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If you are playing/played Skyrim you’d understand.
That is all.

So, in the midst of the holiday season I’ve not had a lot of time to blog, if I’ve had time it’s been spent either coding or playing one of the many games that have been coming out this holiday season.

This past week I took some time off to get away with my wife and and spend some time alone while my mother in law watched the kids.  I can’t begin to express how amazing it was to just relax with my wife and enjoy each others company.  To sit and talk, uninterrupted about something other than the work or kids.  We also went to see courageous while we were together.  We really enjoyed it, and it was nice to see a movie that we both could enjoy that covered values that we agree with.

It was especially nice considering the time was intended for us to grow together and reconnect.  This offered us that opportunity, and we have our in laws to thank for that.  Of course all good things must come to an end and this was no different.  We then spent the rest of the week with family, enjoying ourselves, but wearing ourselves out as well.  Games, kids, food, sickness, and well, family (and all that implies).

As far as gaming is concerned I’ve been through and am currently playing: battlefield 3 (pc), Assassin’s Creed Revelations (ps3), Resistance 3 (ps3), gears of war 3 (360), Uncharted 3 (ps3), Skyrim (pc), and swtor beta (pc).  I’ve so far, omitted batman arkham city and modern warfare 3.  I’ll be throwing some more technical blogs up later I’d suspect, especially involving some things I have going building an sccm health check script that’s fairly comprehensive yet light weight.  We’ll see how that goes.

For those wondering, I still don’t have any news on my current job situation.  So until I’m told otherwise, I am employed.  I suppose I’ll make it through my holiday’s with it from the way things look, but you never know.  Thanks for those praying for me during this time, they are always welcome.

That’s about it for my update, until next time, have a happy holiday.

Since I posted anything personal on here that a non-techie person could read.  I’ve had a lot of things going on to me, and around me; so it’s about time to spill it.

Let’s start with some of the good things going on.


She’s getting stronger, and her confidence is growing.


Most people may not realize how huge seeing her sitting up on her own in a shopping cart is to her mother and I.  Is she behind?  Sure, but she’s making progress, and for that we are thankful.

Now, she’s also becoming more and more aware of things she wants to do and realizing she can’t do them (so it would seem) and she gets increasingly more frustrated and that breaks our hearts to witness.  So moments like this where she’s sitting like a big girl, elicits a very proud and triumphant smile from her beautiful little face.


He keeps growing, and he’s developing such a strong sense of right and wrong.  He’s also got a great sense of humor and a huge heart.


He’s as high energy as ever, and continues to push boundaries though mind you.  Asking questions and wearing his emotions on his sleeve.  He’ll be going into speech therapy soon, more for conversational reasons than his inability to pronounce single words.  With his high energy comes his blurt speaking as I like to think of it.  Essentially he has a million thoughts in his head and his mouth will only go so fast to convey that message.  With all that being said though, every day he does something to test my ire, yet cause an absolute swelling of pride over him.  A 3 year old in true form (soon to be 4, which he is certainly excited about).


There isn’t really a whole lot to say that she doesn’t say on her own blog, but we continue to grow together as well.  Everyday, a day at a time.  She’s my earthly joy, and the one I seek for guidance and approval.  Aside from being an amazing mother and wife, she’s taken to doing a lot of crafts lately (sewing, embroidery, and scrapbooking), lately of course being for the past year or so.  It continues to amaze me the level of quality stuff she’s been making.  I’m being serious here, it’s really neat to see the way she takes such obscure random things, visualizes something, then in a few hours or a few days has this absolutely impressive piece of work.

I also love the fact she has a hobby now.  I’ve always kind of been one to be into something.  Coding, studying obscure subjects, collecting anime, playing video games, tweaking hardware, building networks, etc.  Amanda has always had things she’s into I guess, but never really had the time/money/equipment/support/motivation to follow through on it but now she has and it excites me to see her pouring herself into it.


So the current situation for me is pretty, interesting.  My company was bought out a few weeks ago in what is (admittedly) a great deal for the shareholders.  The only kicker is, it could be bad for me, as in lose my job bad.  I’m not presently assuming that, but the reality is there.  I can’t really disclose any more then that at this time, but it’s a matter of concern.

I’m not really sure what else there is to say, I’ve been coding a lot, studying a lot, and (with all the games coming out) gaming a lot.  There never seems to be a shortage of things that need to be done, or things I want done.  Par for the course I guess, and that sums up what’s been going on lately. 

