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On the Third day of Geekmas, my true love gave to me….. Three VMs!
Welcome to the third day of our ‘Twelve Days of Geekmas’ competition.
With only three full days left the Geekmas competition is hotting up, we've got some great prizes left to give away!
Yesterday our true love gave away, ‘Four Jolly Nerds’. Were you one of our four lucky winners? Find all winning entries here.
For today's competition we're changing gear and heading to the Microsoft Virtual Academy, our free training site full to the brim with courses for Developers and IT Professionals alike. A little insight into Microsoft Virtual Academy:
Successful technologists never stop learning and great technology never stops evolving. Microsoft Virtual Academy (MVA) offers online Microsoft training delivered by experts to help technologists continually learn, with hundreds of courses, in 11 different languages.
We have a specific MVA voucher code to share with all of you for today’s challenge, be sure to use it as this will be how we gage entries.
Follow these three easy steps to enter:
1. Visit the Microsoft Virtual Academy, and sign in or register if you haven't already.
2. Visit your MVA Dashboard, select the 'Redeem your Vouchers' tab and enter the code 'UKGeekmas2013', without quotation marks.
3. Benefit from all the brilliant free training courses on offer!
To wet your appetite for MVA, we've also hand-picked a selection of courses that are relevant to today's great prizes, so even if you don't win you still get an early Christmas present from Microsoft - the gift of knowledge!
What’s New in Windows® 8.1 for IT Professionals - What has changed in 8.1, covering Deployment, Security, Mobility and Windows Server functionality.Windows 8 for IT Pros Jump Start - IT Pro Tips & Tricks, Deployment, Productivity, Recovery and Security in Windows 8.C++: A General Purpose Language and Library Jump Start - Learn the basics of C++, including how to use the language and its Standard Library, coding and debugging within Visual Studio and writing efficient high-performance code.C# Fundamentals - Learn the fundamental concepts of C# applicable to video games, mobile environments, and client applications. Topics include getting the tools, writing code, debugging features, customizations and much more!
The guys over at Microsoft Virtual Academy also have some great free Windows 8.1 Developer Training courses coming up, so be sure to take a look and register if it sounds like you cup of tea.
We have Three TechNet goodies to giveaway today… Three lucky winners will win the following bundle of:
- A Kinect for Xbox 360 Dev kit
- A copy of Windows 8 ProAll entries from 09:30 - 23:59 on Wednesday 18th will be considered, however only three winning entries will be decided by the team and announced on this page at approx. 09:30 Thursday 19th.
A free app which allows you to search an entire database of patient information leaflets on health, conditions and diseases. Download the app for free here. If it helps you fight the December blues before Christmas, why not give the developer a rating.
Geekmas instructions here.
T&C’s found here.
By Dana Simberkoff, Vice President, Risk Management & Compliance, AvePoint.
With privacy breaches and security threats making headlines around the world each day, it’s becoming increasingly obvious to most enterprises that the personal information and sensitive data they hold is an extremely valuable commodity. Whether its personally identifiable information (PII), private health information (PHI), financial data, contract information, research and trade secrets, intellectual property, or contract data (and this list could go on and on), this kind of information has become a new kind of “currency” – and some have even called personal information the new “oil”.
However, shared inappropriately – whether by accident or intentional breach – this disclosure of sensitive data can have dramatic financial impacts on an organization and erode consumer trust. Do you really want to be on the front page of your local business newspaper for losing people’s sensitive information? Of course not. Companies may be subject not only to regulatory fines, censure and potential civil/criminal liability, but also may end up with government auditors reviewing their practices for decades to come. Talk about a lump of coal in your Christmas stocking.
A recent study by Forrester Research found that the highest percentage of data breaches (approximately 38%) are caused by employees simply making mistakes. The good news here is that this should be highly preventable as you look ahead to the New Year. However, as with so many New Year’s Resolutions that are made with good intentions, oftentimes just thinking about “data privacy” is so broad that you don’t know where to start … and therefore don’t ever really begin. It’s like saying you’re going to “lose weight” and you sign up for a gym membership on January 1, only to realize by next December that you went once a month and actually gained 10 pounds. If you don’t break down your goals into specific actions, you’ll never attain them.
