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Month: August 2018

Microsoft Deploys Tons of New Fixes in Latest Windows 10 Cumulative Update

Dated August 30, 2018, Microsoft has deployed new cumulative updates for Windows 10 versions 1803, 1709, 1703, and 1607.  The fixes range from solving self-introduced problems with Group Policy to Stop Errors affecting numerous customers. Here’s the links to identify if any issues you’ve experienced this month are solved: Windows 10 version 1803 Windows 10 version 1709 Windows 10 version 1703 Windows 10 version 1607 With the number of fixes included, you might consider deploying these more quickly. Looking for an awesome, no-nonsense technical conference for IT Pros, Developers, and DevOps? IT/Dev Connections kicks off in Dallas, Texas in 2018!

Alexa Skill of the Week: JACK RYAN: November Morning

Each week, we take a look at new and important Alexa skills you might want to consider enabling for your Alexa device. Amazon continues to improve Alexa with its own updates, but skills are software components that allow Alexa users to extend functionality across all Alexa-enabled devices in use for very specific functions.  This week’s skill: JACK RYAN: November Morning  Description: You are “November,” leader of a trio of CIA field operatives pursuing a clever enemy with a penchant for boobytraps. Solve life-or-death puzzles and uncover new information as the trail leads back home – a mole in your organization, possibly on your own team!   Real world use: This skill is clearly one that helps promote Amazon’s new Jack Ryan streaming TV series, but Amazon has done a great job with it...

Microsoft Bumps Office 365 Subscription Usage to 6 People on Unlimited Devices

Microsoft has upped the number of people that can utilize an Office 365 consumer subscription and has eliminated the limit of the number of devices Office 365 applications can be installed on. With your current Office 365 Home subscription, up to five people can use Office on 10 devices total. Starting Oct‍ober 2, 20‍18, six people will be able to use the subscription instead of five. Each person will be able to install Office on all their devices and be signed into five at the same time. That means they can use Office no matter where they are or what device they’re on. Each person will continue to get all the benefits, including premium versions of Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, plus 1 TB of OneDrive cloud storage and more. One big caveat, though, is that you can only be logge...

Centrally Identify Office 365 Users Capable of Add-in Compatibility and Valid Office Licenses

As an Office 365 Administrator that wishes to deploy Add-Ins within your Organization using Centralized Deployment you can use the Compatibility Checker to confirm which users are able to use the functionality. It will output a status report for each user in your Organization, whether they have a valid Office License, if they are setup correctly on Exchange and if they are Centralized Deployment ready. Download: Office 365 Centralized Deployment Compatibility Checker   Looking for an awesome, no-nonsense technical conference for IT Pros, Developers, and DevOps? IT/Dev Connections kicks off in Dallas, Texas in 2018!

Amazon Releases Alexa Skill Icon Builder to Help the Graphically Challenged Developers

Amazon has now added another tool to its Alexa Skills developer offerings. This time, to help those who may have difficulty creating memorable images, the company has released an Icon Builder tool. Alexa Icon Builder is a web-based graphical editing tool that provides stock icons that can be manipulated through the web browser to add color, change backgrounds, and resize. Currently, the stock icons are all that is available (though there are quite a few and searchable by categories), and you can’t yet upload your own pics for manipulation. Once you’ve created your icon masterpiece, you can download it to use for your Alexa skill submissions. The tool is here: https://developer.amazon.com/docs/tools/icon-builder.html To tool is free for all. A developer login is not required. Lo...

Routines Come to Third-party Alexa Devices

What was once available only for Amazon-only devices, the company has continued to expand its own features to third-party devices. Recently, several third-party devices were updated to support Alexa’s Calling and Messaging features, which marked a first for non-Amazon devices. Now, the company has updated its AVS Client Code to Support InteractionMode to include support for third-party hardware. Today we’re excited to announce the InteractionModel interface of the Alexa Voice Service (AVS), which enables device makers to support the Alexa Routines feature in their products. Customers can use Routines to automate a series of actions using a single voice command of their choice. For example, a customer could say, “Alexa, it’s bedtime,” to turn off the lights, lock the door, and t...

