Archive for the ‘ Microsoft ’ Category


Microsoft created a virtual assistant, made Windows free on small devices, and brought back the Start button – but it’s still playing catch-up

This has been a big week for Microsoft, with a flood of new announcements and changes of direction. Along with its Build conference, new CEO Satya Nadella has made a number of moves designed to reverse the public perception that the company is an aging also ran in the technology races.

The changes include
Rolling out its new Cortana digital voice assistant
Announcing that Windows would be free to manufacturers of devices with small screens
Coming out with “universal” Windows technology that helps developers build apps that run on multiple versions of Microsoft’s operating system
Reviving the popular “Start” menu for Windows 8.1

Though some of those moves are more important than others, they’re all good things. Unfortunately, I don’t think they’ll be enough to solve Microsoft’s problem of being seen as your father’s technology vendor. Here’s why:

Consumers vs. IT
As noted above, Microsoft’s issues right now revolve around how the company is perceived by consumers, and it’s unlikely that these initiatives will be enough to change those perceptions. While all useful, none of them are truly new. Instead, they’re playing catch-up to existing products and services from Microsoft’s competitors, perhaps with incremental improvements, or acknowledgements that previous Microsoft strategies simply weren’t working out.

Technology professionals will welcome these changes, but the IT community isn’t where Microsoft’s problems lie. In my experience,, enterprise IT generally likes and trusts the company. Microsoft’s challenges lie in convincing fickle consumers that it’s as cool and innovative as Apple and Google. I can’t imagine these moves being exciting enough to do that.

Better, but not better enough
While initial reports suggest that Cortana is a credible or even superior alternative to Apple’s Siri and Google Now, the fact remains that other companies pioneered the voice assistant idea. Cortana would have to be light-years better than its already-in-place rivals to truly give Microsoft a significant advantage.

Similarly, making Windows free for mobile devices may help spark more device makers to adopt the platform, but it’s not like it will make an immediate difference to consumers. Besides, Android is already free to license. Once again, Microsoft is playing catch up.

Universal Windows app development may pay off with more app choices in the long run, but it’s a pretty geeky concept for most end users. Finally, bringing back the Start menu will ease the transition to Windows 8 for some holdouts, but let’s face it, the cool kids aren’t really interested in desktop Windows at this point.

Put it all together and you’ve got a collection of tweaks and that could change the substance of what Microsoft does, but won’t dent the way most people think of the company.

More, please!
Still, there’s a big ray of hope here. The fact that Microsoft was willing and able to make these changes could signal that more are on the way. If Microsoft can keep shaking things up and continue to show that things really are different now, eventually people will begin to notice and perhaps change their minds about the company. And then it truly won’t be your father’s Microsoft any more.


 

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QUESTION 1
Scenario: A Citrix Engineer is configuring a new XenApp 6.5 farm in order to provide the Sales
department with access to a new CRM application. There are 400 users who will be accessing the
application, and the application load testing shows 512 MB of RAM utilization for each user during
peak time. XenApp will be installed on virtual machines, and the virtual machines will be hosted on
XenServer hosts.
All three of the XenServer hosts have the following hardware specifications:
1. Dual 6 core CPU
2. 96 GB of RAM
3. 300 GB SAN storage
The Citrix Engineer needs to ensure that users can access their XenApp resources in the event of
a server hardware failure.
Based on Citrix Best Practices, what would be the recommended configuration?

A. Create a pool with three hosts.
B. Create three pools with one host each.
C. Create a pool with two hosts and enable HA.
D. Create a pool with three hosts and enable HA.

Answer: D

Explanation:


QUESTION 2
Scenario: A Citrix Engineer needs to set up logging to monitor a Workload Balancing related issue
in a XenServer implementation. The engineer wants to capture maximum detail about this issue
before reporting it to Citrix Technical Support.
To increase the level of detail that will be captured in the log file, the engineer should _________
and __________. (Choose the two correct options to complete the sentence.)

A. open wlb.conf in a text editor
B. open logfile.log in a text editor
C. open auditlog.out in a text editor
D. modify the configuration options
E. enable logging for a specific trace

Answer: A,E

Explanation:


QUESTION 3
Scenario: Nether Tech has a XenDesktop farm with Windows 7 desktops. Users are accessing
their virtual desktops from different bandwidth and latency connection types.
Which setting should the engineer configure in a Citrix User policy in order to optimize moving
images?

A. Enable Adaptive Display. Disable Progressive Display.
B. Disable Adaptive Display. Disable Progressive Display.
C. Enable Adaptive Display. Enable Progressive Display with Low Compression.
D. Disable Adaptive Display. Enable Progressive Display with Low Compression.

Answer: A

Explanation:


QUESTION 4
Scenario: Nether Tech’s corporate policy requires that passwords are NOT requested for XenApp
passthrough connections, except for those that pertain to members of the Nursing Users group.
Nurses connect to XenApp servers hosting applications in the Nurses Worker Group.
Click the Exhibit button to view a list of the policies configured in the environment.

An engineer needs to prioritize the three policies so that only members of the Nurses group are
prompted for passwords when they connect to their XenApp resources.
What is the correct order of prioritization for the policies from lowest to highest?

A. Unfiltered, Nurses, Corporate Users
B. Corporate Users, Nurses, Unfiltered
C. Unfiltered, Corporate Users, Nurses
D. Nurses, Unfiltered, Corporate Users

Answer: D

Explanation:


QUESTION 5
Scenario: Nether Tech recently upgraded to XenDesktop 5.5 and implemented a new VoIP
system. Virtual desktops have been integrated with the VoIP system. RTA (Real-time Audio) over
UDP has also been configured.
Which two steps should a Citrix Engineer take to optimize RTA/UDP traffic in the XenDesktop
implementation? (Choose two.)

A. Create a Citrix User policy.
B. Create a Citrix Computer policy.
C. Enable Multi-Stream in the policy.
D. Increase overall session bandwidth limit.
E. Set the audio redirection bandwidth limit in the policy.

Answer: B,C

Explanation:


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According to leaked screenshots and secret sources, Microsoft will scrap ‘Metro’ and roll boot-to-desktop as the default in the Windows 8.1 update coming in March.

If you hated the Live Tiles presented as the default on the Windows 8.x Start screen, then Microsoft allowed users to tweak the setting in Windows 8.1 to bypass the “Metro” interface at boot and instead boot to desktop. But boot-to-desktop will be the default, according to leaks from Microsoft insiders and screenshots of the upcoming Windows 8.1 update. Rumor has it that the update will roll out on Patch Tuesday in March.

The Russian site Wzor first posted leaked Windows 8.1 test build screenshots showing the change enabled by default.

Leaked Windows 8.1 test build, no more Metro Start screen, boot to desktop as default
Then Microsoft insiders, or “sources familiar with Microsoft’s plans,” told The Verge that Microsoft hopes to appease desktop users by bypassing the Start screen by default, meaning users will automatically boot straight to desktop. “Additional changes include shutdown and search buttons on the Start Screen, the ability to pin Windows 8-style (“Metro”) apps on the desktop task bar, and a new bar at the top of Metro apps to allow users to minimize, close, and snap apps.”

Of course, Microsoft continues to lose millions upon millions of customers to iOS and Android. That desperation is likely what drove Microsoft to force a touch-centric operating system on customers. If customers can’t easily use a Windows OS on a traditional desktop, then Microsoft hoped its “make-them-eat-Metro” strategy would force people to buy its tablet to deal with the touch-based OS. For Microsoft, it was like killing two birds with one stone. But despite the company’s “One Microsoft” vision, we’re not birds and we don’t like having stones thrown our way.

Microsoft claimed that telemetry data justified the removal of the Start button in Windows 8, and then its return in Windows 8.1. That same telemetry data shows “the majority of Windows 8 users still use a keyboard and mouse and desktop applications.” The Verge added, “Microsoft may have wanted to push touch computing to the masses in Windows 8, but the reality is that users have voiced clear concerns over the interface on desktop PCs.”

“Microsoft really dug a big hole for themselves,” Gartner’s David Smith told Gregg Keizer, referring to the Redmond giant’s approach with Windows 8. “They have to dig themselves out of that hole, including making some fundamental changes to Windows 8. They need to accelerate that and come up with another path [for Windows].”

Back in December, NetMarketShare stats showed that more people were still using the hated Windows Vista than Windows 8.1. January 2014 stats showed Windows 8.1 on 3.95% of desktops with Vista on 3.3%. Despite Microsoft warning about the evils of clinging to XP, and the April death of XP support, Windows XP, however, was still on 29.23%. Many people still hate Windows 8, which may be why the company plans to jump to the next OS as soon as possible.

