TechEd Eurpoe 2014 - See you in Barcelona!!

TechEd Europe 2014 is starting next week!! (10/28 - 10/31 @ Fira, Barcelona : @TechEd_Europe). Those of you who missed the "Big one" in Austin will be enjoying this..
see you in Barcelona!

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Dell World User Forum – Three Seasoned Veterans Tell You Why It’s Worth It

Still deciding whether to spring for Dell World User Forum 2014? It’s coming up November 4-7 in Austin, and we’re doing everything we can to make it easy for you to attend. I want to point out a few highlights of what you can expect, especially as a KACE customer, then I’ll let a few DWUF veterans tell you about their ROI.

BOGO and a free pass to Dell World

User Forum is a lot more than panels and exhibits. User Forum brings you together with the Dell experts – engineers, architects, product managers – who build and support the products you work with day in and day out. It’s your chance to come in with a five-pound bag of questions and get them answered face to face, whether in a lab, at the Geek Bar or in a hallway.

User Forum features hands-on labs in which you can finally sit down for that hour you’ve been promising yourself and dive deep into Dell products like KACE appliances. As soon as you get back to the office – and sometimes even before then – you’ll start to see a return on your investment in productivity.

And speaking of investment, we have two financial incentives for you:

  • Your User Forum pass includes a pass to the Dell World main track event as well. Catch keynotes and presentations by Peter Diamandis of the X PRIZE Foundation, Erik Brynjolfsson of MIT and Michael Dell of – well, you know which company he works for.
  • We’re running a BOGO – a Buy-One-Get-One offer so you can share a pass with a colleague at no additional charge.

If you or your organization is a current Dell customer, User Forum is the place for you.


Here are some of the most popular KACE sessions and labs to look for:

  • K1000 Advanced Topics. Our engineers will help you understand what's under the covers of your K1000. You’ll take away a deeper understanding of how best to use this systems management platform in your environment.
  • Software Packaging/Scripting. We’ll talk about packaging, with real-world examples of tough deployments.
  • Software Distribution. We’ll go beyond the basics to some unconventional wisdom around deploying software, including large installers, complex installers and repackaging.
  • Patching: Getting Started, and Going Beyond Basics. Learn how to patch your environment with the K1000, then design a sustainable patching system with integrated automation and reporting.
  • Troubleshooting the K1000. Understanding how to debug is a skill all admins should hone regularly.

We’ll cover these topics and more in breakout sessions, self-paced labs and hands-on labs led by instructors.

3 veterans weigh in on Dell World User Forum

But you don’t have to take my word for it. I asked a few real-world system administrators why they think User Forum is worth it. Here are some of their answers:

  • Ron Falkoff, System Analyst, Mary Institute and Saint Louis Country Day School (Missouri)

“User Forum was productive for us because it accelerated our use of the KACE appliances. This is when we can raise specific issues we are having with others during birds-of-a-feather, or just with our peers in other industries having the same experiences.

“On the way home one year, I implemented Smart Labels from San Francisco Airport, they populated by the time I got to O’Hare, and I began using them when I got to the St. Louis Airport. Another year, I fixed patching remotely on my appliance while talking to an expert at the Geek Bar.

“I would tell people to not miss the product feedback, and to go to one session outside their comfort zone.”

  • Stacy Crotser, Computer Lab Administrator, Sam M. Walton College of Business, University of Arkansas

“I got some great stuff out of the instructor-led labs. Getting to watch a presentation, then jumping right in to try it myself was fantastic! I learned lots of techniques and implemented them when I got home. I have referred time and again to the USB key with all the instructor-led presentations and training sessions. That USB key was the single best thing I have EVER gotten from a conference, and I got value out of it all year long.

“If you are a KACE administrator, then the User Forum is a MUST! There was more information jam-packed into the conference than you could pick up otherwise in a whole year.”

  • Deedra Pearce, Director of Information Systems, Green Clinic Surgical Hospital (Louisiana)

“Before I attended User Forum, I didn't interact much with our KBOXes; I did what I needed to do, then got right out, so I didn't realize all the capabilities they had. At User Forum it was so nice to see all the software integration, especially with all our other appliances. As soon as we returned, we got involved in the 6.0 update and couldn't wait to use the new user-friendly dashboard we’d learned about.

