November 10, 2014 By yogi
Robotaxis, hover boards, dog translators
Truth may be stranger than fiction, but it could never compete with science fiction, right? Well, an infographic on the British website wish.co.uk begs to refute that assumption. It identifies 11 sci-fi creations that have actually come to pass in our non-fiction world.
For example, Star Trek fans know the Starfleet Tricorder as one of the crew’s most indispensable tools, used to record and analyze inputs in a range of scenarios, including medical ones. Fantastical, right? Well, General Electric has developed a device it calls the GE VScan that performs a similar function. It is a handheld device that works like an ultrasound, enabling medical professionals to measure and analyze internal organs without invasive surgery.
What do Arnold Schwarzenegger and residents of Masdar City in the United Arab Emirates have in common? Both are familiar with the coolness of traveling in a personal automated robotaxi — the former in the movie Total Recall, the latter as a feature of living in a planned city. The vehicles have been operational since 2010.
The movie Back to the Future featured a hover board, which could zip around in any direction without touching the ground. French scientists have created the Mag Surf, which uses superconductor magnetic levitation to glide a few inches above a magnetic track. The device was developed to promote research in urban transportation.
Superhuman powers come standard in many sci-fi and fantasy worlds, but scientists at Raytheon expect to bring some of that enhanced capability to U.S. soldiers within the next year or two. Its XO2 Suit is an exoskeleton that features hi-pressure hydraulics that increase a soldier’s agility, strength, and endurance.
The ability to communicate with aliens is another venerable technology in the canon of science fiction — and one that has its analog in today’s world: Voxtec has created the Phraselator P2 for the military (which seems to get all the cool stuff), which can translate more than 100,000 English phrases into 70 different languages. And if that were not impressive enough, there is the Bowlingual translator, which analyzes the acoustics of your dog’s bark and tells you what it’s saying.
See other strange but true inventions at wish.co.uk.
November 10, 2014 By yogi
Positioning system points to other uses
It’s crunch time: you’ve got precious minutes before the game resumes to find the closest restroom and premium beer stand. How do you avoid making a wrong turn and wasting time on the hunt?
Visitors to Levi Stadium, home of the San Francisco 49ers, can now install a nifty app developed by enterprise wi-fi provider Aruba Networks that enables a range of location-based services such as locating concessions, restrooms, and seats.
Jay Donovan reports on TechCrunch that Aruba Network’s system, one of the largest indoor installations ever, points to a future where indoor positioning services are as common as GPS navigation. He notes Aruba’s intention to enable location-aware push messages in order to create a “richer experence” for users (or at least for the technology and content providers).
The beacons — small, battery-powered Bluetooth devices — are deployed all over the stadium. They communicate with an array of Aruba Wi-Fi nodes, which can cover a greater area. The Wi-Fi nodes then relay the beacon data back to a software controller that works for the entire stadium. A user with the app installed on their smartphone can communicate with the beacons to determine their location — and find out where things are.
Retailers are excited about the technology, Donovan writes, because it offers the ability to push messaging specific to each beacon’s individual location — and represents a potential game-changer for the brick-and-mortar shopping experience, which has suffered from the rise of online shopping.
November 10, 2014 By yogi
New OS blends elements of 7 and 8
“We’re not building an incremental product,” said Terry Myerson, head of Microsoft’s Operating Systems Group, referring to Microsoft’s decision to skip the number 9 entirely for its latest operating system, Windows 10. But is the new OS the great leap forward the company claims it to be?
Writing in ComputerWorld, Woody Leonhard puts the question this way: “Is Windows 10 as goofy as its predecessor?” — or has Microsoft “righted enough of Win8’s wrongs to make it a worthwhile PC upgrade?”
Windows 10 does not officially launch until the middle of next year, so some features may evolve further, but the bones of the new OS are in place, and Leonhard highlights 13 hits and misses.
The Start menu — absent in Win8 — is back, somewhat modified but familiar enough. It shares the stage with the Metro tiles from Win8, which, if so desired, can be unpinned from the page by right-clicking. Leonhard gives Microsoft credit for “righting the ship” after its controversial decision to forsake the Start menu in Win8.
Leonhard is less enthused about the way Windows 10 handles pinning apps (programs) to Start, because it adds the programs as Metro tiles — which Leonhard dislikes. Users can drag programs from the Start menu’s most-recently-used list to the leftside Start menu … not an intuitive solution.
