140517 - Automate Everyday Functions

Using Old School methods to make life
 Everyday problems and solutions
 Security Cameras on the blink
 Server Status updates
 Remote Connection Location
 Resources
 Other ideas / questions
 Close
Russell Ivey – Gilmer ISD (Center, Longveiw, Ore City)
Married – dad of 6 – cross country coach
Bachelor of Science – ETBU
Masters of Education – Texas A&M
Programming background
Worked in public education for 16 years
Problem solver
Disclaimer – Still learning daily
Everyday problems – and solutions
We are all problem solvers. Its in our job
description. Many times, these are 1 and done
fixes; however sometimes we have to solve the
problem over and over each day, week, month,
school year.
We will discuss three situations (out of
many) that we have used automation to solve our
problems for us.
Security Cameras on the Blink
We have a bank of security cameras that are deployed
throughout our 4 campuses. These cameras have web interfaces and
we have a back office server recording the video.
These cameras were purchased from the lowest bidder…. They
are not necessarily name brand. (They actually have no name at all)
Many of the cameras will just stop responding – they have
power, but are locked up.
Security Cameras on the Blink
Part 1 : We purchased a network attached power unit. These
units have an IP address, web interface and control two different
power outlets. The unit cost about $35 each. We plugged in two
cameras POE supplies to each of these units. We can reboot the power
to these cameras any time.
Part 2 : We wrote a script to PING each camera. If we do not
get a response from the ping, we send a signal to the power unit to
reboot that camera’s port.
Part 3 : We scheduled the script to run every two hours.
Security Cameras on the Blink
How we did it:
Using VB Script, we do the following logic:
Read a list of camera IP addresses and corresponding power units
Ping each camera
Look for a response
If no response, send reboot command to power unit
Loop through entire list
How we did it:
SET objFSO = CreateObject("Scripting.FileSystemObject")
SET objInputfile = objFSO.OpenTextFile("powerMan.txt")
SET objOutputfile = objFSO.CreateTextFile("log.txt", True)
Security Cameras on the Blink
PowerMan.txt file: 2 Hs 100 Hall East Entrance
Camera IP
Power Unit Port Description
View 1
Security Cameras on the Blink
DO WHILE NOT objInputfile.AtEndOfStream
strBuff = objInputfile.readline
strBuffArr = split(strBuff, " ")
strCamera = strBuffArr(0)
strCamName = " "
SET objShell = CreateObject("WScript.Shell")
SET objExec = objShell.Exec("ping " & strComputer)
strPingResults = UCase(objExec.StdOut.ReadAll)
Read through the file one line at time
Assign this line to a variable
Make an array of the stuff in the line
Make a variable with the IP address
Create an empty variable
Opens a command object (DOS shell)
Sends out a ping
Gets the results of the ping
Security Cameras on the Blink
IF InStr(strPingResults, "TTL") THEN
objOutputfile.writeline strComputer & " PING = YES "
for i = 3 to ubound(strBuffArr)
strCamName = strCamName & " " & strBuffArr(i)
objOutputfile.writeline strComputer & " PING = NO"
objOutputfile.writeline "Attemping reboot of " & strCamName & "(" & strCamera & ")"
Check the results for TTL and write to the log
If no TTL (ELSE)
Get the name of the camera
Write to the log – twice
Execute function “checkPowerMan”
Security Cameras on the Blink
Function checkPowerMan(IP)
SET objPowerFile = objFSO.OpenTextFile("powerMan.txt")
DO WHILE NOT objPowerFile.AtEndOfStream
buff = objPowerFile.readLine
buffArr = split(buff, " ")
cam = buffArr(0)
if cam = IP then
if buffArr(1) <> "x" then
PowerMan = buffArr(1)
port = buffArr(2)
objOutputfile.writeline "Rebooting " & IP & " on PowerMan Unit " & PowerMan & " port " & port
RebootCamera PowerMan, port
objOutputfile.writeline "Camera is not connected to Power Management."
end if
end if
End Function
Security Cameras on the Blink
Function rebootCamera
Uses specific code for that power unit.
example is available in the download files.
That code
We placed this script on a windows server and
scheduled it to run every two hours with the task
What is VBScript?
VBScript is a scripting language.
VBScript is based in part on Microsoft's programming language Visual
While it doesn't offer the same functionality of Visual Basic, it does
provide a powerful tool
What is VBScript used for?
VBScript is used to give functionality and interaction to web pages.
VBScript can be used for client-side scripting.
