Microsoft Onenote software is now free and with auto-sync to your (free 7GB) Microsoft onedrive/skydrive/livedrive online storage. Its a great product for school, uni, work or home notes. You can share between your team or family so that you can all "be on the same page".
Get the apps too so you can auto-sync with your Windows phone and Windows 8 tablet (supports other lesser products also).
(or if you want to pay $89 then you can do that also)
MS Office (Outlook) 2013 issues:
OK I have spent more than 10 hours of my evenings over the past few weeks trying to resolve issues with MS Office Outlook 2013 running under Windows 8 this was for the home and business version but I believe it's the same for all the new "click-to-run" versions. (Volume licence MSI install versions for business don't have this issue at all and I have been using Office 2013 since it was released without seeing this issue)
Basically the issue relates to accessing and modifying Outlook profiles (accessible via the "mail..." icon in the control panel). This is required in an instance where you have 2 x different mail accounts that you want to handle separately. Technically this issue manifests its self as rundll32.exe error.
I have replicated this issue 100% of the time under multiple (at least 5) different windows 8.1 PC's in different environments including clean installs. I have tested this using multiple different install disks (3) from multiple different suppliers. I have applied all the available patches and fixes suggested by both Microsoft and the IT community have failed 100% of the time.
I have gone round and round and round and round in forums and Microsoft support and I believe that this is a bug in the product that is unfixable by IT support such as myself. Now, this presents a bit of a problem as there is no Office (Outlook) 2010 available any longer.
What to do?
What have I not tested:
As some of you know I recommend Joomla as the basis for your web site. Its a great (and free) product that is used by many huge organizations for their web sites, people such as the United Nations and loads more.
What does Joomla! mean? The name Joomla is a phonetic spelling for the Swahili word "Jumla," which means "all together" or "as a whole".
I have had a couple of people asked me lately about network/infrastructure monitoring. So I thought I would share with you a product which I use to monitor a couple of sites including my own internal infrastructure.
Without going into too much detail (and in order to get to the pretty pictures as quickly as possible) the concept behind network monitoring is to add certain sensors to constantly check for issues with servers, printers, routers, wireless access points etc. Conditions and levels are set for warning or full alerts depending on the device or service in question and notifications are sent to relevant staff if these conditions are triggered.
Without monitoring there is often no indication that things are going bad and the first thing that I hear is when all the users are locked out of the server. With monitoring I can see trends or emerging issues and restart a server or otherwise take some other action after hours or at a convenient time and thereby avoid a crisis. This type of product is not a magic bullet but it's a good tool to have and its saved me a couple of times.
Image 1 (below) is a listing of all the monitored objects on the network, note the memory warning on one of the servers:
Image 2 (below) shows the detail for that memory issue, note the yellow "warning' level and the red "alert" level on the graph.
I get asked about a recommendation for a new PC a lot (obviously). These days its a lot easier than it used to be so here you go in one sentence, for a standard business PC:
Intel i5 CPU, 8GB RAM, Windows 8.1 (normally) (always pro), Office 2013 home and business (always retail version), NOD32 antivirus (never security suite), Acronis drive image home 2014 (this is your insurance), Small UPS (APC brand), 22" - 24" screen. Seriously consider a warranty upgrade to onsite.
Brand/suppler... well you will have to call me for that and it is significant.
One of the great things about having a mobile phone on a contract is that you get a shiny new phone for free*every time you renew your contract. The problem is that on a standard 24 month contract with Telstra that only happens (obviously) every 24 months and in 2 years your phone is so out of date it feels like you're making a call with a baked-bean can and a piece of string compared to what's currently available.
Shortly, Telstra will be offering an option to upgrade half way through the contract to a new phone, it does cost extra for the privilege and looks like you have to return the old phone "undamaged and in good working order". (I'm not too sure what that means, as always check the fine print)
See the link below for more details and check it out before you purchase your next phone under contract (preferably a Windows phone):
Running Windows with ‘standard' rather than ‘admin' rights removes over 90 percent of the risk" according to a recent study. See here for the full detail or below is an excerpt (yes I know I have been going on about this for years):
Running Windows users with ‘standard' rather than ‘administrator' rights would have removed over 90 percent of the risk posed by critical vulnerabilities reported in Microsoft products last year, an analysis by privilege management firm Avecto has found.
The firm first looked at 333 vulnerabilities reported by Microsoft in 2013 across all products in its monthly Security bulletins, finding that 60 percent would have been mitigated by removing admin rights. Studying only the 147 rated as the most serious, the mitigation level reached an astonishing 92 percent.
Check to see if you are an administrator on your PC by right clicking on "My Computer" or "Computer" or "This PC" (depending on your Windows version) and chose manage. If you are able to access the Windows computer management console (with or without a warning popup) then you ARE an administrator and you might want to consider changing that (will require thoughtful setup). If you are prompted for a username and password then you aren't an administrator and are a lot safer from malicious software.
However even as a standard user all the usual safe practices apply.
Sometimes the easiest way to make a copy of something is to take a snapshot of your screen - this is what the free Microsoft snipping tool does. If you have windows 7 or 8 then you should have the snipping tool already.
Use it to save and share news stories, movie reviews, or images.
You can capture part or all of your PC screen, add notes, save the snip, or email it right from the Snipping Tool window anything that displays on your screen can be snipped.
Bring up or view the "source" for example a PDF, webpage or other content that you wish to "snip" on your screen and start the windows snipping tool. Within the tool click "new" then select the area that you want to snip and finally save as a jpg or png file so that you can add to your word document, email or wherever else you need it.
Sometimes the simple solution is the best! Want more details? Click here....