Leonhard also dislikes the fact that searching your computer in Windows 10 sends the same search string to Microsoft, which returns the results from Bing, “to, uh, enhance your shopping experience,” Leonhard surmises.
As in Windows 8, libraries are hard to find in Windows 10. And File Explorer has not improved since Win8, as it opens in an area it calls “Home” which, in the reviewer’s opinion, adds another layer to click through to get where you want to go.
Leonhard cheers the fact that gadgets are back — as Metro tiles. They might be a little ungainly, he says, but they can be put on the desktop, and they “run rings around Win7 gadgets.”
Read more about Windows 10 hits and misses at computerworld.com:
September 4, 2014 By yogi
The lessons to be learned from security breach
Celebrities including Oscar winner Jennifer Lawrence and model Kate Upton learned the hard way this week that privacy is an illusion in today’s hyper-connected world. A hacker allegedly broke into the Apple iCloud backups of as many as 100 celebrities and downloaded a bevy of nude photos. The images were posted to the “b” forum of 4chan.org, an anonymous imageboard (called by some the “Dark Side of the Internet”).
According to Sean Gallagher on arstechnica.com, initial reports suggested that the breach was made possible by a vulnerability in Apple’s Find My iPhone application programming interface. But Apple has since claimed that it was a “very targeted attack on user names, passwords and security questions … None of the cases we have investigated has resulted from any breach in any of Apple’s systems including iCloud or Find my iPhone.”
Regardless of how the breach was achieved, the incident underscores the risks inherent in cloud services — and how comfortably ignorant the general public has become about where its “private” content lives, and how easily it can escape into the wild.
“Does anybody really know what’s sitting in Apple’s or Google’s data stores from their phones?” Gallagher wonders, noting how much content Apple and other devices automatically upload to the cloud, including full phone backups. “Ongoing threats like carefully-crafted phishing attacks and large-volume password cracking … make it especially hard to protect mobile data in a world where everything on your phone is already on the Internet, protected only by your login credentials,” he writes.
Ultimately, Gallagher notes, “if it’s in the cloud … then chances are good that eventually it will find its way to the Internet.” Tal Klein, vice president of strategy for the cloud security firm Adallom, confirmed this in a Twitter conversation with Gallagher, stating: “Don’t take pictures of your junk; it will end up on the Internet somehow at some point.”
September 4, 2014 By yogi
Eyes life-saving potential of vehicle-to-vehicle networks
The government believes that public safety could be much improved if communication between cars were more sophisticated than current protocols, which primarily feature the middle finger. To that end, reports Stephen Lawson on itworld.com, it is currently seeking input from industry and the public about a possible federal standard for vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) technology that would let cars automatically exchange information such as proximity and rate of speed.
U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx described V2V technology as nothing less than “the next great advance in saving lives.”
In August, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) published a research report on V2V that estimated that just two possible applications of V2V — Left Turn Assist and Intersection Movement Assist — could prevent as many as 592,000 crashes and save 1,083 lives per year.
Left Turn Assist would warn drivers not to turn left into the path of an oncoming car, and Intersection Movement Assist would warn drivers not to enter an intersection when there’s a high probability of crashing into other vehicles.
Neither system would necessarily take control of a car, although the evolutionary trend toward a self-driving car seems clear.
V2V would run over wireless networks using the IEEE 802.11p specification, a variant of the standard used for Wi-Fi, on a band of spectrum between 5.85GHz and 5.925GHz. The NHTSA insists that V2V would have layers of security and privacy technology to protect users and wouldn’t collect or share personal information about drivers.
But there are those, like network security blogger Martin McKeay, who can easily image the V2V system “being used to track individuals every movement in a way that makes Orwell’s 1984 look Utopian.” He also raises some interesting concerns about swarm behavior and the unintended consequences of imbuing machines with the ability to coordinate with one another, however primitively. It is the stuff of science fiction movies … and yet it might be just a government RFP away …
July 9, 2014 By yogi
Conference sessions showcase risks
Many of the sessions at Black Hat USA 2014, a security conference taking place this August, could give nightmares to those concerned with network security or personal privacy. On networkworld.com, Tim Greene highlights 10 of the more disturbing topics that will be explored at the Las Vegas event. These include:
Using Google Glass to snatch passwords
Researchers have created an application that videos victims tapping passwords into touchscreens and analyzes it to steal passwords, reportedly with 90% accuracy from three meters away. The app is not specific to Google Glass, but the wearable device is perfectly suited to surreptitious video recording.
