Summary: Guest Blogger Mark Schill discusses PowerShellGroup.Org and starting a user group.
Microsoft Scripting Guy Ed Wilson here. Our guest blogger today is Mark Schill. Mark is an IT veteran who for 13 years has specialized in Windows Server and Citrix technologies.
Mark started scripting with a Y2K project that required the creation of thousands of new NT domain accounts and has been automating ever since. He made the switch to Windows PowerShell in July 2007 with his first Citrix MFCOM script for publishing desktops, which is still in production to this day. In addition to scripting, Mark spends his workdays as an all-in-one C# developer, SQL Server database administrator, and Windows system administrator.
He is currently the president of the Atlanta PowerShell User Group and the Atlanta Citrix User Group as well as the vice president of the Virtual PowerShell User Group. When possible, Mark is hanging out with the Virtual PowerShell User Group on the #PowerShell IRC channel on irc.freenode.net. You can track Mark at his blog at http://www.cmschill.net/StringTheory, via email at Mark.Schill@cmschill.net, or on Twitter @meson3902.
Take it away, Mark!
My name is Mark Schill. Ed likes to introduce me as THE president of the Atlanta PowerShell User Group. Microsoft Tech∙Ed 2011 was here in my hometown of Atlanta, Georgia, and I was given a wonderful opportunity. I was invited by The Scripting Guy and his better half, The Scripting Wife, to assist in staffing the Scripting Guys’ booth. It was an incredible experience and I enjoyed meeting the many people who visited the booth. The photo below shows from left to right yours truly, Ed Wilson, and Teresa Wilson.
The interest in Windows PowerShell user groups was tremendous .Many were interested in finding a group in their location, and others were interested in starting a user group. I met several local people who were surprised there was an Atlanta user group. Upon hearing this, I realized there is a great opportunity for me to help.
I have been presented with an opportunity to lead the effort in providing support to local user groups and the Windows PowerShell community as a whole. I am very excited and want to share a bit of my vision with you. I will be working with the PowerShell Community directors to provide a common community focus. With their support and guidance, we should be able to create an amazing ecosystem. Powershellgroup.org has served as the central location for Windows PowerShell user groups and will continue to be the focus point for this initiative.
The first task I will be focused on is upgrading and stabilizing the website. Joel Bennett has been doing an excellent job maintaining it, but we all know he already has way too much to do for one person. Moving forward, I will assume responsibility for the website. It does have a few issues, the most severe stemming from an issue with the hosting provider. Joel and I are currently working on migrating the website to a new hosting provider and upgrading to the latest site software. When complete, we will launch the new site with all the familiar components: calendar, events, registration, discussions, and a few new ones.
For user group evangelization, PowerShellGroup.org will provide a public API that will provide a complete user group listing and relevant information such as group contacts, meeting location, and meeting schedule. This API will allow anyone to provide a listing of user groups in their program and blog that will always be up to date with the information on the site. Users of the API will be able to use the data to generate their own maps; however, we will also have a map on the website that can be embedded so that visitors won’t have to create their own.
A fair number of users were interested in starting their own group, but seemed to be intimidated by the process. To assist these individuals, we will be creating a New User Group Support Kit.
Note In the meantime, see yesterday’s Hey, Scripting Guy! Blog post for some of the information that we will be providing in the kit.
This kit will provide users everything they need to start a new user group. It will have a compilation of all the resources available to user groups, including where to get money for meetings, Live Meeting accounts, and swag for your meetings. We will also provide meeting location contacts and assist you with securing a location for your meetings. All you have to do is find the speakers and schedule the meetings.
For new and existing user groups, we have some great stuff planned to support your needs and make sure you have a chance to excel. On PowerShellGroup.org, we will provide the organizers of local Windows PowerShell user groups with their own private forum to chat with other leaders. This will allow everyone to share their knowledge, experience, and questions.
Another exciting feature will be a service for connecting speakers to user group leaders. We will maintain a registry of speakers who are interested in speaking at a user group meeting, whether in person or virtually. This will make finding speakers for your user groups extremely easy. The registry will also benefit speakers in that we will have a complete listing of user groups and their usual meeting times. Speakers sometimes like to do speaking tours, so this will allow them to efficiently schedule their speaking engagements. When a speaker is travelling to a city for business, they will be able to quickly see if a user group meets during their visit and offer their speaking services.
The items I listed in this article may take some time to implement, so your patience is appreciated. Though I am leading the effort, it is still driven and directed by the community. I welcome your comments and suggestions at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you, Mark!
I invite you to follow me on Twitter and Facebook. If you have any questions, send email to me at email@example.com, or post your questions on the Official Scripting Guys Forum. See you tomorrow. Until then, peace.
Ed Wilson, Microsoft Scripting Guy