* Posts by APJ

16 posts • joined 26 Oct 2012

Office 2019 lumbers to the stage once more as Microsoft promises future releases


Re: Classified and commercially sensitive documents?

Oh yeah, I completely agree. I don't have any involvement with central gov or the security services any more, their security requirements differ from the general population I work with.

I suppose I'd question if you can be sure that any of your data only lives in the UK (say) irrespective of how you store it. If I'm relying on a file server in my datacentre can I be certain that something didn't end up on a USB stick, a backup tape lost in transit, etc. I know that this can be achieved, but I've also done a lot of work across a lot of public and private sector and know what the real world looks like.

I try to think about how I'd approach my security if I knew I'd been breached and what kind of thing would I want to have in place. DLP solutions have (in my limited experience) been expensive and cumbersome for the user and I think this is starting to change as the cloud provides us with an authentication and identity management platform that can and does span organisations without them needing to do a great deal. So if I send an email attachment to the wrong person, it now doesn't matter as I can revoke their rights to it, I didn't used to be able to do that.

It's no global panacea, but it is an evolution of capability for some of the standard basic issues that businesses I talk to face.


Re: Classified and commercially sensitive documents?

We do some work in this area, there's some interesting progress in DLP and in particular in integration of DLP into Office in a way that is actually useable for normal humans using teh Secure Islands aquisition Microsoft made, now named Azure Information Protection. This allows us to ensure documents and emails are encrypted at rest and in transit and when we're talking about documents stored in the cloud we have BYOK (bring your own key) and shortly HYOK (Hold Your Own Key) encryption facilities, this is all baked into Azure. I know the cloud gets a regular kicking on here, but in this specific area it's actually lighting up some good functionality which was very difficult to pull off before, especially in sharing content securely B2B.

Dragon's Outsourcery biz bags another £1m of cash to burn


Why the coverage?

Is the coverage here and elsewhere of this relatively small-beer outfit entirely down to Pier's fame? I don't imagine that there are many other little IT players turning over a paltry 3.5m that would generate the column inches Outsourcery do.

Dragons' Den man and co-CEO to work for FREE at loss-making Outsourcery



Piers (who it seems is called Jonathan actually) has or has had close on 60 directorships in the UK, but only 10 active at the moment, some in liquidation. Aside from Outsourcery which as discussed above is in a bit of a state, he doesn't appear to have much going on... It's also interesting that his previous directorships are far and wide spread... He was involved in a company that made candles, one that did pizzas, film production, property, telecoms... This may be the definition of entrepreneur, though it's odd that the vast majority are no longer trading, but Outsourcery looks as much like an attempt to jump on a bandwagon and target the public sector as it does anything strategic building on his experiences.

Perhaps they just don't really know what they're doing?

Wintel pincers to squeeze iPads out of BYOD


vPro woe

vPro could and should be a great innovation and a boon to device management, but at the moment it's a horrendosity. Aside from it being optional component, so often missed for tranches of computers, the lack of consistency across versions makes it a nightmare to manage. Vendors get to choose how the surface the OOB management controllers (so they may display a message to press CTRL+F11 at boot, they may not, they may change the keystroke required to Shift+R+Backspace).

vPro has some great capabilities, but it's half baked.

Microsoft reissues Windows 8.1 Update for enterprise customers


Re: Windows' Future in the Enterprise

Saying it doesn't make it so, though. Over the past decade I must have read the same comments a thousand times here on the Reg. Linux desktop adoption is still woefully low, particularly in the enterprise. There are vanishingly small numbers of examples of organisations dumping Windows on the desk, one German city isn't sufficiently noteworthy, though it is pretty interesting. Certainly when I've seen orgs in the UK have a go (one of the County Councils in the midlands had a good try a few years back) it was a disaster.

I'm no fan of the monopoly in general, but the Windows product set is mature, Microsoft make all manner of mis-steps with it all of the time, but if you have 10,000 or 100,000 machines there's a huge eco-system out there of well managed, well understood and scalable tools to help you herd it all. The Linux world just isn't like that. I'm less convinced these days that it really matters. Linux and its related distros have fantastic coverage in the server space, enough to keep the tech guys who want to play in that space happy and Windows rolls on at the front end. It all seems to work ok for me.

Also, it's true that you need to purchase a side-loading cert, but it's $100 for as many as you like, so whilst it's not ideal, it's also a minor irritant which ultimately should make the platform much more secure to everyone's benefit.

Home lab operators: Ditch your servers ... now!

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No more servers here

We ditched all of our on-prem IT. We have access to pretty much everything Microsoft as a Gold Partner but had kept lab servers around for demo environments, but with the arrival of Win8 and particularly Win8.1 we now all just have Lenovo W520/530/540 machines, 32GB RAM, 3xSSDs. With that config (at ~£3k per machine) we can run absolutely anything we want all under the Win 8.1 Hyper-V environment. I find that it works superbly well for my needs. The servers we did run to host demos have all been powered down and are Ebay-bound.

The RAM is really nice to have, but the major factor is decent sized SSD, running more than one or two VMs off a spinning laptop disk is awful.

Lumia 1520: Our man screams into ENORMO new Nokia phondleslab


Re: Microsoft account needed for Facebook? ??

