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My name is Chris Luke, and this is where I blog about anything that fits my fancy… enjoy!

How to Connect to RDP from Excel VBA Macro

Posted by on 5:32 pm in Blog | 20 comments

Let me be the first to say that I don’t expect anyone to read this post. I am merely using this venue as a way to make my own personal notes on how I solved a huge frustration for me doing a task at work which required logging into multiple machines per day. If by some chance you found this content and it helped you or you have questions, leave a comment!

Problem: I have to log into multiple hosts using rdp (mstc /admin) per day. Clicking start > Run > mstsc /admin [hostname] took forever. I would type the commands, copy the hostname, paste… overall that simple process took around 15 seconds. Now, 15 seconds does not seem like a lot of time at first. However, connect to 100 hosts today and you’ve spent 25 minutes simply connecting to machines. Thats around 100 hours per year wasted. Having a button which is able to rdp from excel with one click would be much better!

Solution:

1. Make your document macro enabled. File > Save As >Save as type: Excel Macro-Enabled Workbook (*.xlsm)

2. Click on developer tab in the top ribbon (farthest to the right) *If you do not see the developer tab, make sure it is enabled. Browse to File > Options > Customize Ribbon > and ensure the “Developer” checkbox is checked.

Paul Chris Luke excel options enabled developer on ribbon

3. Click on Visual Basic (this should load a new window for coding)

4. Click on Insert (“I”) and select new module

5. Copy this code:

Sub hostname()

RDPWindow = Shell(“C:\windows\system32\mstsc.exe /admin /v:” & “hostname“, 1)

End Sub

* replace hostname with the name of your host.

6. Paste the code in your new Module.

7. Save in Visual Basic Editor, and save your workbook.

8. Still in the Developer Tab, click on Insert (an icon with hammer and wrench on it)

9. In the drop down menu that appears, under the Form Controls section, select the button icon (top left)

10. Draw your button

11. Right click your new button, select assign macro

12. Select the new macro you just created, press ok

13. If desired rename your button to “connect to hostname

14. Save and test.

15. Do a happy dance!

As always, input is gladly welcomed! Love you guys, hopefully this may help someone out there save some time.

*edit 10/11/15

Lots of comments on this post have been asking about inputting credentials automatically. Thomas, one of our commenters below provided this solution, hopefully it helps!:

Module1 code:
**********************************************************************************
Const RemoteDestop = “c:\windows\system32\mstsc.exe /v:”
Sub Connect_to_RDP(servername As String)
Dim RetVal As Variant
RetVal = Shell(RemoteDestop & servername)
End Sub

**********************************************************************************

Sheet with a list object code:

**********************************************************************************
Private Sub Worksheet_BeforeDoubleClick(ByVal Target As Range, Cancel As Boolean)
If Not Intersect(Selection, Me.ListObjects(1).ListColumns(1).Range, Me.ListObjects(1).DataBodyRange) Is Nothing Then
Module1.Connect_to_RDP Target.Value
Application.WindowState = xlMinimized
End If
End Sub

**********************************************************************************

Sheet has a single list where servername is in ListColumn(1)

 

Why YTMA Was a Major Fail… #awkward

Posted by on 5:45 pm in Blog | 3 comments

YouTube’s effect on the music industry is a phenomenon. Effectively turning conventional methods of achieving musical success on its head, YouTube allows what would normally be an unknown individual to reach their audience directly, sharing their talents with the world. Artists such as Lindsey Stirling, PSY, and Boyce Avenue have all benefited from millions of views and exposure through the YouTube experience.

It should be no surprise that YouTube has a desire to make the move to conventional award shows for the artists that bring billions of hits to their site. Thus the YouTube Music Awards (#YTMA) were born.

In concept, the whole things makes sense. Gather your stars, hand out awards, and film it… simple right? Unfortunately for YTMA, the internet was not pleased with the results. Averaging around 180,000 audience members watching the event live on YouTube, twitter was ablaze with comments about the awkward tone the whole show held.

YTMA Awkward

 

So what made the show so hard to watch? Without any formal research to back my claims, I’d like to offer some unsolicited advice to YouTube:

YouTube is awesome! We love it! We love our artists, and we love that we can support them by viewing, sharing, and helping them rise to the top. However, the one thing we love about YouTube is the polish, the shine, the perfection. The videos are beautiful, the vocals are crisp, and the entire process is planned. Those are the exact elements that you risk losing as soon as you enter the live video space.

