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.

Cisco patches Equation group exploit in IOS, IOS XE and IOS XR devices

Cisco patches Equation group exploit in IOS, IOS XE and IOS XR devices

“The vulnerability affects networking devices running Cisco’s IOS, IOS XE and IOS XR operating systems that process IKEv1 (Internet Key Exchange version 1) packets. When exploited, it allows remote unauthenticated attackers to extract contents from a device’s memory, potentially leading to the exposure of sensitive and confidential information.”

How to Add or Remove a Windows Backup and Restore context menu in Windows 10

The Backup and Restore (Windows 7) feature in Windows 10 will allow you to select to let Windows choose or let you choose what to back up, and to browse and search your backup for files and folders to restore.

•If you select let Windows choose, Windows will back up data files saved in libraries, on the desktop, and in default Windows folders. Windows will also create a system image, which can be used to restore your computer if it stops working. These items will be backed up on a regular schedule.
•If you select let me choose, you can select libraries and folders, and whether to include a system image in the backup. The items you choose will be backed up on a regular schedule.

A system image is a copy of the drives required for Windows to run. It can also include additional drives. A system image can be used to restore your computer if your hard drive or computer ever stops working; however, you can’t choose individual items to restore.

This tutorial will show you how to add a Windows Backup and Restore desktop context menu to quickly create, manage, and restore backups and create a system image in Windows 10.

Read more…

PowerShell classes

I’ve just had an article on PowerShell classes published on the UK TechNet bog –

Yo, Quickbooks, SBS 2011 *is* Server 2008 R2

So have you spotted this yet?  Quickbooks 2017 throws off an error obviously pulling bad OS string data from something.  Let see if we can get some attention to this and get this fixed.

As … you know Intuit?  SBS 2011 is based on Server 2008 r2.  There is no such thing as Server 2011.

Updated:  Manually install  .net 4.6.2  .  Now install the QB running as compat wizard.  Pick XP sp2 (don’t ask just try it).  Got a report that this worked.

Getting Automatic Services That Are Stopped With PowerShell

One of the first things I check when I am troubleshooting a system is whether all the services that should be running, are. I could just open up services.msc, click on the “Startup Type” column to sort by the startup type, and scroll down through the Automatic services to see which ones aren’t running. But that’s so…. GUI  :p. And slower, and so very one machine at a time. Instead, let’s use PowerShell to make it all easier.


First, I checked Get-Service, thinking it would give me what I need. but it doesn’t. There’s no way with Get-Service to find out what the startup type is — it’s not a property returned by Get-Service. (Yes, I think this is a deficiency. And yes, I expect someday we might get an improvement to Get-Service. But for the moment, we have to work around it. )


Instead, I decided to use the Get-WmiObject cmdlet to find what we need. (If the machine you’re running this from is running PowerShell v3 or later, you can substitute Get-CimInstance for Get-WmiObject. But if you do, you won’t be able to use -Credential.)


Get-WmiObject Win32_Service returns a list of all the services on the local machine. We can extend it with -ComputerName to query the services on a remote computer. And we can filter those services, though the filtering uses WQL as the query language, which is a nuisance since it doesn’t match up to the Filter syntax for the ActiveDirectory module, for example.


To get a list of all the services that should have started automatically, but that are not currently running, on the local machine:

Get-WmiObject -ClassName Win32_Service -Filter "StartMode='Auto' AND State<>'Running'"

But that output is a bit ugly, so we’ll throw some Format-Table at it, and come up with:

Get-WmiObject -ClassName Win32_Service `
              -Filter "StartMode='Auto' AND State<>'Running'" `
             | Format-Table -Auto DisplayName,Name,StartMode,State

Not bad. That gives us an easy to read output with all the information we need. We can wrap that up in a simple cmdlet that assumes the local computer, but that allows us to run it against multiple computers. And we want it to be able to get that list of computer names through the pipeline, of course. Plus, we’ll add a Credential parameter to allow us to run against machines on a different domain, or a workgroup, so long as we provide an appropriate credential.


If we’re going to get output from multiple computers, however, we need to know which one has which services that aren’t running. To do that, we take advantage of Format-Tables GroupBy parameter:

Get-WmiObject -ClassName Win32_Service `
              -Filter "StartMode='Auto' AND State<>'Running'" `
             | Format-Table -AutoSize `
                            -Property DisplayName,Name,StartMode,State `
                            -GroupBy  PSComputer

Now we have everything we need to pull our script together.


Gets a list of stopped services
Get-myStoppedService takes a list of computer names and returns 
a table of the stopped services on that computer that are set to 
automatically start. The default is to return a list on the local computer.
Returns a table of stopped services on the local computer
Get-myStoppedService -ComputerName 'server1','client2'
Returns a table of stopped services on server1 and client2, 
grouped by computer name
.Parameter ComputerName
A list of remote computer names to query. If the current account 
doesn't have permission to query WMI on the remote computer, use 
the Credential parameter to provide alternate credentials. 
The default is the local host.
.Parameter Credential
Standard PSCredential object. Use Get-Credential.
    Author: Charlie Russel
 Copyright: 2016 by Charlie Russel
          : Permission to use is granted but attribution is appreciated
   Initial: 29 September, 2016 (cpr)
     $ComputerName = ".",
     $Credential = $NULL

if ($Credential) {
   Get-WMIObject -ClassName Win32_Service `
                 -Credential $Credential `
                 -ComputerName $ComputerName `
                 -Filter "StartMode='Auto' AND State<>'Running'" `
                | Format-Table -Auto DisplayName,Name,StartMode,State -GroupBy PSComputerName
} else {
   Get-WmiObject -ClassName Win32_Service `
                 -ComputerName $ComputerName `
                 -Filter "StartMode='Auto' AND State<>'Running'" `
                | Format-Table -Auto DisplayName,Name,StartMode,State -GroupBy PSComputerName

Installing SharePoint 2016 on Azure

Looking at my YouTube content it has been brought to my attention on Twitter that I don’t have a video that people expect. How to install SharePoint Server 2016 on Azure IaaS. Whoops. I realized that I have all of the pieces I just haven’t put the story together. So before I bust out the camera, microphone, and makeup (just kidding) I thought I would put together a blog post that gives you the plan in the short term.

