Microsoft makes changes to Hotmail/Windows Live offerings

Microsoft is making changes again to their Hotmail/Windows Live offerings.

As Windows 8 comes closer, Microsoft has renamed the “Windows Live ID” moniker to “Microsoft Account”. Slowly all sites will change the moniker.

In more related news, Hotmail will be also revamped to look more like the [ugly-ish] Metro interface found in Windows 8. The same will go for other Microsoft sites.

You can also go directly to a new Hotmail site at http://www.outlook.com to log into your Hotmail [or live.com/live.ca] accounts. Once again you will see the [ugly] Metro interface. In addition, there is the option to request a new @outlook.com address. You get to keep your contacts, Emails already sent to you and any Email sent to your hotmail.com/live.com/live.ca address will be forwarded to the new address.

While this is quite new – if you want to claim a unique address that you couldn’t before, now is the time!

Update 2012/08/01 #1: If you use a Windows Phone, do no switch over to the outlook.com Email address [i.e. from bozololo@hotmail.com to bozololo@outlook.com – I’m hoping these addresses aren’t udsed!] as you will have problems with your phone. If you do the only workaround [which may or ma not work] is to do a “hard reset”.

Update 2012/08/01 #2: As you will see on the new screen, it is in “preview” which is the equivalent of saying that outlook.com isn’t finished. It should be close to though as it is based on the old Hotmail site. If you click on the settings “wheel” in the upper right corner, you can revert back to Hotmail – but don’t use the outlook.com URL until you are ready to stay with the new interface.

Computer Tip: Disable Sidebar and Gadgets

Microsoft has released an advisory warning those using Windows Vista and Windows 7 users to disable Gadgets and Sidebar.

Microsoft announced the availability of an automated Microsoft Fix that will disables the Windows Sidebar and Gadgets on Windows Vista with service pack 2 and Windows 7 – RTM or with service pack 1. Disabling the Windows Sidebar and Gadgets can help protect customers from vulnerabilities that could involve the execution of arbitrary code by the Windows Sidebar when running insecure Gadgets.

As such, Gadgets are not part of the upcoming Windows 8. Microsoft also recommends disabling them as few developers released Gadgets for both operating systems.

See http://support.microsoft.com/KB/2719662 which includes a “Fix It” utility to disable the Sidebar and Gadgets [if you aren’t a fan of editing the registry in Windows] as well as both registry and Active Directory (for enterprises) equivalents.

Is Romney another George W. Bush?

Seems the presumptive Republican Presidential candidate, Mitt Romney, needs to learn a bit of diplomacy.

Like any other politician during election time, Romney says what the people want to hear. In this case the Israelis. If he goes to Nebraska, he would promise more government funding to corn growers. If he goes to Colorado he would promise more snow in the winter. 🙂

Anyways, he started with a trip to London where British politicians criticized him for saying some of the city’s preparation for the games were “disconcerting.” [Romney was one of the big honchos during the Olympics in the US a while back.]

Romney then went to Israel to try and pull some of the Jewish vote away from Barack Obama by making a few comments that pleased Israelis and also was way less than favourable to the Palestinians in the area by basically stating to Jewish donors that their culture allowed them to be more economically successful than the Palestinians.

[Jewish Americans still favour Obama by almost 70% in recent polls even though some are complaining that Obama hasn’t help Israel much in his 3.5 years in office. American Jews have traditionally voted for the Democrats. So this could show that Romney is a weak candidate.]

While it may or may not be true, diplomatically you don’t say that. Is Romney taking lessons from George W. Bush – a president that was known to put his foot in his mouth almost daily?

He also stirred the pot by suggesting that he may break American policy by moving the US embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv even though the US and others kept their embassies in Tel Aviv after Israel decided to make Jerusalem the capital [and thereby sparking criticism for it as Jerusalem has also been an iffy issue].

In Israel, he met Israeli leaders but only met Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad in a brief meeting – probably also not to the delight of the Palestinians.

Romney is next heading towards Poland [if I read right] – don’t ask me why – and expect further goofs by Romney.

What’s new with OS X 10.8 (Mountain Lion)

Here are some of the new features in OS X 10.8 (Mountain Lion) and whgat is wrong [or off]….

Safari: Updated to fix 120+ security issues that existed in Safari 5 and adds a few new features. [Note: SAfari 6 will be available for OS X 10.7 but not OS X 10.6.]

Notification Center: The center alerts you to emails, messages and other important updates, and sits conveniently to the side of your screen when I call on it. Important updates will finally be checked daily – something that Windows has had for over 10 years.

Power Nap: Designed to update your Mac when it’s in sleep mode. The idea is to limit the amount of time wasted (and restarts required) just to have all software up-to-date.

Notes: Basically, Notes allows users to quickly jot down ideas or thoughts and save them for later. But with countless, better apps that do that in the Mac App Store, what’s the point? [Will IBM take them to court for the name?]