YTMA took the entire aspect of what we love about YouTube media, and lost it by going live. The video was sloppy, the audio was off, and the process was entirely chaotic. Now let’s be clear, we the internet love us some chaos. However, what we love about it is the moments are unplanned but beautiful, spontaneous but funny, awkward but heartwarming. As much as the big wigs upstairs would counter, you simply can’t plan viral popularity, especially not in a live format. Throwing paint on your hosts, placing awards in cakes, and running around all over the entire venue is not funny for the viewer, it’s frustrating. “Nothing is scripted tonight… please bear with us.” We know that’s a lie, and I’m calling you on it. Someone had to have a script. Someone had the idea for the cakes, the chalk war, indeed someone had the script to say “nothing is scripted tonight” written down… on a script.

It seems to me you got your planning all mixed up. You spent hours planning how to make a live chalk war work, but forgot to plan a script? Planned for having a couple commit suicide because they are so into each other (wtf?), but forgot to make a path for the hosts to get to where they want to be?

We could go on, about the slew of awkward moments that could be entirely avoided with a little foresight, but the twittersphere has made its point. We appreciate the effort, and we want future award shows to happen, but please just let the internet be the internet. We didn’t need all this for an awesome award show, simply show the artists we love accepting awards we wanted them to earn, show some new pre-recorded videos, and baby you got yourself an award show going.

PS. Babies cry.

PSS. I’m available for hire for the next round, I’ll have my people contact your people.

Hi! My name is Chris Luke, and I just failed my unsuccessful Upstart campaign

Posted by on 3:46 am in Blog | 1 comment

upstart startup

I’ve always been obsessed with working at Google someday. So naturally when I heard about former Google executive Dave Girouard’s new company, Upstart, I was intrigued. Upstart is a funding platform much like Kickstarter, but for people rather than companies or ideas. “Backers” can invest money into you, for a small percentage of your annual income over the next 10 years. Backers have the option of investing money only, or make an offer of funding along with an offer of mentorship. I don’t know if it was the clean website design, the impressive profiles of the company supporters, or the inspiring text beckoning me to sign up… but I did. “I have potential!” I cried, and I quickly went about setting up an account.

Right from the start I felt special, which I think is Upstarts best quality. After making my account, I received an email from Cindy, an Upstart Operations Manager. She was excited that I had made an account, invited me to arrange a time to speak by phone with any questions I had. The next day, I was still bewildered by the fact that I was talking with someone on the phone from Upstart. Have you ever received a phone call from any company you made an account with? Again, the personalized service made me feel special, which makes anyone happy inside!

Cindy was enthusiastic about Upstart and my plans to create a profile. She offered advice, tips, and took as much time as needed to answer my many questions. Cindy seemed genuinely concerned about my success.

After scribbling out what I thought would be an appealing profile and providing the necessary documents proving I was who I said I was, I submitted my account for review. Surprising me again, I received an email from Cindy, providing feedback and advice about how to make my profile better. I made some revisions based on the insights, and my profile was ready to go.

I was approved to raise $10,000 in funding for a small percentage of my annual income over the next 10 years. I then received another email with tips on “what to do now.” Advice on sharing my profile, garnishing my own funding through accredited investors I might know, and a request to not contact the registered backers directly.

It should be noted that according to Upstart’s homepage, “More than 7 of 10 published upstarts fund successfully,” which seemed like good odds to me! Within a week I had my first offer of $1000 from a Google VP. As I eagerly looked over the offer, I was disappointed to see the words “Funding Only” (no mentorship) tacked on to my offer.

paul chris luke upstart fail offer

I should take the time to explain how my situation is slightly different from the “norm” in terms of most Upstart profiles. With the benefit of working full time during college and scholarships, I had zero debt. In fact, I had been able to build up a small amount of savings as well. After speaking with some already funded Upstarts, I realized the decision to accept funding was usually a mathematical choice for them. They had college loans or other debts to pay off, and the Upstart payback rate was lower than their loan interest rates. As such, it made sense to accept the funding, pay off the debt, and pay a lower percentage to these Upstart backers over time. I was not in that situation. I was less interested in the money I could gain from Upstart; it was the network of backers providing mentorship, guidance, and help in my journeys through the oft confusing world of start-ups. In my eyes, I saw that potential network as an invaluable source of knowledge, and I was willing to give up some of my income for that!

