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Month: November 2018

Custom Configuration Items: Maybe the Most Underrated Tool in Your ConfigMgr Kit

ConfigMgr has many little gems tucked away, underutilized, forgotten at times. Configuration Items (CI) is one of these gems. CIs have been around since Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager (ConfigMgr) 2007 days, when they were known as Desired State Configuration. Configuration Items are created, set to a Configuration Baseline (CB) that is then deployed to a collection. Compliance is evaluated against the baseline and reported back to ConfigMgr. Non-compliance can be remediated to bring devices back into a compliant state–super-cool, super-powerful and really easy to set up. A CI can be created using different item types. These range from registry, file system, Active Directory query, WQL query, and WMI query to a script; a CB can contain one or more CIs to add power and f...

Apple Music Playing on Amazon Echo Alexa-enabled Devices Starting December 17

Amazon wants everything to work with its Alexa voice platform. Announced today, Echo devices will be able to play Apple Music starting the week of December 17, 2018. “Music is one of the most popular features on Alexa—since we launched Alexa four years ago, customers are listening to more music in their homes than ever before,” said Dave Limp, senior vice president, Amazon Devices. “We are committed to offering great music providers to our customers and since launching the Music Skill API to developers just last month, we’ve expanded the music selection on Alexa to include even more top-tier services. We’re thrilled to bring Apple Music – one of the most popular music services in the US – to Echo customers this holiday.”    

Tip: Run the Google News Website Instead of the Android App on ChromeOS

Google does a pretty great job with its news app. Its available for iOS and Android and is probably one of the better news sources available, providing all sides of a story in unique full coverage panels. The Android version, of course, runs on ChromeOS. And, while it works, it can sometimes run into problems and like some other Android apps, makes ChromeOS feel like a Frankenstein monster with Google piecing together obtuse support just to serve the masses. Use the web version of Google News instead! Logged in with your Google account (just like in the app), you’ll still get your personalized news and You can even use the Chrome browser feature to “create a shortcut” and set the launch style for the website to open in a window instead of in the browser – making it ...

Tip: Install ChromeOS on Almost Any PC

The days of Windows on the majority of PCs is almost over. As ChromeOS continues to improve and installation methods become easier, installing ChromeOS can breath new life into an old PC, laptop, or Windows tablet. So, if you have old PCs sitting around that don’t meet the specs for some of today’s modern operating systems, you can still give it life and make it run like a new computer – sometimes better performing than a new computer – thanks to Chromefy. Chromefy is a tool that provides the ability to install the full version of ChromeOS on just about any modern PC, laptop, or Windows tablet. The process is still a bit convoluted and not for the computer newbie. Steps involved: Install Chromium OS. Resize disk partitions. Download ChromeOS. Install ChromeOS using ...

Tip: Using Bookmark Folders on ChromeOS to Save and Open Sets of Pages

Bookmark folders are a great to way to either retain a set of pages that you access frequently or to save pages you haven’t yet read until a later time. In the following example, the Bookmark folder is used as a Startup to open the pages that are accessed frequently. The self-created Startup bookmark folder resides on the Bookmark bar at the top of the Chrome browser for easy access. Now when you want to open the common set of pages, just right-click the bookmark folder and choose the option to open all the pages that reside inside the folder. Note that you can open a series of pages everytime you open the Chrome browser using the option in Settings. But, then again, you may not want to open these pages on every startup, so the Bookmark Folder option might be a better choice. Another...