Microsoft plans to start building hype for “Windows 9″ at the BUILD developers’ conference in April. The new OS is supposedly set to come out in the second quarter of 2015. While it seems wise for the company to want to ditch the hated Windows 8.x as soon as possible, Microsoft had better to do something to encourage developers as the expected boot-to-desktop change will mean folks won’t see the Metro apps on the Start screen.

Windows 8.1 update leaked screenshot of test build
According to the test build screenshot, Microsoft is urging people to “switch to a Microsoft account on this PC. Many apps and services (like the one shown for calendar) rely on a Microsoft account to sync content and settings across devices.” Note that “sign into each app separately instead” is “not recommended” by Microsoft. Of course, setting up a Windows 8 computer without it being tied to a Microsoft email account was “not recommended” either…but it can be done with about any email address or set up as a local account tied to no email address. If you use SkyDrive, aka the newly dubbed “OneDrive,” then why not just log in when you need it?

Trying to keep its developers “happy,” may be part of the reason Microsoft does not recommend signing into your Microsoft account on an individual app basis. Sure there’s still the Windows Phone Store, but some people complain that the Windows Phone Store is full of junk and fake apps. Of course, since Windows 8′s dueling tablet-PC interface was a flop, perhaps Microsoft will follow Apple’s lead and come up with a separate OS for tablets. That move might help out Microsoft and developers; without developers, there’s no apps. Without good apps, even a new OS for tablets won’t help Microsoft from continuing to decline and falling into the abyss of irrelevancy.

 


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QUESTION 1
You have been tasked with configuring filtering as per the prerequisites.
Which of the following actions should you take?

A. You should consider making use of the itemCategory;category filtering option.
B. You should consider making use of the itemID;num filtering option.
C. You should consider making use of the itemCategory;itemID filtering option.
D. You should consider making use of the itemID;itemCategory filtering option.

Answer: D

Explanation:


QUESTION 2
You are preparing to establish the reason for an error message being presented when adding the
custom Visual Web Part to a SharePoint site.
Which of the following actions should you take?

A. You should consider making use of the Get-SPLogEvent cmdlet.
B. You should consider making use of the New-SPUsageLogFile cmdlet.
C. You should consider making use of the New-SPLogFile cmdlet.
D. You should consider making use of the Get-SPLogLevel cmdlet.

Answer: A

Explanation:


QUESTION 3
You are preparing to write code to create the tool that supports social connections.
Which of the following is a class of the Microsoft.SharePoint.Client.Social namespace that should
be included in the code?

A. The SocialFollowingManager class.
B. The SocialFeedManager class.
C. The SocialActorInfo class.
D. The SocialPostActorInfo class.

Answer: C

Explanation:


QUESTION 4
You are preparing to configure caching in keeping with the prerequisites.
Which of the following actions should you take?

A. You should consider making use of the System File Cache option.
B. You should consider making use of the Cache API option.
C. You should consider making use of the Windows Server AppFabric Cache option.
D. You should consider making use of the Page Output Cache Cache option.

Answer: C

Explanation:


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The Syrian Electronic Army hacked all of Skype’s social media accounts and accused Microsoft of helping the government spy and monitor our email.

It’s said there is no rest for the wicked, and New Year’s Day had Skype social media managers scrambling to scrub evidence of being hacked off of its Skype blog, Twitter and Facebook accounts. That evidence was planted by the Syrian Electronic Army and accused Microsoft of spying for the “governments.”

After the SEA’s attack, Skype sent out a pair of tweets to its 3 million Twitter followers, warning:

Hacked Skype tweet warns against using Microsoft products

Skype tweet stop spying on people

Those Skype tweets were deleted and then replaced with this tweet: “You may have noticed our social media properties were targeted today. No user info was compromised. We’re sorry for the inconvenience.”

The SEA also hacked the Skype blog:

Skype blog, Facebook, Twitter hacked by Syrian Electronic Army

Hacked Skype blog says don’t use Microsoft products

These posts were mirrored on Skype’s Facebook page before quickly being deleted.

Skype Facebook hacked posts removed

Then reporter Matthew Keys tweeted this screenshot “proof” of the Skype hack sent to him by the SEA.

Screenshot Skype hack

The SEA also tweeted Steve Ballmer’s contact information along with the message, “You can thank Microsoft for monitoring your accounts/emails using this details. #SEA”

Although the SEA has successfully hacked many major companies, the Skype hack seems to be referring to Microsoft’s alleged cooperation with the NSA. Microsoft denied providing backdoor real-time access, but revelations provided by Edward Snowden indicated that the NSA can successfully eavesdrop on Skype video calls. Although Microsoft vowed to protect users from NSA surveillance, the Redmond giant “forgot” to mention Skype in its promises.

As security expert Graham Cluley pointed out, “Chances are that Skype didn’t read my New Year’s resolution advice about not using the same passwords for multiple accounts.”

In fact, Skype seems to have disregarded its parent company’s advice. Microsoft’s Security TechCenter has a post regarding “selecting secure passwords.” Regarding “Password Age and Reuse,” it states:

Users should also change their passwords frequently. Even though long and strong passwords are much more difficult to break than short and simple ones, they can still be cracked. An attacker who has enough time and computing power at his disposal can eventually break any password. In general, passwords should be changed within 42 days, and old passwords should never be reused.

Skype itself has a few password “rules” such as:

A password must:

Be at least 6 characters and not longer than 20 characters.

Contain at least one letter and one number.

Not have any spaces.

Not contain your Skype Name (case insensitive).

Not be a part of Skype Name (case insensitive).

Your password also cannot contain any of the following words:

1234, 4321, qwert, test, skype, myspace, password, abc123, 123abc, abcdef, iloveyou, letmein, ebay, paypal.

However, after the Skype hack gave Microsoft a black eye with spying accusations, it’s a pretty safe bet that whoever controls Skype social media will no longer resuse the same password to protect all of the company’s accounts. And if you reuse the same password on different sites, it would be a great 2014 resolution to change all your passwords, keep them in a password safe, and make sure you don’t use the same one for multiple sites.

 


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Which smartphone is the most secure?

Written by admin
December 25th, 2013

Not all mobile phone operating systems are created equal. As Spencer McIntyre of SecureState explains, there are unique differences and threats specific to each smartphone and, in the end, security is largely up to the user

These days, it is almost impossible to meet someone who doesn’t own a cell phone. More specifically, smartphones, whether it be the trendy iPhone, corporate favored Blackberry or modern Windows Mobile, almost everyone has joined the smart phone frenzy — and with good reason. A smartphone offers more advanced computing ability and connectivity than a contemporary phone.

Just like a handheld computer, most of the population relies on their operating system to multitask the demands of work, personal life and finances. However, many Smartphone users forget about the risks of malware on these crucial devices. In fact, a study from Rutgers’s University disclosed that malicious software for cell phones could pose a greater risk for consumer’s personal and financial well-being than computer viruses.

Clearly, there is a need for greater protection of cell phone software and greater awareness of cell phone vulnerabilities from owners, especially when it comes to what kind of operating system you are using. There are unique differences and threats specific to each Smartphone. Here are some important key points that consumers should consider to protect their mobile operating systems.

iPhone
There is a lot to be found regarding this popular device, half of our research findings surrounded the iPhone. Malware for this device took a different approach with the release of IOS 4. The multitasking that users take part in on their systems easily goes unnoticed, allowing the presence of malware to be easier to miss and less intrusive. Malware is more commonly found on iPhones that have been jail broken.

“Jail breaking” means freeing a phone from the limitations imposed by the wireless provider and in this case, Apple. Users install a software application on their computer, and then transfer it to their iPhone, where it “breaks open” the iPhone’s file system, allowing you to modify it; however, this also opens it up to malware. By jail breaking a phone, users are possibly allowing malicious applications into their device which has access to their personal information including their bank account. These applications are not subjected to the same limitations as Apple and therefore are easier to get from a rogue reference and infect cell phone.

Additionally, by not changing the password on a jail broken iPhone, the SSH service, is easy for malicious attackers to create worms used to infect the users operating device. An example of how important this threat is to note was highlighted by Ike, a worm created to raise security awareness when it comes to using these jail broken devices. It illustrates how once the core app has run its route, the vulnerability can gain complete control of the system.

Apple is slow to pinpoint vulnerabilities, including the SMS (texting) exploit released in the summer of 2010 by Charlie Miller. This also revealed that Apple is so slow to release that third party organizations were able to produce a security patch before Apple.

