Lync Server PowerShell Challenge: Rules


One of these things is not like the others,

One of these things just doesn’t belong.

Can you tell which thing is not like the others

By the time I finish my song?

 

  Sesame Street

 

 

One of These Things is Not Like the Others

 

If you fancy yourself an educator (as those of us here at the Lync Server PowerShell blog are wont to do) then you have one mortal enemy in life: Sesame Street. Not that there’s anything wrong with Sesame Street; as a matter of fact, Sesame Street is about as close to the perfect TV show (and educational vehicle) as you can find. And that’s the problem: how can any educator hope to stand up to the juggernaut that is Sesame Street? No matter what you try to do, Sesame Street has not only done it, but has done it better. Case in point? Our all-muppet version of the help file for Get-CsAddressBookConfiguration turned out to be a complete disaster.

 

But you know what they say: when the going gets tough, the tough get going. With that in mind, we made a vow to do something that was better than anything Sesame Street had ever done. And, after several long, hard days and sleepless nights, we came up with something: we realize that there’s no way we’ll ever do anything better than Sesame Street. At that point, and being true Americans, we made a new vow: if you can’t beat ’em, steal one of their ideas and pass it off as your own. Ladies and gentlemen, our new weekly feature: One of These Things is Not Like the Others.

 

So what is this new weekly feature? We’re glad you asked that. If you’ve ever watched Sesame Street, then you’ve no doubt seen their version of One of These Things is Not Like the Others. On the TV show, they’ll typically show you three things; for example:

 

As a Sesame Street viewer, your job is to figure out which of these things is not like the others. Which of these things is not like the others? You got it: the blue circle, which is not like the two blue rectangles.

 

Note. Um, you did get it, right? Just checking ….

 

So how does this work with Lync Server PowerShell? The exact same way: we’ll show you four things (four cmdlets, four PowerShell nouns, four PowerShell parameters, etc.), and then it’s your job to figure out which of the four is not like the others. For example:

 

Get-CsClientPolicy

Set-CsConferencingPolicy

New-CsMeetingConfiguration

Remove-CsVoicePolicy

 

Which of those four things is not like the others? That’s right: New-CsMeetingConfiguration. And why isn’t New-CsMeetingConfiguration like the others? Right again: because that cmdlet deals with configuration settings, and the other three cmdlets deal with policies. See how easy that is? Kind of makes you wonder why Sesame Street plays their game using blue rectangles and circles instead of Lync Server PowerShell cmdlets, doesn’t it?

 

And before you ask, yes, each time we post a new challenge it’s going to be as easy as the New-CsMeetingConfiguration challenge. Or at least it will be for us; after all, we have the answers right in front of us. For the rest of you, however, some of these challenges might prove to be a bit more, uh, challenging. But that’s OK; here’s what we’re going to do about that, and here’s how the weekly challenges will work:

 

·         Every Monday morning, we’ll post a new One of These Things is Not Like the Others challenge. If you think you know the answer, then send an email to cspshell@microsoft.com.

Oh, and be sure to include the answer in that email. Otherwise it’s kind of pointless, if you know what we mean.  Also include your name or an alias you’d like to use for the challenge. We’ll keep a running total of points as we go along.

If you come up with the correct answer (or an answer that’s seems equally-plausible, at least in our opinion) you’ll be awarded 3 points. And what do those points get you? We’ll talk about points in a minute.

·         Of course, there’s always the chance that you won’t know the correct answer: some challenges are bound to be a little more difficult than others. So suppose a given challenge is kind of hard? Are you just out of luck? You bet you’re out of luck. Maybe next time you’ll try a little harder, you big crybaby.

No, hey, just joking. If a challenge is hard, you’re definitely not out of luck; far from it. After all, we’re not doing these weekly challenges just to be mean; we’re just trying to find a different way to help educate people on Lync Server PowerShell. With that in mind, every Thursday we’ll publish a hint that should help you solve the challenge. Suppose the hint does help you solve the challenge; what then? Well, again, send your answer (along with your name or an alias you’d like to use) to cspshell@microsoft.com. If we agree with you, we’ll give you 1 point for your effort.