I urge you in this coming New Year to latch onto this one action to ensure your enterprise is well on its way to protecting the private data it collects and stores: Set enforceable data security policies that make it easier for end users to do the right thing than the wrong thing.
In other words, break down “data privacy” into attainable goals with proper milestones, monitoring, and accountability in place to ensure you meet them.
What do I mean by this? It’s really easy to make broad statements such as “we do not allow PII data in SharePoint”; it’s like saying that you’re not going to eat cookies on weekdays. However, if you don’t back that up with the ability to enforce this policy or measure your effectiveness, it’s as though you’ve made the declaration without removing the box of cookies in your desk drawer or asking any of your co-workers to make sure you don’t cheat. Without any way to enforce your policy, you’ll be stress-eating chocolate chip cookies on a Tuesday as your company undergoes an inquiry for mistakenly storing PII data in its SharePoint environment. Ensure that your policies for complying with specific statutory and regulatory obligations can be measured, monitored, and enforced.
You can accomplish this by scanning content with out-of-the-box or customised compliance tests that map to the requirements and legislation for privacy by which you must abide, as well as help you subsequently block, delete, quarantine, move, or protect offending content. Instill IT controls and automation that make common sense for end users to do their jobs effectively with the systems and controls you want them to use. Don’t set up policies that are so cumbersome and restrictive that your employees are pushed to work “around IT” to get their jobs done. Make it simple to use the systems you can control in order to achieve your goal of data privacy.
Research shows that only approximately 8 percent of those who set New Year’s Resolutions are actually successful in their pursuit. When it comes to an initiative as serious as data privacy, it’s important you don’t become one of the 92 percent come 2014.
By Asavin Wattanajantra, writer at Metia.
Eddie Scrooge doesn't like spending money. He has a successful business, but likes to hoard his cash. He doesn't understand why he would need to spend money on the technology he's had for many years which is doing just fine.
But one Christmas Eve he was presented with the three geek spirits of Past, Present and Future.
The Ghost of Christmas Past
The Ghost of Christmas Past transports Scrooge to 2001. He was younger, fresh-faced and less cynical. He wanted to leave the Windows 95 and MS-DOS era, and find something which would work better for his business and crash less. Windows XP was the answer – it was easy to use and stable, with great hardware and software compatibility.
Millions of other people thought it was the bomb. Scrooge believed it so perfect that he would never need another system again. In a few years, it would become the most popular operating system in the world.
The Ghost of Christmas Present
Scrooge is presented with a vision of the present. Windows XP is working fine, but his business is using a system which is more than 10 years old – a lifetime in technology terms.
Windows is ageing – it’s designed to work on and interact with old technology. But it is working “fine”. Scrooge thinks “if it's not broken, why fix it?”
However, his rivals have already updated to new systems like Windows 8 and are feeling the benefits. They're saving time and money through increases in speed and efficiency. Their employees are less frustrated and increasing productivity.
The Ghost of Christmas Future
Finally Scrooge sees a vision of the future, and it's not good. His company has had some major security problems, as Windows XP is a system that hasn't been updated for a long time - April 2014. There are no patches available to fix vulnerabilities. He's also seen hardware vendors stop their support of XP quicker than he expected.
Scrooge's rivals have shot ahead due to their increases in productivity, together with a happier staff that can work anywhere, using devices such as smartphones and tablets with ease.
As dawn breaks, Scrooge is online looking at ways he can move his business to Windows 8.1 as quickly as possible. It turns out it's nowhere near as difficult as he feared, and before long he's ordering Surface devices for his entire workforce to spread some Christmas cheer (but in the back of his mind to get them to work harder :)).
Merry Christmas Everyone!
Please note: this competition is now closed
On the Fourth day of Geekmas, my true love gave to me….. Four Jolly Nerds!
