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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:

http://www.johnmaxwell.com/blog/developing-a-powerful-positive-perspective

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:

http://www.pcmag.com/news/348347/microsoft-bets-big-on-ai-with-new-division

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.

http://blogs.microsoft.com/blog/2016/09/29/the-next-milestone-in-microsofts-journey/

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:

https://police.utexas.edu/prevention/telephone.html

http://www.connectsafely.org/cellphone-safety-tips/

http://money.usnews.com/money/personal-finance/articles/2015/01/13/10-ways-to-keep-your-phone-safe

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

http://www.pcmag.com/news/348336/googles-cloud-services-get-new-names

https://cloudplatform.googleblog.com/2016/09/Google-Cloud-Platform-sets-a-course-for-new-horizons.html

https://cloud.googleblog.com/2016/09/introducing-Google-Cloud.html

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:

https://blogs.windows.com/windowsexperience/2016/09/26/new-windows-10-and-office-365-features-for-the-secure-productive-enterprise/

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

http://www.pcmag.com/article/348243/readers-choice-awards-2016-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:

https://redmondmag.com/articles/2016/09/27/worldwide-expansion-plans-for-azure.aspx

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.

https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/regions/

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.

Leadership – Practical examples outside the office

John Maxwell shares a good leadership article related on need to take these essential skills outside the office into society itself:

http://www.johnmaxwell.com/blog/taking-your-leadership-out-of-the-office

This has all kinds of practical applications in a business or office setting. You lead out when you change the status quo. You lead out when you encourage others to follow your lead by growing and stretching themselves. You lead out when you challenge sloppy thinking, poor planning, or half-hearted effort.   In our modern culture, there is a leadership vacuum. We are desperate for leaders. The world needs men and women of character and integrity willing to step up to the plate and lead others well. I see three areas where our society is in desperate need of fully-formed leaders:

1. Families — I’ve come across a superstar business leader whose family was in shambles. I think being a leader at home is as important as being a leader at work. In fact, your home and family is probably the biggest sphere of influence you have as a leader. It’s where you will find the most teachable moments, the most opportunities for growth, and the most potential for developing other leaders who can help shape the world.

2. Community — There are hundreds of people who live within minutes of you who struggle with life. They dream of things that could make the community stronger, if only someone would listen. It begins by valuing people. Just like you invest in the people who share your office space, look for ways to value the people you run into on a day-to-day basis near your home.  Make a positive impact within your community, and others will follow your lead.

3. Government — The most obvious way of leading your government is by exercising your right to vote. Leadership is influence, and voting is one of the most influential things you can do. And as a good leader, you need to exercise that right. But you also have influence through your voice. You can email your representatives, make a phone call, and in some cases utilize social media to make your thoughts known to those who are elected to represent you. And you should.

Microsoft Windows 10 – Achieves 400 million user milestone

The latest count of Windows 10 devices was just shared at Microsoft’s Ignite conference:

http://www.seattletimes.com/business/microsoft/microsoft-says-400-million-devices-using-windows-10/

ATLANTA — Microsoft says there are 400 million devices running Windows 10, the operating system the company released in July 2015.  That’s up from 350 million in June.  The updated figure, timed to the start of Microsoft’s Ignite information technology worker conference, is the first update since the company backed off the timeline for its goal to get 1 billion devices using the new operating system.

Windows 10 was designed to give users a similar look and feel on devices from laptops to tablets and smartphones. The original usage goals for the operating system includied assumptions about smartphone sales that proved overly optimistic after Microsoft sharply curtailed the smartphone hardware business it bought from Nokia in 2014.

Microsoft Cloud technology – Field Programmable Gate Arrays

The new FGPA technology is a highly specialized computer chip that can be custom programmed for highly demanding cloud based applications as described below:

http://www.seattletimes.com/business/microsoft/microsoft-opens-a-gate-to-powerful-computing/

One of Microsoft’s major announcements this week at Ignite, the Redmond company’s annual information technology worker conference, was essentially a better supercomputer.  Burger, in a simulated demo on Monday, showed how field programmable gate arrays (FGPAs), a type of computer chip that can be reprogrammed for specific tasks after they leave the factory floor, were adding firepower to Microsoft’s network of on-demand computing power.

Using all of the power of Microsoft’s data centers worldwide, the company could translate all 5 million articles on the English language Wikipedia in less than a tenth of a second. The company during the past two years has quietly been installing FGPAs on the new servers Microsoft added to its global fleet of data centers. They’re currently helping to rank results in the Bing search engine and speed the performance of Microsoft’s Azure cloud-computing network.

Microsoft is alone among major cloud-computing players in widely deploying FPGA technology, Burger said, though Chinese search giant Baidu is experimenting with FPGA-powered machine-learning applications, and IBM and Oracle have used the devices on a smaller scale.