Posts

Devs

 Dev is short for development. The act of software creation. Along with DevOps , development plus operations, it is the place where modern software creation lies. Creation of software rapidly with rapid iteration.  I am not a developer. However, I like to understand the process. As someone who manages systems, and uses command line tools like  Powershell , understanding rapid software change is part of the process.  Recently I was exploring the subject and found something I hadn't realised. Google own the Top Level Domain (TLD) called dev. A Top Level Domain is the part of the Internet that defines the organisation of domains. Domains ending in "com" are broadly created for companies, "edu" for education, "gov" for Government and so on. The UK Government owns "gov.uk". Anyone who wants to use a "gov.uk" address needs to be doing some UK Government or Local Government function. Over the years the Top Level Domain owners have either s

The end of Cortana?

 Microsoft have killed Cortana . Not completely, but she is certainly in intensive care. Living on as a shadow of herself in the area of productivity.  On 31st March 2021 the Cortana app stopped working on Apple Iphones and Android phones.  If you haven't spent time in the Microsoft ecosystem then this needs a little explaining.  Cortana is a character from the Xbox Halo series of games. She was an artificially intelligent hologram that assisted the game hero the Master Chief. In doing so she also helped the player navigate the game. When Microsoft added an AI to it's WindowsPhone mobile OS there was a popular wish for her to be called Cortana.  Cortana became the front for Microsoft's search property Bing and added in reminders, phone functions etc. You could tell Cortana what sports you cared about or anything else that was significant. By 2015 Windows 10 baked in Cortana to desktop search and it even helped setup your Windows PC, However, the place where you really nee

Didn't Make It!

 I did try to do the Microsoft Ignite Learning Challenge this month. I ended up not really having enough time.  It was just like ordering at a restaurant and ending up wishing I had ordered a smaller portion.  The complete learning experience was 43 parts. They were short. Typically each was 10 or 15 minutes. Bite sized stuff you could do at lunch or some other time. However, the motivation didn't carry me through.  It's all good stuff so I will return to the lessons but it just couldn't be done in the month.  I did learn quite a bit of stuff about Azure and I appreciated the journey. I still recommend Microsoft Learning . Its a great free resource. 

Ignite Learning Challenge

One of the things I am doing this month is Microsoft Ignite 2021 Learning Challenge. It’s part of the annual conference for IT Pros. You do a customised course until the end of March and get a free Microsoft Exam voucher for one of topics. I am doing the Microsoft 365 admin course. if you don’t have time to meet the challenge then you can still look at the free learning content at  Microsoft Learn .

LastPass

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 After writing about passwordless logins I got an email from Lastpass . I have used Lastpass for years.  it is one of group of password manager products. These also include names like Dashlane and 1Password.  All share the same ambition - to manage your ever increasing number of website passwords. They use browser extensions and mobile apps to record your login and then automatically login later.  The password managers need one master password and then they can generate a complex password for you for every site you visit. You can then manage the security of being online with less fear of being hacked. Add in a second authentication method and your online accounts are getting more secure.  Lastpass has had a free option for years plus a paid premium tier. The free tier allowed both their PC browser extension to work in harmony with their mobile app. However, Lastpass is now owned by LogMeIn , the remote access company. This week they announced that you can choose to have your passwords

Face ID

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 A username and password has been the main way in which people use IT for decades. The username being your identity and the password being a secret that only you know. The username is often public. A typical example being your email address. Your password is private but depends on you choosing something that can't be guessed or is complex. The word "password" is not a good one. Essentially this means that the security of your personal data comes down to one word. Your account can be accessed by anyone who knows the password or can guess it or has software that can just try combinations of numbers and letters to guess it.  Its hardly surprising that many additional security methods have been added to the mix over the years. One popular addition is a Personal Identification Number (PIN) . This typically has 4 to six digits. Another is a second factor or multi-factor authenticator . This could be a key fob or app on your phone. Another is a one time password (OTP) sent to y

Cashless

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 I was thinking about the last time I used cash. It was a while ago. The last time I went into a bank was to pay in a random cheque someone sent to me. I can't remember the last time I wrote a cheque and I no longer have a chequebook.  Statistics show most people in Britain pay for their daily needs with contactless payment. It is now looking at increasing the limit to deal with the demise of cash. ATMS are now harder to find . Bank branches are closing. Some towns don't have any kind of bank branch. Online only app banking exists with Monzo and Revolut , to take two examples. FinTech, the meeting of technology and finance, is definitely a think and not just part of startup culture. On the edge of this is the more exotic world of crypto currency and Bitcoin . In what we call the developed world the fastest moving countries towards the cashless society is in the Nordic regions of Europe. Sweden may abolish physical cash by 2023. Sweden is using a combination of NFC technology a