New Resources Added to the Microsoft MVP Program

Earlier, we told you about the new “MVP Reconnect” program that gives former MVPs the opportunity to stay connected to peers and product leaders.

Microsoft is also adding additional resources to drive excitement and help evolve a program that has become stagnate over the past few years. Those that have participated in the MVP program for any length of time know that it goes through cycles of bad times to good times to bad times, etc., etc.

The other new resources:


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Microsoft Lumia 640 XL for $79 While Supplies Last

Diehard Windows Phone users will be happy to hear that Daily Steals has the Microsoft Lumia 640 XL 8GB Unlocked GSM Quad-Core Windows Smartphone w/ 13MP Camera for just $79.99.

This deal ends in 5 days, but also while supplies last.

Features:

  • GSM/WCDMA
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 1200.0 MHz
  • RAM: 1 GB
  • MicroSD
  • Bluetooth 4.0 Wi-Fi
  • Windows Phone 8.1

Order here: Microsoft Lumia 640 XL


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Microsoft’s MVP Reconnect Program for Former MVPs

Microsoft has created a program for former MVPs to stay connected with peers and product leaders. The program is called MVP Reconnect.

The program is open to all former MVPs, regardless of technical expertise or award category, with a minimum of 1 full MVP Award year. Members must be in good standing, meaning that they must have no Code of Conduct or NDA violations.

Join here: https://mvp.microsoft.com/en-us/Pages/reconnect-whatis

Read through the FAQ: https://mvp.microsoft.com/en-us/Pages/reconnect-faq


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Microsoft Introduces Unified Update Platform in Latest Windows Insider 10 Build

Today, Microsoft is rolling out yet another Windows 10 Insider build. In this build the company is introducing a reimagined updating platform designed to handle the onslaught of incremental updates. Prior to the Unified Update Platform (UUP), Windows 10 updates deliver through large, cumulative updates.

UUP offers the following improvements:

  • Reduction in download size on PCs (download size to decrease by approximately 35% when going from one major update of Windows to another)
  • Differential downloads for all devices built on the Mobile and PC OS (A differential download package contains only the changes that have been made since the last time you updated your device, rather than a full build)
  • Reduced update data sent to client devices as well as the amount of processing performed on devices
  • New client logic that can automatically fallback to what we call a “canonical” build
  • Also supports IoT and HoloLens

Planned public support for Windows 10 Creators Update.


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Microsoft Fixes Skype for Business Monitor Scaling Issue

This problem has been a common point of issue for some customers and one we’ve been tracking here at myITforum…

Assume that you use multiple monitors with different DPI settings. When you drag the Microsoft Lync 2013 (Skype for Business) client or window from one monitor to another, the user interface (UI) in the client or window doesn’t scale correctly. It’s either too small or too big. 

To fix this issue, install the November 1, 2016, update (KB3127934) for Lync 2013 (Skype for Business).

Customers have confirmed this update fixes the problem.


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DSC Resource Kit for November 2016 Released

The last DSC Resource Kit refresh was in September. This release includes updates to 12 DSC resource modules, including 13 new DSC resources.

With this update, Microsoft is moving the storage location for the in-box DSC resources from the PSDesiredStateConfiguration module to the PSDscResources Git repository.

The following modules have been updated:

  • xActiveDirectory
  • xCertificate
  • xExchange
  • xNetworking
  • xPSDesiredStateConfiguration
  • xRemoteDesktopSessionHost
  • xSqlServer
  • xStorage
  • xWebAdministration
  • SharePointDsc
  • SystemLocaleDsc
  • PSDscResources

Finding DSC Resource Modules on GitHub:

https://github.com/PowerShell/< module name >


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Introducing Microsoft Teams

Microsoft has labeled its single-pane of glass for teams as the new chat-based workspace in Office 365. Microsoft Teams is essentially Microsoft’s response to Slack’s popularity. It provides the following capabilities and abilities:

  • Chat – taking advantage of deep Skype integration and stickers, GIFs and custom memes to add personality to teamwork.
  • Hub – Word, Excel, PowerPoint, SharePoint, OneNote, Planner, Power BI and Delve are all built into Microsoft Teams. Teams is built on Office 365 Groups and is backed by Microsoft Graph.
  • Customizable – Teams is customizable per team, allowing each team to work differently for different types of work.
  • Security – Microsoft Teams is expected to be Office 365 Tier C compliant at launch. This broad set of global compliance and data protection requirements includes ISO 27001, ISO 27018, EUMC, SOC 1 Type I & II, SOC 2 Type I and II, HIPAA and FERPA. Microsoft Teams also enforces two-factor authentication, single sign on through Active Directory and encryption of data in transit and at rest.

