I read an interesting article today written by Michael Kassner for TechRepublic. In his article he explains why International Information Systems Security Certification Consortium (ISC)2 and the consulting firm of Frost & Sullivan believe they understand why digital bad guys are winning. They are winning primarily because not enough attention is being paid by Information-Security departments to company business objectives and they aren’t communicating effectively with other departments. Basically the two organizations go on to make the point that the reason the bad guys are winning is that there aren’t enough women in the Information-security field, as documented in their report: Agents of Change: Women in the Information Security Profession.
Here are a couple of noticeable statistics.
For more information you should check out Michael Kassner’s article and read the report Agents of Change: Women in the Information Security Profession.
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that women are under-represented in the Information-Security workforce in United States and we desperately need more diversity. Although the report points to the under-representation of women in Information-Security workforce, I have been talking for at least a decade about the under-representation of women in technology in general. As of November 3, 2013, only 14 percent of computer science graduates are women. There are too many skills where women often outperform men and by diversifying the workforce we will be able to even out the playing field and reduce gender-dominance, which will lead to a more prosper nation. The Information-Security white paper referenced above makes the point for me. Frankly, I believe we need more women not just in technology but in other industries as well. We need more women entrepreneurs, CEOs, judges, astronauts, and even presidents of the United States.
Here are some more statistics. According to New York Times article published on April 17, 2010:
“Women own 40 percent of the private businesses in the United States, according to the Center for Women’s Business Research. But they create only 8 percent of the venture-backed tech start-ups, according to Astia, a nonprofit group that advises female entrepreneurs.
That disparity reaches beyond entrepreneurs. Women account for just 6 percent of the chief executives of the top 100 tech companies, and 22 percent of the software engineers at tech companies over all, according to the National Center for Women and Information Technology. And among venture capitalists, the population of financiers who control the purse strings for a majority of tech start-ups, just 14 percent are women, the National Venture Capital Association says.”
Copyright ©2013 Zubair Alexander. All rights reserved.
The Windows Assessment and Deployment Kit (Windows ADK) is a collection of tools from Microsoft that allows you to customize, assess, and deploy Windows operating systems to new computers. Here is a list of tolls available in the ADK.
Application Compatibility Toolkit (ACT)
The Application Compatibility Toolkit (ACT) helps IT Professionals understand potential application compatibility issues by identifying which applications are or are not compatible with the new versions of the Windows operating system. ACT helps to lower costs for application compatibility evaluation by providing an accurate inventory of the applications in your organization. ACT helps you to deploy Windows more quickly by helping to prioritize, test, and detect compatibility issues with your apps. By using ACT, you can become involved in the ACT Community and share your risk assessment with other ACT users. You can also test your web applications and web sites for compatibility with new releases of Internet Explorer. For more information, see Application Compatibility Toolkit.
Deployment tools help you customize, manage, and deploy Windows images. Deployment tools can be used to automate Windows deployments, removing the need for user interaction during Windows setup. Deployment tools include Deployment Imaging Servicing and Management (DISM) command line tool, DISM PowerShell cmdlets, DISM API, Windows System Image Manager (Windows SIM), and OSCDIMG. For more information, see Deployment Tools.
User State Migration Tool (USMT)
USMT is a scriptable command line tool that IT Professionals can use to migrate user data from a previous Windows installation to a new Windows installation. By using USMT, you can create a customized migration framework that copies the user data you select and excludes any data that does not need to be migrated. USMT includes ScanState, Loadstate, and USMTUtils command line tools. For more information, see User State Migration Tool.
Volume Activation Management Tool (VAMT)
VAMT helps IT professionals automate and centrally manage the activation of Windows, Windows Server, Windows ThinPC, Windows POSReady 7, select add-on product keys, and Office for computers in their organization. VAMT can manage volume activation using retail keys (or single activation keys), multiple activation keys (MAKs), or Windows Key Management Service (KMS) keys. For more information, see Volume Activation Management Tool.
Windows Performance Toolkit (WPT)
Windows Performance Toolkit includes tools to record system events and analyze performance data in a graphical user interface. WPT includes Windows Performance Recorder, Windows Performance Analyzer, and Xperf. For more information, see Windows Performance Toolkit.