Bug in Remote WMI Access Since Windows 10 1803

This particular bug hasn’t been reported widely, but it is affecting a number of Windows customers who manage computers. And, it could be affecting some who just don’t know it yet. There’s a bug that was introduced (and so far, not fixed) in Windows 10 1803 that fails on access to remote WMI calls to system.managementscope.connect. This is a WMI container that holds information for hardware and software inventory for PCs. It seems the problem is a mismatch in credentials of the user connecting remotely. See this thread for information: 0x80070005 access denied for remote wmi using managementscope.connect to win 10 pro 1803      

Intel Releases Drivers to Finally Solve Windows 10 1809 Problems

Intel audio and video drivers have been the crux of many complaints since Microsoft delivered Windows 10 1809. The problems have been such that Microsoft has had to block Windows 10 1809 from certain computers with older and incompatible Intel drivers. But, to find out…Microsoft has changed its driver requirements for Windows 10 1809 and Intel has been working to do a massive update to how its drivers are developed and consumed. The first step in this process is now complete and Intel has delivered new drivers based on Microsoft’s UWP requirements. See: Introduction of Windows Modern Drivers for Intel Products The link provides Intel’s explanation and provides a link to download a utility that will scan a system and install the appropriate drivers. A direct driver downloa...

Big Mouth Billy Bass with Alexa is a Real Thing – Starts Shipping on December 1st

What was just a silly attempt at giving the old Bill Bass an Alexa voice on YouTube has turned into a real thing. Amazon.com now has the Big Mouth Billy Bass on sale for around $40.00. Pre-order now and it will ship on December 1, 2018 and arrive just in time for a good old-fashioned hillbilly Christmas. On Amazon.com: Big Mouth Billy Bass – Compatible with Alexa Features: Big mouth Billy bass is back and better than ever. Everyone’s favorite talking and singing fish is now programmed to respond to Alexa voice commands. Pair big mouth Billy bass with your preferred device in the Echo family and let the fun begin. Responds to Alexa voice commands Lip syncs with Alexa spoken responses Responds to inquiries about the weather, your commute, the news, random facts, and more Reacts to time...

Microsoft Solves Outlook 2010 Crashes with an Update

For those still running Office 2010 applications, a recent update (4461529) may have caused Outlook 2010 to crash constantly on startup. Microsoft has now issued an update (KB4461585) to solve this problem. The update download is available from here: Update for Microsoft Outlook 2010 (KB4461585)    

Surface App Stops Monitoring Pen Battery When Running Windows 10 1809

Yet another bug has been reported in conjunction with Windows 10 1809, this one just recently. The bug seems to have existed since Windows 10 1809 itself has existed, but Surface customers are now just finding it. Windows 10 1809 can keep track of battery levels for Microsoft accessories with an add-on app. But, with the latest update, the app has stopped checking the Surface Pen battery. In the example above, the Surface app shows the pen at 99% battery, yet in Windows 10 Settings the battery level shows 94%. So, Windows 10 1809 itself tracks battery levels just fine, but the app no longer does. Microsoft will most likely need to update its own Surface app to work correctly with Windows 10 1809.  The workaround, of course, is to use Windows 10 1809’s battery tracking for now.  

Microsoft Adds Support for Windows Server 2019 and MSIX Deployments in Latest Configuration Manager Update

Microsoft has now rolled out an update to System Center Configuration Manager that finally supports installing the endpoint management software on Windows Server 2019 and Windows Server version 1809. The update, version 1810 for Configuration Manager current branch, is available now as an in-console update. Some other notable improvements in this version include: New client notification action to wake up device Improvement to client installation Improvements to internet-based client setup Convert applications to MSIX Approve application requests via email   See the full list: What’s new in version 1810 of Configuration Manager current branch  

ROAV Adds Drop-in and Calling Support for Its Alexa-enabled In-car Device

We reviewed the ROAV VIVA device by Anker a while back, and actually still use it constantly for mobile Alexa capabilities. It’s a brilliant device. At the time of the review, it supported all Alexa features except Calling and Messaging. Most non-Amazon devices suffered the same drawback, but the company opened up its API recently allowing third-parties to also take advantage of this feature. The device would allow calling, but it used the cell phone connection instead of Alexa device-to-device support. A recent update to the software and a firmware update for the device has given it the ability to call other Alexa devices or to drop-in to your Alexa devices at home. This makes a great device even better, giving it the full breadth of capability and making it arguably the best in-car...

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