Reminders: Designed to help people stay on track and make sure they complete all their desired tasks in a day but many other applicatiobs do a better job.

iMessage: With it, you can quickly send instant messages to friends and family from the Mac as if you were holding my smartphone. As it looks like it will be Apple specific, don’t expect it with Windows, Androids, Linux, etc. Why bother with better IM applications out there that are cross-platform.

Problems and thoughts:

After updating, it seems many applications want access to your contacts. Why?

Same user experiences as OS X 10.7.

Some are suggesting that it isn’t worth the [roughly] $20 to update – can’t really call it an upgrade, can you?

New feature in Microsoft Exchange Server 2013

Microsoft released a “preview” [why can’t they call it beta or release candidate any more?] of Exchange Server 2013. It’s expected to be released late this year but most likely early next year. Here’s a list from Microsoft of some of the new Exchange Server 2013 features:

  • Offline support in OWA: Emails and actions are automatically synced the next time connectivity is restored.
  • Site Mailboxes bring Exchange emails and SharePoint documents together.
  • Outlook Web App offers three different UI layouts optimized for desktop, slate, and phone browsers.
  • Ability to customize Outlook and OWA by integrating apps from the Office marketplace. The new “Napa” tools and/or HTML5 are Microsoft’s preferred ways to developers to build these.
  • Replacement of the Exchange Management Console by a Web-based Exchange Administrative Center (EAC).
  • Support for up to 8 TB disks and multiple databases per disk via Data Availability Group (DAG) management.
  • Built in basic anti-malware protection, with ability for administrators to configure and manage settings from inside EAC. This feature can be disabled or paired with third-party software as well.
  • New Data Loss Prevention (DLP) capabilities for identifying and protecting “sensitive data.” DLP policies are based on regulatory standards, including PII and PCI. [You can also set in exchange a new policy tips in Outlook 2013 that can be set to inform users about potential policy violations].
  • In-Place eDiscovery can be run across Exchange, SharePoint, and Lync from a single interface.
  • A reduction in the number of available roles to two: a Client Access Server and a Mailbox Server role. The result: These two roles are now “loosely coupled,” as Microsoft explains it. More from the Softies on this architectural change:
  • FAST Search now integrated into Exchange 2013 managed store to provide a more consistent (across Microsoft servers) indexing and searching experience.

“iPhone 5” rumours summary

Even before the latest iPhone was out of its wrappers, rumours of the next iPhone 5 [can we really call it that?] were floating around. Below [taken from a web site] is a summary of the rumours since the beginning of June. Yes there are plenty more prior to June! You have to wonder how many are true. Credit for Apple for doing nothing to deny or say yes to these rumours. Nice way to hype a product. Doesn’t cost a cent.

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July 23, 2012:  A smaller dock, once again.  Reuters reported that the new iPhone’s Dock connector port will indeed be smaller. Its current 30-pin port is expected to shrink down to a 19-pin connector. This will give more room on the bottom of the device for a headphone jack, which for now rests on the top of the iPhone.

July 22, 2012:  Production has started in Shanghai.  According to a Taipei-based report, the manufacturing company, Pegatron, has already started building the new iPhone. Based in Taiwan, the company has begun production in its Shanghai factory. It is also expected to produce the new version of the iPad, reported Digitimes.

July 19, 2012:  Wait for the fourth quarter.  During the company’s quarterly conference call, Verizon CFO Fran Shammo hinted at possible timing for the next iPhone with a vague reference that the carrier expects to launch a major phone in the fourth quarter.

July 18, 2012:  More new cases.  Possible new iPhone cases are showing up from Chinese sources. One comes complete with a rectangular cutout on the bottom, presumably where Apple’s reportedly tweaked dock connector will be.

July 17, 2012:  It’ll have a thinner screen. The Wall Street Journal reports that the new iPhone’s display will incorporate “in-cell technology.” Already manufactured by LCD screen makers including Sharp, LG Display, and Japan Display, in-cell technology enables a screen’s touch sensors and LCD be consolidated into one single layer. This would result in a thinner screen and a cheaper production price.   July 16, 2012  A stockpile of SIMs  The Financial Times reports that wireless carriers in Europe are stockpiling nano-SIM chips in anticipation of Apple including the new technology in the next iteration of the iPhone. Smaller than regular SIM cards, they could allow Apple to include a bigger battery in its next handset. The company started using nano-SIMs in 2010 in the first iPad.

July 15, 2012 : Taller phone with a center camera.  The Taiwan-based blog Apple.pro posts photos of an alleged iPhone frame that is as wide as the iPhone 4S, but taller. That would allow for a 4-inch display with an aspect ratio of 16:9.

It’s already in production.  Production of the next iPhone has already begun, a Japanese-language Apple blog claims. Macotakara blog cites listings for iPhone 5 cases on a Chinese site as proof of its claim and it says the back of the new iPhone has both glass and aluminum.