Windows Assessment Toolkit
Windows Assessment Toolkit is used to run assessments on a single computer. Assessments are tasks that simulate user activity and examine the state of the computer. Assessments produce metrics for various aspects of the system, and provide recommendations for making improvements. For more information, see Windows Assessment Toolkit.
Windows Assessment Services
Windows Assessment Services is used to remotely manage settings, computers, images, and assessments in a lab environment where Windows Assessment Services is installed. This application can run on any computer with access to the server that is running Windows Assessment Services. For more information, see Windows Assessment Services.
Windows Preinstallation Environment (Windows PE)
Windows PE is a minimal operating system designed to prepare a computer for installation and servicing of Windows. For more information, see Windows PE Technical Reference.
To install the Windows ADK, your computer must be running one of the following operating systems:
• Windows 8.1
• Windows 8
• Windows 7
• Windows Server 2012 R2
• Windows Server 2012
• Windows Server 2008 R2
• Windows Vista
• Windows Server 2008
The Microsoft .NET Framework 4.5 is required and Windows ADK installs it automatically.
Be aware of the supported platforms and requirements for certain features in the Windows ADK. Visit Microsoft’s Web site for more information on system requirements and to download the ADK.
Starting December 1, Microsoft is offering free Office 365 ProPlus to students. According to Microsoft Vice President of Worldwide Education Mr. Anthony Salcito. Here’s a quote from his blog.
“I’m thrilled to announce a new benefit designed to empower students worldwide with the technological skills they need to compete in today’s (and tomorrow’s) workforce: it’s called Student Advantage.
Beginning Dec. 1, any academic institution that licenses Office for staff and faculty can provide Office 365 ProPlus for students at no additional cost. Student Advantage makes it easy for qualifying institutions to provide students with the latest version of full Office at school and at home. Combined with Office 365 for Education plan A2, which is free for schools, Student Advantage gives students access to the same set of world-class productivity tools and services used by Fortune 500 companies all over the world.”
Mr. Salcito went on to say “Microsoft and IDC recently conducted a study to identify the skills and competencies highly valued by employers – now and through 2020 – so we can help graduate well-prepared students. IDC scanned 14.6 million job postings from April to September 2013 and identified the top 60 positions with the highest growth and salary potential, along with the 20 most common skills that are both important and widely required across positions. The study found that while most of these skills are “soft skills,” there are also some technologies, or “hard skills,” on this list. For instance, oral and written communications was listed as the number-one most sought-after skill, with detail orientation being number two. Proficiency with Microsoft Office was number three. (Interestingly, PowerPoint and Word were called out individually as 11 and 13 on the list, respectively.)”
Visit Office 365 Education site if you want to learn more. This Web site has lots of useful information. By the way, all Office 365 Education plans (A plans) include the following:
|Email and calendars||Use business-class email through a rich and familiar Outlook experience you can access from your desktop1 or from a web browser using Outlook Web App. Get a 50 GB mailbox per user and send attachments up to 25 MB. Use your own domain name.|
|Web conferencing||Host online meetings with audio and video using one-click screen sharing, HD video conferencing, and virtual whiteboard. Excellent for distance learning.|
|Instant messaging||Connect with others via instant message and let people know your availability with your online status.|
|File storage and sharing||SkyDrive Pro gives users 25 GB of personal storage that syncs with their PC for offline access. Easily share documents with others through Office or SharePoint.|
|Team sites||Work together on projects, in study groups, or in clubs with team sites that help keep related documents, notes, tasks, and conversations organized together. Up to 300 subsites.|
|Office Web Apps||Create and edit2 Word, OneNote, PowerPoint, and Excel documents from any modern browser.|
|Mobility||Sync email, calendar, and contacts; access SharePoint sites; view and edit Office documents with Office Web Apps using a browser on Windows Phone, iOS, and Android devices.|
|Apps for Office and SharePoint||New third-party and customer-developed apps work with Office and SharePoint to bring web services right into your documents and sites.|
|Administration||The admin portal provides IT detailed configuration options for your services, either from an online portal or through automated management with PowerShell commands.|
|Reliability||Get peace of mind knowing your services are available with a guaranteed 99.9% uptime, financially backed service level agreement (SLA).|
|Security||Cutting-edge security practices with five layers of security and proactive monitoring help keep your data safe.
