My Thoughts On IT…

Brian Lewis's Thoughts on all things Information Technology related

I see two very interesting trends in technology that are shaping the future of the IT world. The two trends are Deperimerterization and Consumerization of IT.

Deperimeterization – This is the disappearance of strict boundaries between internal and external networks. In the past enterprises were able to protect their servers and their workstations because they were all behind the corporate firewall. All machines played safely in their own company sandbox. Today end-users are often accessing corporate resources from an internet connection. And corporate resources are often being hosted by a third party on the internet for example salesforce.com hosting your CRM. This is fundamental change in corporate networks and the security paradigm.

Consumerization of IT – Tech savvy Consumers are making the decisions of what technology they want to work with in the work world. This is very different that the past when they worked with what they were given by their company. There are some organizations embracing this and there are others who are fighting it. In the end employees who want to use their iPhones to do their work will and it is fruitless to fight it. This will only continue to become more prevalent as todays tech savvy youth enter the workforce and demand tools

These two trends are directly shaping how IT groups are architecting for the future and how computer products are being designed and marketed for tomorrow.  I predict that these trends will continue at a rapidly growing pace in the years to come. I further believe we will see transformative technology in the next three years. The iPad is just the beginning of things to come.

What do you think? Comment below.

Microsoft WebMatrix is a new web development tool that makes it easy for anyone to create a new web site. Start from any of the built-in or online templates or the Web Applications Gallery. Customize your site using the code and database editor. WebMatrix provides access to offers from Microsoft hosting partners, making it easy to choose the right host with a selection of hosting packages. Once a hosting package is configured, WebMatrix seamlessly publishes to the web.

It takes all the great features of the Web Platform Installer and adds development tools on top. If you just want to install one of many opensource packages on your windows server then the Web Platform Installer is for you. If you want to then edit those pages on your development machine and have that upload to a web hosting site then WebMatrix is the right tool.

Microsoft Web Matrix
http://www.microsoft.com/web/webmatrix/

Microsoft Web Platform Installer 3.0
http://www.microsoft.com/web/downloads/platform.aspx

Microsoft WebMatrix is a new web development tool that makes it easy for anyone to create a new web site. Start from any of the built-in or online templates or the Web Applications Gallery. Customize your site using the code and database editor. WebMatrix provides access to offers from Microsoft hosting partners, making it easy to choose the right host with a selection of hosting packages. Once a hosting package is configured, WebMatrix seamlessly publishes to the web.

It takes all the great features of the Web Platform Installer and adds development tools on top. If you just want to install one of many opensource packages on your windows server then the Web Platform Installer is for you. If you want to then edit those pages on your development machine and have that upload to a web hosting site then WebMatrix is the right tool.

Microsoft Web Matrix
http://www.microsoft.com/web/webmatrix/

Microsoft Web Platform Installer 3.0
http://www.microsoft.com/web/downloads/platform.aspx

I was talking to an IT Pro recently who was working on a machine they suspected was running spyware. I suggested they run Process Explorer from the sysinternals web site. They didn’t know what I was talking about. What?! They hadn’t heard of it! That just isn’t right; if you are an IT Pro you need to know about these tools. These are some of the greatest Windows tools available and they’re free. I just counted and there are 67 different tools. Take a look and see what ones are your favorites.

My three favorite tools are:

· Process Explorer or Procexp.exe – this tool is a task manager on steroids. This is the tool that will tell you what is happening on your machine. You can even replace the task manager with it.

· Autoruns.exe – this tool lists all the locations programs can be auto started. This is my go to program if I need to remove spyware manually.

· Disk2vhd.exe – this tool creates a Virtual Hard Disk file of running system. Run this program to backup your system to a bootable vhd file. You then boot your machine in Hyper-v on Server 2008. Who knew that it could be so easy to move a physical machine to virtual?

