On Saturday April 14, 2018 I presented at the TEDx in Chilliwack, BC. I applied last year, had an audition in January (was accepted as a presenter) then got on stage Saturday.
I had no IDEA how much work it would be. Writing a script for a talk, less than 18 minutes that would explain Blockchain, the Cloud, our loss of privacy and give people options to create meaningful change. Then memorize it, edit, re-edit, re-memorize and on the presentation night being more scared than anything I’ve done while fire fighting. I got the 1st two lines out and then my tongue became wet leather, a stumble or three but I managed to get it together and, I think, present an acceptable talk.
By the end of April it’ll be on the TED/TEDx site among a thousand other talks and I’m hoping it’ll be of some interest. When it’s ready I’ll post up a new link to the video and some pictures (which are also being worked on).
Microsoft officially ended the Small Business Server (aka SBS) to the chagrin of many smaller companies wanting in-house control of their data at a reasonable cost. With this move the cost of having an in-house solution for email & data went up by $3000 or more. I’ll explain the changes and how you can make a new SBS that will at least do the same job as before.
SBS was unique in it allowed the Domain Control & Exchange to co-exist on the same server, normally this didn’t work.. Exchange doesn’t like being on a DC. The new method means every company needs 2 servers in their office or move email to the Cloud, as we know in Canada that’s not going to work (unless you have no email from the government or government contracts which REQUIRE your mail & server be in the country).
The new solution is a computer powerful enough to run 2 servers, one normally and the 2nd virtually. Windows Server Essentials 2012 will be the base machine and another copy of Server 2012 Standard runs as a VM (but not a DC) and there resides the Exchange server. Many other changes are also needed and the setup is much longer and of course the server more complicated. Instead of the $900 + licenses (past 5) on SBS you now have $500 for Essentials (upto 25 users), $1000 for Standard but also $900 Exchange & $110/user.
Of course setting up 2 servers takes longer (even if one is virtual), the hardware is more expensive and you need a few extra parts (like a VM drive for Exchange). All in all an in-house system went from about $6000 (hardware, software & labour) to about $10,000. You can no longer buy SBS 2011 but for those with a copy you could keep it running on new hardware for a least a few more years (after all SBS 2003 just ended it life).
People often get the terms “virtualization” and “cloud computing” confused, believing that they can be used interchangeably when, in fact, they are diametrically opposed.
Virtualization tricks your software into believing that it’s running on a real server, network or storage that is actually there, but it’s not: it’s virtualized. Essentially we are hiding the infrastructure from software, which allows software to believe that nothing is changing even if we move the ‘server’ to a new machine or new location. Portable and easy to get running on new hardware.
Cloud computing is the exact opposite. A real public or private cloud richly exposes the infrastructure to the application which is not only infrastructure-aware; it is dependent on its interactions with the infrastructure. This allows companies to turn off resources when they’re not using them and add additional resources when required, basically making a server more powerful when needed.
The PR teams will tell you Cloud Computing is the way to go, the destination and ultimate goal of business computing. Complete horse crap. It’s probably the next ‘leaky condo’ with more central points of failure than any system in existence (because you need to connect to it the entire path is vulnerable from failure).
Cloud computing and data storage bind client to the service providers like nothing else the monthly fees are reasonable on a per user basis but company wide they can become onerous without offering any local hardware maintenance (which is often the largest cost). One special consideration for Canadian customer is you are not allowed to have any government communication or documents leave the country, which mean even GMail violates government contracts let alone files on the cloud.
You know that little HTTPS: we all love to trust when we do online transactions.. well the old versions (TLS v1.0 and earlier) have been compromised. This means a serious weakness in virtually all websites protected by the secure sockets layer protocol that allows attackers to silently decrypt data that’s passing between a web-server and an end-user browser.
Although versions 1.1 and 1.2 of TLS aren’t susceptible, they remain almost entirely unsupported in browsers and websites alike, making encrypted transactions on PayPal, GMail, and just about every other website vulnerable to eavesdropping by hackers who are able to control the connection between the end user and the destination website.
At this point the hack isn’t usable by the average weenie on some remote country, the processing power needed is extreme but as the code is improved it’ll become more important to rely on TLS v1.1+ to remain secure. The major browsers will likely soon release a patch to implement TLS v1.2 but it’s up to the website to deploy the other end to ensure secure communication.
