I miss @Gist already

I miss Gist. Did you ever use Gist? if not, read this entertaining and informative post from David Gerwitz: "Contact managers and CRM systems are incredibly stupid"

For me, Gist did everything I wanted it to. It had a browser plugin to collect all my (personal) gmail contacts and messages. It had an Outlook add-in to collect all my work contacts from emails and calendar entries. It had a mobile app so I could sync and search contact info on the go. And best of all, it used whatever info I had for my contacts and then enriched their profile with social network info from twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, blogs etc. Gist even let me customize my own profile and publish as a sort of online resume [screenshot].

It was so good, that RIM bought it up Gist by BlackBerry, and has now decided to shut it down.

I'm REALLY disappointed in this because I can't find a suitable replacement.

How about you, do you have a good way to collect, enrich, and de-duplicate your contacts?


How to setup RAM sensitive software on a Hyper-V VM with Dynamic Memory

When you create a new Hyper-V virtual machine, configured with Dynamic Memory, the advantage is to boot a virtual server with minimal RAM allocated (e.g. 512 MB), but the catch is some setups check that the computer it's being installed on has enough memory.  I recently was disappointed to see that this same issue / inconvenience exists as I was running through the VMM setup for 2012 SP1 (CTP2). I tried Aidan's tip of using Paint, but I could not get paint to use enough memory, so that the setup prerequisites would let me get by.

Fortunately, I found a post from 2008 on the Windows SDK blog that mentioned tcpanalyzer.exe and consume.exe as "hidden gems" in the SDK. Consume.exe sounded promising, so I went to fetch the latest Windows SDK. Fortunately, consume.exe is still there.

Consume.exe is all of 21KB, so I copied into my newly minted Hyper-V VM (for more on my favorite way to load up a new Windows Server 2012 VM, see … ) and ran consume.exe -physical-memory -time 60.

The 'Assigned Memory' value in my Hyper-V Manager window climbed up above the 2GB (2242 MB) I needed to proceed, and I was able to finish my setup.


Gartner MQ - APM Review of Microsoft System Center 2012


With the launch of the System Center 2012 product bundle in 2012, Microsoft integrated its once separate AVIcode APM technology, acquired in 2010, into the core Operations Manager (OpsMgr) component of System Center 2012 agent and server. This provides .NET monitoring functionality for those applications written on the framework. Microsoft has also improved monitoring in OpsMgr around network, Linux and Java systems. While these new features are welcome in environments with basic needs, they are not comprehensive enough to compete with products that have effective multiplatform support. Microsoft enjoys having customers with a heavy reliance on Microsoft stacks, which is common in today's enterprises, many of which purchase this package as part of an enterprise agreement. Microsoft has significantly simplified pricing for System Center 2012, requiring that customers license standard or data center products; each includes the full System Center suite inclusive of monitoring (and APM), configuration management, backup and recovery, antivirus, anti-malware, orchestration, service management (service desk), and virtualization management. Although pricing was increased for System Center 2012, the offering includes all technologies for a single license cost. Some current customers will have a reduced cost, while others will see an increase in pricing. As enterprises leverage more System Center products, this cost difference can be easily eliminated. Gartner clients report that OpsMgr is still most often used as a monitoring technology without APM, but this is likely to change as Microsoft creates deeper linkages from application life cycle and packaged applications to the OpsMgr APM functionality.

  • With the packaging of APM, server and application instance monitoring, network monitoring, and basic Java monitoring into a single product install and license, Microsoft has a high value proposition, with no additional cost for APM functionality.
  • By packaging the technologies together in System Center, when compared with other APM products, OpsMgr is still one of the price leaders, while the functionality of the suite is far wider than just APM or monitoring. This price point and better leveraging of the APM functionality to automatically provide APM functionality for the Microsoft applications written on top of .NET will provide Microsoft additional monitoring of SharePoint, Exchange and other core Web-based Microsoft technologies.
  • Microsoft's control of the .NET development environment and a compelling ALM suite in Team Foundation Server (TFS) provide the ability to detect, triage, escalate and collaborate on issues from monitoring to the development organization. This will prove especially important as organizations move to agile release processes or go in a larger DevOps direction.
  • Microsoft still remains focused on its technology stack, with minimal support for non-Microsoft technologies; the larger partner ecosystem provides solutions here, but can also increase cost and complexity of the implementation.
  • Microsoft's SaaS offering, Global Service Monitor (GSM), is well-integrated, but only provides synthetic end-user experience monitoring functionality, while other vendors are currently offering APM SaaS solutions meeting all five dimensions, even on Microsoft's own Azure platform. This shows a lack of execution around Microsoft's management philosophy pertaining to its own public cloud.
  • Java monitoring is a new capability, but is limited to Java Management Extensions (JMX) only, not allowing insight into any of the dimensions of APM, including the critical transactions tracing or real-user experience monitoring. The lack of ability to trace across application tiers is critical to many .NET applications, as they are often part of an enterprise Java Web services ecosystem. Microsoft acknowledges this shortcoming and is looking to improve its capabilities.