Microsoft Teams is available to Office 365 commercial customers with one of the following plans: Business Essentials, Business Premium, and Enterprise E1, E3 and E5. Microsoft Teams will also be available to customers who purchased E4 prior to its retirement.

Microsoft Teams is available in preview to eligible Office 365 commercial customers beginning November 2, 2016. Expect the service to become generally available in the first quarter of calendar year 2017.

Microsoft Teams runs on Windows, Mac, Android, iOS and web platforms.

Microsoft Teams home page: https://products.office.com/en-us/microsoft-teams/group-chat-software


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Slack Takes Out a Full Page Newspaper Ad to Complain About Microsoft Teams

Competition is alive, for sure,  but Slack’s competitive spirit may be more a representation of today’s political landscape. Slack boss, Stewart Butterfield provided the following Twitter post today during Microsoft’s NYC Office announcement of its upcoming Microsoft Teams application (a better version of Slack).

The full transcript of the newspaper ad is online here: Dear Microsoft


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LastPass Offers Multi-Device Access for Free

LastPass, a popular, secure password manager application and service, has changed its free option to include multi-device synching.

According to the blog post announcement

I’m thrilled to announce that, starting today, you can use LastPass on any device, anywhere, for free. No matter where you need your passwords – on your desktop, laptop, tablet, or phone – you can rely on LastPass to sync them for you, for free. Anything you save to LastPass on one device is instantly available to you on any other device you use.

Changes in personal plans…

personal

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 Licenses No Longer Available to OEMs

October 31, 2016 marked the cut-off date for Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 licenses for original equipment manufacturers (OEMs).

A packaged version of Windows 7 Professional became unavailable for retail sale on October 31, 2013 and Windows 8.1 followed suit in September of 2015. However, both have been available to obtain on new PCs until now.

Essentially, companies like HP, Lenovo, Dell and others that manufacture new PCs will now no longer be able to deliver them with Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 pre-installed. There may be existing retail PCs with Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 installed, but computer hardware delivered for stocking today will come with Windows 10.

For those shopping for computers for the holidays, expect only Windows 10 PCs and laptops to be available for purchase.

Mainstream and Extended support for current Windows operating systems:

supportnow2

 

 

 

 

 


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Microsoft Promises Fix for Google-Discovered Windows 10 Flaw

Google recently discovered and reported a severe flaw in Windows 10 privately, but then made the flaw public just 10 days later. Microsoft is at odds with the search company, suggesting that it hadn’t been given enough time to develop a patch for the vulnerability. However, as we now know, the flaw is being actively attacked by Russian hackers.

Microsoft’s Terry Myerson has delivered a blog post stating his company’s commitment to Windows 10 security…

Windows is the only platform with a customer commitment to investigate reported security issues and proactively update impacted devices as soon as possible. And we take this responsibility very seriously.

For customers concerned about running Windows 10 with this vulnerability, Myerson gives prescriptive guidance…

Customers using Microsoft Edge on Windows 10 Anniversary Update are known to be protected from versions of this attack observed in the wild.

To address these types of sophisticated attacks, Microsoft recommends that all customers upgrade to Windows 10, the most secure operating system we’ve ever built, complete with advanced protection for consumers and enterprises at every layer of the security stack. Customers who have enabled Windows Defender Advanced Threat Protection (ATP) will detect STRONTIUM’s attempted attacks thanks to ATP’s generic behavior detection analytics and up-to-date threat intelligence.

Myerson then offers a concrete date for non-Anniversary Update customers to expect a fix…

We have coordinated with Google and Adobe to investigate this malicious campaign and to create a patch for down-level versions of Windows. Along these lines, patches for all versions of Windows are now being tested by many industry participants, and we plan to release them publicly on the next Update Tuesday, Nov 8.

…delivers admonishment of Google’s security practices…

We believe responsible technology industry participation puts the customer first, and requires coordinated vulnerability disclosure. Google’s decision to disclose these vulnerabilities before patches are broadly available and tested is disappointing, and puts customers at increased risk.


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Microsoft Flow Ready for Consumption

We noted yesterday that both PowerApps and Microsoft Flow had reached General Availability.

Today, Microsoft has made Flow available to use through login or sign-up:

https://flow.microsoft.com/en-us/services/

Flow is similar to the popular web “automation language” IFTTT. Flow provides “connections” to common web resources and allows users to create complex responses to events which include conditions and looping processes. Currently, Flow is available on the web and for Android and iOS. Microsoft has yet to supply a native app for Windows.

Flow is not exactly free, though it does offer a “free” tier. The free tier allows…

  • 750 runs per month
  • Unlimited flow creation
  • 15-minute checks

After that, pricing is per-month.


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