bookmark_borderWork at home and being a team

Now that we are dealing with COVID-19, a lot of companies are getting their employees to work remotely. For some this will be great and for other who crave social interaction not so great. For me the key thing is making sure that my team feels like a team still.

Keeping the routine going is pretty important. For yourself and your team. There are lots of great posts about this so I will just list the key points.

  • Get up and get ready for work. Do not sit around in your pajamas.
  • Have a work space separate to your daily living. If you have a spare bedroom put a table in there. I even heard of a person using a large walk in closet as a impromptu office.
  • Eat well. If you have lots of snack foods in the kitchen it is easy to graze all day. If it is Girl Scout cookie season lock then somewhere and throw the key away.
  • Stop working at lunch and walk or sit with the family to eat. If there is no one in the house get out for some fresh air or watch a short show or video. Like the list of Ted talks you have been putting off watching for a year because you do not have time.
  • Set working hours and stop for the day. Walking out of your temporary office and close the door or put the laptop away or put a sheet over your monitors.

When it comes to your team there are a few things you can do.

Firstly make sure you keep the same rhythm where possible, if you have a normal morning meeting make it a online meeting. I use Microsoft teams and it is great as it integrates well with the rest of office and makes meeting management and scheduling easy. Microsoft has made teams free during the outbreak to help businesses and educational institutions. Even individuals can get it if they want.

State working hours for the team, if people have to work from home and schools are closed they may have to deal with child care or taking children to different locations during the day. I usually start with core hours of 10am until 4pm, during this time the team should be availble to talk, take a cll or be able to make a meeting. No meetings should be scheduled outside of this window.

If you need to talk about a topic do not book a meeting! Make a chat in teams with the right people and renamed the chat to be the subject of the dicussion. This allows:

  • Ability to add people later with them being able to see the full chat history if needed.
  • People to respond when they are at their computer so they can fit the work around the day.
  • Ability to use a shared whiteboard.

Get them to put a meeting in the calendar for lunch so they have a dedicated block to step away from the computer.

Set up a weekly or even better daily 15-30 minute meeting with a teams channel for social interaction. You can even theme it so one day can be what is the best meme, another is photos of their working environment. On Fridays it can be cocktails hour and make the event at the end of the day.

Any other suggestions if you are managing a team remotely?

Sytone

I’m a principal engineer working at Microsoft. I have run and supported services for over twenty years and worked in multiple countries. I love working with passionate people and new technology.

bookmark_borderiPhone hotspot issues? Getting it to work with windows.

Had an issue the iPhone hotspot would not work on windows, it would see the network and try to connect, on the phone the hotspot bar at the top would appear and disappear.

Simple solution…

Go to settings and change the name of your iPhone and remove any single quotes (‘) from the name. Go back and turn the hotspot on and enjoy the connection.

Well it worked on my computer 🙂

Sytone

I’m a principal engineer working at Microsoft. I have run and supported services for over twenty years and worked in multiple countries. I love working with passionate people and new technology.

bookmark_borderGetting a DietPi image running on Hyper-V

Why? Because it is faster to test installs and adding items to the DietPi installer with snapshots! Also it makes a great small Linux installation to run other items off in Hyper-V.

  1. Go get the VirtualBox VMWare x64 image from the DietPi site. http://dietpi.com/#five
  2. Download the QEMU disk image utility from https://cloudbase.it/qemu-img-windows/
  3. Extract the VirtualBox VMWare image, it is a ova file. At this point we need to take the actual disk image out of this file. I use 7zip for this purpose. Right click on the ova file and open archive. Then extract the VMDK file out.
  4. Extract the QEMU disk image utility to the same folder as the VMDK file and then run the following command changing the file names as needed:
.\qemu-img.exe convert '.\DietPi_v120_VirtualBox-x86_64-(Jessie)-disk1.vmdk'  -O vhdx -o subformat=dynamic '.\DietPi_v120_VirtualBox-x86_64-(Jessie)-disk1.vhdx'
.\qemu-img.exe convert "dietpi_vm.vmdk" -O vhdx -o subformat=dynamic '.\DietPi_VMWare-x86_64-Stretch.vhdx'

Now you need to open up Hyper-V and make a new VM using the image you just extracted. You may want to keep a copy around to make more images in the future.

Related Posts:
HA on Pine64 with DietPi

2018/01/30 – Update

Updated to use the VMWare image.