And yes, we know, if you solve the challenge without a hint you get 3 points. But fair is fair, right? What do you want, 5 points if you solve the challenge after being given a hint?

·         Every Monday morning we’ll post the solution to the previous challenge. And when we do so, we’ll post not only the answer we came up with, but any interesting/unique answers that you came up with.

 

Admittedly, it’s not quite as exciting as watching grass grow or paint dry. But we like to think it’s pretty close.

 

We should also note that – unless you really know Lync Server PowerShell – you probably won’t be able to solve all of the challenges simply by looking at the four choices. So how can you solve the challenges? Let’s put it this way. We know that many of you spend your days thinking, “Why does Microsoft still write help for their applications? Don’t they know that nobody reads help these days?” Well, now you have the answer to your question. We write help for Lync Server PowerShell for one reason: because that help can assist you in solving the One of These Things is Not Like the Others challenges. If it’s not obvious which of the items is not like the others, well, you could do worse than take a peek at the Lync Server PowerShell help. (And how do you do that? See this article for some useful hints.) And here’s another hint: when you look at the help, take a look at things like scopes, datatypes, available verbs, etc., etc.

 

And yes, we could give you an even more-specific list of things to look for. But if we take out the challenging aspect of this that would sort of defeat the whole purpose of doing a weekly challenge in the first place, wouldn’t it?

 

Anything else? Oh, right, we almost forgot: what about those points; what do you get for accumulating a bunch of points in the One of These Things is Not Like the Others challenge?

 

Well, obviously, there is the enormous sense of pride and the worldwide prestige that comes with being one of the true giants in the field of One of These Things is Not Like the Others. We’ll be posting your scores (that’s why you should include your name or an alias you’d like to use to identify your score). Besides that – well, to tell you the truth, we’re not really sure what there is besides that. No doubt you’re thinking to yourself, “Man, these guys are obscure technical writers at Microsoft: they must have a huge budget for contests, giveaways, and other promotional items!” We’re not allowed to talk about money in this blog, so all we can say is this: Microsoft gives us the exact budget that we deserve.

 

Yes, it’s that bad.

 

But don’t despair; we’re looking into ways to con somebody out of something that can be awarded to people who earn X number of points. Don’t worry about prizes and awards; let us worry about prizes and awards. You worry about acquiring as many points as possible.

 

In fact, don’t even worry about that. Instead, the only thing you should worry about is this: how can you solve the first-ever One of These Things is Not Like the Others challenge?

Go to the Challenge Home Page.

Comments (5)
  1. Thomas Lee says:

    What a COOL Idea.

    Bring it on!!

  2. Michel de Rooij (821) says:

    I find the sample not so obvious; [Set|New|Remove] make changes to the environment, get does not.

    Regards,

    Michel de Rooij

  3. CSPShell says:

    Hey Michel, Good point. We'll try to make the actual challenges a little more clear (although some of them will be tough to figure out). But don't worry, we will accept answers that don't match ours, assuming they're still correct. (Which yours is in this case.) We'll even publish some of the alternates so everyone can see some of the other possibilities.

  4. Kirk Munro says:

    You might want to explicitly point out that the differences you are after are with respect to how the commands listed interact with Lync Server, not with respect to PowerShell itslef.  Otherwise there are tons of ways one could find a given command to be "unique" in comparison with the others (i.e. pipeline input, commands that make changes and therefore come with whatif, confirm, or other comparisons that could be made between commands such as parameters, aliases, parameter sets, and other related command metadata).

    Kirk out.

  5. CSPShell says:

    Poshoholic, Actually, it's not out of the question that it would have something to do with PowerShell in general, or the PowerShell functionality of the Lync cmdlet. Different aliases – no. Different numbers of letters in the names, no. But different functionality… that's where you should usually focus. Give it a try, nothing to lose. (Nothing to win either, but definitely nothing to lose. :-)) blogs.technet.com/…/otherschallenge.aspx

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