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September, 2017:

Leadership – Center for Grateful Leadership RSS feed

This link allows users at CGL site to quickly find podcasts, blog posts, and articles related to a new Project Management discipline that is starting to emerge

https://gratefulleadership.com/feed/

Microsoft 365 licensing – New options announced at Ignite

Several products are now branded with the “365” option, with new options announced last week

https://redmondmag.com/articles/2017/09/28/additional-microsoft-365-options-coming-next-week.aspx

In August, Microsoft launched a public preview of Microsoft 365 Business, intended for organizations with fewer than 300 users. That bundle begins to reveal the variation of the Microsoft 365 offerings. While it broadly addresses productivity, client, management and security licensing, the specifics of the bundle consisted of Windows 10 Pro upgrade rights, Windows Defender, Office, 1TB of file storage, a 50GB mailbox, online meetings, Microsoft Teams, Outlook Customer Manager, Bookings, MileIQ and additional security and management features. A number of additional versions were unveiled this week at Microsoft Ignite, including Microsoft 365 F1 for so-called “firstline workers” and two new Microsoft 365 versions for education.

Hardware – Retro 1982 Commodore 64 version for 2018

Many of us learned to program for PC applications on these early machines and this retro version will be marketed in 2018 (just as Nintendo has successfully done)

https://www.pcmag.com/news/356527/mini-commodore-64-including-64-games-launching-in-2018

Mini Commodore 64 Including 64 Games Launching in 2018 — The C64 Mini as it is called, will take the form of a 50 percent scale replica of the original 1982 computer complete with “accurate C64 operation.” Unlike the original, though, the C64 Mini will connect to a TV via HDMI and includes a joystick connected via USB.

Network Administrators – Four top skill sets for 2018 job opportunities

Network World documents four key skill areas, that are in high demand for 2018.  Cyber security is likely a complementary area of expertise needed in each of the four areas — as this must be part of any network solution as well 

https://www.networkworld.com/article/3227832/lan-wan/4-job-skills-that-can-boost-networking-salaries.html

The coming year looks promising for IT pros on the hunt for new positions. Employers are forging ahead with hiring plans, and it remains a job-seeker’s market. IT salaries are set to increase in 2018, particularly for talent that possesses hard-to-find skills. In the networking arena, certain skills will be especially lucrative:

1. Cisco network administration
2. Linux/UNIX administration
3. VoIP administration
4. Windows server & workstation management

Job candidates with these four in-demand talents may see an additional 5% to 10% bump in starting salary, according to the recruiting and staffing specialist’s 2018 Salary Guide. Candidates who merit top pay will have a high level of expertise, including specialized certifications, while the job role will likely be highly complex and more strategic in nature than usual, according to the firm’s analysis. At the top level, there’s likely to be high competition for talent.

Windows 10 S – New high security devices announced at Ignite

Windows 10 S offers a highly secure workstation environment, as users are prohibited from installing any software.  Only specially authorized apps branded, approved, and published at the Windows Store can be installed by administrators making these devices much more secure than normal workstations.

https://redmondmag.com/articles/2017/09/27/windows-10-s-hardware-aimed-at-firstline-workers.aspx

Microsoft Announces Windows 10 S Hardware Aimed at ‘Firstline Workers’. Microsoft announced on Tuesday a new line of Windows 10 S devices that are low cost and secure for employees in positions where they are the first contact to the public.  These devices are also designed to be managed through Azure Active Directory and Microsoft Intune out of the box. Future updates will include Windows 10 Enterprise capabilities, including Application Guard, Credential Guard and support for Cortana and other centralized management tools through a Microsoft 365 subscription.

A major focus on the new line of hardware will be on security due to these devices only being able to run apps built on the Universal Windows Platform. That ensures that each app downloaded to the device must go through the Windows Store’s vetting process for security. And the inability to download outside third-party apps should cut down on ransomware and malicious attacks, the company said.

While many new devices with the Windows 10 S branding are in the works, Microsoft showed off at Ignite four upcoming devices, including the HP Stream 14 Pro (available in October for $275), Acer Aspire 1 (available Q4 for $299), Acer Swift 1 (available Q4 2017 for $349) and the Lenovo V330 (available February 2018 for $349). Microsoft and OEMs have yet to share hardware specs of these devices, but with the first devices arriving in a few weeks, look for details to emerge shortly.