In Azure, you will need to create a minimum of three VMs and you will need to put those VMs in the same Resource Group to make your life easier.

  1. Create a Domain Controller VM
    1. Create a new resource group
    2. Give it a static IP
    3. Update Azure Networking with static IP for DNS
    4. Will be a domain controller for your new forest and DNS server
    5. Step-by-Step video Create a new Active Directory Forest in Azure
  2. Create a Windows VM for SQL
    1. Put it in same Resource Group (working with Resource Groups in Azure)
    2. Join to Azure domain (Add a server to the domain in Azure)
    3. Install SQL and configure it for SharePoint.
    4. Step-by-Step video for SQL 2014 or SQL 2016
  3. Create a Windows VM for SharePoint
    1. Put in same Resource Group
    2. Join to Azure domain
    3. Step-by-Step video Install SharePoint Server 2016
    4. Step-by-Step video Install Cumulative Update for SharePoint Sever 2016 This step is optional. I would consider starting with September 2016 CU
  4. Step-by-Step video Configure SharePoint Server 2016 the right way

There you go. If you want a guide through the whole process, there it is. The good news is I see how that is annoying and that the SharePoint videos are shown with Hyper-V. So next week I will sit down and reshoot all of this 100% from Azure.

If you do watch any of these and have ideas or suggestions on what I should do differently or better, I am all ears.

Shane – @ShanesCows

Bold Zebras - Microsoft Cloud Consulting

Bold Zebras – Microsoft Cloud Consulting

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.

Toymaster has released Security Mailer Volume 16 Number 39

Security Mailer Volume 16 Number 39

RWW and SBS 2008

I got it working as a workaround by replacing the mstscax.dll (Version 10.0.14393.0) in %windir%SysWOW64 with the “backup file” in “Windows.oldWINDOWSSysWOW64” version (10.0.10586.494)

I had to take ownership of the file and give Administrators Full control access to be able to replace the file.

Hope this helps someone out.

Be aware this is an extremely temporary fix.  The next feature release will replace that dll for sure.  If there is a security update to RDP, this will also replace the dll.  So be prepared for it to not stick.

I’m still trying to work with the Essentials team to get this understood to see what our long term options are.

How to Import a Task to Task Scheduler in Windows

The Task Scheduler enables you to automatically perform routine tasks on a chosen computer. The Task Scheduler does this by monitoring whatever criteria you choose to initiate the tasks (referred to as triggers) and then executing the tasks when the criteria is met.

You can import an exported task, which will add the imported task to a task folder and allow you to use and run the task. A task’s properties, triggers, actions, conditions, and settings are represented in an XML file.

This tutorial will show how to import a task to Task Scheduler from an exported task .xml file in Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8, and Windows 10.

Read more…

How to Export a Task from Task Scheduler in Windows

The Task Scheduler enables you to automatically perform routine tasks on a chosen computer. The Task Scheduler does this by monitoring whatever criteria you choose to initiate the tasks (referred to as triggers) and then executing the tasks when the criteria is met.

You can export a task so that the task is stored in an XML file which can be imported by other users and computers. A task’s properties, triggers, actions, conditions, and settings are represented in an XML file.

If you created a task in Task Scheduler, then it would be a good idea to back up the task by exporting it as an XML to make it easy to restore (import) in the future as needed.

This tutorial will show how to export a task from Task Scheduler as an .xml file backup in Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8, and Windows 10.

Read more…

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.

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:

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.

Pale Moon 26.5.0 Released September 28, 2016

Pale Moon: Release notes

26.5.0 (2016-09-28)


  • Implemented a breaking CSP
    (content security policy) spec change; when a page with CSP is loaded
    over http, Pale Moon now interprets CSP directives to also include https
    versions of the hosts listed in CSP if a scheme (http/https) isn’t
    explicitly listed. This breaks with CSP 1.0 which is more restrictive
    and doesn’t allow this cross-protocol access, but is in line with CSP 2
    where this is allowed.
  • Fixed an issue with the XML parser where
    it would sometimes end up in an unknown state and throw an error (e.g.
    when specific networking errors would occur).
  • Improved the performance of canvas poisoning by explicitly parallelizing it.

Security fixes:

  • Fixed a potentially exploitable crash related to text writing direction. (CVE-2016-5280)
  • Made
    checking for invalid PNG files more strict. Pale Moon will now reject
    more PNG files that have corrupted/invalid data that could otherwise
    lead to potential security issues.
  • Changed the way paletted image frames are allocated so the space is cleared before it’s used. DiD
  • Fixed a crash in nsNodeUtils::CloneAndAdopt() due to a typo. DiD
  • Fixed several memory safety issues and crashes.

DiD This means that the fix is “Defense-in-Depth”: It is a fix that does not
apply to an actively exploitable vulnerability in Pale Moon, but prevents future vulnerabilities caused by
the same code when surrounding code changes, exposing the problem.

Microsoft Windows 10 – Achieves 400 million user milestone

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

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:

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.

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