Windows Mobile
When it comes to threats, Windows Mobile takes the cake when it comes to attracting malware via SMS. Specifically the amount of SMS malware found on Windows Mobile devices is much higher in comparison to others. An interesting facet of the Windows Mobile OS is that many of the system calls are shared with it’s full-featured desktop counterparts. This detail has contributed to many pieces of malware that have originated on the Windows OS being ported to the Windows Mobile OS. A noteworthy example of this is the Zeus botnet that in recent years has begun to appear on mobile versions of Windows.

BlackBerry
A popular alternative to the previous two mobile operating systems, the BlackBerry is also quite different from the typical smart phone. The BlackBerry uses what is arguably the most closed source of the operating systems discussed herein. Research In Motion, the developers of BlackBerry have done an excellent job of keeping the sensitive inner workings of this smart phone a secret from the public. This is a contributing factor for the relatively small number of reliable exploits for the BlackBerry smart phone.

BlackBerry also suffers from the multitasking concerns that make it easier for malware to run unnoticed. An interesting proof of concept developed for the BlackBerry is the BBProxy application that was presented at DEFCON.

Symbian
There is not a lot of information regarding malware for this operating device, although it is the oldest of the smart phones and one of the most popular outside of America. Windows, Blackberry and Symbian are malware populated and not present on Android or iPhone. Along with the Windows Mobile family of Phones, Zeus has be ported the Symbian as well. The mobile version of Zeus is being used to intercept text messages sent as the second factor of authentication in many services.

Android
The Android operating system is the only open source operating system discussed herein. Android is unique in that it is community driven. The Android operating system is not owned by an individual organization, so it is developed in the best interest of the users. However, the applications are not monitored for vulnerabilities in the marketplace, so anyone can submit applications containing malicious functions which are less likely to be caught. Essentially, it is up to the users to determine if it is a safe and reputable source from which they are getting the app.

Amazon now has a 3rd party market place, which imposes additional policies and restrictions on applications that are distributed.

Android is based on the Linux operating system. On Linux, availability on Android is unlike others and there is not much evidence of ported malware. This is not because there is not any known Linux malware out there, but because it doesn’t receive much attention.

In Conclusion
All operating systems have distinct strengths and weaknesses; however, many are the same and essentially are up to the user and the configuration of the password. Users need to remember not to install apps from unnecessary sources, especially if they are unknown. While users can’t know them all, users need to ensure that they are from a reputable source. If not, that is where malware commonly comes from, with backdoor apps masquerading as secure applications. Also, jail broken phones are at a huge risk if the user maintains the default password and an even higher risk if not used in the Apple marketplace. Instances of malware exist on all of the phones and are even more relevant on ones using untrusted app sources. Consumers can keep this research in mind when using their smartphone to best protect their valuable information.


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What Microsoft did right and wrong in 2013

Written by admin
December 20th, 2013

Microsoft is getting Office 365 right, but that Scroogled campaign is so wrong
Nobody bats a thousand, and Microsoft is no different. Here’s a quick look at five things Microsoft did right in 2013 and five it did wrong.
Right

Office 365 – If success is determined by whether a lot customers buy a service, Office 365 is wildly successful.
In a little more than 100 days, the service had 1 million customers. That was back in May and by October it hit 2 million.

Buying Microsoft Office via a cloud service that’s continually upgraded and available from any of a customer’s Internet connected devices including their phones is apparently appealing.

At about $100 per customer per year, that still pales in what Microsoft takes in from enterprise customers, but businesses and particularly municipalities and universities seem very interested. Larger entities might not be far behind.
Microsoft has been pushing it into educational institutions via a variety of specials, most recently the free use for students at schools that license Office 365 Pro Plus or Office Professional Plus via the Student Advantage program.

Buying Nokia – With Nokia smartphones pretty much driving whatever success Windows Phone has, pulling the company in-house seems like a smart move.

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First, Microsoft should be able to move more quickly to implement upgrades to Windows 8 and to direct sales efforts in places Windows 8 lags but that represent potential growth, such as Africa and Japan. Nokia has high- and low-end smartphones to worm its way into markets at either end.
Nokia Lumia
Nokia Lumia

Nokia also has lines of tablets and phablets (phones with screens between five and seven inches), both of which Microsoft should be interested in serving. As the PC market shrinks, some other device or set of devices will replace them. With Nokia’s assets on board Microsoft should be able to move quickly to provide Windows-based options regardless of which form factor dominates, keeping pace with or beating its OEM hardware partners.

Windows Phone – Microsoft is again nowhere near being number one in mobile phones, but it is making progress, posting number three among the top operating systems.

While lagging far behind Android (52%) and Apple’s iOS (40.6%), Microsoft’s 3.2% market share as of October 2013 is laughably small but still represents the first time it has beaten BlackBerry, according to analytics firm ComScore.

Microsoft doubled its share of the worldwide market between Oct. 2012 and Oct. 2013, making it the fastest growing major smartphone platform, according to Strategy Analytics.

Also important, Windows Phone is making bigger strides in individual regions outside the U.S., particularly Europe where its share has hit double digits in some countries, according to Kantar Worldpanel, a consumer analytics firm.
Nearly all of that growth is thanks to Nokia, Strategy Analytics notes.

Xbox One – Released late last month, the latest Microsoft gaming console is so much more, and so far has had largely favorable reviews.

In addition to games it supports TV watching, split-screen display of applications, Kinect motion sensing, Skype videoconferencing, voice commands and gesture navigation.

Locked in a battle with Play Station 4 for dominance in holiday sales, Xbox One has the potential to do more, according to this Network World review. These include such features as streaming games to PCs or serving as a digital assistant.

Microsoft Dynamics CRM – Part of Microsoft’s larger Dynamics offering, Dynamics CRM is finally making headway against its competitors.

It’s been around for years, Dynamics CRM is showing promising growth, up to 40,000 business customers in July, up from 33,000 customers the year before, again cashing in on those customers willing to go to cloud services.

In this case Microsoft has clawed to being fourth among CRM competitors behind No.1 Salesforce.com, two SAP and three Oracle, Gartner says, pulling in an estimated $1.1 billion in revenues. And analysts say it is growing faster than SAP’s and Oracle’s CRM business.

With a new mobile strategy that has tablets at its center, the service is also poised for continued impressive growth in 2014, still lagging far behind Salesforce.com, but moving in the right direction.
Cybercrime Center

Cybercrime Center – Microsoft opened a dedicated facility last month to house its botnet disruption team and partners willing to help in the cause.

While the company had such a team before, the center pulls together a larger group and acts as nexus for branch cybercrime investigation offices around the globe. Its emphasis on collaboration with partners means it has the potential to move quickly to draw in new resources to fight all forms of cybercrime.

The company’s string of high-profile botnet takedowns over the past few years have highlighted the sophistication of criminals using the Internet to commit crimes and the ever-changing methods crime fighters have to employ to succeed. The Cybercrime Center should help elevate the law-enforcement effort from a game of Whac-A-Mole to something more effective.
Wrong

Windows 8.1 – In a way Windows 8.1 was the right thing to do, but it didn’t go far enough.

Microsoft responded to a number of complaints about Windows 8 and added new features, but the package still comes up short capturing the imagination and more important the cash of potential customers.

According to multiple organizations that track use of operating systems, the numbers show that Windows 8.1 isn’t capturing those customers finally abandoning Windows XP and isn’t making significant headway into businesses.

Windows 8.1 takes some getting used to and it requires a touch device to be appreciated fully, but it has its limitations. Apps that run on Windows 7 run on Windows 8.1 but look and behave just as they did in Windows 7. The apps that show off Windows 8.1 to its best advantage are approaching 150,000, they just aren’t compelling enough to draw customers.

Perhaps as businesses and consumers decide what devices will replace PCs, Windows 8.1 and its successors will do better. Those new devices will likely include touch and mobility, two areas where Windows 8.1 does well. But for 2013, it was at best ahead of its time.

Surface RT, Surface 2 – Despite a $900 million write-down of the Surface RT tablet – a stark acknowledgment of its failure – Microsoft has pushed ahead with the next generation of the device called Surface 2.
Surface

While it does come with Microsoft Office – something you can’t get on an iPad – the device runs only Windows Store Applications – those designed for the Windows RT operating system, vetted by Microsoft and available online only through the Windows Store.

Reports indicate that in some locales Surface 2 supplies have run dry during the holiday shopping season, but Microsoft doesn’t say how many were available in the first place so it’s difficult to say whether popularity of the new device is on the rise. With the pending sale of Nokia to Microsoft, Surface 2 seems like an unnecessary and not very popular product.