Data theft through virtual desktop infrastructure
In theory, a virtual desktop infrastructure makes BYOD programs safe by centralizing applications and data and limiting end users to presentations of that data. But engineers from Lacoon Mobile Security will demonstrate how to steal data through screen scraping without being detected by malware detection measures.
Stealing data from POS devices
Target was just one of many companies that were victimized by point-of-sale breaches last year. It’s a threat that is not easy to solve, according to Nir Valtman of NCR Retail, who will review both successful and unsuccessful efforts to reduce the risk of memory scraping.
USB stick malware
That innocent little thumb drive could be an evil agent bent on destruction, according to Karsten Nohl and Jakob Lell of SRLabs. The controller chips inside USB sticks can be compromised, enabling malware to take over host machines, steal data, and spy on users. Nohl and Lell’s presentation will include a demo showing a system fully compromised with an undetectable self-replicating virus.
Read more at networkworld.com:
July 9, 2014 By yogi
Many still wonder where Start menu went
Microsoft’s latest operating system, with its radically different look and feel, has sparked lots of questions, according to PC World’s Lincoln Spector. In a June 27 article, Spector lists the top 10 questions his publication has fielded, beginning with, “What’s the difference between Windows 8, Windows 8.1, and the Windows 8.1 Update?”
The short answer to that question is that Windows 8.1 Update is by far the easiest and friendliest version of Windows 8 yet. If you see a magnifying glass in the upper right corner after clicking to the Start screen, you’re running the update.
But speaking of the Start screen, many have wondered what happened to the Start menu? While the Start screen offers much of the same functionality as the Start menu, Spector speaks for many when he complains that, “you don’t want to be thrown into a bad imitation iPad just to launch a program.” He recommends installing a third-party Start menu.
Other questions that have popped up repeatedly include:
3. What’s that screen with all the little tiles?
The Apps screen has been a startling discovery for many seasoned Windows users. Spector describes it as the equivalent of the Windows 7 Start menu’s All Programs submenu, or Android’s All Apps screen.
4. How do I do some of the simple tasks that should be obvious to anyone?
The devil is in the details, and while Windows 8 introduces some major conceptual shifts, many users have struggled with more mundane challenges like doing a right-click in a touch interface (hold your finger down until a square appears around the object, then release to display a menu), and searching (just start typing on the home page to trigger the Search Charm).
5. What’s happened to Windows Explorer?
Spector is a fan of the new File Explorer, which improves upon Windows Explorer in several ways, beginning with the name — which actually describes what the program does. He likes the Office-like tabbed ribbons and the way it’s easy to configure.
Read the rest of the article at pcworld.com:
July 8, 2014 By IT Guru
In the Windows Server 2003 and Windows Server 2008 operating systems, administrators could manage and publish information in their Active Directory environments by using the Active Directory Users and Computers. Beginning in Windows Server 2008 R2, in addition to using Active Directory Users and Computers, administrators can manage their directory service objects by using the new Active Directory Administrative Center (ADAC), which has been enhanced in Server 2012 with more features. It can be used to do following:
- Create new user accounts or manage existing user accounts
- Create new groups or manage existing groups
- Create new computer accounts or manage existing computer accounts
- Create new organizational units (OUs) and containers or manage existing OUs
- Has Recycle Bin which once enabled, allows us to recover deleted objects
- We can create Password Setting Object (PSO), also called Fine Grain Password Policies. These PSOs allow us to set up a different password policy based on security group membership.
- Windows PowerShell History Viewer which allows us to view the power shell commands for all the tasks performed graphically on this tool.
Using Active Directory Administrative Center (ADAC) to enable Recycle Bin
IT professionals at one time or another have made the mistake of accidentally deleting an object in Active Directory that used to take countless hours to restore. Active Directory Recycle Bin was created to adhere to that very problem and this step-by-step guide will showcase how easy it is to enable. This procedure does not negate the need to have a proper system state backup which is always recommended and one must be aware that enabling this feature is one time and cannot be reversed under any circumstances.
Enabling Active Directory Recycle Bin
- In the management console, go to Tools > Active Directory Administrative Center
- Select Local Domain and in the Tasks Pane
- Select Enable Recycle Bin
- Click OK. NOTE: Be aware this feature cannot be disabled.
- Click OK. Once enabled, wait for AD replication to complete as this is a change made on the configuration partition. This process may take a while should your organization have a large active directory infrastructure.