Those details considered, I wrote up a nice note to the Google backer and declined:

I sincerely appreciate your interest in me and my idea. I congratulate you on your position at Google (I have been applying for every product manager position available there!) and the myriad of successes you have had there. The primary purpose of starting this Upstart was to find some mentorship and guidance. Indeed, the development of this product would most likely go well beyond the $10,000 cap I have. I actually have quite a bit of my own capital to jump start the product. While I appreciate your financial support, I must decline in hopes of gaining a mutually beneficial relationship with an investor and mentor.
I can’t thank you enough again. I’ll keep applying to Google Product Management and maybe we will get to work together again in the future!
Love,
Chris Luke

As time would tell, I would be writing a lot of those types of notes over the next few weeks. After my first decline I received an email from Cindy asking about my reasoning behind the choice to decline. Again, Upstart seemed begging me to succeed, and I felt special.

Later on, I received an offer from David Croson, a business school entrepreneurship professor, an investor, and all around good guy. More important than his credentials, the offer came with that golden phrase, “Funding plus Mentorship.” I eagerly accepted his offer.

paul chris luke upstart accept offer David Croson
As the time for my campaign to expire drew near Cindy contacted me again. She told me they would like to help with my campaign, and would more than match any offers I accepted going forward. “They really want me to succeed!” I thought. Again, I felt special. Unfortunately, I didn’t receive any more offers after that email. When I logged into my profile today, I was greeted with the following failed attempt text:

paul chris luke upstart fail

Why do I think I failed? Most certainly it was not because of lack of effort from the Upstart Team. First and most importantly, I declined a lot of offers. I knew the ramifications of doing so, and even told Cindy in an email that I knew I would most likely fail my campaign if I continued that behavior. Too late I realized (due to a personal Google+ hangout with Dave Girouard and company), that accepting many upstart offers up front can spur your profile to be more popular and thus gain more exposure/backing. In the same venue, I learned that successful Upstart’s “Tend to have a lot of hustle, they get their own backers.” I think I had less control here, I don’t happen to know many people who qualify to be an accredited investor (must make more than $200,000 per year or have over $1,000,000 in assets). There wasn’t much I could do in ways of hustle in that respect, and due to the discouragement of reaching out to backers already approved my “hustle” opportunities were vastly limited. In the same meeting, I learned that sometimes backers who choose “Funding Only,” can later become mentors. In retrospect, if I had known all these things I probably would not have declined so many offers. Regardless, the hangout was inspiring, and I felt that if anything, I would love to meet Dave in person and ask for a job.

So, am I crushed that I failed? No! As stated above I didn’t need the funding,  but it was a wonderful journey to embark on. At every turn I felt inspired by Cindy and the Upstart Team. Even without a successful campaign, I leave the experience stirred to do better, to truly pursue my passions and dreams, and work towards my ambitions. Although such motivation could never be quantified by the algorithms used to measure my potential by Upstart, I find such encouragement delightfully invaluable. I will always be grateful for the opportunity that was given to me…

My name is Chris Luke, I just failed my unsuccessful Upstart campaign, and I couldn’t feel more special!

Rich and Delaney – Rexburg Winter Engagements

Posted by on 12:53 am in Blog | 0 comments

I love these two people! While most of the time you can see them laughing, goofing around, and having fun (as is expected when  you’re in love), there are some moments of striking GQ moments! We trotted around the mills by the haunted swing set in Rexburg, Idaho. However, the wind was beating us up, so we moved to the urban areas of Rexburg, finally ending in the BYU-Idaho gardens (always a good choice). We had a blast, and it only took about an hour! Which one are your favorites?

-Paul Chris Luke

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Rich and Delaney, sneak peek!

Posted by on 11:47 pm in Blog | 0 comments

V3Dx7b on Make A Gif, Animated Gifs

paul chris luke photography byui engagements winter gardens rich and delaney 1

These two kids were a blast, can’t wait to finish up the rest of this shoot!

-Paul Chris Luke

Work Lately

Posted by on 10:54 pm in Blog | 4 comments

Paul Chris Luke Burnside Best Rexburg Photographer Engagements 1

Paul Chris Luke Burnside Best Rexburg Photographer Engagements 2

Paul Chris Luke Burnside Best Rexburg Photographer Engagements 3

Paul Chris Luke Burnside Best Rexburg Photographer Engagements 4

Paul Chris Luke Burnside Best Rexburg Photographer Engagements 5

The Burnsides were a great couple to shoot. I know them from my ward here in Salt Lake. I don’t usually do a lot of black and white photography, but some of their pictures really look awesome in pure black and white. It was a wonderful experience to spend some time with them, and have fun in the process!