Amazon Adds Windows 10 Support for Cloud-based Desktops

Thanks to Amazon WorkSpaces, just a web-browser will give you access to a Windows 10 desktop environment. Previously only available for Windows 7 and Linux, Amazon has now added Windows 10 as a supported operating system. Amazon WorkSpaces Web Access is now available for WorkSpaces running Windows 10, previously available only for Windows 7. You can access your Windows 10 WorkSpaces via Chrome or Firefox web browsers running on Windows, Mac OS, Linux, or Chrome OS. With Web Access, you don’t have to download or install anything, and you can securely access your WorkSpace from a public computer without leaving any private or cached data behind.   Looking for an awesome, no-nonsense technical conference for IT Pros, Developers, and DevOps? IT/Dev Connections kicks off in Dallas, T...

How Many Front-End servers can I reboot – “Pool” Quorum?

With the presence of Windows fabric used in Skype for Business server 2015 in relation to pool quorum and the existence of routing group quorums, we have to be careful about how many Front-End servers are rebooted at the same time as to not affect the quorum on any of them. Here we’ll take a look at both Pool and Routing Group quorum and areas to take into consideration when reboots are requested or required. Pool Quorum This area is straight forward with the manner of servers that you can reboot and not lose quorum. We can see in figure 1 below that as long as we have “more” than the majority of the servers in the pool up and running then its fine for us to reboot. Note: You define “up and running” by having all the Skype services running, to be more specific the RTCsrv service need...

Tip: Resetting the Echo Spot

Sometimes its required to reset an Alexa device back to factory defaults to start with a clean slate when troubleshooting problems like unresponsiveness or difficulty connecting to the WiFi network. Here’s how to reset the Echo Spot (this also works for the Echo Show): Say, “Go to settings,” or swipe down from the top of the screen and select Settings. Select Device Options. Select Reset to Factory Defaults. This erases all your personal information and settings on the device.   Alexa is available for Amazon devices Echo, Echo 2, Dot, Tap, Echo Spot, Echo Plus, Echo Show, Echo Look, Echo Connect, Dash Wand, Amazon Cloud Cam, Fire tablets, and Fire TV, Amazon Fire TV Edition TVs, in the Music app, but also on iOS, Android, and the web with Reverb.ai. Looking for an aw...

AWS and VMware Go After the Enterprise Crowd with Relational Database Service

Amazon and VMware today have announced an expanded partnership, this time to provide on-premises and hybrid cloud connectivity for relational database. Amazon RDS on VMware will make it as easy to set up, operate, and scale databases on-premises and in hybrid environments as it is in AWS, but the key component is enabling the connection so that customers can easily migrate on-premises to AWS or VMware Cloud on AWS. Microsoft has had a lead with Enterprise operations for almost two decades, giving the software company a leg-up in attracting its customers to its cloud platform. Amazon has teamed with VMware to hopefully help minimize the gap. Press Release AWS and VMware Announce Amazon Relational Database Service on VMware LAS VEGAS, Aug. 27, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Today at VMworld 2...

Tip: Domains Required Access for WSUS to Work

If you have a locked-down environment that restricts open ports and protocols on the firewall, the following are required to access for WSUS communication to work correctly and you’ll want to adjust the firewall accordingly: http://windowsupdate.microsoft.com http://*.windowsupdate.microsoft.com https://*.windowsupdate.microsoft.com http://*.update.microsoft.com https://*.update.microsoft.com http://*.windowsupdate.com http://download.windowsupdate.com http://download.microsoft.com http://*.download.windowsupdate.com http://test.stats.update.microsoft.com http://ntservicepack.microsoft.com Looking for an awesome, no-nonsense technical conference for IT Pros, Developers, and DevOps? IT/Dev Connections kicks off in Dallas, Texas in 2018!

Tip: Ensuring a Problem-free Software Update Based SCCM Client Installation

Here’s a tip that tends to get overlooked for Configuration Manager client deployments. As a best practice for a software update-based installation make sure to use the same Windows Server Update Services (WSUS) server for client installation and software updates. Additionally, this server must be the active software update point in a primary site.   Looking for an awesome, no-nonsense technical conference for IT Pros, Developers, and DevOps? IT/Dev Connections kicks off in Dallas, Texas in 2018!

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