If only things were always this simple.

cde cde cbnhjtgvffffffffffffffffffffffrffffffffffrcde cde cde ftrh,.                                 vggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggg

gggggggggggggggggggggffffcggggggggggggggvv n bbbhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhnhjHoffcccccccccvvqtgfgfgfgfgfgfgfgfgfgfgfgfgfgfgfgfgfgfgfgfg








Redid the File Renamer script for you based on what you asked for. This should tag common video files as v and pictures (well everything that isn’t excluded) as p.  I also added a file browser to the script as well as a general graphical interface to kind of make things simpler.  If you don’t want it in there I can easily strip it out and put it back to command line.

Script: Renamer.ps1
Author: Daniel Belcher
Modified: 11/5/11
    $SHELL = New-Object -comObject Shell.Application  
	$FOLDER = $SHELL.BrowseForFolder(0, $MSG, 0, $PATH)
	    if ($FOLDER -ne $NULL) 
		$SHELL = New-Object -ComObject Wscript.Shell
Select Folder with contnets to modify via Shell.Application namespace
and verify that the choice is correct with Wscript popup method.
   $FOLDER = Folder -MSG "Select your folder..." -Path .\
if($FOLDER -eq $NULL) {
Message -MSG "Must select a folder to continue." -Title "Error" 
$VERIFY = (Message `
"You Selected:
Its contents will be renamed, are you sure?" -Title "Verify")
	if($VERIFY -eq "2") {break}
Grab directory contents and process
	$LIST = Get-ChildItem "$FOLDER\*" -Exclude `
	*ps1,*exe,*mp3,*dll,*ini,*cfg,*ocx,*doc?,*xls?,*txt|Sort-Object lastwritetime
			$X = 0
	ForEach($OBJECT in $LIST)
		{$EXTENSION = $OBJECT.ToString().Split("\") | Select -Last 1; 
		$EXTENSION = $EXTENSION.Split(".") | Select-Object -Last 1
	if($EXTENSION.Contains("ps1") -eq $TRUE){break}
$TYPE = "p"
			mov{$TYPE = "v"}
			avi{$TYPE = "v"}
			wmv{$TYPE = "v"}
			mpg{$TYPE = "v"}
			mpeg{$TYPE = "v"}
			$FILEINFO = New-Object System.IO.DirectoryInfo($OBJECT)
				$NAME = $FILEINFO.LastWriteTime.GetDateTimeFormats() |`
					Select-Object -Index 99
				$NAME = "$($NAME) ($($X)) $($TYPE).$($EXTENSION)"
						Write-Output $NAME
			Rename-Item -Path "$OBJECT" $NAME
			$X = $X+1


Feel free to modify this anyway you like, add more extensions, exclude more etc. This was kind of a lazy hack to get you what you told me, and I had a few minutes to kill since I couldn’t sleep tonight.

So I ran into a rather straight forward script request recently that turned into a ton of research for what is a very simple solution in the end. I needed to disable anonymous FTP on multiple XP machines. Now normally this wouldn’t have been an issue except that they are using version 5.1 of IIS.

Why is that a problem?

Well it wasn’t until IIS version 6.0 that WMI components were added.  Generally finding support information for these types of tasks can be the lion share of the work anyway, and in this case; that was most certainly the outcome.

In the end I found a comprehensive list of IIS metabase properties (the original list read as if they were only accessible via WMI which I found later to be untrue) and I was free to begin exploring them all individually and building some very simple scripts to modify our server properties.

First, lets disable anonymous FTP since that’s what started us on this:

Set oFtpServer = GetObject("IIS://localhost/MSFtpsvc")
	oFtpServer.Put "AllowAnonymous", 0 


Now for our VDs I’d like to disable anonymous while utilizing the integrated windows authentication instead.

Set oWebServer = GetObject("IIS://localhost/W3SVC")
	owebserver.put "authflags", 4


Simple enough, instantiate the object, put a property change in, then commit the change.  In these examples I’m setting the changes at the root, but it’s possible to drill them down to specific VDs by finishing the full path when instantiating.

Thankfully technet saved my behind after some digging, but here’s the list of Metabase Properties for anyone reading this who might find themselves at a point of frustration over dealing with legacy IIS installs.

Be sure to also familiarize yourself with the data types etc if this is new to you.

Alright, so I received a pretty loaded technical topic from my good friend Matthew.  Mind you I asked for a technical topic to write about, and he did provide one but the question was:

What is an API and why/when would you use one?

Now seeing as how I already stated that is a loaded question, it deserves a bit of programming fundamentals.  I promise to keep this high level, but with enough detail that a novice programmer could glean a bit of workable information from it.

First I want to explain some basic program flow and design (paradigms).  I’m going to provide some very basic examples of procedural programming and object oriented programming using php (high level).  Lets begin with a very basic example of procedural code.