Welcome to the Fourth day of our ‘Twelve Days of Geekmas’ competition.
We're getting closer and closer to our final few days of the Geekmas competition, and we've got some great prizes left to give away!
Yesterday our true love gave away, ‘Five old things'. Were you one of our five lucky winners? Find all winning entries here.
Today's competition is for both IT Pro and Developer, sponsored by Azure. We've got four nifty Azure branded helicopters to help with your cloud journey.
To enter, we've three small rules for you:
1. Follow @TechNetUK
2. Register for an Azure Trial and take a screenshot of your azure portal
2. Tweet @TechNetUK with your Azure Portal screenshot, using the hashtag #Geekmas
We’ve Four TechNet goodies up for grabs today… Four lucky winners will win the following:
- An Azure branded Helicopter
- A Microsoft Arc Mouse
All entries from 09:30 - 23:59 on Tuesday 17th will be considered, however only four winning entries will be decided by the team and announced on this page at approx. 09:30 Wednesday 18th.
Our Lucky Winners:
Our four Jolly Nerds who will be the lucky recipients of an Azure helicopter and Arc Mouse are below. They 'flew' rings around the competition!
Congratulations to todays winners, we'll be in touch via Twitter.
New year, new house? If so, why not check out one of the latest Windows store apps - Mortgage Brain! A fast and simple way for you to search the UK mortgage market for a mortgage using UK's latest data. If you find it helpful, show the developer some love, give and em' a rating. Download the app for free here
Please note: this competition now closed
On the Fifth day of Geekmas, my true love gave to me….. Five old things!
Welcome to the Fifth day of our ‘Twelve Days of Geekmas’ competition.
We struggled to find five gold rings today, so instead gathered 5 old things, and 5 not so old but equally as gold things.
Yesterday our true love gave away, ‘Six Geeks-a-Playing'. Were you one of our Seven lucky winners? Find all winning entries here.
Today, we're celebrating Instagram's arrival to Windows Phone - Share an Instagram image of your old tech kit laying around so we can pick 5 old things to win today!.
To enter, we've 3 small rules for you:
2. Download and use Instagram to photograph the oldest piece of kit you have in your office, caption it #Geekmas.
3. Tweet @TechNetUK 'Old Tech Instagram Image' #Geekmas
We’ve Five TechNet bundles up for grabs today, five old, and five not so old!… Five lucky winners will win the following:
- A Windows 7 mug plus sticker (Old thing)
- An X-mini v1.1 Capsule Speaker (Not so old. A surprisingly loud mini speaker, perfect to blast out a few Christmas tunes during dinner prep)
- A Nokia Rockstar T-Shirt (Not so old, Choose between a Black or White coloured rockstar tee)
All entries from 09:30 - 23:59 on Monday 16th will be considered, however five winning entries will be decided by the team and announced on this page at 09:30 Tuesday 17th.
We've got four winners from yesterday, clearly the odds for Swag are in your favour.
Congratulations, to todays winners. We'll be in touch via Twitter.
The official Instagram app for windows phone is here!
Use it to enter today's challenge, just tweet us an image of your old kit! Download the app for free here.
Please note: Competition now closed
On the Sixth day of Geekmas, my true love gave to me….. Six Geeks-a-Playing!
Welcome to the Sixth day of our ‘Twelve Days of Geekmas’ competition.
We’ve got Lego galore today, with a SQL Server twist courtesy of today’s sponsor Fusion-io!
The Fusion-io team have set up shop in the Microsost Research Center (MTC) all day today, to coincide wit the challenge. Follow them on twitter here for live updates throughout the day.
Yesterday our true love gave away, ‘Seven Sans-a-Spinning’. Were you one of our Seven lucky winners? Find all winning entries here.
We've let Fusion-io decide the challenge today, they’ve chosen a SQL question for you, but with four possible answers!
All you have to do is comment directly below this post, with the answer - a), b), c) or d).