I can drag something onto the taskbar. If it's a shortcut it gets "pinned" automatically, if it's a document it pins the associated app and then adds the document as a pinned object in the jump list.

Microsoft zaps self in foot with WinPho/Office remote control app


This appears to be almost completely incorrect...

It just took me about two minutes to install this on my phone and laptop and begin remotely controlling a PPT. My phone is UK English.

It's actually pretty nice. The notes to the slides are shown on the phone screen, which is a nice touch, and there's a laser pointer feature as well as slide browser. I can't imagine using it very often, but it certainly functions as it is described. The fact that you can't install the PowerPoint plugin to Office RT is stated in the readme and really isn't much of a surprise is it?

Sonos and I: How home media playback just gets SO FRUSTRATING


Re: great article

The Squeezebox doesn't get much of a mention these days as Logitech appear to have destroyed it. I have half a dozen or so SB devices scattered around the house as well as software players on phones and laptops. Has been an amazing multi-room system for the past (getting on for) 10 years. I still have two of the original SLiMP3 players, though they can't handle Spotify, sadly. But Slimserver still performs extremely well and has absolutely brilliant 3rd party support for iPlayer, Spotify, Last.fm, Deezer, Pandora, etc.

The SlimServer was my first exposure to the possibilities of Open Source, and although it's now suffering a little from feature bloat, it's a tremendous piece of kit. At one time I had it integrated over xPL to HomeSeer so that a SliMP3 player could route IR commands to the SB Server which would control the house lights and alarm system over X10. Ah, the days before the kids arrived...

How to relieve Microsoft's Surface RT piles problem


Re: The problem is the analysis

I agree to an extent. There's probably a branding problem between the Surface (RT or 2) vs Surface Pro (2). But I'd argue that the Surface RT (especially the latest version which is a lovely looking thing) compares favourably to the iPad with some advantages (Office) and some disadvantages (the app store for Windows is still a pale comparison to the Apple one, but things have improved very significantly in the past 12 months).

I've been using v1 and v2 Surface devices for home and work and really like them. I do not find myself wishing I could install Photoshop on the RT devices and also don't find them any more limited than I do the other vendor devices we have knocking around here.

The major advantages I find with the RT devices (along with all the other WIndows SKUs) is that they're multi-user, so the family all have their own logins, the Family Safety stuff is good for the kids, as is the picture logon, the kids can pull free apps and games out of the store where they are age appropriate, but anything outside that needs my authorization, the battery life is good, the devices feel robust but are lightweight, and the Skydrive integration works really well for syncing profiles and data.

YMMV, and I accept the developer challenge with x86, ARM, WinPho, etc. but these things seem to be improving and in the meantime these things don't impact me particularly severely.

Nokia Lumia 1020: It's an imaging BEAST... and it makes calls too

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Re: What?

I have one on order but it's not arrived yet. I have an older Lumia 900 and that certainly has an option in the Pictures - Settings list to "Automatically upload to SkyDrive". I can't imagine why this would be any different on the 1020, particularly as for the most part you wouldn't want to use up the bandwidth allowance.

Review: Dell XPS 10 Windows RT tablet and dock

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Multi User

For me the multi-user capability is the main selling point for RT (I have a Surface). Each member of the family has their own login, with picture password, not the greatest in security terms, but easy for a 4 yr old...

Microsoft Family Safety controls what the youngsters can access on the web and in the MS Marketplace/Store/whatever it's called. For free apps the kids can just install age appropriate stuff, for paid for apps it prompts for a password for my Passport (or whatever it's called) account. For me, this works really well.

The multi user stuff allows each person to have their own app set, if an app has been purchased in one profile it's free to "install" again for a second profile as we use the same Store (OWIC) account.

I agree that the desktop vs Metro implementation is weak, that Office doesn't work brilliantly with touch (I tend to use a BT mouse for the occasional use of this), but to say that the Office environment is not complete is a bit of a stretch, the lack of Outlook is pretty bad, though I can imagine the interface being awful with touch on a relatively small screen, but the rest of the Office elements work well. The Metro Mail app is woeful though, OWA for me for now.


Symantec to offload Altiris: report


Symantec Blight

As with BE, Symantec took a good product, with a positive reputation and a decent, competitive feature set, and ruined it. The failure to keep up with System Center is maybe understandable, but the insistence that Altiris will become the chassis for the rest of the endpoint components to bolt into was a massively ambitious concept which rammed Altiris down the throats of lots of orgs that didn't want it, and it's hard to argue that Altiris was the right product for the job.

RIP a leading management tool of the 1990s.

Lawyer sues Microsoft rather than slot an SD card into his Surface


Re: Wait...

I am writing this on my Surface RT device. I just took a quick look... Windows folder total size 8GB. Program Files dir is 800MB. So not sure where the rest of the claimant's space has gone... between his ears perchance?

Surface RT: Freedom luvin' app-huggers beware


Re: Software costs?

There's no likely issue with Office use for the vast majority. Non-commercial use covers the home and student scenarios and Microsoft permit the use of Office 2013 RT for users who have access to the full Office suite via other licensed means:

"According to Microsoft, you will be able to obtain commercial use rights for Office RT via Office 365, Office Standard or Professional Plus 2013, a Commercial Use License (which will be detailed in the coming days), or through volume licensing"



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