“As IT director I learned so much at User Forum. I’ve been able to help make our CIO’s daily job so much easier in the past year as I've learned more about the system. User Forum has helped me develop a relationship with Dell, and especially with the KACE team.”

Your turn

So there you have them – three seasoned veterans telling you why Dell World User Forum 2014 is worth it. As KACE training lead, I keep in regular contact with peers at lots of companies using KACE. The networking and user base at User Forum grow steadily year upon year.

  • Have a look at the User Forum agenda and start picking out the labs and sessions you want to attend.
  • Double your internal expertise by grabbing your BOGO now. Register for User Forum and get a pass to all Dell World sessions.
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Is SCCM forcing you to reboot your PC during that "really important meeting"? this might help

I may get a lot of heat from SCCM Admins that want to make sure that the product does its job. HOWEVER...
there are moments where you fall victim to your own device. Since this is a Techie community, i am not afraid to post this, knowing that this will be used Wisely!
if your PC installs patches and warns you that the device is going to be rebooted soon, try the following
1. Open a CMD prompt with Admin credentials
2. type in Shutdown -a
3. this should abort the shutdown until you manually initiates it
with all said, sticking to the norm is sometimes the best option. but, there may be moments that this comes in handy :).
this post describes more fun extensions:
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Lync 2011 stops working after the upgrade to OS X Yosemite 10.10

After the upgrade of your Mac to Yosemite Lync 2011 will cease to work.

To fix the issue you need to: 

  1. Open the system preferences and click on Language and Region
  2. Add English (U.S.) to the language list and drag it on the top of the list
  3. When you close the system preferences a pop up will inform you that you need to reboot
  4. After the reboot open the system preferences again and click on Language and Region
  5. Drag the original language you had on the top before to begin this procedure and reboot again

This should fix the Lync 2011 issue (until Microsoft will release a patch...hopefully)

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weird 'complete' install

Another strange day in the office..

Install with GUI, setup type has radio button options


So, far, all quite normal...
Default install is complete….

Looking at the custom install, two features are NOT installed. (bear that in mind)

So you would think that a silent install would install the complete option (with all the features, as requested by the user)

Oh, no. It’s way weirder than that.

I get a call saying ‘some files are missing’. So, can you be more specific?? How is this happening??

When I look into the MSI, I see a lot of files in the folder they are talking about, checking the features, its all a bit unclear about which features go where. Then I realise some features have the level set in the Feature table to 101 or 201. With InstallShield the default INSTALLLEVEL=100 (in Wise it was 3). So I would expect those features to NOT be installed normally (but since the Complete is the default...why aren't they there)

So, I will just check the INSTALLLEVEL property, hmmm, its not set.

When you select the complete button and click next, how are all the features getting installed???

So, the setup type dialogue, has a radio button option,

Two options, as you can see from the image, complete and custom. But complete is actually ‘typical’

There is a control event so that when the Typical button (which appears with the text ‘Complete’) is selected, the event AddLocal is created with an argument of ALL.

ControlEvent table info:
SetupType          Next      AddLocal             ALL         _IsSetupTypeMin = "Typical"      3

I thought it might have done something cleverer like changing the INSTALLLEVEL property so the correct features are installed. So, I fixed this in a hurry by changing the Level of the features in the feature table to 1. So they are all installed. But it was bugging me.

So, now, why did they do it this way??

Having a rant to someone else about this, I remember that I did some work for a bank a while ago, moving them from Wise to InstallShield. They wanted the install setup type to have 3 options. Wise by default has the 3 options, I think Typical, Custom & Complete. InstallShield only has two, Typical and Custom. I had to modify the setup type dialogue to have 3 options available. Quite tricky, not super hard, but when you create MSI’s to install silently for years, to do a custom dialogue box is tricky. Or for a techy, fun, an interesting day.

I think the vendor had the same sort of issue, wanting to get 3 options, which is why ‘typical’ appears as Complete. So they have repurposed the Typical install (which is normally a minimal install) and called it complete, then making it a complete install by making the AddLocal=ALL, which is not the  public property (ADDLOCAL), I am a bit confused by that, if I had more time I might try changing the controlevent to the public property, OK, did that, still didn’t work.

Stick with the change in the Feature table…. (with an MST of course)

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