Regardless, Microsoft seems committed to it for at least a little while longer. A story by Marcom News says Microsoft has signed up an agency to run a four-month ad campaign for the device.

CEO search – It was unnecessary to announce as much as a year ahead of time that the company is looking for a CEO to replace Steve Ballmer.

It acts as a distraction that deflects attention away from other efforts that would be good for the business and doesn’t make Ballmer’s job any easier in the meantime.

Keeping mum until a replacement was signed up would have been the way to go.

It’s not helping the top candidates, either. Alan Mulally, rumored as the top contender, is CEO of Ford, whose board is getting cranky that his possible selection is outshining the company’s efforts to promote an ambitious 2014 lineup of new cars.

Scroogled – This apparently well-funded campaign to attack Google Chromebooks and the way Google mines personal information to sell to advertisers seems a bit much.

Microsoft has nailed down the scroogled.com domain name and keeps the site updated with content intended to send Google customers flocking to Microsoft. It’s also got scrooglednews.com, an aggregation site that posts links to stories that point out Google transgressions.

The company even sells a line of Scroogled apparel on its online Microsoft Store so equally rabid anti-Google customers can pay to wear Microsoft negative advertising.

Regardless of the merits of Scroogle arguments, the campaign comes across as silly and spiteful.

Apple parody – In the same spirit (bad) as Scroogled, Microsoft produced a video making fun of Apple’s iPhone.

It looked thrown together but mainly it wasn’t funny. Microsoft took it down and acknowledged it as a mistake.


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Internet Explorer (again) needs fixes; recent Windows XP vulnerability not addressed

Microsoft is wrapping up the year’s Patch Tuesday bulletins next week with 11 more fixes, pushing the total for 2013 to 106, up from last year’s total of 83.

Five bulletins ranked critical all hold the potential for enabling remote code execution on victimized machines and affect a wide range of platforms including most versions of Windows, Windows Server, Internet Explorer, SharePoint and Exchange.

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The patches will include a remedy for the .TIFF zero day vulnerability, a flaw in Microsoft Graphics that leaves Microsoft Office and Lync apps and Windows open to attack. Common exploits of the vulnerability include a Word file containing a malicious .TIFF image that leads to the attacker gaining control of the machine with current user rights. “In this vulnerability, an attacker needs to convince a user to preview or open a bad TIFF image for exploitation,” says Paul Henry, a forensics and security analyst for Lumension. “Because we know persuading users to click isn’t always that hard to do, a patch for this one is definitely welcome.”

The problem and exploits in the wild were discovered last month, but Microsoft didn’t deem it worth an out-of-band fix.

All the critical bulletins save one require restarts, so scheduling the patches will be a chore. “Be careful and have a rollback plan in case the patches break your custom environment,” says Tommy Chin, a technical support engineer for CORE Security.

RELATED: Microsoft’s $100k hacker bounty sounds great but has a lot of loopholes

Another critical bulletin this month addresses a vulnerability in all versions of Internet Explorer from 6 through 11. “It is best to patch the ones that require restart quickly, since the vulnerable code is already loaded in those scenarios,” says Chin. “Definitely patch Windows and Internet Explorer first.”

A bulletin affecting Microsoft Exchange does not require a restart but warrants attention, says Qualys CTO Wolfgang Kandek. “Bulletin #5 is a server-side bulletin for Microsoft Exchange and will probably include the new Outside In library from Oracle that was released during October’s Critical Patch Update,” he says, referencing an Oracle update that included fixes for middleware in Outside In Technology, versions 8.4.0, 8.4.1. Outside In provides tools to access and control content in unstructured file formats.

One of the less severe bulletins, ranked important, should still be a high priority, says Kandek. “Bulletin #6 is for Microsoft Office and is only rated important, but it will still deserve your full attention due to the Remote Code Execution possibilities, most likely through file format vulnerabilities,” he says.

A vulnerability in Windows XP discovered last week is not being addressed in this wave of patches. “This is perhaps another reminder that end of life is now just four months out for Windows XP and users still running it should move to a current generation operating system sooner rather than later,” Henry says.

Hyper-V V3 resources can be aggregated into clusters, and through the use of new VHDX sharable disk stores, can create islands internally — or for cloud-hosted purposes, external clouds whose resources should be opaque to other cloud components. We were not able to successfully find constructs to test the opaque nature of what should be isolated clouds, but rudimentary tests seemed to prove isolation. The VHDX format can also be dynamically re-sized as the need arises; we found that the process is fast, although during that period, disk and CPU resources can peak until the modification is over. Heavy CPU/disk-imposed limitations thwart resizing by slowing it.

We also tested Hyper-V and 2012R2 IPAM and Microsoft’s SDN successfully under IPv4 (other limitations prevented heavy IPv6 testing). Software defined networks (SDN) cross a turf that is divided in many organizations: virtualization and network management teams. Network management staff have traditionally used IPS, routing, switching and infrastructure controls to balance traffic, hosts, even NOC hardware placement. SDN use means that what were once separate disciplines are now forced to work together to make things work inside the host server’s hypervisor, where the demarcation was once where the RJ-45 connector meets the server chassis.

IPAM allowed us to define a base allocation of routeable and/or non-routeable addresses, then allocate them to VMs hosted on Hyper-V hosts or other hosts/VMs/devices on our test network. We could in turn, allocate virtual switches, public private or internal, connected with static/blocked and sticky DHCP. Inter-fabric VM movements still require a bit of homework, we found. Using one IPAM is recommended.

[ALSO: Windows 8.1 cheat sheet]

What we like is that the SDN primitives and IPAM can work well together, with well-implemented planning steps. We could create clouds easily, and keep track of address relationships. A Microsoft representative mused over the spreadsheets that carry IP relationship management information in many organizations, calling it crazy. We would agree, and believe that hypervisor or host-based IPAM is a great idea. If only DNS were mixed in more thoroughly — and it’s not — we’d be complete converts to the concept. We found it very convenient nonetheless, although errors were more difficult to find when they occurred, such as address pool depletions. Uniting networking and virtualization/host management disciplines isn’t going to be easy.
The Bad News

We found head-scratchers and limitations. We found several initial foibles installing the operating system on bare metal to what should be generic hardware. We were able to overcome them, but warn installers that they’ll need to consider that Windows 2012 and especially R2 might require updated server BIOS firmware to UEFI-compatible, as happened with our Lenovo ThinkServer and HP DL 380 Gen8 servers. When Windows 2012 R2 can’t install (R2 or Hyper-V V3-R2), we received an inarticulate flash of an error message. We actually took a video of it to capture that there was a problem with ACPI — and not UEFI. The turf between platform providers and OS/hypervisor makers is still real and strong, but Microsoft isn’t alone, as we’ve incurred driver/platform mysticism with VMware and Oracle, too.

We found the Hyper-V role cannot be re-instantiated. This means that no hypervisor on top of a hypervisor. Microsoft claims that there has been no customer demand for this, but it also imposes a limitation. Although running a hypervisor atop a hypervisor seems silly, there are cases where it’s useful. One role often cited is in production test labs, and another where Microsoft’s SDN is used — Hyper-V V3 must always be the base layer talking to the metal and silicon of a server, precluding other schemes direct access to the metal and therefore impeding other SDN schemes.

The Azure Pack uses the same Hyper-V infrastructure as Windows Server 2012 R2. Microsoft offers a sample of what other third party providers may offer in the form of services and ready-to-deploy pre-built appliances. We were reminded of what TurnKeyLinux started several years ago, in terms of usable appliances built from Linux substrates. There isn’t a huge variety of appliance samples available, but what we tested, worked — full WordPress websites that were ready for skins and customizations.

A Service Bus, actually message bus, connects components in the clouds serviced by the Azure Pack and Hyper-V. The Service Bus connects Microsoft-specific API sets, after a framework “namespace” is created. Communications can be subscribed and published to the framework and its members in the namespace talk via REST, Advanced Message Queueing Protocol/AMQP, and Windows instrumentation APIs. The Service Bus reminds us of products like Puppet, Chef, and others in the Linux world, communicating in a stack-like framework for rapid deployment and ease of VM and infrastructure fleet management.
Windows 8.1

Where Windows 8.1 is upgraded on Windows 7 or Windows 8 platforms, the upgrade was fast and made no mistakes. Windows XP can be run atop Hyper-V or in a Type 2 hypervisor application, but we didn’t test this, as we’ve retired Windows XP completely and we hope that readers have, too. Like Windows 8.0, 8.1 can use the latest version of Hyper-V V3 as a foundation, so that other OS versions can be used on the same host hardware, with resource limitations to guests or 8.1, SDN, IPAM, and other Hyper-V features.