A very simple enablement of a process that could save you hours of restore time.
Again this process cannot be reversed once invoked.
Fine Grained Password Policy
Let’s see how we can use ADAC for creating password setting for a Group.
- Open Server Manager Dashboard, click on Tools Menu, and click Active Directory Administrative Center.
- In the Task pane at right side, click New and then click Password Settings.
- In the Create Password Settings dialog box, Enter the values from the table:
- Click Add and type G_Managers, then click Check Names and click OK.
- In the Create Password Settings: ManagerPSO dialog box, Click OK.
- Test the settings by changing the password for the Tom account, who is the member of G_Managers, to a noncomplex, four-letter password.
Hope this helps you make the jump to ADAC.
Author Spotlight: Unitek Education Instructor Deepika A.
Deepika A. has 14 years of experience in the information technology field; she has spent four of those years working as an instructor at Unitek Education. Well-versed in Microsoft Exchange Server and Microsoft SQL Server technology in MCSE, MCTS, and MCITP editions, Deepika is also a proficient MCITP Microsoft Server 2008 Administration and Enterprise Administration instructor.
Deepika holds various certifications directly related to her work as an instructor at Unitek Education. Her certifications include MCSE, MCTS, and MCITP certifications, among others.
Unitek Education’s Windows Server 2012 R2 courses and boot camps help you to transform your IT operations, reduce costs, and deliver a whole new level of business value. Explore the range of Windows Server courses available at Unitek Education.
May 22, 2014 By IT Guru
Microsoft has significantly improved their virtualization platform Hyper-V Server 2012 R2. There are lots of new and improved features compared with previous versions. Now the Hyper-V hypervisor is more robust and reliable for enterprise. Hyper-V Server 2012 R2 supports the concept of a totally new architecture based on modern hardware with no emulated devices. This makes it possible to add a number of new features, such as secure boot for VMs and booting off of virtual SCSI or virtual network adapters. I will highlight a few exciting features of the latest version of Hyper-V which comes with Windows Server 2012 R2 as well as of course the standalone version Hyper-V Server 2012 R2.
At a glance, Microsoft has introduced and improved the following Hyper-V features which I have gathered from Microsoft Technet:
Hyper-V Replication Extension to Off-Site
You can configure extended replication with Hyper-V Server 2012 R2. In extended replication, your Replica server forwards information about changes that occur on the primary virtual machines to a third server (the extended Replica server). Hyper-V Server 2012 is currently limited to a single replication target. This makes it difficult to support scenarios like a service provider wanting to act both as a target for a customer to replicate and a source to replicate to another offsite facility.
Live Migration with Compression for Faster Migration
Hyper-V Server 2012 R2 improved the performance of live migrations by enabling compression of the data to reduce the total number of bytes transmitted over the wire. Tapping CPU resources for data compression could potentially impact other operations, so you’ll need to take that into consideration. The second option, SMB Direct, requires network adapters that support RDMA. Microsoft’s advice: If you have 10 GB available, use RDMA (10x improvement); otherwise, use compression (2x improvement). Compression is the default choice and it works for the large majority of use cases.
Dynamic Memory Support for Linux
Microsoft has improved a lot to support for Linux VMs. Now with Server 2012 R2, Hyper-V gains the ability to dynamically expand the amount of memory available to a running VM. This capability is especially handy for any Linux workload (notably Web servers) where the amount of memory needed by the VM changes over time. In environments with many Linux VMs, dynamic memory becomes even more critical to efficiently manage the total memory used by all running VMs. Hyper-V Server 2012 R2 also brings Windows Server backups to Linux guests.
Virtual Machine Direct Connect
Connecting to a running VM over RDP requires an active network connection, which you can’t always count on. In addition to an active network connection, the VM must have an IP address reachable by the system attempting to connect, a requirement with potential management and security issues depending on the environment in which you’re running. All this changes in Hyper-V Server 2012 R2 with the addition of VM Direct Connect. This feature allows a direct remote desktop connection to any running VM over what’s now called the VM bus. It’s also integrated into the Hyper-V management experience.
Live VHDX Resizing
In earlier versions of Hyper-V, it was not possible to resize a virtual hard disk attached to a running VM. Hyper-V Server 2012 R2 makes it possible to not only expand, but even reduce the size of the virtual disk (VHDX format only) without stopping the running VM. But you cannot compress an online VHD. Using System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2012 R2, Hyper-V Manager, or the command line using PowerShell, you can make all of these adjustments.