Put simply procedural programming is just building things to run in a sequence but dividing it up into functions or subroutines.  I’ve demonstrated examples of this in previous posts, but here’s a simple example:

	echo '<br />';

function example($arg)
	echo "This is a very simple example of $arg";

function endthis($arg)
	echo "This is the end of our $arg";

Ok, so what do we have here?

We have a prescribed run order, with a fixed goal in mind.  We are calling the function example with the argument string “functions”, echoing a break, then calling the function endthis with the string argument “example”. 

Simple enough, now why is this important?

Well it’s important to see the way I am passing arguments INTO the function in order for it to produce an output.

Now in more complex applications the best thing to do is to break apart your code and build it into objects (a collection of functions and variables) that perform like tasks and tie them together.  This is object oriented programming.

Lets just take a quick look at a sample object and how it works (stick with me, this is will become relevant to APIs I promise):

	$object = New SaySomething;
$object->set_words("jimmy crack corn and I don't care");

echo $object->get_words();

class SaySomething {
	var $words;
		function set_words($new_name) {
			$this->words = $new_name;
		function get_words() {
			return $this->words;

Ok, we instantiated the object we created, passed a string to it, then retrieved the sting.

Think of it like this, we have a program, we are loading it.  Once we have that program loaded we can begin to tell it what to do.  You can have as many instances of this object or other objects as your memory can handle. 

This paradigm affords us a massive amount of flexibility by giving us a standalone object for completing multiple like tasks.  It’s also easily extensible, allowing us to create child objects that inherit the functionality of their parent without having to modify the parent.  That will allow us over time to build a framework so to speak that we could use to quickly develop new applications on.

So, what does this all have to do with an API?

Looking at how the OOP paradigm communicates with each individual part, instantiating and then passing and receiving content.  An API isn’t much different than that.  The API simply exposes an application for communication.  It allows for interoperability from one application to another by passing messages to each other.

An example of common social networking APIs allow you to call for user information, as well as passing user information back.  Let’s use Twitter for an example. 

I want to post something to twitter, but from a custom application I’ve made.  I need a way to pass that information from my application to twitter.  The API is the interface point to allow that communication.  In a sense, twitter becomes my applications twitter object by virtue of calling and using the API (there are some stark differences, but generally this is a true statement).

The difference is, using the API doesn’t require intimate knowledge of what is going on behind the scenes.  I won’t be modifying anything within the application.  I’m simply sending and receiving information through the API.  The same is true for building an API, less is often more.  As you can imagine exposing your applications to external input and output can be a dangerous game; but that’s a much larger subject. 

The general take a way here is that although the application may consist of multiple functions and/or objects the API simply allows you to interlink one or more applications via messages.

A friend of mine Tom Miller put it rather well in a conversation we had over the subject.  “An API is a lot like a remote control”

I want the TV to change channels, I pick up the remote, press the channel up button, and the channel changes.  The remote IS the API.  My hand is the program communicating to it, and the TV is the program receiving the signal.  At no point do I need to understand how the remote works, or how the TV changed it’s channel. 

Ok, so when/why would I use an API?

That’s generally a design thing, but in most cases when you are building a platform or an application you want to improve it’s usability and not limit it.  Extensibility is the name of the game, so it makes sense to make something that would allow users to integrate other things with your application.

It’s good design because it achieves two major things towards (what I would consider) application design success.

1) It opens your platform up to the imagination of it’s user which can produce some really neat things.

2) It creates an operating environment for users with applications that depend on your platform which increases usage.

Hopefully this hasn’t left you completely confused, but like I said, it was a loaded question.


yea, I am that guy

Ok, so as I stated at the tail end of my last post, here’s your PowerShell to export data from Active Directory to a MSSQL Database.  This code can be easily modified to pull whatever AD info you want and to insert it.  I make use of the System.Data.SqlClient namespace, so it’s worth mentioning that you can also use MySql.Data.MySqlClient or System.Data.OracleClient for your needs.  You can examine what I’m using via the SqlClient namespace and easily correlate it back to your respective need.


Script: AD to DB
Author: Daniel Belcher
#$ErrorActionPreference = "silentlycontinue"
$CHECK = Get-Module ActiveDirectory
	Write-Host -ForegroundColor Red `
	"Can't find the ActiveDirectory module, please insure it's installed.`n"
ELSE {Import-Module ActiveDirectory}