Data Breach – Equifax offers improved credit locks and monitoring

Equifax is offering improved free safeguards to compensate for the 143 million individuals in the USA, impacted by the recent hacking and data breaches  

Equifax Offers Lifetime Free Credit Locks in a Bid to Save Face

One of the three largest US-based consumer credit reporting agencies, Equifax, faced a data breach earlier this year, which was reported earlier this month, affecting data of over 143 million customer accounts. And now the company is offering free credit locks for life to its customers. And now the newly-appointed interim CEO Paulino do Rego Barros Jr has announced in the op-ed he wrote in the Wall Street Journal that the company will be offering credit lock and unlock service to its customers for free starting January 31, 2018.

In addition to that, Barros also stated that the free-sign up for TrustedID Premier will also be extended.  The Trusted ID Premier account includes 3-Bureau credit monitoring of Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion credit reports; copies of Equifax credit reports; the ability to lock and unlock Equifax credit reports; identity theft insurance; and Internet scanning for Social Security numbers.

The hacked information included names, social security numbers, birth dates, addresses, and driver’s license. In addition to that, 209,000 credit card numbers and 182,000 dispute documents containing personal identifying information of US consumers were also leaked.

Leadership – Failures will occur and use them as learning opportunities

John Maxwell has an excellent article on the importance of recognizing, evaluating, and learning from our mistakes.  Just as a baseball player may lead the league in homeruns, they may also strike out more times than any other player as well.

http://johnmaxwellcompany.com/blog/learning-from-mistakes-why-failure-isnt-always-bad

Your leaders can start seeing the value of making mistakes by understanding 7 myths people believe about failure:

MYTH 1. Failure is Avoidable — You’re going to make mistakes. Forgiving yourself and your leaders for past mistakes will empower them to move forward with confidence.

MYTH 2. Failure is an Independent Event — Your leaders need to realize that failure is a process. If they ever flunked a test, it didn’t mean they failed a one-time event. The F grade showed they neglected the process leading up to the test.

MYTH 3. Failure is Objective — The way we perceive and respond to mistakes determines whether or not it is a failure. When your company perceives mistakes as opportunities—not failures—they will become learning opportunities.

MYTH 4. Failure is the Enemy —  If your managers and leaders see failure as the enemy, they will fall behind those who see them as learning opportunities. Observe any high achiever, and you’ll discover a person who doesn’t see a mistake as the enemy. “Don’t worry about failure; you only have to be right once.”

MYTH 5. Failure is Irreversible — Encouragement to correct mistakes from superiors can be what turns a possible setback into an opportunity for growth. There’s an old saying in Texas: “It doesn’t matter how much milk you spill as long as you don’t lose your cow.” The problems come when your company leaders see only the spilled milk and not the bigger picture.

MYTH 6. Failure is A Stigma — Leaders need to know that mistakes are not permanent markers. That’s the way we need to look at failure. It doesn’t define leaders. It frees them to shine.

MYTH 7. Failure is Final — Leaders who fail forward are able to see errors as a regular part of growth, learn from them, and become better for it. Errors become mistakes for your company when you perceive and respond to them incorrectly. Mistakes become failures for your company when you continually respond to them incorrectly.

You and your leaders are human. Recognizing that mistakes are inevitable gives leaders the ability to use mistakes as a growth opportunity instead of a setback. The following Rules of Being Human describe well the state we’re all in:

Rule #1: You will learn lessons.
Rule #2: There are no mistakes—only lessons.
Rule #3: A lesson is repeated until it is learned.
Rule #4: If you don’t learn the easy lessons, they get harder.
Rule #5: You’ll know you’ve learned a lesson when your actions change.

Microsoft Excel 2019 – Adds new data types and machine learning

Major innovations are coming to Microsoft Excel 2019.  It will add new more highly functional & richer data types and machine learning capabilities as documented below:

Microsoft Excel is about to get a lot smarter

Microsoft Excel users rejoice. Your favorite spreadsheet is about to get a lot smarter, thanks to the help of machine learning and a better connection to the outside world. Excel will soon be able to understand more about your inputs and then pull additional information from the internet as necessary.