You can find them here: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/sysinternals

This year Michelle Obama announced the Microsoft Imagine Cup World Finals being held in the US for the first time ever and in October President Obama recognized winners in some Imagine Cup categories at the White House.  We would love to see your school representing the US in Imagine Cup World Finals.  Students 16 and up are eligible to participate.

Imagine Cup now in its ninth year is the largest student technology and media competition in the world.  The Imagine Cup is very similar to the Olympics – Microsoft Imagine Cup includes competitions such as Software Design, Game Design and Digital Media.  The Digital media competition challenges students to create 1 to 2 person teams and build a short video that tells a story about some of the world’s toughest problems and propose how to solve those problem by using technology.  Past videos have covered fighting hunger or disease, improving education and creating a sustainable environment.

Students who compete in the Imagine Cup Digital Media competition they will have the opportunity to create a short video, submit it for popular vote and the chance to represent the United States at the Imagine Cup World Finals and the opportunity to win 8,000 dollars.  For the teachers and schools involved it’s a fantastic opportunity to draw media attention to your students, teachers and schools. 

The process for students they need to follow would be very straightforward: they need to register, create their team, and create and submit a video before the 2/1 deadline.  Below I have included the steps the students would follow.  Additional details on Digital Media can be viewed in this short video http://bit.ly/epJAhx.

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Some of the finalist submission from last year covered topics such as using technology to measure the impact of deforestation (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sY-Au965Adw), eradicating poverty for one sixth of the world’s inhabitants (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mH8y9QzIbkg) and focusing creating a sustainable environment is so important (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RxhYXnkRdzs).

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Information on the digital media competition can be found at www.ImagineCup.com and click on competitions and select Digital Media or short video on the Digital Media competition can be found here: http://bit.ly/epJAhx.

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Steve Ballmer announced that January Update to Windows Phone 7 yesterday during his keynote at CES. This morning a link has gone live with the details about the update an how you can install it  ( link  below). For people who have already purchased a phone, I suggest that you make this update which will come through your Zune Software when you are prompted. This should happen in the next couple of days.

There are 3 key features which make it an important update:

1) Copy and Paste – This is the most eagerly awaited feature that was requested by consumers since the launch.

2) Faster Apps – There has been a number of improvements to the time it takes an application to start or resume

3) Easier Searching for apps – The marketplace allows you to search for music as well as apps and games. At launch there was a lot of feedback that it was really hard to search for apps or games, because the music titles were so vast in the Zune Marketplace. You can now directly search for apps and games.

The build is also a whole lot faster in a number of areas.

http://www.microsoft.com/windowsphone/en-us/features/january-update.aspx

Happy New Year!

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It looks to me like 2011 is going to be an amazing year in technology and very good in particular for Microsoft. I have come to this conclusion because of all the great technology the entire industry is releasing. There is a lot of innovation happening at a very rapid pace and there are two items Microsoft has just released that exemplify this. They are the Kinect and Windows Phone 7. This past holiday break my family had the luck of receiving both of these products. They were both huge hits with the kids and adults alike.

KinectWe received an Xbox Kinect from Santa. This device is amazing! It is a completely whole new game experience. Everyone had tons of fun playing games and dancing. Even Grandma had to get in the action and play some games. The Kinect watches your body move and it either evaluates your dance moves or it uses these movements to control a video game. Not only was this amazing fun but it was also a great workout. This is a great new gaming experience but more importantly this is a technological advancement that will transform some of the ways that we will interact with computers in the future.

dellvenueproI purchased a new Dell from the Microsoft store in Oakbrook, IL. No not a PC. I have the new Dell Venue Pro smartphone which runs Windows Phone 7. Wow – this phone is a great device. It is hard to remember the world before cell phones. It is even harder to remember when cellphones couldn’t text. Today even low end cellphones have the ability to email and surf the web. This smartphone does all of that and more with ease. Browsing the web on my new phone is a delightful experience. No really, you have to try it. The experience on the Dell Venue Pro is fast and snappy and fun. I also enjoyed trying all the different applications on the Marketplace. The excitement and thrill of exploring this new technical tool reminds me of the feelings I had when I first got into computers back in the early 80’s. The Dell Venue Pro is truly the pinnacle of where cellphone technology is today.

