PowerShell Prep

Whenever I switch to a new computer, I frequently launch PowerShell, run a cmdlet, and the screen barfs red text to let me know that the cmdlet isn’t recognized. Which quickly reminds me that I’m an idiot and forgot to install the modules to my new system. Enter this blog post!

While I often keep PowerShell notes/tips in my OneNote notebook, I thought it would be useful for others to share here. There are many great blog posts already about setting up PowerShell, but I don’t recall seeing one that includes all of the “gotchas” that come with setting up a new system. Hopefully I’ve caught them here.

If you’re on a Windows machine, you should already have some basic modules, but how do you know for sure? Launch PowerShell (always run as administrator) and type:

Get-Module -ListAvailable

You should see a “laundry list” of the available PowerShell modules, which at this point, are primarily the ones installed by default with PowerShell. So with all these modules, why do you need anymore? There are thousands of different PowerShell modules out there that serve different purposes. For example, the ones I use regularly are MSOnline, ExchangeOnlineManagement, MicrosoftTeams and AzureADPreview for Microsoft 365 (M365) administration.

So how do you get these modules? First, it’s good to know where they come from, which is usually the PowerShell Gallery. The easiest way to install a new module is through PowerShell itself. Microsoft has some documentation on Getting Started with the PowerShell Gallery, but skipping to the good part – here’s the info on how to install a module:

Install-Module installs the module to $env:ProgramFiles\WindowsPowerShell\Modules by default. This requires an administrator account.”

The catch: before you can use Install-Module to install modules from the PowerShell Gallery, you must first install the PowerShellGet module. Another catch: you need to install the NuGet Provider before you can get PowerShellGet (get it?). Remember to run your PowerShell session as an administrator:

Install-PackageProvider -Name NuGet -Force
Install-Module -Name PowerShellGet -Force

And one more catch: if Install-PackageProvider throws an error, it may mean that your system is not running the latest version of TLS, which will need to be installed. Ali Tajran has a great post on how to resolve this issue, so please see his post if you need to check/update TLS.

FINALLY your system is ready to install some modules! Search the PowerShell Gallery to find the modules that you need to wield the power of PowerShell!

Hey PowerShell – you’re pretty…

As a Microsoft 365 admin, I use PowerShell frequently. Like, every. single. day. My fellow Exchange Online admins will often ask where to find something in the Exchange Admin Center (EAC), and my response is usually the profound, “I dunno.” Finally, one of them asked how I can be an M365 global admin, and not know where stuff is? For that question, I had a much better answer – “Because I rarely use the GUI – I use PowerShell!”

That conversation prompted a request from my colleagues to get them started with PowerShell – what it is, how it works, how can they use it effectively, etc. Enter digitaldivas.net – my long-languishing blog that I have vowed to start using more, primarily for PowerShell posts. For a while now I have wanted a place for “notes to myself” on things that worked, things that didn’t, things I want to remember for later, so my goal is to do that here in the hopes that it will help others as well. Stay tuned!

Favorite Holiday Recipes

At the request of my friend Linda, who is collecting some Thanksgiving recipe suggestions, here are some of our family’s favorite holiday recipes. (Click on each title to download the PDF recipe).

Welsh Potato Stuffing – an Old Standby

My family has been making Welsh Potato Stuffing at Thanksgiving for generations. This recipe came over with my family from Wales, and has been handed down through the years. From my memories, it came down from my great-grandmother, Mary Hannah Wetzel, but of course I fondly remember my grandmother and my Mom making it, which is how I learned.

Grandma’s Ham Balls

This is another one that’s been around as long as I can remember, and it’s more of an appetizer or item for a party tray. My Grandma Cain’s ham balls are tangy, sweet and savory all at once! Just have to try them to love them – they’re usually the first thing to go when I bring them to any holiday gathering!