Storage Quality of Service (QoS)
Hyper-V Server 2012 R2 includes the ability to limit individual VMs to a specific level of I/O throughput. Initially with Hyper-V Server 2012 R2, the only number that really makes a difference is the maximum limit. The IOPS are measured by monitoring the actual disk rate to and from the attached virtual hard drives. If you have applications capable of consuming large amounts of I/O, you’ll want to consider this setting to ensure that a single I/O-hungry VM won’t starve neighbor VMs or take down the entire host
With Hyper-V Server 2012 R2, Windows guest clusters (think traditional Windows Server failover clustering but using a pair of VMs) no longer require an iSCSI or Fibre Channel SAN, but can be configured using commodity storage: namely a shared VHDX file stored on a Cluster Shared Volume. Note that while the clustered VMs can be live migrated as per usual, a live storage migration of the VHDX file requires one of the cluster nodes to be taken offline.
Live Virtual Machine Exporting and Cloning
With Hyper-V Server 2012, you need to stop a running VM before you can export or clone it. It’s simply not an option in production. Hyper-V Server 2012 R2 removes this restriction. It’s now possible to export or clone a running VM from System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2012 R2.
Hyper-V Replication Frequency Cycle
Hyper-V Replica in Windows Server 2012 provides a fixed replication interval of 5 minutes. That being said, you can’t replicate any faster, even if you have the hardware or infrastructure to support it. Also you cannot replicate any slower, even if you don’t need such frequent copies. Now Hyper-V Server 2012 R2 supports more frequent (every 30 seconds) and not so frequent (every 15 minutes) replication. This will even support an intermittent connection.
Author Spotlight: Unitek Education Instructor Abu Z.
Abu Z, a computer science graduate, has been in the technology industry for more than eight years, with six years’ experience as a Microsoft Certified Trainer. Abu spent much of his technology training career in the United Kingdom with different Microsoft CPLS partners. Abu’s Microsoft certifications include: MCSE, MCSA, MCP, MCTS, and MCITP. He takes pride in preparing IT professionals to succeed.
Unitek Education’s Server Virtualization with Windows Server Hyper-V and System Center is a five-day instructor-led course that teaches you to consolidate workloads, improve server utilization, and reduce costs using Hyper-V. This Microsoft Official Course helps you become a virtualization expert and prepares you for the 74-409: Server Virtualization with Windows Server Hyper-V Specialist Exam.
May 8, 2014 By yogi
How it works – and why some worry
The Internet of Things offers a tantalizing vision of technology working in harmony to improve our daily lives. Refrigerators talking to thermostats talking to security systems — the possibilities are endlessly fascinating. But how will the Internet of Things actually work? And will it actually work?
These and other questions are taken up by Patrick Thibodeau on computerworld.com. Overall, Thibodeau predicts a slow, gradual, and relatively quiet transition as old appliances are replaced with smart ones, rather than a quick, breathtaking revolution to a smart home. A big challenge will be getting vendors to make their products play nice together. Anyone with four remotes kicking around the living room knows how big a challenge that will be.
So, what is the Internet of Things (IoT)? Simply put, it is coordination between multiple devices. IoT devices are equipped with sensors which can observe things like changes in temperature, light, pressure, or motion. Sensors are paired with an application-specific integrated circuit hardwired to do something specific. Circuits can also be paired with microprocessors and attached to a wireless radio for communications.
IoT wireless protocols are designed to operate on low power, use low bandwidth, and work on a mesh network. Devices in a mesh network connect directly with one another and can work in concert with thousands of sensors over a wide area.
No wireless technology currently dominates the market, Thibodeau reports, although Gartner predicts that 10 IoT wireless technologies will get “significant traction” in IoT applications. Which type of network depends on the application; a connected car, for example, will depend on a cellular network in order to contact a home network.
But, Thibodeau wonders, will big consumer product companies really feel the need to join together with competitors in the IoT? “Consumers will be frustrated and will be told that they need to buy into a particular vendor’s product partner network to get a full IoT experience,” Thibodeau predicts.
He also notes concerns voiced by privacy advocates that all the detailed information collected and shared by smart devices could be misappropriated and exploited by third parties. Hackers have already demonstrated the ability to penetrate a smart network and create mischief, like turning appliances and HVAC systems on and off.