An article by Dr. Susan Weinschenk in Psychology Today suggests that people who frequently switch tasks could see their productivity reduced by up to 40%. She goes on to list several reasons for limiting how often you switch between tasks during your work...
5 Reasons To Get Over The Hype And Start Loving Windows 8.1 - Forbes:
What is Windows XP end of support?
Microsoft has provided support for Windows XP for the past 12 years. But now the time has come for us, along with our hardware and software partners, to invest our resources toward supporting more recent technologies so that we can continue to deliver great new experiences.
As a result, after April 8, 2014, technical assistance for Windows XP will no longer be available, including automatic updates that help protect your PC...
...If you continue to use Windows XP after support ends, your computer will still work but it might [WILL] become more vulnerable to security risks and viruses. Also, as more software and hardware manufacturers continue to optimize for more recent versions of Windows, you can expect to encounter greater numbers of apps and devices that do not work with Windows XP.
Computer weekly says the following:
Techies understand XP well, but then those writing malicious code understand it well too. With an ageing security architecture and a lack of full support, Windows XP will be a major platform for hackers to attack...
...For organizations, it should be the wake-up call to move to a more modern operating system that will be less open to such attacks.
So the take away message for organizations (and personal users) still running windows XP PC's is to upgrade now or fail to do so at your peril.
This will be a challenge world wide as XP is still installed on around 30% of the worlds PC's, testament to how good an operating system XP panned out to be. Because this is such a large number some security consultants are predicting that the hackers are probably sitting on an number of exploits and will wait until the product goes end of support before they release them. We are likely to see an increase in "drive-by attacks" where just by visiting a web site means you are infected let along downloading and running a file.
Having said all that I have been strongly recommending people move to windows 8 (or at least 7) for some time due to the significantly more secure nature of these products by design. As the sophistication of hacking technologies increased over time so has the sophistication of Windows to withstand these attacks.
If you have some legacy software or hardware that absolutely must run on XP and you have no choice but to continue, some things to consider:
So what about windows server 2003 (which is the server version of windows XP)? Support for this product ends on 14/07/15 but you should really be looking at this NOW and scheduling a replacement date for any systems running 2003 this includes small business server 2003.
When you install Windows 10 (even with Windows 8 or later) or setup a new Windows 8, 8.1 or 10 PC, as one final part of the setup you will see the a similar image to the one below prompting you to store your documents on OneDrive by default.
I strongly suggest that you don't use this preference. This setting synchronizes all your files up to Onedrive "cloud" storage. which creates unnecessary congestion especially on devices that are used on a cellular (mobile network) connection. Additionally depending on how many files you have you will probably get the Onedrive is full error message and "do you want to buy more space?"
If you would like to use Onedrive for online storage/backup this can be a good idea but to do that you probably want to selectively sync some folders only.
Update to windows 8.1:
One final consideration is that it may prompt you to store your data on Microsoft SkyDrive by default as part of the initialization process, unless you have a particular desire to do this make sure you click no.
I don't claim to be any expert on these legal matters but it looks like the Australian privacy laws are about to get a whole lot more complex and onerous to manage.
CryptoLocker From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
CryptoLocker is malware that surfaced in late 2013. A form of ransomware targeting Microsoft Windows-based computers, the trojan encrypts files stored on local hard drives and mounted network drives using public-key cryptography, and then displays a message saying that the files will be decrypted if a fee is paid through an anonymous payment service by a specified deadline, beyond which decryption is no longer possible.
Contents Operation CryptoLocker typically propagates as an attachment to a seemingly innocuous e-mail (usually taking the appearance of a legitimate company e-mail), or from a botnet. The attached ZIP file contains an executable file with filename and icon disguised as a PDF file, taking advantage of Windows' default behaviour of hiding the extension from file names to disguise the real .EXE extension. Some instances may actually contain the Zeus trojan instead, which in turn installs CryptoLocker.
Read more: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CryptoLocker
I suggest you upgrade to windows 8.1 and get your start *button* back, secondly learn to use windows 8 how it was designed, ask me for a 2 minute demo for your light bulb moment. But, if after that you still want to get your old start *menu* back then have a look at this product.
It's $5 per PC so it won't break the bank.
The Windows® 8 start menu returns with Start8®! Download the world's most popular Windows 8 start menu.
The recent Adobe hacker-fest has again brought up the subject of passwords so here is my recommendation...
There are a full set of password rules and suggestions that are already widely recognised as being crucial for online security, see here for a great article: http://www.thegeekstuff.com/2008/06/the-ultimate-guide-for-creating-strong-passwords that pretty much says it all.
However, particularly relevant for now, you need to ensure that your passwords are always different from each other, if your Adobe password has been compromised you don’t want that same password to have been used for your banking.
Take some time to think about the quality and diversity of your online passwords would all your online accounts fall domino fashion if one was breached?
If you're having difficulty in tracking all those passwords consider a password manager, there are a number of different product options. I use https://lastpass.com/ which is available in a free version or paid if you want the smartphone apps as well ($12 per year), now free on mobile as well!!.
Oh yeah "the cloud" is such a great idea... thanks' for keeping my information safe [again].
"Adobe suffers major cyber attack, the company has revealed that an intrusion led to an untold number of Adobe IDs and passwords falling into the hands of hackers. But it gets far worse. Adobe says "certain information" on 2.9 million customers may have also been compromised. Among that data set are customer names, encrypted credit / debit card numbers, and expiration dates."
digitalwelcomemat now has a blog!
Subscribe for the news as it happens, call me for support on 0404 493 770 or access my remote support solution here: http://help.digitalwelcomemat.com/
Digitalwelcomemat provides IT consultancy and services for business customers on the NSW Central Coast in Australia.