The Windows 8.1 UI is initially identical to Windows 8.0, but with the addition of a desktop icon that can be touched/chosen to be optionally or subsequently a resident resource more familiar to XP and Windows 7 users. We found it’s also possible to boot directly to an Apps screen that allows apps to be easily chosen, although not with the same vendor topical drop-boxes that Win XP and Windows 7 might be used to. If there are many applications, the screen must be scrolled. Windows XP/7 users who have accumulated many dozens of applications might be scrolling frequently as long lists of applications can fill many screens.

We found more UI customization choices, and discovered we could make very busy combinations of Live Tiles. It’s possible to insert RSS feeds into tiles where supported, allowing what we feel is an addicting amount of information available within just a handful of tiles, and the appeal of moving tiles combinations on tablets to suit differing use situations. Apps that use “traditional” windows are easier to manage, and users can now move multiple windows adjacent to each other (especially handy on multiple monitors) without having snap behavior crater their placement choices, as occurred in 8.0 and even Windows 7 editions.

Desktop/notebook users have now taken second seat to tablets in this upgrade, and some of the hoped for bridges to Windows 7-ish look-and-feel are missing as we found the 8.1 changes more easily demonstrated on tablets. However, mouse or touch sweeps are more customizable, although consistencies can be imposed in Group Policy. If you’re looking for the familiar Start button, you’ll still need to garner it from a third party app provider. Microsoft, like Apple and Google, would really prefer that you obtain Start Buttons and other third party applications from Microsoft’s online store, which is far more filled with new, familiar, and diverse applications than when Windows 8.0 was released. You can still install from “unauthorized” sources if preferred or forbid that if you’re draconian or simply worried about security.

Recent changes to 8.1 in terms of speed weren’t dramatic, in our subjective analysis. Windows 8.1 uses Server Message Block V3/SMB3 features when connecting to Windows 2012+ network resources that allow several features, including SMB Encryption, SMB traffic aggregation for speed, and TPC “signing” for ostensibly trustable, ostensibly non-repudiating host and client relationships. We say ostensibly, as we’re unsure of a comprehensive methodology to test these, and therefore, have not.
Overall

Microsoft has been very busy. Windows Server 2012 R2, while a strong operating system update, is perhaps more about Hyper-V V3 and Azure Pack, and represents a trend towards platform strengthening on Microsoft’s part as platform flexibility starts to replace the operating system as the functional least common denominator for applications infrastructure. Towards these ends, Hyper-V now controls more of the network than the operating system, more of the storage connectivity and options then the operating system, and more of the application availability and administrative control nexus than ever before.

For its part, Windows 8.1 is now the client-side of the experiences rendered by web access, and client/cloud-based services, which become increasingly location-irrelevant where persistent connectivity is available. The Windows 8.1 release comes in fewer forms than Window 8.0, which comes in fewer forms than Windows 7. The shrinking forms betrays that the versions must now be synchronized across a wide variety of platforms, from traditional desktops and notebooks, to tablets, phones, and VDI/Desktop-as-a-Service platforms. More attention to this variety of user device in Windows 8.1 also includes attention paid to criticisms of the seemingly lurching change from former Windows UIs to the tiled interface of Windows 8.

Windows as a client is no longer like the old leaky Windows, but it’s approachable in a more familiar way. Whether the 8.1 client changes can re-enamor disaffected users, and roll with new competitive punches, remains to be seen.
How We Tested Windows Server 2012 R2 and Windows 8.1

For Windows Server 2012 R2, we tested the RTM version downloaded from the MSDN website. We deployed and tested the DataCenter version on both bare metal servers from HP (DL580G5, 16core, iSCSI, Dell (Compellent iSCSI SAN and older Dell servers), and Lenovo (ThinkServer 580 with 16 cores, 32GB) and various hypervisors. Windows 2012 R2 installed basic operations successfully atop VMware vSphere 5.1 and 5.5, Oracle VirtualBox 4.2, aforementioned Hyper-V V3, and Citrix XenServer 6.2, and we found much flexibility and a few servers that needed the aforementioned firmware upgrades for Hyper-V or 2012 R2.

Windows 8.1 was tested on a Microsoft Surface Pro, Lenovo T530 notebooks, and as virtual machines, upgrading from Windows 7 Professional and Windows 8.0 Enterprise versions, as well as fresh installs on UEFI the T530 notebooks hardware.

Testing was performed between the Lab (Gigabit Ethernet switched infrastructure) connected via Xfinity Broadband to our NOC at Expedient/nFrame in Indianapolis (Gigabit Ethernet switched infrastructure with 10GB links on Extreme Switches, connected via a GBE backbone to core routers, Compellent iSCSI SAN, with numerous hosts running VMware, XenServer, BSD, various flavors of Linux, Solaris, in turn connected to Amazon Web Services and Microsoft’s Azure Cloud).


 

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Microsoft has long planned on one store to bind them, and that is now getting closer.

Microsoft’s cross-platform strategy is no secret. Much of the same code found in Windows 8.1 is also in Windows Phone 8, including the kernel. So it stands to reason that, in time, apps should be easily portable between platforms, especially WP8 and Windows RT.

Well, Microsoft is continuing that effort. The company just announced it is creating a unified developer registration experience for the two platforms. The site has nothing to do with the developer end; it handles the business side of things. The idea is to make it easier for developers who want to create apps for both Windows and Windows Phone by giving them one point of registration instead of two.

Under the new registration program, Windows Phone developers will have access to the Windows Dev Center, which handles PC and tablet sales, for no additional cost. The same works both ways, as Windows developers now have access to the Windows Phone Dev Center for no additional cost. In both cases, the developer uses the same Microsoft Account to log in on either site and has access to both Centers.

So, existing developers can now submit apps to both stores at no additional cost under one Microsoft account while new developers can register under just one account. The registration fee is a very modest $19 for an individual developer and $99 for a company account. Developers already registered for both stores will receive a code via email this month for a free one-year renewal when their existing registration is up for renewal.

The process of submitting apps will remain slightly different due to the differences in platforms, but Microsoft aims to have a single submission process as well. And of course, there is the effort to make one developer platform, so apps can be generated across the board from a single code base. But, one thing at a time.


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A decade after it started, Microsoft excels at addressing security concerns when compared with its competitors

Today marks the 10th anniversary of the debut of Microsoft’s Patch Tuesday program, through which it would regularly issue fixes to its software on the second Tuesday of every month. It had been possible to check for updates via the Windows Update application in Windows XP, but now Microsoft was actually going to push out fixes.

Steve Ballmer introduced Patch Tuesday at the Worldwide Partner Conference in New Orleans in October 2003. “Our goal is simple: Get our customers secure and keep them secure,” Ballmer said in a statement. “Our commitment is to protect our customers from the growing wave of criminal attacks.”

RELATED: Microsoft finally patches gaping IE exploit with Patch Tuesday update

Patch Tuesday brought order to the patching process but allows network administrators to plan for network-wide upgrades ahead of time, since Microsoft would put out an alert the Thursday before Patch Tuesday to say what was coming. Microsoft always had to be judicious in how much information it released ahead of time because it didn’t want to tell the bad guys where it found a problem.

The day after the patches are pushed out, Microsoft holds a live chat, usually at 11 am Pacific time, to discuss the fixes.

In addition to Patch Tuesday, there has been the occasional Super Patch Tuesday, where Microsoft issues optional and non-security updates. Plus, if a really bad exploit is found, Microsoft has been known to ship what are called out-of-band patches.

It’s also had to issue patches of patches, because sometimes things get fouled up. Just this past August Microsoft had to recall six patches because they introduced new problems that, in some cases, rendered the PC unusable.

In 2008, Microsoft introduced the Microsoft Exploitability Index, which told people how severe the exploit was and whether or not an IT manager should rush out the fix. While most of us just update on patch day without a second thought, some people do actually have to be careful that the fix doesn’t break their existing apps.

At the same time, Microsoft introduced security-related programs to share early information with partners to help coordinate efforts to protect them from attacks in the wild before they become widely known. The program also provides additional information and guidance to help customers evaluate risks and prioritize the deployment of Microsoft security updates.

Critics have accused Patch Tuesday of being a gift to hackers, because if they have an exploit that isn’t fixed in one month, they have a full month to exploit it with their malware. Also, by issuing so many fixes at once, Microsoft tells the bad guys where the bugs are. They very well might rush out malware to exploit the hole in PCs that are slow to patch. This led to the term “Exploit Wednesday.”