Please only choose one answer (winner chosen at random).
Question: Which of these options is most relevant in ensuring consistently high transaction rates in a performant SQL OLTP workload?
a) Adequate IOPS
b) Adequate Bandwidth
c) Low Latency
d) All of the above
We’ve Six TechNet bundles up for grabs today, we hope your a lego fan!… Six lucky winners will win the following:
- A limited edition Fusion-io Lego ioDrive2 set (for the kid in you)
- 2x Lego Hero Factory kits (for the kid in your house)
All entries from 09:30 - 23:59 on Friday 13th will be considered, however the 6x winning entries will be decided by the team and announced on this page at 09:30 Monday 16th.
Our Six lucky winners today are:
please get in contact by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject heading 'Day 6 Geekmas'
APP OF THE DAY?
Lego Hero Factory: Brain attack
You guessed it, lots of Lego! If your a fan of shoot-em-up’s this is a truly great official app.
The Hero Factory needs your help. Can you be its greatest defender? Download for free here, if your a fan, give it a rating!
The TechNet Team
My laptop running Windows Server 2012R2 looks like this when it starts:
This is a good thing and a bad thing. It’s a good thing if:
However if you are managing production servers at any kind of scale this is a bad thing as you don’t need all the tools and interfaces on every server you deploy. All those tools expose interfaces like File and Internet explore so if your servers are in the wild (so not in managed data centres) then curious local admins might wish to use those tools to surf the net or reconfigure your servers. Also these interface require patching and can consume resources.
This is why Server Core was introduced in Windows Server 2008 and in Windows Server 2012R2 Server Core is the default installation option. All you get if you install Windows Server with this option is:
Server Core wasn’t a popular choice in Windows Server 2008 for a number of reasons:
That has all been fixed in Windows Server 2012 and later and so Server Core should be your default option for all your servers except those used for Remote desktop Session Virtualization Hosts. You could achieve nearly the same result by doing an install and rip out all the interfaces once your server is configured they way you want in which case you would go to the menu remove features in Server Manager and in the features screen uncheck each of the options..
If you remove all of these from here or use PowerShell to do this:
Remove-WindowsFeature –Name Desktop-Experience, Server_Gui-Mgmt-Infra, Server-Gui-Shell
you essentially get Server Core. If you leave behind the Graphical Management Tools ..
Remove-WindowsFeature –Name Desktop-Experience, Server-Gui-Shell
You’ll get what’s known as “MinShell” all the management tools, but no extra fluff like IE and the Start menu, so this is also a popular choice.
If you do elect do a Server Core install and want then later decide to put the management user interface back in, you need to remember that the binaries for these aren’t on the server so when you add the features in you’ll need to specify a source switch, and before that you’ll need to have access to the source for these features by mounting the appropriate .wim file using the Disk Image Servicing Management command (DISM):
DISM /Mount-WIM /WIMFile:D:\sources\install.wim /Index:4 /MountDir:C:\WS2012Install /ReadOnly
Add-WindowsFeature –Name Server-GUI-Mgmt-Infra –Source c:\ws2012install\Windows\SxS
shutdown /r /t 0
DISM /Unmount-WIM /MountDir:C:\WS2012Install /Discard
This is actually quite a useful template as doesn’t have the binaries needed to put IE etc. back in but is still easy to manage. You could then use this as the the basis for creating VMs for your labs and evaluations by sysprepping it:
sysprep /generalize /shutdown /oobe
and if you wanted to save space you could then use it as a parent for the differencing disks behind the various VMs in your lab environment.
There is a free version of Windows Server 2012R2 specifically designed for Hyper-V, called Hyper-V Server 2012R2. This is very like Server Core, but you can’t add the UI back in and it only has a few roles in it specifically for Hyper-V, clustering and file servers as that’s all that is included in the license.
To finish up Server core is really useful, and much easier to manage remotely than it was, as Windows Server is setup by default for remote management within a domain. Just as importantly you might have dismissed a feature in Windows when it first shows up in a new version, but it’s worth checking back to how it’s changed in each new versions, be that Server Core, Hyper-V, storage or those big squares!