Corn Casserole

Some of my favorite cookbooks are local church cookbooks, and that’s where I got this recipe quite a few years ago, and it’s been a family favorite ever since! It’s on the sweet side (like a sweet cornbread), so not a “salty” corn recipe, like many are. Goes very well with ham!

Cream Cheese Pound Cake

Got this recipe from my friend and co-worker at Kennesaw State University, Jaimie Ward. Three words: Best. Poundcake. Evah!

Mock Mincemeat Pie and Hard Sauce

My grandmother, Virginia Doerr (aka “Grog”), used to make a mincemeat pie for my grandfather every Thanksgiving and Christmas. It always smelled *so* good, but the thought of eating a sweet pie with meat in it just kind of grossed me out as a kid. So… last year I saw this on Bon Appetit – a mock mincemeat pie, made totally with fruit. It smelled exactly like my grandmother’s pie, but no meat! Tasted great! The original Bon Appetit recipe did not call for hard sauce, but my grandparents would be rolling over in their graves if there was mincemeat pie and NO hard sauce! *GASP*! Not to mention that hard sauce is just excellent, cause you know, it has alcohol in it. 🙂

Enjoy! I’ll post more recipes if I think of them (and/or *locate* them)!

Another Year, Another Post

Hmm… I’m noticing that I seem to post approximately once a year, when I login to change over to the Digital Divas Halloween theme. My poor, poor languishing blog! Such is the life of a full-time Mom, full-time IT Project Manager, full-time graduate student…maid, cook…etc. Well, one day, I *will* actually finish grad school and hope to have some copious spare time. Meanwhile, don’t write me off yet – give me about another year to finish grad school and post again!

Grinning Ghosts Come Out to Socialize

OK, *technically* there aren’t any “grinning ghosts” on my Halloween theme, but you get the idea – the Digital Divas Halloween theme is back! The “grinning ghosts” reference, though, is from the “Haunted Mansion” soundtrack, and I don’t mean the recent Disney movie, I mean the original Disney “Trick or Treat” record (as in album, as in vinyl) that I have. Yes – I still have that album, and thanks to my handy-dandy new Ion USB turntable, I have now taken that album, captured it into my computer, and burned to CD for my kids to enjoy!

So, enjoy the Halloween theme and happy All Hallows Eve to everyone!

Ask any mermaid you happen to see…

Come on – you know the rest: “Ask any mermaid, you happen to see – what’s the best tuna? Chicken of the Sea!” Well, you know the rest if you’re somewhere in my age group and grew up in the U.S.

My husband and I watched with amazement as our almost 2-year-old daughter was singing to the Daisy Sour Cream jingle, “Do, do, do, do, do, do a dollop,” and this prompted us to remember many of the jingles we knew as kids, that for better or worse, still live in the crevices of our brains. And we remembered several:

“Plop, plop, fizz, fizz, oh what a relief it is!” (Alka Seltzer)

“When it says Libby’s, Libby’s, Libby’s on the label, label, label, you will like it, like it, like it on your table, table, table.”

“You deserve a break today…” McDonald’s jingle by Barry Manilow

“Like a good neighbor, State Farm is there.” Another by Mr. Manilow

“When you say Bud you’ve said it all…” Budweiser Clydesdale Commercial

“I am stuck on Band-Aid, ’cause Band-Aid’s stuck on me.” Yet another by Barry.

“Oh, I wish I were an Oscar Mayer wiener…”

“I’d like to teach the world to sing…” (Coca-cola)

In remembering these jingles, we also remembered the products, which seems rare today. Often, when someone at our dinner table says they saw a “cool commercial” for something, they can describe the commercial, but can’t remember what product it was supposed to be advertising. The jingle may seem simplistic and often annoying, but you have to admit – they get the point across, especially with name-brand recognition, which is half the battle in advertising.

So for better or for worse, which ones do you remember? And do they write ’em like they used to? Other than the Daisy Sour Cream jingle, no recent jingles came to mind (a few slogans, maybe, but no true jingles).