“We’re pleased to introduce new data types,” Spataro explained. “That doesn’t sound all that interesting.  However, Spataro showed me how you will soon be able to tag a list of company names as — well — company names, for example. Once you’ve done that, Excel can pull in more information about the company from Microsoft’s Bing API, including stock data and market cap, for example. Excel can even automatically detect that a list of names is indeed a list of company names or a list of cities, for example, which then allows you to pull in population data, among other things.

“Historically, Excel has always been good at numbers and you can enter in text and use conditional formatting and things like that,” Spataro said. “We are adding the idea that Excel can now recognize data types that are richer than those two.”

In addition, the Office team is also launching a new built-in tool for Excel that will automatically try to pull the most interesting data from a spreadsheet and visualize it. The “Insight Service,” as the company is currently calling it, is modeled on a very similar feature in the Power BI data visualization and analysis tool, and it’s worth noting that Google Sheets also offers a comparable tool. “It is meant to take any list of data and then start to generate insights,” Spataro said. “It will look at combinations, charts, pivot tables and it will recognize those that are most interesting by looking at outliers, looking at trends in the data, looking at things that represent changes.” If you like one of the graphs the service generates, you can easily import those into your Excel sheets and manipulate them to your heart’s content.

Office 2019 – Announced at Microsoft Ignite

Office 2019 was announced at Microsoft Ignite and features even better cloud interoperability & improve AI/BI capabilities

https://blogs.office.com/en-us/2017/09/26/the-next-perpetual-release-of-office/

Today, at Microsoft Ignite in Orlando, we announced Office 2019—the next perpetual update for Office. This release, scheduled for the second half of 2018, will include perpetual versions of the Office apps (including Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook) and servers (including Exchange, SharePoint, and Skype for Business). Previews of the new products will start shipping mid-year 2018.

Office 2019 will add new user and IT capabilities for customers who aren’t yet ready for the cloud. For example, new and improved inking features—like pressure sensitivity, tilt effects, and ink replay—will allow you to work more naturally. New formulas and charts will make data analysis for Excel more powerful. Visual animation features—like Morph and Zoom—will add polish to PowerPoint presentations. Server enhancements will include updates to IT manageability, usability, voice, and security.

Microsoft SQL-Server 2017 – Key product announcements at Ignite

Microsoft announced today a number of new business and technology features for their new release of SQL Server 2017 as follows:

http://www.zdnet.com/article/review-sql-server-2017-adds-python-graph-processing-and-runs-on-linux/

https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/sql-server/sql-server-2017

Today, at its Ignite conference in Orlando, Microsoft is announcing the general availability of a new version of its flagship operational database, SQL Server 2017.  At almost 30 years of age, Microsoft’s flagship database has learned many new tricks.

In a move that may seem ironic to the market and is yet quite consistent with SQL Server’s legacy, the release of SQL Server 2017 heralds SQL Server’s return to the *NIX platform, with a new Linux version of the product. And despite this development being legacy-consistent, it is still a very big deal (i.e., back in 1993 early versions of MS/SQL Server, co-developed with Sybase, also ran on UNIX).

1. Improved Linux compatibility — Microsoft begins the work of eliminating these adoption blockers. SQL Server can now run on Windows servers, Linux-based servers, or some combination of the two. The Linux version can also run in Docker containers (which can also be Windows- or Linux-based) making it almost trivial to run on a Mac. In fact, if a developer’s machine already has Docker installed, running and has allocated at least 4GB of memory to it, then two commands, entered in a Mac or Linux machine’s Terminal window, will download, install and start the product running

2. Data Science improvements with “R” and Python support — Microsoft has taken SQL Server R Services, introduced in the 2016 release, and added support for the Python programming language. The enhanced feature, now dubbed SQL Server Machine Learning Services (ML Services), allows code in either language to execute natively on the SQL Server itself. Another option is to write and execute the R/Python code on a workstation but have it delegate the heavy work to run on the SQL Server.

3. New support for NoSQL graph processing — Instead of rows and columns, tables in graph databases contain “nodes” (sometimes called “vertices”) and “edges.” Nodes represent entities while edges represent relationships between them. With relationships codified at the entity level, rather than the table level, it becomes much easier to do things like get all the entities related to another one in particular.