Please note: This competition is now closed.
On the Seventh day of Geekmas, my true love gave to me….. Seven Sans-a-Spinning!
Welcome to the seventh day of our ‘Twelve Days of Geekmas’ competition.
After a Dev day yesterday, we’re back to the world of IT Pro and today we’ve got some special prizes up for grabs. Courtesy of our MVP’s Aidan Finn, Hans Vredevoort, Patrick Lownds and Damian Flynn!
Yesterday our true love gave away, ‘Eight Devs-a-Coding’. Were you one of our Eight lucky winners? Find all winning entries here.
For today’s challenge a little more effort is involved, but not much ;).
Today, We’ve three rules.
2. Download from the eval center – Windows Server 2012 R2
3. Tweet a screenshot of your download and Tweet us at @TechNetUK:
Tweet '@TechNetUK 'Windows Server Eval Download Screenshot' #Geekmas'
We’ve Seven TechNet bundles up for grabs today for both those on and off premise!… Seven lucky winners who will EACH win the following:
- a Microsoft Private Cloud Computing book (A book by certified Microsoft MVP’s)
- an exclusive Microsoft #TechNetTidy T-Shirt (from the #TechNetTidy competition)
All entries from 09:30 - 23:59 on Thursday 12th will be considered, however the 7x winning entries will be decided by the team and announced on this page at 09:30 Friday 13th.
Our Seven lucky winners today are:
Our app today is new to the Windows store! ‘Love Clean Streets’ will help clean up your local area of any environmental issues in time for a tidy 2014.
Love Clean Streets
Report environmental crime and issues easily to your local authority and have them resolved worldwide! Report an issue on phone or tablet in just 40 seconds! Why not use Love Clean Streets to report the things you've done to help clean up your area? Thousands are already involved in looking after our rivers and public spaces. Download for free here.
Today, Microsoft announced its Cloud OS Network - a worldwide group of more than 25 cloud service providers serving over 90 markets, delivering services built on the Microsoft Cloud Platform. For enterprise and Government organisations in the UK, this means more choice and flexibility in the way they are able to deliver their applications and services. Specifically, with the Cloud OS Network we are enabling organisations to deploy their applications and services from a high quality trusted local service provider in conjunction with existing on premises and Azure assets.
Maurice Martin Director, Server and Cloud platforms, Microsoft Ltd explains: “Choice is key. UK customers now benefit from a true hybrid cloud model – being able to deploy services and applications in a consistent way across UK based leading service providers - Outsourcery, Capita, NTTX and CGI in conjunction with Azure. We recognise that for organisations with concerns regarding data sovereignty, specific industry regulations and additional specialised services - obtaining Microsoft Cloud services from a local UK provider offers them the best of both worlds. Working with our UK service provider partners via our new Cloud OS Network additionally means that together we can offer services that are fully compliant with UK Government security standards, allowing confidential data to be securely processed within our cloud ecosystem.”
Martin continues: “Ultimately what you are seeing here is the foundation for a national cloud infrastructure. We believe that the Cloud OS Network is unique since it enables one consistent platform across customer private clouds, public cloud (Windows Azure), and service provider clouds, with all three leveraging shared technologies for the virtualisation layer, systems management, development frameworks and identity solutions. This makes it easy for Government to work with multiple providers and enable workloads to move across clouds, dynamically if required, without technical friction.”
The Cloud OS Network will see partners provide infrastructure and application solutions based on a Microsoft-validated platform. The solutions can be highly customised and fully managed for customers and include varying levels of security, privacy and service levels to meet specific needs.
