They created the best PC gaming platform Steam and are continuously improving it.
They provide the community with free tools that can be used to easily create, share and find user generated content like maps, mods and other content. Because of this you can keep playing your already existing games with new content. There is also a lot of user generated content because these users get a large share of the money earned from it.
So when Valve released the level editor for Portal 2 about a year ago, I couldn’t wait to create my own level. Even though the level editor is really straightforward and simple, it took me quite a while to create the level (mainly to test and prevent players from taking unintended shortcuts).
To map I created is called “TAG recruits survival test” and is a tribute to my old Half-Life Deathmatch clan called The Assassins Guild (TAG). To give you an idea of the map I uploaded a quick tour video to YouTube:
The map can be downloaded from steam: http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=72096196.If you’ve played my map, please leave a comment.
I really liked making the map, but because it takes a lot of time I don’t know if and when I’ll make a new map. Luckily many other people have been creating content and at the time of writing 263,886 maps have already been created. My friend Bart Fuchs also made a map you might want to check out called: cubed laser.
The last couple of months I’ve been playing around a lot with PowerShell and I’ve also been trying to make some nice GUI versions for my script using PowerShell Studio 2012 from Sapien Technologies Inc. While looking for more information how to best use PowerShell Studio 2012 I came across LazyWinAdmin.
LazyWinAdmin is a great tool created by Francois-Xavier C that will save you a lot of time. It provides you with most of the commonly used tools and commands in a very structured and easy to access way. In the picture below you can see what I mean.
For more info on the tool, take a look at the website and be sure to download and test it yourself.
If you want to take a look at other useful tools I’ve found in the past, take a look at my applications list.
In October 2012 I took the beta exams for Exchange 2013. Since there were no books yet, I created a One Note document with all kinds of notes gathered from various sources including TechNet, blogs and 3rd party tech websites. I totally forgot to post these on my blog back then, but better late then never.
In this post I will describe how you can make your lab available over the internet.
When you’ve created your home LAB, you want to be able to use it anywhere. Depending on your situation, one of these options probably best meets your needs.
Examples include the use of:
Remote desktop connection to your server
+ Easy to configure (enable on server and configure NAT forwarding if appropriate)
– On many enterprise or public networks TCP3389 is blocked by the firewall.
– Connects only to specific server. Even though you access the rest of the network from there.
VPN connection to your network
Using your hardware router
+ Connection to network, not just a server.
– No dependency on Windows Server
Using Windows Server 2008 / 2012
+ SSTP VPN (TCP443), is generally not blocked on enterprise/public networks.
+ Connection to network, not just a server.
– Dependency on Windows server.
– Requires more configuration.
– The root CA certificate for the certification authority (CA) that issued the server authentication certificate needs to be into the store Local Computer\Trusted Root Certification Authorities. For a self-signed certificate, this means that you need to have local admin permissions to add it.Note: DirectAccess is a great feature, but it requires the client to be a member of the domain. And in my case this would limit where I can connect from, therefore I don’t plan to use it. For other situations it might be a better solution though.
Using 3rd party tools like logmein, teamviewer or VNC
+ Connects only to specific computer.
Since I want to be able to connect from within enterprise environments as well, I chose to use SSTP VPN in Windows Server 2012. The basic steps you have to perform, include:
On the server or your own PKI, you would want create and install a machine certificate. You can create a Certificate Signing Request and request a 3rd party public certificate. Alternatively you can create a certificate using your own Certificate Authority, or you could create a self-signed certificate, For creating the self-signed certificate you can use the great PluralSight SelCert tool.
On the client, you have to make sure the created certificate will be trusted. This means you have to add the certificate to local system\trusted root certificate authority if you’re using a self-signed certificate, which requires local administrator permissions on the client.
On the client, you have to set-up the VPN connection to the server. Preferably you want to connect by DNS name. For your home lab you can also utilize dynamic DNS services like by example no-ip.com or alternative solutions.
For some more information, you can also take a look at this: