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Leadership – Consistency is key approach for Time Management

To achieve long-range objectives over time, there must be a pattern of consistency or the day-to-day distractions will impact the overall success of the team.

Have you ever considered the time investment in some of the world’s greatest achievements?

* It took 26 months to build the Eiffel Tower.
* It took Da Vinci 4 years to paint the Mona Lisa.
* It took Michelangelo 4 years to paint the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel.
* It took Leo Tolstoy over 6 years to write War and Peace.
* It took around 30 years to build the Great Pyramid.

And I get impatient if microwave popcorn takes too long! Joking aside, I love this list because it reminds me of just what can be accomplished when a person invests time wisely. Time is the one commodity each person gets in equal measure. As songwriter Chris Rice once wrote, “Every day is a bank account, and time is our currency. No one’s rich, nobody’s poor – we get 24 hours each.”

Yet so many of us don’t invest time wisely. We spend many of the hours we’re given each day on things that bring us no return. According to the website Digital Trends, Americans now spend an average of 4.7 hours a day looking at social media on their phones. Take a moment and re-read that, because it’s an amazing statistic.

Consistency — All of this can be avoided with the habit of consistency. Consistency in this case means you give a little bit of time to each area every day, and stick with it. It won’t feel like much at first, but it’s the discipline to stick with it that yields not only the tangible results of the investment, but the internal rewards as well. You learn to increase the time you give each area. You become more aware of how you’re wasting time. You get sharper, smarter, and more focused as a result.

Google – Chromecast Ultra offers 4K video

This PC Magazine article compares and contrasts Chromecast Ultra ($69) with the current lower priced Chromecast steaming device ($35)

OVERVIEW — At $69, Google’s new Chromecast Ultra costs nearly twice as much as the regular Chromecast $35 at Best Buy, a PCMag Editors’ Choice for its price and features. We’ll know whether the Chromecast Ultra is a worthy upgrade when we get it in the lab for testing, but until then here are the main distinctions we can identify.

The Big Difference: 4K — Ultra high definition (UHD or 4K) video is the main feature that bumps the Chromecast Ultra above the regular Chromecast. Chromecast Ultra can output streaming video at 3,840 by 2,160, while the regular Chromecast is limited to 1,920 by 1,080. That’s four times as many pixels and the new standard for the latest original shows on Netflix and Hulu.

HDR Support — Besides just the higher resolution, the Chromecast Ultra also supports high dynamic range (HDR) video. HDR video not only has more pixels than standard 1080p video, but each pixel can cover a wider and more granular range of color and light output. If you have a television that can handle it (and that’s not all 4K TVs), it looks stunning.

Ethernet Alternative — The Chromecast Ultra includes an Ethernet adapter, so you can plug the device directly into your router or modem for the strongest, fastest network connection. Streaming video is pretty reliable over Wi-Fi if you have a good router, but a wired connection ensures even more speed and reliability, and that can be the key between whether Netflix actually sends a 4K HDR signal to your television or whether it throttles down to 1080p because it thinks that’s all your network can handle.

More Power — According to Google, Chromecast Ultra is simply faster than the Chromecast. The distinction is “ultra fast load times” compared with “fast load times.” Whether there actually is a noticeable difference is a question we can’t answer until we test the new device.

FBI – National Cyber Security Awareness OCT-2016

October is cyber-security awareness month where best practices for safekeeping online are highlighted.  The FBI web site features excellent awareness for protecting information resources.

The FBI is doing everything we possibly can, at every level, to make it harder for cyber criminals to operate,” says Associate Executive Assistant Director David Johnson, “and I believe many of them are now starting to think twice before they put fingers to keyboard. But we also ask that the public do its part by taking precautions and implementing safeguards to protect their own data.”


Leadership – Benefits of a Powerful Positive Perspective

John Maxwell shares a beneficial leadership article related on focus for the positive rather than negative side with both projects and people:

STORY FROM WORLDS BEST HITTER TO BEST PITCHER — A young child tossed the ball into the air again, and took another mighty swing. The ball landed softly at his feet. “That’s strike two!” he yelled. “One more strike to go. Not a problem for the best hitter in all of baseball.”  He threw the ball it the air once more, and once again he took a mighty swing. He swung so hard he spun around on his heels and fell down onto the grass. The ball lay nearby, untouched. The boy got up, dusted off his pants and cried out, “Steeeee-rike three! I’m out!”  His mother called out, “Aren’t you upset you didn’t get a hit? After all, you’re the greatest hitter in all of baseball.”  The boy turned to her and smiled. “No way! Since I struck myself out, I just discovered I’m the greatest pitcher in all of baseball!” Now THAT is a powerful positive perspective. Finding the good in every circumstance, looking for good instead of searching for the bad.

Chances are, you’ve met people like that young boy. People who, no matter the circumstances, no matter what’s going on around them, see the world through a positive lens. We call them many things – dreamers, optimists, romantics, idealists, star-gazers. But no matter what we call them, most of us like being around them. They bring hope. They bring energy. They bring a sense of possibility that helps ignite our own sense of belief. We may give positive-perspective-holders a hard time, but when push comes to shove, we want them on our team.

Because we know what the people with powerful negative perspectives bring.  Those people have never met an opportunity that they liked. They see all the cracks, the blemishes, the reasons why something can’t be done. People with a powerful negative perspective may tell you that they actually understand the weight of the situation, but oftentimes they ARE the weight in the situation!

Don’t you find that to be true? In our current culture, negativity has somehow become synonymous with clear thinking and wisdom. Meanwhile, people with a positive outlook are considered naïve or willfully ignorant. And so folks that want to get ahead embrace the darkly cynical outlook that others have adopted, and then wonder why everyone has problems but so few people have ideas!

Because life provides enough challenges as it is. You don’t need to add to them.  Instead, you need to focus your energy and thinking on becoming a person with a powerful positive perspective. Look for the good. Believe the good. Find others who believe as you do and partner with them to make a difference. Because this much is true: the only people who get things done are the people who believe something can be done.

Microsoft – announces new Artificial Intelligence team at Ignite

Microsoft is reorganizing resources into a new Artificial Intelligence with more than 5,000 team members working together.  This is outlined in following links:

Microsoft might be putting its phone hardware business on the backburner, but it’s going all in on artificial intelligence with a new division focused entirely on the emerging technology.  Redmond’s new Artificial Intelligence team includes more than 5,000 computer scientists and engineers who will work to standardize AI. It will become the company’s fourth major division alongside Windows, Office, and Cloud. Members of Microsoft Research, as well as the Information Platform Group, Bing and Cortana product groups, and the Ambient Computing and Robotics teams will join the AI division.

Today, Microsoft announced a new group that will help accelerate this evolution. It will include Microsoft Research along with the company’s Information Platform Group, Bing and Cortana product groups, and our Ambient Computing and Robotics teams. The combined group will include more than 5,000 computer scientists and engineers.

I’ve worked on both research and product teams, and I see incredible potential for this new group. Today, AI is shifting the computer science research supply chain and blurring lines between research and product. End-to-end innovation in AI will not come from isolated research labs alone, but from the combination of at-scale production workloads together with deep technology advancements in algorithms, systems and experiences. The new group will provide greater opportunity to accelerate our innovation in AI, and to enable Microsoft to create truly intelligent systems and products for our customers. I believe we have some of the best AI talent on the planet, and we’ll continue to attract even more

Telephone – Safety and Privacy tips from security awareness program

At my local church, our youth have done an awesome job in skits and awareness related to dangers of Internet, social engineering, and telephone scams.  This may be some of best security awareness I’ve seen.  Below are a few ideas shared based on past experience in field of security.  This coming Sunday will be part two of the special series, where our youth present more safety tips designed for all audiences and enacted with skits.    

1. An incoming identifier is a MUST on your phone for land line phones

2. Never answer any unknown calls for a telephone number you have never seen or a call from complete stranger (as you do not know who is on other end) 

3. If you see a series of out-of-state calls, it’s bad guys with automated robo-dialers looking for CELL PHONE #s … when you answer, you won’t hear anything & they may hang up.  Those #s get put on list and volume of calls will increase

4. Never give out any personal or credit card info on phone (unless you initiate call and were planning to purchase something)

5. Even telephone surveys may be dangerous for data mining & identity theft (you truly do not know who is on other end)

6. It is a good discipline to take long breaks and be less available by phone (sharing in context of folks who spend too much time there and carelessness can occur)

7. If someone calling claims to be IRS, Bank, FedEx Microsoft, etc. are demanding you do something – never comply unless you were expecting call in advance (and even then never give out sensitive information or passwords

8. Never let an outsider remotely connect to your PC while on phone, as often they implant spyware or malware

9. “Think before you click” is great axiom to keep in mind for email and websites (same principle applies while on the phone)