Of course, many of the jingles I remember may in part be because I was young and still hadn’t killed off too many brain cells yet. Oh well, let me know what you think – afterall, wouldn’t you like to be a Pepper too?

The Cutting Edge

OK – I haven’t posted in ages, mostly because I have no free time anymore with grad school classes and increased physical therapy appointments for my son. So, there are really many things I could post about, but this important development in chocolate baking warranted at least a quick post on Digital Divas, which might alternately be called “Chocolate Loving Digital Divas.”

Ya know how those “edge” brownies are so good? A bit of crunchy edge, yet still a soft gooey middle? Imagine if you could get an edge brownie every time… imagine no longer! You can indeed get an edge brownie every time with the Baker’s Edge pan! Technology rules!

Here are some very positive reviews from buyers on Amazon.com, with suggestions for other uses, like breads and even lasagna! OK – now that I’ve made you think about brownies, bread and lasagna, you may now return to your regularly scheduled day. 🙂

EGADS – It’s NOT Pink!

That’s right – Digital Divas is temporarily *not* pink! Welcome to the Halloween Theme (which may well be the Thanksgiving and Christmas themes too, since I’m now in grad school and barely have time to post much less create new themes).

Anyway, I worked on the graphics for this theme before classes started, so that’s how I was able to get this up. Well, that and a little help from my husband, Dougal,who said, “I know you’re swamped right now – would you like me to upload your Halloween theme?” Being the WordPress God that he is, I knew I could obviously trust him and jumped at the chance to actually get this theme up before Halloween. In addition to Dougal, I’d also like to credit some fellow iStockphoto artists for their contributions, first, Amanda Bodack, for her wonderful black cat, which reminds me of my beloved Spazmo kitty, and to David Russell, for his spider web and scary dangling spider! (Admit it – you know you were scared!) Both of these artists have great libraries on iStockphoto – take a look if you get a chance!

Meanwhile, back to midterms and Happy Halloween!

Reunions, PHP & Jack Black

So what do these disparate subjects have to do with each other? Read on!

My family and I recently attended my 20-year high school reunion. (Oops – did I say 20? I meant to say 10!) It was great to see all of our friends from high school, and one nice thing is that my husband went to the same high school (class of 1985), so they were his friends too!

Most of my summer, though, was spent planning for the reunion, including the reunion website. (Hence the lack of postings here.) Working on the site helped me keep up with my PHP skills, as we had several online forms, and also learn some new skills. We had an order form for reunion t-shirts, and had that form transfer/populate data to PayPal, so that classmates could order and pay through PayPal, either with credit/debit card or a PayPal account. This might not sound like a big deal in the grand scheme of web development, but we thought it was pretty nifty to be able to post an online t-shirt order form with the online payment option as well.

The reunion had a Saturday brunch for families, followed by an evening social for the adults. The event was well-planned by not only our beautiful, but smart Homecoming Queen, Jessica Birchfield. Jessica really set out with the right idea – make it fun and affordable, and moreover, flexible. She accepted input from any classmate, and tried to incorporate everyone’s ideas. And best of all – the Saturday evening social was casual dress – no purchasing a formal only to hang in the closet to collect dust after the reunion!

After an evening of shakin’ what our Mama’s gave us, we heard of a good blues band, The Mutt Brothers, playing at a local club, and headed in that direction. (Yes – it was already past midnight and we were *still* awake!) Aside from feeling like we were going to asphyxiate on smoke, we did enjoy the band, which featured guitarist Jack Black! Well, OK, it wasn’t really Jack Black, but given a couple more beers it could’ve been! Actually, his name is Greg Davis, and he’s a friend of one of our classmates, and quite talented too. All of “the Mutts” are extremely talented and we definitely recommend them if you’re looking for an awesome blues band!

Then it was back to Atlanta and back to reality. *Sigh*.