Month: March 2017

Quick VPN Reset for Windows Insiders

As a “Windows Insider” on the Fast Ring, I get new builds of Windows semi-frequently. Love it! Great! Oh wait, now to VPN into the office for that 3am emergency I have to reconfigure my VPN because the installation of the new build hosed it. ARRGGH!

To be clear, it’s NOT because of a fault in Windows per se, it’s a side effect of the constant state of upgrade. Our network requires us to install SonicWALL Mobile Connect to log into our firewall based  VPN. It’s a slick little system and not hard to set up, the problem comes when the Windows build elf comes in the middle of the night. This ‘breaks’ the registration of the Windows Store app for MobileConnect, so when you try to fire up a VPN you get an “application not found” error.

The manual process, while not hard , is both annoying and inconsistent. Each time, you have to go into the Settings/Apps & features to find the SonicWALL Mobile Connect app. Then click the Advanced Features link, and hit the RESET button. That’s all straightforward. Here’s where if gets funky.

Sometimes you can immediately connect up a VPN and get to work. Sometimes you need to rebuild the VPN configuration. Sometimes you need to reboot. Sometimes both! That’s frustrating enough to need a solution.

So I did some poking around with PowerShell ( of course) and discovered that essentially the SonicWALL app needed to be “re-registered”. A short script and a desktop shortcut later, and I’ve got a one-click fix!

The full script can be found HERE – It’s pretty straightforward but here are some parts that can stand a bit of explaining.

As I learned when scripting the creation of the VPN’s ,there are some XML variables required by the SonicWALL app.


I’m recreating existing VPN’s so I grab the list using Get-VpnConnection


Then it’s a quick For-Each loop to remove the VPN connections….


Followed by a re-add of the app….


And finally a simple For-Each loop to rebuild the VPNs I deleted earlier…


…. and done!

As I said, it’s not terribly complicated, but it sure is handy. I hope you found this helpful. If not directly then maybe it’s sparking some ideas.


Whose Job Is It Anyway?

Disclaimer: This is a generalized rewrite of an article I wrote for a company newsletter. I’m adding here because I think we ALL need a little reminder.

Actually the better way to phrase that would be “Whose career is it anyway?” Right? I mean most of us prefer to think of how we spend our days as a career and not just a job.  We’ll come back to that later. For now let’s just think at the ‘job level’. What you do today, tomorrow and even maybe next week.

I’m aiming most of this to those of us who are employeed by someone else. Self-employed people and business owners usually are well aware of “Who’s responsible for my skills”

Who is responsible for making sure we keep up with the changes in the business world, or at least our little corner of it? Of course your supervisor is supposed to make sure you meet the minimums required to do your current job. That works if all you want to do is be a minimum employee, and punch the clock every day. Maybe you’ll be able to do that until you retire, but more likely your job function will change and you’ll find you don’t have the basic skills required to be even minimum. That, my friends, is all on you.

The company is responsible for making sure you meet at least the minimums, sure. Some of us are fortunate enough to work for a company that offers educational programs of several different types. There are reimbursement programs for job related education, there are company sponsored training sessions.  All of that doesn’t really have an effect if you don’t invest at least your time and maybe even some of your money to improve your skillset. I spend my own money (in addition to company education) to pay for my continuing education in my chosen career. I know, some of you are saying “But I’m not an IT person, I’m just a ”. I could go on and on about how that shouldn’t matter or I can simply quote the man who said it best.

 “..Even if it falls your lot to be a street sweeper, go on out and sweep streets like Michelangelo painted pictures; sweep streets like Handel and Beethoven composed music; sweep streets like Shakespeare wrote poetry; Sweep streets so well that all the host of heaven and earth will have to pause and say, “Here lived a great street sweeper who swept his job well.”” – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

There are many morals to that quote but the one I want to draw your attention to today is this. Take pride in what you do and be the best possible at what you do. Your manager is not responsible for your mortgage or rent, you are. Your supervisor isn’t responsible for feeding your family, you are. The ‘Company’ isn’t responsible for your career, YOU ARE.

Spend a little of your time improving your skillset in whatever you do. If you want to improve and don’t have a clear direction, ask your manager, and if they can’t tell you, then ask their manager. Get online and use Google to search for “warehousing best practices” or “call center best practices”. Take an online class in Accounting Principles. Watch a YouTube video on something other than cute cat tricks. Read a book. LEARN something.

Even if what you learn doesn’t immediately apply, it will give you a depth of understanding of why to do your job in a certain way, or even inspire you to think of a better way to do it! That’s what increases your value, helps you move up in position and pay, and incidentally, makes it more likely you’ll stay employed.

At the end of the day, you can lose your job. However, if you’ve invested in your career and yourself, not only would it be easier to get a new job, but you’ll be better at your current job. So don’t just be “minimum”, be exceptional!