  4. Links to deployment and management tools, including Remote Server Administration Tools (RSAT), Microsoft Deployment Toolkit (MDT) and the Windows Assessment and Deployment Kit (Windows ADK)

To access Tips for IT Administrators:

  1. Press the Windows logo key, search for Get Started, then press Enter
  2. Go to Browse topics and select Tips for IT administrators

If you would like to see additional topics added to the Tips for IT Administrators section and have ideas or feedback for the Get Started app, send an email to: winpro@microsoft.com.

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How To Fix: Bitlocker Recovery Key Prompts On Every Reboot

windows-10-bitlocker-featured

There are few reports of users having Bitlocker issues following the October 2016 patches.

The issue: On every reboot, the Bitlocker recovery key is required which is quite disruptive and cumbersome. As a workaround in order to solve this issue, the following steps can be taken:

On the next reboot and once in Windows, reset Bitlocker by disabling and re-enabling it.
In administraive command prompt, do the following:
manage-bde -protectors c:-disable
then do this:
manage-bde -protectors c:-enable

At this time, I’m not certain on which patch is causing the issue but I wanted to share this info to help. You can also discuss in this TechNet post.

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How To Reset WSUS Server

3d human try to press a button

Sometimes, for various reasons, one must perform a WSUS reset function to make the WSUS server happy again. The reset process forces a resync of each update in the WSUS server with Microsoft services. This task can take a long time to complete as each update will be re-evaluated and re-downloaded, so be patient.

Here’s the command to run from an administrator command prompt::
%SystemDrive%\Program Files\Update Services\Tools\WsusUtil.exe reset

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Repair Windows Update Agent

Windows-Update

Every now and then, you may discover a computer system that is unable to detect or install available software updates from Microsoft or from your internal Windows Server Update Services (WSUS) repository. You’ll find an error such as 8007000E generated and often times running the Windows Update Troubleshooter FixIt tool is sufficient to fix Windows Update errors, but sometimes a manual approach that requires the deletion of the SoftwareDistribution content and re-registering the Windows Update components is needed, and this can be a tedious task. By using a script, this repair task can be automated.

Here are some batch scripts to help  fix a broken Windows Update Agent on a computer system. The scripts can also be run on a remote system using the ‘psexec‘ tool, which is part of the Sysinternals Suite from Microsoft. Copy and paste the content of your desired batch file below into Notepad and save the file with the “.bat” file extension, for example: repair_wua.bat .

Version 1:

Version 2:

Here’s another Windows Update Agent Reset script available on Technet.
The Windows Update Troubleshooter is available here.

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Cisco AnyConnect VPN Error – “The file ‘Manifest Tool.exe’ is not marked for installation”

anyconnectwin_reconnect2

Problem:
Error: “The file ‘Manifest Tool.exe’ is not marked for installation” occurs during installation of Cisco AnyConnect client. This generally happens due to a failed upgrade installation of the client..

Solution:
Uninstall any version of the Cisco AnyConnect VPN client if it exist on the system.
Then, edit the registry by following these steps:

  • Launch the Registry Editor by typing “regedit” in the search window or box.
  • If a dialogue box pops up displaying the following: “Do you want to allow the following program to make changes to this computer?”, Click Yes.
  • Browse to the following location: HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Installer\Products\
  • Within the Products folder, locate and delete the registry key which contains the product information for Cisco AnyConnect.
    1. Go through each key in the Products folder until you find the one for Cisco AnyConnect. For example, the registry key for Cisco AnyConnect is named {D5BA4DB6420F33A4BAA83AD8BF69D037}
    2. Please note that the version of Cisco AnyConnect that you have may display a different registry key name.
  • Close the registry editor.
  • Install the Cisco AnyConnect client.

** Please make a backup of the registry before deleting or modifying any keys.

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