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Milwaukee Code Camp Kicks off this Fall!

by Angela 28. August 2015 10:55

Hey Midwest geeks, did you know that there is going to be a Milwaukee Code Camp this year? Milwaukee Code Camp is a free software development conference put on by local developers for the Milwaukee community. A Code Camp is always free, for developers by developers, no sales pitches and during non-working hours. Every development, design, test and craftmanship stack welcome!

I have a soft spot for these kids of events. They are for the community, and by the community, which means they need YOU.  They need you to register, to submit a talk or two if you’re so inclined, to volunteer to help out if you can, and most importantly - to tell your friends! Maybe you work for or know a company that might be interested in getting involved by sponsoring? If so, help them out. They are only free because local companies offer their support by funding the venue, food, prizes, all the things you love about these events.

Visit http://www.milwaukeeCodeCamp.com, check out their facebook page, and follow them on twitter for more information.

The Call for Speakers is open and you can submit sessions to milwaukeeCodeCamp@milwaukeeCodeCamp.com

And again - tickets are free!

When: Saturday, October 24, 2015 from 7:30 AM to 5:00 PM (CDT)

Where: UWM Engineering and Mathematical Sciences Bldg - 3200 N Cramer St Milwaukee, WI 53211

 

P.S. If you see Greg Levenhagan, be sure to give him a high five, or maybe even a hug, for kickstarting this effort in Milwaukee! Organizing conferences are a LOT of freaking work!

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Slick and Easy Integration of TFS with Slack

by Angela 26. August 2015 20:42

Maybe you’ve been lamenting the lack of robust chat functionality in TFS, or maybe you’re just already in love with the chat tools you have, and would love to have a way to make it a more integral part of your TFS experience. With the latest release of TFS, this is easier than you think! If you’ve been using VSO, or if you upgraded to 2015, you can do just that! Now while you can get super fancy and do some integration acrobatics programmatically, you can also do some quick integrations right through the TFS web UI. And I’m all about quick and easy integrations when I can get them.

In my case, I wanted to setup TFS and Slack so that I could receive important notifications from TFS right in my active chat window. It’s not hard, but there was quite a bit of bouncing around so I wanted to share the basic steps and hopefully lead you quickly down the right path to get it set up.  So fire up your TFS instance and follow along, or just grab a cup of tea and take a peek at just how simple it is to get these two great tools talkin’.

Start right here in the TFS admin tools, in the Service Hooks tab:

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When you add a new hook, there are actually quite a few options including Campfire, Jenkins, Slack, and a host of others.Once you select the service, just choose the event that you want to subscribe to, and specify any other filters or options based on the service event you are subscribing to.

Currently you can setup subscriptions for a number of events including:

build completed

code pushed (for Git team projects)

pull request create or updated (for Git team projects)

code checked in (TFVC team projects)

work item created, updated, or commented on

message posted to a team room

In this example, I am just keeping it simple and asking to be notified any time a new work item is created in the team project, at any level. I *could* have narrowed it by work item type, or even area path.

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Next you’ll need to set up an Incoming WebHook for whatever tool you are looking to send messages to from TFS. In Slack, you would go to the Configure Integrations menu to start this process:

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Assuming this is your first integration into Slack, you’d need to setup a channel to post to next. If you do have existing channels, you may select one of them assuming you don’t mind merging multiple streams of information.

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Channels give you a way to tap into a feed of messages within Slack, rather than have information from many sources all jumbled up into a single flow of data. Since it’s super simple to switch between channels in Slack, I just created a separate one for this new stream. 

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Once you have your channel setup, add the incoming WebHooks integration by grabbing the URL that will be used to send the JSON payload to Slack, and paste it into the Service Hooks dialog back in TFS.

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Make sure to hit the TEST button to ensure that everything is working as expected.

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You should see a notification from Slack about the test message (if you’ve enabled notifications), as well as in the Slack channel feed. Rinse and repeat until you’ve setup all the types of integrations you want. It’s that easy!

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Now whenever any of those configured events are triggered, you’ll get notified in Slack!

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Hopefully that quick walkthrough gave you a good idea of the kinds of integrations you can setup between TFS and some other great automation and collaboration tools using just the TFS ServiceHooks available right in the TFS web console.

Have fun and happy integrating!

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Exposing My Imposter Syndrome, One Conference at a Time

by Angela 18. August 2015 17:38

If you’ve been reading my blog for any length of time, you know that while I tend towards posting about community events, all things TFS, and agile, I sometimes get introspective. Maybe it’s my age.The older I get, the more navel-gazey I get. And at 41, well, that’s a LOT of introspection.

About a year ago, I wrote two posts that were really difficult but necessary to share: a post on fear and vulnerability, and a post on giving yourself (and others) permission to fail. Both had been inspired by a combination of recent experiences and a few really great books I’d read. And I’ll admit, I was terrified to hit submit on each of them, and the feedback was both dramatic and positive. I don’t know if it is cognitive bias, or if the industry is turning a corner, but talks about these kinds of topics seem to be more and more prevalent at the professional conferences I’ve been going to over the past year. Entire tracks devoted to things like fostering a healthy corporate culture, work-life balance, and effective leadership are cropping up everywhere and I love it! Not that sessions on the hottest new JavaScript libraries or ALM tools isn’t also fun, but having a positive and supportive environment to work in is just as critical as the tools that you use to do your job.

