The Mystery Error Installing WMF 5.0 and PowerShell

It has been a long time since I wrote here wit just too much in the real world of work and family to take the time to jot anything down in words.

I use multiple computers as a Systems Administrator. I have just switched to a Surface Pro 3 with Windows 10 as my main machine at my desk connected to the newest Surface Dock. It is connected to two 24 inch monitors, with a LogicTech wireless keyboard and mouse combination. My “old” machine is an HP EliteBook 8570w with Windows 7 SP1. In the move I am trying to make sure that the machines are as mirrored as possible.

That was a touch harder than I thought with PowerShell. Since Window 10 came with WMF 5.0 when it was imaged, I had a lot of features that the Win7 machine didn’t. I had WMF 5.0 Preview installed on it but had not had the reason to update to the final release when it came out. While making the switch to the Surface Pro, I had started writing a PowerShell script using some of the new WMF 5.0 final release additions. I am still using the laptop so I wanted to make sure that it was updated in case I needed to edit the script. Well, when I tried to install the WMF final release on the Win7 laptop it decided to not install with a rude error message.

There weren’t any error codes, just that the installation had failed. I looked at all the different reasons it could have failed, the system requirements and anything that I could think of. I just wasn’t making any progress so I used my best friend, “Google.” Though, in this instance it wasn’t my best friend. But it did give me pieces. One piece in the right direction mentioned a bug in the preview WMF that would require it to be uninstalled. Great idea, just another error appeared in its place.

The new error stated that a certificate was out of date or expired. Of course the natural first step is to check your clock, which I did just because I can’t tell anyone else to do it if I don’t. I knew it was going to be fruitless because at work we use an NTP server and at home I use an app to sync to atomic time servers. So, what was causing the problem? 

I couldn’t check the cert because the error didn’t tell me which cert and I wasn’t going to spend the time writing a quick script to export cert info to a CSV. I did the next best thing which was to set the clock back to a month after I installed the preview and tried again.

Viola, it uninstalled and asked me to reboot the laptop, which I did after re-syncing the clock. The next step was to try the WMF 5.0 final release install which went perfectly smooth this time around.

Moral to the story is you really need to think through the errors, don’t give up and the answers aren’t always spelled out for you.


YouTube Work Around for Broken Google API in Blackboard, Blame Poor Cooperation

Currently Google, who like many of the other larger technology companies is forcing everyone’s hand with NPAPI, but a lot of you probably didn’t know that they changed YouTube’s API 2.0. This in turn broke plugins and Building blocks in a lot Learning Management Systems along with other web sites which were using a form of Mash Up. This includes the YouTube Blackboard Mash Up. While Blackboard does have instructions to work around the problem it has been over a year without a patch and none in site, While I understand that writing a patch or a building block is hard, either we are going to fix it or not, The directions provided  by Blackboard work, but to me are not the easiest to follow and provide no picture. Below is the method I prefer with illustrations. I want to make it perfectly clear that the problem is with Google, not Blackboard that the MashUp is broken. While Googles statement on their Blog states:

The YouTube Data API (v2) has been officially deprecated as of March 4, 2014.

They state later on that it would continue to work until they made some other changes (April 20th, 2015.) they actually made the changes before that which is why there wasn’t already a patch from Backboard. I’ll give in to the point that it shouldn’t take a year to write a new Mashup using the API 3.0.

All the major technology companies believe it is in our best interest to change things behind the scenes without vetting it with the vendors that are using their hooks to do cool things with Googles product. Sometimes it is, sometimes it isn’t. Maybe Google should be communicating more with Vendors, working with them to write something that may get them started on the right track quicker. You just don’t deprecate something without helping those who are using it to try to fix it first. The same can be said for Oracle and Java. They took it upon themselves to move Java to high security, breaking quite a few web sites, including links to a lot of important sites..Not all sites were able to do their due diligence to get their sites updated to the latest and quite often buggy Java. This led to a lot of SysAdmins to start writing JAR files, setting up special installs of java that did not phone home and staying with an older more stable version until they could properly test the JAR with the new version and the affected web sites.

In the long run, there is too much power in the hands of too few companies and most users have no clue or care as long as it works. I appreciate that the users ask us to make it work, but I would prefer not to have to test multiple work around’s until I found the one that worked, Though it does keep me busy, I would really like to be doing something else that enhances the learning of the students in our schools instead of fixing something that Google broke..

These directions will help you add a YouTube video to Blackboard without using the Mashup Feature. Itt’s not really 18 Steps, the pictures are taking a step. There is 10 steps to add the video, which is a little more than normal, but it is effective and you can use the other features of the text editor to enhance the video. I hope that these steps are of use to you and I look forward to the day I can add the patched Building Block into Blackboard.

  1. Log into and select the video you wish to use.
  2. Select Share Below the video you wish to use.
  3. yt
  4. Select Embed
  5. Copy the text in the box that appears, it should look something like the wording highlighted in blue in the picture above and the example below.
  6. <iframe width=”560″ height=”315 src=”…&#8230;.
  7. yt2
  8. In Blackboard in your content area Click Build Content > Item
  9. YouTube
  10. In the editor section select the HTML icon
  11. YouTube 1
  12. Paste the Embed Code you just copied from YouTube into the HTML Box
  13. YouTube 2a.
  14. Click Update from the bottom right of the box
  15. YouTube 2b.
  16. The window will close and you will be back at the Item Content creation Window. Inside the window you will see a Yellow Square that is the embedded video. Don’t worry, that is normal.
  17. yt3
  18. Complete anything else you wish to do in this window and click the Submit button to save your work.

Google Reader No Longer Reader Friendly

Google Reader No Longer Reader Friendly

User friendly is a key term in keep users, customers and getting students interested. In K12IT we use all kinds of user friendly tech tools like Angel Web and Safari Montage for delivering data to the students. We have textbooks online, we have virtual classrooms, but we also have real hardback textbooks. Not all users are tech savy, not all people learn well using a computer. They need an alternative choice to learn. Hardcover books is one way, but we can also find other tech ways to deliver the text or video or whatever to the students that they can learn. You just have to work at finding it.

It’s the same in the real world, but that is where it is most over looked. Take the Bank of America $5 debit card fee. They caused an uproar when they said it was going to start at the beginning of next year without any public trials. Today they backed off while in the process they lost customers and a lot of goodwill.

Another great example is the way Google is integrating the minimal look of G+ into its other products. But, they are doing so at putting a square peg in a round hole. It might work to a degree, but just shoving it down an end users throat in not the proper approach. You need to have alternatives, something not quite just white, off black and gray. Oh, lest I not forget the big red “Subscribe” button that is rarely used at the top of the Reader window. A stepped approach makes change a lot easier on people, especially when it is a known fact that people resist change. Little by little and take user feedback. By doing that you don’t leave yourself open to major revolt and media exposure of the negative variety.

If Google hadn’t went to just the bland current new Google Reader look they would have found out that end users need color on a white background. Tip: Gray and Black are not color! Hyperlinks have always been blue on the Web, and if Google had made the links blue, given some color to other buttons on the page they wouldn’t have gotten the negative response from long time users and the media.

Lesson? Listen to your end users, beta test it with actual users, beta test it with a larger group of actual users and don’t just jump to the opposite extreme from your current settings. That is a sure way to piss people off.

I’m personally now testing Feedly and I have imported all my feeds into My Yahoo. I like the Feedly web interface, but it isn’t perfect and will take some time to check out all the features.

from Ray Ebersole – Google+ Post Feed