I’ve registered for the 2012 Bike MS Ride

You can support me by clicking this link:

Riding a bicycle - a skill that many of us learned ages ago - seems like such a simple thing, but it can make such a big difference to many people when you’re riding for a reason. Multiple sclerosis impacts people’s lives every day, and we ride once a year to put an end to it. We ride for those who may not have the strength to pedal themselves.

By joining my team, you will be signing up for not just a great ride, but also for a celebration of the great things we can achieve when working hard together for a common cause. Each mile brings us that much closer to a cure - closer to a world without multiple sclerosis.

Every hour of every day, someone is diagnosed with MS. That's why I registered for Bike MS, and why I'm asking you to support my fundraising efforts with a tax-deductible donation.

The National Multiple Sclerosis Society is committed to building a movement by and for people with MS that will move us closer to a world free of this disease. It's faster and easier than ever to support this cause that's so important to me. Simply click on the link at the bottom of this message. If you prefer, you can send your contribution directly to the address listed below.

Any amount, great or small, helps make a difference in the lives of people impacted by MS. I appreciate your support and look forward to keeping you updated on my progress along the way!

P.S. Learn more about Bike MS online at If you would like more information about the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, how proceeds from Bike MS are used, or the other ways you can get involved to create a world free of MS, please visit


Convert-WindowsImage.ps1 -ShowUI

I have used WIM2VHD.wsf in the past, and now that I'm spending more time in Hyper-V (both in Windows 8 Release Preview, and in Server 2012 Release Candidate), this Convert-WindowsImage.ps1 PowerShell script provides a nicely improved workflow for quickly creating new VHD (or VHDX) files.

Here's an example of how you can use it in a GUI mode. In this example, I pointed the source to the Windows Server 2012 RC ISO that I downloaded, and created a new dynamic 40GB VHDX from the Standard edition within that ISO.

PS E:\scripts> .\Convert-WindowsImage.ps1 -ShowUI

Note: the current directory where the script is launched from will be the path where the new VHD or VHDX will be created.

Windows(R) Image to Virtual Hard Disk Converter for Windows(R) 8
Copyright (C) Microsoft Corporation.  All rights reserved.
Version 6.2.8424.0.amd64fre.fbl_core1_hyp_dev(mikekol).120517-1616 Release Preview
INFO   : Launching UI...


INFO   : Opening ISO 8400.0.WINMAIN_WIN8RC.120518-1423_X64FRE_SERVER_EN-US-HRC_SSS_X64FRE_EN-US_DV5.ISO...
INFO   : Looking for H:\sources\install.wim...
INFO   : Scanning WIM metadata...
INFO   : Selected Working Directory is E:\Virtual Machines\Hyper-V Disks...
INFO   : Image 2 selected (ServerStandard)...
INFO   : Creating sparse disk...
INFO   : Attaching VHDX...
INFO   : Disk initialized...
INFO   : Disk partitioned...
INFO   : Volume formatted...
INFO   : Access path (I:\) has been assigned...
INFO   : Applying image to VHDX.  This could take a while...
INFO   : Signing disk...
INFO   : Image applied.  Making image bootable...
INFO   : Opening I:\boot\bcd for configuration...
INFO   : BCD configuration complete. Moving on...
INFO   : Drive is bootable.  Cleaning up...
INFO   : Closing VHDX...
INFO   : Closing Windows image...
INFO   : Done.


And now I have a new "Server2012RCstd.vhdx" that I can attach to a new virtual machine and boot!