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March, 2019:

Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager – v1902 released

https://redmondmag.com/articles/2019/03/29/microsoft-releases-configuration-manager-update-1902.aspx

Microsoft this week announced release milestones for some of its management, security and compliance tools. The announcements included the release of System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM) Update 1902, plus “general availability” milestones for both Microsoft 365 Security Center and Microsoft 365 Compliance Center, signaling production-environment readiness. There’s also a limited preview of a new Windows client “Tamper Protection” feature that works with the Microsoft Defender Advanced Threat Protection security solution.

The coming Tamper Protection feature will show up in the client in the Windows Security menu, and it’ll be possible for organizations to centrally manage it using the Microsoft Intune management solution. Home users eventually will get this feature, too, turned on by default in the Virus and Threat Protection settings, where it will show up as a toggle button. The Tamper Protection feature will be an opt-in feature for enterprise Windows users.

Microsoft – how to create SharePoint Teams Site page

The new “Teams Site modern page” is a major enhancement for improved SharePoint collaboration

https://redmondmag.com/articles/2019/03/12/sharepoint-modern-team-site-creation.aspx

Microsoft demonstrated how to create a new Teams Site “modern” page using an existing “classic” SharePoint page in a demo presentation late last month.   The Feb. 27 demo, currently available on demand, was Part 1 of Microsoft’s video series prefacing the SharePoint Conference event, which will take place in Las Vegas in May. Mark Kashman, senior program manager on the SharePoint team, talked about Microsoft’s efforts to make Teams and SharePoint Online “better together” in various respects, while Tejas Mehta, a principal program manager for Teams, demonstrated how to create a modern Teams Site page in SharePoint Online.

As for teams and business application improvements coming to SharePoint Online, these items are expected to appear in the first half of 2019:

    • New files experience in Teams
    • Teams channel awareness
    • Navigation and file-picking interfaces getting a common approach
    • Quick editing of Lists
    • Planner button addition to Lists
    • PowerApps custom forms
    • Microsoft Flow triggers for “file analysis, images and cognitive”

 

Windows 7 – How to turn off EOL reminders for JAN-2020 EOL

The “How to Geek” site illustrates this easy technique to stop reminder messages.

https://www.howtogeek.com/408556/how-to-avoid-windows-7s-end-of-support-nags/

Windows 7 will soon start nagging you to upgrade to Windows 10—again. Specifically, you’ll see a message informing you that Microsoft will officially stop supporting Windows 7 on January 14, 2020. Here’s how to avoid it.

Microsoft will only support Windows 7 with security patches until January 14, 2020. That’s the “end of support” or “end of life” (EOL) date. After this date, Windows 7 will technically leave “extended support.”   We strongly recommend upgrading to a supported operating system by January 14, 2020. You’re using a supported operating system until then—so feel free to hide the nags and use your PC.

All the message does is inform you that Windows 7 will no longer be supported on January 14, 2020, and provide a link to Microsoft’s website with more information.  More importantly, there’s a “Do Not Remind Me Again” checkbox at the bottom left corner of the window. Enable this checkbox and Microsoft will hopefully stop bugging you. However, if you don’t enable this checkbox and just close the window, you will see the end of life notification repeatedly.

Apple – In-depth review of 5 new tablets MAR-2019

Verge shares an excellent & in-depth review on how to pick among Apple’s 5 new tablet offerings:

https://www.theverge.com/ipad/2019/3/30/18282499/apple-ipad-mini-air-pro-comparison-how-to-choose

Currently, Apple sells five different models. In order of most affordable to most expensive, there’s the 9.7-inch iPad, the new 7.9-inch iPad mini, the new 10.5-inch iPad Air, the 11-inch iPad Pro and the 12.9-inch iPad Pro. Thankfully, your odds at picking a good tablet are greater than 1 in 5. Each of them is a really good tablet in its own way, but it’s important to find the right tablet for you.

What does the “right” tablet mean? A lot of things. The right size, the right price (and not paying more or less than you should), the right amount of power, and compatibility with the right accessories.  The more that you know about each iPad model ahead of buying, the better. So, we’ve laid it all out, drilling down and explaining each tablet’s biggest selling points and drawbacks, starting with the most affordable option.

Security – WinRAR labs encourages manual update for exploit protection

WinRAR labs encourages updates for exploit protection, which must be done manually by the user: 

https://www.howtogeek.com/409324/update-winrar-now-to-protect-your-pc-from-attacks/

WinRAR contains a flaw that would let a .RAR file you download automatically extract an .exe file to your Startup folder. That .exe file would automatically be started the next time you sign into your PC, and it could infect your PC with malware.

Specifically, this flaw is a result of WinRAR’s ACE file support. An attacker simply needs to create a specially crafted ACE archive and give it the .RAR file extension. When you extract the file with a vulnerable version of WinRAR, it can automatically place malware in your Startup folder without any additional user action.