All of this is true; and Microsoft has on a few occasions let Patch Tuesdays go by with big exploits unpatched. But compared to the track record of other firms, Microsoft is on top of things. Apple has had several instances in the last few years where exploits went for many months before being fixed. It doesn’t have a structured patch cycle like Microsoft does.

And then there’s Oracle. Since inheriting a complex and often-buggy piece of software in Java when it acquired Sun Microsystems, Oracle has been very sluggish in responding to Java problems. The result of Oracle’s flat-footed responses is that Java is the top target for hackers, according to a report from security software developer F-Secure (PDF).

Java is so insecure that 95 percent of all exploit attacks can be found in five security flaws, four of which are in Java (the fifth is a Microsoft True Type font exploit). The best thing you can do to secure your infrastructure is turn off Java, F-Secure says. That’s sad, especially given that Oracle has a huge investment in Java-based products. You’d think it would move heaven and earth to secure Java.

You can see by the fact that most exploits are in apps, browsers and Java that the company has hardened the OS significantly. Patch Tuesday isn’t flawless or without its share of problems, but it did force Microsoft to move a lot faster in addressing its problems, certainly faster than Apple and Oracle.


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The Rise of Social Media as a Career (Infographic)

Written by admin
October 11th, 2013

Few years ago, calling yourself a “social media manager” would likely have been met with a confused look and the assumption that you waste your time goofing off on Facebook. But over the last few years, careers in social media have exploded as companies realize the value of reaching their customers on the medium where they spend most of their time.

According to data from LinkedIn compiled by social marketing platform Offerpop, there has been a remarkable 1,357 percent increase in social media positions posted on LinkedIn since 2010.

For more on the rise of social media jobs, take a look at the infographic below:

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Microsoft insists on selling us its Surface laptop/tablet hybrid, but it needs to take user preference into account.

With the announcement of the second version of Microsoft’s Surface tablet coming up later this month in New York City, this might be a good time to ask a pertinent question: What’s really important in a hybrid tablet?

Hybrid devices like the Surface and Surface Pro, the HP Split 13 x2, the Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 11s, along with many others, fall somewhere between a classic iPad-style tablet and an Ultrabook-style laptop like the Macbook Air or Sony Vaio T Series. They are designed to work as both standalone tablets and keyboard-equipped laptops. The idea is that one device can take the place of both, saving money and the hassle of carrying and switching between multiple devices.

The Problem With Hybrids
It’s a nice theory, but the devices haven’t really caught on yet, and I’m pretty sure I know why.

The problem, as I see it, is that most of these hybrid devices are trying to too hard to do it all, and that’s pretty hard to pull off. Hybrid makers would do better to concentrate on one aspect of the device, and then make the other capability a nice add-on for extra functionality.

But here’s the kicker: The laptop, not the tablet, needs to be the core of this combo.

I’ve used many of these devices, including the Surface and Surface Pro and the HP Envy x2, as well as touchscreen “laptops” like Google’s Pixel Chromebook. They’re all interesting devices, but none of them is perfect. Working through each one’s compromises, though, made it abundantly clear that for the device to have a chance of replacing a separate laptop and tablet, it had to ace the laptop portion of the test.

A hybrid with a strong laptop function that also works as a mediocre tablet could still find a home in many business users’ kits. After all, having a second-rate tablet at hand is often better than not having a tablet at all.

But if the device can’t cut it as a laptop, all bets are off. What good is a hybrid laptop/tablet if you still have to lug along your laptop to do your real work?

A Tale of Two Surfaces
The differences between the two existing Surface models make the point obvious. The Surface is lighter and enjoys longer battery life than the Surface Pro, but its Quad-core NVIDIA Tegra 3 chip is underpowered for a laptop. Worse, relying on Windows RT means it may not run all the Windows programs a laptop would. It simply won’t replace a laptop for anyone who really needs one.

The Surface Pro, while bigger, heavier, more power-hungry and much more expensive, sports an Intel Core i5 chip like those in many traditional laptops. If you can live with its relatively small screen and those snap-on keyboards (I could), then it might actually be able to replace a standard laptop for you. And it’s still usable as tablet. Sort of, anyway.

And that’s what these hybrids are all about: Replacing what you absolutely need to have, and doing a good-enough job at the add-ons that would be nice to have. Or, that’s at least what they should be doing. Let’s hope the upcoming Surface 2 and Surface 2 Pro do a decent job.


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QUESTION 1
You work as a database administrator at ABC.com. The ABC.com network contains a SQL Server
2008 database server named ABC-DB01, which hosts the SQL Server 2008 Reporting Services (SSRS) instance.
During routine monitoring, you discover that this instance does not render any extensions for Microsoft Office Word.
How would you modify the instance to render these extensions?

A. The Report Server database should be modified on ABC-DB01.
B. The RSReportServer.config file should be modified on ABC-DB01.
C. The XML configuration file should be modified onABC-DB01.
D. The Web.config file should be modified on ABC-DB01.

Answer: B

Explanation:


QUESTION 2
You work as a database administrator for ABC.com. The ABC.com network contains a SQL
Server 2008 database server named ABC-DB03.
You are in the process of designing a SQL Server 2008 Integration Services (SSIS) package for
the ABC.com network. ABC.com has informed you that ABC-DB03 will be hosting the package.
You receive an instruction from the CIO to devise a plan of action in the event that ABC-DB03
becomes inactive.
How can this be achieved?

A. The master database should be backed up.
B. You should back up ABC-DB03.
C. You should execute an incremental backup on a weekly basis.
D. The SSIS package should be backed up.

Answer: A

Explanation:


QUESTION 3
You work as a database administrator at ABC.com. You are responsible for managing a SQL
Server 2008 database server named ABC-DB01.
You receive instruction that the SQL Server 2008 Reporting Services model needs to be deployed
on ABC-DB01 to support a data source that contains 800 tables for the Marketing division. You
have been tasked with developing a report model.
Which of the following options will make sure that the Marketing division is only able to access 10
tables? (Choose two)

A. A data source view should be developed.
B. The marketing division should be denied access to the other tables.
C. The tables and views the marketing division will not be using should be highlighted.
D. The tables and views the marketing division will use should be indicated.
E. The Dynamic Management View should be properly modified.

Answer: A,D

Explanation:


QUESTION 4
You work as a database administrator at ABC.com. The ABC.com network contains a SQL Server
2008 database server named ABC-DB01. ABC-DB01 is configured to host the SQL Server
Analysis Services (SSAS) role.
There is a dimension named Housing in ABC-DB01 that contains three properties named Slabs,
Cement and Bricks. The relationship between the properties is nonflexible. Currently a data source
is used that indicates the changes between the affiliations of the properties. You receive an
instruction from the CIO to ensure that any modifications will be reflected.
Identify the command that will help you to accomplish your task?

A. The ProcessDefault command
B. The ProcessAdd command.
C. The ProcessFull command.
D. The ProcessClear command.
E. The ProcessNone command.

Answer: A,D

Explanation:


QUESTION 5
You work as a database administrator at ABC.com. Your duties include administering a SQL
Server 2008 Analysis Services (SSAS) sample named ABC-DB01.
You receive an instruction from the CIO to log all queries. You then decide to make the necessary
changes to the QueryLogconnection String feature.
What should your next step be?

A. You should modify the connection string to the default value.
B. A valid connection string should be set on ABC-DB01.
C. The source attribute should be set to 20.
D. You should set the default value using Discover_Query.

Answer: B

Explanation:


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Tablet flop hits earnings, which missed Wall Street’s expectations by large margin

Microsoft today took an unexpected $900 million charge to account for what it called “inventory adjustments” for the Surface RT, the poor-selling tablet that debuted last year.

Later today, Microsoft will hold a conference call with Wall Street analysts, but its fourth-quarter fiscal numbers — published on its website shortly after the U.S. financial markets closed — pointed out the massive write-down.

The company has been aggressively discounting the Surface RT, which runs the scaled-down Windows RT, a tablet-specific version of Windows 8 that relies exclusively on the “Modern,” nee “Metro,” tile-based user interface and app ecosystem.

On Sunday, for instance, Microsoft chopped the price of the Surface RT by $150, or 30% for the 32GB model, to bring it down from the original $499 to $349. The 64GB Surface RT was also discounted by $150, a 25% price cut from $599 to $449.

Today’s $900 million write-down reflects not only those discounts, but also the extended inventory that Microsoft believes it may never sell.

Microsoft today reported revenue of $19.9 billion for the quarter ending June 30, a 10.3% increase over the same period the year before. But earnings of $5 billion, or 59 cents a share, were significantly below the Street’s expectations of 75 cents a share.

During the second calendar quarter of 2012, Microsoft recorded earnings of just $192 million because of a pair of one-time charges: a $540 million revenue deferral tied to the then-upcoming Windows 8 upgrade program, and a $6.2 billion write-off to account for the loss of goodwill for its online services group.

Amy Hood, the company’s new CFO, acknowledged in a statement that, “Our fourth [fiscal] quarter results were impacted by the decline in the PC market” and added, “While we have work ahead of us, we are making the focused investments needed to deliver on long-term growth opportunities like cloud services.”

Last week, Microsoft announced a corporate overhaul and spelled out its new strategy to become a devices-and-services seller after nearly four decades of selling packaged software.


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If the government is cracking encrypted data Microsoft isn’t providing the tools, company says

Even as it seeks more freedom to discuss how it turns over customer data to the government, Microsoft is revealing details that don’t violate laws meant to keep such transfers secret.

In a blog post yesterday, Microsoft General Counsel Brad Smith says:

= Microsoft does not provide direct access to Outlook.com emails or instant messages but does turn over content for specific accounts named in search warrants or court orders. “When we receive such a demand, we review it and, if obligated to we comply. We do not provide any government with the technical capability to access user content directly or by itself,” the post says.

BACKGROUND: Microsoft asks to disclose FISA requests to set the record straight

A LONGER VIEW: FISA court asks government to declassify secret order in Yahoo case

= Outlook.com uses HTTPS to encrypt Outlook.com instant messaging as it travels across the Internet and does not provide tools or encryption keys to help the government decrypt that traffic. “When we are legally obligated to comply with demands, we pull the specified content from our servers where it sits in an unencrypted state, and then we provide it to the government agency,” Smith writes.

= The government does not have direct access to customer information in Microsoft’s SkyDrive storage service. This year it has made changes to the procedures it uses to respond to requests for customer information to make it easier to handle an increasing volume.

“None of these changes provided any government with direct access to SkyDrive. Nor did any of them change the fact that we still require governments to follow legal processes when requesting customer data.”

= Microsoft moved its Skype peer-to-peer Internet-calling and instant messaging service infrastructure in-house to improve the technical back-end of the service. “These changes were not made to facilitate greater government access to audio, video, messaging or other customer data,” Smith says. “We will not provide governments with direct or unfettered access to customer data or encryption keys.”

= When the government wants emails and documents of Microsoft business customers that are stored in Microsoft clouds, the company recommends the government seek them from those customers directly. “We do not provide any government with the ability to break the encryption used between our business customers and their data in the cloud, nor do we provide the government with the encryption keys,” Smith writes.

In general, Microsoft doesn’t provide “direct and unfettered” access to customer data, he says, “Microsoft only pulls and then provides the specific data mandated by the relevant legal demand.”

That means it turns over data for accounts and identifiers specified by the legal requests, all of which Microsoft lawyers review to make sure they are valid, he says.


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Don’t waste any time – get that thing rolled out quick because it’s wide-ranging and already being exploited.

Normally companies should proceed at their own pace when deploying Microsoft’s monthly updates, known as Patch Tuesday, since they come out on the second Tuesday of every month.

This month’s batch, though, is pretty hefty in terms of impact and volume, so you may want to make them a priority. This month’s Patch Tuesday consists of seven bulletins addressing a total of 34 vulnerabilities, and half of them are in Internet Explorer. Six of the seven bulletins are critical, a little more than usual, that can give attackers power to execute code on victim machines.

Fortunately, the bugs in Windows and IE require the end user to do something, like use their browser to visit an infected site or click on a link in an instant messenger. “So they all require end-user actions. If you don’t browse or use instant messenger, it won’t affect you. So on servers you can take your time, they are not that urgent,” said Wolfgang Kandek, CTO of the security firm Qualys.

For desktop users, however, these are critical because that’s how most PCs get infected – by user interaction of one form or another. Kandek called attention to two of the Bulletins. Bulletin MS13-055 rounds up 17 known vulnerabilities and exploits in Internet Explorer. The most severe vulnerabilities could allow remote code execution if a user views a specially crafted webpage using Internet Explorer.

Kandek said at least one of the vulnerabilities is already being exploited by hackers, so either patch IE or use another browser until you do.

MS13-053 handles two publicly disclosed and six privately reported vulnerabilities in Windows, the most severe of which could allow remote code execution if a user views shared content that embeds TrueType font files.

With so many critical fixes to the OS and browser, Kandek said the desktop users should prioritize rolling out the fixes. “I don’t see why you would extensively need to test it,” he said.

Lost in the hoopla of Patch Tuesday was a trio of important bulletins from Adobe Systems, which issued significant fixes for Flash, Shockwave and ColdFusion.

Also, there will be a Java patch issued by Oracle next week, which appears to be running its own Patch Tuesday cycle, except it’s on the third Tuesday of every month.


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Memo from Steve Ballmer to Microsoft Employees: Let’s go!
Microsoft high priority: enterprise information assurance

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer today announced a reorganization of the company around four areas: operating systems; devices and studios; applications and services; and cloud and enterprise.

He says in a memo to all Microsoft Employees that the reshuffling will give priority to corporate custom

The sweeping changes will be phased in over the rest of 2013, keeping existing teams that are in charge of Windows 8.1, Xbox One, Windows Phone and other top-priority products firing on all cylinders until a smooth transition can be made, he says.

After the reorganization teams that span groups will be in charge of key technologies and services with each team headed by a champion who reports directly to Ballmer or to someone else who reports directly to Ballmer.

“We will also have outgrowths on those major initiatives that may involve only a single product group,” he says. “Certainly, succeeding with mobile devices, Windows, Office 365 and Azure will be foundational. Xbox and Bing will also be key future contributors to financial success.”

Here’s the full note Ballmer sent to employees to describe the reorganization:

From: Steve Ballmer

To: Microsoft – All Employees

Date: July 11, 2013, 6 a.m.

Subject: One Microsoft

Today, we are announcing a far-reaching realignment of the company that will enable us to innovate with greater speed, efficiency and capability in a fast changing world.

Today’s announcement will enable us to execute even better on our strategy to deliver a family of devices and services that best empower people for the activities they value most and the enterprise extensions and services that are most valuable to business.

This company has always had a big vision — to help people realize their full potential. In the earliest days, it was by putting a PC on every desk and in every home. We’ve come farther than we could have imagined. The impact we have collectively made on the world is undeniable, and I am inspired when talented new hires say they chose Microsoft because they want to change the world — that’s what we do today, and that’s what we’ll do tomorrow.

Sharpening Our Strategy
About a year ago, we embarked on a new strategy to realize our vision, opening the devices and services chapter for Microsoft. We made important strides — launching Windows 8 and Surface, moving to continuous product cycles, bringing a consistent user interface to PCs, tablets, phones
and Xbox — but we have much more to do.

Going forward, our strategy will focus on creating a family of devices and services for individuals and businesses that empower people around the globe at home, at work and on the go, for the activities they value most.

We will do this by leveraging our strengths. We have powered devices for many years through Windows PCs and Xbox. We have delivered high-value experiences through Office and other apps. And, we have enabled enterprise value through products like Windows Server and Exchange. The form of delivery shifts to a broader set of devices and services versus packaged software. The frontier of high-value scenarios we enable will march outward, but we have strengths and proven capabilities on which we will draw.

This memo shows you how far we have developed our thinking on our strategy for high- value activities based on devices and services delivery.

Driving Our Success
It is also clear to me and our leadership that we must do an extraordinary job to succeed in this modern world. We have delivered many great products and had much success in market, but we all want more. That means better execution from product conceptualization and innovation right through to marketing and sales. It also means operational excellence in cloud services, datacenter operations, and manufacturing and supply chain that are essential in a devices and services world. To advance our strategy and execute more quickly, more efficiently, and with greater excellence we need to transform how we organize, how we plan and how we work.

Improving our performance has three big dimensions: focusing the whole company on a single strategy, improving our capability in all disciplines and engineering/technology areas, and working together with more collaboration and agility around our common goals.

This is a big undertaking. It touches nearly every piece of what we do and how we work. It changes our org structure, the way we collaborate, how we allocate resources, how we best empower our engineers and how we market.

One Strategy, One Microsoft
We are rallying behind a single strategy as one company — not a collection of divisional strategies. Although we will deliver multiple devices and services to execute and monetize the strategy, the single core strategy will drive us to set shared goals for everything we do. We will see our product line holistically, not as a set of islands. We will allocate resources and build devices and services that provide compelling, integrated experiences across the many screens in our lives, with maximum return to shareholders. All parts of the company will share and contribute to the success of core offerings, like Windows, Windows Phone, Xbox, Surface, Office 365 and our EA offer, Bing, Skype, Dynamics, Azure and our servers. All parts of the company will contribute to activating high-value experiences for our customers.

We will reshape how we interact with our customers, developers and key innovation partners, delivering a more coherent message and family of product offerings. The evangelism and business development team will drive partners across our integrated strategy and its execution. Our marketing, advertising and all our customer interaction will be designed to reflect one company with integrated approaches to our consumer and business marketplaces.

How we organize our engineering efforts will also change to reflect this strategy. We will pull together disparate engineering efforts today into a coherent set of our high-value activities. This will enable us to deliver the most capability — and be most efficient in development and operations — with the greatest coherence to all our key customers. We will plan across the company, so we can better deliver compelling integrated devices and services for the high-value experiences and core technologies around which we organize. This new planning approach will look at both the short-term deliverables and long-term initiatives needed to meet the shipment cadences of both Microsoft and third-party devices and our services.


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70-411: Administering Windows Server 2012

Written by admin
July 5th, 2013

QUESTION 1
You work as the network administrator for a Microsoft Windows Server 2008 domain named
ABC.com. ABC.com has a Development division which utilizes two organizational units (OU)
named DevelopUsers and DevelopComputers for user and computer account storage. The
Development division user and computer accounts are configured as members of global security
groups named DevUsers and DevComputers.
During the course of the week you configure two Password Settings objects for Development
division members named CredSettings01 and CredSettings02. You additionally configure a
minimum password length of 10 for CredSettings01 and 9 for CredSettings02. ABC.com wants
you to determine the required password length minimum for Development division users.
What minimum password length should be configured for CredSettings01 applied to DevUsers?

A. You should configure the minimum password length to 9.
B. You should configure the minimum password length to 10.
C. You should configure the minimum password length to 5.
D. You should configure the minimum password length to 4.

Answer: B

Explanation:


QUESTION 2
You are hired by ABC.com to administrate a Microsoft Windows Server 2012 domain named
ABC.com. ABC.com utilizes a computer named ABC-DC01 which hosts the File Server Resource
Manager role service. A pre-configured quota threshold has been configured to send an email
alert when 80% of the quota has been used.
During the course of the week ABC.com instructs you to configure e-mail notification to your
account to occur in event of the threshold being exceeded.
Which action ensures e-mail notification would be utilized?

A. You should consider creation of a Data Collector Set (DCS).
B. You should consider configuring Windows Resource Monitor.
C. You should consider configuring File Server Resource Manager Options.
D. You should consider creating a quota template.

Answer: C

Explanation:


QUESTION 3
You are hired by ABC.com to administrate a Microsoft Windows Server 2012 domain named
ABC.com. ABC.com utilizes an organizational unit (OU) named FileServ for housing all File Server
computer accounts in the domain.
You need to be able to track access files on the File servers.
Which of the following actions should you consider?

A. You should consider configuring the Account Logon auditing category.
B. You should consider configuring the Object Access auditing category.
C. You should consider configuring the Global Object Access Auditing category.
D. You should consider configuring the Directory Service Access auditing category.

Answer: B

Explanation:


QUESTION 4
You are hired by ABC.com to administrate a Microsoft Windows Server 2012 domain named
ABC.com. ABC.com utilizes a computer named ABC-DC01 which hosts the DNS service and File
Server Resource Manager role service.
ABC.com Development division members utilize a folder named DevShare for storage purposes.
You are required to configure a notification solution that is triggered by Development division
members saving image and word documents to DevShare.
Which of the actions ensure the notification solution utilizes e-mail?
During the course of the day you receive instruction to configure e-mail notification if Development
division members save image files to DevShare.
Which of the following should be configured on ABC-DC01?

A. You should consider configuring a file group.
B. You should consider configuring a file screen template.
C. You should consider configuring Quota Management.
D. You should consider configuring File Management Tasks.

Answer: A

Explanation:


QUESTION 5
You are hired by ABC.com to administrate a Microsoft Windows Server 2012 domain named
ABC.com. ABC.com domain controllers run Microsoft Windows Server 2012 and client computers
run Microsoft Windows 8.
Hard disk information is secured using BitLocker Drive Encryption (Bitlocker). ABC.com wants a
solution implemented using the minimum server features and roles to support the Network Unlock feature.
Which of the following servers hould be utilized for the feature?

A. A Domain Controller
B. A DHCP server
C. A DNS Server
D. A Windows Deployment Server
E. An Application Server
F. A Web Server
G. A File and Print Server
H. A Windows Server Update Services server

Answer: D

Explanation:


 

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QUESTION 1
You work as a technician at ABC.com. The ABC.com network only has workgroups. All client
computers are configured to run Windows XP Professional. All ABC.com employees have
administrative privileges on their own computer. ABC.com does not want file encryption to be used.
You use a computer named ABC-WS25. You are promoted to a new position and have been
replaced by a new employee named Mia Hamm. You are worried that Mia Hamm will be able to open your files.
How can you prevent Mia Hamm from opening your files and folders on ABC-WS25?

A. The data should be compressed in a folder.
B. The user should be removed from the ACL of the folder.
C. The operating system should be reinstalled with Windows XP Professional.
D. Your user account should be deleted from ABC-WS25.

Answer: D

Explanation: Your best option in this scenario would be to delete your user account from ABCWS25.


QUESTION 2
You are the newly appointed technician at ABC.com. The ABC.com network has a domain named
ABC.com. The client computers are configured to run Windows XP Professional.
Employees search the Web using Internet Explorer. To accomplish their tasks employees log onto
the ABC.com Web site. You implement a digital certificate to enhance the security of the ABC.com
Web site. The next day an employee of ABC.com, Ally Wagner, informs you that she is having
problems connecting to the Web site when she enters the URL for ABC.com in her browser.
Which action should you execute to resolve this problem?

A. Ally Wagner should add the www.ABC.com Web site to the approved Web sites in Content Advisor.
B. Ally Wagner should access the Web site using the HTTPS for opening the URL..
C. Ally Wagner should set the Privacy setting to Medium in the Internet Option in the Control Panel.
D. Ally Wagner should add the Web site URL to the trusted sites in the security zone.

Answer: B

Explanation: Your best option would be to select Option B. The scenario states that digital
certificates are used by ABC.com to secure the information on the website and in order to
establish a secure communication channel you have to use https instead of http. Https is http over SSL.


QUESTION 3
You work as a graphics designer at ABC.com. The ABC.com network has a domain named
ABC.com. The client computers on the corporate network are configured to run Windows XP
Professional. You use a computer named ABC-WS271.
You want to increase the display size of your screen. However, you get an error message stating
that the Display menu on the control panel has been disabled.
How can you have the resolution of your screen increased?

A. You should set the hardware acceleration to full.
B. You should enable Advanced Configuration and Power Interface (ACPI) support in the system
BIOS on the computer.
C. You should configure the display settings to work in dual-monitor mode.
D. You should request that the Remove Display option in Control Panel be disabled.

Answer: D

Explanation: Your best option in this scenario would be to select Option D. The Deny Access to
the Display Settings option will disable the display settings control panel icon as well as stopping
users from accessing any display settings. This setting can be applied either by a GPO or by
modifying the registry.


QUESTION 4
You work as a technician at ABC.com. The ABC.com network has a domain named ABC.com. All
client computers on the network are configured to run Windows XP Professional.
You bring your personal laptop computer to work and attempts to logon to the domain from your
laptop. However, you are not able to log on. Your laptop computer is configured to run Windows
XP Home Edition.
How do you ensure access to the domain using your laptop? (Choose TWO. Each answer forms
part of the solution.)

A. By joining your laptop to the domain.
B. By installing Service Pack 3 on your laptop.
C. By logging on as a member of the Power Users group.
D. by changing the Custom settings in the Setup Wizard.
E. By uABCrading to Windows XP Professional.

Answer: A,E

Explanation: Your best option in this scenario would be to have ABC-WS25 uABCraded to
Windows XP Professional and join it to the domain. Microsoft has crippled the Home version of
Windows XP and made it impossible to join it to domains. It thus forced the majority of companies
to invest in the slightly more expensive Windows XP Pro.


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