$zipexe = 'C:\Program Files\7-Zip\7z.exe'
$qemuZip = "qemu-img-win-x64-2_3_0.zip"

Push-Location $env:TEMP
if(-not (Test-Path "dietpiimage")) {
    New-Item "dietpiimage" -Type Directory
}

Push-Location "dietpiimage"

Remove-Item * -Exclude @('*.7z','*.zip')

if(-not (Test-Path $qemuZip)) {
    Invoke-WebRequest -Uri "https://cloudbase.it/downloads/$qemuZip" -OutFile $qemuZip
}
& $zipexe x $qemuZip


### Image download and conversion

$imageName = "DietPi_VMWare-x86_64-Stretch"

if(-not (Test-Path "$imageName.7z")) {
    Invoke-WebRequest -Uri "http://dietpi.com/downloads/images/$imageName.7z" -OutFile "$imageName.7z"
}
& $zipexe x "$imageName.7z"

$disk = (Get-ChildItem *.vmdk)[0]
.\qemu-img.exe convert "$disk" -O vhdx -o subformat=dynamic ".\$imageName.vhdx"

Write-Host "$imageName.vhdx is ready!"

2018/07/01 – Stretch Update

Here is a PowerShell script to make it faster.

Push-Location $env:TEMP
if(-not (Test-Path "dietpiimage")) {
    New-Item "dietpiimage" -Type Directory
}

Push-Location "dietpiimage"

Remove-Item * -Exclude @('*.7z','*.zip')

if(-not (Test-Path "DietPi_VirtualBox-x86_64-(Stretch).7z")) {
    Invoke-WebRequest -Uri "http://dietpi.com/downloads/images/DietPi_VirtualBox-x86_64-(Stretch).7z" -OutFile "DietPi_VirtualBox-x86_64-(Stretch).7z"
}

if(-not (Test-Path "qemu-img-win-x64-2_3_0.zip")) {
    Invoke-WebRequest -Uri "https://cloudbase.it/downloads/qemu-img-win-x64-2_3_0.zip" -OutFile "qemu-img-win-x64-2_3_0.zip"
}

$zipexe = 'C:\Program Files\7-Zip\7z.exe'
& $zipexe x "DietPi_VirtualBox-x86_64-(Stretch).7z"
& $zipexe x "qemu-img-win-x64-2_3_0.zip"

Rename-Item (Get-ChildItem *.ova)[0] "DietPi_VirtualBox-x86_64-(Stretch)_OVA.tar"
& $zipexe x "DietPi_VirtualBox-x86_64-(Stretch)_OVA.tar"

$disk = (Get-ChildItem *.vmdk)[0]
.\qemu-img.exe convert "$disk" -O vhdx -o subformat=dynamic '.\DietPi_VirtualBox-x86_64-(Stretch)-disk1.vhdx'

Write-Host "DietPi_VirtualBox-x86_64-(Stretch)-disk1.vhdx is ready!"

2017/09/20 – Update

Here is a PowerShell script to make it faster.

Push-Location $env:TEMP
if(-not (Test-Path "dietpiimage")) {
    New-Item "dietpiimage" -Type Directory
}

Push-Location "dietpiimage"

Remove-Item * -Exclude @('*.7z','*.zip')

if(-not (Test-Path "DietPi_VirtualBox-x86_64-(Jessie).7z")) {
    Invoke-WebRequest -Uri "http://dietpi.com/downloads/images/DietPi_VirtualBox-x86_64-(Jessie).7z" -OutFile "DietPi_VirtualBox-x86_64-(Jessie).7z"
}

if(-not (Test-Path "qemu-img-win-x64-2_3_0.zip")) {
    Invoke-WebRequest -Uri "https://cloudbase.it/downloads/qemu-img-win-x64-2_3_0.zip" -OutFile "qemu-img-win-x64-2_3_0.zip"
}

$zipexe = 'C:\Program Files\7-Zip\7z.exe'
& $zipexe x "DietPi_VirtualBox-x86_64-(Jessie).7z"
& $zipexe x "qemu-img-win-x64-2_3_0.zip"

Rename-Item (Get-ChildItem *.ova)[0] "DietPi_VirtualBox-x86_64-(Jessie)_OVA.tar"
& $zipexe x "DietPi_VirtualBox-x86_64-(Jessie)_OVA.tar"

$disk = (Get-ChildItem *.vmdk)[0]
.\qemu-img.exe convert "$disk" -O vhdx -o subformat=dynamic '.\DietPi_VirtualBox-x86_64-(Jessie)-disk1.vhdx'

Write-Host "DietPi_VirtualBox-x86_64-(Jessie)-disk1.vhdx is ready!"
Sytone

I’m a principal engineer working at Microsoft. I have run and supported services for over twenty years and worked in multiple countries. I love working with passionate people and new technology.