Available on Windows OS – Client and Server and Web
Repetitive tasks
What is VBScript?
Microsoft Visual Basic Scripting Edition brings active scripting to a wide variety of
environments, including Web client scripting in Microsoft Internet Explorer and Web
server scripting in Microsoft Internet Information Service
If you already know Visual Basic or Visual Basic for Applications (VBA), VBScript will
be very familiar. The basic concepts of VBScript are common to most programming
VBScript talks to host applications using Windows Script. With Windows Script,
browsers and other host applications do not require special integration code for each
scripting component. Windows Script enables a host to compile scripts, obtain and call
entry points, and manage the namespace available to the developer. With Windows
Script, language vendors can create standard language run times for scripting. Microsoft
will provide run-time support for VBScript. Microsoft is working with various Internet
groups to define the Windows Script standard so that scripting engines can be
interchangeable. Windows Script is used in Microsoft Internet Explorer and in Microsoft
Internet Information Service.
As a developer, you can license VBScript source implementation at no charge for use in
your products. Microsoft provides binary implementations of VBScript for the 32-bit
Windows API, the 16-bit Windows API, and the Macintosh. VBScript is integrated with
World Wide Web browsers. VBScript and Windows Script can also be used as a general
scripting language in other applications.
Server Status updates
Problem :
We are running an older version of Microsoft Exchange and from time to
time, the information store will go off-line. When that happens, we need to
restart the system store.
Many times, this will take place at night or when we have no one on site.
Write a script that will check the status of all running services and send a text
/ email message via gmail account as to the status of the exchange
information store .
Server Status updates
Set Up a list (array) of all exchange servers
Get a list of running services by display name
Get a complete list of services that you wanted
Server Status updates
Check the status of the service and send an email
Server Status updates - outgoing email configuration
Server Status updates
Conclusion – checking the status of services on a remote machine and sending
emails automatically can be accomplished via scripting.
This can allow for checks on many different critical systems on your network.
Remote Connection Location
Problem :
Being able to remote in to a computer is a big advantage for an understaffed
department. Using Dameware or VNC or other software can be a big help,
but students and teachers tend to move around. We need a way to locate the
machine a user is working on.
Solution :
We wrote a script and added to the Logon action in the Active Directory
Group Policy management. The script logs the locations of the user every
time they log on. It tracks each login by username and computer name. We
then wrote a script to search these files and launch remote control software
based on a computer or user name.
Remote Connection Location
To start, we needed to develop a way to track every login. We did this via the
Group Policy Logon Script. - we call it “ip.bat”:
These lines log current info
just for our own tracking
These two lines create the log file entries for each user / login / computer
Remote Connection Location
The file that gets created looks like this:
It is a standard CSV file with the following fields:
date, time, computer name,username,sessionname,logonserver
We have that going to the network share and the newest entries are at the bottom of the file.
Remote Connection Location
Next, we wrote a script that asks for a user or computer name and reads the
logs giving options for close matches.
Here is the opening code:
We set up a variable that points to the remote control software
Then we open the filesystemobject to read files
Next, we ask the user for a username (or computer name)
Remote Connection Location
A dialog box asks for a username
Results are displayed if more
than one match is made.
Both computer names and
user names are returned.
Remote Connection Location
If only 1 file matches the name typed, then
we connect (function) to that computer
Otherwise, we build a copy
locally and search the list, if no
files meet the criteria typed,
display “User Not Found”
Otherwise, ask which user and
show a list of all that match;
then connect (function) to that
Remote Connection Location
Finally – we launch the remote control software and pass in the computer
name or IP address. We use a function we wrote called Connect:
f is the FILE that the user chose.
We grab the file name without the .ext
We open the file and read through it to the
end. The last record is the newest one.
We create an array of the fields in the
record and store the 3rd field in the B
We next create a shell to run our command
then execute the run command and pass in
the computer name.
The program launches and attempts to
connect to the computer.
Scripting Center
Scripting Guy Blog
W3 Schools
Other Ideas:
A script that adds users to the active directory structure
Scripting to type data
Get export from SMS
Read through file for new students
Add new students as users to the system
We have a UNIX based SMS
Write a script that reads through a file of information and enters it into the unix system.
Repeat as many as necessary
Script to move / copy / ftp files
This can be done via the shell command
You can use the “SendKeys” option to type
Allows for specific info within the script
Setting filename based on date
User specific information to be inserted
Flexible and reliable
My email address:
[email protected]
This presentation and all files:

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