<#Variable String values for customizing
	the DB and to write to and OU to lookup against
		as well as the time range in days#>
<#DataBase Name:#>
$DB = "Data"
<#SQL Server Name:#>
$SQLSRVR = "localhost\sqlexpress"
<#Table to Create:#>
$TABLE = "ADExport"	
<#Days old based on activity according to passwordlastset:#>
$DAYS = 180
<#Root OU to Search:#>
$ORGUNIT = "Root OU to Search"
<#Table Create String#>
$CREATE = "CREATE TABLE $TABLE (AD_Machine varchar(150) not null PRIMARY KEY, `
	OU varchar(100),DistinguishedName varchar(max),PasswordLastSet datetime, `
	OS varchar(100),ServicePack varchar(100))"
<#Setting up object variables
	to be used for AD lookup#>
	$TIME = [datetime]::today.adddays(-$DAYS)
$LOOKUP = (Get-ADOrganizationalUnit -LDAPFilter "(Name=$ORGUNIT)")
	$ADARRAY = (Get-ADComputer -SearchBase $lookup.DistinguishedName -properties `
			name,passwordlastset,operatingsystem,operatingsystemservicepack `
			-Filter 'passwordlastset -ge $TIME')  
<#Setting up object variables
	to be used for AD lookup#>
	$TIME = [datetime]::today.adddays(-$DAYS)
$LOOKUP = (Get-ADOrganizationalUnit -LDAPFilter "(Name=$ORGUNIT)")
	$ADARRAY = (Get-ADComputer -SearchBase $lookup.DistinguishedName -properties `
			name,passwordlastset,operatingsystem,operatingsystemservicepack `
			-Filter 'passwordlastset -ge $TIME')  
<#Connect and cleanup the AD table
	Connection remains open for writting#>
$SQLCON = New-Object System.Data.SqlClient.SqlConnection("Data Source=$SQLSRVR; `
			Initial Catalog=$DB;Integrated Security=SSPI")
		$SQL = $SQLCON.CreateCommand() 
			$SQL.CommandText ="DROP TABLE $TABLE"
				$SQL.ExecuteNonQuery() > $null
		$SQL.CommandText = $CREATE
			$SQL.ExecuteNonQuery() > $null
<#Begin loop through the ADARRAY for
	Variables and begin inserting Rows to table#>
	$X = 0
		$OU = $OBJECT.DistinguishedName.ToString().Substring($OBJECT.Name.ToString().Length+4)
			$DN = $OBJECT.DistinguishedName
				$PWDLS = $OBJECT.PasswordLastSet
					$OS = $OBJECT.OperatingSystem
						$SP = $OBJECT.OperatingSystemServicePack
#\\\\Any Table Data to be written goes here:\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\
	$SQL.CommandText = $INSERT
		$SQL.ExecuteNonQuery() > $null
$X = $X + 1			
"$X Records written to $TABLE in database $DB on server $SQLSRVR"
<#Cleanup variables and close connections#>



We have 5 key variables to work from here:

  1. $DB – Name of Database to write to
  2. $SQLSRVR – Name/IP of the SQL server
  3. $TABLE – Table to build this data to
  4. $DAYS – Age of machines to pull from AD
  5. $ORGUNIT – The base OU to search through recursively


These of course are set to preference or need.

Now what the script does is, it figures out the date using the datetime function in .net factored by the number of days back you declare.

Then it looks up and stores the base OU we will search through then builds the object with the AD Objects it finds.

Next it instantiates the SqlClient object and makes a connection to the server and database we specified in our variables.  We drop the table specified, then recreate the table.

Now the real work begins, we loop through the AD Objects one by one and cherry pick the specific properties out that we want from the object (an area that PowerShell excels at I might add) and declare them as variables to be finally written to our database table.

And for good measure we count each loop and store that so we can see how many records were found and attempted, then cleanup all our variables used during the script.

So in my last two posts I was discussing how to build a script for forcing a SCCM client inventory and how to build a custom collection for them to deploy to.

There is still one more problem, as I stated in the first post, you need to run the script against the proper interpreter.  As more and more people begin to adopt Windows 7 x64 into their environments this issue will become more and more prevalent.  Fortunately there is a simple solution.  Build in your package source directory multiple batch files that contain the following in them:

if exist %systemroot%\SysWOW64\cscript.exe goto 64
cscript "inventory.vbs /full"
%systemroot%\SysWOW64\cscript.exe "inventory.vbs /full"

You will want to build one for each variant of the script you will be running.  This also eliminates the need of creating double of every package>program and prevents you from having to do any advertisement restrictions, it will all be managed at run time.  Modify lines 2 and 5 of your bat file for whatever you need to be run and you are all set.

Finally, one more note of interest.

When building your advertisement, make sure the data is being downloaded before execution (default setting).  For good measure make sure it’s also enabled for unprotected distribution points under the advertisement schedule page.


As far as the command line is concerned it just needs to be:


That’s it for now. 

Also, I plan on posting a guide for building a Powershell script you can schedule to pull AD information to a SQL database which you can leverage for quick information gathering. Until then, have a good one.