Showing posts with label Microsoft. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Microsoft. Show all posts

Thursday, February 19, 2015

HP Stream Laptop - Plus Office 365

I've rolled the dice on an HP Stream 13" laptop. When I bought it, it was $200. It is back to $230 now. We needed something for my wife and I was thinking about shelling out for some cloud storage. The laptop comes with one year of Office 365 Personal which includes 1 TB of OneDrive storage. If I had bought the Office 365 subscription separately, it would have been $70.

I've completely rationalized this now, so it is just a $130 laptop. If it doesn't meet her needs, then we aren't out much. I could probably let my 6 year old use it. Although, she would probably be baffled by the lack of a touch screen!

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Microsoft Surface Pro 3 Deal

I decided to go with a traditional laptop at work, but I had the option of a Surface 3 Pro. If you are thinking about one, Amazon has a pretty good deal: $100 off, plus a $100 Amazon gift card.

Via Kinja Deals

Friday, December 12, 2014

Yaesu FT2DR: Touchscreen HT

So Ford is replacing Microsoft's in-car infotainment platform and replacing it with QNX. Several of the comments to the Slashdot article are complaining about the lack of dedicated knobs and buttons. That complaint echos those I hear from those that don't want to do SDR, because they want knobs and not a mouse.

Makes me wonder what the response will be to the Yaesu FT2DR touchscreen HT. Universal Radio shows a list price of $640, so you know how interested I'll be.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Package Manager for Windows 10: OneGet

Install applications from the PowerShell command line in Windows 10:
"With Windows 10, however, we are finally getting an official package manager: OneGet. In the current build of Windows 10 Technical Preview, you can open up PowerShell and use OneGet to install thousands of applications with commands such as Find-Package VLCand Install-Package Firefox."
I'm not sure why the article says this is to the lament of Linux users.


Dropbox and Office

Wow. I'm surprised that Microsoft is working with Dropbox when they have their own cloud storage.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Monday, September 29, 2014

Low Cost HP Windows Laptops

"HP's Stream brand will now encompass laptops with 11.6-, 13.3- and 14-inch screens, while tablets will be available with 7- or 8-inch screens; all the devices will run Windows 8.1. The Stream 7 tablet is the cheapest of the bunch, priced at just $100, while the Stream 8 will cost $150. The Stream 11 laptop will cost $200, followed by the Stream 13 at $230. All the devices will go on sale in November."
It would be worth it for this alone... Office 365 Personal is $70/year:
"Each device will come with a one-year subscription package to Microsoft services that includes Office 365 Personal, 1TB of OneDrive cloud storage and 60 monthly minutes of Skype. Additionally, the Stream 8 will include 200MB of free 4G data each month for the life of the device at no additional cost."

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Group Policy

Random comment... I love Group Policy.

It is a wonderful tool for lazy admins.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Windows Server 2003 EOL

Hey you! Yes, you! The one still running XP. Your Windows Server 2003 goes EOL in July 2015.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014


I had to install Skype to test something for my consulting. I told it not to start with Windows. It still does. Bye, bye Skype. Lame.

Saturday, June 28, 2014


I know there are pros and cons to various storage options, but the Microsoft Office 365 subscription is really attractive. You can get 1 TB of OneDrive space plus Office for $6.99/month. I may have to buy a laptop to support my consulting work and would like to get the new version of Office. Instead of shelling out for the full version all at once, I can pay $7/month or $70 for the year. (If you want to install Office on up to five devices, you can $9.99/month or $99.99/year.)

On-line storage comparison at the Technologizer

I can't wait to see how Google, Dropbox, etc. respond!

Monday, June 9, 2014

Printer Device

"Hey, grab that TPS report off the printer device," said no one ever.

From Craig Zacker's "Exam Ref MCSA 70-410: Installing and Configuring Windows Server 2012 R2" book*:
“Printer” and “print device” are the most commonly misused terms in the Windows printing vocabulary. Obviously, many sources use “printer” to refer to the printing hardware. However, in Windows, printer and print device are not equivalent. For example, you can add a printer to a Windows Server 2012 computer without a physical print device being present. The computer can then host the printer, print server, and printer driver. These three components enable the computer to process the print jobs and store them in a print queue until the print device is available.
I'm not criticizing Craig here at all. I think Microsoft missed the boat with their word choice. Let's take a common usage and avoid it all costs!