Watch an overview of Office 365 security.
|Privacy||Your data belongs to you. Microsoft does not scan emails or documents for advertising purposes.|
|Up to date||No need to pay for version upgrades; updates are included in your subscription. New features are rolled out to Office 365 customers in an IT-configurable experience.|
|Support||24/7 phone support for all IT issues. For less urgent issues, you can make service requests directly through the admin portal.|
1Plans that do not include the desktop version of Office work with the latest version of Outlook, Outlook 2010, Outlook 2007 (with slightly limited functionality), Outlook 2011 for Mac, and Outlook 2008 for Mac.
2Editing included in select plans only.
The hibernation feature is normally used on Windows laptop computers but can also be used on Windows desktop computers, such as Windows XP/Vista/7/8/8.1 clients or Windows Server 2008/2012, etc. The system creates a file in the root of drive C called hiberfil.sys. The size of the file is approximately equal to the amount of RAM in the system. When the computer uses the hibernation feature, it saves all the information that is in the computer memory into the hiberfil.sys file and then shuts down. When you power on the computer it uses the information in the hiberfil.sys file to start fairly quickly and all your applications are running exactly the way they were when you put your computer into hibernation. There are some advantages (mostly on laptops) and disadvantages of this feature but I won’t go into those details in this article.
If you are not using this feature, you should disable hibernation because it wastes a lot of disk space. For example, if you have 16GB of RAM in your computer, it will create approximately a 16GB hiberfil.sys file in the root of the drive where the operating system is installed (by default on drive C). I said approximately, because your mileage may vary. The size of the hiberfil.sys file is not always going to match with the amount of RAM on the newer operating systems, such as Windows 8. However, on Windows XP the size of hiberfil.sys file is very close to the amount of RAM.
For most users the hiberfil.sys file on the desktop computers is a junk file wasting disk space but you can’t delete the file unless you turn off hibernation. On Windows XP, you can simply turn it off on the Hibernate tab under the Power Options in Control Panel. However, even if you turn off hybrid sleep in the GUI on a Windows 8 computer, it doesn’t get rid of the hiberfil.sys file. You have to turn it off using the powercfg.exe command as described at the end of this article. The powercfg.exe command works on all Windows XP and later operating systems.
NOTE: Hiberfil.sys file is a system, hidden file. You need to display hidden files to view this file. On Windows 8/8.1 you can check the box for Hidden items on the View tab in Windows File Explorer.
When you turn of the hibernation, the hiberfil.sys file is immediately deleted from the hard drive. Turning it on will create the file.
According to an article on AdAge.com, both Microsoft and Google plan to develop their own technology to replace the “cookies” in the Web browsers. Cookies allow the vendors to keep track of people’s browsing habits and are used for online targeted advertising. Of course, due to privacy concerns, people don’t like to be tracked but don’t really have much choice because if they disable cookies then a lot of Web sites won’t properly work.
One of the reasons that these companies are planning to get rid of cookies is that third-party cookies cannot track mobile devices, which supposedly account for 20% of the world’s Web traffic according to StatCounter.
Note: According to the headline on MarketingLand.com global Web traffic on mobile devices is close to 20%. Well, according to the graph in the article, it’s really closer to 15% and calling it closer to 20% is an exaggeration.
The StatCounter chart shows that India is leading the way by generating almost 56% of total Internet traffic.
Before you start celebrating the demise of cookies, I should point out that it is only a plan at this point. Frankly, I wouldn’t get too excited about it because these companies will come out with a new technology that has a different name (they may call it candies instead of cookies) but the purpose will still be the same, i.e. keep track of your browsing habits. The new technology will include a broader audience to incorporate the mobile devices. Same game, different name!
What I will find exciting is the day when Microsoft announces that Internet Explorer will no longer require ActiveX controls. Now, that would call for a celebration.
Copyright ©2002-2013 Zubair Alexander. All rights reserved.
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