As conference season approached this year, I decided to add a soft skills talk of my own – on imposter syndrome. Imposter syndrome is something I’ve struggled with for all of my adult life, and most of my adolescence. Being a woman in a field like IT certainly doesn’t make it any easier either. Most people are shocked to find out this is something I experience, given how readily I’ll volunteer to speak at large events or even guest host a podcast. But keep in mind, Imposter Syndrome doesn’t mean I can’t do awesome things, it just means I refuse to believe I am ever really good enough or smart enough to DESERVE any of the success I achieve. Or that even if I do them and do them well, people are just being nice when I am praised, and they don’t REALLY mean it. Confused? It’s complicated. Luckily I have a presentation on it that you can look at on SlideShare. The animations do not display perfectly, but you’ll get the idea. My plan is to eventually record it, and post it someplace public like YouTube, but this was a big enough first step and I don’t think I’m ready for live video just yet.

What initially gave me the chutzpah to make the leap and submit the topic was a post by someone I worked with at Microsoft, a geek celebrity of sorts, who also struggles with imposter syndrome from time to time. Somehow I missed Scott Hanselman’s awesome post on imposter syndrome when he first shared it, but ran across it again while researching my talk. In that post, he also admits to feeling like a phony and seriously, THAT guy? I reached out to him about my talk, and you know what he said?

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Yeah, that got favorited for like all freaking time Smile  And it was a nice reminder that many of us feel this way, and just MAYBE if someone were brave enough to get up there and say it, we could all breathe a sigh of relief and start learning to live with it, and thrive with it. I decided I’d be that person, around Chicago anyway. Now, just creating the slide deck made me feel like vomiting, and with every new slide I added to it I kept thinking “why would anyone listen to ME? Who am I? People are going to think I am full of CRAP!”. It’s funny trying to write a talk on imposter syndrome when you struggle with it, but honestly who else could give it right?

Anyway, fast forward and now I have given it at both  Chicago Code Camp and ThatConference, and trust me, it was TERRIFYING for me. And these are my people! My plan is to continue sharing this presentation, giving this talk at conferences and user groups, and hopefully making a difference for some of the folks out there who have always felt this way and didn’t understand why. I’ve had an overwhelming amount of positive feedback, and a lot of private messages and emails from people who were so very thankful that I had the courage to give the talk. And you know what? I still feel like a phony sometimes, and it’s ok.

Tags:

Imposter syndrome | career growth | soft skills

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Remote Desktop Connection Manager – Making this TFS Admin Smile Every Day

by Angela 3. August 2015 12:49

So I regularly have a handful of RDC sessions open to administer the various servers that make up TFS on-premises instances including the application tier, data tier, build server, test controller, agents, etc. Doing this with the build in Remote Desktop Manager can be a bit cumbersome when you need to have quick and easy access to multiple servers at once. Sure there are lots of little tricks you can do with saved profiles and desktop shortcuts, but I needed something better. A coworker of mine turned me onto a free Microsoft tool called Remote Desktop Connection Manager. Maybe you already knew about it, if so keep reading anyway because I’ve discovered a few configuration settings that were totally necessary for making the tool really useful, particularly with multiple monitors where you can run into wacky issues with resolution.

First thing I did was create a profile, only this profile can save all of the settings for all of the servers you need to connect to for a given client. Need to switch clients, no problem, just choose a new profile and suddenly the view refreshes and the tree view has a whole new set of servers at your fingertips. Below is an example of my current client environment, complete with AT/DT, build, test controllers, and both automated and manual lab environment machines.

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Each server has its own settings including things like logon credentials, display settings, encryption, etc. Your best bet is to set most of these things at the root level, which then applies those same settings to all servers beneath it. HUGE for things like AD credentials where *generally* you are always logging in as you. Nice thing is, there’s a checkbox on every settings tab where you can turn inheritance on or off, in the cases where you may want to save a server profile with alternate credentials.

This does happen to me when I am troubleshooting controllers and agents, and need to login with a different level of permissions. In that case, I may have the same server in the tree multiple times, but each one uses different credentials to connect. And my alternate login profile will NOT inherit Login Credentials from the root. Super convenient, just double-click and you’re in!

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A few other handy things that I recently learned are how to get it to ACTUALLY full screen. Again I set this at the root and inherit because I want all of my servers to act the same. Because I have a second monitor that is unfortunately not capable of the same resolution as my laptop, with the default settings I can’t really ever full screen mode the remote server, AND if I drag the remote viewer from one monitor to the other it freaks out. To prevent this, and keep the server window docked at full screen in whatever monitor it is in, setup your Display Settings like the following (the first two settings need to be checked):

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The other thing I was constantly struggling with was navigating Servers running Win 8.0clients + or Server 2012. I use a track pad, and getting those charms to pop up and switching between the desktop and the tiles when you can’t just use the native keyboard windows key or charms menu could be really frustrating. If you want to make your life easier, make sure keystrokes are always sent to the remote computer. So in this case go to Local Resources, and make sure that Windows Key combos is set to “on the remote computer”.

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I need to bring some donuts to my friendly local sysadmin for that nugget. I’m sure it’s well documented somewhere, but I had missed this one and it made a big difference for me!

 

That’s it. Hope that makes your life easier, whether you are a TFS admin or not Smile

Tags:

Application Lifecycle Management | ALM | TFS | TFS 2008 | TFS 2010 | TFS 2012 | TFS 2013 | TFS 2015 | TFS Administration | Team Foundation Server | Productivity

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