10. Be careful in calling back any number left on answering machine, as the long distance rates may be excessive

Additional resources include:

Google – announces Google Cloud and G-Suite

Google has renamed and rebranded it’s cloud computing services. Instead of “Google Cloud Services” or “Google Cloud Platform”, it will simply be known as “Google Cloud”.  Related links are noted below

For starters, Google’s cloud platform—”our user facing collaboration and productivity applications”— is now known as Google Cloud. It encompasses all the company’s cloud technologies and products: its “user-facing collaboration and productivity applications” (think, Gmail and Docs); machine learning tools and APIs; enterprise maps APIs; and all Android phones, tablets, and Chromebooks that access the cloud. Apps for Work, meanwhile, is also getting a new name: G Suite.

Microsoft Edge browser – Windows Defender Application Guard

Microsoft is virtualizing the Edge browser in Window 10 to improve safety for users as shared below:

Today we announced a new addition to the extensive Windows 10 security stack with a revolutionary security improvement to Microsoft Edge. Windows Defender Application Guard uses virtualization-based security technology to protect against advanced attacks coming from the Internet, helping to protect the enterprise’s devices, employees, data and even their corporate networks. This level of protection has never been more important, as the majority of attacks start in the browser.

Unlike other browsers that use software-based sandboxes, which still provide a pathway for malware and vulnerability exploits, Microsoft Edge’s use of Application Guard isolates the browser and employee activity using a hardware-based container to prevent malicious code from impacting the device and moving across the enterprise network. This robust security service helps protect enterprises from malware, viruses, vulnerabilities, and even zero-day attacks. Once enabled, enterprise administrators can configure a trusted network site list policy and distribute the group policy to any devices it wishes to protect with Application Guard. Even if an untrusted site successfully loads malware, the malware is unable to reach beyond the isolated container to steal data or permanently compromise devices or the network. Once the employee exits their Microsoft Edge browsing session, any malware is erased, preventing further attacks.

Digital Cameras – Top 2016 Awards by PC Magazine

PC Magazine shares an in-depth review of their 2016 Readers Choice Awards for Digital Cameras and Camcorders

Recent product introductions like Apple’s iPhone 7 Plus with two lenses, a Hasselblad camera add-on to the Motorolo Moto Z, and a Huawei’s partnership with Leica might lead you to believe that all of the interesting developments in photography are focused on smartphone photography. You’d be wrong.

There are many good reasons to use a traditional camera or camcorder instead of your smartphone. Zoom lenses get you much closer to the action without degrading images. Larger sensors capture sharper images and more detail and provide greater light sensitivity for shooting in low-light situations. Interchangeable lenses and other accessories outfit your rig just the way you need for the situation.

In this month’s PCMag Readers’ Choice Survey, we asked you to tell us about the camera and camcorders that you currently use. As always, we wanted to know how satisfied you are with various aspects of the camera’s use: are you satisfied with the camera overall? Is the device reliable? Is it easy to set up and use? How satisfied are you with the device for taking photos? Shooting videos? Would you recommend the brand of camera or camcorder to someone else?

We found tremendous parity among the top companies this year. Their customers are generally very satisfied, although different companies excel in different areas. Still, none of these manufacturers can rest on their laurels.

Microsoft Azure Cloud Technology – Future Expansion Plans

At the Ignite conference, Microsoft shares it’s future expansion plans for Azure Cloud data center growth as noted below:

Microsoft Azure is the second-largest global public cloud by customer revenues, according to independent analyst estimates, and Microsoft now claims an Azure presence in twice as many regions as the public cloud market-leading Amazon Web Services (AWS). “Over the last several years we’ve been hard at work expanding it to run literally all over the world,” said Scott Guthrie, executive vice president for the Microsoft Cloud and Enterprise Group, in an Ignite keynote Monday. “We now have 34 unique Azure regions around the world.”

Guthrie described Azure regions as clusters of multiple datacenters that are geographically close to customers to allow them to access data and computing power faster.  The list includes 30 generally available regions, including a pair that just opened in Germany, where Microsoft previously didn’t have a presence. “The Microsoft Cloud is also the only global cloud vendor licensed to operate legally in China, and the only to offer full data sovereignty in Germany, using our data trustee model,” Guthrie said.

Azure is generally available in 30 regions around the world, and has announced plans for 4 additional regions. Geographic expansion is a priority for Azure because it enables our customers to achieve higher performance and it support their requirements and preferences regarding data location.