July 12, 2012:  Preorders now accepted.  Reuters reports that sellers on Chinese e-commerce platform Taobao are taking preorders for the iPhone 5 for between 1,000 yuan ($160) and 6,999 yuan ($1,100). Reuters also says that sellers are listing the device’s specifications and showing mockup images in order to entice buyers.

July 10, 2012:  New engineering samples.  Tech site GottaBeMobile offers photos and speculation about a new iPhone and a smaller iPad of “a trusted source inside the Apple supply chain.” Though the iPhone mockup is nothing more than milled aluminum, the noteworthy changes are a taller screen and what appears to be a hole for a microphone between where the rear camera and LED flash have been on the iPhone 4 and 4S.

July 5, 2012  A quad-core A6 chip.  The not-always-reliable DigiTimes says that Apple’s next-generation iPhone will be powered by a quad-core ARM processor based on Samsung’s Exynos 4 architecture.

June 28, 2012: It’s probably going to be a huge success. In a report to investors, J.P. Morgan analyst, Mark Moskowitz, said that the next iPhone will dominate 2013. With its “hardware enhancements and software-driven services,” Moskowitz believes Apple’s newest phone will be the industry lead and will show strong sales.

June 25, 2012: It’ll have NFC capabilities. The coding from two iPhone 5 prototypes may hint at Near Field Communication capabilities, according to 9to5Mac. NFC chips have already been featured in Android devices for Google Wallet and Android Beam, so this may mean that Apple is joining the mobile payments industry. This will coincide nicely with its launch of Passbook, an iOS 6 feature that lets users store electronic versions of receipts, tickets, and other merchant information.

June 21, 2012: It’s a world phone. In addition to having a new design and a slightly larger screen, the next iPhone will support global LTE networks, making it a true world phone. And by keeping support for 3G networks, Sterne Agee analyst Shaw Wu says that Apple will be able to support the Chinese market.

June 20, 2012: A smaller dock connector. TechCrunch reports that three independent manufacturers have affirmed that the next iPhone will have a smaller 19-pin port. According to earlier rumors, this type of connector is supposedly going to make its way into all of Apple’s future mobile devices. While the 30-pin connector is what the iPhone maker has been using for years, a smaller port will create more space in the internal structure of the device.

June 18, 2012: After WWDC 2012, more rumors spread about a bigger iPhone. Now that software developers are getting their hands on iOS 6, more hints about the new iPhone are emerging. Most notably, of a new Auto Layout feature that lets developers set parameters for certain UI elements. According to one developer that TechCrunch spoke to, Auto Layout is a necessity for Apple before it can launch devices with different resolutions — implying that perhaps the next generation may have a different resolution than the last.

June 14, 2012: You may be able to swap out the camera lens. In a move that sounds nothing like Apple, a published patent application suggests that the new iPhone’s back panel would be removable, allowing users to switch out the camera lens. This is highly unusual, since Apple has always shipped its handsets completely sealed.

June 7, 2012: The new generation will be gray, metal, and sleek all over. After several reported rumors about the iPhone’s new look, a worker from a parts reseller company called ETrade Supply has now provided a video. Though its authenticity is still up in the air, at face value, the video shows the iPhone 5 sporting a taller and thinner build, a relocated headphone jack (it’s at the bottom instead of the top), a smaller dock connecter, and an aluminum back plate.

June 6, 2012: It may have a 16:9 aspect ratio and HD front-facing camera. People who use the iPhone’s front-facing camera for vanity shots and Web chatting, rejoice. Mingchi Kuo, an analyst from KGI, believes the new iPhone will sport a 4.08-inch screen, a 16:9 aspect ratio, and a high-def front-facing camera. In his report, Kuo also says he believes the rear-facing camera will still retain its 8-megapixel spec, but its maximum aperture will jump from 2.4 to 2.2.

June 4, 2012: iPhone 5 may launch in September. In addition to the iPad Mini, an analyst from Topeka Capital Markets said that the iPhone 5 will likely launch in September. According to AppleInsider, the analyst, Brian White, cited sources from inside Apple’s supply chain in Taipei.

13th annual system administrator this Friday

As a worker, it is nice to receive some appreciation for the work you do. Right?

On Friday, July 27th, is the 13th annual System Administrator Appreciation Day.

On that day, if your company has a system administrator [or someone with the equivalent duties], be nice to them. They sometimes work later hours, on weekends or even overnight.

Many system administrators do not get any extra “benefits” from staying late or coming in on the weekends. A normal 37.5 hour week can easily hit 70 hours. Sometimes we are even called upon to do work not normally associated with our system administrator duties.

So be nice to your system administrator on the 27th, buy him/her a can of Coke or maybe a beer [outside of work – of course]. [I think we can do without the donuts and junk food – thank you very much!]

For more information and some interesting and scary pictures and other stuff, go to http://www.sysadminday.com/