Just thought you should know in case you didn’t feel vulnerable enough already.
IPv6 isn’t a very elegant name but it’s coming and what it looks like is this: 2001:0db8:85a3:0000:0000:8a2e:0370:7334
Ok that was just an example and probably didn’t scare you but if you remember the old IP addresses.. you know 192.168.16.100 and the like, well that monstrosity above will be replacing your old IP, eventually.
So what does that mean to you? Well the last free blocks of top level IPv4 were assigned in February 2011. Many are still unused all over the world but we are now officially out of ‘new’ blocks to give away. NAT (network address translation) gave us years of breathing room using ‘internal’ IP addresses (from your server, firewall or router) but with phones, computers and even refrigerators wanting an IP we are running/ran out.
The upgrades have been underway for years in the infrastructure but most ISPs have been dragging their heels. For most businesses it means a few updates on your software, a new router or server and maybe some bad days trying to figure out why a webpage won’t load. That is once the ISPs are finally forced to move over to IPv6 (or at least make it a working option). If you want to read more try these:
Don’t worry the internet won’t crash, end or put up toll booths (we hope). IPv6 will help control spammers and hackers better and take the load off the hardware in many cases. Your business might even be able to get its own “official” subnet to identify your gear/phones/computers from everyone elses.
It won’t be easy or painless but when the time comes the change will probably be worth all the effort, just thought you should know.
Android or iPhone/iPad/iTouch/iPod, either way the fight is on between Apple and Google. The latest front in the ‘Cloud’ wars is the application and subscription market. Apple put in their opening position only to get taken off at the knees by Google (see below):
Justice Department and Federal Trade Commission are interested in whether Apple may be violating antitrust laws by routing customers through Apple’s App Store and taking a 30 percent cut of each subscription, sources told the newspaper. Regulators’ interest in the subscription terms is reportedly preliminary and might not lead to a formal investigation.
Then, the day after Apple officially shared details of its subscription plan, Google announced the launch of One Pass, its online charging service for newspapers and magazines. Google’s rival service offers two big differences from Apple’s: content providers will get to keep 90 percent of revenue from One Pass sales, and publishers will retain control of consumer data
Read more: http://news.cnet.com/8301-1001_3-20033202-92.html#ixzz1ETcQl0Gx
So the phone market is a little intense but we have yet to see where Microsoft will appear in all this with the new Mobile 7 phones. I have a Mobile 7 and at this time and 2 weeks later I’m still stunned to see you cannot transfer files to/from your computer to the phone via the USB cable. One would have thought the Sync Center of Windows 7 would have been the perfect vehicle for this, but Microsoft now uses Zune (just a really, really bad iTune clone) instead.
The 1st update/servicepack for Mobile 7 is due in March.. let’s hope it includes a file transfer system. I’ll do a detailed Mobile 7 review once the service pack is out, until the I’ll just bite my tongue.
When you take a picture from your cellphone you can tell people a lot more than the date stamp.
GPS information can be recorded as part of the Exif, or exchangeable image file format, that is has been the de facto digital photo standard since 1998. Among the other information it saves is what allows you to see a thumbnail of a photo you’ve taken or a photo’s date and time. It can be found with a simple right click on the properties section of the picture, and it’s easily accessible in a number of places on the Internet, but not all, where people share their photos.
Some social networks don’t accept location information or Exif information at all. So when you upload it, even if it does have location information, it’s not going to show it to anybody. Facebook strips the location information but other social networking sites are a different story. Services like Flickr do allow location information, so does the popular Twitpic. The good news is you can protect yourself. Most sites have some sort of privacy control, allowing you to manage the information that gets out there.
To avoid having your friends reveal your location on Facebook.
- Go to your Facebook account.
- Click Account in the top right corner.
- Click Privacy Settings.
- Click Customize settings in the Sharing on Facebook section,
- Scroll to Things others share and make the option next to Friends can check me into Places read “Disabled.”
To disable tagging on handhelds and phones:
– http://ICanStalkU.com provides step-by-step instructions for disabling geotagging on iPhone, BlackBerry, Android and Palm devices.