This serious flaw was found by researchers at Check Point Software Technologies. WinRAR contained an ancient DLL from 2006 to enable support for ACE archives, and that file has now been removed from the latest versions of WinRAR, which no longer support ACE archives. Don’t worry—ACE archives are very rare.

WinRAR doesn’t automatically update itself. We’re also extremely disappointed that WinRAR’s website doesn’t highlight information about this security flaw and instead buries it in WinRAR’s release notes.   WinRAR reportedly has 500 million users worldwide, and we’re certain most of those users haven’t yet heard of this bug and updated WinRAR.

CISCO – important security updates MAR-2019

Please note CISCO security releases on March 27 & 28th below

https://www.us-cert.gov/ncas/current-activity/2019/03/27/Cisco-Releases-Security-Advisories-Multiple-Products

https://www.us-cert.gov/ncas/current-activity/2019/03/28/Cisco-Releases-Security-Update-Cisco-IOS-XE

Cisco has released a security update to address a vulnerability in Cisco IOS XE. An attacker could exploit this vulnerability to obtain sensitive information.  The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) encourages users and administrators to review the Cisco Security Advisory and apply the necessary update.

Cisco has released security updates to address vulnerabilities in other multiple Cisco products. A remote attacker could exploit some of these vulnerabilities to take control of an affected system. The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) encourages users and administrators to review the Cisco Security Advisory page and apply the necessary updates.

VMware – important security updates MAR-2019

https://www.us-cert.gov/ncas/current-activity/2019/03/29/VMware-Releases-Security-Updates

VMware has released security updates to address vulnerabilities in multiple products. An attacker could exploit some of these vulnerabilities to take control of an affected system.  The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) encourages users and administrators to review the VMware Security Advisories VMSA-2019-0004 and VMSA-2019-0005 and apply the necessary updates.

Windows 10 v1809 – reaches Broad Deployment status

There were some early issues & Fall 2018 features release & after fixing these — improved stability & reliability have resulted.  Microsoft recommends for wide-spread implementation for home & business users.

https://redmondmag.com/articles/2019/03/28/windows-10-version-1809-broad.aspx

Microsoft on Thursday declared that Windows 10 version 1809 was “designated for broad deployment.”    Moreover, Windows 10 version 1809 will show up as a “semiannual channel” (SAC) release on Microsoft’s release information page, according to John Wilcox, a Windows-as-a-service evangelist at Microsoft. Boiled down to its essence, Microsoft likely is signaling that organizations should be deploying Windows 10 version 1809 at this time, after having tested it.

Windows 10 version 1809 was a troubled release. It was released about five months ago, but it’s only now reached SAC. The delay becomes all the more noticeable as Microsoft could release its spring 2019 Windows 10 release (known as “version 1903”) next month.   Microsoft actually first declared the release of Windows 10 version 1809 on Oct. 2.

Apple Arcade – new gaming service for Fall 2019

Apple Arcade’s new gaming service for Fall 2019 was seen as an innovative new product in recent announcements … it could possibly a profitable endeavor as noted in this review

https://finance.yahoo.com/news/apple-arcade-sleeper-hit-190803518.html

Apple’s (AAPL) new TV streaming service, Apple TV Plus, might have made the biggest splash during the company’s March 25 event, but its gaming service, Apple Arcade, could turn out to be a sleeper hit for the tech giant.  Available this fall for a price that has yet to be announced,

Apple Arcade promises more than 100 premium, or pre-paid, games that will be playable across iOS, Apple TV and macOS devices. The move is meant to lure in gamers and help Apple take a bigger bite out of the $140 billion gaming industry.   And the company’s approach could prove instrumental in winning over customers, thanks to Apple’s decision to only offer premium titles without the need to make in-app purchases. That could be a benefit for gamers who would rather pay a single price for a game without having to fork over fees every time they want to play, as well as parents who don’t want their kids to rack up sky-high fees for in-game items and costumes.

Apple – AirPods new version 2 review

https://mashable.com/review/apple-airpods-2-review/

People love Apple’s AirPods. I know this because I can’t walk down the street or ride the subway or go anywhere without spotting the striking white “stems” poking out of peoples’ ears. They are everywhere the same way EarPods were everywhere during the height of the iPod. I’ve had AirPods since early 2017 and I, too, love them — so much that I paid $69 (plus tax) for a single replacement earbud when I lost it during a flight and have on several occasions returned home to grab them even when it meant being late to work, or a dinner, or a meeting (shhh, don’t tell anyone). Not to mention, they are a game-changer for museum tours.

However, if you’re new to wireless earbuds, AirPods 2 ($159 with the regular charging case and $199 with the wireless charging case) are a no-brainer and 100 percent worth it. Hands-down, they are the best wireless earbuds to get if you use an Apple device. There are some good wireless earbuds that come close to matching AirPods — Samsung’s Galaxy Buds come to mind — but they’re still a few checkbox ticks short.

They are still the wireless earbuds to beat.

*  Mashable Score 4.25
*  Cool Factor 4.0
*  Learning Curve 5.0
*  Performance 4.0
*  Bang for the Buck 4.0