And on the topic of printers, I've seen it time and again when someone goes into "Devices and Printers" to make a change to their printer settings. Right-click and you get these options:

Naturally, everyone goes to the bottom of the list and selects "Properties" - only to be disappointed when they get this.

Cancel. Right-click and remember to click "Printer Properties". Ah, there is something useful.

* And, for those of you keeping score at home. I've started studying for my MCSA/MCSE.

Saturday, May 31, 2014

The Most Powerful OS

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Ripe for Abuse

So using this idea, setup a rule for a "friend" in their Outlook when they are away from their desk. Have it trigger on some common e-mail they get frequently. Hilarity and a fist fight ensue.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

At School

It used to be Macs in the computer labs in elementary schools - trying to buy mind share while we were young.

Plus ├ža change...

Microsoft is offering a free Bing search to schools with no ads and content filtering.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Windows Defender Offline

Looks like a handy tool. I've used various recovery discs including those based on Windows PE.

From Mark Minasi's latest newsletter:

"You know Windows Defender.  It's been built into Windows since (if memory serves) Vista.  It fought spyware in Vista and Windows 7, and then Microsoft expanded its focus to include regular old virus-y malware in Windows 8/8.1.  It's a perfectly nice in-the-box tool, but like all anti-malware tools, it hasn't a chance to detect the strains of malware designed to hide themselves in plain site, malware with a kind of "cloaking device" wherein the malware modifies the operating system so that scanning an infected file just turns up a "nope, no malware, nobody but us chickens in here!" report.  And if you're on this mailing list, the chances are very good that you know that we call such hard-to-detect malware "rootkits."

Invisible malware like rootkits sounds dire, but given that they can only remain invisible while the infected OS is running, there's an obvious way to find them -- run the malware scanner under another, uninfected OS.  One way to do that would be to physically remove the boot hard disk of the machine in question, plug it into an uninfected machine and scan the questionable drive, but that's a lot of work.

The better answer arrived a few years ago when Microsoft released a free, cut-down version of Windows that fits on a CD or a USB stick called "Windows PE" and I'm hoping that most of you are using it now for maintenance and deployment tasks.  (Look at Newsletter 59 if you've never created a USB stick.  I use it heavily in my free Steadier State tool as well as when trying to revive dead systems.)  Anyway, WinPE's great, but there wasn't much in the way of anti-malware tools that could run atop WinPE.  Microsoft fixed that by building and giving away a WinPE image that includes a version of Defender -- they call it "Windows Defender Offline -- built right in.  Stick it on a USB stick or CD, cold boot a system with it and rootkits are revealed.  Neat.  You can find it here with download links at the bottom of the page:

Permit me to offer a few notes on it:

1) This is NOT new, as Defender Offline's been around since December 2011.  I'm telling you about it in February 2014, however, because I mention it a LOT when I do talks and invariably get totally blank looks from 98% of the crowd.  (That's true even when I'm talking to security experts.  Eek.)  If you're on my mailing list, the chances are that you're Windows tech support for SOMEBODY, whether you're getting paid for it or not, and starting off with a rootkit check can save you a whole LOT of time.  I recommend that everyone reading this put Offline Defender on a USB stick and keep it in their bag of tricks.  (I've found that Sony's "Microvault" USB sticks are a nicely matte white, allowing me to write on them with a Sharpie to keep track of which USB stick is the Defender, which runs Clonezilla, and so on.  If anyone out there knows a cheaper USB stick that you can write on, please drop me a line.)

2) As I mentioned before, this works perfectly well on Windows Server.  We had a malware scare a few months ago and I tested my Server 2012 systems with it, and it didn't refuse to run on a Server SKU.  Similarly, I've got an ISO of Defender Offline that I boot my Hyper-V VMs from when I need to test them for rootkits as well.)

3) I've just noticed that the Defender Offline page says that you need a newer version, a Windows Defender Offline beta, to run it on Windows 8.1 systems.  I'm fairly certain that I've run Defender Offline on my 8.1 systems, but if Microsoft says you need the beta, I guess you should get it for 8.1 and presumably 2012R2."