The Microsoft Assessment and Planning (MAP) Solution Accelerator is an agentless tool that will find computers on a network and perform a detailed inventory of the computers using Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI), the Remote Registry Service, or the Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP). Using the inventory data, the tool will assess and report whether computers can run Windows Vista, Microsoft Office 2007, Microsoft Application Virtualization (SoftGrid), and Windows Server 2008. This includes assessment of device driver availability and recommendations for hardware upgrades that may be required.
Supported Operating Systems: Windows Server 2003; Windows Server 2008; Windows Vista; Windows Vista Service Pack 1; Windows XP Professional Edition
Microsoft SQL Server 2005 Express Edition for storing inventory and assessment data. Microsoft Word 2003 SP2 or Microsoft Word 2007 and Microsoft Excel 2003 SP2 or Microsoft Excel 2007 for generating reports.
The Microsoft Assessment and Planning Solution Accelerator can only be installed on 32-Bit versions of any of the supported operating systems.
Click here to download this free tool.
Here’s a nice little tool that will speed up your system by getting rid of the junk files, such as temporary files, memory dump files, cookies, etc. This is an impressive tool with lots of features. It’s easy to use, fast and it’s FREE.
I like to configure the option to Minimize to System Tray under Options, Advanced. You can download the tool here.
TechRepublic’s blog has a nice posting by author Rick Vanover called 10 cool things you can do with Windows PowerShell. The article lists the following cool things to do with Windows PowerShell.
#1: Report all of the USB devices installed
#2: Perform your favorite CMD tasks in PowerShell
#3: Kill a process in PowerShell instead of Task Manager
#4: Use PSDrive to view more than just drives
#5: Export NTFS folder permissions — recursive or not
#6: Play with PowerShell 2.0
#7: Work from the keyboard in Graphical PowerShell
#8: Background a time-consuming task
#9: Insert timestamps into PowerShell outputs
#10: Stop and smell the roses
Check out this link for more details on how you can benefit from these cool tips. Considering the fact that Windows PowerShell is now a core part of Exchange 2007, Windows Server 2008, and SQL Server 2008, you will find these tips handy while you work with Windows PowerShell.
Microsoft offers a tool called Password Checker. The purpose of the tool is to test the strength of your password as you type. Is Password Checker a reliable tool to test the strength of your password? The answer in my opinion is NO. Microsoft correctly states “It is for personal reference only. Password Checker does not guarantee the security of the password itself. “Microsoft also says about the password that “It should be 14 characters or longer, (eight characters or longer at a minimum). It should include a combination of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols.”
Password Checker tests the strength of your password as you type and rates it as one of the following:
I performed several tests and discovered that the tool is programmed to look for certain number of characters and certain combinations. It pretty much ignores the length of the password unless you add special characters or mixed-case to the password. Your pass phrase can be over hundred characters long and Microsoft’s Password Checker considers it a weak password unless you add at least one special character, which the tool considers Medium. You can use a password cracking tool and easily prove that Password Checker tool is incorrect in determining the actual strength of your password and therefore should not be used.
In the document Strong passwords: How to create and use them Microsoft acknowledges that “Each character that you add to your password increases the protection that it provides many times over.” Yet, the Password Checker completely ignores this fact. You can keep adding characters by the dozen and the tool will report that your password is weak. In fact, even if you type a 127-character password (the maximum allowed in Windows) in all lowercase the tool will report it as a weak password because you didn’t include an uppercase character, which makes no sense. According to the tool, adding one uppercase character to a 126-character password makes the password’s strength Medium. So the built-in logic in the tool is questionable. There are lots of other tools available that are more reliable to test your password strength.
Microsoft suggests the password should be 14 characters or longer. I suggest you use a pass phrase that is 15 characters or longer, as I explain in this article How Secure Is Your Password?. According to Microsoft security experts that I have talked to, if your password is 15 characters or longer it is not necessary to have a combination of alphanumeric, uppercase, lowercase and special characters in your password. I explain why in my article I just mentioned How Secure Is Your Password?. Of course, if you add any special characters or numbers you only strengthen your password.
Here are some highlights from an interesting research news as reported by the University of Washington Office of News and Information.:
What if swallowing a pill with a camera could detect the earliest signs of cancer? The tiny camera is designed to take high-quality, color pictures in confined spaces. Such a device could find warning signs of esophageal cancer, the fastest growing cancer in the United States.
A fundamentally new design has created a smaller endoscope that is more comfortable for the patient and cheaper to use than current technology. Its first use on a human, scanning for early signs of esophageal cancer, will be reported in an upcoming issue of IEEE Transactions on Biomedical Engineering.
An endoscope is a flexible camera that travels into the body’s cavities to directly investigate the digestive tract, colon or throat. Most of today’s endoscopes capture the image using a traditional approach where each part of the camera captures a different section of the image. These tools are long, flexible cords about 9 mm wide, about the width of a human fingernail. Because the cord is so wide patients must be sedated during the scan.
The scanning endoscope developed at the UW is fundamentally different. It consists of just a single optical fiber for illumination and six fibers for collecting light, all encased in a pill. Seibel acted as the human volunteer in the first test of the UW device. He reports that it felt like swallowing a regular pill, and the tether, which is 1.4 mm wide, did not bother him.
Once swallowed, an electric current flowing through the UW endoscope causes the fiber to bounce back and forth so that its lone electronic eye sees the whole scene, one pixel at a time. At the same time the fiber spins and its tip projects red, green and blue laser light. The image processing then combines all this information to create a two-dimensional color picture.
In the tested model the fiber swings 5,000 times per second, creating 15 color pictures per second. The resolution is better than 100 microns, or more than 500 lines per inch. Although conventional endoscopes produce images at higher resolution, the tethered-capsule endoscope is designed specifically for low-cost screening.
Using the scanning device is cheap because it’s so small it doesn’t require anesthesia and sedation, which increase the cost of the traditional procedure.
Click here for the complete article.
Copyright © 2013 Zubair Alexander. All rights reserved.
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