————————–

Rayya Fitness Back Paul Chris Luke Photography

Rayya Fitness Front Paul Chris Luke Photography

Rayya is a girl who works with my wife. She is an aspiring fitness model and this was her first shoot! She was a natural! I wish her in the best in her modeling adventures!

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Paul Chris Luke Photography David and Sandy Re-Touch Photoshop Before

Paul Chris Luke Photography David and Sandy Re-Touch Photoshop After

I also ran a campaign during thanksgiving to do free photoshop of pictures (as long as the participants owned the rights to the photos). See above for one example of a before and after :)

-Paul Chris Luke

The blog will live on! (Hopefully…)

Posted by on 3:39 pm in Blog | 0 comments

Well this experience sure has been fun! At first I wasn’t fond of the idea of a blog. Indeed, after this class I was going to remove it altogether. Still, it would seem like a waste to remove it altogether… while I will still be removing the content on the photography page, this blog will stay. I can say it has been fun to write and post about things I love. Hopefully I can muster up the willpower to continue blogging, if not for my readers, for my own personal progress history. I hope you guys have enjoyed my posting thus far, and hope to keep posting later!

Jace and Cami

Posted by on 10:48 pm in Blog | 6 comments

Paul Chris Luke Photography Christmas Engagement Jace and Cami 1

Paul Chris Luke Photography Christmas Engagement Jace and Cami 2

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Jace and Cami! I loved this photoshoot. We started out in a park in Salt Lake City. However, it started to get very cold and rainy so we opted to find somewhere a little more sheltered. We ended up at the Salt Lake City Library and wow what a find! The architecture and amount of variety for locations was awesome! Normal edits, color, vignettes, sharpening/blurring, etc. As far as photography is concerned it was a perfect day for shooting. Complete cloud cover! After the shoot we broke out the laptop and they picked their favorites. Normally a shoot like this takes ~ 2 weeks to turn around but some time opened up and viola. 1 hour shoot, and 1 day later, you have finished images ready to roll :)

– Paul Chris Luke

My Thoughts on Portfolios

Posted by on 10:11 pm in Blog | 0 comments

Recently, I have been doing a lot of thinking about how to re-organize my photography portfolio. At the moment, I have all of my best photos in one big lightbox album (see http://paulchrisluke.com/photography/paul-chris-luke-photography/ )

I do this because from what I have seen, users will happily stay and flip through an album until the album runs out. Doing so is easy, and requires only the press of a right/left arrow. However, I have found that when a user is required to jump from category to category (ie portraits, landscape, etc), even with only one click the visiting time shortens. In short, I have found that my users are exposed to more of my work if all of it is accessible with one click. As such, I choose to put my very best work into one portfolio.

So! I sit here wondering, should I subcategorize my work? Thoughts?

-Paul Chris Luke

Family Portraits – The Stokers

Posted by on 10:47 pm in Blog | 6 comments

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Boy was this photo shoot fun! I know the Stokers from my mission, I served in their ward for 9 months. A couple of weeks ago I was feeling the photography itch and posted a status on my facebook,”Anyone wanna do a photoshoot!?” The Stokers responded, I gave them a sweet “people I love a lot” discount, and we scheduled a time.

Before the shoot, I asked about styles they liked from my portfolio, and location types they were looking for. They wanted a warm feel outdoor setting. We met at Liberty Park in Salt Lake and started shooting away. The kids were routy, so we tried to move location often to keep them entertained. I used natural light with a gold reflector for most of the shots.

Afterwards, I let them look through the photos on the camera while I explained the details. 2 week turn around, how I would get the photos to them etc. While Kayla (the wife) looked through the images, I had Jared (the husband), fill out the model release.

I edited the photos, and put them in a zipped file on my website via a password protected post. I have the Stokers the password, they downloaded the images, and loved them! One other thing I did differently than I have done in the past is included three types of each image. One black and white, the original (post editing), and a lower saturated/high contrast image. This allowed the Stokers to choose from three different styles of photos for each image. I don’t know if I will continue this, Ill have to ask around to see if that was a cool thing :)

-Paul Chris Luke