Piers Linney, CEO of Outsourcery explains what it means for the UK market: “The rate of cloud adoption continues to gather pace amongst our public and private sectors customers who are now seeking greater choice, flexibility and consistency between hybrid datacentre environments. Data sovereignty is also an increasing requirement, which is why customers such as London Business School have seen the value of Outsourcery’s O-Cloud Platform powered by the Microsoft Cloud Platform. In fact, as part of the Microsoft Cloud OS Network, we see a significant opportunity to increase our market strength by offering customers the most comprehensive set of cloud service capabilities available today. These capabilities are enhanced by global best practice from a select number of leading cloud providers.”
Andy Parker, Deputy Chief Executive at Capita adds: “We are pleased to be working with Microsoft as one of the few UK companies to offer its popular applications via private cloud. Capita Productivity Hub allows organisations to increase productivity by offering trusted Microsoft applications on the go and on their choice of device. In addition, the latest versions of these applications will always be available.
“Customers benefit from the knowledge that the applications are being used in a secure environment, plus the reassurance of all data being stored in Capita’s UK data centres. This is crucial for many organisations in the public sector and highly regulated industries. Capita Productivity Hub will be available via the existing Capita Private Cloud infrastructure, which offers customers access to more than 2,000 pre-tested cloud applications via a self-service portal, allowing them to easily tailor, monitor and manage services.”
Tim Gregory, UK President, CGI. Explains: “At CGI we always strive to be the best at what we do and help our clients to succeed. This partnership with Microsoft is a further demonstration of our commitment to provide clients with best of class solutions for their business, operational and bottom line challenges. We have already demonstrated the benefits of this partnership with our Secure Government Cloud which was launched last week and is already generating a huge amount of interest in the market.”
Philip Moss, Director at NTTX concludes: “NTTX is proud of its long-standing association with Microsoft and today’s announcement that NTTX is one of the small group of global partners involved in Microsoft’s Cloud OS Network is testament to the strength of this relationship. Our new generation of public and private cloud solutions, utilising the power and capability of Windows Server 2012 R2, Windows Azure Pack and System Centre 2012 R2, provides highly available, feature rich solutions, which drive down operational costs and reduce the complexity and deployment lead times inherent in traditional solutions. NTTX combines its highly-advanced Cloud services delivery platform with a trusted, personal and highly responsive approach to customer engagement to deliver turnkey solutions that exceed customers’ needs, today and tomorrow, in the most cost effective manner.”
Please note: This competition is now closed!
Welcome to day Eight of our ‘Twelve Days of Geekmas’ competition. With a developer focus, we've partnered up with the Visual Studio UK team to deliver todays 'Eight Dev's-a-Coding'!
Yesterday our true love gave away, ‘Nine Apps Compiling'. Were you one of our Nine lucky winners? Find all winning entries here.
For today's challenge, follow @VisualStudioUK on twitter AND tweet @TechNetUK, with the answer to our Visual Studio question below. Remember to use the #Geekmas!
Today, We’ve just two simple rules.
1. Firstly, follow our sponsors - @VisualStudioUK
2. Then tweet @TechNetUK with your answer to: 'How many users can access a single Visual Studio Online account for free?' Whilst using the #Geekmas.
We’ve Nine cool tee's up for grabs today… for Nine lucky winners who will win the following -
- a reindeer coded Visual Studio T-shirt (As sported by our willing volunteer Henry).
All entries from 09:30 - 23:59 on Wednesday 11th will be considered, however the Eight winning entries will be decided by the team and announced on this page at 09:30 Thursday 12th.
Our Eight lucky winners today are :@pcolmer
Daddy Pig's Puddle Jump – A brand new official Peppa Pig app. Daddy Pig is the reigning world record champion muddy puddle jumper but Peppa and George are keen to lift the trophy themselves. A one touch, multi-levelled, jumping game for 1 or 2 players. Whoever the winner, the aim of the game is to get as muddy as possible and remember - if you jump in muddy puddles you must wear your boots.
Buy here for only £1.39.
Personally, I prefer my pig's in blankets and syrup, not mud, but this game has proved to be very popular with the kids! Download and let your little ones have a go! Tell us what they think, If they give a thumbs up, show the developer some love and give em a rating!