Take a look at the industry’s latest products; from the just announced Intel core vPro processor family to the Kinect to Windows Phone 7 to new products announced at the Consumer Electronics Show. The technical innovations and societal advancement we can see in today’s products are truly inspiring and will only help drive the things we will see released in the next few years to even greater heights. I am excited to see what 2011 will bring. It continues to be a great time to live and to work in technology.

Dell Venue Pro Unboxing Video

I picked up a couple of Windows 7 smartphones this holiday season and I have bee very impressed with the quality and responsiveness of the phones. Here is a 2 minute unboxing video of the phone to show you what comes included and what you can expect the experience of opening the box to be.

Included in the Box

  • Dell Phone (8GB storage, 4.1” AMOLED capacitive touch screen, 1ghz processor, 5 Megapixel camera, WiFi, GPS, and BlueTooth, UMTS / HSDPA (2100/1700/900 MHz)
  • Lithium Ion Battery
  • SIM Card
  • USB Wall Charger
  • Micro USB Cable
  • Stereo Headset with Microphone
  • Product Documentation

Microsoft is releasing an updated version of my favorite Antivirus program. It is my absolute favorite antivirus program for three reasons:

 
  1. It is fast and unobtrusive
  2. It is an effective Anti-virus Program
  3. It is free for home users and companies with 10 or fewer machines

The new version Microsoft Security Essentials 2.0 revamps the heuristic scanning engine, adds Windows Firewall integration as well as network traffic inspection.  This means that it will be even better at detecting malicious programs before they touch your system. It uses the Windows Filtering Platform architecture to accomplish this. This network subsystem is in Windows Vista and Windows 7 but not available in Windows XP so this new network traffic inspection is only available in the newer Widows OSs. Another new feature is the integration with IE where it prevents malicious scripts from running in memory where the previous version only detected these scripts when they were saved to the hard drive.

If you have been a user of Microsoft Security Essentials – don’t worry it will auto update to the new version. If you haven’t used it before but would like to give it a try you can download it from: http://www.microsoft.com/security_essentials/ Enjoy!!!

BTW: if you are looking for antivirus for your corporate environment. The licensing agreement restricts it’s use for companies with over 10 machines. If you organization has over 10 machines then Forefront Endpoint Protection 2010 is the corporate version of this program that you should use. http://www.microsoft.com/forefront/endpoint-protection/en/us/default.aspx

Microsoft is releasing an updated version of my favorite Antivirus program. It is my absolute favorite antivirus program for three reasons:

 
  1. It is fast and unobtrusive
  2. It is an effective Anti-virus Program
  3. It is free for home users and companies with 10 or fewer machines

The new version Microsoft Security Essentials 2.0 revamps the heuristic scanning engine, adds Windows Firewall integration as well as network traffic inspection.  This means that it will be even better at detecting malicious programs before they touch your system. It uses the Windows Filtering Platform architecture to accomplish this. This network subsystem is in Windows Vista and Windows 7 but not available in Windows XP so this new network traffic inspection is only available in the newer Widows OSs. Another new feature is the integration with IE where it prevents malicious scripts from running in memory where the previous version only detected these scripts when they were saved to the hard drive.

If you have been a user of Microsoft Security Essentials – don’t worry it will auto update to the new version. If you haven’t used it before but would like to give it a try you can download it from: http://www.microsoft.com/security_essentials/ Enjoy!!!

BTW: if you are looking for antivirus for your corporate environment. The licensing agreement restricts it’s use for companies with over 10 machines. If you organization has over 10 machines then Forefront Endpoint Protection 2010 is the corporate version of this program that you should use. http://www.microsoft.com/forefront/endpoint-protection/en/us/default.aspx